PANEL 3: Decolonising the arts and culture space
Colonial expansion in Africa went hand-in-hand with denigrating, degrading and even destroying African arts and culture; Africa was declared to actually be “without a past” in order to justify its exploitation. The creative production of Africa was pillaged as trophies and souvenirs for ‘adventurers’, at best a curiosity for anthropologists and ethnographers. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of African music, art and film, and there have been calls for European museums to return stolen African artefacts. What does decolonising the arts and culture space mean in this moment, and in this country? This panel will explore histories and contemporary artistic expressions in various formats, thinking about how we can better “look at ourselves”, understand who we are, and appreciate what possibilities we are all carrying within us.
Location: Eastlands Library, Makadara
Date: Saturday 21st May 2022
Time: 11am -12:30 pm
David Oyuke began his career in media as a radio host on Kenya’s Classic 105. He started off hosting the graveyard shift and soon moved into hosting on weekends as well. Shortly after, he was hosting on both Classic 105 and Radio Jambo. in 2014 he was hired as a breakfast radio host and later head of radio at Family Media after which Royal Media Services came calling and he hosted the flagship morning shows on their English station Hot 96 for 3 years. While there, he also reported on International news on Citizen TV and also received a certificate in Investigative journalism from the institute of the Advancement of Journalism. He was later contracted by the Standard Group until January 2020. He currently runs a voice over consultancy and has been providing world class voice over for the last 10 years. He holds additional certifications in inclusive leadership, counselling, psychology among others.
Stoneface Bombaa is a community organiser at the Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC), where he runs the MSJC Kids Club and Art for Social Change. He is also a member of the Mathare Green Movement (MGM), a group of volunteers who, through planting trees throughout the informal settlement, practice collective imagination and action. Stoneface has spent time helping young people in Mathare understand the systemic violence that shapes their lives. Until Everyone Is Free is an extension of that work.
Sitawa Namwalie is an award-winning Kenyan poet, playwright and performing artist known for her unique dramatised poetry performances which combine poetry and classical Kenyan music. “Cut off My Tongue,” her first performance was performed in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and at the Hay Festival in the UK in 2009. In 2010 “Cut off my Tongue” was selected by the Sundance Theatre Lab in the first East African Sundance Lab held on Manda Island. Sitawa’s growing body of work includes short stories, dramatised poetry productions and plays, “Homecoming” (2010), “Silence is a Woman”, (2014), “Black Maria on Koinange Street” and “Room of Lost Names” (2015), “Taking my Father Home” (2020), “Escape” the Musical.
Sitawa Namwalie is a fellow of the Tallberg Foundation and lives in Nairobi and works as an international consultant. Sitawa holds a BSC in Botany and Zoology from the University of Nairobi and an MA in Environmental Studies from Clark University, Massachusetts, USA. Sitawa represented Kenya in tennis and hockey in her youth.
Wangui Wa Kamonji
Wangui Wa Kamonji is a regeneration practitioner, a retriever and bearer of new life, a weaver of magic, a honey-jar carrier, a midwife of sovereign beings for the co-creation of generative just worlds, and an inviter and facilitator through passageways to life.
She researches and translates indigenous Afrikan knowledges and practices into experiential processes, art, and honey, to provide embodied tools for our people to heal the colonial traumas of past and present, and (re)create ways to live regeneratively with themselves, Earth, and ancestors again i.e., for us to decolonise and reindigenise.
Her work is motivated by the twin challenge of healing and creation of new realities for the present and future of the Afrikan continent. She explores this through research using academic and indigenous methods, storytelling in written and oral forms, traditional Afrikan dance and movement practice, and facilitating spaces for critical consciousness and transformation. She rethinks current world systems and reimagines a thriving world for all so we can redesign life towards regeneration in partnership with human, earth, and unembodied spirit relations. She is based in Ongata Rongai. Find her online @_fromtheroots
Paul Kelemba (Maddo)
Paul Kelemba (Maddo) writes and illustrates the weekly column, “It’s a Madd, Madd World,” a satirical look at society and politics, in The Saturday Standard under the pen name of “Maddo”. It was created at The Daily Nation in 1989 as a simple humorous fact strip. He shifted to The Standard in 1992 where the column has grown into a popular full page feature. The column is widely read by a vast cross section of Kenyans. It also has an audience within the East Africans region, the diplomatic community and a good following in the Kenyan Diaspora. Now in its 33rd year, It’s a Madd, Madd World has run continuously, uninterrupted, and is today one of the longest running, full-page features in a tabloid newspaper produced by the same writer or artist on the African continent.
Kelemba was born in Nairobi in 1962 and is a self-trained artist. He has worked for various publications as a cartoonist and illustrator including Coastweek in Mombasa, Viva, Men Only, Drum and True Love, The Daily Nation and The Standard. He has also illustrated features by leading writers such as the late satirist Wahome Mutahi’s Whispers and the respected surgeon Dr Yusuf Dawood’s Surgeon’s Diary. He produced the action-hero comic series Miguel Sede in the 1990s published by The Sunday Standard. A book compilation, It’s a Madd Madd World, 2007-2011; The Hot Years was published by Buni Media in 2012. It was prepared at Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study & Conference Center in Italy. His work appears in various other publications.
The artist has exhibited his work extensively and has been involved in the organization of several workshops and seminars jointly with other leading cartoonists in Nairobi as well. He is a founding member of Katuni – The East African Cartoonists’ Society. He is a recipient of several prestigious awards.
Kelemba is a widower with two daughters and a son. The eldest girl follows closely in her father’s footsteps while her sister is pursuing law and their brother ICT.