Multiculturalism and Racism in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales: Background information when reading The Fortune Men

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The Fortune Men

A novel

by Nadifa Mohamed

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed X
The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
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  • Published:
    Dec 2021, 320 pages

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Chloe Pfeiffer
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About this Book

Multiculturalism and Racism in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales

This article relates to The Fortune Men

A bronze statue of a couple and dog symbolizing the arrival of immigrants to Tiger Bay Nadifa Mohamed's novel The Fortune Men takes place in Tiger Bay, the dockland district of the city of Cardiff, Wales. According to the BBC, Tiger Bay, now known as Butetown, is considered Wales' oldest multi-ethnic community and people from over 50 countries have settled there. While she was working on her novel, Mohamed explained in an article for The Guardian that she had become fascinated with the area's diversity: It "nurtured 'multiculturalism' before the word even existed," she wrote. In the 1950s, when The Fortune Men takes place, Bute Road featured "Cypriot barbers, Somali cafes, Jewish pawnbrokers" and "Sam On Wen's Chinese restaurant."

This multiculturalism originated in the early 20th century, when Cardiff was a big global coal producer; at its peak, the docks in the city were exporting around 11 million tons of coal per year. Such an industrial boom created a demand for labor and was a draw for those seeking work. Ships left Wales and came back with sailors and other...

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