Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Year That Could

Is something real if it does not stay the same? Moments of bliss are routinely intercepted by devastating results and events and followed by periods of frustration, anger, confusion and can only hope to be numbed by the noise of life. But numbing only offers temporary ‘sanity’… it seems that only the silence and the calmness of life can save us from ourselves. To exist is to embrace paradox.

The thesaurus here on my computer gives an example to show use of the word paradox: “the paradox of war is that you have to kill people in order to stop people from killing each other.” I’d like to extend that, in order to stop madness from engorging your world, you have to sacrifice some of your own sanity. But let the record state that I said your world,” implying that every person chooses their own reality for themselves. That perception and presupposition determine the exact hue and chroma that the picture of your imagined world will take. And the minute that we forget that it is our imagination that drives how we live in it, we find ourselves battling invisible monsters. We may fight and fight and never have anything to show but tired lungs and exhausted will. Dissatisfaction is the dessert of those who cannot discern what foods they like. Worse, alienation is the gift for those who have bartered themselves.

I find myself back to the billion-shilling question. And the point of it all would be? Well, I guess if we finally found an answer there would merely be no point to carry on! Instead we oscillate between euphoric highs and destitute lows, between bliss and depravity, with the knowledge that, as long as both exist, ascension is possible. If we succumb to that knowledge we will doggedly bear the pain on the way to pleasure. With indomitable faith and ridiculous hope. Some of us tread ever so cautiously, tiptoeing between eggshells and fool ourselves that residing in the middle (displacement=zero) is ideal for sustaining this living thing. But I insist and argue and rant and rave that, that’s not living! Why then would the extremes exist? And what’s all this about sustenance anyway? Are not we mortal?

Now on to the highs and lows. We have perverted the wavelengths. Distorted what it means to be up (and so the all-seeing “bums” and “madpeople” choose lows for at least these remain somehow pure-untouched). Never listening to our Selves and so never at risk of contentment.

This year I have known real physical pain. I have experienced the process of will shutting down and the feeling that my senses were slowly relinquishing their tenancy of my body. I have felt useless and purposeless. I have discovered reserves of hope and inspiration where I didn’t even know my vision extended to. I have found resonance. I have witnessed humanity for its own sake. I have been disappointed, nonetheless by those I love. Each disappointment has deepened my reverence for life. I have seen someone’s existence torn apart by a matter of letters… I have observed their anguish and despair and then seen them breathe, beauty and truth and wonder wafting out of every pore. I have witnessed ascension. And on every scale. I have spoken my mind with little care for consequence. Wise or unwise, I have done it and have no regrets (only perhaps that I had not done it sooner). I have accepted that I will be accepted by those who will accept me. And it is interactions with people that keep me riding the wave. It is amazement by the sheer mystery of what makes every being themselves that encourages me to appreciate each sunrise. Sometimes I fear that I’m at risk of self-erasure because of my observatory pastime… I’m still working on reconciling that, and as long as I’m still working… I am.

But here’s my challenge to you: prove that the following is not the only way…
“He will recapture his inner peace in the calm immobility engendered by disillusionment, just as a dead man finds his eternal rest (Yetiv, Isaac in Smith 1976).”

And may 2006 be awesome.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Education: Keys to the Cellblock?
Version 1.0

Part I: Artfully Done

Art allows for the kind of education that formal (classical?) schooling lacks. Art being capable of a mind-expanding project free from the constraints of the rigid conformity required to “pass” and “achieve”, the idea of “competition” becomes less equipped to fascinate and dominate the pupil, and monopolize his/her space for growth. True growth is not measured by an increased capacity for memorization and regurgitation. It could perhaps be well argued that it is quite impossible (if not futile and degenerative) for there to be a standard measuring stick for growth at all! Thus indeed the universalism of formal education obliterates the very individualism that, in Enlightenment ideology and its continued spoils, it proudly claims to uphold.

The child who cannot concentrate and “perform” within these structures is outcast by the system, society and her/his peers. Deemed “deviant”, “slow”, “stupid” or perhaps worse, “uncontrollable”, she/he may grow up believing that she/he does embody some or all of these things. Complacency from internalizing these fallacies may profoundly stunt the growth of the individual so that she/he actually becomes what society has labelled her/him. Fulfilling the prophesy of her/his scarlet letter.

The sort of education that is capable of such destruction (and I do not believe that I am over-dramatizing in the least) is more effective in alienation than in the purported assimilation (into the “real world”) that is the rationale for its existence.

I do not wish to discredit formal education systems completely. Indeed, the fact that I can sit here and write this, I owe much to my schooling. However, the fact that I can sit here and write this. I owe more to extra-curricular inquisitiveness and discovery of mostly “mainstream-subversive” literature, film, performance and visual art (sometimes there is a thin ridge between the mainstream and the great “rough” and often-uncharted ocean). Ideally there would be no reef at all and swimming far and wide would be an afternoon delight.

The arts require innovation, perhaps more than any other field. Or perhaps it is that the arts allow for great measures of unbridled creative thinking. Success in formal schooling (up to a point?) does not ask for nor necessarily nourish innovation. And if these are not sought elsewhere, the pupil may be destined to a life of intellectual subservience or, as is observed more frequently, megalomaniac perpetration of old (and plagiarised) or empty (and useless) ideas.

