Localizing Black Lives Matter

The current news has provided an outpour in the Black Lives Matter movement, but let’s be candid, it wasn’t breaking news for us. These are not new feelings.

Living in East African countries with our very own sons and daughters in power is not as bad as being Black in America, Europe or elsewhere but sometimes, it’s no better. 

It’s a public anchoring of conversations that we’ve had over dinner with friends and family all our lives. We fight the same fights. 

We fight against repression, classicism, tribalism and the ever revolving corruption. We fight against ourselves. We fight misinformation and lack of information. 

The events have unearthed past articles of not the big rocks, but of the small ones. The startups landscape in Kenya that is filled with White people and the lack of payment of artists by white employer in Rwanda.  

It’s a whole mess that might not get heard or addressed. 

As we discuss the events happening to blacks on other continents: Black lives matters in America and the woes of the Windrush Generation in the UK; lets also consider African lives and the information that is written and reinforced about Africa. We need to question what w have been told about Africans and Africanism. 

 Today, the world’s history books have obliterated the story of Africans. There is no recognition of what, for instance, the colonizers owe to the countries they once colonized. The history taught in schools today doesn’t take into account the wealth and culture of the African people. 

Picking from what black people are doing in their respective position of influence, frustrations and need to do something, I found that maybe the most important thing we need to do in this moment is represent. 

There is this thing about representation that empowers and accelerates development. 

Kirk Moore a professional TV writer, working on shows like 13 Reasons Why and American Crime said “If we are gonna talk about Black Lives Matter … then you actually have to let people of color run the room.”

And I say if we are going to talk about Africa, we need to have an African in the room. If you need to talk about Kenyan, pass the mic to a Kenyan.

If you need to do a movie about Rwanda, don’t cast British actors and actresses, pass the mic.

If you are going to talk about African fashion, pass the mic to African designers and artists. 

How can we pass the mic? 

This isn’t a charge that’s impossible to fix. If anything, I think it’s straightforward: give opportunities to local, young, men and women. We can concisely eradicate the biases with the level of access to those roles. 

We’ve seen good and bad in the last few weeks. From dramatic, showy activism and real ally ship. We’ve seen brands donating and promising to do more for Black people, but we yet to see systemic changes within these organizations. 

Sean Canty, an architectural designer and an assistant professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, has a great idea that we can implement in our context to make sure that the mic can be passed to those who need to speak. He compiled a list of Black creatives working in architecture, furniture design, art, fashion, and urbanism. He’s now created an Airtable based on the Stories to help you discover your next favorite follow.

Who can you recommend in your industry? Who do you think the mic should be passed to? 

Ready to hear from you. Let’s amplify African artists, small businesses, artists, advocates, etc. 

Pass the Mic

I will start: Go to my Instagram page to find a few voices that need to be heard. 

Tips for those who want to learn on the job.

It’s a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care
Well I do
Hey, who’s in charge here?
It’s a jungle out there
Poison in the very air we breathe
Do you know what’s in the water that you drink?
Well I do, and it’s amazing

These lyrics of It’s a Jungle out There by Randy Newman cannot be further from the truth if you are in a new environment. Especially a new corporate environment. And to add spice to the source- your first corporate job.

It is jungle out there and few survive and I am spongely learning.

In my journey of bettering myself for the projects that I plan to undertake in the coming months, I have taken off to uncharted territories, territories with so much rules and regulations. Territories where I have to look a certain way. Which is something I thought I would not conform to.

In this jungle of a place, I have come to learn a few things and would wish to share.

1.Observe the tasks, people and the overall environment and adjust to the kind of conditions you know exist in your office. Learn everything you can as you go along; this will ultimately help you if you have a career plan in mind.

2. Be a sponge. Start by listening and learning. Set aside what you know, just for a bit. Immerse yourself. Take the time to understand how things are done and why they are done that way. There will be a time and place to bring experiences to bear, but first, absorb.  Don’t forego the opportunity to first integrate into your new world.

