Shaista

Listen to Shaista's story as part of The Making of Black Britain

By The Making of Black Britain

Shaista on Mother's Day (2017)The Making of Black Britain

Shaista was born in Karachi, Pakistan.
She's of Pakistani heritage.
She moved to Britain in 1995.
Shaista has since divorced her husband, put herself through university, and raised her family.

She was interviewed for The Making of Black Britain on 8th September 2021.

A portrait of Shaista (2022)The Making of Black Britain

Shaista recalls her earliest memory
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...Tomorrow is my dolly's birthday.

So yeah, these people came, and my grandfather said, my lovely grandfather, who lives still in my heart, loved me so much. I was the first grandchild. So he said, “What are you looking for? Just go and buy the cakes and the party things, there is a dolly's birthday today.”

Shaista explains how her family moved to Karachi
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I was born, the first sweetheart in the family.

It was actually a lot of tension of Hindus and Muslims in subcontinent. It wasn't before the British colony. But when, oh you will know that I'm so sorry to say, I live in Britain is bad, because this little island has a reputation wherever they go. When they leave, the whole country's gone like an ash somehow. What it is, I don't know. It’s history is telling me, I'm not.

Shaista, aged 7 months, 1972, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Shaista and her baby sister, 1976, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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A portrait of Shaista (2022)The Making of Black Britain

Shaista tells a story about her best friend
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Both of us can't live without each other.

So when she got burned, she started to scream, “I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning!” So her husband thought she was joking because she used to joke a lot, and never truth. But she used to say things and when you go inside, then you find out she's lying in a jokey way. So her husband didn't go inside.

Shaista, aged 8, 1980, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Shaista, aged 11, at her uncle's wedding in Karachi, 1983, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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A portrait of Shaista (2022)The Making of Black Britain

Shaista discusses her faith
00:00

Who would marry me now, I'd become a liability.

My father was very upset with me. My mother was very upset with me. I had so many, I was very beautiful, very well-dressed, and very modern women. And, of course, so many proposals for the family, and then the proposals going away because I become something else.

Shaista talks about how she met her husband
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He was a totally, derailed person in a way.

He had this idea that if I can marry to a knowledgeable woman, then my life would be changed. And I can't live with these women, I need to marry to a knowledgeable women. So, his mother was going Pakistan to do shopping for her niece's wedding. So he said, I like to go with you. And I like to find a woman for me, who is knowledgeable. 

Shaista talks about her marriage
00:00

God sent you, I know that.

He became more and more abusive, because he could lose himself. So he started hitting me, with the chair, with the things and that.. and I was tolerating that. So when you tolerate something, you're giving your hands to someone to come on, that's my neck - strangle me.

Shaista with her sisters (2021)The Making of Black Britain

Shaista (centre) with her two sisters, at a traditional restaurant in Karachi, Pakistan, 2021

A portrait of Shaista (2022)The Making of Black Britain

Shaista discusses responsibility within her family
00:00

Big family, big dramas, big problems.

So my grandfather and my father, and my old uncles, and they respect their women, they love their women, they nurture their women, and this is what women need. And this is what Adam actually, you know, treated Eve with, respect and love no matter what we do.

Now listen to Auntie Anne tell her story for The Making of Black Britain.

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