Happy new year and welcome to our first newsletter for 2013.
We start by giving thanks to those that continue to support us through their donations, we face many challenges maintaining our services so please know that every little helps.
Throughout the year we hope to create more opportunities for donations not only to us, but also others that are working to help contribute to our community development.
In this edition of the newsletter there are some great events offering learning, sharing and healing opportunities. Please try to get out to some of them or better yet, organise some of your own near where you live.
Remember, if you enjoy the contents of this newsletter then please feel free to share this newsletter amongst family and friends who you know will benefit from it. You can click here to subscribe for your own copy. If you would like to support our work you can do so by making a single or regular donation.
Also, if you appreciate our work then please write or talk about us on community radio, blogs, internet forums and social media like Facebook and Twitter - remember awareness of our work only grows through word of mouth.
Don't forget to regularly check out the Ligali website for articles not included in this newsletter. You can also listen to archived podcasts of our Pan African Drum radio programmes at http://www.ligali.org/nyansapo/drum.php
Peace, Love & Justice
Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of event details provided, please check as there may be some errors or changes made since publication.
Please click here if you are having problems viewing this newsletter
"The fly that has nobody to caution it goes into the grave with the corpse”
A few days ago I realised that I did not know the name of a single person who had passed during the New Year fireworks tragedy in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Over sixty people were killed and two hundred injured, most of them were between 8 and 15 years of age. Without doubt this was a disaster on a similar scale as that of the recent massacre at the Sandy Hook school in the US claiming the lives of twenty seven.
Yet no matter how hard I search for more facts from the media, the only names reported in some tenuous related link are those of the pop singer, Rihanna and the violent abuser, Chris Brown who was allegedly paid up to ten million dollars to perform in the same country the night before the celebrations.
Of those that lost their lives, 26 were children, 28 women and six men. I tried to locate more details but all I could find was that of parents looking for missing children. There was a mother named Zainab, another called Assetou Toure and a father named Mamadou Sanogo. We can only hope they find their children in good health.
As I write this I am listening to a very interesting debate moderated by Henry Bonsu on Colourful radio with Lester Holloway and some clown from a campaign for 'real' education about a petition calling for education minister, Michael Gove to ensure Mary Seacole is included in the national curriculum.
A little over a week ago, Tory minister David Willetts just called for universities to target MORE european boys for recruitment as if they were from the African British community. As Doreen Lawrence rightly stated, tackling racism is now off the agenda in subservience to so called ‘class’ issues.
However the shameful thing we must accept is that many of our ‘leaders’ actually advocated for this urban, no 'race' agenda. I suspect they are only moaning now because they have ‘succeeded’ but as a result subsequently lost their jobs, funding and worse, many of the hard fought gains of our Ancestors.
For far too many times I’ve heard people state that they don’t want to hear or talk about racism or actively withdraw support from organisations, politicians and even football teams that routinely abuse us. The approach of most seems to be to stay on the pitch and pretend everything is ok whilst being shat on, spat at and socially, politically, and spiritually abused.
As a result, those that would exploit us have become emboldened. From racist abuse on the streets, at work and in sports to our removal from academia in world and now even African British history, made worse with the forced closure of our community centres, organisations, bookshops and the loss of community development focused educators and their respective progressive pedagogical departments.
A little over a fortnight ago the British Prime Minister, David Cameron told the House of Commons that “A police officer...sending an e-mail potentially to blacken the name of a cabinet minister is a very serious issue”. It is clear that in English language, to ‘blacken’ a person is a very negative act.
However to ‘white’ wash our history, culture, and politics is far worse.
A friend recently sent me a War on Want brochure called The Hunger Games - How DFID support for agribusiness is fuelling poverty in Africa. It exposes how with the help of the ConDem regime, several NGO's that claim to be saving Africans in our motherland are in secret exploiting them with tax payer money. Meanwhile funding for truly progressive African development organisations like ADAP, AFFORD and DFIN have been slashed despite them doing great work as a result of being truly grass roots based.
