ABC Art Works’ Namila Benson Opens Up About Her Cultural Upbringing, Career, and Feeling “Strange” About Marriage

My parents separated when I was 12, because dad had met someone else. It was hard. Even to this day, I struggle to talk about it with him and how it impacted my two siblings and me.

My Teen Celebrity Crush was a prince. I was like, “Who is this sultry, simmering man who does funk like no other? Who is this divine creature? I was obsessed.

I knew I didn’t want a career in health or science journalism like dad. Because my parents had a large collection of music, I wanted to do something related to music. I approached the 3CR community radio station and started answering the phone, and quickly filled a shift for a presenter. Sure, I was terrible, but I loved doing it and the experience sealed radio for me.

I met my partner, Nick Harrison, in 2010, during a conference I hosted. At that time I was a host at Radio Australia and a presenter on country of the arts. Nick approached me with an idea for a segment. He was a field recorder and we’re both audio nerds, so we started hanging out.

I got pregnant with our son, Solomon, the following year. The following year we had our second son, Manu. It all happened very quickly but I was like, “He’s my guy.” Nick is immensely kind and supportive. He’s not afraid to let me shine. Every time I do anything – like write the memoir of actor Uncle Jack Charles – my buddy shouts it from the mountains. Mentally, emotionally, domestically, he takes over so that I can be free to do what I need. It is a language of love in itself.

Loading

We are not married much to the horror of my island family, but having babies helps me out. Not to disrespect anyone who walks the road of marriage, but the passing of a woman as property from her father to the husband…I feel weird about that.

One of the neighbor’s children said to my eldest: “You are not your father’s child because your parents are not married. It was an interesting conversation. I said to my son, “Your daddy is your daddy and we don’t need to be married.”

Works of art screens Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC iView and ABC TV Plus.

This article appears in Sunday life review within the Herald of the Sun and the Sunday age on sale October 17. To learn more about Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and age.

Christopher S. Washington