iPlayer Radio What's New?
Listen
On Now : Woman's Hour
Women bishops; Schools and mental health; Parks; Social kissing
Image for Jack Mapanje

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Jack Mapanje

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 24 October 2004

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the poet Dr Jack Mapanje who is one of the most important living African poets. He was born into a poor household in a typical African village in 1944, when Malawi (then Nyasaland) was a British colony, but while he was still a child it became part of the Central African Federation, together with Northern and Southern Rhodesia.

Jack started writing poems, inspired by his despair at the political woes besetting his country. Although his book, Of Chameleons and Gods, was only sold in one book shop in Malawi, it won considerable acclaim around the world and was awarded the Rotterdam International Poetry Prize. He was ambitious and set up a writers group within his own University and, although he knew it was dangerous, felt compelled to continue with his writing. He was arrested in 1987 while drinking in a bar. The World Service broadcast a news item about Mapanje's arrest the following day and his cause was taken up by writers' groups and activists across the world. Dr Mapanje was held without charge or trial in Mikuyu Prison for more than three years, scarcely aware of the international campaign to free him. When he was finally released, again it was without warning or explanation. Believing his life was still in danger, he fled with his wife and children to Britain. He has lived here ever since and now lectures at the University of Newcastle.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Ave Maria by Johann Sebastian Bach
Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Luxury: A guitar

Music Played

8 items

Credits

Presenter
Sue Lawley

Broadcasts

Free downloads

  1. Image for Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1942-1959

    Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1942-1959

    Some Desert Island Discs programmes only exist in their incomplete form. They may be missing…

  2. Image for Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1960-1969

    Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1960-1969

    Some Desert Island Discs programmes only exist in their incomplete form. They may be missing…

  3. Image for Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1970-1986

    Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1970-1986

    Some Desert Island Discs programmes only exist in their incomplete form. They may be missing…

  4. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1951-1955

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1951-1955

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  5. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1956-1960

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1956-1960

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  6. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1961-1965

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1961-1965

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  7. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1966-1970

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1966-1970

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  8. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1971-1975

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1971-1975

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  9. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1976-1980

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1976-1980

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  10. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1981-1985

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1981-1985

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  11. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1986-1991

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1986-1991

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  12. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1991-1996

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1991-1996

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  13. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1996-2000

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1996-2000

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  14. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 2000-2005

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 2000-2005

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  15. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 2005-2011

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 2005-2011

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  16. Image for Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young

    Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young

    Kirsty Young asks castaways to choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss