Jaja Muhammad is second generation British with Jamaican roots. She is a radio and podcast producer, who formerly worked at BBC Radio 4 and BBC Africa.
Generation Windrush series is on the Broccoli Weekly podcast and launched this April as a two-part podcast documentary series, ‘Generation Windrush’ is hosted and produced by Muhammad. The podcast takes a deep dive into the fate and feelings of the Windrush Generation, then and now. Guest contributors to the series are Patrick Vernon OBE, Allyson Williams MBE and Colin Grant, who share their insights, stories and reflections on what we can learn from the generation, the impact of losing their identity and the systems that played their part in the subsequent scandal. (Main image credit: Joe Magowan)
In 1948, the merchant vessel Windrush docked at Tilbury, Essex carrying almost 500 Caribbean men and women. This heralded the arrival of thousands of men and women from the British West Indies to Britain. They had all responded to the call of the “Mother Country” to help rebuild what was left of the nation, after the devastation of the Second World War.. In the Spring of 2018 British mainstream media uncovered a scandal that rocked the nation. The scandal uncovered the depths of the hostile environment in the UK. In March 2020 the report Windrush Lessons Learned Review found that the Home Office had “institutionally failed” the Windrush Generation. Alt A spoke to Muhammad.
Tell us about your background?
My grandparents on both parents’ sides are from Jamaica, my parents and I were born here.
What is the Broccoli Weekly?
Your Broccoli Weekly is news commentary podcast hosted by journalist Diyora Shadijanova who is joined by 2 guests every week , where they discuss and dissect a summary of 3 of the stories on everyone’s lips from the week. The programme I have produced is a Your Broccoli Weekly Special.
What made you decide to deal with the subject of the Windrush?
My grandparents are from that generation, so I am. I could have been in a situation of being deported even though I was born here, because of the government’s failings. I genuinely see these people, I see where they are coming from, I see who they are, I relate to it all.
Tell us about some of the stories you uncovered when doing Generation Windrush?
Hearing stories from the people on the frontline really rounds up how much those afflicted have gone through . Immigration lawyer, Jacqueline McKenzie, Political activist Patrick Vernon Allyson Williams MBE, Colin Grant and Amelia Gentleman all play a part in keeping the Windrush generation story alive.
What was the most profound thing for you regarding this scandal?
This story cannot be forgotten, people cannot be erased. There have been so many failings .
The Windrush Report has been published amidst this pandemic what are some of the findings of the report that you think the public need to know?
General basis of the Windrush report is to acknowledge that the Windrush scandal happened as there was failings based on institutional racism. The civil servant Wendy Williams has devised a list of 30 recommendations for the government to act upon. Many apologies have been made, but little has been done to make the community feel safe, there were still deportations happening until to the lockdown.
What do you want to happen now that it is published?
I want people to care. These people helped to build up this country in more ways that we know, and it’s unfortunate their story is unjustly told. They are not immigrants, in modern terms why not call them expats. Most came over here with a skill, ready to work. What would this country have been if they were not here?
How is the Lockdown affecting your business or what you do?
It is business as usual. We have got the time to be more creative, the content we create is literally fitting if people have a little more time to spare. It is a great time to pick up podcasts as a habit.
Is the Windrush story a story that has affected your family?
Not directly, however it easily could have been, I have closely watched, I went to town hall meetings, talks, and connected with people as I am part of the Windrush generation. I would not be here if my grandparents did not come over in that period, being stripped from my family and everything I know would break my heart.
It is emerging that black men are disproportionately dying from Covid-19 why do you think that is?
I don’t have the facts, but I could only imagine if there’s an economic disadvantage in this country for black men, and their job requires them to be out, as they’re essential workers, well then that creates a greater risk, also, if they’re also living in social housing, self-quarantine is near to impossible.
The Generation Windrush Podcast series is available here: It can also be found on Apple Podcast, Castbox and all good podcast apps by searching Generation Windrush.
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