Winston Trew

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Winston Trew joined the Fasimbas, a Black Power organisation, in May 1970, aged 19. 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 Trew 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 formally became known as the Fasimbas. An organisation comprised of the ‘young, gifted and black’, the Fasimbas were either the British-educated or British-born descendants of colonial migrants from the Caribbean. The issues dealt with by the Fasimbas were stamped  ‘British Made’ or Made in Britain.

In March 1972, while travelling back from a meeting about the arrest of veteran Black Liberation Front member Tony Soares, Trew and three fellow members of the Fasimbas were wrongfully arrested at the Oval tube station by a corrupt police officer. Known as the Oval Four, these young black men were convicted on trumped up charges and sent to prison. Trew’s campaign to clear his name took 47 years but resulted in his conviction being overturned by the Court of Appeal in December 2019, shortly followed by the convictions of the other three. In 2021 he co-authored a book Rot At The Core, The Serious Crimes of a Detective Sergeant on his experiences.

Winston Trew recently turned down an apology from the British Transport Police for his treatment by Detective Sergeant Ridgewell, as it sought to paint corruption and structural racism within the police force as relics of the past. He is currently writing a book on the history of the Fasimbas.

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