The first memorial for Black heroes of world wars is to be opened on Windrush Square on Thursday 22 June.
Thousands of people are expected to gather in Brixton’s Windrush Square on Thursday June 22 for the unveiling of a memorial to commemorate the two million African and Caribbean servicemen and women who served in the two world wars.
In a letter to the organisers, Her Majesty the Queen said: “It is now over 70 years since the end of that war, but it is just as important to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by those men and women who were prepared to lay down their life for our freedoms.”
Dignitaries expected to attend include the Mayor of London, Baroness Ros Howells (patron of the African and Caribbean Memorial), chiefs of defence staff from Caribbean and African countries, Commonwealth High Commissioners, ambassadors, MPs and peers.
The ceremony will include a military salute and a parade including Tambu Bambou masqueraders, carnival puppets and stilt walkers.
The memorial (above), which consists of two six foot long obelisks of Scottish whinstone on a plinth of Ancaster limestone, with a combined weight of just under five tonnes, is designed to ensure that the contribution of African and Caribbean countries and people in the wars is known and identified respectfully and globally.
Jak Beula, CEO of the Nubian Jak Community Trust, and a driving force behind the three-year campaign for the memorial, said: “More than 2 million African and Caribbean servicemen and servicewomen participated in WWI and WWII but have not been recognised for their contribution.
“The unveiling of this memorial is to correct this historical omission and to ensure young people of African and Caribbean descent are aware of the valuable input their forefathers had in the two world wars.”
After the unveiling one of several celebration events will take place in Brixton’s Prince of Wales venue. Hosted by DJ Elaine Smith, performers are due to include Jazzie B, Janet Kay, Omar, Keith Waithe, Nairobi Thompson and a special guest from Africa –Kanda Bongo Man.
PROGRAMME OF EVENTS
Tuesday 20th June – REMEMBERED: In Memoriam – Book Launch – Tate Brixton Library
This publication is a collection of essays, articles and narratives compiled and edited by Jak Beula and Nairobi Thompson. It is the most comprehensive account to date, of the contributions made by African and Caribbean Servicemen and Servicewomen during the two World Wars and has been produced as a Souvenir Journal to accompany the historic unveiling of the African and Caribbean War Memorial. For more info visit www.acmemorial.com
Wednesday 21st June – REMEMBERED – Theatre Play – Paul Robeson Theatre, Hounslow–7:30pm
A new work written and directed by playwright Richard Reid of Black Arts Production Theatre (BAP). The play will premiere at the Paul Robeson Theatre, and is a story of bravery and betrayal involving two families, two world wars, and a reality game show! BAP is celebrating 25 years! Tickets £15 concessions £11:50. For more info visit www.acmemorial.com
Thursday 22nd June – REMEMBERED – Unveiling of the African and Caribbean War Memorial
Windrush Square, Brixton, London – 2pm to 4pm
The unveiling of this historic Memorial will take place on Windrush Day, a day particularly fitting for this distinguished occasion. Windrush Day is a day of great significance to all British Nationals of African and Caribbean descent marking the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948.