Performance. Personality. A portrait by Jordan B. Minga

Performance, Personality, A Portrait, with Jordan Minga, in conversation with Larena Amin and Meera. 

Part of the department of Unruly histories by Meera Shakti Osborne.

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Audio transcription:

Meera: The audio piece you are about to listen to is titled Performance, Personality, A Portrait, and is by the artist and poet Jordan Minga. This work is part of the Department of Unruly Histories, which is a project ideated by myself, Meera Shakti Osborne. This work is an exploration into growing up in Southeast London, food, parks, gentrification, belonging, poetry and music. This piece includes Jordan's own original poetry and his music, discussions with Jordan, Larena Amin, and me.

Jordan: Performance, Personality, A Portrait I'm Jordan Minga, and, to explore identity, I've used different means and mediums, music, instruments I've learned to play, and writing. Kind of - means of expression to understand myself and seeing how that expresses and paints a picture for the world in a portrait. *Echo*

Jordan: Cool. Okay. I’ll read this first piece, which is called, When I Saw You

*Jordan reads his poem to a dreamy harmonica and soft-beating djembe*

We saw the beast

A weapon in your front Pocket

To be used when

hope isn't an option

For some, violence is freedom

Let negativity take root in your words


In my past

Before I had a tongue

I had hands

Now I have damaged hands

And a tongue

I hate you

You made me better

I hate better

I hate better like butterflies

cocoon in winter

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Segment my life

Childhood, kidulthood, adult

Doing what you can!

To succeed

is to be in recognition of action

To direct my impact

In the life-long influence of

Influencing long-lost friends

Out of demonic battles with paigons

Seek relief in the light of life

Sit in meaningful

Wholesome moments

Lovingly shared

Never forgotten

short term

long term


Stay with me

Forgive me.

Your name doesn't matter.

Your name doesn't matter to me

Whether your name matters to anyone

Your name doesn't even matter to you

Whether your name,

Whether your name,

matters to your mum?

Where did your name come from?

Is a question; small talk loves

Is it worth a sorry?

If I didn't think to invite you

if I didn't think to invite you

I Apologise,

your name just didn't matter


your name just didn't come to mind

See your face in my memory

I can't believe it!

I didn't think to ask your name.

What is your name?

When you sense the effort

In my voice

That is how you know we are friends


I see you

we both know each other

Your face. A picture in my head

We must have met before?!

Close acquaintances

We hang out most nights talking bullshit

Smoking loud without

an open window

We turned your bedroom into a hotbox

Bagel king. 3 am. we went out for snacks

For the sake of having the munchies

it was a big portion

Watching another YouTube video

we finish the food

Softly dipping into a 2-hour nap

Until morning light.


Slaps me on my cheek.


Half dead, the zombie walks

Stumbling half-dead,

halfway home at 6 am

Kicked out of a friend's house

Walking through an empty

east street market

walking south; Burgess park

walking home; Peckham.

Take a meanderer

Place him on a hill

Let them stand or sit

Sun rays, Sunrise illuminated

A dazed young man ruminated

If I fixate on you

In my mind, your name is perfect

We all want to say, "I am here."

Remembering someone's name is the best way to say

"I remember you."

Meera: I was listening through the headphones and I could also hear this music in the background out the window, and it's so, so nice to be able to hear something like that here in this area, which is where this feels like this location is in the middle of the geography you're like talking about.

Jordan: Oh yeah, like 

Meera: Burgess is behind us...

Jordan: Yeah. It's like towards East Street Market - the other side basically. Yeah.

Meera:  East Street's there. 

Larena: Bagel King’s there. 

Jordan: Yeah! There we go. It's very geographical.


Jordan: Remembering someone's name. Cause there was someone who I couldn't like, like then I knew them for a little bit of a while and it's like, I just couldn't remember their name. So it was like, okay, like me going through the process of like, why would I even? Because I can remember being in year nine, I just didn't, I didn't actually, like, care to remember people's names in secondary just because it was like, okay, like you'll kind of just, people I hang out with at lunch time. But then it's like, it's funny ‘cause they caught on, it was like, okay fairs, and it's like, I didn't actually understand why it was good to remember people's names. And it's just like, okay, when you remember someone's name, it's how you can say, oh yeah, like, this is how I remember you. Like that's, that's a pretty easy way of doing it. 

