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1977: Rod Hlalo

Four decades ago I responded to a British Council advert in the local press offering scholarships to suitably qualified Rhodesian students to further their studies in the UK.
I was one of the lucky ones awarded a scholarship that landed me in North Herts College in Hitchin to study A Levels. My transition from Mzilikazi Township Bulawayo to Hitchin was a cultural shock. I had to learn very quickly how to look after myself.
After passing my A Levels I was offered places at both Surrey University to study Microbiology and Newcastle Polytechnic to study Quantity Surveying. Purely due to the positive reception and interview with Henry Brown (tutor) I chose to come to Tyneside.
When I arrived in Newcastle in 1980 the level of overt racism and intolerance was extraordinary. I did not think I would last a fortnight. However, thinking of the purpose and the task ahead, I soon found solace and comradeship with other African students who possessed the knowledge and experience to navigate the local landscape. After graduation I secured employment as a quantity surveyor in both local government and the private sector.
In the meantime Newcastle outwardly has changed for me. I don’t experience racial intolerance as before.

At home in Kenton

Listen to Rod's story here
1977: Rod Hlalo