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Dave Jackson. Windrush Cymru: Ein Lleisiau, Ein Straeon, Ein Hanes, 2019

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Trawsgrifiad o gyfweliad hanes llafar gyda Dave Jackson yng Nghaerdydd, yn trafod ei brofiad o dyfu i fyny o fewn teulu a ymfudodd o'r Caribî yn ystod y 1960au.

 

Dyddiad cyfweliad: 8th October 2019
Hyd cyfweliad: 40 mins

 

Rhan 1/3 [00:00:40]

[00:00:00]

 
My name is Dave Whiteley Jackson and I was born in Jamaica. My fathers name was Teddy Jackon and my mother Enid Williams.

 

Rhan 2/3 [00:29:59]

[00:00:00]

 

I remember everything, or most of it, about growing up in Jamaica as a child. I was brought up by my Aunt and Uncle, their names were Sidney and Leonora Walton. My father was a carpenter and my mother was a bookkeeper. I called them mother and father as they brought me up from when I was 18 months old. It was just me, but they had their own children. They had four daughter-in-laws and two sons, but they adopted me before they had any of them, they only had one daughter when they adopt me. In Jamaica I have many brothers and sisters, some of them I haven’t even met. I met the oldest one, but a few of them have died since I’ve been in this country. I was brought up by my Aunty and Uncle because my mother had a few children, but my Aunty only had one and didn’t think she could have any more. Because she was in a better position than my real mother and they were two sisters and very close, so my mother thought my aunty could do better for me than she could herself so she gave me to her. There was no pain, it was a very good move for my mother and for me. My real mother and my aunty both have died.

 
Growing up in Jamaica you had everything you wanted. People was poor, but we didn’t see that. It's only since I got older did I understand how poor Jamaica was. Over here, it’s too cold to go out, but in Jamaica you could go out in the fields, pick any fruits you want, grow your own food, so very different to here. It was stricter than here, but it was just to make you live better. In Jamaica you had to have respect for your parents, there were no buts about it! It was a good life.
 
I didn’t like school, but I used to go. My uncle’s brother was a teacher, so I got parachuted in. One of my other sisters went to school over there and I went to school with them but I rebelled against it. I was feisty, so I had a private tutor. All they used to tell you is ‘The streets of England is paved in gold’ so my uncle, he thought he would go to England to do better for his family. When he came here I must have been about eight and I didn’t come until four years later, my aunty came first with the four girls and left me in Jamaica, so I lived with my grandparents in Jamaica. She left for three years. He came when I was eight, she left when I was nine and then I came 3 years later. When I was with my grandparents I loved it! It was different, in Jamaica your grandparents are your main parents really, they are more like your parents than your real parents and my grandmother loved me so I had it real easy. Plus all my clothes and everything I had came from England, because every birthday, Christmas they’d send me parcels from England. I had it real good to be honest!

[00:05:20]
 
The decision to bring me over was made when I started to get into trouble. I was going down a bad road so that was the best thing they could do was to send for me, so the next thing I know they said to me was ‘you’re going to England tomorrow’. I knew they were going to send for me sooner or later, but I didn’t think it would happen like that. I didn’t want to come then because I had settled down with my grandmother. I traveled on my own by plane, on my own passport. I was old enough to have my own passport then. My older sister met me in Heathrow and I came straight to Cardiff. We were the only black family on my street and the only black family in my school.
 
When my dad came over it was after the war and Britain  was re-building, they needed people to help, bus-drivers everything. In school all they teaches you was St. George and the dragon, that’s the only history we know, and then we came. I was on the plane on my own, but the air hostess had to come and check on me, what was my name and who was meeting me at Heathrow. The food on the plane was new to me so I couldn’t eat that well my grandmother gave me coconut biscuits to give to my mother, and I ate every one of them! In those days the plane took about a day and a half. So I just ate biscuits all that time. I came in November, it was freezing, and frightening with the smoke coming out of the chimneys, all the houses in fire! In Jamaica no such thing as houses joined together, so imagine what it was like when I seen all these joined together with their own land, their own yards, it was frightening I just wanted to go back home to Jamaica. It was a culture shock for someone who is 12 years old.
 
[00:09:20]

I was wearing a hat, a suit, a shirt and a tie. Being a big boy - wearing long trousers! No coat or anything though. In Jamaica they had to give me so much money as we just had the same coins - pounds shilling and pence, no notes just the coins. I had to bring so much money from Jamaica. We were independent, but still pounds shilling and pence. I lived in Roath. It's snobby now, imagine how it was in 1968, you know Waterloo gardens and all that, round there.
 
