George Africanus, from Slavery to Freedom and Citizenship
(Belong, Nottingham HLF Project)

Nottingham News Centre project management services

Nottingham News Centre provided the following services for the George Africanus from Slavery to Freedom and Citizenship Project (2013-2014): project management support, Advisory Panel member, Journalism/writing skills training for volunteers, assistance with research, content writing services ( project calendar, website content, photo exhibition for end of project ceremony, photography of activities/meetings, launch of the the George Africanus beer with Castle Rock Brewery Nottingham and participant in media interviews for The Voice newspaper, BBC Radio Nottingham, Nottingham Post with Rosanna Ottewell, Project Coordinator.

The project

George Africanus, from Slavery to Freedom and Citizenship, a HLF project led by Rosanna Ottewell, Project Coordinator of Belong Nottingham (from 2012-2014) directed by Jean-Didier Munlaba and produced/created by the many volunteers from the community, aimed to share with the community the fascinating life journey of a person, who has and is still contributing to the narrative and the historical fabric of Nottingham: a person given the name of George John Scipio Africanus (c1763-1834).

So where does the story of George Africanus begin and why is his journey of significance today? Not just to me but to the many historians and local history enthusiasts trying to learn about individuals who made positive contributes to society as best they could. George’s story has indeed been of great interest to many.


These are some of the individuals who have played an important role in discovering new knowledge about George Africanus since the early 1990s (however there are other mentions of George Africanus by unnamed researchers in literature since the early 20th century):

  • Len Garrison, (1993) educationalist, founder of Black Cultural Archives, London and ACFF, Nottingham
  • Ray Gale, historian (1988)
  • David Bradley (1993) Nottingham City library
  • Suella Postles – Nottingham Museums archivist (c1985)
  • Chris Weir – Nottinghamshire Archives
  • Marjorie Penn (1994)
  • Maureen Mahoney (1994)
  • Norma Gregory (2004)
  • Jefny Ashcroft
  • Patrick Fleckley (1998)
  • Rosanna Ottewell (2012-2014) with Belong Nottingham Project Coordinator, HLF Project George Africanus from Slavery to Freedom and Citizenship
  • Volunteer advisory panel and research group (Belong Nottingham, Project Coordinator, HLF Project George Africanus from Slavery to Freedom and Citizenship, 2012-2014) including Dr Susanne Seymour ( Nottingham University), Norma Gregory ( Nottingham News Centre) Chris Weir, Jane Muir and others.

Exhibition panels created by Nottingham Galleries and Museums (2003) pdf

Why is the George Africanus Project so important?

George life’s was and still is ever present and threaded through Nottingham’s history and world history. His life story is one which resonant a story of survival and resilience to pursue dreams of independence and economic stability. George’s life shows evidence of achievement – to be a pioneer of black business by owning probably the first employment agency in Nottingham. He married as a free person and had a family. So argue that the death of his children over the years show failure – no this does not. George’s life illustrates that with effort, ambition and wise investment – not purely in economic terms but investment in his future and legacy, much can be achieved. George lived to the age of 71 – an achievement in itself as many of us hope and dream to reach that age or further in the future.

George’s story has impacted so many other people’s lives. He was recently voted as a person most young people in Nottingham wanted on the tram. Resulting in the naming of a George. Africanus tram on 22 August 2015.

Useful links:
clip from the end of project ceremony