Friday, 1 December 2017

Of things that hurt | Poetry from Kenya

La Macchina Sognante, the literary magazine directed by poet Pina Piccolo, has now an English version: The Dreaming Machine
I'm glad that in the first issue of the magazine Kevin Mwachiro and Seise Bagbo's poems found a home. 
Here a taste of them:


KEVIN MWACHIRO



Your Wind

My radio is silent and the TV faceless
Yet your voice forever tuned-in and your memory glued.
Your stature earthed, but your roots your legacy
Your smile dimmed, but your radiance glows
Your wind – how strong it still blows!


SEISE BAGBO


Of the things that hurt,
Of all the things that i cried for but didn’t get,
Of the fresh wounds that bleed but won’t be nursed,
Of the stories that dried up in our throats,
Of our hearts that hang on fences,
Unloved and unloving,
Of all the men and women who broke our hearts,
We still see you in the reflections of our brokenness,
Of the betrayal and loyalty,
The knives are still stuck at the places you stabbed,
Of us all who survived,
The scars are a show that we are still alive,
That we fought and got here,
Our names stuck with the stars,
Of you who fought by us,
We die by the sword,
Of all the moments,
Of pleasure and pain,
Of kings and paupers,
Of queens and chamber maids,
Of us all.
We lived, we loved

Monday, 28 August 2017

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Creative Encounters #3

Creative Encounters #3 just ended and it was a great day. The platform is growing, this time we had about 80 people attending the event.
As Kobo Trust recently hosted the exhibition Arts to End Slavery, organized by Haart Kenya, we wanted to dedicate also this event to the topic of human trafficking.
Though it is outlawed everywhere, human trafficking exists globally.  According to latest global index, 46 millions of people today live as slaves. The report indicates 167 countries where slavery still happens. Modern slavery is a multi-billion-dollar industry with estimates of up to $ 150 billion generated annually, I guess this statistic is not updated but it gives a sense of the impact in our societies. 
When words fail us in front of these dreadful statistics, Art is the only tool we have to raise awareness and address social change. Creative Encounters is a platform that gathers together artists from different art fields to inspire one another and offer the possibility to create new forms of artistic partnerships and collaboration.
Through this platform we are also committed in addressing, through art, social issues and social change making impact. We use art to enlighten, educate and discuss subjects that are of great weight and concern in the society such as gender equality, youth empowerment, human trafficking, migration, homophobia, racism, inequality, gender based violence.

The artists who were on stage were:
Mufasa Poet | Ijakaa Imo | Mamboleo | Tarcisse Kana | Valentina Mmaka | Naitiemu Nyanjom | Dikson Kaloki | Florin Mmaka | Ian Msanii | RoyRoyboy | Stacey Ravvero | Peter Ngila | Clara Castells

Mufasa Poet | Dikson Kaloki | I | Peter Ngila

Clara Castells
Ian Msanii
Naitiemu Nyanjom
Stacey Ravvero



Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Arts to End Slavery

The 3rd of July marked the inauguration of the exhibition Arts to end Slavery organized by HAART Kenya and hosted by Kobo Trust.
Poster
The Artist exposing their work were:Paul Otieno Abwao, Rehema Baya, Lia Beharne, Samuel Githui, Immaculate Juma, Abdul Kipruto, Leevans Linyerera, Cephas Mutua, Lincoln Mwangi, Peterus Ndunde, Naitiemu Nyanjom, Brian Omolo, Joan Otieno, Nicole Riziki, Lemek Tompoika, Gemini Vaghela.
Spoken word poets Seise Bagbo and Roy Royboy along with guitarist Cusamusique performed during the event.

The 4th it was a closed VIP event where I had the wonderful opportunity to perform an excerpt of my play I...Immigrant... Woman... to want to say to write (staged in Europe and Africa and sill used in multicultural school programs) and met with interesting people all committed in different ways in fighting human trafficking.

The United Nations define Human Trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.  Part of the human trafficking activities there's: forced migration, early marriage, sexual exploitation, traffic of organs, forced labor, bonded labor, domestic servitude, child soldiers.
Though it is outlawed everywhere, it exists globally.  According to latest global index 46 millions of people today live as slaves. The report indicates 167 countries where slavery still happens. Modern slavery is a multi-billion-dollar industry with estimates of up to $35 billion generated annually, I guess this statistic is not updated but it gives a sense of the impact in our societies. 

HAART Kenya is the only organization in Kenya working to end modern slavery. 
According to HAART:  Kenya has the highest rate of human trafficking in both Central and East Africa. As a source, transit, and destination country, Kenyan urban centers such as Nairobi and Mombasa provide both the supply and demand required to grow the industry. Often victims are trafficked either to or through Kenya from neighboring countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
Forced labor is the main form of human trafficking in Kenya, with 41.3% of Kenyan children ages 10-14 years of age being exploited for cheap labor within the country. Once taken, these children are put to work in industries such as agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, street vending and begging. Kenyans are also frequently lured to the Middle East and Europe with the promise of well paid employment. After their arrival, their passports and identification documents are often confiscated and their wages withheld, leaving them at the mercy of their employers.

It was indeed an exceptional event addressing this global and very important issue using art. As someone said: When artists give form to revelation, their art can advance, deepen and potentially transform the consciousness of their community.  Each artist of the exhibition had the responsibility to raise awareness on human trafficking because it is through art that reflection, identification, resilience overcome prejudices, stereotypes, judgement. It is through art that we build bridges and destroy walls for a world without borders, without barriers. In art we find a powerful tool that makes impact in our societies and through which is possible to resist  and fight back injustice in a revolutionary and constructive way.


Sophie Otiende and I


Seise Bagbo and Cusamusique
Sophie and Clara Castells
Seise Bagbo, I and Roy Royboy
Rehearsals time

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Arusha Poetry Club

Charles Bukowski was right when he said that Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.  I shall add that being with poets things just happen, things that wouldn't otherwise. When I'm with poets, no matter where,  I always get to experience a kind of exclusive feeling of belonging which otherwise I couldn't as I try to be detached from this feeling as much as I can, at least in regard to places. The only place I can really belong to is my writing and Art, in a more extensive way. 
I've spent a wonderful overwhelming week end in Arusha. I couldn't think of a better way to learn and share and I have to thank three special people: Charlotte O'Neal (aka Mama C), Edmond Azaza and Clara Castells who made possible my participation at the Arusha Poetry Club.
Whenever I go to new places I never go with expectations, I prefer to be overwhelmed in negative and in positive by the place itself... the surprise element is essential for creative minds and sensitive souls. Arusha struck me the first hour I set foot on its soil. I felt a good energy and positive thoughts and this even before brother Edmond (thank you for confirming what I felt) informed me about the spiritual nature of Mount Meru, just north of the city of Arusha, which corresponds to the geographic center of the Earth. Amazing how places speaks to our souls, and how they are all connected: Italo Calvino siad that all places communicate instantly with all other places and it cannot be more than true. 
Group Photo
With dada Mama Charlotte O ' Neal 
dada Charleen
with Edmond Azaza
Arusha Poetry Club
Edmond Azaza
Edmond Azaza and Tim Titere

Vicky Azaza