Friday, February 26, 2010

Theatre: The Hounding of David Oluwale - Trailer (UK)

Because it's still black history month, an old theatre trailer of "The Hounding of David Oluwale", with Daniel Francis as the main character.

The play was an adaptation of Kester Aspden's award-winning book, the Hounding of David Oluwale. It tells the story of the Nigerian immigrant Oluwale, who was found dead in the river Aire in 1969, having been assaulted over a number of months by police officers.

About Oluwale The Guardian wrote the following story.

Oluwale was educated in the late autumn of colonial rule, a Christian grammar school education filling him with notions of the benevolent, civilising nature of British power.

It was natural for young men in the Nigerian port city to look outwards and imagine the world beyond; in the postwar years, there were many reasons to wish for an escape - food shortages, soaring prices, high unemployment. Nineteen-year-old Oluwale, struggling as an apprentice tailor, was one of a couple of hundred Nigerians in those difficult years who buried themselves in obscure corners of cargo ships for the gruelling two-week voyage to Britain. ....

On May 4 1969, the body of David Oluwale was discovered face-down in the river Aire, close to Leeds' main sewage works. The coroner recorded a verdict of death by drowning. The loose change found on Oluwale's body was put towards a flimsy coffin and a pauper's funeral. The funeral directors were having a clearout and packed old telephone directories around the corpse. His body was committed to a common grave that contained nine others.

Eighteen months later, this unmourned Nigerian was at the centre of a criminal investigation that shook and shamed a city. His body was exhumed on an icy morning in December 1970 following accusations that two Leeds city police officers had hounded him to his death. At the trial a year later, a long campaign of abuse emerged. Others had simply stood by and let it happen. Even in death, Oluwale was accorded little dignity. The defence counsel likened him to a panther. To the judge, he was a "dirty, filthy, violent vagrant". Read the whole story in Legacy of hate

And: Ghostly lessons of a lonely death


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