Larena: Whilst you were at secondary school and not remembering these people's names, were you making a conscious effort to remember people's names outside of your school?

Jordan: It's like, I can remember my brothers’ names and then it's like, I can remember my cousins’ names, but then it was like, it was one of those ones was like, I remember their faces and I can remember, okay, I can walk up to, I could chill, and we could do stuff. But then it was like, oh, like that level of importance just didn't… Like even then, I think it was just like, oh, like, ‘cause everyone knew each other's names. It was like, if you don't, if a name didn't come up again in conversation, it's tough. And plus, when you're going to school with people, it's like after the first interaction, it's like I learn something in the same classroom as you and I hear it on the register. I might just not ask what your name is again.

 This poem is called Growing Process.

*Rain sounds*

*Harmonica and djembe*

Process of Growing

Growing to process.

Growing is a process I am going to process; trauma.

The mixture. An odd texture

Take a spoonful

Just a lick of my mind.

Let my chemical factory

Taint your senses

Spend the day tripping in my shoes

Right Hand / Left Turn / Bold Move

The way we fold up clothes.

Pick up / What you put down.

What do you want to wear tomorrow?

The bags we carry.

Left behind us.

Broken straps.

The backpacks we are forced to carry

Sewn up like no lips

let the patchwork shield save us.

My mother was a hoarder.

I grew up in her mess.

The things she was forced to carry home. 

The mess I make is unbearable.

She took me home

A burden / A mistake / A gift

The things we are forced to take home.

My mother was a hoarder

I grew up in her mess

Static-like broken glass

I grew up stepping on broken glass

I break abandoned beer bottles on the pavement.

To break the silence.

You have to break the silence

To bear the silence

A life lived alone

More time folding clothes 

I can describe my bedroom as an organised mess

I am, as we all are, a work in progress.

Jordan: It's more or less just like... I remember ‘cause ah, like I was born around the like the, ‘cause like December 11th is like my birthday. So it was like, oh, like I was born around Christmas. So I've always thought about like, me being born was like, okay. Like, cause I was also like, I came out early as well, so it was like, in that way I've always thought okay I was a little bit of like a surprise. I was like a surprise little present before Christmas, which was nice. And it's just like, okay, like factoring that into, just like, you never know what you are gonna get when you bring like a little person home because you have to grow that person as well. But then it's like, it is a bit of a burden ‘cause you, like, of course, like you don't know when it's gonna come, but then you kind of expect it to arrive and then it's like... you've got all this new responsibility and it's like, okay, how do you handle that new responsibility of maintaining this individual to a certain degree? And I'm just like being brought home like, ‘cause I've been in like the same house for like my whole life in a way. Well definitely my whole life. And it's like, oh this is where I've been. It's kind of funny as well because I've grown up in like council housing. So it's like, I think cuz at the time my mom had moved up from Dulwich so it's like they had more rooms. They moved to Peckham because, less rooms. I think there was like one for my mom, one for my two brothers. I mean one, one like three, like a three bedroom house. And it's like, okay, I could tell that like I wasn't really that expected because it's like it's a three bedroom. She wasn't expecting for us to share a room. So it's like, okay, I was a bit of a surprise though, so it's like, I kind of like factored that into my thought process as well. Like where do I kind of fit in? Or at least how have I found my way to fit into the family fold.

Larena: Has your way… if you've had ways of fitting in or thought processes of fitting in, have those changed in different periods of your life?

Jordan: Oh, definitely. Cause the eldest is somewhere in his thirties and then my other brother's like 24 or something around now. But like he's got severe special needs. So like I've also had to take a role as like a caregiver since I was younger. Kinda like maintaining ‘cause it's like he was, he had, he, he needed a lot of support and it's like mom had to work a lot and then my brother, like he comes and he's quite supportive as well. But at the same time it's like having to balance, having to do other things and doing what we want to do is kind of difficult. It's like I'm there ‘cause...Yeah. It's like, if my mom isn't there or my brother isn't there, like, I'm also there as well and I'm able to help out. So it's like kind of like fitting the three of us in, in the support of like my other brother.