In effect, it may be argued then that the pupil her/himself must have an interest. But where do interests come from? Arguably, culture. The home environment. The community. The society. Exposure to life uncovers resonances and affinities; excitement and passion rise out of experience. And what constitutes this culture? Music, dance, drama, storytelling, images, poetry, film, spectacle (including installation), sport (which could be conceived as being a kind of performance art)…

The pupil is enriched and begins to realise the endlessness (temporal) and limitlessness (spatial) of possibility. In them is sparked a thirst for exploration, discovery, challenge and the kind of enlightenment (small ‘e’) that no curriculum alone can teach. The journey becomes a personal one, whose destination and itinerary are determined on a uniquely individual basis. This is what takes the idea of growth to a transcendental level.

And precisely because of the “anti-social”* nature of this task, many are intimidated to take it on (* in parentheses because it is activity that hegemonic society sees as adverse/antagonistic to its project of control through conformity, despite the fact that it is only very rarely malevolently anarchic). Those daring few are discouraged from the outset and from every level and angle. Fittingly with society’s ideological perspectives, economic reward or even basic subsistence is difficult to come by for these betrayers of the holy social grail (ironically, it is often a mark of financial success and high status to indulge in consumption, observation and patronage of the arts). Hopefully these setbacks will “reform” the deviants and re-assimilate them back into the mainstream working world. “Less innovation!” preaches The Manager up in his panopticon-like tower.

It would do us the opposite of harm to rethink the merits of (and carefully-contrived intentions behind) sticking to the “straight-and-narrow”.

Now is always the time to (a part of me wanted to say “rebel”)… express

© Lulu Kitololo

Monday, November 21, 2005

Make me A Break

I have had to
Old ties
Lose touch
with previous fixtures
Steer clear
of echoing voices
from an indiscriminate time
Uproot and aim for relocation
of endangered pieces
that pieced me together

I have had to
With half-hearted satisfaction
of meals I didn’t ask for
And tricks I played
on my senses
Whims I traveled senseless
Crumbs I licked
whose beauty,
once invented,

I have had to
Out of the scrutinizing spotlight
that demands performance
of me,
That attempts even
to set the key
for songs I
They expect to see me drumming
Instead I play piano
While talking fighting words
of attack, submit
and retreat…

I have had to
To let some air
To let some light
To take it all
It all

Thursday, November 03, 2005

No More Questions

I’m at one of those stages where I’m too tired to ask questions. Not to be alarmed, this is not a permanent transition. Is anything truly ever? But hold up, that’s a question and right now, I’m not interested in those. There is an indefinable space between questions and answers that deserves veneration. A temporal space of indiscriminate creation that carries the weight of difficult demands and allows in the multi-dimensional influx of possibilities, truths and inventions. It’s an extremely difficult place. Pride fights with many suggestions, emotions struggle with others and though I may appear to be cool-calm on the outside, my inside is war-torn, ravaged and bleeding.

I’m realising, or rather admitting, that my entire existence is laden with lies. What I know of my place in the world is built on artificialities and selective amnesia. It’s not an easy thing to deal with in your mid-twenties. Supposedly a time of consolidation yet now realising that the entire formative process was misdirected! But perhaps it is easier than were I 65.

I have to negotiate my position and create new meaning for it. My meaning. I must reinvestigate everything I have presumed and everything I have been taught and told. I must take over my education and determine its curriculum for myself. After all, when you really look at it – pierce through and break it down – I am the keeper and carrier of my sanity. Just me, alone and only.

I have often gazed at madness with a somewhat admiring eye. It is an excuse in itself. A reason not to have to conform to the (spiritually?) oppressive elements of the everyday. But at the end of the day, could it just be another way to escape accountability? Wait, that’s a question again. I always try and listen to “bums” “crazy” people, lunatics, and observe them well and they often have extremely profound things to say and essentially simple truths to relay. And I ask myself why such wise people have been relegated to this (anti-) social position. I reply to myself that it is clearly because they have realised the high moral (?) cost of “normalness” and would rather be…free. For true, to see this world of ours, to really see it for all its hypocrisy, cruelty, injustice, delusion, depravity (and feel free to go on), is to be insane. I think that a lot of us know this and so choose to escape it through selective/voluntary ignorance. It’s much easier that way, much more conducive to a certain (widely-held) definition of “living”. But I keep coming back to the point where I demand of myself if that truly is living. I battle whether that is a kind of living that I can find peace with. That I can deal with, wake up every morning without even stirrings of guilt, shame and self-repudiation.

And “all the questions I can ask only I can answer” but, that’s the most challenging kind of work that this life affords. Indeed this must be the meaning/purpose of life…to figure out how to keep on living. Not in terms of basic survival (food, water, shelter) but in more ideological terms perhaps. Religion, ritual etc., we created these to give some meaning to things but, the purest of intentions are so easily corrupted. And so volatile to discuss. …To figure out a reason to keep on doing, to keep on being, to keep on smiling, to keep on hoping.

