Shanti

Listen to Shanti's story as part of The Making of Black Britain oral history project.

By The Making of Black Britain

Deepa at home with her parents, Hatfield (2018)The Making of Black Britain

Shanti is of Indian Heritage. 
He was born in Kenya and lived in Uganda until 1972 when his family were forced to leave. 
He first met Diane Louise Jordan, the founder of The Making of Black Britain, in 1973, when they both worked at a local store. Shanti lived next door to Diane’s mum.

Shanti was interviewed for The Making of Black Britain on 4th August, 2021.

Shanti, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Shanti discusses leaving Uganda
00:00

In 1972 we had a problem in Uganda with Idi Amin.

Nearly 29,000 people, right, left the Uganda last moment. We left because, we had the house and everything in Uganda and we have to leave everything there. Right. They don't allow us anything to take it with us, only they give us a few things to take it, and they don't give you much money. Right. And they give me only to leave the Uganda five pounds, 90 days. 

Shanti and his wife, Tara, on their wedding day (1965)The Making of Black Britain

Shanti and his wife (centre) on their wedding day, 1965

Shanti, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Shanti discusses arriving in Britain
00:00

I came here in 1973.

We are safe. And they give us everything. They give us food. They give us accommodation for days. They asked some clothes, they give us some clothes but you want what else do you want? And they look after us. They give a breakfast proper morning. They give a lunch, they give the dinner. What else do you want? Your health was okay. 

Shanti (1973)The Making of Black Britain

Shanti, after coming to Britain in 1973

Shanti, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Shanti talks about discrimination at work
00:00

After 10 years, they don't give me any raise.

I'll say to them, if you don't give me raise, you are going to lose me. And this time there was a little bit... 
After 10 years, I left the job. I had a job in a market, fruit and veg market in Western International Market. I work for somebody else. And after just work only for three months, in fruit and veg market, and suddenly they call me back. 

Shanti (1996)The Making of Black Britain

Headshot of Shanti for work, taken 1st September, 1996

Shanti, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Shanti talks about learning English
00:00

I know how to speak, slowly, slowly.

I learned everything. Right? Same thing in Africa. When I was young, I don't but some people speak in the language in Swahili, right? Every language, we learn from there, right? We understand something. You come here in this country, you learn something. What they say, and how to teach how to speak, how to behave yourself, we learn everything slowly here.

Tara, Shanti's wife and Deepa's mother, 1965, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Deepa, aged 7, 1980, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Shanti's wife, Tara, and his daughter Deepa (aged 7)

Shanti, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Shanti discusses faith and death
00:00

I have to look after God and God look after me very well.

We have to be respect everybody. Nothing belongs to you. Money is nothing, respect is more than money. Even you’re a coloured lady, and I’m Indian, right, doesn't make me different. Only different with the colour. Exactly the same thing. I’ll tell you one thing, if you take your blood and my blood you can't make separate. If you mix the blood, you can’t make separate. All have the same thing. If people understand, not get a problem.

A portrait of Shanti (2021)The Making of Black Britain

A portrait of Shanti, taken after he told his story as part of The Making of Black Britain oral history project

Credits: Story

Listen to Shanti's daughter Deepa talk about her life as part of The Making of Black Britain.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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