Larena: You seem in, in the poem and also obviously in the, in the questions we're asking you now, it almost, you know, well before you just told us what you've told us. In my head, I thought ‘ask him what it means, what, what does parenthood mean to him?’ Because you're not a parent, and yet you seem to have such an intrinsic understanding of it as if it's a personal experience. And now you're kind of, you know, you've told us that caregiving, regardless of your relation to this person, whether or not they came from you is like a, it's a, it's something anyone can grow to experience or, you know, it be a responsibility that comes to them due to their circumstances. So parenthood seems to have different faces and different ages and circumstances for you.

Jordan: Definitely. It's like I was reflecting on a lot recently where it's like some people don't expect to be parents. Like, so it takes them by surprise. 

Meera: There was a line in your poem "tripping in my shoes." 

Jordan: Oh yeah. Tripping in my shoes. Oh yeah. Okay. I can go backwards . Yeah."Take a spoonful, just a lick of my mind. Let my chemical factory taint your senses. Spend the day tripping in my shoes." 

Meera: When I heard that, I was like, it didn't feel like I was a young person. It felt like, yeah, almost like a mother. You're speaking from a place of knowing that.

Jordan: Exactly. And it's weird because like you go from a place of, cuz you have to understand the person you're taking care of to actually take care of them. I remember around, I think it was before year one, but like after nursery, so like reception time. So that kind of like, that was around a time when I started to understand a little bit more of like my brother's special needs to where, ‘cause he was talkative at some moments, but he did a lot of like echolalia so it was like repeating and it's like, I used to talk to him a lot and then those times where I'd ask him stuff and he wouldn't necessarily answer me. So he was like, oh. Like, what's the, what's the break there? I didn't understand what his difference was. And then like me understanding, okay, he's not as able as I am. It was almost like appreciating the difference to where I'm able to do this, so how can I? But even then, it took me a long while to, to fully actually understand it. ‘Cause I don't, I had a loose understanding to where I can understand his difference, but I couldn't really factor in every single thing. So I was like, as a little brother, I was a lot harder in some moments and it's like I can see now that, alright, maybe I shouldn't been a little…oh… but then like, cause I was also a young person as well, so it's like, Being that saying, trying to figure out what to do, it's quite hard sometimes. 

Meera: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And in your poem you read like, I'm in a process. I am, I'm progressing. Was that..

Jordan: Oh yeah. It was like… “So I can describe my bedroom as an organised mess. I am, as we all are a work in progress.” Like reflecting on the rooms we stay in a lot like our bedrooms, if they are messy, it means like a bedroom could be a reflection of your mental space. And it's weird because like, like I've grown up sharing a room, so it's like, okay, half my room will never be what I want it to be. And it's like in ways sometimes you just have to like ignore those bits and do what you can with what you can control. Folding clothes, making sure things are neat, but there's always like a pile in the corner. It's like it's organised, but it's still kind of a mess. And it's like as you use the things, like it just gets more messy. So it's continuously just folding clothes, making sure things are in place, and then kind of like you have to have and organise a mess to actually function, ‘cause you can't spend time just cleaning everything up all the time.

Meera: But also you gotta accept the things you can't change because half of the room isn’t yours. Which I think is a metaphor for life. There's lots of things in life you have no control over. 

Jordan: Yeah. You can't like control your building block. Yeah. Cause like with like my own brother's disability as well, it's like, I think he was normal for like two years and then age two, like he started going to hospital a lot more and then things kind of like, the complications kind of, yeah. It kind of like amplified that difference. And it's weird to where now he's, he's at a state where like seeing him as myself as well. It's like, oh, I could have been him, but then I'm not and I'm more able, but then what's the difference? I've never actually really thought about the difference in our own ability because like he can read and he can write and then he can do things, but then it's like the level of communication is that I never actually know what his true ability is, or at least what he gives me.

This poem is called The Burgess.

*Harmonica and djembe*

I want to go outside

Sometimes I don't want to sit down

I just wanna chill with my guys

I just want to walk around

talk for a bit

have a bit of fun

Remember when days were fun

Now things are funny

I don't know how things got to this

But I don’t know why

Walk around

Always do walk around a lot

Quality time is the best thing I share with my people

I don’t know a lot of people...