It is thus clear in my language that to ‘whiten’ a charitable concern placing profit before people is a very negative act.
But if I stick to this theme for a while a think about the Africanisation or humanising of an issue then I think back to when I was recently listening to the lyrics of Linton Kwesi Johnson's ‘Licence Fi Kill’ and Akala's Find No Enemy.
It makes me wonder what has happened to our willingness to encode our experiences in our music, our poetry, our art and dance?The recent years have seen a powerful explosion of consciousness in our theatre from plays like Belong, Pandora’s Box, Iya-Ile, The Lion and the Jewel to the #I Am England and The Hounding of David Oluwale. Likewise our literature and journalism has slowly, but thankfully started to reassert its roots and move away from the banal urbanisation that has plagued our music and spoken word artists for far too long, but it’s not enough.
Our constant turning of the other cheek, excusing of so called ‘class’ led policy, and accusing the very people who fight specifically and exclusively on our behalf of racism has led to us having a thin, exhausted and demotivated front line that is struggling to justify why we continue to take licks for a community often in blissful denial of the facts. Its like the childrens film I saw this weekend with my young ones - Rise of the Guardians. The simple message was that without people showing their appreciation of the positive work we do it can be a serious struggle to persist with work challenging the negativity.
Surely, if we continue hiding from our painful experiences without confronting with them then we will keep repeating the same mistakes and returning to the same situations until re remember how we best dealt with them.
This reminded me of something that happened last week. Now some of you may not know, but I have a substantial catalogue of music tracks I produced and released during the 80’s and early 90’s. Like many of us sitting on old photos, I have procrastinated in bringing their master tapes (think negatives) into the 21st century.
Fortunately, I held onto my DAT machine. For those of you who don’t know what this is, think of a kind of super high quality, VHS type machine for music. Now I was feeling quite pleased that I had kept it in good condition, I plugged its digital output into my computer and retrieved a box of what I regard as priceless digital masters.
I placed my tapes into the machine and guess what?
It wouldn’t play them. I tried everything, cleaning the heads, rewinding, fast forwarding, but the tapes refused to play. I was now staring at a machine I had originally paid a thousand pounds for when brand new that was now effectively junk.
The reason I raise this is because it was my reluctance to adapt my old media to the new for archiving purposes that led to this failure. Now other than those tracks I have on CD, my entire vinyl catalogue is lost or at least inaccessible unless I sit down with my SL-1200 (assuming it still works) and digitise the entire lot with a serious loss of quality.
This scenario reflects how we are behaving with our history.
As a community so many of us have failed to create a permanent and easily transcodable digital record of the items that matter to us that we are at risk of creating a cultural and historical vacuum when the living Griots (recorders/historians) amongst us pass away.
Some of us may think that this is not a problem but unless we provide a documented trail for the next generation they will not inherit any of the wisdom we have accrued from our experiences. As this occurs they will be vulnerable to repeating our mistakes whilst others move forwards using the knowledge preserved by institutions that curate their own history.
Every year more and more of us sell out our courageous Ancestors by accepting medals immortalising the British Empire. The recipients of these blood stained OBE, MBE, CBE type trinkets often use the name of our families and community to justify their decision, but the Truth is that it is their own vanity that allows them to place loyalty to the British monarch above issues of moral integrity.
I accept that some of these people have done good work for our community, for this they often deserve to be awarded. However their ego soothing need to be formally recognised not by one’s peers, but by the history books of our collective enslavers and oppressors, is not an honour.
It’s a price tag, a badge of shame, an eternal demerit.
In fact it really says something when the list of people who have rejected them is more interesting than those who kneeled down in subservience when accepting their allocated position in the Empirical order.
Perhaps I’ve too much of a contumacious spirit, but it doesn’t have to be this way as poet, Benjamin Zephaniah admirably demonstrated ten years ago in 2003. What has happened to that spirit, that sense of pride and dignity in the last decade?
