--------REMEMBER DAVID OLUWALE--------DROWNED 18 APRIL 1969--------50TH ANNIVERSARY 2019--------LEEDS / WEST YORKSHIRE / UK--------REMEMBER DAVID OLUWALE--------DROWNED 18 APRIL 1969--------50TH ANNIVERSARY 2019--------LEEDS / WEST YORKSHIRE / UK
This website tells the story of a Nigerian-British citizen named David Oluwale, from his origins in Nigeria to his death in Leeds, UK, in 1969. David arrived in Hull in East Yorkshire in 1969 as a stowaway in a cargo ship from Lagos. Like all migrants, David travelled in hope of a brighter future. We describe his relatively good experience in Leeds, in the north of England, from 1949 to 1953 where he worked re-building post-war Britain and enjoyed the night life of this developing city. From 1953 to 1969 he endured mental ill-health, homelessness, racism, destitution and police persecution, culminating in what we believe to be his drowning on 18th April 1969 in the River Aire, near Leeds Bridge, at the hands of two policemen. There is a much longer account of David’s life and death on the WHERE section of this website.
#RememberOluwale, listed in the register of charities as The David Oluwale Memorial Association (DOMA), offers a positive response to David Oluwale’s story that returns to David’s hopeful start. We acknowledge that the city of Leeds has made great strides since 1969. We aim to help the city in coming to terms with its past, to improve its care for those who remain marginalised, and to promote compassion, cohesion, inclusion and social justice in Leeds. We utilise all types of art to offer vitality and creativity in our collective effort to make a better future for all. Our flagship project, the David Oluwale memorial garden, will be a place of performance and play, beauty and growth.
DOMA’s charitable objects are:
To promote equality, diversity and racial harmony for the public benefit in Leeds specifically and the UK in general, in particular but not exclusively by any or all of the following means:
1) educating the public about the life and death of David Oluwale;
2) educating the public on the progress the City of Leeds has made towards justice for ethnic minorities and humane treatment of the homeless and destitute, and combating the stigma of individuals experiencing mental ill health.
3) educating the public on what more needs to be done to achieve full racial justice and humane treatment of the homeless and destitute in Leeds, and to combat the stigma of individuals experiencing mental ill health.
DOMA began in 2008 as a committee developed by Professor Max Farrar in the Community Partnerships and Volunteering Office at Leeds Metropolitan (now Beckett) University. In 2012 it was established as an independent charity and a company limited by guarantee.
DOMA is a charity registered with the UK Charities Commission. (Registered Charity Number 1151426 David Oluwale Memorial Association.) DOMA is also a company limited by guarantee registered at Companies House (England and Wales) (Company number: 8107693).
Caryl Phillips is a world-renowned writer born in St Kitts and brought up in Leeds. One of his many books, Foreigners (2007), includes the story of David Oluwale. He originated the campaign for a memorial to David Oluwale in Leeds. He is the Founding Patron of DOMA.
Ruth Bundey is a solicitor who has lived and worked in Leeds since 1969, initially for the Race Relations Board and then as a criminal and immigration expert. Currently her main focus is on inquests where there has been a death in custody.
DOMA Board Members:
John Battle is a retired Member of Parliament for Leeds West (1987-2010) and is now an active volunteer for a number of organisations in Leeds. He is the chair of the Board.
Dr Emma Bimpson worked in a large housing association before completing PhD research at the University of Leeds on housing policy and practice, concentrating on support provision for homeless people in Leeds. She is now a researcher at the University of Sheffield.
Dr Max Farrar has been involved in social movements and campaigns in Leeds since 1968. He has a PhD in sociology, and is an emeritus professor at Leeds Beckett (formerly Metropolitan) University. He is a Trustee of the UK Friends of Abraham’s Path and he is secretary to the Board. www.maxfarrar.org.uk
Peter Hindle-Marsh is an internationally qualified accountant and investment professional and is Managing Director of Mailway Packaging Solutions. He also runs Spadina Capital where he advises ambitious companies of all sizes on business strategy, fund raising and acquisition and disposal transactions. Peter is the charity’s treasurer.
Isobel Kamiya has worked in a variety of social justice NGOs including The Monitoring Group and Equality Leeds. She currently works in the private sector in property development.
Dr Emily Zobel Marshall is Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature at the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett University. Emily is particularly interested in race and identity politics, migration and forms of cultural resistance and cross-cultural fertilisation in the face of colonialism, with a particular focus on the Caribbean. Her books are Anansi’s Journey: A Story of Jamaican Cultural Resistance (2012) and American Tricksters: Trauma, Tradition and Brer Rabbit (2019).
Duncan Milwain is a solicitor at Wrigley’s in Leeds, specialising in charities and the social economy. Duncan advises the Board on legal matters.
