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A NEW

AFRICA CENTRE 21

FOR THE ST

CENTURY


PROUD OF OUR PAST. PASSIONATE ABOUT OUR FUTURE.


The ambitious redevelopment of our four-storey building in Southwark, opens the next chapter in the story of The Africa Centre. We are working very

closely

with

our

appointed

architects Freehaus to develop a vision that is bold, intelligent and rooted in our identity and purpose as an organisation, putting the people who engage with us at the heart of our vision. We are certain that, together with Freehaus, we can rise to both the challenges and opportunities of designing a pan-African centre for the 21st century. Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, Director, The Africa Centre

We are delighted to be teaming up with Freehaus in order to realise our bold pan-African vision for the new Africa Centre in the cultural heart of London. We are looking forward to working with Jonathan Hagos and his team, and all of our Africa Centre community and stakeholders to bring our dream to fruition. Oliver Tunde Andrews, Chair, The Africa Centre

Designed by kieronlewis.com


© Ian Watts

From l to r: Keith Shiri, HRH Prince Charles, Dr Herbert Murerwa, High Commissioner of Zimbabwe, the late Bernard Matemera with his sculpture “ A Man turning into a Hippo”. The Barbican, April 1988

From top left, clockwise: Alice Walker (c.1985), Sally Mugabe (c.1986), Ben Okri (undated) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (c.1994)


A B O U T

U S

With a rich legacy spanning across six decades...

T

he Africa Centre is a London-based charity that celebrates the diversity of Africa and its diaspora, by promoting creativity and innovation in thought, art, culture, business and entrepreneurship.   We are proud of our past and passionate about our future. Our mission is to be a home for African and diaspora culture & heritage in London and the UK, and our vision is of a contemporary 21st century Africa - vibrant, global and seated at the table. The Africa Centre will work to re-establish itself as London’s leading African and diaspora venue. First opening its doors at 38 King Street, Covent Garden in 1964, The Africa Centre quickly became a vital instrument for the multiple voices of liberation during the struggles for independence on the continent, and played host to a number of exhibitions, talks and events to African writers, poets and artists. The Centre was famously selected as the venue for

the public release of a statement from Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment on Robben Island.   However, when the need to ensure The Africa Centre’s long-term future and financial sustainability became paramount, the difficult, but necessary decision to move from our historical home was made in 2013. With support of £1.6million funding from Arts Council England in 2015, The Africa Centre purchased the freehold of a four-storey former office building in Southwark, known as Gunpowder House, and also acquired 25-year leases on two large railway arches directly behind, through selling the leasehold on the Covent Garden property. In 2016 The Africa Centre moved into its new home, in a culturally vibrant community with Tate Modern, the Young Vic and Old Vic theatres and Jerwood Space as neighbours.

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THE HOME OF AFRICA , IN LONDON


T H E

A F R I C A

C E N T R E ’ S

F I V E P I L L A R S O F A C T I V I T Y

E

ngagement with our community fuels our purpose. To ensure we created an Africa Centre that

addressed their aspirations and hopes for the future, we encouraged them to participate in helping to decide the long-term focus for the Centre. A period of extensive consultation led to the creation of the ‘Five Pillars of Activity’ that inform our programming offer, shape our outreach, and are recognisable in the fabric of the building and spaces we are transforming:

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A New Africa Centre

CULTURE: We aim to bring together the best and brightest sparks of contemporary African and black British culture, reflecting the rich diversity of Africa and its diaspora community.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION:

INTELLECTUAL:

Young creative businesses and the people behind them are shaping the future both here in the UK and on the continent. The Africa Centre is both a connector and a platform for showcasing their work as powerful change-makers. Our Hub provides hotdesking for entrepreneurs and startups and collaborative spaces to foster cross-fertilisation.

The Africa Centre aims to place itself at the heart of conversations that matter. We champion African thought leadership through talks, debates, conferences and broadcasts. We are a hub for exchanging and developing ideas and providing distinctly African and diaspora perspectives on the world.

EDUCATION:

SOCIAL:

Supporting education was one of The Africa Centre’s first charitable purposes. Our future education and youth programmes will immerse young people in contemporary African culture and heritage, and provide learning, training, and mentoring opportunities for adults.

Our longstanding mission has been to provide a home-away-from-home for visiting Africans, and for the growing African and diaspora community in London and the UK. As a bright, welcoming space The Africa Centre promotes social interaction, networking and interactive experiences, that strengthen and empower our community. A New Africa Centre

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B U I L D I N G

A N

A F R I C A C E N T R E F O R T H E 2 1 ST C E N T U R Y

I

n December 2018, The Africa Centre was awarded a £1.6 million grant from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, to redevelop its four-storey building in Southwark, into an Africa Centre for the 21st century. Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills Jules Pipe remarked:

This is a great example of a project which aims to give Londoners of all backgrounds the opportunity to be actively involved in shaping how their city develops. The Mayor and I are committed to supporting ‘good growth’ by building a city where all Londoners have access to the same opportunities and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project has in the future. Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills

