Bridgerton Star’s Mother Blackmailed by Catholic Missionaries in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe-born English actor Rege-Jean Page, the heartthrob star of the hit Netflix series Bridgerton, revealed a heartbreaking story about his mother’s struggles growing up in Zimbabwe and how she was blackmailed by British Catholic missionaries when she was just five years old.
The Missionaries’ Demands
According to Page, his mother was told that she couldn’t attend school unless she forgot her African name and took on a Christian saint’s name instead. She was to go home and pick a saint, then never speak her first name to them again. This was an attempt to strip her of her cultural identity and force her to conform to the missionaries’ standards.
In his poem, Page writes, “I think they called this charity. I think they call this a virtue. I’m pretty sure I heard it called liberation.” These powerful lines speak to the hypocrisy of the missionaries’ actions, which were anything but charitable or virtuous.
A Story of Strength and Resilience
Despite this traumatic experience, Page’s mother showed incredible strength and resilience. She walked seven miles barefoot to the nearest school, determined to get an education. Her first name remains a secret to this day, unused even by her family and absent from any official documents.
Page’s moving tribute to his mother shows how her bravery and determination have been passed down to her children.
Rege-Jean Page’s Original Post In Its Full Entirety
At 5 years old, my mother was blackmailed by British catholic missionaries.
But we’ll get to that. I want to give a quick bit of… air to this recurring moment in my life:
Is that your real name?
Is that what it says on your passport?
(What I don’t say:
Who the fuck are you to ask me that? For official proof – from the British Government – that I’m not lying – to you – about my name.
What the British government think’s my name is has very little to do with what my name is anyway.
What you get to call me.
At 5 years old, my mother was blackmailed by British, catholic missionaries.
They said she could not come to school. Their school. Theirs were the only schools for literally 100 miles – and she walked 7 miles to their nearest school, bare foot, from the village anyway. Because school was really, really important.
They said she could not come to school and get an education unless she forgot her heathen African name and took on a Christian saint’s name. A name they knew and understood. A name they chose. She was to go home and pick a saint, then never speak her first name to them again.
I think they called this charity.
I think they call this a virtue.
I’m pretty sure I heard it called liberation.
Her first name, to this day is a secret.
Unused, even by her family. Even by me. Unappearing on any official document, Zimbabwean or British.
It is not on her passport.
You get to call me, what I tell you to call me.
I name me, not you.
It is my name, not yours.
My name. Is Wohdeipha Daphuque Ayseyidis.)
…Yes. That’s what’s on my passport.
It’s not spelt like the music though.