Winston Trew joined the Fasimbas, a Black Power organisation, in May 1970, at age 19 years. The Fasimbas were part of the British Black Movement, alongside the Black Unity and Freedom Party, (BUFP) The Black Panther movement, (BPM) the Black Liberation Front (BLF) with whom the Fasimbas formed an alliance in 1971.
The Fasimbas were originally the Youth Wing of the South East London Parents Organisation (SELPO) that began in 1969 as a response to the miseducation of black children in English school system. From providing supplementary education on Saturdays, SELPO expanded to provide a range of services to the black community in south-east London. These included education in African and Caribbean history, political education, martial arts classes, bookstalls, public meetings, plays, dances and electronics. The Sound System Jah Shaka was inspired by the Fasimbas.
In 1970, when I joined, the youth group was so large and influential among young black people in the area, that the Fasimbas became the Youth and Political Wing of SELPO. By 1971 the organisation became formally known as the Fasimbas.
In March 1972, following the arrest of veteran BLF member Tony Soares, five members of the Fasimbas attended a meeting at BLF headquarters in north London to agree a community campaign to highlight his wrongful arrest.
On our way home from that meeting, four of us were set-upon by a group of white men at the Oval underground station who said that we had been ‘nicking handbags’. We said they were talking rubbish and to show us some ID. They told us to shut up. An argument turned into pushing and shoving and then into a big fight. It was then they told us that they were undercover detectives from the British Transport Police.
The Fasimbas was an organisation comprised of the ‘young, gifted and black’ who were either the British-educated or British-born descendants of colonial migrants from the Caribbean. The issues dealt with by us were stamped either ‘British Made’ or ‘Made in Britain’. They were not made in America.