Legson Kayira was born in 1942 in Mpale, Nyasaland (now Malawi). Soon after he was born, his mother threw him into the Didimu River as she could not afford to feed him. He was rescued and acquired the name Didimu. He himself added the name Legson when he was in school, as it sounded very English. When he was sixteen, he decided that the only away to get a college degree was to go to the United States and he set out on foot to do so. When he got to Kampala in Uganda he saw the name of Skagit Valley College in Washington State, in a US Information service directory, applied and was awarded a place and a scholarship. He then walked to Khartoum, where he obtained a visa and people from Skagit Valley raised the money to bring him over to Washington. He made it to Skagit Valley, two years after setting off, and went on to become a graduate student at Cambridge University, a probation officer and the author of several novels.