Nana Bonsu was one of the founding Fathers of the African Caribbean community in Manchester. From moving to Britain in 1961 with his wife Elouise, he supported countless campaigns and cultural events in Moss Side. He became chairman of the Guyanese Association and then warden of the West Indian Community Centre in Longsight. He was secretary of the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination, which played an important part in achieving the 1976 Race Relations Act, and also founded the Manchester branch of the Pan-African Congress Movement. He also organised the country’s first Saturday School, designed to give black children pride in their background. Culture Week, the forerunner to the current Black History Month, owed much to him and he also worked with local colleges to set up courses in motor vehicle engineering and TV and radio repairs.
This documentary film talks to people who knew and worked with him for over 40 years, they talked about his Life as a Family man, his relentless campaigns for equality and justice for black people, his work as the representative of the Pan-African Congress Movement Manchester branch, the creation of the first Saturday School in Britian and the Carmoor West Indian Centre.
Interviews – memories, reflections and appraisals of Nana Bonsu
Anthony Brown, a victim of the Government deportation laws, Anthony talked about is experiece when been served with a deportation order and how Nana Bonsu and the West Indian Overseas Coordinating Committe (WIOCC) has helped him thoug the struggles.Now a Laywer and political activist. Anthony talk about the successful compaign by Nana Bonsu and others to keep him in the country, he talk about the Saturday School and the different activites facilated by Nana at Carmoor Road, including a number of conferences, educational projects, social and cultural events. He talk about how he challanged local authorities, including the police and the education establishments, and is relentless efforts to unite the Black communitiesin Manchester and Nationally .
Beni Butuakwa, Head fo the Pam-African Congress Movement, Beni talked about the work of the PACM National and Internationally, he talk about the contributios made by Nana Bonsu and PACM activits national and international about the return to Africia Programme. The Marcus Garvey Movement and the 1945 Pan-African Congress Movements Conference held in Manchester and the establishment of Africa Leberation Day. He talked about economic developments for Africans at home and abroad and why Nana refused to accept the MBE honours, and is fight to keep the West Indian Centre, Carmoor Road open and is focus on the Educational and social development of young black people.
Paul Gordon, Paul talked about the influence Nana has on is early development as a young man, acting as a role model and mentor. How he as encouraged him to read books which lead him to established is own book store.
Betty Luckham former Chair and founder member of Cariocca Enterprises talk about her friendship and work with Nana Bonsu, his historic case with the SOGAT union, his role in the campaign Against Racical Discrimination which led to the UK Race Relation Act, 1976, his youth and community work; the establishment of the West Indian Organizations Co-ordinating Committe (WIOCC) and the Carmoor Road West Indian Centre and his work with the Pan African Congress movement.
Tony Lloyd talked about the many years they knew each other and the arguments and disagreements they had, his physically presents and big personality, his continous fight for freedom and justice for black people everywhere but paticularely in Manchester. He talked about the unfair treatment of migrants from the Caribbean, discriminatory sociatiy and Nana Bonsu fight for justice here in Mancheste, here in Britain, here in the World and is role as active member of the Pan-Africam Congress Movement (PACM), he talked about the possitive buliding blocks he started, the establishment of the WIOCC, Carmoor Road Community Centre, his many campaigns for better housing and better quality of life, his legacy and his fight of equality and justice.
Father Philip Summer talked about the support systems Nana set up at Carmoor Road Community Centre for young people and their families, his many books an African and Caribbean literature, his mass wealth of knowledge he sheared with others leaders working in the black community. He talked about the killing of Elsa Hannaway and the negitave response by the police towards young black men suspected of been involved the killikg, he talked about the 1981 riots and the role Nana Bonsu played in supporting people affected and working with others to find soluationsto the problems. His many challanges for equal justice from the establishments, such as the Police, City Council and the Education system.
Mr Bill Gulam talked about the how Nana Bonsu was a symbol of hope for the black community in Manchester,how he challaged a University over unfair treatment of a black student and won, the key role he played in setting Saturday and the Carmoor Road youth centre, how he uses his knowledge and influence to get thing done and his work with adult and community education.
Whit Stennett talk about Nana Bonsu connection with the Marcus Garvey Movements, is foresight in to institutional recism long before it was publicly recognised, challenged the educational systems for equal opportunities for black people, challanging the police when he sees injustices particularely amongst young black men who were wrongfully arrested. Whit talked about the many sacrifises he made within is family while fighting for rights and justice in the community, his involvement in the establishment of Black History Month, Supplementary Education, such Saturday School, he talked about the legacy of Nana and other and how we must continue their work despite the many challanges.
Tina Tamsho takled about Nana’s Afriocentric approach to education, his intregriy and a man of action, how he gave is support to the launched of her theatre and falcilitate the launch at Carmoor Road Community Centre, She talked about is leadership and how he addresses the many challanges he faced in is quest for justice.
Kwame Anani a member of the Pan-African Gongress, Nottingham Branch, Kwami talked about the tireless work Nana Bonsu did in organising and promoting the annual Africa Liberation celebration in Manchester and how he was a guiding force within the Pan-African Congress Movements, and how he was instrumental in organising the annual Africa Liberation Day, Marcus Garvey day, Black Heros. Kwami talked abot Nana’s contributions to the Emancipation stuggles and survival, culture and power. Kwame talked about how Nana refused to accept Western Culture as a significant part of is life and why he rejected MBE.