It was hard then, I went to school, the only black family in the school there, I remember 1 boy and four sisters, and they’re younger than me, so I was in the big boys school, so it was all the names, coon, wog, I never heard those names before, in Jamaica you don’t see colour, you don’t see that. I got fed up with it then, this one time I got bullied, so my sisters told me to fight like I was in Jamaica. Mistake she made, because in Jamaica, doesn’t matter how old you are you fight. So I got a reputation then, leave that black boy alone he’s mad! I wasn’t mad I was just sticking up for myself but of course they didn’t fight like we fight in Jamaica, because in Jamaica if you fight one family you fight all the family! I wasn’t frightened of anyone but it just went from bad to worse then, I just lost the plot then.
 
I wanted to be a mechanic when I grew up but I got carried away with the life I was living. But if I had stayed in Jamaica I’d be dead now. I think Wales, Cardiff is the best place in the world. Everyone is so friendly and gets on, and of course I see racism but you don’t see it so upfront, not like London, Birmingham, Manchester. Cardiff is a lovely place, I love Cardiff. In terms of racism, some things are easier and some things are harder. I look at my children and grandchildren, but one thing I know about Cardiff, if you’re looking to do something for yourself, they’ll help you. My son teaches, my daughter too, one of my sons does IT for a big bank in London.
 
I found my footing, learnt how to survive. I was a ladies man. I have a few children. My wife save me, I haven’t been in trouble for 30 odd years now. I’ve been married for about 19 years now.

[00:15:40]
 
I have worked, but mostly on the fiddle, it was easier back then, don’t pay no taxes. But that’s how it was, you do the job and it was done. Black people had it hard. I can’t say all black people had it hard, but the people who wanted better for themselves, they got better for themselves. My parents done alright, even though they got a bit of racism, they had a chance, because they had the big house. Back in the day, black people would buy a house and they’d have everybody in the house, and they’d all save their money up. They didn’t like council houses, because in Jamaica there was no such thing. They really came to better themselves.
 
The advice I’d give my 12 year old self coming over is get an education! With an education you can do anything you want in this world. Because you do get the chance to do it, you get the chance to get a good job. Every kid should have a proper education, especially black kids. Anyone who comes here from foreign. But most of them don’t, they don’t come here for education. Some of them have, but some haven’t. But that’s life. We can only try.
 
It’s important for the next generations to hear these stories so that they know not everything they see or read is true because you watch the TV and see all these stabbings. Imagine them kids seeing that and thinking that’s the right way to live? Why do you want to stab someone who’s 14 years old and they haven’t even lived a life. I want to know where they get that attitude from, without much consideration about it. The young generation, it’s only now in the last 10 years, look how many black children have died and all because of what? All because I live there and you live here. That’s why, if you ever see me, I’m always on my own. I don’t mix in nobody's politics or business. Leave me alone, I leave you alone.
 

[00:21:20]

I used to live in Roath, but I developed a relationship with Butetown through girls. Tiger Bay is Tiger Bay, Jamaica is Jamaica. Tiger Bay was very racist towards Jamaicans, of course it was, because we were outsiders. Back in the day not many Jamacicans live in Tiger Bay. Mostly Tiger Bay was seamen. Jamaicans didn’t want to live in council houses, they wanted their own things, like their own backyard! If you’re from the Caribbean you’d know that. Jamaicans only come to Tiger Bay because it had all the reggae clubs, everything was Reggae, even though they wasn’t from Jamaica where reggae come from, it’s a black thing innit? So we gave them that. And they gave us their girls! But that’s how it was really. Jamaicans from all over Britain come to Tiger Bay because of the music and the clubs and the pretty girls! Back in the day, Jamaicans didn’t like mixed race people really, so we looked for black girls, a long time ago though, a very long time. It’s not the same anymore.
 
Some things have gotten better, some things have gotten worse. Knife crime, that’s one of the things that's gotten worse. You’d thought in this 20th century there’d be no such thing, but every day you watch the news and see who got murdered last night.
 