3. Curiosity. React with genuine questions and sincerely pursue the “why.” Curiosity, unburdened by the baggage of judgement, is the universal solvent.

4. Moment of choice. The shoshin path – “I don’t understand this. I want to understand why we do things this way,” – an approach which springs from the belief that my confusion results from a lack of knowledge. Or, the been-there-done-that path: “Since I don’t understand this, it’s probably stupid.” Since it’s hard to mask how we genuinely feel, adjusting how we genuinely feel is significantly more important than what we say.

5. Build relationships. Effective relationships are a platform on which everything else rests, but they take time and care to cultivate.

Hope you find this helpful in your learning endeavour.

N.B shoshin (which in secular parlance means “innocence” or “inexperience”) refers to a beginner’s mind—a state of openness and wonder that allows a person to approach life unfettered by the preconceptions, biases or habits associated with knowledge and experience.

#FraichesWomen2019 – Anne Sanogo : “La culture manque toujours de personnes racisées aux postes décisionnaires”

L'Afro - news, enquêtes, reportages

PORTRAIT – Anne s’est imposée à nous parce qu’à notre sens, elle est, à 34 ans, une actrice importante du milieu culturel français. Très curieuse, elle est l’affût de tout ce qui se passe en termes d’art contemporain, de danse, d’installations d’artistes… C’est à son flair et à son talent pour créer l’événement que l’on doit la venue de la grande Oumou Sangaré, la tenue du battle Break The Beat ou encore de voir mixer Bamao Yendé ou Miss Mak à la Villette, entre autres. Quand on a fait la séance photo, Anne portait encore des extensions, des “mèches”. Quand on a repris contact pour publier cette série, Anne avait fait un big chop. Un moment qui a pris des allures de véritable rite de passage – les cheveux d’avant ont été enterrés- , vers une nouvelle manière d’envisager sa vie, le regard qu’elle porte sur elle -le seul qui…

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A flirty sun

When the sun shines, and the birds come out to play,
take your mind off the worst and make it a better day. But there are days when it wakes you up, then, it hides behind the clouds and you are left wondering whether to carry an umbrella.

Let boys want pleasure and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.  But sun set before it was solved. the flirty sun you are.

Make a commitment sun, make a commitment to set only when the republic is revolutionized a new. Only set when our leaders are servants. Only set when my hard earned taxes are put to good use when the roads are built; when the public hospitals are equipped; when doctors and nurses are not on minimum wage.

Flirty sun, don’t be overpowered by the pregnant clouds. They only bring doom. Houses have fallen, bridges are down.

Flirty sun, the cold weather is too romantic for the heartbroken.  Shine and soothe. Shine to help us find the needle to knit back the pieces together.

Continue reading “A flirty sun”

The little things of my country

Rwanda Nziza

Gihugu cyacu,

Rwanda my country.

There are those little things that make me feel nice inside about being Rwandan or living in Rwanda, the little time I spend there.

1. Banana juice. ( umutobe) All the benefits of a banana in juice.

2. Fanta Citron. ( need I say more)

3. Agatogo….

And let me stop there as I might not want you to think of me as a foodie, even though I might me…. Or not..

Then there is the people. My very hospitable people.

One thing that I know about Rwandans is that family is very important. Family and neighbors..

The best is seen during weddings. Weddings are a family affair.

Whether the people have money or not, they will come ” gutwerera” this is to give a gift.

This can be in form of monetary but the best are the ones that just come and help you out in the house, help you make tea/porridge , rent you their bassin…just simply anything and everything to make things go smoothly.

This is also seen in times of mourning.

( I recently lost my grandma, on 8th of March, may her soul rest in peace. She was 96 years old and had great great grandchildren. She lived well….. She died peacefully. Rest in peace grandma)

Anyway, so there past few weeks I have been seeing how the community comes together to comfort you in your lowest time.

I thank God who chose me to be Rwandan.

And the greetings on the streets. They take you out of your thoughts.

How precious is life.

What I am currently reading :

What we are loving from the garden

Have a great week ahead.