Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Black Gaelic Speakers Are Confronting Scotland's Hidden History

I was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, but my parents are from Zimbabwe. I grew up in Gàidhlig (Gaelic) Medium Education – a form of Scottish education where Scottish Gaelic is the primary language used to teach and English is secondary. Even though I was always welcomed and accepted by the community, I was the only black girl or person of colour in my class, therefore I was always very aware of my difference. I was also surrounded by many others who had Gàidhlig connections in their families and due to this, constantly wondered whether I could be considered a Gàidheal. 

I have always struggled to describe myself in the Gàidhlig language. The Gàidhlig word for black is ‘dubh’, but the word has never sat well with me whenever used to describe my race. The word to me doesn’t mean ‘black’ with a capital ‘B’ to describe a human being, but instead what you would use to describe the colour of an object. I was happy to hear that I wasn’t alone in this feeling when I met Cass, Carrie, and Amina as part of the Trusadh project with BBC ALBA. When Cass introduced me to the term Afro-Gàidheal I felt an instant connection with it. The term celebrates the mix of my heritage and upbringing within the Gàidhlig community, which is extremely important to me.