Imagine what it would mean if those recipients were to take the opportunity to publicly give back their thirty pieces of silver as did John Lennon in 1969 as part of ongoing peace protests with his wife.
We all benefit from knowing that the work we do today is still of use to our loved ones tomorrow. However the lesson for us is to look to ourselves for recognising and remembering our heroes, not idolising those that have been selected for us.
We honour them best by recording, recreating and invoking their names and deeds using the language and technology of today. The WASU Project is but one good example of a multimedia approach to history whilst BIS Publication publishes new material and also offers workshops teaching us how to create eBooks.
The world of information is changing and we need to keep up with it. There’s no reason why we can’t watch a great black and white film on our phones or flat screen TV’s, unless of course we’re happy to let our homes turn into redundant archaeological shrines because we never bothered to do the work and copy that which we claim to value into a suitable format in the first place.
May the Ancestors guide and protect us.
Toyin Agbetu is a writer, film director, poet, and founder of Ligali, the pan African human rights based organisation.
The Ligali organisation survives solely through charitable donations, we are NOT government funded. If you appreciate the work we do then please contribute by making a contribution for some of our resources or donating to support our core services.
Books: Ukweli, Revoetry & The Manual (The Rules for Men*)
The Manual: The Rules for Men* is available for young men over the age of twenty. It contains Adult Themes about Sex, Relationships and Manhood
DVD: Films and Documentaries
Our films cover the topics of Maafa from slavery and colonialism to Pan Africanism and community empowerment.
If you have any copies of any of our works then please share a review about it on community radio, blogs, internet forums and social media like Facebook and Twitter - remember awareness of our work only grows through word of mouth.
Remember, we can’t continue to be successful without your ongoing support.
100 BMOL: MENTORING SESSION
Our First Mentoring session of 2013 will focus on Self Identity OBJECTIVES OF THIS SESSION : To help the Diamonds understand what makes up their self-identity - self knowledge, self image and self esteem To get the Diamonds to think about their own self-knowledge (what they know about themselves) and self-image (how they see themselves) and introduce the importance of self esteem.
SATURDAY 12th JANUARY 2013, 11AM - 1PM
100 Black Men of London, Inc. have been mentoring youth in London for over a decade now
TAOBQ Seeks Theatre Company Or Group Of Actors To Produce Play That Explores African Identity Within A Diasporan Context
TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question) is a campaign aimed at exploring the issues of African identity, global/pan-Africanism, imploring people of Afrivcan heritage to engage within their African identity, and organising forums for global African history and discussion. In furtherance of its aims, it seeks to a theatre company or group of five mature African actors and actresses, in order to produce a play entitled As Long As You're Of African Heritage, You're An African, which explores the issues of African identity within a London setting. For more information: email@example.com
Workshop: Curtains and Cushions
When: Saturday 26 January – Saturday 6 April 2013, 10am – 1pm
Creative Lifestyle & Hackney Learning Trust are running this curtains and cushions workshop from: Saturday 26 January – Saturday 6 April 2013, 10am – 1pm. You will learn how to make curtain samples and cushions. You will learn how to calculate fabric and windows for the perfect finished look! Strictly for beginners or those who need help.
If you would like to know more please contact us on: 07956515419 or email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease note, this course is for Hackney residents and is free for those who are on low wages or benefits. Proof is needed.
Picket South Afrikan Neo Colonial Embassy
Just a reminder for you to join us in solidarity with the Marikana Miners as we continue our regular picket Thursday, 10th January 2013.
Picket from 5.00pm – 7.00pm
Please Spread the Word.
Petition: Keep Mary Seacole on the National Curriculum
You can see the petition at:
Fund raising Appeal: La Swap In Uganda
My name is Naithan Agbetu,
I'm a college student, thriving for knowledge on everything that surrounds me. While studying towards a degree in Economics, I've decided to learn a bit about African Cultures by working towards a trip to Uganda. I enjoy exploring new things, taking on more challenges and pushing myself to the limits of life.
