I grew up near Sandwich, Kent and attended Sir Roger Manwood’s School before leaving home for university, whereupon I met and married my wife Wahida. After 12+ years in London, we now live in Berkshire with our children, 11-year-old Sonny-Raphael and 8-year-old Imani.
It is not lost on me that I grew up with the luxury of a fairly comfortable, even privileged upbringing. I was aware of it growing up and my parents were careful in regard to how this influenced the attitudes and behaviours of my sister and I. We lived geographically close to the continent, and my school was half boarding, half day, which meant that overseas children attending as boarders brought with them a significant amount of diversity (of background, nationality, religion and race) to my day-to-day life, so much so that I grew up quite unaware of the tensions in society that these differences are capable of influencing. On the other hand, my wife grew up in an altogether different situation as an immigrant Indian via Kenya, living in Leicester. Her experiences of racism whilst growing up in the UK from the age of 3 has given me a radically different perspective of how life can be in less overtly privileged areas in a country like the UK. Our children are obviously of mixed British/Indian/African ancestry and preparing them for adulthood with the awareness and empathy of what this means for them – and for others who may be more or less privileged, and more or less empathetic than they are – is really important to us.
I grew up in the UK, save for one year where I lived in France during my time at university. Life was generally good – dominated by sport in our family, which suited me just fine.
Curiosity, hard work, determination, empathy and awareness.