ROLE MODEL OF THE WEEK, 89 YEAR OLD JAMIAICAN PIONEER BASED IN HUDDERSFIELD – ARTNEL JOHNSON. CONGRATULATIONS TO HIM
THE AMAZING 89 YEAR OLD JAMAICAN PIONEER, ARTNEL JOHNSON BASED IN HUDDERSFIELD WILL BE RECEIVING AN AFRICA4U AWARD AT THE CITY LIBRARY IN BRADFORD ON FRIDAY THE 12TH OF MAY AT 5PM,
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS AMAZING ELDER CAN BE FOUND BELOW
Born in Rose Hall of St Elizabeth parish Jamaica on 26 th February 1934 from a poor
family of 13 children. Despite poverty he excelled in education in Jamaica reaching the equivalent of university Diploma level by UK standards.
Part of the pioneering Windrush generation Artnel moved to Huddersfield 1959 seeking like many a better life and more opportunities followed by his wife in 1961.
He met racism and discrimination when seeking work in more skilled profession and
work for many years as a bus driver until he started his own business in 1977 sharing
a vehicle with a Nigerian friend.
Artnel a lover of education befriended and helped to bridge the relationships
between continental Africans who were often students from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra
Leone and other newly independent countries in the 60 & 70’s many of which lodge
in Artnel own home. He was to make connections, friendships and alliances which
set him apart as having a greater understanding and love of Africa than his Caribbean
Artnel ran support surgeries from his front room providing free writing letter,
teaching and coaching to support other immigrants from the Caribbean helping
them to navigate a racially discriminatory system.
Married with 8 children but was a father figure and uncle to countless others.
He has 27 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren and 1 Great Great Grandchild
which in itself is a legacy on own right.
Artnel has been a central unassuming, dependable, upright, humble and pillars of
the community not only in Huddersfield but also in Jamacia where you enjoyed the
first 20 years of his retirement before returning to England 3 years ago to be closer
to his family.
One of first business owners and treasurer of popular night club known locally as
“Venn Street” which attracted the top reggae superstars from Jamaica such as John
Holt, Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson Gregory Issacs and many more placing Huddersfield on the map as a top nightlife hotspot in the North of England
First Caribbean driving instructor in Huddersfield and travel agent
Community Leader serving on many Community Voluntary boards including Police
advisory boards at the height of the 80’s riots, Hudawi, Jamaica Nation Committee
and Beaumont Street Studio’s of which he was the founding Director.
He is one of the black First Magistrates in Kirklees serving on the bench for over 25
A committed Christian he served as a deacon of his local church for many years
Artnel has had many interests over the years including photography building his own
dark room in the basement of his home.
Artnel is a keen debater on anything to do with global history and politics and is
certainly not backward in voicing his opinions even if he had to stand alone.
He brewed homemade beer although ironically, he has never drunk alcohol himself.
Artnel is a vibrant and energetic man singing in the church choir and listening and to
his favourite artist Fats Domino to which he can still rock and roll to on the dance
floor or living room floor when the vibe and rhythm takes hold of him.
He enjoys spending time with his wonderful and very large family. In his retirement Artnel has become a keen gardener planting fruit and vegetables for the family to enjoy.
Artnel believes in hard work and education is the key to success and complaining is a fruitless obstacle to progress.