I know my friends...

I think I know my family.

But...I’m the youngest of the family

So... how could I say I know my family

when... I'm the last to get here

Sadly not the first to leave

Still can’t breathe, but we’re learning

Yearning for a path

Sometimes the brain thinks in ten steps

Prone to overstimulate, so we pause and reflect

In younger years, was the grass greener?

You... could... only... wonder

The walks, the runs, the trips with my brothers

empathy with a good vibe

Dream of the day

when a bus ride was only a backdoor away

A 2 pm meet by the lake

then down to Camberwell for a pizza wrap

I think about that!

Some situations... more worse than most

Doing our best to think about tomorrow

Making due is a key skill of the modern day

yesterday feels years away...Yet...

I... don’t even want to think about tomorrow

deadline after deadline after deadline

Born inner-city youth

conditioned me not to waste time

but I don’t love spending it online

trapped myself in a system of doing

only because I was told, “everyone else does.”

some situations... more worse than most

I look at my hands sometimes

thinking about the problems of the world... I judge myself

What highlights your life?

How deep is your character?

Who were you when you decided to change?

The questions that come when your tongue-tied for an answer

Tempted to blend in with the background

but... a tongue twist is painful

contemplating the shit is

An uncomplicit negotiation of stress.

(I'm about my chill vibes

So I will leave you with this 

release and dishonour


*Subtle bird whistles* 

Meera: It's nice to think about what's important and to think about what's important is like food and like chilling in the park.

Jordan: Oh, definitely. 

Meera: Being with your friends.

Jordan: It's like, yeah, there's like relaxing moments where it's like, oh, there's no real pressure to get somewhere. Like we might meet at 2PM but we're probably gonna be late, 2:30 and then just kind of like roll around there cuz like walking from, like by the lake ‘cause that's like the lake in Burgess Park that I was thinking of ‘cause it's like, it's, it's easy cuz I think for like some of my friends, it's easy for us to meet in Burgess and then just walk down. Because it's like an in between, but at the same time, sometimes it's like they might live further, but it feels like an in between. ‘Cause I live closer to Burgess Park, so it's easy for me to get there. And it might be a little longer for them, but it's okay. We’ll get there and then we'll just walk off.

Meera: Burgess Park is such a great meeting point, isn't it? Cause it's like it's a place you can meet and go places, but it's also a place you can meet and stay and it is like you have Peckham and then you have Old Kent Road.

Jordan: Exactly.

Meera: Bermondsey kind of on that side, then Walworth, then Camberwell. 

Jordan: It's so funny how like it's just, it's, yeah, it touches so many different places. It’s like right on the border of so many, like in a weird way, just think about it like, ‘cause it's got that one long arm that reaches all the way down to Peckham Library as well. Yeah. Like that bridge that goes to, it used, it's called the bridge to nowhere. but like it used to connect Peckham with Walworth back when it was....

Meera: Over the canal!

Jordan: Yeah, over the canal. Yeah. It actually got.. Like that whole area got bombed because of the canal, because like the Germans thought, it was like an area of importance because of the water feature. And so it was like industrial areas and houses that got basically destroyed, but then they're like, oh, let's just purchase up this land. So I think someone decided to purchase it up and turn it into a park. 

Meera: So thoughtful that part, like the way it's planned, you know, and the different, 

Jordan: Oh, definitely

Meera: The different plants, flowers, all times of year. It's like beautiful.

