74 episodes

54Lights is committed to elevating creatives of colour. We showcase Africa to the world, by lighting up great guests with roots in the 54 countries of the continent. We’re telling these under told stories from Africa to all corners of the globe. And because each guest has a unique and flavour-filled tale to tell, we will tell these stories with care. So that they can shape and reshape and reframe the narrative, one story at a time. 
Humbly hosted by Kondwani Mwase

54Lights Kondwani Mwase

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 21 Ratings

54Lights is committed to elevating creatives of colour. We showcase Africa to the world, by lighting up great guests with roots in the 54 countries of the continent. We’re telling these under told stories from Africa to all corners of the globe. And because each guest has a unique and flavour-filled tale to tell, we will tell these stories with care. So that they can shape and reshape and reframe the narrative, one story at a time. 
Humbly hosted by Kondwani Mwase

    Leave It All On The Stage

    Leave It All On The Stage

    Acclaimed actor, Karen Leblanc joins us in studio to talk about her ever-elevating career and path. As an independent and emerging artist, she rose to more popular fame after instrumental performances in Rent and impersonating the indomitable Tina Turner. Though her path has been laden with successes, many people were introduced to her through her performance on OWN’s Kings of Napa… a series backed and lauded by none other than Oprah Winfrey.
    In this episode, Karen graciously opens up her youth and how it was to grow up as the youngest of 8. She further walks us through the lessons of perseverance and how she prepares to perform and grow.
    FIND AND FOLLOW 54LIGHTS
    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crowd54/Email guest referrals, comments and stories to kondwani@54lights.com (feedback welcome…complaints and hate, not so much)

    • 36 min
    My Life in Pieces

    My Life in Pieces

    Andrea McKenzie is a fearless entrepreneur who’s building an art empire…one piece at a time. The fierce visual artist has brought her Caribbean culture to the fore with her unique signature and style. Andrea creates unique pieces using glass, feathers and other materials to blend them and weaves them into “kaleidoscopic pieces”. She uniquely infused glass, feathers, acrylic and other materials on canvas which propelled her into achieving a viable international clientele. With flare and ferocity at her side, Andrea has used art to help her grow and fulfill her destiny. She made her way from the Caribbean to Atlanta and the US to build her brand.
    Enjoy this honest and insightful conversation with one of the most dynamic artists on our planet. One who pours her work into the work and then has had to find a way to pour herself into the business of being at artist. From the art of it all to the management of it all, Andrea walks her through her life, trials and triumphs.
    FIND AND FOLLOW OUR GUEST
    Website - https://andreauniqueart.com/IG Follow - https://www.instagram.com/andreas.heart/?hl=en  
    FIND AND FOLLOW 54LIGHTS
    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crowd54/
    Email guest referrals, comments and stories to kondwani@54lights.com (feedback welcome…complaints and hate, not so much)

    • 32 min
    Giddy Giddy Giddy

    Giddy Giddy Giddy

    On this instalment of 54Bites...we get talk about getting giddy about guests. As an interviewer, I sat in the hot seat and stepped into some friendly family fire to talk about what impact my love of my guests has on the show. 
    For the honest fireside chat, I sat down with my sister, Siphiwe Mwase, who's also the intro voice on this show.

    FIND AND FOLLOW 54LIGHTS

    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crowd54/

    Email guest referrals, comments and stories to kondwani@54lights.com (feedback welcome…complaints and hate, not so much)

    ABOUT 54Lights

    54Lights is committed to illuminating the African experience...one story (beat) at a time. 54Bites features our extended conversations with fans, foes and friends of the show.

    • 8 min
    Bring Art Back To Life

    Bring Art Back To Life

    WHAT TO EXPECT...WHEN YOU PUSH PLAY
    In this episode, host Kondwani Mwase is joined by Rwandan urban music icon, Cassa. Cassa emerged from the music scene via private radio station Contact FM and has gone on to tour alongside the likes of Lupe Fiasco and Delasoul. He was also chosen specially to perform a tribute to Music Producer Quincy Jones!
    Among other things, Cassa opened up about his musical journey, the source of his inspiration as well as his writing process. Listen in to hear an infectious and energetic conversation highlighted by his hit song, Dis O Dat, which is featured throughout the course of the episode. WARNING: You'll undoubtedly become a fan of his music and magnetic presence.

