Nana Bonsu formed the Manchester Branch of the Pan African Congress Movement (PACM). He worked to ensure that the political education of the PACM could reach as many people as possible, through events such as: African Remembrance Day, Kwanzaa Celebrations and Africa Liberation Day.
The PACM is the universal African movement struggling for the liberation of all African people worldwide, fighting for political, economic and cultural justice. Through this organization, Nana developed political and cultural programmes in Manchester which continue today through community education and Kwanzaa celebrations..
Nana delivered political education through an organized and informal programme of study activities which reviewed books, films and lectures relating to African people globally. The study group met weekly and reached a wide cross section of the black community. Larger seminars were also organized for visiting speakers.
Through the PACM he managed to bring a range of world class speakers, researchers and intellectuals to Manchester and other parts of the UK. Their names read like the Who’s Who in black history and culture and include the likes of: Dr Ben-Jochannan, Dr Barashango, Dr Ola Africa, Prof. Tony Martin, Prof. Albert T. Shakka, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Del Jones and Wayne Chandler amongst others. Those whom he could not bring to Manchester, he got their videos or DVDs and showed them at public meetings and in the study group meetings.
Outside of the sharing of information and discussion at study group he always encouraged individuals to carry out practices that reflect African lifestyles as a collective people. Hence today out of the study group have developed:
- A very successful Pardner or Su Su operation which is helping many people to save.
- There is also an investment club, another saving instrument.
- General socialising of members
- Participating in annual local and national celebrations of African Remembrance Day and Emancipation Day
The annual celebration of Kwanzaa continues in Manchester today with the observation of the final day, Imani (Faith) one of its seven principles. In the early days Nana started the public celebration of Kwanzaa at the West Indian Centre, Carmoor Road. It did not take many years for this to grow and it has become the main African family public event in Manchester held on New Years Day.
The PACM and Nana’s views were grounded in being African, in African beliefs, a spiritual fervour that should be openly displayed and he encouraged his fellow brothers and sisters to adopt this attitude.
Though he was never keen on defining what being African meant for him or how it felt, he preferred to demonstrate this through practical actions. He would speak about his African ancestors and practices, linked with rituals and their beliefs in this overall power. Thus he was very comfortable with the PACM mission.
Nana was true to his mission of being African in all the places he lived, worked and played. You never had to ask Nana “Are you African?” because so much of his life and work demonstrated this.
Many people in the PACM think of Nana (Babba, Mr Edwards) as a father figure. He was seen as someone who embodied the values of family and the spirit of a beloved community which was the essence of leaders such as Marcus Garvey and many of his other ancestors.
Nana was a yesterday, today and tomorrow man. He embraced people with his love and informed them with his profound life experiences. He brought to them a voice of respect and a model to emulate. As a person with his own uncommon dignity, rare courage, undaunted faith in what he believed in, he showed fighting determination in the struggle of the PACM universal liberation movement.