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SBQ Feature - Loretta

March 15th, 2024

Mrs Loretta Mordi

In St Andrews, in Scotland, you will meet a lady whose journey to there is an incredible one. Her name, Mrs Loretta Mordi, she was born in Lagos 9 Nigeria, one of nine to parents who were village folk who moved out of the village and did well. She describes her father as a self-taught educated man, very determined who in his time completed an apprenticeship in environmental issues. Now you may be thinking that from Lagos to St Andrews, well not quite, Loretta’s first trip to Europe was as a teenager.  


Her professional foundation was solid as she established herself and was a renown broadcaster and journalist in the country of her birth. Adventures are very much part of Loretta’s story, with a background in education, psychology and philosophy, Loretta was primed for journalism and was the first Black female newsreader and producer on TV in Nigeria. She is also multi-lingual and taught French on Television for four years. Loretta met and married her husband in the 1980s and following the birth of their first son, she followed her spouse firstly to Manchester for his postgrad studies and subsequently to Scotland as he pursued his PhD. She reflects that like so many women of her age from Africa, they supported their spouses’ career aspirations at the cost of their own.  


Quotes from project contributors

“Being a catalyst, using the ethos of a missionary as I strive to help others. I refuse to give up, and whilst looking after others, I don’t lose focus of my own goals, those of my family and my work.” 

— Mrs Loretta Mordi

Mrs Loretta Mordi – Scotland  

The move to Scotland found Loretta drawing on values and ethics she gained from her parents. She found that to have peace and respect in her new land she had to call on ancestral survival methods. She was solution focussed, and creative. Her history of colonialism also helped, she spent time seeking out similarities between the formally colonised Nigeria and Scotland.  

 From such a prestigious start, Loretta didn’t bargain for relegation as part of relocation. Scotland then, was not a place which had many people from the continent of Africa. She encountered so many blocks when she started to seek employment to support her integration into the community. Loretta had a hard landing after learning that with her wealth of public service work experience and her graduate and postgraduate degrees, the only job she was deemed suitable for in Scotland was the role of a cleaner. She actually took the role and her exposure to the lives of other black women reignited her activism and voice. She then sought out new roles, accessed training and services where she could be an advocate for others. These included: working for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, as a Rep for Unison, culminating in her becoming a Councillor for the Liberal Democrats, where amongst other things, she campaigns for affordable housing. In 2000, Loretta started a network which successfully ran for 15 years, their work to support and equip predominantly black women in advancing themselves in both education and employment. The group known as ‘Women’s Voices’ were the first cadre of 42 to attend the Scottish Parliament at the invitation of the SNP.  

In addition to her community activism Loretta wanted to ensure that her impact was ingrained in the Scottish structures so for almost two decades she has been investing her passion knowledge and skills at the Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS). At MGS Loretta works as the Museum’s Development Manager, working strategically to deliver the Scottish Government’s national priorities. A huge achievement and responsibility for the adopted Scottish lassie.  

Lorretta feels that the life of her father taught her to rise like the phoenix, she also knows that through her ancestors she learnt that the challenges of life provide her with opportunities to see and understand herself in new ways. She describes her purpose as: 

“Being a catalyst, using the ethos of a missionary as I strive to help others. I refuse to give up, and whilst looking after others, I don’t lose focus of my own goals, those of my family and my work.” 

She is clear of her ethos for living are amongst her top five messages she would share with her children and the generations to come are: 


  1. Stay focused. 

  1. Have a vision. 

  1. Love people as well as yourself. 

  1. Try and be grateful. 

  1. Don't look down on others. 


Gaining insights into Mrs Mordi’s life, one can ask, does she have time for enjoyment and fun? Well, here’s what she had to say: 

“I love listening, learning, and dancing to music. Oh yes. I love artists and musicians whose works make me think. We have some great philosophers of music, and some of my favourites include Peter Tosh, Desmond Decker, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. I enjoy walking, yoga, I love to laugh, I sing. My children, who are all established professionals and grandchildren are important to me and bring me joy and pride, and my faith is where I draw strength and peace.” 

Mrs Mordi, a pioneer, an activist, a politician, a trendsetter, one of a small cohort of Black women in Scotland who is making her mark, creating, and leaving her legacy.

This feature is part of the Seasoned UK Black Queens series celebrating Black women throughout March, a fantastic project led by Yvonne Christie. Read more here

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