on searching to find the africa in african studies

When we wrote our open letter to the department of African Studies, hoping to document our collective grievances and open a conversation about how to change and improve the course for future students, we titled it “Searching for the ‘Africa’ in African Studies”. Getting through that course and being able to truly say that one had learnt somethings in African Studies, one had to search. Search beyond the shock of…

“sub-saharan africa” doesn’t exist – drop the scissors

So last year we talked about how there is no such thing as the “Arab spring” – yes? yes. And you cut that out of your vocabulary. Good. I thought we wouldn’t need to have a conversation about how there is no such place as “Sub-Saharan Africa”…. but well, it seems we do, because the rate I keep seeing this term, and with my fellow rads and Africans too……‍ so…

it must do something to you to only be a throughway

“It must do something to you to know that you are only a throughway to a thing, body or place more desired.”   The editor asked “how are you breathing in this increasingly airless space?” in which State corruption/misappropriation of huge amounts of money just keeps increasing and increasing – name them, the scandals which come one after the other unstoppable, name them: Kenya Power, Maize, Dams, Lamu Coal, NYS,…

on african institutions and class consciousness #rant

So as much as I am all for African Studies conferences having a base in Africa, I have to say the registration charges for the upcoming African Studies Conference by the African Studies Association in Africa (ASAA), make me question which Africa the conference – whose focus is on African and Africana knowledges – is aimed at. Tickets range from $45 for an Africa based student’s daily entry (which students…

reclaiming time + space – what pretty hides #2

I was recently again in London for a brief moment for my graduation. It’s summer and sunny and warm – the best time to be in London because you can be outside for longer periods of time. And yes indeed, summer means picnics, walks in parks, swims in ponds, lunches in parks, games in neighbourhood greens, full outdoors enjoyment of life. So much so that I thought visitors to London…

decolonising the african spirit

“After seven years of being on the journey I can say that I have arrived at several shores of knowing and understanding that I would like to share for anyone else who might be undertaking a similar exploration. Even more however, I have begun to wonder about the silence around African spirituality, and its persistent labelling as sorcery or devilish, an inheritance of missionary colonialism. As a researcher of the…

culturally rooted pan-african movement workshops

After a hiatus while I travelled to study, African and diaspora African dance workshops with Wangũi are back!! I have been dancing since I was about 5 years old, and have learnt, taught, and performed in various places including Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, U.S.A., South Africa, Tanzania, U.K. and Kenya. My dance workshops are aimed at bringing culturally rooted pan-African dances to the present to hold space for healing, transformation, creativity…

reimagining, reviving, storytelling: reclaiming

This is a post in which I gush about stories and storytelling. Reading my about page you know one of the things I am about is narratives so buckle up. What’s your favourite story, podcaster Lilly Bekele-Piper asked me in an interview a couple of days before the Reimagined Storytelling Festival. I went with a poem. One of my all time favourite poems, and one I like to perform: “Where…

are we talking about what we are talking about?

We are on our way to Wales for the final section of the GESA programme (written in August 2018*). I was in two minds about coming for this last part of the programme and strongly considered going back to London. Here’s why. Bird, Why are you stuck in the tree Flapping flapping, Wildly beating your wings Against what holds you back, That which we cannot see. Your flaps are getting…

what pretty hides

We have just concluded a few days of an opening retreat designed to have us bond with each other and gently enter the GESA structure and family. As an opening to this, we talked about what we would like to be our group agreements that would allow us to participate, share and learn, both safely and courageously. These included how to show appreciation for what someone is saying while they…