Alphonse Daudet Touna and his music are well known and well loved all over the country and nowhere more so than in his home town of Bristol.
For those who haven’t come across him, he is a composer, instrument maker, musician and teacher from the Cameroon who works tirelessly to promote cultural and inter-racial harmony through the medium of traditional African music. You may have heard his music accompanying wildlife programmes on film and television.
Over the last year or so he has taught 500 people to make traditional African instruments, he has taught over 5000 children of all ages in 50 Bristol schools to sing, dance and play African percussion; he has held 20 workshops for young offenders in local prisons and a dozen workshops for 200 drug users; he has visited elderly people’s homes and disabled groups to bring them the rhythm of his drums and the beautiful, haunting sound of the balafon, all hand-crafted in his own workshop.
Last month alone, over 2000 children visited the Empire and Commonwealth Museum to take part in workshops designed to give them an insight into the African slave trade and its abolition.
Such is the demand for his services that he has had to set up a Social Enterprise company (Sul’Art Ltd) and recruit a band of helpers, with the mission “to be a major force in promoting cultural harmony through the exploration of African music, arts and heritage”. (www.sul-art.co.uk)
With his Afro-Jazz band, Hélélé, he has amazed and delighted audiences at festivals and carnivals all over the country including the harbour festivals in Cardiff and Bristol, Ashton Court and Oxjam, and on many occasions at the spiritual home of Bristol Jazz, the Old Duke in King Street. (www.myspace.com/helele)
As if all this wasn’t enough for one man, he has established a multi-national choir at St Nicholas of Tolentino Church which sings in over a dozen languages.
A great deal of Alphonse’s work is done to assist charitable and voluntary organizations. His services are so much in demand that in his “spare” time he is studying for a PGCE because Bristol City Council and the City of Bristol College want to use him in more and more of their outreach work.
But the Minister of State for Nationality Citizenship and Immigration has decided that he does not want Alphonse Touna in the country. He doesn’t want to renew the work permit of the man who does far more for racial harmony than perhaps 99% of the population at large.
If you believe that Alphonse should be given indefinite leave to stay in this country so that he can continue his much-needed work, please:
Write to the Minister:
Liam Byrne MP
Minister of State for Nationality Citizenship and Immigration
The Home Office
2 Marsham Street
LONDON SW1P 4DF
Please forward your letter c/o Chris Chapman, Easton Business Centre, Felix Road, BS5 0HE so that we can deliver it personally on Tuesday 15th May when we intend to visit the Home Office.
If you want a sample letter, email Chandra_moon@yahoo.com and she will forward one to you.
If you would like to join us on the bus on 15 May, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Alphonse
Please join us on College Green, Bristol on 24th April at 6.00pm to celebrate with music, singing and dance, what Alphonse has done for this community.