Jordan: Like yeah. Cause I remember like when I was in primary, like around 2012, that's when it got redeveloped. So like before that it was a lot more bushy and there was a lot more roads that went through it because of course, like I don't, I think before that redevelopment, it hadn't really been changed since it was first built, like after World War II, so it was like, okay. It was a lot rougher. It was a lot rougher. And it's like, since it was, I think now, ‘cause they like in the redevelopment they were like, okay, let's make it more open plan. Me seeing them build hills was really funny, but it was just like... But then it was weird ‘cause like there was a ton of like, it was flat. I mean it's always been flat. It was a lot more obscure. Like you couldn't really see and like a lot more things used to happen back then ‘cause I mean, of course at that time, like the whole area's a lot more rougher. Yeah. After dark was a little weird. I've never actually had anything happen in there. I used to go through it quite a bit, and then there was times after the school where it would just be like, like evening times and yeah, around the time when I was just like finishing off GCSE where it'll be like, oh, cause my school's like right next to it, Ark Walworth Academy. So it was like just hanging out there for a little bit. And I remember like, I think once I bumped into, just like, oh yeah, I'll be by myself as well. So it was just like, I think I needed that time to just like air out my thoughts and whatnot. Figure out space and perspective where it was like not having to go home. It was this weird in between place. Cause I used to pass through it when I was going to school in the morning and also walking through it in the evenings as well. So it was like a place that wasn't home, but still kind of was. It's still kind of one of my favourite places, ‘cause I have history in different parts and locations and it's like, I think my favourite spots change over time. So it's like, I remember, ah, there used to be like this red train that used to be right by the…

Meera: The bridge to nowhere. 

Jordan: Yeah. It used to be right by, yeah.

Meera: Is it gone?

Jordan: Yeah, it's gone. Yeah. They removed it in 2020. I don't even, like, it was so silent as well. It's like, ‘cause I guess we were locked in, so they didn't really, they put things around. I think it was because it was getting rusty..

Larena: From the Museum of London.?

Meera: Why was it there? Because I feel like it was almost like a false, false history. I used to think because of that train that there was a railway track. Yeah. But there wasn't, there was a canal. 

Jordan: Yeah, there was a canal. 

Meera: But why was it there?

Jordan: I have no idea. But it was been there for like 10 years. ‘Cause I remember climbing into it in nursery. 

Larena: Historic bits of transportation like that army tanker somewhere near East Street Market and it's that… 

Jordan: Oh yeah. In the office. Actually I think it was by Lidl. Was it?

Larena: It's near Lidl I think.

Meera: It's just like South East gets this like random like artefacts that have nothing to do. Like when, when a museum can't store it, it's like, oh yeah, you have it, send it to Southwark. 

Jordan: It's like, where do they go? So it's like, cause it disappeared so quietly and everyone just knows it’s gone. It's like I still kind of wanna look into it a little bit more cause it's been there for so long. I remember climbing into it when I was in nursery. Like my first kind of interactions with the park as well, like collecting conkers and what not. ‘Cause like my nursery used to be right by Burgess Park too was the Grove Nursery, which is nice. The park used to be like, though I used to map out the area as well because, of course of how dangerous the area was at the time. Yeah. When I was growing up, it wasn't good for me to be walking around by myself and whatnot, so it was like, okay.

When I would go for walks with my brother or my mom, it would be nice to just use the park like I knew there is of the, of the park. So it was like, it was a good way for me to know where Old Kent Road was, Walworth Road, and then kind of figure out where Camberwell was from that. And then it's like, it kind of expanded from there as like a little mental map of where things are.

Yeah, just like figuring out where I was geographically kind of helped because then it was like, okay, ‘cause like there's no, there's no real place where you can't go. Just like finding a way. There is the question like, am I gonna take a bus or am I gonna walk it? What is walking distance? I didn't know Strand was walking distance for a while. I thought, I had to hop on a bus and I used to, ‘cause my mom was quite protective, so she didn't let me have a zipcard. So it was like, okay, let me just hop on the back of one of the, the..

Meera: The routemaster?

Jordan: Yeah. Yeah. Because those one's are easy to hop on. it's like I used to use those. 

Larena: Yeah, you mentioned that in your poem and it was like, I thought that was such a good line about like, you know, free travel

Jordan: Yeah!

Larena: Just hop on, hop on, hop off.. 

Jordan: That's literally, I traveled for a bit. Yeah. Once, once I did get a job, that's when I paid for my first zipcard and I was like, oh yeah.

Larena: Nice!

Jordan: Yeah, that was nice. That was nice. My mom was like, oh, I can just take you places. I don't want you to…

Larena: It's easy to get lost.. 

Jordan: Yeah, definitely. Especially when you're out with no direction as well.


