By Chipo Chung
May 18 2011
The Africa Centre was founded in 1962. Its home, at 38 King Street, Covent Garden, London, was gifted to the African people in perpetuity by the Catholic Church. Over four decades the building has been a refuge, a meeting place and cultural beacon for the likes of Desmond Tutu, Kenneth Kaunda, Wole Soyinka and Walter Rodney, and an iconic landmark for Africans in Britain. In March 2011, news leaked that the Africa Centre’s Board of Trustees were engaged in a secret deal to sell a 125 year lease of 38 King Street to Capco, a property developer. A campaign to save it quickly emerged, demanding a public consultation with the community on the sale of the centre and garnering the active support of Desmond Tutu, Mo Ibrahim and Youssou N’Dour amongst others, together with over 1,000 petitioners. Thus far, the Board refuse to meet with the community and the sale of the iconic landmark is imminent.