Views of some of my family

My mother was born in the Caribbean island of Jamaica in a town called Mandeville. She had a happy yet hard life. During the 1960s she, like many others in the Commonwealth had the opportunity to come to England. The intention was to stay for five years to earn enough money, get a profession and then return to her homeland. My mother made a new home in England, married, had six children. This picture shows my mother with her six children.

Below is a quote from my mother.

“I came here from Jamaica when I was 18 years old. I lived in East Bristol. I came here looking for work and my first job opportunity was in a sewing factory at the Co-op.

All I knew of my Afrikan heritage was that we were descendants of slaves. I did not even know much about that. So when my daughter began to show an interest in her Afrikan roots my emotions were mixed. I was born in Jamaica, I am a Jamaican, she was born here, she’s British. I don’t know why Beaula had any interest in her Afrikan heritage. When she first said she wanted to take part in the research I thought she was joking. When I realised she was serious I said, ‘if that’s what you want to do then I’m behind you’. I began to feel good and very excited. Looking back I am very happy and proud. On seeing the documentary for the first time I felt free! The chains have been broken. I noted a physical connection straight away when I saw a photo of the cousins.

My ambition is to meet the relatives in Bioko, face to face. What a day that will be!”

Below is a quote from my daughter, aged 16 showing her point of view about our heritage and our newly found ancestors.

“I was born here in the UK, in Bristol. My mum was also born here and my grandparents were born in Jamaica. So I guess that makes me a second generation migrant? I have always felt that England is my home and that my ancestors originated in Afrika but I did not know where on the continent. For the past 6 years my mum has been more interested in her roots and buying me more Afrikan-centred books. I read and took part in these activities with curiosity. Although I took part in a local Rites of Passage programme at 13 years of age, I didn’t feel a strong connection to Afrika. The connection is stronger now that I’ve watched the documentary and that I am able to pinpoint a ‘home’ on the map. When my mum came home one day, all excited I thought it was fascinating that through genetics the mother-line could be traced. I was learning a bit about genes, alleles and all that in biology lessons, so some of it made sense. I feel a need to trace my father-line now.

I would like to meet the relatives in Bioko, to see the Island through my own eyes, but I don’t think I would like to experience a trek through the rain forest as I’d be too concerned with breaking my nails!”

My daughter, being the only female of the cousins in her generation, carries the Bubi gene and will pass it onto her children.