Europe

Poland swears in Nigerian Godson as first black MP

  • 14 December 2010
  • From the section Europe
John Abraham Godson surrounded by his children and wife Aneta (image from his website)

John Abraham Godson, a Polish citizen born and raised in Nigeria, has been sworn in as the first black member of Poland's parliament.

Mr Godson had served as a councillor in the city of Lodz before taking up a parliamentary seat, vacated by a party colleague after local elections.

His entry into parliament has created a media stir in the mainly white country.

He came to Poland in the 1990s, opening an English-language school and working as a pastor in a Protestant church.

He has since married a Polish woman and the couple have four children.

Beaten up twice

A member of the centre-right Civic Platform party, he was appointed to the seat vacated by party colleague Hanna Zdanowskaafter after she became mayor of Lodz.

It is still quite rare to see black people even in the Polish capital Warsaw, Poland's most cosmopolitan city, the BBC's Adam Easton reports.

Racism is still a problem in Poland, where it is not uncommon for well-educated people to make racist jokes, our correspondent says.

Mr Godson was beaten up twice in the early 1990s but he says attitudes to black people in Poland are changing for the better, particularly since the country joined the EU six years ago.

Speaking earlier to Polish radio, Mr Godson said: "I am from Lodz, I will live here, I want to die here and I want to be buried here."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites