Naseema Mustapha

My family were migrants from South Africa during the Apartheid regime. I was a young child when we migrated in 1977.

Schooling on Brisbane’s north-side during the 80’s was extremely difficult and I felt very isolated and alienated due to the colour of my skin and cultural and religious background.

There often were times when I wished I stayed in South Africa because I had a sense of belonging, oppressive though it was. It was difficult being a Muslim especially then when at the time there was very little awareness of cultural diversity and religions other than Christianity and European culture.

There was an influx of Vietnamese refugees into Brisbane and I often heard children at school saying negative things about the Asian Invasion and Yellow People…I am grateful that now it has improved so much and my children who are at school can confidently identify with their culture and religion.

Brisbane has come a long way in accepting others.

The thing that I realise most as a migrant, is that I have so much to appreciate living in this amazing country. The quality of life and freedom and security that we live with daily is rare and never to be taken for granted. We in Australia are cocooned and padded from the hardships that others endure overseas.

I am eternally grateful to all our Indigenous Australian brothers and sisters who have allowed all of us to share this beautiful land with them.

To you I give thanks.