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The banquet hall described on this page is operated by Chima Murphy Orji, who is the youngest brother of Malachy Orji, better known as High Chief MC Orji, click here for story on the High Chief.

The High Chief operates a full-service auto repair and inspection business, MC Iroko Auto Services LLC on 4827 Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia. So if your car breaks down when you are visiting the African Cultural Center, you know who to call. Click here for story on MC Iroko Auto Services LLC.

The High Chief and Chima are Igbos. Murders of Igbos inside Nigeria in the years after independence from Britain forced a young leader to declare an independent state inside Nigeria, that state was called Biafra. Watch videos about Biafra, click here.

An article describing Dr Okey Ndibe's experiences of the Biafran War from the perspective of a child has been republished in Medical Journal of Therapeutics Africa, along with current photographs of Igbo women in the United Nations Nigeria Mission, and data and stories about Biafra.

Click here to access Medical Journal of Therapeutics Africa stories.

Declaration of independence of the nation of Biafra  click here
Ganymede Movies LLP click here
Swedish pilots in Biafra click here
Nigerian Civil War Remembrance click here
The Red Baron click here
Count Carl von Rosen click here
General Ojukwu interview click here
Major General Madiebo click here
Who is Captain Okpe? click here
The Last Flight  click here
Bombing for Biafra, plane movies and background information  click here
African Cultural Center in Philadelphia
Dr Susanna's 60th birthday was held at the African Cultural Center. Picture above was by Dr Ladi Owolabi with his camera. Dr Owolabi is a Nigerian-born medical graduate who works as a drug safety and pharmacovigilance specialist  in New York.
1000-2 South St Bernard St, Philadelphia PA 19143. Phone (267) 338-6108

African Cultural Center Philadelphia. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2012 v5n1 p1210

I had heard about the banquet hall in Philadelphia that is named the African Cultural Center. I had never been there, never driven past it, when my friend Zainab told me I needed to be at a Sierra Leonean function there in October 2010, and I needed to bring a visitor, Hawa, who had hosted Zainab and me in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2 months previously. (
For stories about Sierra Leone which has the world's highest incidence of death in childbirth, click here.)

I walked inside, past etched glass doors, and was enchanted. The owner, Mr Chima Murphy Orji, introduced himself, and listened to my story about a black Mercedes and a Nigerian prince and a Nigerian lawyer-nurse-pastor-PhD who claimed that, like Jesus, her father had risen from the dead. He matched my stories with a magnificent tale of an elaborate scam of a Swedish businessman that involved fake helicopters and oil tankers and sounded a lot like the story I had been told 2 weeks previously by a Guyanian developer, who also had a great story about Fidel Castro cooking him lunch on a boat. Gosh.

The next time I came was in February 2011, a Saturday night baby shower for a young expectant Cameroonian mother of twins at the invitation of Chima Murphy Orji. The banquet hall was all pink balloons and young parents and children, and looked very different from my first visit.

The third time I visited African Cultural Center was the day after Mother's Day. At that time I was introduced to the clean sound system, and was smitten by the idea that the African Cultural Center really could be the center of African culture in Philadelphia. I was also given a tour of Chima's garage and storage facility at 62nd and Kingsessing. Chima is an auctioneer, and his days are mostly filled with driving around to auctions, buying and selling, and storing lots and lots of things in his facilities, which include African Cultural Center.

A week after Mother's Day, on a Sunday, I was ordered to the police station on Brooklyn, to be arrested and jailed. I had a restraining order against Lookman Sulaimon Arounfale, and after 6 weeks of him being unable to serve me a counter restraining order, he managed to serve one at the funeral of a highly respected Nigerian pastor. After 8 hours in jail, the arresting officer released me, saying that Lookman was "full of s**t". Meanwhile I had 8 hours to reflect on my life, and I decided to stay out of New York as much as possible. Which meant I had time for frequent visits to African Cultural Center. Consequently, I did that,  once or twice a week for 6 months.

Zainab has come back several times for events with the Sierra Leonean communities, and Chima hosted events for AfriCom free of charge several times.

Chima opened the African Cultural Center for my 60th birthday celebrations in October 2011. The party started early, with my family showing up while bright sunshine streamed through the glass doors. This is a beautiful place during the day, but rarely is it used in daytime. I would love that to change, and the African Cultural Center be filled with groups and businesses from morning to night.

I took all the pictures below, except for the ones with me in them during my celebrations (thank you Zain Sesay-Harrell and Dr Ladi Owolabi) and I have many, many more.

The banquet hall in November 2011 (when I last was inside it) looked very different than it did in October 2010. Chima has laid tile floors, and pasted mirrors on the wall, so I felt that I was walking and dancing inside a sparkling glass palace.

Chima opened his banquet hall in 2001, and it has had several incarnations. He rents it out occasionally, and has shut it down since early November, when he started traveling in East Africa.

I do not know when, and if, he will rent it out again. He does have a "for sale" sign out the front. Check back for updates.
Africom Philly Annual Health Fair 2011 click here

Africom Philly Annual Health Fair 2012 click here

Africom Philly Annual Health Fair 2009 click here
African Cultural Center in Philadelphia


According to Pennsylvania records

-the street address is 1000-2 S St Bernard Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19143

-the owners are Chima M Orji and Augustina Orji

-the land size is 17,400 square feet

-the floor space is 8,700 square feet

-the building was erected in 1920


Observations from the street:

-it has a For Sale sign on the front wall

-it has a sign identifying it as the place of residence of Africom Philly (Coalition of African Communities in Philadelphia).


According to the 2009 annual report of Africom Philly

-the Orjis have refused to take down the Africom Philly sign

-in no way is this banquet hall affiliated with Africom Philly

Dec 11, 2011. Mr Orji  sets up children for photographs, below.They were celebrating the holidays at St Cyprian's Roman Catholic Church. Mr Orji confirmed that African Cultural Center is closed down.