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Raphael Martin. Windrush Cymru: Our Voices, Our Stories, Our History, 2019

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A transcription of an oral history interview with Raphael Martin in Cardiff, discussing his experience of growing up within a family which migrated from the Caribbean during the 1950s.

Interview date: 15th October 2019
Length of interview: 53:26


 

[00:00:00]
 
My name is Raphael Martin I was born in Cardiff. I was born on the 8th of June 1964 in St David’s Hospital, Riverside, that’s where I come from.
My father come over here in 1951 to Birmingham. I wasn’t born then, I might look that old but I wasn’t born then. He came from Jamaica. My dad was born the 19th of September 1917, he would be 102 if he was alive today, just the other day.

My father died when I was 13, so I don't remember a lot, but I remember like when they were having a conversation and I was listening and they said they never knew what depression was until they came to this country, obviously talking about Jamaica and they said that the people wasn’t depressed in Jamaica it just didn’t happen, and they didn’t really know what the word meant.

When they used to talk about Jamaica, cos I went to Jamaica I went there in about 2006. I think yes, 2006 I went to Jamaica. It was per square mile there were more murders in Jamaica at that time per square mile, I went in February, than any other county in the world at that time, so when I went, even though it was sort of okay where I was, it’s not a nice country, at that time and it’s now it’s not getting better, but when my parents used to talk about Jamaica they made it sound like it was paradise, and I went to this place …it was so nice I thought well this is the Jamaica my parents used to talk about and the people were so nice, Hanover, I think I was in Hanover, and the people were so nice, everyone was really nice.

I remember I went into this market. I like haggling, doing a bit of hustling, I think I’m a good hustler so I went to this shop in the market and there was this man and I wanted this map of Jamaica in a frame. So  I said, how much is that? And he was like $30. I said no,  How much is it for a Jamaican, if you’re a Jamaican? and he said even if you’re white, you’re black, You’re Jamaican, you’re Chinese it’s still 30 dollars.

He was just saying y’know, in that place it didn’t matter, they do things equal and I like that, y’know, I didn't buy it but I liked that.

That's all I really know about Jamaica. Obviously Jamaica, the food is beautiful, the sea is clean, when you go to Jamaica, the West Indies and you come back to this country and you eat the food, the food tastes like cardboard, that’ s one thing I noticed.

You know umm, obviously I remember when I was a child, there used to be a man called Green, Mr. Green we used to call him, cos you called everyone like their title Mr. Mrs, you never used anyone's first name when I was a child, and you had to respect people ‘Good morning’ Mr this or Mr. that,  it's not slack like it is today, he used to come and visit not just us, but West Indian people and he used to sell proper West Indian food, Yam, Green bananas,  the ackee, the saltfish, people didn’t know what that was in them days, people do now.  I used to like the bullet cake, and my dad used to like the sugar cane,  my dad used to buy these sugar crance drinks, and I remember dad getting cocoa, chocolate, and it was like solid and you had to grate it and make chocolate drinks.
But my dad died when I was 13 so I have to go back a long way to remember.

My dad was 33 when he came over, and then that was 1951, I think my mother come 1952.

In them days there wasn’t sort of a welcome from churches, churches were mostly white churches in them days and they kept to themselves, very closed off. so when a black person come they feel like an outcast, even though people were supposed to be Christians. So it was easy then for black people to start churches, cos in Jamaica again there’s more churches per square mile again than any other country in the world in Jamaica.
so they come here, part of a Christian country Jamaica and they still wanted the fellowship and worship and done what they did in Jamaica But West Indians where my dad had his church in Cardiff, I noticed they are very vibrant, they have more life.  A lot of people, English people, or Welsh people, British people, they’re very stiff, the British stiff upper lip I suppose.

But the thing is what’s funny I’ m like that see, I’m more English than Jamaican. I ‘m actually more like a Jamaican in my sort of characteristics, but I like being quiet and calm in church, but West Indian people when it comes to church time, it’s like Sister Act, they jump they dance they sing, all different languages to them to speak in tongues is like speaking in English, whereas British people in them days, a lot of them didn’t even accept it properly even though a lot of English churches were Pentecostal.

