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Searching for my Slave Roots

Malik Al Nasir

2020

As told to and Ed Thomas: The poet Malik Al Nasir has been on a journey to find his roots as a black Liverpudlian. It's a journey that has taken him back in time and halfway around the world, before returning him right back to the city where he began. Malik Al Nasir was watching a late night show and saw a black Victoria footballer. His name was Andrew Watson - the same surname as his Dad. Andrew Watson, the Victorian footballer was from Demerara in Guyana, just like his father. [Malik changed his name from Mark Watson after converting to Islam]. Age 9, his father died. His mother couldn't cope and Malik was put into care where he was severely physically and racially abused. He left school and care without qualifications. Then he met Gil Scott-Heron who became his mentor and changed his life. Gil Scott-Heron once said to Malik: “If you don’t know where you come from, you won’t know where you are going. You have to study your history.” He did this, starting with the footballer the first historical black role model he could be proud of. As Malik began to research his ancestory, he discovered not only were his ancestor's slaves but he was also related to the slavery owners. Malik is now at Cambridge studying for a PhD, researching Sandbach Tinne and the role it played in the slave trade.