Somali Elders

Discussion in 'History' started by madamelioness, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. madamelioness

    madamelioness

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    A few excerpts from the book Somali Elders; Portraits from Wales.

    Fascinating and inspirational stories...


    1. "I was born in 1925, near Hargeisa. My father died when I was young and I started work at a very young age. I used to support my mum. I worked in the market, selling homemade cakes and other odd things. I bought a truck and used to deliver goods between Somaliland and Ethiopia. I left Somaliland in 1948, after I lost my car. I came to Cardiff and, after a few months, as there were no jobs, I moved to Sheffield, where I worked in the steel industry. I left Sheffield and moved to Birmingham, where at first I was a labourer and, after evening classes. I got a job in GEC (The General Electrical Company) in Birmingham, where I worked for 20 years. I got married in Somaliland to my wife in 1962 and brought my family to Birmingham in 1965. My wife was the second Somali wife who settled in this country. We moved to Newport and then to Cardiff. Most of my children were born here and have a good education. My son is a Housing Area Manager in the Welsh Valleys."


    2. "I was born in Hargeisa in 1940. I came to this country in 1959 to join my uncle, who used to own a coffee shop and a casino in Sheffield. I used to help him and also attend college part-time to study book-keeping and accounting. My uncle's name is......and they used to call him " I Tea", as when he was new to the country, he went to a coffee shop with his two friends and they ordered two cups of coffee and he said; "I Tea." I joined my uncle when I finished my formal education in Somaliland; I wanted to study further. I was in Sheikh High School, where the elite society of Somaliland used to go. Two the previous Somaliland presidents graduated from it. I finished my schooling in 1958 and worked in a spare parts shop for cars, which was owned by a British company. I was the day cashier for a few months.


    After I left my uncle, I worked in Blackburn, in a factory and also as a crane driver in Birmingham and Derby. I also worked as a fitter's mate. I worked with a construction company, which used to lay underground cables and also overhead electric cabling. I was charged with filling in the forms and doing most of the paper work. In 1969 I joined the Merchant Navy; my cousins advised me to go to sea, I got married in 1973 in Hargeisa. I have 12 children. My eldest son graduated from Cambridge and has a Masters degree in physics and my other son graduated from Imperial College, London University, where he studied to become an oil engineer. My daughter is graduating from Cardiff University. I also have another son studying chemical engineering at London University. I left my last ship in 1988 and have not worked since then,"


    3. “I was born in Hargeisa in 1934. I attended Quranic School in Hargeisa and when I finished, I started at Rhys Primary School (name after the Welsh governor who opened it). When I had finished, my father send me to Aden, Yemen, as the teachers at Sheikh Primary School refused to let me start the school, as I was too tall, so they said. In 1955, I left Somaliland and started at a private school in Aden, which was owned by an Indian man. My education was in English. When I was there, I heard there were jobs going at the British Petroleum company in Edan and I left my schooling and started working there. In the same year, I left to go to the Gulf state and Qatar, where I worked with a contractor company owned by a man called, Al Darwish, who used to have contracts with BP and after a few months, I worked for BP as a clerk. As Somaliland was preparing for independence, I was afraid that I had to do military service if I went back and I finally took an aeroplane and landed at Heathrow Aiport, London., on the 16th of June 1960. I left London and went to Birmingham, where there were some more friends that I knew. On 26th June 1960, Independence Day, there was a huge party in Sheffield to celebrate and I went there. I ended up staying for a month and started a job as a packer with the Bachelors Peas Company. I then went back to Birmingham, where I worked with GEC (The General Electric Company) for 5 years. I also worked for ICI Factory as a shearer (steel cutter) for a year. I came to Cardiff in 1966 and started a job at the Powell Radiators factory on Penarth Road. I left there in 1970, as I injured my finger. After a few months I started another job with Multi Health Plant, a National Coal Board Company, as a packer. I became a Merchant Seaman in 1974 and boarded my first ship on the 16th May 1974, it was called “Cape Nelson.” My last trip as a seaman was in 1988, I got married in 1975 in Cardiff to Halima, whose father was from the Yemen and her mother Welsh,. She passed away in 2000. I have two daughters. “
     
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  2. cantspeak

    cantspeak

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    Fascinating. We know for a fact that one of elder's children became successful. I wonder about those other Elder's kids.

    I also wonder if they identify as Somali anymore or have fully assimlated into welsh society.
     
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  3. merka

    merka ʏᴍᴏʜɢɪ

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    They still consider themselves Somali. There's a strong community living in Wales, probably the best Somali community in the West.
     
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  4. cantspeak

    cantspeak

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    I've never met a Welsh Somali, they must have a tiny number of them or they all just prefer to stay in Wales. They probably are the best.
     
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