Des Mannay is a disabled Welsh writer of colour. His first poetry collection, “Sod ’em – and tomorrow” is published by Waterloo Press. He is co-editor of The Angry Manifesto poetry journal, a judge in the Vailiant Scribe poetry competition, and the winner of the ‘rethinkyourmind’ poetry competition (2015), and LIT-UP poetry competition (2018).
Cardiff has one of the oldest BAME populations in the UK. However, it wasn’t a slave town like Bristol. The majority of the Black population were merchant seamen – who settled in Cardiff’s docks area, or Tiger Bay as it was known back then. My grandfather came to Cardiff via a familiar route in the 1890’s. Cru men from Liberia would head to Freetown in Sierra Leone, (then known as British West Africa), get work on ships, while claiming to be born in Freetown, dock in Liverpool and then walk to South Wales. Then settle and work out of docks in Cardiff, Barry and Newport. Many owned their own boarding houses, renting rooms to other sailors. Many had white wives, even back then; some of whom were Welsh speaking.