School of Global Studies

Nicola Anderson

Nicola AndersonNicola Anderson

Nicola was born on 3rd January 1956 in Accra, Ghana, where her parents, Mary and David Anderson, were living at the time. Her father was a member of the Civil Service, working on the development and Africanisation of the public services in preparation for Ghana's independence in 1957. Nicola spent the first 5 years of her life in Ghana. She was a child with energy and a great sense of fun.

On her father's transfer to newly independent Tanzania in 1961, the family, which now included her younger sister Janis, moved to East Africa and Nicola had her first experience of primary school in Dar es Salaam. After a couple of years, there was a further move to Nairobi, Kenya, where Nicola attended the Hospital Hill School which had started life some few years earlier as the first multiracial school in a land of segregated education. Her younger sister, Davina, born in Nairobi, followed her older sisters into this school.

For secondary education, Nicola went to Ackworth School in Yorkshire, a Quaker co-educational school, where she was inevitably initiated into English culture.

Nicola attended Dartington Hall School in Devon for her two sixth form years, where the individualistic and creative environment suited her well and gave her the opportunity to develop her artistic talents. Besides History, English and Art A-levels, she explored silk screen printing, ceramic sculpture, creative knitting, weaving, pastels, drawing and painting. At Dartington she made important and lasting friendships. She loved friendship and laughter.

After Dartington she was back in Africa for a year, her family being still in Nairobi. She travelled in Kenya and Tanzania, in Ethiopia, in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland, and in South Africa. She loved travelling, sometimes travelling alone, and benefited greatly from it; she had a passionate interest in people, and a skilled talent with a camera.

Now known as Nicki, she became a student in the School of African and Asian Studies in October 1975, reading for a degree in Social Anthropology. She worked hard at her studies and had considerable academic potential, but she is best remembered by those who knew her at Sussex as a warm, witty and caring person, who in the last months of her life showed such great strength and bravery.

A contemporary of Nicki's writes: 'Nicki was totally at home in the multicultural setting of Afras. In her first term she purchased a pair of osh kosh dungarees in what is now the North Laines and wore them constantly with great style, silver bracelets on her arms and Kenyan bag on her shoulder, her room hung with kanga cloths and her photos of Africa. Nicki was always torn between her love and real talent for art and the academic alternative she had chosen. She was effervescent, a cherished friend, and is missed even now.'

After treatment for a recurrence of malignant melanoma during the summer vacation, she returned to Sussex at the start of her final academic year and made the best of the autumn term, buoyed up by her remarkable sense of humour and the support of her many friends.

After attending her friends' wedding in December, and after spending Christmas with her family, she died at home on her birthday in January 1978.