Narendra Makanji – The Former Chair of Labour Party Black Sections passed on the 4th of April 2019.
Below is an extract from the speech that Kingsley Abrams, General Secretary of MBC made at the memorial tribute to Narendra, held on the 16th April 2019. Please also see below for archive photos of Black Sections.
“Narendra – a friend, Uncle, Councillor, Chair of a health authority, Chair of Bernie Grant Centre, and Chair of ARA.
I first met Narendra in 1984 at the London Labour Party conference. I had just made my first speech in support of Black Section when Narendra and a group of other Black Section activists invited me to join them as the Youth Organiser of Black Section. Narendra held many positions on Black Section National Executive, including Secretary and Chair.
- a serious team player
- a strategic thinker
- calm in meetings, always had a jokey remark to calm things down, whenever Black Section Executive meetings got too heated.
- a very good writer and speech maker.
Black Section came out of the frustration at the lack of Black representation – in an all-white British Parliament (in 1983 when Black section was formed), the last Black MP was in 1922-1929 from Battersea. Black Section came out of the 1980’s uprisings. Black Section won things with protest and agitation. Four Black MPs were elected to Parliament in 1987, where Diane Abbott MP sat where Enoch Powell use to sit in Parliament. With Black Section we saw a 500 fold increase in the election of Black Councillors – including Narendra in Noel Park, Haringey. We also saw the election of a number of Black Council Leaders including: Linda Bellos, Dorman Long, Merle Amory and Bernie Grant. Black Section produced a Black Agenda document in 1988, a year after the historic election of the four Black MPs, who were members of the organisation.”