I retire to my suspended state, to let things wander in and out freely so that I may observe which ones can go the distance and make this committment. It's about that time for a real good dose of selfishness!

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Miss Luna once again indulges my love for questionnaires…

10 Years ago..
Damn! Memory is not usually my strong point. Mine is highly selective and defiantly independent. 1995… New beginnings. I had just started high school. The satisfaction of having finished a chapter was soon thrown off balance by the shock of going from being the older ones at school to being the youngest. The seniors seemed so grown up and worldly (what a hoax!). My pals and I were causing havoc in the dorm, constantly getting in trouble for being loud and disorderly. My grand (ongoing) career of procrastination began about this time I believe. And being that the classroom was a minute’s walk away, I discovered the possibility of mornings! It was cross-country season, something that would continue to haunt me every September term for the next 5 years (which I now actually quite miss)…

5 Years ago...
New beginnings. About 2 months into uni in a strange land with even stranger people (and in art school, you can imagine!). Had the homesickness checked in? I don’t remember. My first winter was quickly approaching — that would be sure to do it! I was young and starry-eyed, confused, innocent, optimistic, excited, idealistic… I don’t think that much has changed ;)

1 Year ago...
New beginnings. I was about to start a new job, much-needed deliverance from my previous, stifling work environment. Also, I had just recently found out I had a hole in my heart and the two-week countdown to going under the knife was on!

Watched a film, read about film, wrote about film. Engaged in the usual Friday ritual of going to the bar with the girls and boys.

A few of my favorite things

5 places I would run to:
-The Ocean. I love the ocean and being in it is one of the most amazing experiences for me. Simultaneously, the ocean frightens me! But yes, the ocean, preferably off the coast of East Africa.
-My mother’s arms. Yup. I aint gonna lie. You know all of you are down with this, I’m just the one who’ll admit it!
-Brazil quite intrigues me
-Cuba quite intrigues me
-Africa always fascinates me

5 Things I would never wear
-pleated pants or skirts (Luna I hear you!)
-heels over an inch and a half. Tough. I’m not going to do it!
-shorts. No no no no no.
-tapered-leg trousers
-shiny spandex

5 favorite shows
In possible reaction to my parents’ fondness for that box, I don’t watch much of it but, when it’s good it’s:
-La Femme Nikita
-Boston Public
-Real Time with Bill Maher
-Family Guy

And I hear they’re all these great new shows and I’m waaay behind but, what to do?

5 Things I would do with 100 milion dollars.
Travel the world and take photographs. Hook up my family (minus all the ‘cousins’ who’d surely pop out of the woodwork). Finance my most insane and outlandish projects (proving that they aint so insane and outlandish afterall!). Build a house by the ocean.

5 Greatest joys.
-Lying in the grass in the sunshine
-Being in the water
-Being around people I love
-Being an mchokozi (annoyance)
-Finding new people to know, learn from, share with…

5 Songs I know the words to
-ninanoki (it’s an anthem innit?)
-my primary ‘school song’ (was I brave and strong and true? Did I fill my heart with joy my whole life through?… That was some deep sh*t that would clearly take a decade or so to check in!)
-tell me (Groove Theory)
-any Alanis song from “Jagged Little Pill”
-dlala mapantsula!

5 snacks
-chocolate croissants
-old Jamaica
-cashew nuts
-fresh bread

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Hole in My Art

The other weekend, I had some very interesting encounters with the idea of art. I went to see Kwame Anthony Appiah speak at the British Museum. Topic: “Whose Culture Is It, Anyway?” He tackled, among many interesting things, the problem of authenticity and telling others what to value in their own life. He talked about connection to art through identity being powerful but saw as more important, connecting to art despite difference. Art as human art rather than Indian art, Maasai art, Mayan art etc. etc. etc.

The weekend progressed with a friend casting a very critical eye on what I would describe as overly self-conscious art. Art that is trying too hard to be art. He felt that art should speak for itself and more importantly, that it should speak to people. That it should reflect in some way, something that they can relate to. Indeed, I realize that a lot of people feel alienated by “art”. I put the word in parentheses as a reminder to critique what constitutes art; who defines what is and isn’t art? Art is really all around us all the time, in different manifestations… But ongoing is the debate.

Coming in with a film angle, and more specifically, a Third World Cinema angle, there are some notions that Teshome H. Gabriel speaks about which I think could shed some light on the dynamics of the art debate. He contrasts print/literate art with folk/oral art.

With print, there is an emphasis on individual achievement. The individual is seen as separated from the general social fabric. Wisdom is characterized by a high degree of specialization in a particular field or discipline. In art, emphasized is conceptual interpretation and it is defined in terms of aesthetic. Viewer participation is discouraged and inhibited. The earth is a hostile world that has to be subdued. Paradise is in the future or elsewhere.

Contrastingly, the deeper meaning of the folk art form is held by cultural groups/communities and thus there is more emphasis on group competence. It is an occasion for collective engagement rather than an occasion for ‘escape’ from normal routine as is with the print/literate form. Art is defined in terms of context and it expects viewer participation and so arouses it. Wisdom is a state of intellectual maturity that is gained by experience.

