The British Library

Sufian’s Story

This is a story about my dad.

My dad, like most South Asian parents from the 60s immigrated to the UK looking for better opportunities for them and for their future families. Once my dad had somewhat settled, he married my mum and brought her here from Pakistan. In Wales, my parents had me and my older brother and sister.
My dad worked as a businessman, selling clothes from wholesalers to his clients in remote regions of the Welsh valleys from whom going shopping for things like clothes was inaccessible. He would first go by bus taking his merchandise to sell, then he upgraded to a scooters,and then finally a small van. He would come home every night, get us to help him unload his van, and then in the morning to load it back up again. My dad was a hard working individual like many South Asian immigrants were at the time where they started their lives from scratch.

My dad never told us but I’m certain he faced a lot of discrimination and racism during his work in the vallleys where people were often hostile to anyone they saw as alien. He also found people on the other end of the spectrum too who weren’t friendly and welcoming, and he would often talk about his clients inviting him inside for tea.

He sadly passed away in 1996 when away on holiday in Marrakesh. I was 13. I remember him fondly for being a loving, caring father who worked hard to ensure his children got the opportunities to develop and grow in this country.

-Sufian, Ilford

© Yinka Shonibare, 2018 | Website by Hanna Sorrell