Category: decolonise

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…

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…

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…

on using the right structures in transformative work – simon mitambo

Are traditions simply a thing of old that are interesting but not relevant to the world we live in today? In my last blogpost for Transition Network I sat down with Simon Mitambo to hear more about how he is using traditional governance structures from his Tharaka community to revive cultural and biological biodiversity, and connecting with other communities doing similar work across Africa. With the organisation he set up,…

on the spirituality of nature – wanjiku mwangi

I had a conversation with my good friend and inspiration, Wanjiku Mwangi about her path to caring for nature and the environment (she doesn’t like this word though, see below). In particular we spoke about the spirituality of nature which is what drives her work with communities to recover their heritage and ecological mores. What is nature to you? When we talk about nature there’s two main parts, the seen…

a proposal to retire the term ‘arab spring’

1. It’s a misnomer that excludes (further). First word, Arab: there are more ethnicities than Arab in North Africa. Hold up, I’ll say that again. North Africa is not made up of Arabs alone. Tuaregs, various Amazigh communities, Nubian communities and many others, all live in North Africa. Some were there before the Arabs. Saying “Arab Spring” manages to disappear all of these people from the record and perpetuate their…