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The first black war memorial in Europe to be in Brixton

PRIDE: Jak Beula stands at the soon-to-be location of the new African & Caribbean War Memorial in Windrush Square, Brixton

AT THE Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, we saw the launch of a very special project. A project, which passionately aims to honour the 2 million African and Caribbean men who died and were unjustly erased from history during WW1 and WW2.

While their history may not be widely known, they live in the hearts and minds of our community, and their hard work and dedication has led to today – the launch of the African and Caribbean Memorial Project.

This seven-month war history project, will serve the memory of the men and women of African descent, who served Great Britain in Military Campaigns, and the memorial will be designed as a beautifully constructed pyramid installed at the focal point of Brixton in Windrush Square.

“It is very important that we understand the significance of what this is really about,” says Jak Beula, an entrepreneur and one of the men heavily involved in bringing this much needed war memorial to life. “There’s still a lot to be done to highlight the diverse contributions of commonwealth soldiers. Our contribution is to show the world that there were black commonwealth soldiers who were pivotal to Britain’s success in both wars.” Along with Beula, those contributing to the project include Alan Piper from Friends of Windrush Square and The Brixton Society and Devon Thomas, one of the workshop facilitators.


FOR THE COMMUNITY: Jak Beula, Devon Thomas and Alan Piper

“The planning really begun when we received planning permission on 28th September from Lambeth Council to have the memorial,” continues Beula. The memorial, which will launch on Windrush Day (Jun 22), will be accompanied by an innovative intergenerational concept, which weaves together three generations within the community. “There are three major groups that will be participating in this project; first the Richard Atkins Primary School, which includes 100 key stage 2 students. The second is a secondary school called Ark Evelyn Grace Academy and finally the Lambeth Pensioners Action Group.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to integrate generations with each other, and this heritage project is really about connecting people with their real history.”

The intergenerational project called REMEMBERED will include a play on the 21st June at the Paul Robeson theatre, which will feature members of the Lambeth Pensioners Action Group acting with 9-10 year old students, as they bring to life the narrative, which inspired the memorial. In addition, there will be workshops, a library exhibition in February at the Brixton Tate Library, which will highlight the work of those contributing to the project, the E-book REMEMBERD, and a souvenir journal. All of these individual projects work together to create a well-rounded experience for the community, creating an opportunity for them to create, engage and enjoy the process leading up to memorial.

“It’s the most fitting space, time and place to do this,” says Beula. The memorial has already seen support from key figures in British society, with Beula receiving letters from Queen Elizabeth II, Boris Johnson and David Cameron, who all understand why this memorial is needed.

With the support of Lambeth Council, Black Cultural Archives, Brixton Society, Friends of Windrush Square and HLF who've supported the war history educational project with the Trust, the community is banding together to support the launch of this war memorial, and requires us to bring the energy, spirit and awareness of our ancestors to get this memorial known to the masses.

The countdown starts now: Where will you be on Windrush Day 2017?

For more information on the African and Caribbean war memorial, visit http://www.nubianjak.org/site/?cat=3

To support the memorial, watch the music video for Memorial Aid Project I Have a Song (feat. Nubian Jak & Eric Roberson) here and download the single on iTunes.

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