Folk/oral forms are largely proprieted by the Third World and print/literate forms are more characteristic of the West. Of course these are somewhat reductions and generalizations but I use them here to illustrate the different baggage we all could be bringing when coming to discuss the merits and demerits of a work of art.

I think the confusion or questioning we find ourselves in comes from the fact that we have such a multitude of (sometimes conflicting) influences. For example, from colonialism on, the contact with the West has greatly shaped a lot of Third World ‘conventions’, institutions, ways of thinking and analyzing the world and our place in it. That is I believe what makes the art debate so complex. There is a part of me that sees the immense value of art as a collective experience: one that is made the richer by allowing dialogue between creator(s) and audience. One that is captivating because it resonates on some level with the viewer’s existence. At the same time, I do believe in individual responsibility and individual prowess and these are virtues that are, if I may, inherent in Gabriel’s description of the print/literate form. Where does that leave us?

I believe it is almost important to note that nothing exists fully within one box. There is always an intermingling across all frontiers. So the challenge is not to figure out where something ‘fits’ but to acknowledge all that it is comprised of.

That is not to say that everything is worthy of appreciation, but interestingly enough, if you try to understand where something is coming from, you are more likely to see it for what it truly is.

I often feel that a lot of African artists (and this includes writers, performers etc.) try too hard to be a certain way they perceive as laudatory in order to gain acceptance and possibly acclaim from a foreign audience. They champion the causes of their people yet their work cannot even be understood by those very people. These artists are not creating the work for themselves. They are creating it for foreign praise. It’s a major inferiority complex and it subverts the whole postcolonial project of using our voices to represent ourselves. We need to appreciate that we live in different circumstances and we speak in different ways and different does not mean lesser! It just adds to the rich human cultural fabric. I remember my undergrad school motto: Be true to your work and your work will be true to you. What artists need to do is be true to their selves!

“Why do I write? Because it is a way of organizing my feelings about myself and the world around me. Without writing I fear I may metamorphose into something unpleasant. Writing feeds me literally and metaphorically. Writing provides a means by which I can sit in judgement upon myself and reach conclusions (however temporary) that enable me to shuffle towards the next day and another crisis.”
(Caryl Phillips)

“'It seems to me, more and more, that the fictional project on which I've been involved ever since I began Midnight's Children back in 1975 is one of self-definition. That novel, Shame and The Satanic Verses strike me as an attempt to come to terms with the various component parts of myself - countries, memories, histories, families, gods.”
(Salman Rushdie)

The artist is a part of a greater whole. And to conversate with themselves, through their work, is to speak to everybody else who can relate to them. Something about universal experiences and universal truths. The artist who contrives to create cheats his/her audience of that.

Create what you know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Extending the Invitation…

(Though initially in response to some of the comments on An Invitation To Change, I felt these to be some issues that deserve greater spotlighting…)

A lot of the time, when people talk of making a difference, what is usually implied is an explicitly-economic difference. And indeed this is what we want at the end of the day but I feel that investing in human development as opposed to just economic development will reap greater economic rewards. Indeed it is a cyclic situation: economic development=human development=more economic development etc. etc. etc. What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

However, I still like to believe that there are fundamental changes we have to make in our ideology in order to witness any profound and long-lasting results. It's about what constitutes "doing more" for our country that interests me. Pumping in cash sure does help but I feel that it is a short term quick fix solution when it's done on an individual/family basis. I'm not saying that we shouldn't help our families, by all means, but that we should look at the greater picture and ask ourselves what we can do for it. Because at the end of the day, our standard of living is only truly improved when the standard of living of those around us are also improved, when our infrastructure is improved etc.

Mamas in the villages get new kangas, T-shirts and loaves of bread when election time comes around, courtesy of their MPs whose job description they aren't even clear about. MP gets in for another term and barely sets foot in his "beloved" constituency. Mama sees no improvement in her life save for a now-faded T-shirt. Next term, it happens again. Educating people about their rights is of utter importance. Creating a culture of assertion of rights is of utter importance.

I have noticed, on several occassions, in Nairobi public offices for example, the voicelessness that plagues our people. They stand intimidation and abuse from public officers, seemingly because of an exaggerated view of authority that these officers milk to the fullest to compensate for the indignity they face in the form of paltry wages. What people fail to remember (or recognize) is that these are your servants. Their job, by description is to serve you, not to taunt and extort you. Similarly, the politicians whose job it is to represent us, are in theory supposed to act in our interests. How will they ever if they don't care what our interests are? How will we ever get them to care if we do nothing but watch and shake our heads?

Monday, October 10, 2005

An Invitation to Change

In reference to a previous post "Me Myself and…Us", Akin commented thus:

"Question is, what really can be done about it? Most of the wealth of our talent is off the shores of Africa. A lot of us are NOT where we can create effective change. Personally, I live in London and I do wish create an impact, but yet I know that without enough influence (you may call it clout), I may not be able to do much. So I think to myself ... maybe I should make enough money, get enough people of like minds and move back to my country. But even then, how do I change a Nation's way of thinking when all everybody ever asks is "what is in it for me?" rather than genuinely ask "what can I offer?""

