Origin of the Idea
Origins of the Idea
The idea that hatched the ACU came from the efforts of Akram Dyer trying to answer the question of self-help by the Afrikan. Personal experiences reminded him of what his grandfather used to say to him: “watch the ants and learn from them“!
Notably, ants work together co-operatively and unselfishly. Akram says that this is the idea he wanted to develop to tackle problems in our community.
Some years later, while listening to Dr Aboo on Galaxy Radio in London, Dr Aboo asked the question what can be done to motivate the Afrikan to sort out the problems in our community. Akram pointed out to him to the story of the ants and wisdom of his grandfather. Dr Aboo asked Akram to put the idea on paper so that we could have a conversation and see where that takes us.
Akram got together with Kyeswa Ssebweze who a regular guest on the Galaxy Radio was. Kyeswa Ssebweze helped dress up the story of the ants in a language easily understood by others and we have not looked back.
We organised a meeting of the willing and a group of Africans held the first meeting in April 2010 to develop the story of the ants and how that applied to us. We decided then that the way forward was to become self-sufficient and create a Co-operative Union for Afrikans, where we would all have shares and the money collected would be invested for mutual benefit.
We continued to have meetings, explaining the idea to others, and eventually there were some 31 people who were ready to work to bring about the cooperative union. Of whom 7 made up the interim executive committee to oversee the affairs of the cooperative. It took two years and 6 months of meetings and planning to get to the point of registration and a further 6 months to arrange the launch on 22 June 2013.
Although the idea of a co-operative is an old one, mobilising the spirit of renewal and self-help these days is a challenging one. The Afrikan Cooperative Union was born out of the spirit of renewal of what our ancestors did best: uniting and struggling and surviving. It is a hard and trying Economic climate for all black people in Africa, and the Caribbean and here in Europe. As individuals we are vulnerable in our endeavours to succeed in whatever we do, particularly in the trades. The reasons for this are so obvious we need not go into them.
What we want is to build a solid co-operative for Black people, by black people wherever we live. A co-operative which will engender enterprise, hard work, self-reliance, and success, and leave behind a legacy and example for coming generations. We will undertake all avenues of enterprise, especially those that serve our own needs.
In addition, we want to stop the exploitation of our people and our resources. We want to stop buying our own food, clothing, children’s toys and household goods from others, thereby enriching them and consolidating our poverty and lack of ownership. An earning must be turned around in our community at least 5 times before we spend outside our community.
Will you join us in realising this DREAM?
AKRAM STANFORD DYER
The ACU launch event took place on 22 June 2013 at Platanos College, Clapham Road London under the theme: Investing in our people – an investment for posterity & prosperity.
Speakers included Kyeswa Ssebweze, the Interim Chairman, whose paper touched on ACU Vision, Background, Administration and Membership;
Stanford Dyer (Akram), who, originally proposed that we come together and do something for ourselves, which resulted in forming the ACU, gave us a background how the idea arose in his head;
Lorna Campbell, a councillor, who has championed the idea of credit banking, gave a motivating talk titled. In numbers we can make a significant difference;
Khalid Rashard gave a paper titled. In unity the Afrikan must find his feet;
Mandingo’s paper touched on. The history of Afrikan pride and philosophy;
Alex Paulini spoke on.The potential against lack of funding;
Petronilla Mwakatuma led on Investing in rural women;
Greg Morris from the Black Fathers gave a paper that proposed that we should create discussion groups that nurture unity;
Herukuti from Galaxy Radio spoke on.The spirit of the Afrikan and self-help;
Leader Bandaka gave the rallying call on The Pan Afrikan Umbrella;
Live musical entertainment was provided by Sona Jobarteh, and Ngobi was the DJ
The list of those who worked on developing the idea is set below:
- Stanford Dyer (Akram) Founder Member
- KyeswaSsebweze (KS) Founder Member
- CarolSemanda Founder Member
- EbrahimKinteh (EK) Vice Chair founder member
- Robert Nelson (RN) Founder Member
- AbdulaiJobe Founder
- Danjuma Bihari (JB) Founder
- Darrell Davis
- Ade Kwame
- Lorna Campbell
- Karl Akhenaten
- Jarvis Straker
- Johnnie MuwangaZake
- Annette Jarrett
- Steve Walker
- Eugena Ellis
- Oscar Sinclair
- Tyrone Kojo Stuart
- Chris Funnell (Enterprise Hub)
- Arran Sinclair
- Pauline George
- Glen Donegan
- Rena Devos
- Murvel Clarke
- Elhaj Abu Khaled
- Immanuel Ben Israel
- Clarence Matturin