I remember going to the City Temple  when I was really young I’m talking the 70’s and  to me it was not much different to Baptist, Methodist, I didn’t find much difference, they talk about it was lively and this was happening, yeah a lot of people might have been going and the spirit of God was moving, but it never had the life that our church had.

[00:07:37]

And I remember I used to be a youth manager at the [email protected] centre, and I was talking to this  lady and she actually said she used to go to my dads church, and my dads church was in Wells street so i asked her what she thought of it, and she said it was like going on holiday. I think women especially like dancing and moving and our church was sort of like that.

Nowadays people try to make church entertaining. I don’t think church should be entertaining, I think Church should be so warm, so welcoming, it should be a place that people want to go because they know that God is there.  For me as a Christian I believe it’s God that gives us life, like your parents they give you life and you should respect them as they’re your parents, and i think it is the same with God because he gives us life, we should show respect when we are in his house, and do everything we can to get to know him.

My dad had the first black Pentecostal church in Wales. Why I think it was easy was my father he always had big houses, so he must have been OK back in his country. Over here, when West Indians come here, they put them as labourers so they give them their titles. My dad was a stonemason. I said to my mother,  how did Dad buy his first house?

And she said, she was Jewish, I didn’t know my mum was Jewish until this day, so she said, what happened is your dad wanted to buy this house, but in them days they wasn’t selling houses to black people and they were like very funny, so my father wanted to buy this house and they didn’t want to sell him this house, and the man was Jewish, and my dad said to the man ‘My wife is Jewish’ , so thats how my dad was able to buy his first house.

So I said  to my mum, why did dad lie, sort of thing ‘cos I didn’t know, and she said well I’m Jewish and that’s how I found out we were Jewish. So the original Jewish people, they’re black anyway, they’re dark.  My mother never ever mentioned she was Jewish, she was really humble and calm and very loving, and I thought all women were like that, but anyway… she never mentioned it, she never needed to.  I think a lot of people in themdays didn’t know that the Jewish people were set apart by God, I don’t think a lot of people really want to acknowledge that, that

God chose the Jewish people and he put a special anointing on the Jewish people, I believe, and at the end times when Jesus comes back he’s gonna be sort of dealing with the Jewish people. As the bible calls it, the time of the Gentiles will be fulfilled.  There will be a time, I believe when God says  OK the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people have had their time, and as for the salvation of the Jews and then the non- jews come in, and then the non-Jews,  they were happy to receive it as cos God is here for everybody, he’s not here for the jews, he’ s not here for the black he’s not here for the white, he’s here for everybody and he always has been.  But he uses the line He uses the Christians to let people see him.

There was a time that God knew there would be a time when he had to be for everybody. So my parents when they came here as black people loving Jesus, people often talk about God but not Jesus, the people who come from the West Indies would come to our big houses, my dad always had big houses, and they used to stay there, cos a lot of people used to stay in the houses so it was easy, so a lot of people knew my parents. When I was younger, I felt like we knew everybody, there wasn’t a black person that we didn't know.

My dad used to drive down the docks, we used to go up the Valleys.

There’ s a story that I found out in the last say 10 years , cos I used to go to this church in Merthyr Tydfil, God sent me to the church so I ended up going to this church in Merthyr. The man that’s preaching in the church in Merthyr I was sure I’d seen before now my dad died when I was 13, so these people if I knew them I would’ve known them when I was really young.

I starts talking to this man, and he says I used to go to your dads church so we get talking and I go over his house and I meet him and then he introduces me to his brother. The brother is still alive, he must be about 100, right, so I’m speaking to the brother and he says I want to tell you something and he said I was a sextant  - now I didn’t know what that was, but that’s someone who works in the cemetery, looks after the graves, I think that’s a sextant - and he said after the Aberfan - the landslide in 1966 your dad come up and hes praying and everything here, and then he went to the cemetery, the graveyard and we were talking and he said to me, do you want a lift home,  so I said yes, and I ended up going back to your parents house having fellowship, having a prayer meeting, but then at some point your dad brought people up to wherever he was in Merthyr, and he said all the children come out to the van saying ‘Who are they?’ cos they’d never really seen black people before.

