Tag Archive for kenya

Building identity through the arts

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Kibera, one of the biggest slums in Nairobi, Kenya, and one of the biggest in the world, houses people from all ethnic backgrounds coming from different parts of the country.

The original settlers were the Nubian people from the Kenyan/Sudanese border, mostly Muslim, living alongside the Kikuyu, the majority tribe in Nairobi, although now the majority of the tenants are Luo, Luhya and some Kamba, from the west of Kenya. There are many tensions in Kibera, particularly tribal tensions between the Luo and the Kikuyu, but also between landlord and tenant and those with and without jobs.

One man, Geoffrey Ochieng, also known as Oyoo (meaning mouse in Acholi) and a native from Kibera, is trying to create an identity for them. The TV Show Top Comic has chosen him as the funniest man in Kenya and the slum is so proud of him, his initiative for the community was been received with open arms.

Kibera Creative Arts, his own social project, aims at educating and transforming the society in the slum through the arts. A group of comedians, poets, dancers and singers used their influence to attract the youth and counteract crime.

The Spanish NGO Kubuka has helped funding the project with a new and special element: the construction of an identity for Kibera. “We have to live like brothers. You cannot permit that politics make you kill your brother”, said Oyoo to the Spanish Newspaper El País.

In the headquarter of Kibera Creative Arts everything speaks about the neighbourhood: the music, the pictures, and the handicrafts. More important than the ethnicity of the maker, the voice of the whole neighbourhood is what matters. “There is a lot of talent here”, says Oyoo, “we want to attract the youth so they don’t fall into delinquency”. What Ochieng wants is to erase all divisive ethnic components; neither Luo nor Kikuyu, everyone is from Kibera there.

He intends to show children and youth what they are able to do. “Not everyone is going to be an artist, but the arts gives them the possibility of expression”, reaffirms the comedian. “It is the art and not the violence what can help you to get out of poverty”.

As stated within the Shared Societies Commitments, promotion of respect, understanding and appreciation of cultural, religious and ethnic diversity and support for local communities in exploring their identity is one of the steps to deal with social division and exclusion.


Sources: https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/08/03/planeta_futuro/1501770958_765024.html?por=mosaico



Ethnic clashes ahead of elections in Kenya

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Tribesmen have attacked a village in southeastern Kenya, torching homes and sparking clashes that killed at least 38 people, in the latest round of tit-for-tat ethnic violence to plague the area”, Aljazeera reports.

The clashes between the Pokomo farming community and their Orma pastoralist neighbours have left 52 dead last month in Kenya’s worst tribal killings in years. The latest attack was on a Pokomo village, after last month’s attack on an Orma settlement.

The two rival communities have clashed repeatedly over the use of land and water resources. The Pokomo are a largely settled farming people, planting crops along the Tana River, while the Orma are mainly cattle-herding pastoralists.

Having in mind that elections are to take place in six months, some communities try to impede members from their opposing communities within some constituencies where they want to position candidates for elective positions.

Are these only small-scale attacks between enemy ethnic groups in remote rural areas generated by land or water resources, far away from politics, or does it remind us of the large scale inter-tribal violence and the political standoff between the Government of President Kibaki and the Orange Democratic Movement led by Raila Odinga after the elections at the end of 2007?

Is Kenyan political and civil society leadership mindful of the scope this violence could reach? Are they focusing urgently on the means to build a peaceful, shared society, and are they conscious their commitment towards that goal should be defined ahead of elections in order to prevent further electoral and post electoral violence?

Is the longer term already a concern for Kenyan leadership, and they already thinking about a plan of action for future inter-community relations?

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Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Kenya

The Equal Rights Trust (ERT), in partnership with the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), has published In the Spirit of Harambee: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Kenya. As they say, the country report is “the first ever comprehensive account of discrimination and inequalities on all grounds and in all areas of life in Kenya”. It makes a set of recommendations that we would like to debate with you. What do you think about it?

Speaking about the report, Dimitrina Petrova, ERT Executive Director, said:

“This report looks at the situation of the young Turkana man struggling to find work in the marginalised desert town of Lodwar, the stateless Nubian in Kibera who can’t obtain personal documents, the gay victim of violence and police extortion in Mombasa, the HIV+ sex worker denied medical attention, the child with albinism forced to attend a school for the blind, the rural widow going to court in order to keep her plot of land, and the cases of many other people suffering discrimination, inequality, and disadvantage in today’s Kenya. The report then analyses the legal, policy, and enforcement framework of Kenya to see if it has begun to create change, so that all these people can live as equals in dignity and rights”.

You can read the report here: In the Spirit of Harambee: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Kenya.

Here you can also see a Human Rights Watch video about Kenya

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