During October – Black History Month – we wanted to celebrate diversity by highlighting the life of the remarkable Eric Ngalle Charles, famous for his writing, performances, and support of refugees. His inspirational autobiography recounts his arduous journey from Cameroon to Wales, via Russia.
I, Eric Ngalle: One Man’s Journey Crossing Continents from Africa to Europe is a harrowing, but hopeful memoir as Eric Ngalle explores his traumatic time seeking sanctuary as a migrant and refugee. His story is one of triumph, as he battles the challenges of human trafficking, fraud and unfamiliar territories.
Born in Cameroon into a family with little money, Eric was inspired to build a better life for himself. He applied for university scholarships in the hope he could leave the country and succeed somewhere else. So, after receiving an acceptance letter from a Belgian university, he hopped on a connecting flight travelling first to Malta, then Belgium. However, upon arriving in Malta he became a victim of a human trafficking scam, which instead led him to Russia.
Throughout his time there, corruption was everywhere. Instinctively in survival mode, he found a way to live in a hostel and obtained food any way he could; the line ‘my parents will be sending me some money shortly’ acted as a saving grace. When Eric finally found a way of leaving Russia – via yacht – his prospects were again thwarted when he arrived and realised he needed an exit visa. On his return to the hostel, the world seemed against him, and he missed his train, finding himself in a warzone with a gun to his head.
Working through challenges of humiliation, suicidal thoughts and more scams, Eric’s story eventually brought him to the UK, and by his twenty-first birthday he had settled down in Cardiff.
Now living in Ely, Eric has continued to hone his unique voice, and his passion for writing remains unextinguished. Eric’s journey took him to places that he would never have imagined: from dancing on stage with pop group Boney M., to selling fake dollars to the Russian mob, but it all lead to him being a key motivator and voice for other refugees.
To read about Eric’s journey yourself, I, Eric Ngalle is available here.