Friends At Mafundi

Emerging from the Watts Uprising of 1965, the Mafundi Institute, an organization of Watts artists, musicians and writers, was incorporated in 1967 and established a community arts program that began at the Watts Happening Coffee House at 1802 103rd St. In 1970, a building was constructed at 1827 East 103rd Street to serve as the new and final home of the Mafundi Institute and its expanding activities, which included programming from the Watts Writers Workshop and other arts-centered activities. It became known as the Watts Happening Cultural Center.


Who We Are / What We Do

Friends At Mafundi (F.A.M.) is a coalition brought together by the leadership of Father Amde Hamilton of the pioneering Watts Prophets poets. F.A.M. was formed to help sustain the history, culture, and traditions of the Watts neighborhood. Its immediate goals are to:

●    prevent the demolition of the Watts Happening Cultural Center (WHCC),
●    ensure the WHCC is granted deserving cultural designations,
●    advocate for the preservation and restoration of the WHCC,
●    oversee its rehab as a state-of-the-art cultural hub and exhibition space.

Rita in lobby of Mafundi_edited_edited.jpg



Historic Designations

To date FAM has secured local landmark status for the Mafundi Building. We are now working on National designation.

Image by Jason Dent

Awards & Recognitions

FAM has been awarded a Special Citation for Grassroots Initiative by DOCOMOMO U.S.


Mafundi Activities

Friends At Mafundi (F.A.M.) was formed to help sustain the history, culture, and traditions of Watts. Our immediate goal was to protect the Mafundi Building from demolition and prevent future threats by ensuring it is granted historical and cultural designations. By advocating for the preservation and restoration of the building, F.A.M. is leading the efforts to return the building to its place as one of the most prominent cultural arts centers in Los Angeles and transform it into a state-of-the-art cultural hub and exhibition space for the people, by the people of Watts


Contact Friends At Mafundi

Get in touch with Friends At Mafundi to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.

1827 E. 103rd Street

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“Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

African Proverb