I remember we were a child I used to go to different places in the valleys and everything, and I used to think people were strange, they’d keep chickens out their back garden and all things like that.

I wish I would’ve listened more, because I wasn’t interested as a child you know, what big people are talking about, but I wish I’d listened more and learnt more about them and their culture and where they come from and things, cos Wales is so low for Christianity for revival.

My mother was born in Jamaica, but my mother was Jewish by birth, because it comes down the woman’s side.  Which means I’m Jewish by birth. I’m not Jewish at all, but by birth.
It helps you when you go to the synagogue or Israel cos when you say you’re Jewish  they don’t care you could be green, but all of a sudden you’re part of their family. Like when I was a child and I was in church with the black people, black people accept you as family, when I was a child I’d go to the houses and they’d feed you, they’d look after you. Some of the white people were like that, but if you’re a black person that’s just the way it was, you’re black and somebody comes in, you feed them. That’s what I remember.

[00:15:52]

I’ve got 2 sisters that were born in Jamaica, one has just died last year November we buried her in December. My older sister is alive now she’s in her late 60’s.

They were the only 2 born in Jamaica.  Like I said I’ve visited, my young brother has visited, a few of us visited Jamaica because I mean I don’t know, it's strange, as a child I got a Jamaican passport.   Now the reason I done that is because the police used to give me so much trouble, when you're black, you know, in them days you were different, you’re in a class of 30 and you’re the only black person. So I felt so uncomfortable, and so out of place I thought if I get a Jamaican passport, if people are rude and … to me, at least I’ll know I’m not a Welsh person.

Everybody has their thing and that was my thing, to help me cope. You’ve got to cope with things. If you don’t cope with things either you’re gonna kill people or they’re going to kill you.  I was never the sort of person to sit down and take rubbish, I never have taken rubbish.

My parents used to teach me everybody is the same, doesn’t matter if you’re white, red yellow, it makes no difference you’re all the same, God made everybody equal.

I used to be called all these names, all these words I don’t think they are even in the dictionary some of the names they used to call me. I used to be mad, it made me angry and I used to think to myself that if you want to think you can be cheeky to me, you better be able to fight me cos I will beat you, I used to think like that so when I was younger I used to have a lot of problems in school, a lot of trouble, you know, and Thank God if I had problems my dad would come to the school and talk to the headmaster. I used to get caned every day, I dont think a day ever went by from when I can remember going to school, until I was 14, I got caned every single day.

[00:18:20]

When I got older, when I was about 14, I used to be able to beat people so bad that they couldn’t cane me no more.

I used to say I remembered if there’ s trouble, the other person has got to be in trouble too, so they used to get beat so bad they couldn’t do nothing cos I used to say what about them? If you’re going to cane me, you’ve got to cane them. So that’s why I stopped getting caned.

But that’s the system, it’s strange, you have a mother, not all mothers, but most mothers, their children can do no wrong. So because the white people were them children, their children could do no wrong. I used to feel like they would try to beat me or cause me problems cos I wasn’t their child, different you know.

This year I think I found this out, the teachers were so worried about me, so frightened of me, that they used to ask the other children can any of them fight me, and if they could they could come in the class with me and if I caused any trouble they would keep me calm.

Well its funny right, I look back and when I was younger and I was wild I didn’t care, that was just how it was, but looking back its child abuse. if you hurt a child now, the parents would go to prison, but yet I was a child just like everyone else but I was black and I used to get beaten just because I was black.

I remember one time I was walking through Sophia Gardens in Riverside up by where I lived. And I was walking home and I was with one of my friends, he’s been in and out of prison, he’s a rough guy. We’re walking and there’s 2 police come up and get out of the car, and I said I’m not stopping because I’m just going to get in trouble.

So he stopped and I just walked off, and anyway they call me back, and they started talking, and my friend is a criminal, but they picked on me. He put his hand in my pocket and he squeezed me, so I punched him I did, the policeman, and then automatic, I didn’t think about it.

