talks & debates

Sport: The Power and Price of Protest

Part of Africa Utopia

Explore the complexities, possibilities and personal cost of protest in sport at our panel discussion, chaired by Olympian Denise Lewis.

Lewis is joined on stage by former New York Giant Osi Umenyiora, two-time Super Bowl champion, who is now a sports pundit for the BBC, and former professional footballer Louis Saha.

Ramla Ali is a two time UK national champion, multiple International gold medallist and the African Zonal Champion.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick came to international attention after refusing to stand (an act that became known as ‘taking a knee’) for the US national anthem in 2016. In his words:

‘There are bodies in the street and cops are getting paid leave and getting away with murder… I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me – I know that I stood up for what is right.’

What does sacrifice look like? How do British sportspeople engage with power and protest? What types of stand (or a knee) do we take personally, and what remains after we've taken them?

Heptathlete, Olympian, gold medalist, and British and Commonwealth record holder, former sport personality of the year and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA) – who better to host our panel Sport: The Power and Price of Protest than Denise Lewis OBE?

NFL don Osi Umenyiora still holds the record for the most sacks in one game – now you can catch him on Match of the Day 2 and The NFL Show. And, as the Royal Television Society's Best Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit of 2019 he is sure to bring is own particular brand of knowledge and hype to our sports panel.

Louis Saha is a former professional footballer who played as a striker for teams including Newcastle United, Fulham, Manchester United, Everton, Spurs and Lazio. He also represented France, playing in both UEFA Euro 2004 and the FIFA World Cup in 2006. At Manchester United he won the Premier League twice, the UEFA Champions League and the League Cup.

In 2018, alongside her husband and trainer Richard Moore, Ramla Ali helped create the Somali Boxing Federation from the UK with the intention of representing Somalia at world level and competing in the World Boxing Championship among others. As a young, Muslim woman involved with boxing, Ali strongly believes that it is her responsibility to educate her community on the importance of women participating in sport and hopes to be the role model for young Black women in Africa that she never had.

This event is presented in association with IndabaX.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Purcell Room


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


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Age recommendation
For ages 14+

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Multi-buy discount
Book two or more of the following Africa Utopia talks in the same transaction and receive a 20% discount:
Sport: The Power and Price of Protest
Fashion: The Battle Continues
History: Memory and Consciousness
Beauty: It’s a Shady Business
The Black Film Renaissance
The Music that Made Us
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