Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ignite Poets in Kenya

While I was speaking to my Uncle in Nairobi the other day, he mentioned that the situation in Kenya is getting worse. People are becoming desperate because of the economy, and as a result, there has been an increase in reports of muggings. The Kenya you see in the media is either portrayed as corrupt or a pristine African utopia. But Kenya is much more complicated than that.

Speaking to Kenyans and reading their work, one gets a sense that there is a growing desire amongst the people for accountability on the part of the government. They are speaking out, and they are finding ways to do it through art, radio, music and literature.

Last year, I had planned to organize a spoken word/music show to raise money for Hawkers Market Girls Centre (see photo) in Kibera (the largest slum in Africa). With the help of some incredible artists and musicians including Pepe Haze (Paramedikz) and Muki Garang (Ghetto Radio), that dream will slowly become a reality. This show and the shows to follow will be for Kenyans BY Kenyans. It'll highlight the best and brightest talent in the country, emphasize the importance of collaboration and draw attention to important issues facing Kenyans today.

Grandmaster Masese, a talented friend of mine, planted the seed of this idea in my mind. Here he is, speaking eloquently about his art and his instrument, the Obukano.


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