    Music for this episode was provided by our guest, Cassa, whose work can be enjoyed below: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1qVqyeTICpuu938EF2Lxon?si=EGvVjgA0SbCxMSzy2TvISQ

    NOTABLE LEARNINGS
    Kondwani was introduced to Cassa from a referral from our friends and family at KIF Radio.
    Cassa’s music journey first began in Church in his birth home of Rwanda at 8 years old. Then when he was 12, he joined a performing group, leading him to eventually recording music at the age of 18.Cassa likes having as much control over his own music and art. This is why he has started to learn to produce his own music alongside his writing.A lot of Cassa’s newest music is very intentional, every song is meant to fit a certain mood.It was only when moving to the U.S from Rwanda that Cassa began to really learn the in-depth and long-lasting impact of slavery. This has been reflected in some of his songs, including Ndugu Yangu [My Sibling in Swahili] on his EP Back to Life.Using a variety of languages in music can be seen as risky, but something that pays off in Cassa’s case. Cassa truly leans into his art and doesn’t even recognise it as a risk.Live performances mean a lot to Cassa and his music, it was something he missed during the pandemic. He wrote his latest EP with this in mind with a strong intention to take this music out on the road with him.  
    OUR HIGHs (NO LOWs)
    00:27 “Sometimes the music stops, the rhythm and the reasons gets pushed aside, best laid planned leads inexplicably to an unscripted place”

    01:59 “Everything stopped, everything changed, everything moved. Overcome by a soft trauma of motion my body swayed, my mouth smiled, my mind eased”

    12:40 “I’m screaming loud who I am, there’s no one better that can do that than me”

    19:50 “I’m actually really enthralled by your ability to embrace the risk of using different languages in your music”

    25:44 “The more we’re experimenting with sounds, the more we’re trying to recreate it, we actually created a better sound”

    30:00 “Even if I jump on a trend, I will morph that trend to fit me”

    MUST LISTEN FROM OUR GUEST

    Dis O Dat by Cassa: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1qVqyeTICpuu938EF2Lxon?si=EGvVjgA0SbCxMSzy2TvISQ

    FIND AND FOLLOW 54LIGHTS
    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crowd54/
    Email guest referrals, comments and stories to kondwani@54lights.com (feedback welcome…complaints and hate, not so much)
    54Lights is committed to...

    • 32 min
    A Matter of Language

    A Matter of Language

    Language and meaning dissected, this week's bite-sized conversation is a crude attempt to explore a "universal" lingua franca for the continent. Complex, controversial and even confusing are some terms that come to mind when we wade into the fray. 
    You'll hear from our guest Dr. Josephine Dzahene-Quarshie , professor of linguistics in Ghana, who's devoted to this concept and construct. An interesting and different way of thinking given the widespread use and documentation of the language of Kiswahili. 

    WHAT NEXT?

    I invite all listeners to join us in this debate. Should or should we not try to march towards this concept...or is the proposed dream by Professor Dzahene-Quarshie a worthwhile topic. Contact us to voice your opinion.

    FIND AND FOLLOW 54LIGHTS

    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crowd54/

    Email guest referrals, comments and stories to kondwani@54lights.com (feedback welcome…complaints and hate, not so much)

    ABOUT 54Lights

    54Lights is committed to illuminating the African experience...one story (beat) at a time. 54Bites features our extended conversations with fans, foes and friends of the show.

    • 14 min
    Standing in Solidarity

    Standing in Solidarity

    Our guest, Jana Rae Yerxa, is one of our season's most inspirational guests. She's an activist, writer, poet, teacher and community leader. She not only embodies the spirit of the work we do but stands as a key model and shining light to learn from. 
    From her insights on being a selfless, or selfish, activist to her guidance on how to protect oneself from the weight of deep work on racial justice, Jana-Rae exposed us to her world. As part of our deep discussion on racial justice, and her community work to uplift our Indigenous brothers and sisters, Jana-Rae also helped us better understand how better to apply language of support...converting us from allies to those that stand in solidarity. 

    GUEST BIO - Jana-Rae Yerxa, M.S.W., M.A. is Anishinaabe from Couchiching, First Nation, in Treaty #3 Territory. She is an advocate, educator, writer, and poet whose work is grounded in Indigenous feminims and decolonial frameworks. Jana-Rae is faculty and curriculum developer at Seven Generations Education Insititute in Anishinaabe Gikendaasowin. 

    MORE FROM OUR GUEST

    Read Jana-Rae Yerxa's Unravelling of a Colonized Mind https://lastrealindians.com/news/2013/1/30/jan-30-2013-the-unravelling-of-a-colonized-mind-by-jana-rae-yerxa  
    FIND AND FOLLOW 54LIGHTS

    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crowd54/

    Email guest referrals, comments and stories to kondwani@54lights.com (feedback welcome…complaints and hate, not so much)

    ABOUT 54Lights

    54Lights is committed to elevating creative voices through authentically told stories. Our energy stands in solidarity with people across the globe. 

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

anika-M ,

An embrace to Afrocentrism!

So much fun listening to all these unique stories... both the cultural narrative and human experience are so refreshing. Well done Kondwani, looking forward to S2

Samantha Laliberte ,

An insightful listen!

So great to see this podcast come to life. It’s such an insightful listen filled with the vibrant cultures that make up Africa. Would definitely recommend!

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

CBC Podcasts
iHeartPodcasts
CNN
Glennon Doyle & Cadence13
Michael Hobbes & Peter Shamshiri
American Public Media