The British Library

Elsie’s Story

My story is written in my Mother’s story... she came to this country from Nigeria with just my sister and the clothes on her back. Her Husband at the time who was studying in London and she too began to work so that she could gain an education for herself. By the time their visa has ran out my mum was expecting her second child - my older brother - however rather than go back to Nigeria and resume life as a housewife, she decided that she would stay here and build a life for herself.

It was a struggle of course, because her then husband left and went back to Nigeria and she had to work 2 jobs whilst studying. At times it brought out the best in her - handmaking books for my siblings telling Nigerian Fables and etc....and it also brought out the challenging of decisions - putting my siblings in temporary foster care whilst she could earn money....

Long story short my dad came into their lives shortly after as he was a teacher at the school my mum sent by sibilings. I’ve read diary entries where my mum talks about the long walks they took together under star filled skies - cute. At this point immigration caught on to my mum’s overstay and they began threatening to deport my my dad (a countryside Englishman) offered to marry my mum - great.

Except immigration still threatened to deport my family - enter Plan B - me.

The End

-Elsie, London

© Yinka Shonibare, 2018 | Website by Hanna Sorrell