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Record to raise funds for African and Caribbean soldiers

REMEMBERING THE FORGOTTEN: African soldiers who fought for Britain during the First World War

A CAMPAIGN to secure the permanent installation of a ‘long overdue’ war memorial to African and Caribbean soldiers has launched a charity single to support its latest push for public support.

The single, written by Grammy nominated artist Eric Roberson, is called I Have A Song, and was launched recently at the Houses of Parliament.

“The decision to return to music and record a fundraising single was taken after Madstone Ltd, the company who had serviced and maintained the memorial, threatened to sell the stone obelisks they were keeping in storage to recover costs for their services outstanding,” explained Jak Beula, CEO of the Nubian Jak Community Trust and the creator of Memorial Aid.

SAVING HISTORY: Nubian Jak founder Jak Beula addresses audience members at the recent launch of the charity single

The former musician who came out of retirement to share lead vocals on the track with Roberson added: “We were fortunate that Eric Roberson gave his permission to cover his song, as well as have him sing on this historic recording. He’d googled the Trust and became aware of what we were trying to do with the memorial.”

The battle to install the unique monument was first reported last year when the organisation launched a public appeal for funds to pay for the outstanding costs and services associated with a permanent installation in London.


Following its brief unveiling at Brixton Cultural Archives to coincide with Armistice Day (Nov 11) in 2014, it is the intention of the organisation to secure the monument permanently on Windrush Square in Brixton this summer on Windrush Day (June 22).

VETERAN: Sam King MBE, who fought during the war in 1944 on behalf of the Royal Navy

The campaign has received support from a number of Caribbean and African embassies and High Commissions, the West Indian Association of Service Personnel, Black Cultural Archives and the Heritage Lottery Foundation.

Beula said: “This date and location are particularly fitting for this distinguished occasion – with both being of great significance to all British nationals of African and Caribbean descent because they mark the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948, and the advent of the black community in the UK.”

Shaped in the form of two obelisks - one horizontal, to represent the fallen, and the other vertical, to represent their descendants - the monument is engraved with the names of the African and Caribbean regiments that contributed to Great Britain’s war effort.


Beyond the financial challenges, Beula added that it has been a difficult task to engage the black community and build their understanding of the need for such an iconic memorial.

MEMORIAL: The two-and-a-half ton sculpture will sit on Windrush Square, Brixton

The campaigner explained: “They felt that any such memorial should have been paid for by the British government or the MoD. Although I agree with a lot of the sentiments, the truth is that these brave men and women from Africa and the Caribbean still remain unheralded and unsung. As of spring 2016, there is not one memorial in the UK solely dedicated to them and their achievements. The African and Caribbean War Memorial aims to put that right, and celebrate our common heritage in the UK, as well as bring public awareness to the sacrifices of these African and Caribbean service personnel.”

The project features a slew of musical contributions from other top musicians such as multi-talented instrumentalist and producer Goz-i-am, jazz flutist Keith Waith and rising female grime star Tagnana who raps on the single.

The final product has been dubbed a blend of “lovers rock and ragga dance”.

■ Readers can make a donation on the AC Memorial website at
The single can be purchased on iTunes for 99p at

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