It’s been a busy few weeks for DRI as we hosted two successful evenings in East Sussex – both in the name of Africa. On the 23rd of September we were at Lewes’ Westgate Chapel to enjoy a wonderful presentation on the city of Asmara and its addition to the UNESCO World Heritage sites list from Dr Edward Denison (a key figure in getting Asmara on the list) to a packed audience. All the proceeds from the event went to ERA (Eritrean Relief Association). The website for UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites now has this to say about Asmara:


“Located on a highland plateau at the centre of Eritrea, Asmara, a Modernist city of Africa is the capital of the country and is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a colonial planned city, which resulted from the subsequent phases of planning between 1893 and 1941, under the Italian colonial occupation. Its urban layout is based mainly on an orthogonal grid which later integrated elements of a radial system. Asmara preserves an unusually intact human scale, featuring eclectic and rationalist built forms, well-defined open spaces, and public and private buildings, including cinemas, shops, banks, religious structures, public and private offices, industrial facilities, and residences. Altogether, Asmara’s urban-scape outstandingly conveys how colonial planning, based on functional and racial segregation principles, was applied and adapted to the local geographical conditions to achieve symbolic meaning and functional requirements. The town has come to be associated with the struggle of the Eritrean people for self-determination, which was pursued whilst embracing the tangible, yet exceptional, evidence of their colonial past.”



Following this was the African Diaspora Business and Arts Network (ADBAN) meeting on the 26th, and featured presentations from Zekaryas Solomon, a fashion designer who uses his background in architecture with his Eritrean ethnicity to create his unique brand of clothing, Cassandra Blowers, the Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, whom has 13 years of experience working in diaspora development in the UK, and finally Wale Agbaje, co-creator of, an e-bay style website built for ‘made in Africa only’ products targeted for consumers world-wide.


If you’re interested in joining ADBAN’s mailing list and attending the next meeting, please email