Ritzy premieres documentary on Nigerian children adopted by white families

picture of family group

Brixton’s Ritzy cinema is to host a special screening of an immensely moving new documentary, White Nanny Black Child, as part of British Black History Month in October.

Director Andy Mundy-Castle was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up in Brixton’s Somerleyton Road. “I dreamed of becoming a filmmaker thanks to the Brixton Ritzy,” he recalls. His brother was captain of Brixton Topcats basketball team and his mum was the first Nigerian to open a restaurant in Brixton.

He was featured on the Brixton Blog in 2013. 

In White Nanny Black Child, Nigerians fostered as children by white families in the 1970s reveal the impact of their challenging upbringings.

It will be shown at the Ritzy at 5pm on Sunday 1 October, followed by questions and answers with Andy Mundy-Castle and others. Tickets here.

The film was also made in memory of acclaimed Brixton artist, Mercury Prize nominated Ty Chijioke. Andy Mundy-Castle said: “The idea to make this film came to me around 2018 when a handful of friends shared that they had gone through this private fostering experience during childhood, which led me to a deep dive in research on the phenomenon.

“One of the people that I spoke to was the late music artist Ty Chijioke who went to my secondary school and was a friend of my older brother.

“I began making this film with Ty and unfortunately he passed away during the pandemic, which was incredibly tough for the production and almost halted everything. I’m glad to say that it didn’t and Ty’s legacy will live on as the film is made in his memory.”

Between 1955 and 1995, more than 70,000 West African children were fostered by white Britons, in a practice known as “farming”.

Many of these individuals then had to live, often in silence, with the long-lasting impact of this controversial official policy.

Nine people raised this way were invited to a workshop retreat, under professional guidance, to discuss their experiences.

group hug from above
Still from White Nanny Black Child

Each took turns delving into their past, revealing the confusion and trauma of dealing with such change at a young age.

For many of these individuals, this was their first opportunity to connect with people who have shared a similar childhood.

White Nanny Black Child uses edited extracts from six days of workshop sessions to present a personal, moving and sometimes unsettling meditation on identity, belonging and the nature of family, love and culture.

It will be broadcast on Channel 5 at 10pm on Tuesday 3 October.

Now-famous people who were privately fostered Nigerians include musician Seal, athlete Kris Akabussi, author Florence Olaiide, comedian Gina Yashere, actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and footballers Nelson Abbey, and John and Justin Fashanu.

woman with many children

White Nanny Black Child is a “passion project” for Andy Mundy Castle, who wans to cast light on this untold story from 20th century British history.

The documentary was developed with support from BFI Doc Society fund. Channel 5 then got involved with additional finance and took the UK TV rights.

Chart-topping musician Mark “Tieks” Tieku led on composing a soundtrack that captures the emotional mood of the film.