Swastika painted on side of black family's Welsh home

14 June 2020, 15:33

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A swastika has been painted on the side of a black family's home in Gwynedd, North Wales.

Margaret Ogunbanwo, from Penygroes, Caernarfon, called on her community to come together to create a work of art to cover the racist graffiti.

Despite initial shock at the "huge white thing" on the side of her house, she said she wanted to leave it there to make others feel uncomfortable and to remind people why Black Lives Matter protests are going ahead.

"I just wanted to keep it there because it makes me feel uncomfortable and I wanted everyone to share in my discomfort," she told LBC's Maajid Nawaz.

Ms Ogunbanwo said: "I checked all the other homes and there was nothing on any of the other homes and we are the only blacks in the village, so I thought it must have been that."

The business owner, originally from Nigeria, told LBC she "thought we got past this" as a country.

After reaching out to the community, her company - Maggie’s Exotic Foods - is now "booming" with people supporting her family from across Wales and the rest of the UK.

Margaret Ogunbanwo had a swastika painted on the side of her property on Saturday
Margaret Ogunbanwo had a swastika painted on the side of her property on Saturday. Picture: Facebook - Margaret Ogunbanwo

She shared a photo of the swastika on Facebook, with the caption: "So friends and family, it's usually pictures of my morning walks, but this is what confronted me on my house this morning!

"What's to be said?"

She reported the graffiti to North Wales Police, which has launched an investigation.

Ms Ogunbanwo went on to tell Maajid that she had come round to an idea from the council to allow the community to paint a mural over the atrocity.

"Whoever wants to come as a community effort, they should," she said.

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Margaret Ogunbanwo left the swastika on her garage door to make other feel uncomfortable
Margaret Ogunbanwo left the swastika on her garage door to make other feel uncomfortable. Picture: Business Wales

Her plan is to create "something that reminds us in the village that something has happened here" and to stand as a reminder that racism exists in the community and must be addressed.

The LBC presenter commended Ms Ogunbanwo for thinking about the best way "to replace this symbol of hate," adding that "it's a great idea for you to maybe turn this into a moment that celebrates love and unity and diversity rather than this divisive symbol."

She told the BBC she believes it will serve as a reminder of the importance of Black Lives Matter.

"I'm going to leave that thing up there and let my village see it," she said.

"If we wash it away, it's like it didn't really happen and I want people to remember it."

North Wales Police are appealing for witnesses. They said the offence took place at around 2am on Saturday morning and that they were called shortly after 9am.

Anybody who may have information or anybody who witnessed suspicious behaviour in or around the vicinity last night, or during the early hours of this morning, is asked to contact PC Mathew Tapping at Penygroes Police Station on 101 or via the live webchat quoting reference number Y084193.