Dr. Monica Moreno Figueroa

A Fellow of Downing College and Senior Lecturer at the University's Sociology Department, Dr Figueroa has been a dynamic force at the University over the last three years. This year she was been awarded the Pilkington Prize for her outstanding contribution to excellence in teaching and learning.

Born and raised in Mexico, she completed her first degree at the Universidad Iberoamericana in León and Mexico City (BA in Media and Communication). Shortly after, she worked at the Instituto Mexicano de la Juventud, Secretaría de Educación Pública (Mexican Youth Institute, Ministry of Education), first as Head of the Addictions Prevention Department and then as Coordinator of the National Youth Gender Programme. She travelled to the UK in 1999 to pursue her postgraduate studies and earned an MA in Gender, Culture and Modernity (2000) and a PhD in Sociology (2006) at Goldsmiths College, London. After graduating, she took up a number of teaching positions at prestigious academic institutions including Princeton, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Goldsmiths College.

Since coming to Cambridge in 2014, Dr Figueroa has established provisions for teaching on race, ethnicity and racism with a focus on intersectional and transnational approaches to social issues relating to race, gender and class oppressions. Through her works, she highlights the lived experience of ‘race’ and racism, she discusses feminist theory, and actively develops interdisciplinary research collaborations. She is known for engaging students to participate in their own learning. In addition, Dr Figueroa has set up Race Research Clusters and co-hosts the research group ‘decolonizing the curriculum’ - a seminar series that has brought important conversations to the University’s teaching and learning environment, attracting researchers across different departments and years of study.

Her commitment and deep concern for social justice is reflected in many projects. In particular, she cofounded COPERA (Colectivo para Eliminar el Racismo en Mexico) in 2011, an initiative which aims to shed light on the racial conditions of exclusion in Mexico, and make racism visible and public in the country.

An educator and social justice advocate, Dr Figueroa has been praised by her students and recognised by the Cambridge University Student Union (CUSU) Women’s Campaign who gave her their WomCam award for ‘Academic of the Year’ in 2017. With over a decade of teaching experience and community engagement across three continents, she has published extensively and been awarded numerous grants to carry out her research.

For more information, kindly refer to the following resources:




Thandie Newton

Thandiwe Adjewa Newton, a celebrated actress in Britain and America was born in 1972 in London. Her mother was a Zimbabwean health-care worker and her father was an English laboratory technician and artist. For the first few years of Thandie's life, the family lived in Zambia until the political instability in the country led to them to relocate to London (webarchive, 2012). During her time in London, Thandie was enrolled at London's Art Educational School, where she studied modern dance.

She began pursuing an acting career early on, moving to Los Angeles in 1991 to look for acting jobs. With limited work, she soon returned to the UK and enrolled at Downing College, Cambridge to study Anthropology (1992 - 1995). In that time, she continued to work on and off in between semesters. She gained international recognition soon after graduating through roles in films such as Flirting, Interview with the Vampire, and Jefferson in Paris. This subsequently led to prominent roles in Beloved (opposite Oprah Winfrey), Mission Impossible II (opposite Tom Cruise) and ER (the popular TV Series).

Thandie has received a lot of recognition and many awards for her works including nominations from the NAACP Image Awards, Empire Awards, SAG Awards, BET Awards and Golden Globe Awards. She has also won the BAFTA for best supporting actress, the SAG Award for outstanding performance by a cast, and a number of others awards in 2004 for her performance in the critically acclaimed movie, Crash.

She has over two dozen film and television credits and has performed in the West End Theatre. Beyond her roles in films and television, Thandie has also been a prominent spokesperson for gender equality, race, climate change, and cultural heritage.

For more information

Webarchive, 2012: https://web.archive.org/web/20120924075622/http://www.thandie-newton.org/thandie-newton/biography/

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thandie_Newton

Remi Fani Kayode

A preeminent Nigerian politician and lawyer, Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode (1921 - 1995) was a leading figure in the country's independence movement and served as the Deputy Premier of the Western Region of Nigeria in 1962.

