BERTHA KIZITO - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Bertha Kizito and I am a very dedicated individual. I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in Human Rights with a double minor in Women's and Gender Studies and Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa. I was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda, and lived there until I was 17 when I came to university. I have been very involved in various activities since I came to Ottawa. These include being a member of the East African Students Association at Carleton University, (an association of which I am the president of today). I also am highly involved at my church, my Church Ottawa, as well as other non-profit organizations outside of school such as CanUgan and Umuko. I am a people person and I love working with people and I am really interested in development and non-governmental organizations.
Tell us what many people may not know about you?
Something that not a lot of people know about me is that I love adrenaline rushes. Although I’m terrified of heights, I love pushing my limits. I’m planning on going sky diving and bungee jumping because I think the rush would be insane.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
My inspiration is my mother. She is so hard-working and determined. She constantly drives me to become a better person. My main source of motivation is sermons. Either at my church or listening to sermon podcasts of other pastors. So I make sure to always have podcasts on my phone for when I’m moving around
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
I got to where I am now by God’s grace, and with the help of my family and friends. I am constantly motivated by them, and they are great sources of encouragement to me. What to expect from me...A lot. I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I would love to be remembered for my generosity. I hear from a lot of people that I’m a generous person. I think that’s a great characteristic, so knowing that people think I’m generous is a good thing that I will hopefully be remembered for.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I feel like my phone really helps me balance work, school, family, friends, and leisure. Firstly it helps me to schedule any important dates and events that I need to remember. Secondly, my phone gives me direct communication with my friends and family especially during times when I can not physically see them. But most importantly it is important
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
My favorite food is my mom’s cooking. Whatever she cooks turns out really good. My favorite book is A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. I first read it when I was in high school and I absolutely loved it. It taught me to fight for what you believe in, no matter how many people may be against you. My favorite type of music is r&b and Soul. I really love music in the 80s and 90s. It’s just more raw and real than today's music. I don’t know if I have a favorite movie. I usually watch shows, but a couple of memorable movies for me are Catch Me If You Can and Pitch Perfect
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
My experience as a black person in Canada is interesting. Because I came when I was in university. I have mostly experienced my experience as a black person in Canada from a university perspective. In that sense, I think that it has been incredible. There are so many black cultures and it allows us to experience other black cultures, so I really like that. Although this is a good thing, it can be negative as well in the sense that people can segregate themselves instead of embracing everyone’s differences.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like TD Jakes, Beyonce, Tyler Perry, Obama, BET, etc.
I don’t think that there are as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models in comparison to the States. I think usually people look outside of Canada for Black role models. Mainly because Canada is so influenced by the United States media that North American black role models are usually grouped into one category
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
One of my favorite Black Canadian leaders is Wilson Ruffin Abbott. Although he was American, he came to Canada in search of a better life because he witnessed the unfair treatment of black people in the United States. I find his determination incredible. I also like Jonathan Emile because he uses his musical talent as a platform to inspire people.
Should & do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
I feel as though Blacks should support black music, events, and businesses, but not solely because they are “Black”. I feel like if you see something that is bringing about positive change and creating a positive atmosphere it should be supported, but we also need to be critical about black music, events, and businesses as well; Not in a patronizing manner, but in a positive way that encourages improvement.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
I know about the underground railroad during the days of slavery, and I know that can be looked at as Black History. I also briefly looked into Africville. When also looking at Black History we have to look at immigration and emigration from both Africa and the Caribbean. The category “Black” in itself is a vast category, so when I think of Black History, I think of different Black cultures and the history behind their settlement in Canada.
My words to an uninspired person:-
If I had the opportunity to inspire someone with a few words, I would tell them to dream big. If you have a dream in your heart, you should strive for it, regardless of what other people think, because at the end of the day it’s your dream, and you’re the one that will be missing out on it. Also stand up for what you think is right, or when you think that something is wrong. It’s the most difficult thing to do, but when you are able to do that, you are able to fall under the category of a leader instead of a follower.