We make every effort to follow best practice in governance of the charity. We have adopted these policies on Safeguarding, Volunteers and Data Protection, as advised by Duncan Milwain, the solicitor to our Board. They may be inspected and downloaded here:
Sue Ball MAAP. Sue directed and produced the launch event for DOMA held in January 2013 on the site for David’s Kitchen Garden. A review of the event appeared on the Culture Vulture web-site here.
Pippa Hale is an artist who co-founded The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art and Learning in Leeds. She is advising the Board on the commissioning of world-class public art for the David Oluwale Memorial Garden, and on the design of the garden.
Melanie Abrahams FRSA is a curator and producer who has channelled a love of words and books into art and escapades. She’s founder of independent organisations Renaissance One and Tilt, which make regular use of live events, tours and commissions to highlight the diverse canons of British and international literature. Artists and organisations she’s worked with include Miami Book Fair, Chris Ofili, The Space, Leeds Beckett University and the BBC. Melanie’s contributions have been recognised through a ‘Women To Watch’ Award, curatorships and speaker posts. 2018 projects included a Guest Curator role with the Brontë Parsonage, a long-term mentoring and wellbeing programme for artists and practitioners, and a Caribbean Festival of Literature and Liming at the British Library. She is working with the DOMA Board on the events in April 2019 that mark 50 years since David Oluwale was killed in Leeds.
Max Dunbar lives and works in Leeds and has been involved as a grants advisor in community campaigns, most recently Hyde Park Unity Day.
Ian Duhig is a former homelessness worker who still works with socially excluded groups alongside his other artistic projects as a writer and editor. A Cholmondeley Award recipient and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Duhig has written seven collections of poetry which include several elegies for David Oluwale, as well as mixed-media publications, site-specific commissions and interventions which frequently reflect issues related to David’s fate and DOMA’s work.
Arthur France, MBE is a retired engineer. He was a member of the original David Oluwale Memorial committee (from 2008 until it became a charity in 2012). Arthur is a founder of the United Caribbean Association (in 1964); founder and Chair of the Leeds West Indian Carnival (since 1967); a founder Leeds West Indian Supplementary School (1970s); Chair (since 1985) of the Leeds West Indian Centre (founded 1982); chair of the Chapeltown and Harehills Computer Assisted Learning School. He was a recipient of the BBC Black Children in Education National Award (1996). For these and many other achievements he was awarded the MBE in 1997, an honorary doctorate at Leeds University in 2015, and an honorary doctorate at Leeds Beckett University in 2018.
Mahalia France-Mir is Marketing Officer (North) for the Churches Conservation Trust. She has worked as a fund-raiser and in a school. She also contributes to interfaith work and community development.
Remi Joseph-Salisbury has a sociology PhD from the University of Leeds and now works at Manchester University. He has broad interests in race and ethnicity studies, and is a founding member of the Critical Race and Ethnicities Network.
Sam Kapasa is an Artist and Architect who works at the intersection where architecture, art, music and technology meet; through built spaces, temporary interventions and speculative ideas. His art practice is unified by an aim to promote intrigue and interaction between strangers in cities. His work celebrates existing communities and sparks opportunities and spaces for new ones to form. https://samkapasa.com/about/
Mike Love co-founded and works with Together for Peace, a local charity that brings together diverse people to generate cooperative projects that tackle local or global issues. A former solicitor, he is vice-chair of the Stronger Communities partnership board of the Leeds Initiative, chair of Leeds Christian Community Trust, and a trustee of Left Bank Leeds.
Ellie Montgomery is studying for a Masters in English Literature at University of Leeds. A former president of the University’s English Society, she is keen to raise student engagement in cultural events around Leeds which focus on issues of race and ethnicity. Ellie manages the RememberOluwale Newsletter.
Chijioke John Ojukwu works for Leeds University Students’ Union and is an active member of the Nigerian Community Leeds.
Martin Patterson is a director of St George’s Crypt, serving the homeless in Leeds and was the founding chairperson of DOMA.
Michelle Scally Clarke grew up in Leeds and is now a poet, playwright, writing and creative workshop leader and performer. Her books include I am and She is. Her work has appeared in anthologies such as Out of bounds, Next Stop Hope, Tangled Roots, The Identity Papers and Trading Roots. More on Michelle on Facebook and Linked In
The DOMA charity has thrived on a very small income because it always works in partnership with organisations that broadly share its values and its aims. In many cases, these partner organisations have made contributions in kind to our events which save us lots of money and are crucial to our success. We are very grateful to them and we look forward to continued partnership activities.
We have had much support from:
Leeds Beckett University (School of Cultural Studies and Humanities, School of Art, Architecture and Design, School of Social Sciences)
Leeds University (School of English, School of History)
Kester Aspden (2007) Nationality: Wog — The Hounding of David Oluwale, London: Jonathan Cape. 2nd edition (paperback) The Hounding of David Oluwale (Penguin, 2008) Available second hand via Abe books and new from good bookshops.