Born into the prominent and well educated family (his father Victor Adedapo Kayode also studied law at Cambridge and graduated in 1921), Remi excelled academically. After finishing his secondary school in King's College London, he came to Downing College, Cambridge (1941) where he graduated top of his year for the whole British Commonwealth. After passing the Bar, he set up the first indigenous Nigerian Law firm with two other colleagues and became a passionate activist in the struggle for independence.

By 1954, he was elected leader of the Action Group Youth as well as elected into the Federal House of Assembly, solidifying his career in politics as a statesman. He was a central figure in discussions of Nigerian independence and represented and fought for the Northern minorities in their quest for the creation of a middle belt region (the Willinks minorities Commission) in 1957. The following year, he successfully moved the motion for Nigeria's independence in the Federal House of Assembly but shortly after resigned from the Action Group to join the opposition party, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).

In 1960, he was appointed Queens Counsel (QC) in Britain and also rose to the leadership position of the NCNC. In three years he would become the Deputy Premier of the former Western Region of Nigeria, as well as Minister of Local Government. This was a tumultuous time in Nigeria's history, and in 1966 the first coup d'etat attempt was made resulting in Remi Fani Kayode's arrest, and the killing of many other senior members of the ruling party. He was saved from execution by the timely reaction of loyalist forces who freed the detained leaders, temporarily re-establishing law and order. In 1966, he moved his family to Brighton, England and lived in exile there for many years.

Over the next few years, he was still actively involved in Nigerian politics and founded the Nigerian People's Party and was elected to the position of Vice National Chairman of the party. In 1979 he was conferred with the honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger by then President Shagari in recognition for his contributions to national development.

For more information, kindly refer to the following sources

Ajibulu, 2009: https://www.modernghana.com/news/251696/1/chief-remi-fani-kayode-the-facts-and-not-the-ficti.html


Justice Ojwang

Another Kenyan, Downing black cantab, Hon. Justice (Prof.) J.B. Ojwang, Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya, read PhD Comparative Constitutional Law at Downing College (1978-1981). Justice Ojwang recently obtained the higher doctoral award from the University of Nairobi Faculty of Law having read a Phd in Law at Downing 1978-1981.

Information provided by Greg Akali. For more information, refer to:

The following features, imagaes, and stories were generously compiled, researched and made available to the Society by the Downing College Archives. They are republished here.

James Vivian Clinton

Born 6 February 1902 at Axim, Gold Coast, the son of Charles Warner Clinton, Barrister-at-Law, and his wife Muriel (nee M’Carthy), later of Accra, Gold Coast. His father was a Ghanian lawyer of Caribbean ancestry. Educated at preparatory school in E Sussex and Taunton School.

He matriculated at Downing on 22 October 1920, studying History Part I and Law Part II before graduating in 1923.

He was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn Field in 1924 but an illness rendered him deaf soon afterwards and so he turned to a career in journalism, He matriculated at Downing on 22 October 1920. He took Part I in History and Law Part II, before graduating with an Ordinary BA in 1923.

He was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn Field in 1924. However, an illness rendered him totally deaf soon afterwards and he turned to a career in journalism, working on the Sierra Leone Daily Mail from 1932 to 1935 before settling in Calabar, Nigeria, as Editor of the Nigerian Eastern Mail established by his father. In 1949 he was awarded an OBE for ‘services to Nigeria in the field of journalism’. After the Mail folded in 1951, Clinton held a number of posts in the Nigerian civil service throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Struggling to make ends meet, he began writing short stories for magazines under various pseudonyms.

In 1971 he published ‘The Rescue of Charlie Kalu’ under his own name with the Heinemann Secondary Readers series for schoolchildren. He died in 1973.

