Oral history of Nigerian immigrants from the 1940s-1960s

Photo of a child

Heritage Grants

MANCHESTER, North West
Afristar Foundation
£8200
This project captured the unrecorded and less well-known experiences of the Nigerians who came to Manchester between 1940 and 1960.

In the 1940s, David Emare left everything behind in Nigeria for a new life in the UK. 70 years later, after a lifetime of ups and downs in England, he still owned the pair of shoes he wore during the voyage.

His shoes were one of a series of objects, photographs and memories that were uncovered by Afristar Foundation during their National Lottery Heritage Fund project in 2015.

Afristar Foundation are a Manchester-based organisation which provides support and activities for young people with learning disabilities, particularly from BME communities.

Afristar felt that while stories of migration from Africa from the 1960s onwards were well known, the experiences and personal memories of some of the founders of Manchester's Nigerian community, who arrived between 1940 and 1960, remained hidden and undocumented.

The project recorded the memories of key individuals, most aged 80 upwards, and collected a variety of personal items relating to their journeys such as photos and immigration documents. An exhibition and documentary film were created and showcased at the Manchester Histories Festival 2016.

Members of the Nigerian community are proud that these early memories are safely lodged in Archives+ at Manchester Central Library. In particular, the project recorded the memories of David, aged 102, who passed away shortly after its culmination. This brought home the need to capture stories like these before they are lost forever.   

To watch the film please visit the project website.

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