So he took me home to my mother and then I didn’t get in any trouble for it because he knew what he done. I got in trouble with my mum then, but it wasn’t good, cos I hadn’t done nothing, and things like that, I mean that’s just one.

I remember I got pulled over obviously my car plenty of times, I’d drive, stop, get harrassed, in the last 8 years, I dropped off my cousin in Llanrumney and I was driving back to St. Mellons and the police they followed me back to my house, and they pulled up behind me, obviously they knew who I was as it wasn’t that long ago they checked the license plate and everything, but I was in a bad mood because they followed me, but I was just really angry. So they come out the car, I used to keep my documents with me but I don’t no more. So they said to me have you got your documents, so I said no I haven’t got no documents, just give me a producer, so the policeman just looked at me and he could see how angry I was so he pulled out a producer.

[00:22:27]

I was in a bad mood, because we’re human at the end of the day, because when we’re young we don’t really understand racism, how deep it is or bad it is, we just don’t think deep, but when I got older  and I thought then,  when they picked on me and gave me trouble when I was a child, that’s the same as picking on a little white child, but because I was black they didn't care and they treated me like an animal. So when I look back as an adult, I think how can I as an adult want to beat on a little 6 year old or 8 year old. I think different now so its different now when I get stopped or when someone says something to me. I’ll think to myself why are you saying that? What’s the reason behind that?

I got married and had a family I was in London, and in London they understand the programme theres areas theres lots of black people, black and white people they mix and it’s not too bad, in certain areas they understand.

So I come back to Cardiff, my wife wasn’t well so I went to social services and the next thing I know they took my children off me. I went to them for help, and they took my children off me, and to this day I still haven’t got them back. I made complaints, they found social services done wrong but they still let them take my children. When I went there in 1998 there was no black people in the social services where I was in St. Mellons, so I made a complaint, so I said to them that I want to go to this one black social worker, and they waited until the court case was finished before they’d even look into it, and then they said no, we’re not moving you over there.

I mean this government, you get people that are OK, but the system is very very very racist, even today, not so long ago, I was talking to one of my friends, my white friend, and he said there is a lot of racism, they may not say it to your face but it’s still, y’know. So even though it doesn’t seem as bad and the only reason it doesnt seem as bad I believe, is because they are catering for everybody, homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender, all these sort of things, you can be anything now. And because of that they know they’ve got to be OK with black people.

If it wasn’t for all these feminist movements, be good to dogs, if it wasn’t for that they’d still be treating black people like animals. Because people are still people except now you have to watch yourselves if you say boo to a black man you’ll get in trouble with racism now.

When I was a child my parents used to wake us up in the mornings and we used to have to praise to God, and pray and all that before we went to school before we done anything,  You know my parents were very, very religious, you know, Christians, proper I mean proper.

On Sunday that was it you didn't watch TV or anything it was all pure Jesus from day start to day night. My mother used to tell me when they took us to church as babies and we would fall asleep in their arms.  It took a whole day, Sunday is church day, it was like that and I remember that we had to read the bible, and learn the lords prayer, and the 23rd psalms.

Our parents always taught us you do good, you do right,  you don’t steal, you don’t cheat, I don’t swear, I think I’ve sworn about 5 times in my life and the first time I did I was telling  a joke.

When I was a child I used to think white people were strange because I used to go to my friends house, and they drink, they smoke, they swear, they do what people do.

When I look back on it, but as a Christian and a person I do realise that people are people, but my generation we were treated bad, and the government allowed us to be treated bad, and I think thats the big difference now.  I’ve spoken to some people, and some white people and they see no difference, I used to find it strange, when I moved to London and I moved back, in Cardiff white people always seemed to talk down to me.  I realised that people were talking to me like a normal human being when I was older.

I was older, I was only about 18 when I left Cardiff in 1983, 1984, it was more racist, much more predjudiced, but now you can be whatever in fact, if youre a Transgender you probably get more respect than a black man, because this happens, people are people,  I’ve got nothing against people, I do personally think some things are wrong, but we can do wrong, because God will never say, well he won’t kill us for doing wrong. It’s just that when we die we’re going to have to answer for what we do, but people are people, and we’ve got to understand, why should black people treat white people bad, when we know what its like to be treated bad. We need to treat everyone with respect and love. That’s how we should be.

