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12:55:00 PM

With Bw. Igosi, composer of the famed Mwana Aberi,
 at The Art ,Culture and the Constitution meet up .

Yesterday I had the privilege to be part of a Civil Education exercise, you know I am sucker for social change et al , but this was a different type of civil education, mainly because of the target group, artists. 

It reminded me when I was part of the PM Youth Round table and only one person in the room knew there was a Cultural Policy, it took me back to January this year when I had the five part workshop and when I asked them to mention African poets beside Wole Soyinka, the room was quiet but we could do on and on about American poets, when I asked them to quote an African poem or speaker, I got stares but they could on and on, on the I have a dream speech(which was a great speech) but all they can give for Kenya was Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s Ndugu zanguni phrase, period. Before you point a finger, I would like you to take a minute and sing Kenya’s National Anthem in Kiswahili and English. 

So being part to that forum yesterday was like a power boost of who I am as a Kenyan first and as an artist, an element of change in my society. It was good to know what the constitution has to say about my freedoms, my rights, my power, my limitations ok this line is from my piece I know things so you know how great it felt being there and having these guys affirm to me my predictions ( you can bring you palms for prediction reading)

Introducing these guys
The event was organized by The Kenya Cultural Centre under the directorship of Aghan(I found this name very sexy)Aghan, Aghan, ok focus, Aghan Odero who was the event’s moderator, Mshai Mwangola (now this is an art ambassador in her own right; she is also the only person at the PM roundtable who knew about the Culture Policy, yes I too didn’t know), Garnette Olunya from Arterial Network, Glady Gatheru, Director of Culture (for some reason reminded me of my form one Home Science teacher, she was explaining stuff and I could see stitches and hear shouts of ‘Wafula hold that needle well’ ‘But teacher I am left-handed’ ‘You think you are the first left-handed I have taught, this stitches run from right to left’  Now I know it was trauma that flashed through my mind, think after this article I will grab needle and thread and do those stitches and see if she is on FB I tag her on them-determination) and Facilitated by Uraia Trust’s Abukakar Zein( who made me wish I could go back in time and see him on stage) and was held at Ukumbi Ndogo which I have to commend for the remake. (Ukumbi Ndogo is the hall on the other side of Kenya National Theatre which was completely run down where Kikaoo used to have its sittings enyewe for the love of art we went there over and over despite the ceiling looking like it would cave in with the next row of thunder)

Uraia is a name I’d guess many people know but it is a guess, just a guess, for those who don’t, Uraia is a Kiswahili word derived from Raia which means citizen so uraia os citizenship and it has been involved with Kenya’s National Civic Education programme. It has worked in two phases since 2000 and you can get more info about them on their site http://www.urai.or.ke or visit their beautiful office with all these cartoons on the wall (Kimani I want to work from there) on Jacaranda Av off Gitanga Rd.

Kenyan Art and the Constitution
At least you know by now that there is a cultural policy that caters for you and me as an artist(also refered to as a cultural worker/practitioner). Constitutions out!!! (slap yourself silly if you don’t have one, sorry bang your head on the wall, I bet bado unaomba serekali. Once the pain has eased, download one from here or inbox me and I will make arrangements for you to get one). So three key articles discussed yesterday;

Article 3 (1) - Which talks about respect, uphold, defend the constitution – You can do none of this for something you know nothing about. So anza kusoma (not just for 2012 but because you are Kenyan, and these are the rules of this jungle)
Article 1 (1) – Says you havethe sovereign power, so serikali infaa kukuomba not the other way round but because you do not know sululu, brings me back to my piece, I know things…ignorance is not always bliss, people perish because they know not. Kenya haina wenyewe, sisi, mimi na wewe ni wenyewe.
Article 2 – Talks about the Constitution being the msema yote, not the president or a group of wonna be/ know-it-alls.

Creative Voices for Advocacy at WaPI
 As a cultural worker, (this title makes me feel like Nyajiru, the lady who asked men to give her their pants, like Mekatilili, Sitawa the cultural worker, sweet) key things you should do;
-          Read and understand the constitution
-          Mainstream  it in your art
-          Vision and defend it (here is where I brag that I met Bw. Igosi, the guy who sang Mwana Aberi, yes that song you have gotten trophies over and over and over from during festivals, it is a pity though, a great pity)

Attending this forum is another badge on my breast as I was scheduled to facilitate WaPI Skill Factory this Sat, 7th May at Sarakasi Dome and my subject of discussion is using creative voices for advocacy.

Insights Courtesy of Kimani wa Wanjiru, join the Art and Culture group on FB to get more about what was discussed at the meeting.

Also subscribe to my events to know when I am performing, doing artivism or any other social change activity… pamoja tuheshimu, tutii na tulinde Katiba na nchi yetu ya Kenya.

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