Albert Adamakoh

(© Lafayette Photography Ltd)

Born 8 April 1924, Gold Coast, and educated at the Government Boys School, Kumasi. In 1948 he was awarded a scholarship by the Asanteman Confederacy Council to pursue a University degree in Economics in the United Kingdom. He matriculated at Downing in 1950 as a Colonial Scholar, studying Economics and graduating with a BA in 1953 (MA, 1957). After graduating he worked for Barclays Bank in Manchester and at their Head Office, enabling him to complete his professional banking qualifications in 1955 with the Institute of Bankers Diploma.

He had also been pursing qualification as a Barrister-at-Law while in Cambridge and was called to the Bar in the same year, 1955. He returned to the Gold Coast as a qualified economist, banker and lawyer to take up a position at the newly created Bank of the Gold Coast in 1956. He was the founding Chairman and Managing Director of the National Investment Bank, established in 1963, and was appointed Governor of the Bank of Ghana in 1965.

In 1968 he was appointed Commissioner for Agriculture in the government of the National Liberation Council. He was also later Assistant Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (from 1969) and Director of Investments for Africa and the Middle East (1970) for the International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank.
He died on 16 August 2016, aged 94.

Image: 1950 Matriculation photograph (© Lafayette Photography Ltd)


Family memorial book recently donated to the College Archive

Ezekiel Norukior Igho

1945 Matriculation photograph DCPH/2/1/9 (© Lafayette Photography Ltd)

Born 16 April 1920, the son of Moses Igho, Produce Buyer, Benin City, and Mary Shcho. Educated at the Catholic School, Benin City. Admitted October 1945. At Downing 1945-1948. Studied Natural Sciences.
BA 1948, MA 1953.

Igho was awarded one of two Overseas scholarships funded by the Urhobo Progress Union with the intention of training staff to run the planned new Urhobo College. He matriculated at Downing College in 1945, studying Natural Sciences. After graduating in 1948 and obtaining his Diploma in Education in London the following year he returned in September 1949 to work at the newly-founded Urhobo College (est. 1947) as Vice Principal. (The other funded student, M. G. Ejaife (Fourah Bay College followed by Durham University) became Principal).

Sadly, Igho died at an early age on 5th May 1956.

Lloyds Algernon Best

1953 Matriculation photograph (© Lafayette Photography Ltd)

Born 27 Feb 1934, Tunapuna, Trinidad. Educated at Queen’s Royal College, Port-of-Spain. Recommended by the Colonial Office. Obituary in 2008 Alumni Association Newsletter reads:

After Downing he went on to Oxford before returning home to the Caribbean where he taught at the University of the West Indies. In Trinidad he gradually moved from academic life into politics, and in 1969 founded Tapia, initially a movement and a journal which metamorphosed into a political party in the seventies. Although primarily an intellectual and a thinker he became involved in day to day political life and served two terms as leader of the opposition in the Senate of Trinidad. He was awarded the Order of the Caribbean communities for his public service. The Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies was renamed The Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies in his memory.

Also http://www.theintegrationistcaribbean.org/wp-
content/uploads/2014/06/ManuscriptFinal.pdf (for tributes and career details)

Charles Theophilus Pyne

1953 Matriculation photograph (© Lafayette Photography Ltd)

Admitted October 1953 and studied for a one year Diploma (in Agriculture - to be confirmed). Born 17 April 1923 at Freetown, Sierra Leone, son of Charles Theophilus Pyne (Civil Servant) and Ransolina. Educated at Prince of Wales School,
Freetown and University of Wales. Recommended by the Colonial Office.

Confirmed deceased but no further information available.

Henry Osime Omenai

1954 Matriculation photograph (© Lafayette Photography Ltd)

Omenai was born in 1922 and educated King’s School, Lagos.