I know this is a question that many people may have at one time asked themselves. For some it is a daily inner-conflict. Do we just choose what some may call complacency and focus on our individual progress and live happily ever after? Do we choose to put our skills and talents and ideas into some constructive framework with the aim of collective (national?) progress? Do we trust that the former suggestion will somehow fulfill the latter objectives?

In the spirit of organisation (trying to find a place where ideas can be converted into actions and later yield results), both Akin and I would love to hear what others have to say/suggest/challenge/contribute/voice…

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Great Pretender

Retrospect is lovely. It makes everything so clear, so plain. Retrospect allows one time (and space) to admit to one’s former biases thus enabling denial and defensiveness to break down and fall away.

I have this horrible habit of constructing these ideas of who people are, based on paltry evidence from limited interactions. If I see something I like in them, I take it and run with it, embellishing all the way. Those signs that aim to soil my creation I passionately attempt to justify. What happens in the end is that I see someone who doesn’t really exist. I find myself living in a world of invisible men with tangible bodies. A great distortion of optimism.

So let’s have one more round of applause for retrospect. It’s truly liberating when you realize that all you’ve really lost is an illusion and not this grand wonder you believed you had discovered (but had actually made yourself).

In the end you see, the great pretender is me.


It’s interesting to note how afraid we are of something as simple as the truth. We hide from it, we withhold it, we try to run away from it and generally treat it like it’s the plague or a deadly disease we’re secretly suffering from and don’t want to spread. Truth is defined as the quality or state of being in accordance with fact or reality. So many are quick to pledge allegiance to realism yet do everything to demonstrate just how flaky that endorsement really is.

I’ve been doing some observation around town, hearing some very shocking anecdotes and indeed experiencing some untoward ones of my own. In all cases, it is apparent that the “wrong-doers” preferred deception because they were trying to save the “victims” the pain. … Did that sink in? I will lie to you to protect you. I will not respect you enough to trust that you can deal with reality. I will not give you the choice to deal with reality. I will create and maintain a fantasy for us to co-exist in. Sure, you’ll be content but more importantly I will be happy. I mean, granted your happiness will be based on superficialities but as long as you don’t ever have to know that, it’s okay isn’t it?

What’s wrong with this reasoning is that, when truth comes to light (and it always does), it’s more often the fact that there was an operation going on to veil it that hurts the most. People don’t really grasp how much easier everyone’s life can be if they just communicate openly and honestly. And they don’t believe that it’s just that simple, try as you might to convince them.

I am reminded of incidents in my childhood where I did something that I knew my parents would reprimand me for. I would wait for them to become aware of my misdeed a nervous, frightened wreck. Often, when they did come to know of whatever it was, their reaction was not even half as bad as I had imagined it would be, if even that much! And you look back and wonder why you stressed so. Why you racked your mind to craft alibis and ‘explanations’. The truth is always the easiest way out of a mess. No one can challenge the truth ¬¬— often you will be respected for championing it!

And in case it’s not assumed, I’m counting withholding up there with outward lying. Both are pretense. Life is a calm thing. Why can’t we keep it that way?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Extravagance or Economy? When Muthaiga Is Not Enough

President is allocated cash in the national Budget to build a(nother) home. Will this KSHS 100 million project increase the President's productivity? Will we see the returns of this hard-earned and reluctantly-given tax-payer money?

"Plans to build the new house for the President became public only yesterday because when Finance minister David Mwiraria tabled estimates of the Government's spending last June, all the money was lumped together under one total figure, with no breakdown given. ... Sh1.28 billion would be spent on development, like new houses – including that for the President. "

The floor is open...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Daily Gospel

"When I care to be powerful — to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

(Audre Lourde)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Me, Myself and… Us?

Ministers threatening their fellow ministers to jail and “impossible situations” for exercising their freedom of choice! For having an opposing opinion and vote. Politicians campaigning for the “Yes” vote and, rather than explaining why they feel the proposed constitution is better and discussing its merits, insulting their opponents. Now surely people, they are taking us for fools. And the fact that they can do so alludes to the fact that we have been fools, to allow this continual desecration of how our nation is run.

Yes, our nation. I think that too many of us too often forget that it is ours, that we all have a responsibility towards it if we are going to claim it. We do not live in bubbles. Policies affect us even though we may not be sensitive to the manifestation of this in our daily life.

It often saddens me when I talk to my peers and their goal in life is simply “to make that money.” They want high-paying jobs (profession and company/organization is unimportant, as long as it is high-paying) so that they can live in mansions, drive expensive cars, join exclusive country clubs, drink themselves under the table and be seen as being able to do all these things. My father believes that my generation will be the one to enable a change for the better in our country. That we have the proper ammunition and education and consciousness to remove the existing antiquated mentalities and shameless corruption. I don’t know anymore. My generation seems predominantly concerned with the accumulation of personal wealth.

I’m not saying that we don’t all (don’t we?) wish to be financially comfortable. But there is more to life than earning for the sake of earning. You can make an impact on the world… and earn.

