The Hounding of David Oluwale

A plaque in memory of David Oluwale

This posting is revised and updated Dec 22th, 2022

"The Hounding of David Oluwale" was an old theatre play in memory of Oluwale.

David Oluwale (1930–1969) was a British Nigerian who drowned in the River Aire in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, in 1969. The events leading to his drowning have been described as "the physical and psychological destruction of a homeless, black man whose brutal, systematic harassment was orchestrated by the Leeds city police force, according to Wikipedia.

On 25 April 2022 a plaque was installed in memory of David Oluwale, but it was stolen that same night. A new plaque was installed  on 23 October 2022, which will be protected by anti-terrorism and security measures

The Leeds Civic Trust Blue Plaque for David Oluwale -- Once Again

Website: Remember David Oluwale

 Leeds city 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


Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form