•As discussions centred on the effects of climate change in Africa
On Thursday 26 January, The Africa Centre welcomed His Majesty King Charles III for a tour of its recently opened headquarters in Southwark, London.
The King arrived just after lunchtime and was greeted by a celebratory drumming performance by Ayan De First – Mr Culture of Oduduwa Talking Drummers UK before joining a roundtable discussion on the role of the African diaspora in the U.K, the effects of climate change in Africa and how the impact can be mitigated.
The Africa Centre is a UK-based charity which has been championing the cause for Africa and its diaspora since its formation in 1961. Its mission is to educate, connect, and advocate for Africa and its global diaspora. This was His Majesty’s second visit having previously visited in 1988 to officially open the ‘Zimbabwe Contemporary Stone Sculpture Exhibition’, a high-profile exhibition organised by the Centre and held at The Barbican.
This historic visit comes at a pivotal time for the Centre as it embarks on an exciting new chapter following its relaunch. His Majesty was hosted by The Africa Centre’s Chair of the Board of Trustees Prof. Oba Nsugbe KC, who introduced the King to fellow Trustees, staff members, and teams from Colourful Radio and Trampoline, who both operate from the charity’s premises.
After a briefing on the rich history of the Centre and its current community focussed initiatives, His Majesty toured Our Story: Africa’s Climate, an ongoing group exhibition made up of works from emerging African artists from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania which highlights the impact of the climate emergency in Africa through photography, illustration, and collage. Whilst in the gallery, His Royal Majesty also spoke with Hannah Uzor, one of the artists behind Painting Our Past, a series of portraits depicting six historic figures from the African diaspora, commissioned by English Heritage.
His Majesty then joined a reception on two separate floors of The Africa Centre’s new building and interacted with invited guests from the charity’s diverse communities. Acting as a cultural hub, The Africa Centre aims to highlight the urgency of climate change and the environmental and economic inequality around its impact on Africa. Through its programming, it hopes to build and foster critical dialogue on how the continent can build a sustainable future.
Chair of The Africa Centre’s Board of Trustees Prof. Oba Nsugbe said, “It was important to welcome the King to the Africa Centre in its new home in Southwark. His last engagement with the Centre was in 1988 when he opened an exhibition of Zimbabwean Sculpture organised at the Barbican by the charity. For this visit, we assembled wide sections of our communities to highlight to His Majesty some of the most significant and pressing problems faced by Africa such as youth unemployment and the disproportionate impact of climate change on a continent least responsible for its cause. We will continue to champion solutions for problems faced by our communities at all levels.”
Some of the special guests in attendance include Lord Paul Boateng, His Excellency, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola OFR High Commissioner of Nigeria to the UK, Her Excellency, Nimisha J. Madhvani High Commissioner of Uganda to the UK, ArunmaOteh University of Oxford Said Business School, Neil Coyle MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Cllr. Michael Situ Deputy Mayor London Borough of Southwark and Princess Golda & Prince Mike Abiola Publishers of African Voice Newspapers UK, Pamela Bassah Head of Strategic Partnership &Diaspora Relations, Maria Varnava founder & director Tiwani Contemporary and Mary Lusiba BBC World Service.
As word of the King’s visit quickly spread locally, people lined up on the street to catch a glimpse of the momentous occasion.
Culled from: African Voice.co.uk