[00:29:45]

It’s funny, because  in Jamaica, our motto is out of many one people. And I like that. it’s hard to find a proper white person now I would say, as everyone is mixed.  I remember being in London and my friend saying to me this is the colour of the future, man, this is the colour of the future, and I said what do you mean and he said one day everyone is going to be like this, this is the 1980’s , and I thought, Come on, come on, but now I can see it, its good to mix, my father, I was speaking at a funeral, and I was speaking to one of the white guys who used to go to our church and he said, your father was into people mixing and he understood the importance. And he said he helped us when we were younger to start our  business and I’ll always be grateful for that as the business is still going and that was in the 70’s and he said yeah he was very equal.

My mother is Jewish, my mother was Olive skinned. My father was about my colour, I was one of the darkest in my family. In this country I feel like I was brainwashed, I went to school and I never, ever went out with a black girl until I was leaving to go to London and I went out with a very very light mixed race girl, because I didn’t like black people, I was brainwashed.

It’s really strange, there’s white girls who only like black guys, and I used to find that strange. But I was the same without realising, in school somehow I was brainwashed somehow I learnt that black people have big noses and big lips and they’re ugly and look like monkeys.

I learnt that from school somehow. Its strange, because I don't ever remember sitting in a class and them telling me that, but I know I learnt it from school, so I was prejudiced, or racist towards my own people.

Well I remember talking to one of my friends who is a year younger than me, but his brother is a couple of years older than me,  and he filled the bath with bleach trying to be white. It was really hard in them times, and people don’t understand. I’m the first generation born here, my father was from Jamaica, like the Windrush generation you would say, but we were the first born here.

You had the docks, and those docks people they were there for quite a long time and they were actually born here, their parents were born here they were dockers they were coming here for years, but ours, we were the Windrush generation, when we come, when we come to Jamaicans they’re nice people, but they don’t take rubbish.  You don’t tell a Jamaican you’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do this, its not easy for us, so there would be a lot of problems . I don’t like being pushed around,  its in my DNA, I can’t be pushed around. I was a bit different from my brothers and the people I went to school with because they didn’t mind being pushed around. I’m different, there is something in me that says I’m the same as you. who do you think you are, and if you’re going to fight me, I’ll respect you, but if you can’t fight me that’s it.

The docks people, when I grew up, they had their own army they all knew each other they all seemed to support each other, but I never used to go down there. I never used to go down there except when my dad used to take me in the van going to ask people to come to church.

We had an unwritten rule that if you saw a black man in trouble you go and help him, because there wasn’t many of us, that’s sort of how it was. It seemed like my parents, and their generation and my dad was a minister, they seemed to be able to go anywhere and be ok with other black people and stuff, but as the first ones born here, I found it strange, when I was younger, because we’re light skinned right? So the white people wouldn't accept you, just cos you’re black any type of black,  and the dark, dark, weren’t too cool with you either, cos you were like in-between in them days, you know? In Jamaica they called us redskins.

It’s  because then you’re taught that if you got any colour, you’re black, so you’ve got to be a black person but then the black people aren't cool, its a thing.

At the end of the day, I don’t think a black person would beat you up just because they don’t like the colour of your skin, whereas a white man would want to string you up just because you’ve got any tiny bit of colour. Some white people can see black even when you can’t  see black, I don’t know how they do that you know? But I know it happens.

[00:36:20]

I didn’t have much to do with Butetown until I was a teenager as there were some in my school.

When I was in school there were 2 black people in the A band.  I went to Fitzalan, and there were 2000 people, and  maybe about 75 were black, if that, like Indians or whatever.  Now  if you go to Fitzalan the role is reversed. I mean it’s changed, I’ve got children, even my children they tell me ‘I’ve experienced racism and stuff’ and my children are lighter again because my wife was white and stuff, so it’s just the system.  I don't think it will ever change because the white race still think they’re superior, and they just do. Even now, they still don’t see black people as on an even par do they? They just don’t. Even though it’ll get better and better.