I will be travelling with La Swap Consortium & The Great Generation Charity to Jinja, Uganda. Where I will be partaking in a Community Project that helps the local community by engaging in agricultural and education based projects.
This includes working at the St. Francis Health Care Services to provide workshops for the children in the towns of Njeru & Jinja and helping with the development of the local library. In addition, I will have a few opportunities to visit local sites and explore the customs and traditions of the country.
You can donate at:
Sable Website Launch
It's been a long time but we finally have it up and running!
Saturday Schools and Home Tuition!
Saturday Schools Open All Over London
Some tutors also offter:
Contact details are 079 0456 4010 or
Exams: Sats, 11+ and GCSE
Mutabaruka On God, History and Rastafari (PART 1)
Greetings and Happy New Year Family,
highly popular talk show (Cutting Edge) outside of Jamaica; on Birmingham's Newstyle Radio (UK).
Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeigV31TnBE&feature=youtu.be
Peace and Love
Public Meeting: Centerprise Update
When: Wednesday, 16th January 2013, 6.00-8.00pm
Dear Members and Friends of Centerprise, Happy New Year to you all The campaign to keep Centerprise Open continues despite the seizure of our premises by Hackney Council.
Look forward to meeting you all once again.
Find out more and sign our on-line petition by visiting:
Centerprise Trust Ltd
Spirit Of A Warrior
Monday and Fridays*
*Adults and Children
For further details please contact us on: 020 8808 7547 / 07956 337 391 or, via email on: email@example.com
Film Night: Red Hook Summer - A Spike Lee Joint
When: Saturday 5th January 2013, 7PM
Our films are always followed by a lively discussion on their themes
PASF (Brixton) Workshop: The weapons of theory and armed struggle
When: Friday, 11th January 2013, between 7.00pm– 9.30pm
Greetings and Elevation Family,
Please join us in our first workshop of 2013.
Come, hear and question as Bro Cecil speaks truth to – ‘The weapons of theory and armed struggle: Amilcar Cabral and the defeat of Portuguese Settler Colonialism in Guinea Bissau’.
Presenter: Bro Cecil Gutzmore – Researcher, Pan-Afrikan Activist, Historian and
Please arrive for 7.00pm so that we can have some refreshments, mingle and start promptly at 7.15pm.
We look forward to welcoming you.
Please Spread the Word!
Commemorative service for Haiti
When: Saturday, 12th January 2013, 3.00PM - 5.00PM
Greetings and Elevation Family,
I am writing to ask you to please mark this very important date in your diary – Saturday, 12th January 2013 - and attend and give your support as United Haitians in the UK (UHUK) and supportive others remember in this commemorative service for Haiti, 3 years after that devastating earthquake which struck Haiti on 12th January 2010.
Train: Nearest station Imperial Wharf. You can also go to Fulham Broadway and get bus 391 from there to Townmead Road.
Buses: C3 & 391
Parking: There is car parkingavailable at Imperial Wharf underground car park - hourly rate applies
Please note that this is a service and you are requested to arrive early to keep disruptions to a minimum.
Seminar: “A Wall of Anti-Slavery Fire" - Frederick Douglass in Britain
Where: Senate House, University of London, Russell Square, London WC1
Institute of Commonwealth Studies, in conjunction with the Black & Asian Studies Association presents African (Black) and Asian Britain seminars 2012-2013:
Hannah Murray - “A Wall of Anti-Slavery Fire" - Frederick Douglass in Britain.
Former African American slave Frederick Douglass visited Britain in the1840's, popularising anti-slavery, creating a sensation across the country and enhancing the transatlantic connections between abolitionists.
African Odyyseys: The Pirogue
When: 2pm to 5pm. Saturday 19 January 2013
Dedicated to the 5000-or-so Africans who have died trying to cross to Europe in the last decade, this title narrates the story of a retired Senegalese fisherman who is persuaded to captain a wooden fishing boat, a pirogue, on a dangerous journey in search of a better life. Initially hesitant, Laye agrees to go, driven by aspirations for his own family. The trip gradually descends into disaster as the pirogue's human cargo fight for survival against the treacherous conditions of the Atlantic Ocean.
