Sad news- the death of Icolyn Smith .

I was honoured to cast away Icolyn (Ma ) Smith on Oxtopia. Food flowed through her story like a river powered by love . The editor, Tim Metcalfe, titled the feature, ‘One in a Million’ and how right he was – Icolyn was an exceptional human being. When Nancy Mundenyo Hunt and I wrote our novel, Not so Black and White, we named a character Icolyn because she was modelled on her. (She gave us permission).  My memoir is titled  Food of Love, cooking up a story across gender class and race. Each chapter ends with a recipe and Icolyn sent me one of hers. I invented a word  communescence and Icolyn would have loved it. It means ‘eat together and come together’.  I’m sad that she didn’t live long enough to receive her copy.

I posted this blog about Icolyn on her 90h birthday 

I mention Icolyn in the video lecture I was asked to give, on Oxford  Castaways, to the Oxford Guild of (tour) Guides. When her husband died, Icolyn took on three jobs to keep her family afloat Despite having no money, no savings she started the Cowley Road Soup Kitchen which mostly feeds homeless white men. She knew hardship and prejudice. She once rescued a little white boy who was about to run in front of a car but his mother shouted at her,  ‘Get your filthy black hands off my boy.’

Icolyn responded to hate with love.  I also mention Euton Daley who was  also born in the Caribbean but has made such a wonderful contribution to Oxford (Town) life. There is still a huge gulf between town and gown and it needs bridging! Here is Icolyn’s story! Icolyn Smith

This is the castaway video which shows how Oxford life and culture has been enriched by immigrants from five continents.

Fear and  scapegoating of desperate people is  pedalled by heartless politicians who are devoid of empathy. The  broadcast below should be compulsory listening for the likes of Suella Braverman and Pritti Patel . Waheed arrived as an illegal refugee, and has not only given wonderfully to this country but has saved lives around the world and continues to do so. This refugee boy became a UN Global Hero.