Housedeer Issue No. Six features an interview with Mumtaz Manji, who tells the extraordinary story of her life, beginning in an entirely different part of the world from where she would find herself later. Born in Tanzania, Mumtaz lived in Kenya, Belgian Congo and Uganda in her early years, and in 1972 she was one of the many people expelled from Uganda by the murderous Idi Amin, an event that made news around the world. Thanks to this accident of violent political upheaval, Mumtaz ended up in Canada as a refugee with three small children, no English and, as she puts it, "a big jackass for a husband" who would eventually become her "ex." Mumtaz managed on her own considerable wits, courage, and no small amount of divine counsel to figure out how to live this new life she never imagined she would have, and to live it well. She worked very hard, learned to speak English, and made life possible for her three daughters and ultimately for herself too. When I see the stories of refugees so common today, with images of young mothers with their little children, I think of Mumtaz: the consummate Canadian lady, observant Muslim, Mom; someone who values her past, her languages, and her experiences, while having made the new country completely her own, and I feel hopeful. This issue was a joy to make, and I hope it will be a joy to read.
|Mumtaz Manji in 1968|