Westburn Village Voices: Priscilla Marongwe

Photograph by Raymond Keith

Photograph by Raymond Keith

‘Village Voices’, a portrait of Westburn contains photographs by local photographer Raymond Keith and interviews by Digital Sentinel reporter Craig Tyrie. The photos and stories are of people who live in Westburn celebrating the variety of community life there.

The exhibition was supported by Westburn Village Neighbourhood Council, Prospect Community Housing and WHALE Arts Agency.

Below are the photographs and interview with Priscilla Marongwe who speaks about her love of community spirit and activism.

Please listen to the interview with Priscilla here:

Photograph by Raymond Keith

Photograph by Raymond Keith

If you are unable to listen to the interview here is a transcript of what was said:

Im Priscilla Marongwe.

How long have you lived in Westburn?

I think I was the first resident in Morvenside that was 1997, everyone else came after me.

What I enjoy about the area is you have all the facilities in walking distance. It’s nice to have like a local shop, the centre, the cinema, the arts and the WHEC for exercise and swimming pool they have a morning aqua aerobics at the WHEC. I went to that once and I came home shattered. That wasn’t exercise for the over 50s, this is hard work! They probably all go home like me and probably collapse on the couch.

In that way what I like about the area is that everything is in easy reach. Even if you dont have a car, the bus facilities are also very good. We also have the nightbus so you can get to and through from the place without much hassle or waiting.

One of my challenges to me is I have to get one on the right night bus to get home, a taxi is cheating! *laughs*

Are you involved in any sort of community groups in the area?

I used to be but not recently. I just informally support rather than, I currently don’t have any formal post. I’ve been chair of various community groups over the years. The first one, we had Wester Hailes Against Racism, and this is going back years ago. Then they changed that to Multicultural Welfare Project, I was involved in that and now it’s SCOREscotland and I’ve been chair of that as well and even now if they have things happen like, you know, when they were having the referendum I chaired a session for the community. The community involvement I’m still involved though informally I’ll go to events or support something. I’m always involved in some sort of fundraising. I’m always doing something.

How has the area changed over the years?

I think also there is more diversity. As I said I came in the 80s and I would sometimes go even six months before seeing another African person. Now there’s so many people I don’t even know a few years ago I was smiling and I was out with my kids and they went “what’s wrong?” and I said I don’t know that one, I don’t know that one, I don’t know that one. Its like there’s a bigger community in that sense.

I enjoy the area and the community feel. Before, remember we used to do Christmas things for the kids, if it was Easter we used to do things. We used to do clean up of the area, meet up and clean up that sort of thing. At the time I even remember when my kids were in high school we fundraised and got a maths teacher to do classes. I think it’s those sort of things for me that made the area made the community. I remember we used to have street parties. We used to hire buses and go as families I remember we used to go to Newcastle or Manchester for christmas shopping, things like that.

I remember the first time we went on one of the beach thingies I spent all night cooking loads and loads food. When we arrived there it was lunch time and everything was eating these sandwiches. I was like “Uh. Uh. I’m African we share, you guys have to eat!” So they used to call me the chicken lady because we don’t do this little backpacks, with our little lunches and our little juice. Everyone makes something you all put it there and we all share. That was my early experience because I was like I’m not taking all this chicken back. I think I made chicken and salad, but loads of it. You know, they were all bring out there little sandwiches and Iw as “uh uh that’s not a community barbecue” With a community barbecue we all eat from the same pot!

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