I wouldn’t be surprised if its Muslim one day this country, which obviously I’m not really into, but, I wish that people could just live and support each other as equals.

I would stay away as much as I can from hot property.  I don’t like going places as I think to myself They see a black face and that's it. I suppose that's engrained from years ago, because obviously it's not all bad, it's not, you’ve got the black AM.

No matter what happens, black people are the underdogs.

I just stay away as much as possible, and try to keep in the background and just not get in anyone's face. And you’ve got to trust God as a Christian.

The Christian circle is slightly different because people realise that black people, we Christians, we carry something. Like the Jewish people had something in their day, the black people, the African race are fairly spiritual and people know that, so in the Christian circle the black people have sort of taken over a bit, because we have got it, and even in the city church which used to be the City Temple they’ve got a South American I think, he’s got colour, pastor now. And they’ve got a youth pastor Ricardo, who is a black guy and he was the first black guy  probably there, and for me I just think for myself yeah cool, so something is happening. Personally, as a Christian, you either trust God or what’s the point like, life is strange, you wake up, you have breakfast, you go to work, you get married, you have children and it’s just a circle isn’t it? Life is a circle.

[00:40:41]

If you’re born into a rich family, you might have money but it doesn't mean you’re going to be happy, and whether you’re rich or poor, one day you’re just not gonna be here no more so I just realise like if I’m not here, my spirit is going to live forever, I need it to be in the right place, and I know that’s with Jesus.

And thats not just in my culture because I was brought up Christian, see some people might think, oh it’s because he’s brought up Christian, umm no, its because I met Jesus, he spoke to me and I become a Christian.

I grew up in a Christian household, but I wasn’t a Christian. I always used to pretend cos I knew I was a wicked person and I knew I was a bad person and I wanted to be safe from one week to the next, so I knew all the bad things I done so I’d go to the front and I’d say ‘Lord forgive  me’ you know,  and I hoped that it lasted a week. I was just really bad.  If you do wrong you've got to pay for it in this life or the next like if you do anything that you do that is wrong like if you steal and you get caught, you can get in trouble, if you fight and you get caught you get in trouble, anything you do that’s wrong and you get caught you there’s a consequence.

So this life I knew I was doing wrong, so I just did that, said I’m sorry and asked for forgiveness but then Jesus spoke to me in a nightclub and I become a Christian and when I become a Christian I knew this Jesus who 2000 years ago dies and then is raised from the dead and speaks to his disciples is the same one who talked to me and I believe that so I know, it’s not because I was brought up a Christian, that helped me and it gave me a foundation and I thank God for that, I’m a Christian because I know Jesus myself. I’m not a Christian because of my parents, in the Welsh revival  when God visited Wales in 1904, there was a saying, it might have been before that there was a saying that God has no grandchildren, you’ve got to know God for yourself.

I didn’t know that, but I know God for myself, I’m not like a Muslims who’s grandad is a muslim so they are, or a Hindu who just follows God because they been there, they make the rain, they do this, they do that, no I’m the sort of person for who its got to be real. So if you're in front of me and I see you, I know you’re real, but  don’t tell me about your sister, because I don’t know if its real or you’re making it up, it’s got to be real to me, I’m that sort of person. Even though people think I’m crazy, which is OK I don't mind that, cos this crazy person when he dies he’s going to be with Jesus so I don’t care, it don’t bother me.

I think its not actually so bad now, because anything goes, except Christianity which is really strange, because in the old days if you talked about Jesus they’d put you in the madhouse, religious mania I think they used to call it.

If you go back in the old days, the proper born again Christians used to love Jesus, they used to burn them as witches and stuff like that, so people have always done strange things. But nowadays its cool to an extent to be a muslim, its cool to be a buddhist, I think buddhists are quite cool anyway, cos they just go round in circles and they do good, usually. If I was going to be any religion I’d be Buddhist, because Buddhists don’t hurt people, like some Hindus they come back and they do good. I’m into that, but Jesus is real which is the difference, so it doesn't matter what anyone is or what they know, I will only follow whats real. Give me the reality and I’m cool. If someone said they were going to slap me I wouldn’t believe it until they hit me, I’m that sort of person, worse than Doubting Thomas I am, y’know.