The presence of the female stowaway causes some friction among the men, while religious and ethnic differences also complicate matters. A poignant encounter with another helpless pirogue, carrying men desperate for food and water, forces a focus on their other pressing anxieties. The beautifully shot images blend perfectly with the characteristic sounds of Senegal, helping deliver a well-crafted melodrama that is compelling to watch.This screening will be accompanied by a panel and audience discussion.
AJAMU: Music and Social Change
When: Saturday 19th January, 6pm
“MUSIC & SOCIAL CHANGE”:
In January 2013, Women4Africa have being invited to partner with African peoples Advocacy and the University College London to Speak at a New Year's lecture on Africa.
Queen Nzinga Lecture: Black Women in Academia: Success, Secrets and Coping Strategies
When: Saturday 23rd February 2013, 6pm to 9pm
Dr Ama Biney has lectured at Middlesex University and Birkbeck College, University of London, as well as in the further education sector in the UK for over 15 years. She obtained her PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and is a trustee of the Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem Educational Trust.
Dr Michelle Asantewa is an English and Creative writing lecturer at London Metropolitan University. She has also curated several black history film events at the university and spoke on womens resistance in 18th century literature at the first Queen Nzinga Lecture last year.
Nathalie Montlouis Phd has just completed her doctorate in cultural studies and is now editing a book on African culture and western stereotypes. She gives lectures on Symbolic Violence and Images of Black Women. She is the programme manager for the French/Caribbean dance group Ziloka and is the co-creator of Performing Black Bodies in White Space
Akoben Awards: Free Half-Day Music Industry Courses
When: Friday 25 January 2013
Calling budding music industry moguls!
Turn your new year's resolution into reality, by power-boosting your music industry knowledge and contacts!
Free 2 half-day courses:
* If you've made a new year's resolution to succeed in the music industry, this free programme of 2 short, accessible courses, plus a presentation & networking evening, will help you with the knowledge and contacts you need!
When: Sunday 27 January 2013
The Black Cinema Club will be screening BESOURO a stunning film based based on the story of a legendary fighter and practitioner in Capoeira history.
The Runnymede Race Debate: Do racists have a right to be heard?
When: Wednesday, 30th January 2013 6.30pm
Workshop: FINDING YOUR VOICE
A Youth Communication Skills Workshop for young people aged 10-15 years.
When: Saturday 2nd February 2013, 12 noon – 5 pm
Elaine Powell is a Professional Speaker, Trainer and Coach and runs communication skills workshops called Finding Your Voice. She is unique, charismatic, experienced and committed to assisting an elevation of thinking and lifestyle. Elaine has worked extensively with a range of people, including young offenders with a spectrum of social challenges. The Finding Your Voice workshop will inspire, raise self-esteem and train young people into aspects of successful communication, be it for business or social purposes. Writer of Multiple Streams of Inspiration Vol. II and Finding Your Voice and extensively travelled, Ms Powell’s workshop is an invaluable opportunity that should be seized upon. www.elainepowell.com
Communication skills for interviews, social activities, performing arts and more!
Workshop will include: Introductions; Top-Ten Speaking Tips, How To Give Feedback, Impromptu Speaking & Games, Structuring & Delivering a Speech, Group Preparation; Announcement of group winners and most improved speakers.
Read some of the feedback from our November 2012 workshop for 16-21 year olds!
To book your ticket:
Workshop: Young African Diaspora Entrepreneurs - Exploiting your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
When: 2 February 2013, 9:30 AM -5.30pm
This one day certificated course at SOAS, University of London, will include presentations and workshops from successful, expert and inspirational speakers to help maximise potential and turn business dreams into reality.
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Tel: 020 7898 4370
Tim Reid's (Legacy Media Institute) Filmmakers Workshop
4-16 February 2013
Ligali, PO Box 1257, London E5 0UD. Tel: 020 8986 1984
This edition contains: