DONNA KAKONGE - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
WRITER & TUTOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com
Donna Kakonge Brief Bio:
Tutor/Facilitator at University of the West Indies
Independent Tutor at Learning Disabilities Association District of Toronto
Academic Advisor at the University of Toronto
Tell us what many people may not know about you?
I would stare off into space, but my mother always noticed this.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
Exercise helps me to keep motivated. I love helping other people, especially when they appreciate it. I am fortunate to be doing work and activities that I enjoy.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
I started working at the age of 10 years old. My father and mother helped me to have a strong work ethic from a young age. I delivered newspapers for the Toronto Star. I was also fortunate to have positive school experiences on the most part. A Vice-Principal at one of the schools I went to when I was 9 years old organized close-circuit TV for all the students where myself, as a senior student, had the opportunity to do a news program. My father gave me the freedom to decide what I wanted to do with my career. He wanted to make sure I had a strong foundation in all areas, which I did receive in high school, including math and science. I worked hard, I still do. I went with my instincts. I still do. I had faith in myself. I still do. I took advantage of opportunities and programs to help me to get ahead. I still do. It is not easy all of the time, but I get a lot of help from wonderful people around me. Surrounding yourself with good people is excessively important.
What would you like to be remembered for?
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
That is a daily task.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
My favourite food is just about anything that tastes good. I can be very adventurous when it comes to food. When it comes to books, honestly...I love my own. At least I know all the words :-). I love all kinds of music and I have a wide collection. I have a wide collection of books too. I love all different kinds of movies, especially those made by independent Canadian filmmakers.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
All written in my dissertation from the University of Toronto hopefully coming out this year. You can find it under my name when you Google T-Space.
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.
Yes, I think there are. There should be more though. Many of the immigrants to this country have outstanding achievements. Just today, today for me is a Sunday evening...well, this morning, I had a Black Cuban owner of a bookstore close to where I live who has two PhDs! The man is brilliant and I always knew that. Within three years in this country, he is using his entrepreneurial skills to get ahead.
Should & do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
I do think that is extremely important. Money is power as most people know. Money is also energy and to put good energy into the Black community is important.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Starting from the beginning, I know Mathieu Da Costa, a Black man was the interpreter between Samuel de Champlain and the Aboriginal people. Da Costa is the first recorded presence of Black people in this country. I know a lot after that point.
Donna’s few words to an uninspired person:
Work hard. Believe you can do it. Surround yourself with good people. Pray. Exercise. Be good to yourself and others. And...most important...persevere. That latter one I really needed a good lesson with when I was in my 20s :-).