Caryl Phillips (2007) Foreigners – Three English Lives, London: Harvill Secker. Chapter 3 sets out the David Oluwale case. Available here or via Abe books.
SJ Bradley (ed) (2016) Remembering Oluwale - an Anthology, Scarborough: Valley Press. Available here
Max Farrar (2018) on memory and martyrdom: This chapter summarises much of the published work on David Oluwale’s life. It sets out the argument why the Remember Oluwale charity believes that David Oluwale was killed by two Leeds policemen in 1969. (It is from a book about secular martyrdom, and discusses whether David Oluwale might be considered a ‘secular martyr’.) It’s long (13,000 words)
An excellent summary is Kester Aspden’s Legacy of Hate, The Guardian Unlimited, published in 2007 when the first edition of Kester’s important book about David Oluwale was published (see above).
This article about David Oluwale is quite short (2,000 words) It was published in 2017 by the Africans in Yorkshire project based in Hull. By Max Farrar, DOMA Secretary.
This is quite a long essay on David Oluwale that includes information on the racism prevalent in Leeds during the 1960s. It summarises the argument about whether or not David was killed by two Leeds policemen in 1969. By Max Farrar, DOMA Secretary (2016). (About 3,500 words)
Neil Wilby’s article (2014/2015) on the website The Justice Gap summarises David’s story well and makes important points about the trial of Ellerker and Kitching, including the trial’s inability (unwillingness?) to make anything of the racist aspects of David’s case.
The academic Tony Kushner has discussed David’s story alongside that of other West Africans who stowed away and arrived in Britain in the early 1950s in his book The Battle of Britishness – Migrant Journeys 1685 to the Present (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012). You can read the relevant chapter here.
Corinne Silva’s film ‘Wandering Abroad' reflecting on David Oluwale was exhibited by Leeds City Art Gallery in 2009. DOMA projected this film onto a gable end at its launch event in 2013, and included it in the #DavidOluwale50th events in April 2019, commemorating 50 years since his death.
‘We Are All Migrants’, a film directed by Rowenna Baldwin and made by Masters students at the Norther School of Film and Television at Leeds Beckett University, features King David Oluwale and his Migrant Masqueraders at the Leeds West Indian Carnival in 2017. A trailer and updates on film screenings are located here
Spoken Word - David Oluwale / Empathy is a short film about David Oluwale made in 2016 by Harry Flanagan, with the spoken word artists Ade Kola, Taiwo Ogunyinka and Kim Ho. You can watch it here
Eclipse Theatre produced a three minute filmed trailer for the Hounding play with Daniel Francis playing David, which can be viewed here.
Singer/songwriter Gary Kaye promoted on You Tube his song about David Oluwale, ‘Mo Fe Lo Le‘ in 2013 (original version 2009).
A 2012 slide-show about David and the David Oluwale Memorial Association used at the Black History Month Presentation in Leeds in October 2012 may be accessed here via DropBox.
Jeremy Sandford, Smiling David, (London: Caldar & Boyers, 1974). The text of his BBC radio play is available via Abe Books
The Hounding of David Oluwale adapted for the stage by Oladipo Agboluaje (Oberon Modern Plays 2009). Directed by Dawn Walton Click here for the Guardian’s review of this play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Linton Kewsi Johnson’s poem ‘Time Come' appeared on his CD (with the Dennis Bovell band) Forces of Victory (Island Records, 1979). His refrain was ‘When you kill Oluwale / I did warn you’. LKJ’s 1975 poem ‘Night of the Head’ referencing ‘Oluwale’ as a ‘victim of terror’ appeared in his collection of poems titled Dread, Beat and Blood (London: Bougle l’Overture publications, 1975). An album with Dennis Bovell appeared in 1978 with the same title.
The Leeds-based poet Ian Duhig included two poems arising from David’s story in his acclaimed collection Pandorama (Picador 2010): ‘Flooding Black’ and ‘from The Masque of Blankness’.
Zodwa Nyoni, while a member of Leeds Young Authors, can be seen reading her poem ‘A Letter for Mama Oluwale’ in November 2011See it here.
A group of writers called the F-words responded to the David Oluwale story in FWords: Creative Freedom (Peepal Tree Press, 2007). It was a creative project to commemorate the Parliamentary Act, 200 years ago to abolish the British Slave Trade. click here to read reviews and order a free copy.
RememberOluwale uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to provide information published today that relates to the issues that marked David’s life: mental ill-health, homelessness, racism, destitution and police malpractice. David was a British citizen who migrated here, so we also provide information relating to those seeking refuge in the UK. We give credit to the city of Leeds for the progress it has made since David’s days. But there is so much more to be done. Our aim, always, is to help the city of Leeds become more inclusive, more just, more hospitable and more equal. Please go to our social media to find out about current campaigns.