At the start of May, Four Culture announced Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE as the new director of the Africa Centre. One of the UK’s most respected cultural leaders, he brings to the role over 35 years of professional experience in the arts and culture sector. Under his direction the Africa Centre will embark on an exciting new phrase, including a major capital project, redefining itself as the international centre for African culture, business and innovation.
First opening its doors in 1964, for over 50 years the Africa Centre has been a vibrant ‘home-away-from-home’, a dynamic intellectual powerhouse and iconic cultural space for the African diaspora in the UK. It has hosted numerous writers, musicians, poets, playwrights, historians and political figures including Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, Walter Rodney, Athol Fugard, Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Now located at a new home in Southwark, the Africa Centre is undergoing an exciting period of transformation, situated in a culturally vibrant community with Tate Modern, the Young and Old Vic and Jerwood Space as neighbours. The new centre will feature a performance venue, gallery space, new café and bar, and The Hub, a flexible co-working space and accelerator for entrepreneurs and creatives.
Tharp’s appointment was met with enthusiasm by outlets including Arts Professional, Arts Industry, International Arts Manager and The Stage. If you missed Kenneth talking about the significance of the Africa Centre on BBC World News Focus on Africa and BBC Radio London’s The Jo Good Show, he will be chatting with Robert Elms on BBC Radio London on 28 June about his favourite parts of London and his vision for the future of the Africa Centre.
Or get a flavour for the centre yourself by joining the team at its annual Summer Festival, which will fill Great Suffolk Street with African food, fashion, music, dance and art on 18 August − we can’t wait!