Exploring inheritance - at Rita Ora’s dad’s place

Jeta Abazi

There’s something fitting about meeting at Rita Ora's father's pub. I’m looking into discrimination against women in family inheritance cases so it’s nice to be in a place that’s best known for its connection to the owner’s daughter.

I’ve come to meet Albanians and Kosovar Albanians who live in London. When they immigrated to Britain, I wonder, did they bring their traditions as well as their suitcases? Including the custom of handing down property only to the men of the family?

Another custom from home is to sit outside and drink a coffee, or maybe even a beer. A pub that belongs to the family of one of Britain’s top pop singers, who comes originally from Pristina, seems like the perfect place to chat about my subject. Mind you, thanks to her success, I don’t think Rita will be too bothered about whether she inherits the Queen’s Arms in Kilburn, northwest London, from her father, Besnik.

"I have a son and a daughter, but things have changed for us. Whatever I earn, I’ll divide equally between them. Maybe I’ll give more to the daughter," Aida Breca-Syla, a 40 year-old make-up artist from Pristina, says with a laugh. She places her cigarette in the ashtray and asks Rron, an Albanian waiter, to bring us macchiatos.

Jeta Abazi (centre) with Lutfi Vata and Aida Breca-Syla.
Jeta Abazi (centre) with Lutfi Vata and Aida Breca-Syla.

Apart from Aida, who has been in Britain for almost 16 years, I also meet Lutfi Vata, another Albanian living in London. Vata was a headmaster back in Albania and runs an Albanian-language school here. He brings over some qebapa (traditional small sausages of mince), grilled meat -- and a little story. The food is on me and the story is about my sister, he says.

"When my sister got married 20 years ago, she was the only girl, with three brothers. Asking for a part of the family inheritance wasn’t even part of our discussions -- it was considered a disgrace even to think about it," he recalls.

Interrupted by the loud voices of some Italian guests, he comes closer to the table and continues with a smile.

"Here, people see different cultures, different mentalities and they change,” he says. “So for my daughter and son, there will be no difference."

But some Balkan traditions stay the same -- even in London. Vata won’t let me pay for the food and drink.

Jeta Abazi works at the University of Pristina's Department of Journalism and reported for more than three years for the weekly television programme Jeta në Kosovë (Life in Kosovo). Her fellowship project focuses on discrimination against women in family inheritance cases.


Fellow Bio

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Jeta Abazi

Jeta works at the University of Pristina, Department of Journalism.


Topic 2014: Generations

This year’s annual topic is Generations. Think of a powerful story that you have always wanted to report, and link it to this theme while crafting your proposal. Remember, it is better to have a strong central idea that is loosely linked to the annual theme than to have a weak idea that is strongly linked to the theme.