Writer and comedian Mo Hersi has started a crowdfunding campaign for a statue for former Eindhoven city council member and anti-racism activist Mpanzu Bamenga. The initiative is just not really taking off yet.
Bamenga gained national fame by fighting against ethnic profiling by the Koninklijke Marechaussee (royal military police). Bamenga was fed up with being picked out of the airport queue on the basis of his skin colour and therefore, together with Amnesty International, filed a lawsuit against the military police.
He subsequently won it, as a result of which the military police are no longer allowed to pick people out of a line for checks based on skin colour.
Mo Hersi therefore thinks Bamenga deserves a statue in Eindhoven. According to Hersi, it is good if people have different role models and sources of inspiration. That can contribute to an inclusive society. The statue should thereby symbolise the fight against inequality and discrimination.
Whether the statue will actually get there remains to be seen. Of the €16,000 needed for the realisation of the artwork, only about €400 have been raised through crowdfunding platform Voordekunst.nl after two weeks.
Earlier, a similar initiative by Mo Hersi was successful. In Almere, a statue of Enith Brigitha was erected. Brigitha is the first woman of colour to win an Olympic medal for the Netherlands. The swimmer did so at the 1972 Games, where she took bronze medals in the 100 and 200-meter freestyle.
Despite the fact that the online response is not yet overwhelming, Hersi is hopeful that the money will still be raised. “Money for the statue for Brigitha also came in slowly the first few weeks, but towards the end we still raised a lot of money. It’s something that has to come alive, and I think it will”.
“In fact, in the background I am getting a lot of positive feedback and pledges. We are additionally setting up an online campaign to draw attention to the initiative. In addition to the crowdfunding, we are also in the process of raising other funds”.
Moreover, the €16,000 to be raised through crowdfunding is not the entire amount needed for the artwork. Still, Hersi shows optimism. “A statue costs a lot of money. The statue for Brigitha ended up costing €40,000. Such an amount will also be needed for this project. It will be exciting, but I really think we will make it”, Hersi said.
Translated by: Bob