Focusing on African migrants in Scotland’s largest city, ‘Glasgow’s African Tales’ explores memories and stories of African cultural traditions and the ways in which migrants sometimes struggled to keep those traditions alive in a new land.
Post-war labour shortage
Actively encouraged by Britain to ease the post-war labour shortage, it is almost 70 years since African migrants began to arrive on our shores in relatively large numbers. They accepted jobs in hospitals, transport and hospitality and quickly became part of Britain’s post-war social history.
It was important for the whole team to appreciate the complexity of African traditions, which is understandable since the continent contains 54 countries and where, collectively, there are an estimated 1500-2000 African languages and dialects.
Focusing on migrants who settled in Scotland’s largest city, ‘Glasgow’s African Tales’ explores memories, stories and artwork of African cultural traditions and the ways in which migrants sometimes struggled to keep those traditions alive in a new land.
Volunteers from across Glasgow’s ethnically diverse population received professional oral history training and were supported to digitally record interviews with Africans living here. The main aims of this cross-generational project were to record, communicate and celebrate African migrants’ rich, vibrant culture and heritage, and to discover ways in which these can be used to promote mutual interest and understanding between generations and across ethnicities.
We are indebted to our funders and national lottery players, and to project organisers, volunteers and respondents, for coordinating the project’s many activities, recording testimonies, and sharing personal stories and memories.
These testimonies have been, and will continue to be, shared and promoted through a range of events and activities, and on a unique bespoke website.
We are also grateful to the African and Scottish artists and photographers who gave permission to use images of their work in this publication.