Before Malema’s expulsion – A dollar a day commentary

During my stay in Mzansi i got to break bread with my friend Snow Bizzy, a road and infrastructure development officer in Mafikeng. Snow shares his commentary on a wave of a bold voice that originated from the ANC -Youth league. better known as  The Malema Effect.

You can listen to the commentary here  [audio]      or read while listening. Continue reading


Author Coumba Toure safely heads back home to Mali

I spent my Saturday afternoon with the author of Bama’s Twins Coumba Toure from Bamako,Mali. I met Coumba in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the 10 Annual Global youth summit. Recently Coumba was heading back to Mali after  official duty in Washington DC , she was unable to land in her country of residence due to the unrest in Bamako.  We are familiar with the horrific details of the situation as was explained by our former Foreign affairs minister Moses Wetangula.  Coumba is safe with her family and spent 2 weeks in Kenya awaiting news over Mali’s fate in Nairobi.

While in Nairobi together with with Ndanu Mung’ala an associate, we talked about Coumba’s book which brings back the essence of children’s literature authored by creative African writers.

This book captures my attention perhaps  due to the delicacy of the story, “One day, Bama tells her twin girls that she is not their birth mother. The girls embark on a journey to find their mother and discover many mothers along the way.”

“Who then, is our mother?”
Baji Spoke with much sorrow.
“I don’t know her. That’s why it was difficult to tell you this news.”
“We must try to find her.” Sanji said,with tears in her eyes. “Why didn’t you ever tell us this before?”
“How are we going to find her? We don’t knowanything about her!” Baji added. “We do not know her name or her face.”

Coumba Toure shoes us, through adaptation form a traditional tale, why children in the Sahel have many mothers. Continue reading

Tenth Annual Global Youth Leadership Collaborative World Jam 2011

Written by Maisha Yetu Staff writer.

October 23-29, 2011, in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Maisha Yetu’s Muki Garang was invited to this  auspicious event by Global Collaborative alumni Salim Mohammed of Ashoka Foundation of change makers.

Yuka's memory perfomance

The event was  concluded in the early week of November on a high note in Chiang Mai,Thailand, with Kenya being represented by a bastion of energy, creativity, and visionary young leadership. Kenya’s Maisha Yetu founder Muki Garang was among the 30 diverse young artists between the ages 23-43 with performances,sharing,debates and healing process.



In carrying forth its objective using  music and theatre as  tools for community empowerment, Maisha Yetu continues to  engage in a number of socially conscious projects such as the world Jam 2011, collaborating with institutions such as Ashoka foundation,Kwanmuang Institute for Contemplative Learning and YES! Youth for Environmental Sanity.

Jammers engaged

Maisha Yetu has been on the forefront to empower artists, who are  the reflection of the community.   Muki Garang noted “I have to admit the Jam session in Punpun,Chiang Mai opened my third eye wider thus leading to a paradigm shift.”   He continues to say “ it was  an incredibly opportune forum to learn from one another and build connections beyond national boundaries. I was challenged by fellow artists to push my art and social engagement to the next level.”



Institutes like the Kwanmuang Institute for Contemplative Learning and YES! Youth for Environmental Sanity, promote non-violent communication, environmental justice, holistic education and social responsibility in Thailand. Could this be where Maisha Yetu is headed ?

Muki says “Though at times our message in the music and theatre calls for a prudent form of action against social injustice, i do feel inclined to adopt non-violent communication because it would  benefit the youth in long term ways.”

In music parlance a “jam” is a creative, live gathering of talented musicians who spontaneously create a new sound on stage. “The new music is always greater than the sum of its parts,” says Ocean Robbins, one of the organisers of the Bangkok event.



Although he did not attend the Bangkok jam, at the heart of the weeklong event was another Kenyan, Salim Mohamed of Ashoka organization, who since 2005 has been a facilitator for gathering of young leaders organized by the Global Collaborative initiative.




Global Collaborative brings together like-minded youth initiatives, including event organizer Ocean Robbins ‘s Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!).

Among the artists in Bangkok were founders and leaders of organizations around the world working for just, thriving, and sustainable ways of life in their societies. The change-makers reflected on their work and exchanged ideas and insights with their peers.


Other African activists were  Mali-based Senegalese author, Coumba Toure, who writes children’s books, such as the much-acclaimed Bama’s TwinsJocelyne Yennenga Kompaore (Burkina Faso) and Egyptian activist Motaz Attalla.

To date, there have been 38 jams held on five continents, bringing together young leaders from more than 65 nations. The events are sponsored by the California-based Global Youth Leadership Collaborative, which began its work in 2006.

In the face of global recession, the artist-leaders and activists deliberated on alternative affirmative solutions, says Ocean Robbins.



The organisers chose Bangkok as the venue for this year’s event because it is the only country in South East Asia that has never been colonized by European powers.  “It is also home to Nuttarote Wangwiyoo, a long-time YES! partner, jam facilitator and Global Collaborative member who offered to host the world jam in his home country,” said Salim Mohamed.



The venue of the meeting rhymed with the theme of the event. The participants were hosted at the renowned Punpun Centre for Self-Reliance in Chiang Mai to the northwest, where lush jungles and cultural richness surrounded them.

The centre uses organic farming and natural seeds for its cultivation. Its buildings are made from readily available, local, natural materials using adobe (sundried mud bricks), straw, clay, bamboo, stone and second-hand salvaged materials.
Solar energy is used for heating water that runs in the bathrooms, and electricity is mainly used for lighting purposes in the evenings.  The participants received live lessons on environment-friendly self-reliance from Jon Jandai, the Punpun Centre  co-founder.












“I was fully inspired by Jon’s speech and the least I would do in his honor is to capture his words in poetry,” said Muki Garang, whose poetry performances at the event were videotaped and will be hitting the web soon.

Maisha Yetu’s production “People’s TV 101 -Switch on the power to the people”

Written by Louis X. Aoko

Jukwaani Festival 2010 perfomance 25th September ( People’s TV 101 -switch on the power to the people)

Venue: French Cultural Centre

Time: 2:00pm

Cover Charge : FREE

Synopsis : As the fastest growing mode of youth communication and expression, Hiphop has a definite place in the ethnography of contemporary East Africa’s performance literature.

As poets, Maisha Yetu seeks to perfom to Kenyan youth with this question in mind: What messages of gender do poets send young people? Some anthologies are gender-biased, reinforcing stereotypes of the traditionally feminine and traditionally masculine.
Other anthologies provide poetry which breaks traditional gender stereotypes. Still other poetry incorporates gender stereotypes in an attempt to critique myths about gender.

Most are entrenched in social attitudes regarding the sexes. The assumption is that a critical examination of implicit or explicit gender expectations, as presented in poetry for young adults, can help break down some of the myths which can repress both females and males in such a gathering (Jukwaani! Festival).

This event will brought to life by the following

Muki Founder Maisha Yetu

MTV award winning film Shuga -Actor

kenne B poet

Karyn Nduku Jukwaani 2010

Anne Moraa jukwaani 2010

Caroline Njenga