Jordan: Four a couple of eggs,

*Harmonica and djembe*

Jordan: Add flour. A few eggs

Let a couple be a good egg

Free range. Countryside. Green grass.

Let the "okay" eggs

come from the block

Caged in, raging

Growth hormones

That is a fat roast!

If you don't take a bite,

you're a chicken!

Salt, pepper, a hint of paprika

Is it a dish without a side?

every chicken has a chip

every kebab hazard a salad

My favourite meal is a burger

I paid £1 at Lidl

That was a burger

unwrap. Microwave. Eaten.

I wish I knew how to use an oven

Not the greatest chef

I experiment

Microwave an egg

Did you know? crushed Oreos

mixed with raw egg

can make you a chocolate cake

Take the icing

from between your Oreo biscuits

Add water, add milk. whisk it

you will have a nice white frosting

For your chocolate desire

Do what I can

with random ingredients

You do what you can

If I'm made out of chocolate

Am I desired more or less?

Am I judged by the milk or dark chocolates in my life?

For my proclivity to be caught

Nibbling on white chocolate

From time to time

From time to time

My eyes are stuck to Carmel

Salty. Sweet. Soft. Sharp.

I am yet to taste

Yet there is something so familiar

when I look at you

Chocolate man, the cannibal

Consume the ship and the crew

taste is subtle

sweet momentary release

Pop a person

Pop a person

like I pop a berry in my mouth

great pressure on the tongue


Strong notes

long-term bitterness

Who else could eat like that?

eat you out of house and home

take and keep taking

I want to give more one day

I will eat less

But youth is fun

Right now, my metabolism is awesome

thinking biological

human machine

Needs energy

Needs companionship

If you're lonely

You have me

If you invite me make sure

The plate on the table is 

Make sure there is a plate on the table

I work for food

not fun

Do what you can

with random ingredients

it's all fun

Jordan: I was looking at prison recipes when I was younger and I was like...

Larena: Prison?

Jordan: Yeah, prison recipes cuz it's like they don't have a oven.

Larena: Genius. Yeah. Yeah. They use the kettle.

Jordan: So it was like, oh let me experiment with this ‘cause I can't use an oven right now. So , I have like a history of the oven where it's like, it just looks too complicated to use and it's like I need to get more confident with it. But yeah, like the microwave was like something I could use. So I was like, okay, let me figure out something. And these prison recipes seem pretty cool. 

Larena: I'm still like finding it hilarious that you're a, you're a free man and you are cooking prison recipes.

Jordan: *Laughter* They work. Actually it was funny. 

Larena: They're ingenious.

Jordan: Yeah. It's mostly just sugar, isn't it? Cause it's just like, it just needs to be sweet and cakey. That's about it. When I wrote, I remember talking about food, but then also like using parts of it to describe my relationships with people in that way of reconciling with my colour and how I interact with different people and understanding whether, whether like, am I supposed to hang out with just black people or am I gonna mix around a lot more? Like looking at different people like caramel and whatnot, caramel, white chocolate, things like that. Those metaphors in that way, like we can metaphor as people as food. Like ‘cause you are what you eat.

Meera: I think it's nice framing it in like with a recipe and, and also bringing it back to yourself and your identity. And there's like, like love there. 

Jordan: Yeah. ‘Cause you can't not love food. It's like we can be picky and then it's like, oh, if you're picky about food, then you're picky about other things. Almost reconciling that. Just like, okay, I can be picky, like picky with people the same way I'm picky with food. And then just, okay, like how do you actually....? ‘Cause, I remember growing up and being like, oh, am I like, at least with the experience at school, it's like, okay, I'm surrounded by all these other Black people because my school population, of course, growing up in Southeast London, there's a lot more like people who look like me in my class, which is pretty nice. But at the same time, leaving that going into college, art school type vibes, I went to a little film school and it's like, okay, there's less of us, but then there's more white people and it's like, how am I interacting and am I just being. Like if I'm more outgoing, am I doing a little bit of coonery or am I doing something like that? And it's like, yeah, just like figuring out how to act and how to react in different places and spaces with different people and then just like integrating it's, yeah, it's became clearer a little bit when I wrote this. I was like, okay, maybe I should do one thing. But now it's like, maybe it's more of a connection between mindset to where the exterior doesn't really matter, as well as like if the ideas kind of line up, can't just pick someone because they look like you, because yeah, it just might just be a different type of understanding and it's like you just have to find a new understanding that kind of.... like reflects your own.

