George the Poet turned down an MBE because of the colonial trauma inflicted on the children of Africa.
George the Poet, the spoken word artist, real name George Mpanga, revealed in the final episode of Have You Heard George's Podcast?, where he discusses the legacy of colonialism, he would be turning down the MBE.
London-born Mpanga, who is of Ugandan heritage, said he originally told a friend he would receive the award if he was offered it, but when they nominated him and he was selected, he felt "a burning sensation in my chest".
A recipient of an MBE becomes a Member of the Order of the British Empire, an accolade Mpanga said he could not accept because of the "colonial trauma inflicted on the children of Africa".
He said: "I'd like to apologize to the friend who recommended me on my assurance that I'd accept. I didn't know I would feel this way.
"I see myself as student, admirer, and friend of Britain, however, the colonial trauma inflicted on the children of Africa, entrenched across our geo-political and macro-economic realities, prevents me from accepting the title Member of the British Empire."
He added that while "the gesture is deeply appreciated; the wording is not".
"It will remain unacceptable to me until Britain takes institutional measures to address the intergenerational disruption brought to millions as a result of her colonial exploits,” he said.
"I have no issue with other black people who have embraced this title. I encourage a variety of thoughts across our society and within my community.
"I encourage future generations to seek relevant information to make an informed decision. What do the words British Empire mean to you? I love this country but I do so with transparency.
This colonial trauma is still evident in today's Africa. Millennials must go the extra length to be conscious and participatory in all levels of formal and informal education of the Africa populace.
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