Simran, age 20
WHAT MIX ARE YOU?
From my father
- Pathan from my father
- German from my father
- Mongolian from my father
From my mother
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
Melbourne is a very multicultural city. So yes
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I was born and raised in Kenya. When I was 10 years old my family and I moved to Queensland, Australia and that is where I did part of my primary school. It was really fun and exciting for me as I was only just a little kid and the environment was nowhere near compared to Kenya. I loved it and was distraught when my parents decided to move back to Kenya due to personal reasons. I remember sitting in the park with my mom and making her promise that I would return back to Aussie for year 12.
Moving back to Kenya was very interesting! A lot had changed and this was also around the time when I hit puberty. I did not have the best high school experience as I was always a target for all the bullies. I am not sure why. Lol. I did not really know anything about being “mixed” and I always thought there were only two kinds of people in this world; black and white. I was around quite a few mixed kids in school and knew them as, “half casts”, but I never really felt like a half cast until much later on in my life.
Kenya definitely has a diverse community. There are all kinds of people there, more than Ihave seen out here in Melbourne. I have only just started identifying with other mixed people.
HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?
My mother is full Ugandan and her late father, Charles Ofumbi was a Ugandan minister who acted as president in the early 70’s while their then president, Idi Amin was away. My mother and her siblings schooled in Kenya at St. Andrew’s Turi and would return to Uganda during their holidays. Once my mom's father was assassinated, she and the rest of her siblings moved to Nairobi and this where she met my dad- in her late teens. They would go out together with all their friends and would jam all night long to my dad’s music. (He DJ’d as a hobby). They are my everything and their love is something I pray to have with my future husband.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Not that I know of. They are very private and do not share such information with us. I am pretty sure if I was to ask, I would not get a straight answer but instead a positive lecture (laughs)
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL?
I enjoy everything! Music, Fashion, Food, you name it. I always look for inspiration from every one of them and try combine them together and create something unique. I remember being in Uganda and my grandmother played a song that my late grandfather used to listen to and I fell in love! My brother and I turned the town upside down- just to get the name of it (laughs). It’s like... drums, bass, voices...I just love it.
Besides that, I love the food from both sides of my family. I miss it when I am out here, but whenever I have guests over I will strictly cook something traditional just to give them a feel of where I am from and the delicious foods we eat.
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
Oh yes! Definitely. I have been visiting Uganda every year since I was a toddler and most of my dad's immediate family members are based in Kenya that was easy.
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
Yes. My dad speaks fluent punjabi and other Asian languages (laughs). Punjabi is the main language spoken when he is around his family. So I kind of just picked it up hearing it since I was a child.
Same with my mom, she speaks Japadhola, Luganda and I am not sure what else (laughs), she can speak punjabi too! So cute. But in the house we grew up speaking English and were taught Kiswahili in school. I am a polyglot.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
I enjoy everything! Music, Fashion, Food, you name it. I always look for inspiration from every one of them and try combine them together and create something unique. I remember being in Uganda and my grandmother played a song that my late grandfather used to listen to and I fell in love! Me and my brother nearly turned the town upside down just so that we could get the name of it (laughs). It’s like... drums, bass, voices...I just love it.
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
I’ll just quote my dad's words here, “to respect and be proud of our cultural diversity. It should never be about colour, religion, tribe or ethnicity.”
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
Not at all! We were raised and taught that everyone is equal in the eyes of God.
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
I would love to! But then again, this is a very sensitive topic (smiles). Definitely check out @mixedpresent on Instagram. They are one of my favourite pages and everything they post is so relatable and include topics like this.
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
(laughs) I am very single and the end of this year will mark my second year of being fully single. My ex was mixed though, but right now I am not even bothered. It's not something I look for or even think of and I don't think it is important.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
Wow um... This is a hard one. I think this is a very sensitive topic to some people out there and it would be best to not get into detail on this one (smiles)
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?
Believe or not I actually don’t! It’s probably just my Instagram buddies that are mixed and they really embrace it.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?
We are one. Let's stop bashing one another. Let us live and most importantly, accept who we are without trying to please or be anyone else. That stuff really annoys me to the core! Just be you. That's all.
Oh and look out for my fashion label and music (laughs), you can follow me on Instagram