Dr. Diana Watt talked about Nana Bonsu orgainsating Africa liberation day at Carmoor Road Cummunity centre and the Africa liberation struggles, the establishment of culture week, support for the Manchester Black Women’s Cooperatives, organised political conferences, and the importance of knowing your African history and heritage
Dr. Lance Lewis Talk about how Nana Bonsu has supported him after been suspended from is job as a teacher and how he fought with him throughout the tribunal case, how he was instrumental in helping to organise a serise of conference in Manchester in the 1990s ” Education of the Black Child”
Su Andi talked about Nana Bonsu support for the establishment of the Black Arts Alliance in Manchester, how he was able to organised people, how important and influential he was in the communities of Manchester, how we must continue the legacy of is work, his continue effords to keep the 1945 Pan-African Congress Movement Conference held in Manchester alive in people’s mines, how Mama Elouise Edward was a force beside him during the struggles
Dr. Vince Wilkinson talked about Nan’s work within the West Indian Organisitions coordinating Committe and the number of role it played in the black communities of Manchester, such as its role in political activism, educational projects, youth and community work projects and how he helped to establishments of a number of other community groups, how he ran a number of campaigns about immigration, police harassment and was instumental in setting up the Black Access Courses with local Universities, he talk about is work has a Pan-African Gongress Activist, Culture week and the Saturday School at Carmoor Raod and the establishment of Culture Week and his assoiation with Black history month.
Chief Mama Elouise Edwards MBE, wife of Nanabonsu, Mrs Edwards talked about their humble biginings in their native country Guyana, South America and how Nana was introduced to the Pan-African Congress Movements by is Mother at an early age, she talked about is dedication to sports and he how represents his country in Discus. After moving to England in the early 1960s she talked about their first encounter with the local authorities in Moss Side Manchester when they were served with a complulsory order to give up their place of residents, and how in 1997 Nana Bonsu challanged the Society of Graphical and Allied Trade Union over union fees and is dismissal, he won the case and set the presedents that changed the way Trade unions treaded their members. She talked how Nana reconising the struggles and in justices faced by Caribbean people in Manchester which led him to Established such organisation as the West Indian Organisation Coordinating Committe, the Carmoor Road West Indian Centre, the law centre, youth and community projects. She talked about their partnerships both in bringing up their family and the manychampaigns he organised for equal justice. She talked about is involvement in the establishment of the Manchester Caribbean Carnival, the African and Caribbean Mental Health Services, the Cariocca Enterprises and many more.
Conrad Edwards talked about the work of Nana Bonsu and how it helped many people in the community in particularely supporting young black men cought up in the criminal justice system, how he would challanged the police and turned up at court whenever he felt that an injustice might be taking place. He talked about his many campaigns and the seting of many organisations, organised marchs and demonstrations including take a coach load of people to the march in London in support of the 13 young people killed in the New Cross Fire in the 70s. He talked about his influencial leadership how he as brought to light racist practices of many establishments such as instituational racism in the City Council, the ploice and the educational instituations.
Washington Alcott talked about his work with Nana Bonsu in the Pan-African Congress Movement Organisation, the annual Africa Liberation day, the establishment of the Carmoor Road West Indian Centre and the Saturday School and how Nana Bonsu insisted on having black people to teach at the Saturday school and how the curricula should be developed to include an Afrocentric educational approach. He talk in-depth about the history and political practice of the West Indian Organisation Coordinating Committee, he talked about the establishment of the Nana Bonsu reference Library at Carmoor Road West Indian Centre, how the black communities of Manchester owed Nana gratitude and respect for his relentless work in the struggle for economic development, educational development and the struggles for equality and justice.
Mayemi Olufemi Chair of the Pan-African Congress Movement talk about Nana Bonsu struggles in finghting injustices in the potilical system and about her memers of him has a Father figure, an elder Satae man, is love for people, his relentness efforts in organising cultural and political events particularly in Manchester. She talked about Nana Bonsu leadership, his sacrifices and is strong believes in the Philosophy and Opinion of Marcus Garvey, She talked about Nana’s passion to instill a sense of identity and purpose in young people, the foundation he laied and the legacy he left for us to bulid on.
Tony Gordon talk about the Father fugure Nana was to him, a role model, an inspiration and a leader, his canstant encouragement that one should educate oneself. he talked about the responsibilities Nana took on himself to make sure young people around him would get home safely during the introduction of the stop and search laws in the 1080s,the risks he took and the sacrifices he endured to make sure that Carmoor Road Community centre stayed open dispit the many challanges from the City Council and other authorities who tried to have it closed down. He talked Nana Bonau long lasting legacy
Norma Brown talked about her first encounter with the West Indian Community Centre, Carmoor Road after leaving Leeds to attend University in Manchester, she first visited the centre just to party on a Saturday but soon find out that there were for more than just a place to party. She explain how she was invited by Nana Bonsu to assist with the Saturday and how been a university student made her a perfect candidate for Nana to recruit and before long she find herself running the Saturday. Norma talked about how Nana instilled in her that the Saturday school was not just there to teach english and Maths but for young people to also learn about their culture, history and heritage, she talked about the struggles for funding and resources and how Nana’s enervative approach overcome that. She taled about the many challanges Nana as endoured form local authoritie, such as the education establishment the City Council and at time some of the people from the community who would challenged some of is methods and way of geting things done. Narma explained how Nana would attend court cases when young black youths been charged with offences he felt were unjust, hence giving him the name “Courthouse Edwards”. She talked about Nana’s involvement in the establishement of Black History in Manchester and how it was born out of the annual culture week festival at Carmoor West Indian centre, the annual Africa Liberation day Kawenza celebration.
Charles Critchlow talked about how Nana Bonsu quest to engouraged in building black institutains, his efforts in fighting institutional rasism, he taked about challanging community violents and how we must find ways to overcome them.