Islington family out to save life of its ‘African son’ suffering cancer

Mr Ngadye, second right, on one of his many visits to Islington

Mr Ngadye, second right, on one of his many visits to Islington - Credit: Archant

An Islington family needs to raise £9,000 to save the life of its “African son”.

For a few months every year between 2001 and 2011, 45-year-old Zimbabwean Ephson Ngadye would stay with Angela Neustatter and husband Olly in their Cross Street home. Their son, Zek, had made friends with Mr Ngadye on his gap year in Zimbabwe.

Mr Ngadye started his Zimbabwean themed performing arts group Grassroots, which toured the UK and also sold out Islington’s Rosemary Branch Theatre in 2004.

Now back in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the married father-of-four is suffering myeloma, a form of blood cancer. Survival depends on a bone marrow transplant unavailable in his home country.

It moved the family to raise £20,000 required to pay for his treatment, which would be in India. So far, they have gathered £11,000 and hope to edge closer with an African music and performance night back at the Rosemary Branch next Saturday (September 6).

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Ms Neustatter, 71, said: “I think it will be a really appropriate celebration of his work. All the performers agreed to do it for nothing and it will be a wonderful event.

“Ephson was very popular in Islington. People are just drawn to him. When he stayed with us, friends would bring their kids round and he would dress up and play drums on the roof of our house. He has that charisma.

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“He’s our African son. We were very shocked and upset when we found out about his illness earlier this year. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a part of the world where we are so well looked after in terms of health care. The idea that he might not make it because of the country he lives in moved us to do something.”

She added: “One complete stranger donated £1,000 to the cause, so it has proved to be quite a moving experience. The fact that he has had an impact in England has clearly touched people.”

For information about next Saturday’s performance or to donate, visit

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