Dear Save The Africa Centre Campaign (STAC) supporters
We trust that you have had a lovely August/September and that the last quarter of 2011 is to bring us the inspiration we continue to search for! This is an update to STAC petitioners on the status and progress of our campaign. We thank you for your continued support and bring you an update on the latest actions and developments in the campaign to Save the Africa Centre.
UPDATE on latest STAC actions
1. STAC requests assurances on transparency in trustees’ process of reviewing Ibrahim/ Adjaye proposal
2. STAC submission to UNESCO
3. STAC executes survey with community
Process / timelines for trustees’ review of the Ibrahim / Adjaye proposal
We now believe that the trustees have appointed an independent consultant to review the alternative investors’ proposal submitted by the Ibrahim / Adjaye team on 12 August 2011. We believe the consultant is to review the proposal against the trustees’ own stated aspirations to sell 38 King Street and move to an, as yet still unconfirmed, alternative premises.
Although we have not been notified directly, we understand that the trustees are to inform the alternative investors of their findings in mid-October. STAC can also confirm that several potential other funders have now expressed interest in knowing more about the trustees’ evaluation process in order to understand whether there is still an opportunity for other parties to invest.
STAC therefore request assurances from trustees that the selection process is to be entirely transparent and, again, we reiterate, involves the community, i.e. the Friends of the Africa Centre whom the charity is there to serve. The supporters of the STAC campaign now number 4,000+ persons and their original demands for greater openness and opportunity to participate remains in place (the trustees’ appointment of circa 14 new members of the association just prior to the 20 June 2011 EGM that took the membership to a total of only 30 members was hardly a dynamic shift in the governance of this charitable trust).
STAC continues to actively enable the community to have its say in the decision to move from, or stay at, 38 King Street, arguably the most significant decision the charity has faced in its 50 year history. To this end STAC has been conducting a survey which you will have received over recent weeks in which we’ve asked members of our community how they want to support the Africa Centre and what benefits they would value most as supporters of this arts and cultural trust. Thanks to the many supporters that have completed this survey and we urge those that have yet to complete it to do so within the next 2 weeks. STAC will share the findings when the data has been fully analysed.
Some illuminating trends so far:
– More women than men have responded (should there be more women on the Board?);
– More people in the 35-45 year old bracket have responded whilst a significant proportion are 18-25 suggesting a youthful appetite for 38 King Street, even amongst those who were not familiar with the Africa Centre in its earlier days (perhaps the charity’s Board should include more representatives of this age range?);
Out of all the art forms, music is a very clear attraction; including both live music and club nights (perhaps the trustees should consider allowing a STAC musical extravaganza at 38 King Street to celebrate with trustees a collective belief that we can inspire renewed optimism of a sustainable future there for 50 more years?).
STAC has also submitted this letter to UNESCO, the highly respected multi-lateral cultural organisation, asking for its support on this matter. This letter represents a formal application to UNESCO for the protection and conservation of the Africa Centre Limited’s 38 King Street headquarters in central London’s Covent Garden district. STAC fears that, as the current Board of Trustees are actively seeking to sell a 125 year leasehold to a major property developer who intends to change the premises use entirely by introducing a men’s fashion retail outlet, this would mean that this premises’ connection with Africa and its history will be lost for ever. This submission shows how we – you and the 4,000+members of the African Diaspora community supporting STAC – believe 38 King Street is an immovable asset of this UK-based charitable trust, a building which, during almost 50 years of freehold ownership by the charity, has been the destination hub for a definable community, making it a significant and irreplaceable cultural asset for the African Diaspora in the UK as well as for all Africans and those interested in Africa globally.
It is hoped that this application will complement ongoing efforts to promote and safeguard the heritage represented by 38 King Street, given its rich history as the pre-eminent arts and cultural destination in central London, for the African Diaspora and those interested in Africa generally.
We will keep you updated on progress in relation to this application.
Gratitude: eminent Africans attendance at prospective 38 King Street (re)opening ceremony?!
Finally note that STAC is currently in the process of updating and thanking the many eminent persons in our community for their early and continued support of the campaign. Although not wanting to tempt fate (!), this communication includes a request to certain individuals for a commitment to formally open the revitalised 38 King Street building envisioned in the Ibrahim / Adjaye proposal. We do this to demonstrate that the STAC team is, in fact, a group of eternal optimists expressing good faith in the process underway – so watch this space!
The Save the Africa Centre Campaign team will keep you posted on all developments as we move forward into the last quarter of 2011, ever nearer 2012, the year London is set to host the Olympic Games! Trustees – and we leave you and the trustees of our beloved Africa centre with this final question, do we dare miss the opportunity London 2012 presents the Africa Centre and 38 King Street in the heart of the city’s leisure and entertainment district?
With best wishes
The Save The Africa Centre Campaign Team
Tom Chigbo, Chipo Chung, Franck Dossa, Elizabeth Dudley, Susana Edjang
Dele Fatunla, Boko Inyundo, Dr. Mpalive Msiska, Debbie Simmons, Onyekachi Wambu