People apparently forget just how interconnected everything in life is. You can plunder public resources and funds, increase your wealth ridiculously and live the kind of luxury that the average mwananchi cannot even fathom possible. A recent article in a Kenyan newspaper interviewed a woman living in a Nairobi slum. They asked her what she thought the highest-paid Kenyan earned and she replied, KSHS 10,000. She added that if she were to come across such cash, she wouldn’t even know how to begin to budget it. She had this simple request for the government, to make her life easier: that they reduce the price of maize meal and paraffin. Meanwhile, minutes away in the same city, the gluttons are spending those 10,000 shillings on a night of drinking and general excess. It is insulting.

They plunder and plunder and steal and steal and build and buy and flash and boast… not realizing that the same people whose livelihood they are ruthlessly snatching are not going to just disappear. The illusion that they are raising their own personal standard of living may one day shatter when the people all around them decide to react to these injustices. They are creating great insecurity as they work on their individual financial security. What goes around indeed has a tendency of coming back around. But this kind of foresight seems almost extinct.

Now it’s sad if this is considered idealist but: being that we live among our fellow people; being that we interact with other people; being that our actions affect others — when we contribute to the greater good, we ensure better conditions for ourselves as well. But myopia pervades.

Eastern philosophies’ ideas of the greater Self constituting all our individual selves are notable here. Yoruba beliefs similarly revere the connectivity between all life forms. Where is our knowledge that was amassed over centuries? Where are our guides that are specific to and applicable to our unique contexts? Where is our desire to unearth these ideas and wisdoms? I will not presume that ancient is better, but I appreciate that it may help inform the present in ways that may allow for better decisions and better ways of being. Just as we do not live in bubbles, we do not live in time-free zones. It is the past and the future that make this current time the present. We can create a heaven for ourselves that will steadily deteriorate into a hell for our children. Can we call for consciousness?

Friday, September 09, 2005

New Drugs!

A pal just directed me to the Provisions Library. Haven't yet had much time to peruse but from a passing glance, this is the stuff that we should be smoking!

Friday, September 02, 2005

What's Really Good

What’s happening on the other side:

Today on the Woman Power Agenda: burn the (fairytale) books!

The truth about difference-making

and much more!
Happy weekends!

Dumped Again!

You see it coming and approach with dread – you can’t escape it now, you can’t change the outcome. You feel detached from your reality, as if watching from the sidelines as you ride into the crash! Your heart sinks and you can really physically feel it. You’re being dumped.

But this time was slightly unusual. I sat there blankly staring at the screen past the first few words, “Do you think it's time for us to move on…?” I mean at that point, I was pretty sure of what was coming. I believe that we always have the inklings but we, being the masters of denial that we often are, mostly choose to ignore the signs and bank on good ole hope. It hurt. It punched a great big hole in my contentment and rushed a spray of questions to my consciousness. Is it me? What did I do wrong? My carefully crafted world is falling apart! Will I never see her again?

Now incase you didn’t catch that or incase you haven’t yet put two and two together or incase you’re a really free-thinking being. I am female, I am heterosexual (so far) and I did say “her.” That’s why it was so strange and seemingly so much worse!

A little of background may lend to better understanding. I have this friend, let’s call her Porcelain. Porcelain and I have gone through a lot together and during what were arguably our most formative years. At the beginning of this year, Porcelain and I decided that we had to seriously and actively “do better”. We launched a self-actualization program that would allow us to enable each other to grow and allow us to share constructive ideas. It was Godsent! We spent hours together each week thrashing through the dense vegetation that is life, finding springs and reveling in those pure waters. Some weeks were darker and denser but together we struggled to make sense of the madness. Now she says she’s struggling to find the ‘right’ way to get her thoughts across to me!

She asks me if I feel I’m still getting out what I set out to be getting. I say yes I am. But one thing I agree with her is, it does sometimes feel forced. “I don't know if it's distance or insanity b/ there's been a shift.” And this too is true. And it’s not necessarily bad. It’s clearly that time when reassessments need to be made and change embraced. It’s that inevitable time.

It always is isn’t it? Change is something that I haven’t quite fully adjusted to loving. Before I even contemplate whether a change is for the better or for the worse, I tend to do away with sense and indulge pessimism (and Porcelain herself will tell you what a borderline-annoying optimist I usually am)! Yet change is one of the most beautiful phenomenona we have been given. It means we can improve, we can grow, we can learn different things and be nourished by newness. Change allows us to look forward to every next day because with it comes infinite possibilities. All that stands in the way of acceptance of this is our stubborn rigidity and fear of the unknown. We may claim to hate monotony and consistency but mostly those are aspirational lies.

And after all, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Porcelain and I teamed out to increase our individual odds and this is the level of the game where we must bid each other good luck and wrestle on to slay the grand dragons by ourselves. Our camaderie shall live on for it is a ‘piece’ of what constitutes who we are today.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Because Because

It’s interesting that a lot of people do amazing things, just because. Not because they are asked to, not because it is expected of them but just, because because. The mentality of extra…

You’re doing something. You’ve been working hard and for long. You’ve forgotten that your body needs food and water because your mind is wholly focused on the one activity at hand. That is all and that is it. You’re exhausted, surviving at this point on sheer will. You’re eyes are trying to bail out on you — they’re parched and they sting. You’re even starting to hallucinate; shadowy figures criss-crossing all over your vision. Delirium set in a while back. Perhaps the radio is on and you’re singing along at the top of your voice (and most probably out of tune). Perhaps you’re having a nonsensical but, at this point, oh-so-stimulating conversation, with a colleague who’s in a similar state of extreme mental focus and extreme physical neglect. Or maybe you’re having it with the invisible friend you resurrected from when you were 5.

