Chuka Umunna MP visits Black Cultural Archives with anti-apartheid heroes

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna today visited the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) with three heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle, Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg and Maki Mandela. Barney Evison reports.

Chuka Umunna
Chuka Umunna (centre right) with heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle and members of BCA staff

The BCA today welcomed Labour MP for Streatham Chuka Umunna MP along with Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg and Maki Mandela – Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter. Ahmed Kathrada and Denis Goldberg were sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa for their part in the anti-apartheid struggle. The three of them served 74 years in prison between them.

Mr Umunna said: “I remember as a teenager joining the huge crowds who welcomed Nelson Mandela when he visited Brixton in 1996. Twenty years later, as the local MP, I was honoured to welcome his daughter and fellow anti-apartheid campaigners to Streatham.”

Vice chair of the BCA XXXX, Denis Goldberg and Chuka Umunna MP
(left to right) vice chair of the BCA Miranda Brawn, Denis Goldberg and Chuka Umunna MP

The visitors considered the legacy of the anti-apartheid struggle, and what it means for us in Brixton today. “The ongoing debate about immigration and multiculturalism does a huge disservice to us as a country,” Mr Umunna told the Brixton Blog, “multicultural society is living and breathing here in Lambeth.”

The group visited the BCA to learn about their work, view the exhibitions, and watch footage of Nelson Mandela’s historic visit to Brixton on 1996. “The worst thing we can do is to forget [about the atrocities of apartheid]”, said Mr Umunna, urging people to find out more about it at places likes the BCA.

Denis Goldberg and Chuka Umunna MP have a tour of the archives at the BCA
Denis Goldberg and Chuka Umunna MP have a tour of the archives at the BCA

“It’s a tough time for sector organisations like the BCA,” he added to film crews, “if you’re watching this, donate!”

Paul Reid, Director of the Black Cultural Archives, said: “I want to thank our patron Chuka Umunna for bringing Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg, Andrew Mlangeni and Maki Mandela to the Black Cultural Archives. It was a real pleasure to host them and show them round our exhibitions and talk to them about the work we do.”