Thursday, 15 April 2010
I have been quiet, I must admit. Those who know the Sikiliza tongue wagging would know this. But to my defense, I have been very very busy making noise about a wonderful project I have been involved in for the past couple of months.
I was lucky enough to meet with Mũmbi Kaigwa (someone I have always admired!!) and work with her theatre company The Arts Canvas to plan an East African Tour of a very powerful Kiswahili play called KigeziNdoto. Loosely translated it means looking into our dreams…
The play was staged in small town Kenya and Tanzania broken in three legs covering over !!!10,000kms!!!….it was hard work planning it…dealing with the widths and breadths and different dynamics of Kenya.
This play took me to all parts of Kenya and Tanzania liaising with local communities, finding spaces and faces to attend and enjoy and share a moment of art interaction.
Helping Mũmbi and being part of this tour meant many things to me; I got to learn how to hit the road running, meeting with all types of people and learning new things each day.
I learnt the value of a smile and handshake. I learnt to listen and not just to be heard. I made friends in all corners of this corner of Africa. I especially saw the value of having a common language, Kiswahili to interact with.
It took me a while to watch the KigeziNdoto show as I was running like mad trying to ensure that the towns they were traveling to had prearranged venues and accommodation.
I finally got a minute to watch the show at the Men’s prison called Shimo-la-Tewa in Mtwapa near Mombasa. It was a strange experience entering a maximum security prison to share Easter Monday with the prisoners. I didn’t have much to do that day but watch the audience. They waited for an hour or two for the team to set up. I really can’t explain to you the look in their eyes to be sitted and not in the cell waiting for something special to come alive at the stage… seeing young people dance, sing, drum….speak to them and talk to them about not loosing hope to fulfilling their dreams….
I got all goosebumpy….. I had a camera – I tried to capture the look in everyone’s eyes without much success…and tried to think of a way of documenting how the hall felt that day…it was as though time stood still and there was a break from every negative thing this world hurls at us…for a minute, everyone forgot their problems, their fears and their worries and simply took to the beat of the drum.
What is it about music that makes us put down our weapons sit down and listen?
How is it that we are not doing more of this to heal the souls of our hurt neighbors? What better way to reach out to my fellow Kenyan but to sing to them and draw them in to my side…the peace loving side…the side that uses differences as an asset and not a weapon?
I realized that this amazing cast had a secret to share with us and we can discover by sitting calmly and watching the cast, all different but the same, brought together by a beautiful production to titillate our souls and nudge our minds to think…think about those inner most dreams and ambitions that we must not get loose in the dreariness of our everyday lives…
PS. Mũmbi, thank you for sharing this secret with me…my dreams live on thanks to the power of KigeziNdoto….naishi ndoto yangu….
Live your dreams my people! Live your dreams…
Be well (as always)