KUIR GARANG - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
AUTHOR / POET
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?
I was born in South Sudan three years before the start of full-scale second civil war. I lived as a refugee in different African countries before I came to Canada in 2002 through Refugee Student Sponsorship Program under World University Service of Canada (WUSC) based in Ottawa. I attended McGill University in Montreal and moved to Calgary after graduating in 2007. Living in different cultural environments and the conditions of war have given me enough to reflect on. These experiences have informed all the seven books I’ve published.
Tell us what many people may not know about you?
Reading and writing serve as my leisure activity. I also rap my poetry. I don't play any games like cards, chess, dominos etc.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
My inspiration is to correct the caricatures that have been made out of what I called the African Person (Africans and people of African descent). My greatest motivation is that what I am and what I should become is inside me. I shouldn’t be defined by others. Whatever I learn or experience from external sources should only act to augment my internally originated motivation, not define it.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
South Sudanese were treated as less than humans in Sudan; first by the Turks, the British, the Egyptians and then by the Sudanese Arabs. I’ve taken it upon myself to define who I am rather than go by what the above parties coined as my reality. I have so far written and published seven books all of which is an attempt to reject that reality and reassert the true African-ness that’d been misrepresented.
People should, therefore, expect more books that present the reality of the African Person in a more Afro-centered manner.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I’d want to be remembered as one of the people who helped Africans and people of African descent define who they are instead of depending on definitions that were handed down to them. And remember that these definitions don’t do justice to the African Person.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I live a regimented live: time to work, time to write and time for friends and family. Since writing comes easy naturally, I don’t mind being interrupted by friends as I don’t see them as wasting my time.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
I don’t have favorite food but I like corn (maize) and vegetables. I’m not vegetarian, however. My favorite book is Antichrist Friedrich Nietzsche. My favorite Music is R&B and Country Music.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
There’s always a sense of ‘awe’ when people talk to me or when they get to know what I do. That gives me an impression that who they thought I was isn’t who I actually am as they come to know me. There’s always that prejudgment. However, I take that as a question of them knowing less than a question of prejudice.
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
There could be exemplary institutions and role models for Black Community in Canada if the Black community in Canada works with a unified voice, attitude and mind-set. Without us maximizing our internal talents, strength, attaining such state of affairs would be difficult.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
I admire the brave and pioneering work of Mathieu Da Costa. His linguistic abilities were just amazing.
Should & do Blacks support / patronize black music, events and businesses?
No one believes in a community that doesn’t believe in itself. How would people outside the community support something members of that community don’t support? Blacks should be the advocates of their own creativity, innovations, and creations. There and then can people outside the community take Blacks’ products and services seriously as a populace that’s not only proud of itself but also reliably productive.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Black history is knowing our past in order to correct misconceptions of our history and heritage. No human being can claim to be proud if she/her can’t explain to others what her/his authentic history is.