[00:45:20]

That’s what they used to do apparently, the men come first and then the lady come after, I think they used to come and they used to prepare the way, y’know to make it easier, that’s what real men do I suppose, make sure their wives are OK or at least that’s what they used to do.

‘Cos everythings changed, the worlds just gone upside down. If my dad woke up from the grave he wouldn’t think that he was in Wales, such a change, I mean everything changes but like wow! y’know, I mean my dads been dead about 30 years, and he wouldn’t recognise this country, he just wouldn’t it’s just such a change. Could be good, could be bad, a lot of good things have happened, like we’ve got the Millennium Stadium, theres a lot of people coming to Cardiff now, Cardiff is on the map now, so that’s good, but it’s such a change.

I would say, if I had to live my life over again, first of all what I’ve got to say is I wish I was a Christian earlier, that would be my main, so its good to seek out in your life, where you’re going to be in your next life, what’s your calling, why are you here? Its important for a person to study hard, be good to people, get on with people because even though everyone goes through struggles there are a lot of opportunities around now that wasn’t around in my day. We live in an age where you can be anything you want, in fact the more bizarre you are the more people accept you. So I tell a person to be true to who you are, be the person God has called you to be, and  always search for the church, I would say Jesus, that’s the advice i would give somebody I suppose.

Your colour doesn’t have to be a hindrance any more, in a lot of ways it can be an advantage, especially if you’re a black person speaking Welsh, because there’s a lot of opportunities, so study hard, I say study hard to my children, I hope they study hard, be faithful to God and try not to have too many different partners. Try to wait for the right person, save yourself, that’s what I would say.

I think it's really really relevant, as I wish now I would have sat down with my dad, or my dad had sat down and talked to me about what it was like, because my dad's generation, most of them didn’t pass on a lot of information. I think there’s a lot of illegitimacy in the West Indian culture, and I think there are lots of people who have family that they don't know about that have been kept secret. I think that because of things like that we don’t know a lot, there’s a lot of things that we don’t know that we should know, like I think there’s … i’ve probably got lots of cousins and family and stuff that I don’t even know about, and I wish I did know about because family is everything really, and sometimes you need support from family. They say blood is thicker than water, but it's good, you can confide in a family member, it’s easier isn’t it?

[00:49:47]

My mother was Jewish and I said to her one day I wanted to go to the Synagogue, cos when I become a Christian I wanted to …. when I was younger I wanted to hook up with my Jamaican self ; wished I was born in Jamaica … I wanted to be born in Jamaica I hated being born here, I hated this country, I was angry with my parents, why was I born here? and then when I become a Christian I realised then, ‘oh OK, cos God wants me here to help people’ and I like that. So I always wanted to be Jamaican when I was younger, because I didn’t know my mother was Jewish anyway, and even if I did know I wouldn’t have acknowledged it when I was younger, cos I liked the Jamaican, I liked how they talked, and how they are, they’re cool, their music, the reggae, I loves all that sort of stuff.

But then… I’m Jewish by birth but really I’m a Jamaican. It was easier for me to see myself as a Jamaican in this country because you’re so ostracised, you feel so out of place and all that that you need something to hold onto, and I used to hold on to my Jamaican-ness, even though I never went to Jamaica until I was older.

The first time I ever heard reggae music, not Bob Marley, I mean reggae music right? I felt like I had a hole and it was filled and it was really weird. People say they have that when they get saved, when they become Christians, but it happened to me, I just felt there was a hole there that was filled when I heard reggae music. And that was really strange for me, I just loved reggae music then, that was the 1980’s, when you had Eek-a- mouse, Yellow man, Stitches, all those people.

I wish my dad would’ve taken me to Jamaica when I was a child and explained things to me I would’ve loved all that, to have that, and this is for my children, to keep them interested, at least there is something there now, thank God for that.

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