Maverick Life

Africa, Maverick Life

Podcast: The Boy Who Didn’t Die

This is the story of one man’s escape from a brutal conflict and a journey that eventually landed him in Cape Town. Mdalaga Mrisho’s is a tale of biblical trials and hardship, but one that has been replicated thousands of times and whose characters remain unknown. By SOUND AFRICA.

When Burundi’s civil war finally ended in 2006, it had claimed the lives of 300,000 people. Thousands more had been forced to flee their homes, and yet more were left suffering from unimaginable trauma. The complex 12-year long conflict, intertwined with other regional upheavals, including the Rwandan genocide, led to mass displacements of people.

Many victims witnessed the torture and killing of family members, friends and neighbours, and were forced to uproot their lives. For children, the war was especially vicious, and the use of child soldiers and child slaves was a defining feature of this conflict.

It is in this context that, as a child, Mrisho was captured by an armed group and pressed into their service. His attempt to flee and make his way to a new life is the stuff of Hollywood epics, but his story was untold until he encountered Sound Africa’s Rasmus Bitsch in his adopted home. DM

Sound Africa  is an independent South African podcast collective. The podcast above is part of our inaugural season, and we’re pleased to announce the imminent release of our second season, Nuclear SA, which will be published on the Daily Maverick website early in 2017. Visit  to find our more about us and support independent media in SA.


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