Fleeing conflict

Marie-Udo-Affiav2Martha was born in Nigeria in 1960. Her mother was English and her father Nigerian. In 1967 she fled to the UK to avoid conflict. She describes how she fled the country with her mother and 3 siblings, leaving her father behind. 



In the late sixties there was a Biafran war, which I believe was the first war televised where you saw people actually starving.  I remember the lead up to that. I can remember distinctly sitting on the floor and drawing the flag of Biafra, and colouring it in and feeling quite proud and stuff like that. Biafra would have been if it had survived been a state surrounded by Nigeria so it was very - it would have been incredibly vulnerable.

We knew people who'd died in that war.

When we left it was, for us children it was very sudden. It was um, it took about I don't know, a month, six weeks for us to actually get out because the war had started so the easiest way to get out would have been to go to Lagos which was the capital and then fly out from there, but we couldn't do that so we had to -we had to do a circuitous route. And so we woke up one day, which in my mind is a Sunday probably was not a Sunday but we kids woke up one day and mum had packed two suitcases for her and for us four kids, and said "We're leaving, we're going to England." And when it was time to leave we found out, you know when we'd had breakfast, we found out that dad wasn't coming with us.

and so we left dad and we left our dog, whose name was Bess, and we had a deer, which um, we'd rescued, we came in three landrovers, there was our family, and there was another family and a couple of single guys and we drove - I think the first place we drove to was on the coast and it's called Port Harcourt and we stayed there for a month, grandpa was there, and we stayed with grandpa and Edith, and you could hear gunshot, you could hear gunshot in the distance.

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