It's like it's normal to have an identity that's so formed by different places. So, like a lot of us , like at least growing up, we’re informed by lots of what's happening in America. And then just like understanding what British culture is to us as well. Tryna to move within and between that understanding of yourself and those degrees. Like, okay, this is my cultural understanding, but this is where I grew up. ‘Cause growing up here both also being Ugandan on one side. Because my mother, but even then my father's side, I don't even really like, he hasn't really given me the history behind his own cultural backgrounds. . . So it's like, I'm like, I can only really reconcile of half of that. I can call myself Ugandan. Even then, I grew up in the UK and I'm more westernised and because I've specialised and made sure I speak properly and whatnot, I've kind of specialised into understanding this realm a lot more than what goes on in Uganda, which is kind of good, but at the same time, it kind of makes me think… If I really did want to go back to Uganda and really fit in, I really couldn't do that because I'm so integrated here. It makes more sense to me to explore more the UK, take over it a lot more than I could go back to Uganda, raise some kids there, and then those kids would be more integrated with Uganda. It's more or less just like, okay, how do you structure and build things like, ‘cause I think people are the way the world moves. So it's like if you can't really connect with the people in a certain place, you're not really gonna connect with the culture or the place. 

Meera: That's what I imagine your mom did, right? Like she moved here. 

Jordan: Yeah. 

Meera: And then brought you up. So then you were integrated here and it's interesting thought to say, think about like you going to Uganda and doing the same but in reverse.

Jordan: Yeah.

Larena: Mm-hmm. in a short period of time. That transition is a short period of time from just your life. Like rather than it being like this mass, like this really long, stretched out historical phenomena, it's just generational. Like you're only 20.

Jordan: Exactly. 

Larena: Yeah. 20 years is a short time to..

Jordan: It's weird because when you get older, it's like you're almost expected to move on a little bit, so it's like, oh, I've kind of like thinking about where I want to be when I am like 50 or 40. ‘Cause it's like, I can't, like, I, I definitely can't be here because of gentrification. So it's like where I live right now, it's like, okay, I can only be here for so long before things kind of like development's gonna come and move and make everything kind of change. Like I've already, like the area has already changed so much from when I was younger. It doesn't feel recognizable, which is good because I'm able to come up off that wave to where, like, I've got opportunities that someone, like when my brother was growing up, my, my oldest one, he didn't really have the same opportunities I did to actually grow in the space he was. It’s beneficial, but at the same time, like thinking about where I'm gonna be is something, it's always kind of on my mind. And then just tryna plan that. But then you can't really plan it because it's just about understanding, taking in as much as you can and then making the right judgement when it comes. 

Meera: That's a lot to reckon with though. 

Larena: Yeah. 

Jordan: Yeah! Because it's like you don't really belong anywhere because it's like, I don't really belong in Uganda. I don't really belong here because like I belong in London. That's the only place I can be. But even in London's changing, so it's like the London I belonged in is gonna go and disappear, so it's like I don't really belong anywhere. So it's like making my own communities, figuring out what I like, like figuring out who I am so that I don't lose track of it as things change. Because it's harder to have that sense of identity when it's like there's no real foundation. I have to build my own thing and then it's like, yeah, building my own thing. It's like, okay, now that I have this thing that I built, how do I keep it going? Yeah.

Jordan: How do we understand ourselves and how do we portray that to other people so they can understand us too?


Meera: My name is Meera Shakti Osborne. I'm the editor and curator of this work. I am responsible for the shape this piece has taken. Part of the process of creating this work has been exploring ways to tell stories, make an archive that feels generative and inclusive. Everything you have heard is what the participant and myself have chosen to share with you.

We welcome feedback and encourage you to visiit to see the rest of the archive and to get in touch with us. This work has been funded by Arts Council England Project Grant. Thanks for listening.

Transcription by Sarah Maher

Audio Mixing and Mastering by Alex Sushon