life rattle Special Black History Month Podcast no. 1

February 13, 2011



Selina Africaine reading:
The Roti Shop"


Kitty Molefe reading:
"Student Demo"
"Story Telling"

tonight's writers and stories

Selina Africaine, born in 1950, in Georgetown, the capitol of Guyana, was the eldest of twenty children on her father’s side, although she lived with her mother and three siblings on her mother’s side. She emigrated to Canada in 1970, where she lived in southern Ontario–except for two years in New York. In 1975, a medical accident left her unable to walk and in constant pain following the birth of her second child. In 1986, Africaine went to Guyana to remarry, then returned to Toronto. Her husband followed six months later, and the couple lived in Toronto until 1993 when they returned to Guyana for another two years.

Africaine returned to Toronto in 1995 without her husband. She applied and was accepted to the Transitional Year Programme at the University of Toronto and has since graduated with a BA in English. Selina Africaine lives in Toronto as a writer and a painter. She has just completed her first book, and anticipates the day she can return to her country to help underpriviledged women learn the skills they need to tell their own stories.

In these two stories, Africaine tells two tales of twisted good and evil and bitter injustice: one involving a brother and his protective sister in a Guyana school and the other an illegal immigrant worker in a Brooklyn roti shop.


Kitty Molefe was born in 1959 in Brakpan Old Location, Gauteng, South Africa—a town south east of Johannesburg. Her community was forcibly removed to Tsakane in 1974. Molefe attended the University of Zululand, studying science and pre-medicine. In her fourth year, consumed by the liberation struggle in her country, she left school and enlisted in the A.N.C. forces to fight for the Liberation of Black South Africans from Aparthied. She fought proudly as a Freedom Fighter, (Pronounced Terrorist by the Government of the day).and went in to exile in Lesotho. For five years she travelled around Africa and Europe before settling in Toronto in 1986 with her first child. Molefe had her second child in 1989. Still an activist, working with Human Rights Organizations, Molefe lives in Toronto with her two teenage children.

Kitty Molefe’s stories take place in the mid-70s to early 80s, ten to fifteen years before the release of Nelson Mandela, when the brutality of the apartheid regime faced the resistance of a new generation of South African youth reaching political awareness. They document Molefe's experiences as a Freedom Fighter, and the final story in the series, “Home,” presents a moving and vivid account of an exile’s return.


Arnie Achtman recorded Selina Africaine and Kitty Molefe reading their stories, for Life Rattle, the story show.