“Remember who you are…” I cannot imagine that I will start too many of these blogs by quoting a cartoon Lion ghost. Yet the words of Mufasa (and the inimitable timbre of James Earl Jones) echoed to me a few times over the past month, in conversation with some very wise friends and stalwarts of The Africa Centre.  

It is easy to be so engrossed in the day-to-day realities of overseeing the operational and governance challenges of an organisation such as The Africa Centre to the extent that we hold detail too close to our face and don’t step back often enough to appreciate the true magnificence of the heritage and potential of the institution. In these moments, a friendly reminder does not go amiss. “Remember who you are” came up as a reminder and a welcome admonishment when discussing The Africa Centre’s plans for its 60th anniversary activities and pondering who to invite to celebrate with us. “Remember who YOU are” I was reminded when discussing our ambitious fundraising and income generation plans with supporters. “Remember who YOU are!” I was told when hosting a symposium on African football at The Centre last month, when we weren’t sure that some of our invited guests may be making themselves available. “Remember who YOU are!” – This was the reminder of a potential partner we will be working on to convene a gathering around the issues affecting Black youth in London. 

These reminders reflect not just the nostalgic memory that many still hold of The Africa Centre’s glorious past, but a reflection of the aspiration that our community of stakeholders have for what we need to be to ensure that we are truly in the vanguard of issues that matter to the Global African community.  Of course, this statement also applies to us individually as well. For us to be all that we need to be, all of us will need to be the best of what we can be. The gloss of the New Year may be wearing thin, and the resolutions of January may be but a faded memory, but now is still a great time to focus on manifesting our inner magnificence.

As we power through this seminal year, we do so with the sure knowledge that what we need to be is greater than what we have been.  Having witnessed a truly fantastic Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournament (congrats to champions, Cote D’Ivoire!) where real African excellence was so vividly on show on and off the pitch and witnessed by a global audience of 2 billion, we should all be reaffirmed in our work of changing the narrative about Africa. 

I continue to be inspired by the work that we are enabled to do, and I am deeply grateful for the wonderful connections across the world that we are making and that are informing our programme of activities for this year and beyond. As always, please drop us a line with your thoughts, ideas and opportunities for collaboration. 

Have a great month!


Olu Alake


Accountability Corner

  • In our November 2023 blog, we highlighted the issue of knife crime affecting London youths. We have now put together a well-being programme for local youth and their parents. More info to follow. 
  • In December, we discussed the importance of supporting mid-career/more mature artists. This month, we are pleased to present the work of Chike Azuonye in our gallery. 


Once again, Cote D’Ivoire for being AFCON champions – one of the greatest tournament stories ever. Special mention to William Troost-Ekong (player of the tournament), Ronwen Williams (safest hands), South Africa (fair play and third place). 

Zambian star Racheal Kundananji has signed for National Women’s Soccer League expansion side Bay FC for $860,000 (£685,000), breaking the world record as the most expensive player in women’s football history in the process. Additionally, she is the first. 

Tyla for winning a Grammy for Best African Artist.


  • Namibia President Hage Geingob (1941 – 2024)
  • Kelvin Kiptum, Kenyan marathon record-holder (1999 – 2024)

May they rest in peace.