Obituary in 2015 Alumni Association Newsletters reads:

Henry Osime Omenai (1954) came to Cambridge on the one year Colonial Service course for administrative officers from the Colonial Territories. He studied at Kings College, Lagos. Following a period at the Administrative Staff College, Henley he served in the Royal West African Frontier Force from 1942 to 1946. In 1946 he entered the Nigerian Public Service and,
by 1954, the year he came up to Downing, he had become a Private Secretary at the Nigerian Ministry of Works in Lagos.

By 1962 he had risen to the position of Federal Permanent Secretary where he served in the federal ministries of Internal Affairs, Aviation, and Transport. At this time he also served as Chairman, Nigerian Airways, Nigerian National Shipping Line and the Nigerian Ports Authority.

In 1967 he retired from the Civil Service moving into the private sector where, among other private ventures, he was subsequently appointed Vice Chairman of the Institute of Directors, Vice President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and Member of the Capital Issues Commission. He died on 12 January 2015, aged 92.


Kwadzo Ebli Senanu

(Republished from an online source)

Born in 1932 in Agbozume, Gold Coast. He obtained a first class Honours degree from the University of Ghana in 1957 before matriculating in October that year at Downing to continue his studies.

He left Downing in 1959 (BA 1959, MA 1964) before continuing to Yale and Carnegie-Mellon in the USA to complete his Masters and PhD qualifications. He taught for 29 years at Legon, Ghana, with some intermissions, during one of which he was a Visiting Fellow at Christ’s College in Cambridge. He is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge.

In 2016, he was the External Judge for the Nigeria Prize for Literature.

http://www.nlng.com/Media-Center/NLNG Magazine/2016 NLNG MAGAZINE.pdf

Prince Adekunle Oyedele Oyenuga

1961 matriculation photo (copyright Lafayette Photography Ltd)

Text from obituary in 2011 Association Newsletter:

Adekunle went to school at Kings College, Lagos and came to Downing to read Archaeology and Anthropology, gaining a 2.2 at both Part 1 and Part 2. Kunle, as he was known, was an athletics blue. A very good long jumper and triple jumper he competed against Oxford in 1962 and 1963 and won the long jump in 1963. He didn’t compete in 1964 because of illness.

After taking his B.A. he returned home to Nigeria to work with the Nigerian Department of Antiquities, Jos Museum, as a Curator. The ethnic stresses of the Nigerian civil war in Northern Nigeria, 1967–1970, led him to take up the job of a lecturer in Archaeology with the University of Ife (now called Obafemi Awolowo University).

In 1970 he travelled to the USA to work on his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, but he did not complete it. He returned briefly to England in 1973 before he again joined the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria in 1974. He served his Government for 24 years in a distinguished career that took him round the world. He worked in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and was part of the first team of senior Civil Servants involved with the Operation Feed the Nation Project.

He also worked in the Cabinet Office and the Presidency during his service with the Federal Government and was a member of the Board of the now defunct Nigerian Bank of Credit and Commerce.

During his stint with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Industry, he was instrumental in helping the Federal Government to establish its first large fertiliser project (National
Fertiliser Company of Nigeria Limited) with M W Kellogg, a large US, Houston based international engineering and construction company. He also served on numerous special committees and was known widely for his honesty and integrity. He retired from the Federal Civil Service as a Deputy Director in 1998 due to ill health, but continued to be active in his community and church. He died on 20th January 2005.

Peter Alexander Ashikiwe Adione-Egom

According to the website “Notable Nigerians”, he came up to Downing from King’s College, Lagos and continued his studies at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. Following Lectureships in Social Anthropology in Lagos and Aarhus he took posts in Copenhagen and Dar-es-Salaam where he became a Financial Adviser to the government of Julius Nyerere.

Ten years as an International Financial Consultant followed before he took up a post as the Economy and Business Editor of The African Guardian, followed by a period as the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Business in ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). He listed his hobbies as music, golf, tennis and swimming. He died on 3 March 2013, aged 70.

More detailed obituaries may be found in:
The Nation - http://thenationonlineng.net/new/adieu-motor-park-economist/

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