Maybe it hasn’t reached the final stage yet and you can afford to take a brief break in the interests of extending your battery power. If you have a habit, you gluttonously indulge, like you’ve been chewing serious withdrawal. Perhaps you rush to the local all-night off-license/bodega to get your fix of coffee, Coke® or Red Bull (or D, all of the above). More ‘sensible’ people may take an invigorating shower or a power nap. Even more sensible people may realize that this would only be tempting fate and might be just a little more comfortable than is advisable at this stage.

Maybe you have reached the final stage where every joint and muscle of your body aches. Where your body spasms involuntarily as it jeers at you, spitefully demonstrating what happens when you relinquish your responsibilities to it. You did this to yourself!

…but you also did it for yourself. There was a point, hours ago, when you had fulfilled the given requirements. The assignment had been completed. But then a small voice entered your consciousness and said ‘well, what if…?’ And so was opened a (benevolent) can of worms. ‘What if’ became ‘and then when…’ which led to ‘but there is another way too’ and caught up in the spirit, you realized that you had unknowingly signed a contract with your will to carry out your demanding vision to your full satisfaction.

And that is, I believe, how/why amazing things get done. For reasons that are usually quite hard to articulate and convey to people outside oneself and so indeed it is often easier to say…”just because.”

Amazed by:

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Big Cross-Sell

Having been kindly invited to spread my venom over on to The Fredd Kambo Joint, I am extending an invitation to you, oh noble visitor, to come on over and check out the scenery. And to changamsha (stir up) some more over there.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Loose Psychology

Random unscientific observation leads me to the hypothesis that there people can be ushered into 4 basic categories:

The Jumpers
These people are commonly referred to as fools, exposing the inherent failures of nomenclature. These people realize that today is more important than any other day. Well- informed by the past, it determines the future. They enter into it fully present, ready to give whatever it takes and whatever they have. Recognizing that in order to get 100% you have to give at least that, they have faith that such great efforts will be duly rewarded. They remove obstacles such as fear and expectation from their path, creating much space for success. These 'fools' are the sure winners.

The Sidesteppers
Exhibiting an undiagnosed aversion to progress, these people's greatest efforts are directed towards sabotaging themselves. Always yearning for things to be better, always nipping in the bud any possibilities of that actually becoming a reality. These people see life as a treacherous trek that they must approach with extreme fear (caution is what they like to call it) if they approach it at all!

The Spring-backs
A fascinating demographic. They reek of winning yet when the ball is so positively in their court, something seems to become suddenly unscrewed, paralyzing them. From there, they are sent all the way back to square one where they reawaken, seemingly oblivious to this regression and its cause and therefore usually continue to proceed in the same manner as before (insanity is indeed defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results)! However, because the paralysis usually only affects a certain aspect of their lives, they may be perceived by the outside world to be exponentially winning. Sometimes it is not until their sunset years that the effects of paralysis and regression become apparent. Unfortunately by that time, a lot of time has been lost and it may be highly difficult to reverse or destroy the pattern.

The People with Ascension in their Legs (PALS)
A species that I have only recently observed in its full essence. Extremely intriguing for it is not yet clear to
Whether their fate is sealed or whether hope for them is actually abundant. These people are winners at
Heart. Their every action is filled with the desire to jump but they are held back, usually by the fear of reoccurrences of past disappointments. These people, unlike the Spring-backs, are usually brutally aware of what holds them back. They want to be rid of these nails through their feet but they are not quite yet sure how. Not sure of how to annihilate the fear. Next to the Jumpers, these are the most honest, open and communicative people.

(From a professed aspiring Jumper with extreme Spring-back tendencies!)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Daily Gospel

The great scientist Albert Einstein said some great things that can be interpreted as heralding the importance of the Arts in Society. So many times have I come across hard heads that look down upon art as 'easy' and inferior and devoid of intellect. In so many ways, the Arts and the Sciences facilitate each others existence. There is no need for choosing sides here…

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives."

And indeed, once again we see how Children really know what's up! Socialization is the number one cause of death in my books!

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Great artists are extremely intelligent people. It is so in history, in my experience and in my mind, as a budding rule. Great artists are purveyors of beauty (even though the subjects of their work may not necessarily be sunny, aesthetically there is visual harmony) and true beauty I believe is an extension of Truth. That ever-elusive abstract that is only ever understood through experiencing it (recognition requires no preparation, we have an in-built talent to detect it. Whether we trust and allow that intuition is another matter).

That said, often to project Truth, you are aware of it. Beautiful accidents do appear to happen but in such cases, I believe that the creator is somehow in tune with the Truth, albeit subconsciously. And intelligence is just another word for being of mind open enough to question, challenge, assimilate, deconstruct, filter and then reassemble information. That is what artists do.