I've spent most of my life in Cardiff and I feel more Cardiff. Well Jamaican-Cardiff. Not British, Jamaican-Cardiff. I have many friends and family that come to Cardiff and when people come here they’re shocked, they didn’t know there was so many black people here, they just thought it was all sheep-shaggers, they thought Cardiff was just built up, as built up as London, except people don’t know it because they’re so naive to these things, all they see is London, they don’t see nothing else. Because it’s so nice and chilled out and easy, they don’t see police and sirens every 2 seconds. How often do you hear a siren in Cardiff? You go to London you hear one every second. Cardiff is good, I like Cardiff. I'm glad my kids grew up in Cardiff, but most of my children live in London now but they’re big now so they don’t get involved in all that ghetto business.
 
[00:26:25]

I’m very proud of my kids, they were brought up by their mother and I’m very proud of their mothers because they raised them, because I don’t think I could have given them what their mother gave them. 
 
Everybody know me in this town, believe me, everybody knows me. I think it’s because I’m a bully and I take care of myself. Because I speak to everybody, anyone, I don’t care what you are, where you come from, I’ll stop and talk to you in the street. I can talk to the rich people in the same way, I go to all the rich clubs and everybodys shocked. Forget about your money, manners and respect will get you anywhere in this world before money can. That’s why everyone knows me. No-one will have a bad word to say about me, because I don’t have a bad word to say about nobody, honestly.
 
My friend was going to write a book on me. But he wanted to make it into a film but I said no not for me, my friends a director see. He made a documentary called ‘Peas and Rice’, and I’m in it. My neighbour Gavin Porter, they video my wedding and all that and they did the film.

 

Rhan 3/3 [00:09:24]

[00:00:00]

 
My major challenge was to stop to know what I was doing. I used to be in prison all the time, for stupid things, never no serious charges and then when I got married, I just stopped doing it. Some of those sentences were because I was black, but that was back in the day and you didn’t look at it that way. It's now when I sit back and think about it, because people who are doing worse things now are getting lesser sentences than what we were doing. So for me it was about the colour, of course it was. But it’s just the way it was so you didn’t challenge it. Back then, who could we talk to about it? It’s not like now where, if you go to someone and say it’s racist, but back in those days, the judges were racist, of course they were, they weren’t really trying to get you off, they were trying to send you to jail, they were getting paid they didn’t care what happened but now it’s a different thing.
 
I can’t talk for the young kids these days but they should be able to balance it. If someone tried to do good for me and most of the time people try to do good for them, but because they’re watching too much TV, too much games they’re not seeing that. Honestly they’re like rap rap rap, they don’t understand that rappers are multimillionaires, but they don’t see that. They rap about anything because they can but they don’t see that. I think these days they started to see it but back then all they wanted to be was a big rapper, talking about guns and killing people, but they’re big rappers and have millions and millions of pounds so they can talk about things like that. So I believe it’s down to them, only the kids can help themselves. We can talk to the young people, but they will only listen to so much and after that they don’t listen.
 
The Government let the children get away with so much, that child abuse business they took it too far, it’s gone too far so if you’re my daughter and you swear to me, I can’t do nothing about it because they can’t take it, it’s not right. Say I’m your father and you answer back you would honestly get a slap for it. You couldn’t answer back or you would get a slap for it. If your fathers talking you don’t say nothing unless he’s finished. That’s the thing that messes kids up, manners and respect. Because if you don’t have manners for your mother and your father, who are you going to have manners for and respect for? It’s the only way to get forward, is with respect. You’ve got to respect who you are, what you are and what you’re doing. If you don’t then people won’t respect you.

[00:05:30]
 
I have never been back to Jamaica. The government won’t let me go back because they say, since I’ve been here all these years and I’ve done nothing for the country, but I’ve been here since 1968 and I haven’t been in trouble for 30 odd years. But because my criminal record goes way back so far and when I was filling the form out, I didn’t have anyone to say that I’ve changed my ways. I need someone to write a letter saying that they know me and that I’m a changed man then maybe they’ll give it to me. Because otherwise nobody will give me the cards. But I did attempt, but because I never read the form properly I just filled it in but I should have read it properly.
 
I do miss Jamaica, especially when I phone them in Jamaica. I lived by the sea and my house looked out right to the sea, the big cruise ships used to come where I lived, I used to dive off the wharf straight into the sea as a kid. Jamaica is the most beautiful country in the world, the tropical of Jamaica is more beautiful than here, the blue mountain, the best birds, the best trees, the best seas. It is very beautiful and so laid back and relaxed, they know they’re poor but it’s not in their head. Poverty is relative. But I’d love to go back, but the only way I could live there though is if I was rich, I couldn’t live there poor, I’d rather die in Cardiff.


 

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