Abduhl Sheikh

Born: 10th March 1942

Nairobi, Kenya

Date of interview: 24th May 2006

Map showing where Abduhl Sheikh came from

How did you feel at this stage?

Awful. Depressed. That was the first time I'd come upon the racial prejudice that was in this country and the pressure was immense. People used to spit at you. People talk of racial tension here now. They know nothing of racism. Absolutely nothing to what I had to face. I got attacked. Spat at. Couldn't go into a shop, people wouldn't serve me ... there were times when I should pick somebody up and kill somebody. Dogs used to be set against us and I couldn't understand why the people called me Paki. I'm not a Paki. Why do they call me? I'm not black. Why do they call me black? Are they colour blind? I can't describe the feeling. I mean you've got to suffer this sort of harassment day in day out. Even kids used to come down and kick you. You couldn't do a thing about it. We go to the police. They threaten you. So what do you do. No friends. No nothing. It was something which I won't forget, but I learned a hell of a lot from that experience. I'm a person, if I decide to do something I will do it and I will prove that I'm better than you. This is the reason that I was the first prison governor, Asian prison governor in this country. The first one. Because somebody gave me a challenge as well, but we can speak about that later. But that time was tough and then of course, came the news after the strike was over and this letter came and would you report to Wakefield, er ... prison training school with a travel warrant, instructions and everything and what to carry what not to carry. So I spent three months there being trained.