On 26 January 1788, ten men of African descent stepped off the ships of the First Fleet and were set to work building the modern nation of Australia. They were the first of hundreds of African convicts sent to these shores.
On a journey back to the multicultural origins of modern Australia, African migrant Santilla Chingaipe rips up the monocultural myths of Australia’s white foundation narratives and colours in our nation’s post-colonial history by revealing the stories of the black Africans who left an indelible mark on this country.
Although their achievements have largely been overlooked or forgotten, they became bushrangers, feminists, freedom fighters, war heroes and sports stars, and they played a pivotal role in some of the most decisive events in Australian history.
Our African Roots writes these forgotten African men and women back into the nation’s history books, and reveals how Australia’s shifting attitudes to race came to shape our national identity.