It never occurred to me that there would be a time when I would write about The Africa Centre in its old location on King Street in Covent Garden with nostalgia, but I guess that moment has arrived.
One of the lessons I’ve learnt in going round the block several times is that one should never take experiences or encounters for granted. Who knows when one might want to remember something about the way things were, for use in the here and now?
A mature man of Yoruba/Nigerian heritage worked in the Africa Centre’s basement bar, collecting empty glasses to be washed. It seemed odd at the time that he would do the job for so long, with a smile on his face and a quip for every punter, because he appeared to have all the values of folks of his heritage and somehow it didn’t make sense for a man of his age and apparent self esteem.
Looking back on that era now, I can see that the man in question had an extensive social network. He wasn’t lonely, and he was surrounded by people who were out to have a good time, every night of the week apart from Sundays.
What happened to him eventually? I have no idea, since I eventually moved on to other watering holes, but I’m glad to have seen him make the choice to remain socially engaged, regardless of what others might have thought.