Abduhl Sheikh

Born: 10th March 1942

Nairobi, Kenya

Date of interview: 24th May 2006

Map showing where Abduhl Sheikh came from

Can you tell me what your earliest memories are as a very young child?

Well basically living in an area where we had about three houses, one immediately next to us, no two next to us, one about 500 yards away, the next house was about a mile and a half and the other houses were towards the ... river, come stream, I would say, during summer time it would of sort of become a stream and during rainy season, short rains and long rains, it used to become a river.

Apart from that it was, I would say just plain wilderness, not forested wilderness. I mean Nairobi is not built on where there are forests. You get maybe some odd trees, and lots of game which occasionally used to pop into our yard and eat up any flowers or vegetables that we had grown, I mean no sort of wild animals like lions. We used to get the odd hyena but mostly gazelles, birds, guinea fowl ... an animal we used to call, we still call actually, Yellow Necks, resembles a partridge, smaller than a partridge though with a yellow patch underneath its neck. Very tasty bird, extremely tasty, size of a capon, more or less.

I mean in those days we were not, as you can imagine yourself, rich or something and there's no entertainment apart from once or twice a week the dancers used to come in dressed in the native costumes like, I wouldn't call them grass skirts, but skirts made out of either reeds, grass and with feathers around the waist and the headdress was that of a ... I can't recall the name of the bird, black bird about a foot long and the tail itself was about eighteen inches long, beautiful tail and they used to have a lot of those.

Radios came in later but only to those people who could afford them. Our family was one of them which was able to afford a radio and I've still got that radio it's a very old Bosch valve model, still works, that's right yes, it still works, in excellent condition. The programmes in our own languages used to come in the evenings for about an hour or half an hour with songs and news, brief news, the world news and people used to gather outside in our courtyard and we used to listen to the radio.

The kids played, not English games ... It's a game called gulli danda, it's a Punjabi sort of word. Basically it's a bit of a round stick which is about inch and a half this which is tapered towards both ends and a long three foot, four foot handle or a stick, ordinary stick, round stick. What you do is you dig a hole, a slight hole and then you sort of put your rod underneath it and you chuck it as far as you can. The idea of the opposing team is to catch it, if they catch it you're out and the next one takes over. If you don't catch it then it's up to you to go as far as possible.