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Success for Otis Bolamu

I can hardly believe that I didn’t share this news on this website although it’s been on all other social media. Better late than never?

This is the Facebook release-

‘Great news to share you! Otis for whom we’ve campaigned since he was taken into detention at Christmas 2018 was officially given leave to remain on 14th January  2020.
Thanks to all our supporters, to Peter Florence, Archbishop John, Kirsty Williams and other people who used their influence to help make his case. Thanks to his wonderful legal team  Jamie Bell of Duncan Lewis and his barrister Camila and thanks to our Maria Duggan who set up the campaign on behalf of HBTSR and ran a press office from home liaising with Castle Arts Oxfam shop in Swansea to ensure that we were all up to date and not saying different things. Thanks to Castle Arts and their team for supporting Otis so well on a day to day basis over the last long year. And finally thanks to Otis for being such a charismatic and charming person. We all wish him well as he starts to rebuild his life.’

This link takes you to the petition update

this to the BBC announcement

this to the Wales online announcement. 

this to the Guardian article. 

On 14th January I emailed supporters on our list with details of  an email from Otis to a few of us who had been to court with him – ‘This is a note of appreciation to everyone who stood by me during my case, thanks for supporting and believing in me. I have been granted leave to remain so therefore I won’t be going to court on the 17th of this month.

You couldn’t imagine the joy ,you always gave me by always being together with me. I miss how to thank you for how much you have done and for the rest of the surprise you have made. Imagine what time I am writing to you. I am overflowing with joy.’
and in his formal press release [!]

“I just want to say thank you. I am so excited. I just want to stop and say thank you for the power of people. People were so kind, campaigning for me to come out of detention. And when I came back, they did not stop. Still they helped me and supported me. They said we will not rest. We will not celebrate until he has refugee status. Now I have it. Now we can party!”

And HBTSR { Maria Duggan]  had some special praise from Otis’s solicitor “I have never seen such amazing community organising and activism[ I have seen a lot!] you guys should have a lot of credit. Otis had a legitimate asylum claim …but so many people in his position don’t get another chance. Excellent Work!”

Message from Collen Molloy Communications manager City Of Sanctuary ‘..Fantastic news. So happy to read this. Congratulations to Otis and all of you who worked tirelessly in his support.  Days like this keep us going, re-energise our passion and commitment and give hope to others…’







 Today [11th February 2020] Otis kindly came to our area [  facilitated by HBTSR ] to talk to Fairfield High school assemblies and also to Hay Primary School Year 5 pupils. I was privileged to be at his talk in Hay when he captivated his audience. There were over 20 children in the room but apart from an occasional cough there was total absorbed silence for 30 minutes and before they joined with Otis singing Akuna Matata. Then they  bombarded him with questions ranging from ‘how old are you?’ through ‘how many friends do you have? ‘[68.000 and counting!] to details about speaking French , where in Africa he came from, how he made friends and how long he’d been drumming [ all his life] .

One lovely point Otis made in his talk was that he came here with nothing and by being friendly and trying to help others he has made so many friends who he now feels are  his family. He talked about the importance of learning English and volunteering and trying to integrate into the community. ‘Just be nice to people, look after your class mates and smile!’

We had a chance to meet with Peter Florence and to brainstorm ideas with  Otis about his future. Whatever he does I’m sure this multi talented, hardworking, charismatic man will do well- like his mentor Peter!