Una vita in Africa – A life in Africa Rotating Header Image

Who is Kizito?

I was born in Lecco (Italy), a small town on the shore of one the beautiful lakes at the feet of the Alps. It was in 1943 and I was registered on the birth certificate as Renato Sesana. My mother and father loved each other very much and were hardworking people. There were a sister and a brother born before me, and a brother and a sister came after me. In 1962 I got a junior degree in mechanical engineering, and went to work in nearby Mandello del Lario at the famous Moto Guzzi factory, which was in those years a major competitor and a regular winner in the motorcycling world championship. In 1964 I decided to ask admission to the novitiate of the Comboni Missionaries in Gozzano (Novara), and later I studied theology for four years at Venegono Superiore (Varese), and was finally ordained as a catholic priest in 1970. I had already taken the additional religious name of Kizito, the name of the youngest of the Uganda Martyrs, proclaimed “blessed” by Pope Paul VI the same year I had joined the novitiate.

I was first asked to stay in Italy to work the prestigious Comboni publication on Africa, Nigrizia, of which I became the editor from 1973 till 1975, I believe the youngest in the long history of the magazine. During that time I started travelling around Africa, writing and taking pictures, visiting different countries at least twice a year. At the end of 1975 I was sent to study English in Los Angeles (USA) while living in the Holy Cross Parish. When I went back to Italy I completed my studies in Political Sciences at Padua University with a research on the Black Americans in the Catholic Church.

In September ’77 I was assigned to Zambia, where I did my missionary work in a rural parish for three years, then I went to Lusaka, the capital town, in a poor slum area called Bauleni. I worked especially with the youth, and started a lay community called Koinonia.

After a brief study break in ’87, and a three months’ study visit in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil), where I got a chance to know the candomblè spirituality under the expert guidance of my late confrere Ettore Frisotti, in February 1988 I was sent to Nairobi (Kenya), with the responsibility of founding a new magazine, “the ‘Nigrizia’ for English speaking Africa”, which was to be called New People.

Kizito and Anita's Home Girls

Following the Zambian experience, also in Nairobi I started a lay community, men and women, with the same name of Koinonia. At present in Lusaka there are about ten members and in Nairobi about thirty.

From Nairobi, in addition to my editorial work, I did numerous trips visiting the southern Sudanese people devastated by the civil war, and in ’95 I visited for the first time the Nuba Mountains, a region that according to the British colonial administration is situated in the extreme southern part of North Sudan. The visits to the Nuba have become an important part of my life, and on it I have written a book, originally in Italian and later translated into Spanish and English. I also continued to write for other media and to write books on African issues – the first one I wrote was in 1974, on a month’s experience in Guinea Bissau with the freedom fighters. I left the position of editor of New People in 1995, and, after a three years’ stint with the diocese of Rumbek in Sudan I was called by the Kenya Episcopal Conference to plan and set up the Kenya Catholic Radio. Radio Waumini started broadcasting in July 2003, and after a couple of years I left it in the capable hands of Father Martin Wanyoike, a Kenyan priest..

Now I continue to promote the Koinonia projects, in particular the activities for the Nairobi and Lusaka street children (see the links) and educational projects for the youth in the Nuba Mountains. I am also active in projects and associations that promote justice, peace and reconciliation. And, when I have some time left, I continue to write, and to promote initiatives in the the mass media field.

Kizito

NB 1: what I put on this blog has been often written for publication on other media, and I have the text in the blog in the original language. I do not foresee translations.

NB 2: I am happy to receive your comments and email messages at padrekizito@gmail.com but I do not guarantee a quick answer.

58 Comments

  1. Hola Kizito! It is nice to know the good job you are doing in Nairobi. I have a foudaciòn in Costa Rica, where we work in the poor communities given them tools to make a better life.
    http://www.manosabiertasliberia.org
    Go on with the nice projects of Koinonia.
    Hi from Costa Rica!

  2. kizito says:

    Thanks Gerardo, and good luck for your work and service.

  3. Rodgers Chileshe says:

    Move on with the transforming work you are doing. It will definitely not going to be easy one but God will reward you for the unceasing efforts you make day after day. May God bless you.

  4. Moses Chimwanga says:

    Hi Father Kizito!! This blog is going to help many African youth to contribute and share their ideas on important issues.It also gives the full understanding of who you are and what you do. May the Lord guide you and all the good things you have done to improve this world more especially the lives of young Africans. You are always remembered for this, thank you for been there. Moses

  5. GADIEL RICHARD says:

    Hi Father Kizito, you are what you are only because of God’s love. May I say glory be to our heavenlyFather, your work to make then grow properly will only be payed by Him. I wish you could come and open a center here in Tanzania with me!

  6. Juma Idriss says:

    Padre Kizito is man that can not be compare with any one on this earth he has done a lot to African needed people’s.

    He had transform lives of Zambia, Kenyan, South Sudan and Nuba Mountains (Sudan) , he has also contributed a lot in supporting the Nuba people with the education and offering scholarships to Nuba Mountains students who are living in diaspora for Primary school, universities and collages.
    i love him so much and i wish him long life.

  7. Fiammetta says:

    Caro padre Renato,
    ho trovato per caso (ma..il “caso” esiste? io credo di no) il suo blog e volevo ringraziarla per la sua testimonianza, mi aiuta a riflettere. Qui in Occidente la bolla in cui viviamo filtra la maggior parte delle notizie, ho l’impressione che i telegiornali mirino a far più intrattenimento che informazione, e sento il bisogno di capire cosa sta succedendo intorno a noi, intorno a me. Ciò che succede in Kenya, in qualsiasi Paese del mondo, ha risonanze in tutti gli altri, perché siamo tutti in cordata, che ci piaccia o no. Grazie perché la sua testimonianza mi aiuta a capirlo meglio. Continuerò a seguirla e le assicuro la mia piccola preghiera. Dio la benedica.

  8. pius kayunga says:

    Grazie per il vostro aiuto. Buona fortuna!!!!!!!!

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