life rattle show no. 1193

Presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012


Hosted by Laurie Kallis


Kwanza Msingwana reading his story
"Don't Let Me Perish a Stranger"

tonight's Show

Tonight, on Life Rattle No. 1193, we recognize Black History Month with a Life Rattle classic by Kwanza Msingwana.

The stories of Kwanza Msingwana offer listeners a glimpse life as it was lived by Africans outside the headlines of the international press.

Tonight’s story, “Don’t Let Me Perish a Stranger,” was recorded in 1993 and first broadcast on the Life Rattle Radio program in 1994. It tells of Msingwana’s fugitive arrival in Kenya, by boat, in 1982, as a twenty-one-year-old on the run. The story relates the narrator’s experiences in Kenya with the people on the street, in the military and in a nightmarish government immigration bureaucracy where he struggled, trying to find a country to accept him.

Kwanza Msingwana, the eldest of 5 children—the name Kwanza means first born—was born in Northern Transvaal, Azania (South Africa). Kwanza's father was a member of the Venda people, Kwanza's mother is Tanzanian. Kwanza's first language is Sivenda, and he also speaks Swahili, Zulu, French and English.

In 1961, after taking part in a demonstration against the teaching of Afrikaans—the language of minority White South Africa—in Black high schools, Msingwana was forced to flee the Venda, one of the sham independent Bantustan homelands.

He went into exile and lived as a stateless paperless person in Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya, where he was declared a “prohibited immigrant,” before he came to Canada as a refugee in 1986.

Since his arrival in Canada, Msingwana has written short stories, poetry, folk tales and children’s stories. He has been part of the Learning Through the Arts program, performing African percussion and telling stories in primary and middle schools around the city. He also appeared on the YTV show “Treehouse,” and has played in several bands and drum and danse ensembles across the country.

We have been out of touch with Kwanza for many years. If you are out there listening Kwanza, please get in touch with us.