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A New Africa Centre


Whilst both our Africa Centers have strong local and national remits, there is undoubted importance in developing strong international networks, to strengthen connections and build relationships that will grow our reach and influence and help us further realise our core shared purpose – to help grow better understanding and appreciation of African and diaspora culture Uzodinma Iweala – CEO, The Africa Center (Harlem, New York)

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A New Africa Centre


The new development will provide an array of new and vital additional facilities. These will include: • a ground and first floor restaurant, café and bar that will open onto the street with terraces at both levels, providing a unique pan-African culinary offering • a Gallery housing a flexible exhibition space from which to showcase both emerging and established African and diaspora artists • a Digital Learning and Research Centre /Global Classroom connecting schools in the UK to those in Africa, and providing research and learning opportunities for adults • a Business Suite with meeting room facilities and space to host talks and conferences which will allow businesses to be at the heart of Africa, in London The redevelopment of Gunpowder House will complement the existing use of two adjacent railway arches, with one of them home to The Africa Centre’s offices, Colourful Radio and The Hub (our co-working space for creatives and entrepreneurs), and the other arch serving as a pop-up performance/ event space.

Excitingly, the new development has the ability to generate an even bigger range of programmes and events for the local community. From choirs to language classes, round tables to live acoustic performances and exhibitions for both new and more experienced artists, the new Africa Centre can provide a platform that encourages learning, debate and entertainment for all ages and backgrounds. Plus with the new addition of the café bar and restaurant, we have the opportunity to present a truly culinary experience, showcasing food and drink from across the continent. As well as enthusing and inspiring the community through the imagination of its programme, The Africa Centre’s new development will celebrate and showcase the richness and diversity of African, diaspora and Black British culture. Significantly enhancing the delivery of the organisation’s five pillars of activity, we will tell the many stories of Africa – past, present and future – strengthen our reach and impact both locally, nationally and internationally, and provoke curiosity by challenging stereotypes. We will build a broad and diverse community that’s drawn together by a common interest in Africa and its extensive diaspora.

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A SENSE OF WELCOME


A

N E W

F O R

T H E

H O M E

C O M M U N I T Y

A

s the third largest inner-London borough, Southwark is also home to the largest African population in the country, with a notable 41% predicted increase in Black-Other population over 10 years (2015 to 2025). It is vital for the African and diaspora community to have places that create a sense of belonging; the revitalised Africa Centre will represent just that. There are too few such spaces in London.   The Africa Centre is at a pivotal stage of development. We are due to complete the RIBA Stage 4 Design process at the end of March 2020. Building works are set to commence following a full tender process and appointment of the construction team, with the building set to re-open in 2021. We need your support to ensure the further development and long-term sustainability of one of the only black-led cultural charities in London who still own and inhabit their own home, with which to serve their community.

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A New Africa Centre


A F R I C A

N O W

A

frica is no longer the ‘sleeping giant’. Africa is on the move. It’s status on the world stage is

Africa is a creative powerhouse. The Africa Centre has a key role to play in making tangible the richness,

increasingly important. Some of the fastest growing economies are on the continent, and new technologies are transforming lives, as well as economies. It’s time to change the narrative and challenge existing stereotypes.

vibrancy, and sheer energy emanating from the continent and its extensive diaspora. Nowhere reflects that creative energy more strongly than across music, art, film, fashion, and dance. That same creative energy can be found  where innovation, combined with technology and entrepreneurship, are providing African solutions to African problems.

The new Africa Centre will provide a platform from which businesses with an interest or presence in Africa can engage and connect with one another to promote trade, policy and investment. We will support this connectivity through our strong links with numerous Africafacing commercial partners, business associations and entrepreneurs.  

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A New Africa Centre

Africa’s time is now. There has never been a more important moment to re-evaluate and re-calibrate the relationship between the rapidly growing African and diaspora community in the UK and the African continent. These conversations matter. We invite you to join us.


Africa is at a tipping point. Whether it continues rising or falls back depends, above all else, on whether the continent creates the conditions in which its greatest resource – its young people – can shine. ‘Africa At A Tipping Point’ – 2017 Forum Report, Mo Ibrahim Foundation

A New Africa Centre

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Y O U R

S U P P O R T

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A New Africa Centre


W

ith a total redevelopment cost of £3 million, we need vital support to ensure that we can complete the build and open as a fully furnished, fully equipped and fully functioning new Africa Centre in 2021. We need to raise a further £1.5 million to achieve this, and we are seeking your support to do so. As a charity that doesn’t receive any regular funding from government and is wholly reliant on public support, your help could not come at a more important and crucial time.   Whether it’s to help furnish the Digital Learning & Research Centre / Global Classroom with the technology needed to connect us to the continent; help to commission artists to create bespoke works of art for The Africa Centre, or help in creating a sustainable building that contributes to saving the environment

and creating a ‘green space’ that promotes the sense of welcome and well-being, every pound donated will help us to have a huge impact and complete the build. The new Africa Centre will serve the African diaspora and users interested in African & diaspora heritage across London, hosting cultural, intellectual, educational programmes and a social offering, as well as supporting diaspora creatives, entrepreneurs & businesses. It will be the driver for the creation of an informal African Quarter with the potential to attract further retail, fashion, food, businesses and charities to the area, many of which will use The Africa Centre’s facilities; it will very substantially increase revenue generation and thereby our organisation’s long-term sustainability.   We are looking for people who share our vision to help us achieve this.

