The New Londoners

Christina Maria Kono with her husband Molemisi Kono and their son Zen, 8.

“How did I end up here?” says Molemisi Kono from Botswana. “It’s a long story, but it’s essentially to do with love. 

Christina Maria Kono, who is half English and half Maltese, was doing a voluntary placement in Botswana as a component of her university programme at SOAS. There she’d been working for a year in a school for deaf children, and with a Botswana charity for the deaf. Before arranging an excursion to the museum with the children, it was required of her to check how suitable it was for their special needs. 

“I was working in the museum, I’m a museologist” says Molemisi, “obviously I was doing my job very well that day, because we met, then one thing led to another, and the rest is history. She is now my wife and I’ve been living with her in the UK for just over twenty years”.

The couple faced no significant immigration issues. “It’s interesting living here from my perspective, coming from a former English colony” he continues, “speaking the same language, but living in a different culture”.

Molemisi’s mum came to stay for 6 months a few years ago, before their son Zen was born.

“We seldom visit Botswana,” says Christina, “three years ago we took Zen for the first time to meet his grandparents and cousins”.

Aside from visiting family, they visited the Okavango delta and the Kalahari Desert. “We saw elephants and billions of giraffes,” recalls Zen, “and I saw a lion roar.” “We realised that some of the touristy things, including the safari, are more geared towards adults,” reflects Christina, “I still think though that these will be good memories. It’s a part of him at some level”.

“It’s easier to visit Malta, it’s only a three hour flight away, so we return for every holiday– summer there is fabulous”.

Both Christina and Molemisi work in the NGO sector. “We don’t have to go to Africa, there are many projects in London too” emphasises Christina. She does aromatherapy massage in a health centre for families with HIV and AIDS, Molemisi is a teacher for the blind. “I teach them various skills, from using public transport through to independent living”.

“I feel comfortable here, like a Londoner, perhaps more of a north-west Londoner,” he says. “I really love bringing up Zen here too” says Christina, “London has so many great parks and museums. You can explore cultures from all over Africa, and all over the world”.