Centre for Postcolonial Studies |

Indenture to Windrush: Invisible Passengers of Two Imperial Migrations



2017 is the centenary of the abolition of indenture in the British Empire (1834-1917). Yet the system of indenture, under which the British brought Chinese and East Indians to the Caribbean to labour on the region’s sugar plantations, is a largely unknown part of British imperial history. Another chapter in British imperial history marks almost seventy years, this is the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks (1948). Over the next fifteen years followed the arrival of what came to be known as the ‘Windrush generation’ (1948-1963). These pioneering Caribbean migrants included the descendants of indentured immigrants to the Caribbean. In this live oral history event, these migrants and their children discuss their experiences as minorities within a minority, living and working in a British society which is on the whole unaware of the Indian and Chinese presence in the Caribbean.

This lively evening event will include a commemorative reading by David Dabydeen, award-winning poet and novelist. Other featured speakers include the journalist and writer Lainy Malkani, leading novelist of the Indo-Caribbean experience Lakshmi Persaud, TV presenter and author of The Pepperpot Club Jonathan Phang, community worker Sr. Monica Tywang and Rod Westmaas – the co-curator of the monthly spoken word event Guyana Speaks! Join us at Senate House for oral history, music and literature chaired by the co-authors of Windrush: The Irresisitible Rise of Multicultural Britain: Mike Phillips OBE (historian and novelist) and Trevor Phillips OBE (former head of the Commission for Racial Equality)

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