It is important to feel welcome somewhere, to have a sense of belonging. But the sense of belonging is not just what we call a mechanical sense of possessing the space. No, the sense of belonging is about how you interact with the people who are in the space that you are in. So that sense of belonging must not just be created but must be also pro-actively maintained by the staff, the vision of the Centre, the environment of the Centre. Audience member at London Design Festival Event: Designing an Africa Centre for the 21st Century

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H O W Y O U R M O N E Y C A N H E L P ÂŁ20,000

could go towards sourcing IT equipment Our plans for the Digital Learning & Research Centre/Global Classroom include activities that will enable schools in the UK to connect digitally with schools in Africa, allowing children in either continent to learn more about their counterparts, and provide learning opportunities for young people and adults.

ÂŁ25,000

can go towards the development of the new Gallery Help our Gallery fulfil its potential as a flexible exhibition space from which to showcase both emerging and established African and diaspora artists. Folding partitions, hinged panels and mobile furniture will maximize the hanging space and allow for different layouts. Its inherent flexibility will allow our new gallery to cater to the needs of artists across a greater variety of media and be adaptable to new and immersive digital technologies. This will mean an even wider variety of events can take place, thereby engaging and exciting even bigger audiences.

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A New Africa Centre


£40,000

will go towards helping us commission artists to create feature artwork for the Centre Art has a central role to play in identity and place-making. One of the key aims for the new Africa Centre, is to imbed art within the fabric of the new building and provide a platform for outstanding African and diaspora artists. Much of the work we would like to commission will form a key feature of the Centre, enriching the spaces and providing the artists with a place where their legacy can be secured. Other art works will be displayed on a rolling basis, allowing for renewal and fresh stimulus for visitors.

£75,000

can go towards helping us to fit out the kitchen to service the restaurant and café bar The new restaurant and café bar will become the social heart of the new Africa Centre, with a distinctive food and beverage offer from the continent, but above all, providing a space for people to gather together and experience a powerful sense of community. It will also offer enhanced social value by introducing volunteering and work placements. People looking to use these opportunities may include people in some form of recovery looking to integrate into wider society, people looking to build skills and self-confidence, or even those who see volunteering as an opportunity to ‘give something back’ and widen their social skills.

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£150,000

£200,000

The look and feel of the new Africa Centre, as well as its functionality, will depend much upon the quality of the furniture, fixtures and fittings we install. Currently, fitting out the new Centre would mean having to eat into our reserves. Funding this vital area would not only play a key role in defining our 21st Century home, but would release money to fund more programmes, services and opportunities for people to volunteer, making sure that we can more fully cater to the needs of the community.

Our goal is to make our building as sustainable as possible, by significantly reducing our carbon emissions, ensuring the building is energy efficient, generates as little waste as possible, and limiting the negative effect we have on the environment. Our ‘greening’ of the building will help ensure that visitors inhabit spaces that promote wellbeing, by providing clean, unpolluted air amidst a green and harmonious environment. We aim to keep our reliance on fossil fuel at an absolute minimum and play our part in reshaping London as the world’s first National Park City.

will go towards ensuring we can furnish the new Africa Centre

Environmentally friendly

£200,000

Catalogue and Digitise We are proud of our past and passionate about our future. Our unique and extensive archival collection spanning sixty years, is housed at the London Metropolitan Archives. There is an urgent need to catalogue and digitise our archive in order to safeguard this valuable collection and make our archive more publicly accessible. This is a comprehensive piece of work requiring specialist input and resources not currently available within The Africa Centre.

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A New Africa Centre

This is my very first experience of The Africa Centre. A lot of people told me about [King Street]. A lot of people told me that there was a new building somewhere in Southwark, but being here is actually an affirmation of my identity as an African in London. Audience member at London Design Festival Event: Designing an Africa Centre for the 21st Century


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O

ur new home will provide a place to feel a sense of belonging; a place to eat, drink and socialise; a place to showcase the talents of African and diaspora artists. It will be a place to network with like-minded businesses, develop skills, relationships and knowledge; a place for people to connect to the evolving and dynamic story of Africa and her extensive diaspora; a place to be curious, a place to learn and a place to be inspired. 

It’s so important that members of our community have a place that they can call home; our aim is to become the most welcoming cultural hub in London. Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, Director, The Africa Centre


HELP US TO BUILD THE PL ACE WHERE PEOPLE GO TO FEEL AT HOME


africacentre.org.uk @theafricacentreuk @TheAfricaCentre business@africacentre.london

Profile for theafricacentre

The Africa Centre - Case For Support  

The Africa Centre is building a new home for contemporary African art and heritage in London. This is a case for financial support to help t...

The Africa Centre - Case For Support  

The Africa Centre is building a new home for contemporary African art and heritage in London. This is a case for financial support to help t...

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