Did you know that Kwame Kwei-Armah, playwright and actor, was brought up in Southall (west London, UK)? Perhaps the rest of the world did, but that little nugget has passed me by. I've never seen his name on any list of the 'great and good' of Southall. I spent an interesting half-hour in the car (yes, a borrowed car, many thanks dad-in-law) listening to him speaking about growing up in Dane Road following his family's arrival in 1962 from Grenada. He talks about the changing faces of Southall (from West Indian to Asian), 'white flight', and the 1979-80 troubles, some of which he witnessed from the front room of his house. He also tells some warm and affectionate stories about British West Indian (as it was then) life (with his mother's 'fire and brimstone' going on in the front room, and his dad's 'rum and coke' posse going on in the back) He's an articulate and frank speaker with much to say to anyone interested in society, identity and migration.
The broadcast is repeated again tonight at 21:30 on BBC Radio 4 or you can 'listen again' here.