They stop and breathe. They surrender to their senses allowing them to pick up sensations that most people are too busy striving to absorb. In this way they are able to find beauty in the mundane, in the horrific, in the misunderstood…seeing the God in everything. They translate these available visions in ways worthy of no other label than ingenious, allowing the numbed masses to behold more accessibly that which they had missed.

Am I presuming that art is accessible? Yes. There is also pretentious overly calculated obsequious work devoid of passion. Effusive saturation of flourishes for flourishes sake. Who decides what is art and what is not art? Who decides what art is great and what is not? You do. I can only speak for myself and thus of my own opinion. Nonetheless, I like to think that, if people are honest with themselves and not bent on trying to sound one way or another in order to impress, there is some level of universal consensus when it comes to quality. "Some level" I stress because, on the other hand, if we all had the same preferences, life would have no seasoning. So perhaps the word "quality" should be ingested with consideration to myriad different interpretations from an infinitely diverse range of voices.

Art is alive in every of our breathing moments. From the device that wakes us up to the clothes and adornments we wear to the vehicle we are transported in to the reading material we hold in front of us. Design is art. Typography (oh how I love the possibilities for play that letters and symbols afford!) is art. The way in which food is prepared and presented is art. The form, packaging, and science of products are art. The exploration of the different ways of moving, using, connecting, sharing and transcending the body, is art. The experimentation with different sounds and timbres in an infinite number of combinations and variations is surely art. The way you carry yourself, the way you move, the way you express yourself, is art. It is there for all of us, at every moment.

There is no greater satisfaction I have found than that that comes from creation. Misconception claims that only artists are creative. But artists are merely problem-solvers who favour visual, musical, theatrical, cinematic, literary (and so on) solutions. People are constantly being posed with problems and continually have to dig deep to find innovative ways to solve them. This is creation too. Creation is our gift from God, the universe and/or whatever it is that you believe in. To live and not to create, is not to live at all. It is to be an ungrateful passive bystander of an exciting and elaborate game. You have the capabilities required but are too lazy to figure out how to play.

There's this one line I've been quoting all over the place, by a certain Eastern yogi:
"Without space, creation cannot take place."

I guess that's what we need to always be aware of if we want to be in the game. The requisite of space. Everybody needs space if they are to be in touch with their Selves. Oh that so-frequently used line that releases parties from the potentially self-erasing grips of an unhealthy relationship! It originates from a real and profound place. The site where creation buds and desires nothing but to be let be.

"He who does not, in this world, follow the wheel of creation thus set in motion, is sinful in nature and indulges in sensual pleasures and lives in vain."
-from the Bhagavad Gita

Book Tag!

Thank you Luna for indulging me in one of my favourite (guilty-pleasure-like) pastimes: answering questions about myself!

# of books that you own?
I think that if all the pals who've borrowed this and that here and there would facilitate their reappearance back to where they were found, we could possibly be in view of the 100-point mark.

Last book you bought?
In My Father's House by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Five books that mean a lot to you?

The Fountainhead---Ayn Rand: The most "selfish" thing that I could have ever done was to read this book. I wish I hadn't waited 22 years! If I were to have a personal bible, this may just be the strongest contender. I'm so anxious to read more of her work but given the density (literally, intellectually and spiritually…), I've been tiptoeing the mission!

Veronika Decides To Die---Paulo Coelho: PC is a winner and every book of his is another insight on how to win; mixed in with magic, intriguing characters, unusual settings etc. Actually perhaps my favourite of his books is "Confessions of a Pilgrim" which is actually an interview where he tells amazing tales of his life experiences. However, Veronika was where my fascination began so she shall always hold a place in my heart.

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born---Ayi Kwei Armah: This book reintroduced me to the richness, uniqueness and wonder of African literature. Beautiful imagery emerges from misery in a way that can only be described as lyrical. And that's how I think the book manages to make such a powerful and profound political statement. Every African should read it. Heck, every person should!

One Hundred Years Of Solitude---Gabriel Garcia Marquez: I believe in magic. I really do, just not perhaps the kind that fits the description of that in your Oxford or Webster Dictionary. The father of magical realism intertwines reality and fantasy without a flinch in ways that may make you question for a moment, whether perhaps indeed this could all really happen. I read this book in the dead of a Balkans winter and if you haven't experienced one, may you endeavour never to even think about doing so! What a brilliant escape I was afforded by being transported to the lush mystical Macondo. There is something about his writing that really resonates with the African experience that makes it all the more involving.

Siddhartha---Hermann Hesse: I dodged this book for years because of presumptions and preconceptions-boy did I learn a lesson! Transcendental on a personal level for it offered me answers right when I was having a lot of difficulty understanding how to reconcile seemingly-conflicting ideologies I was toying with. So simple, so complex, a poem of sorts, a journey.

And a huge shout out to The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangaremba, Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker, Jivamukti Yoga by Shannon Gannon & David Life and not to forget The Joy of Sex,

Last book(s) you've read?
Histories of the Hanged by David Anderson to school myself further on some Kenyan History, hmmm… Currently juggling the Bhagavad Gita, The Famished Road by Ben Okri and the last book I bought…oooh and not to forget The Joy of Sex.

Pick 5 Bloggers
Mr. Kambo, The Thinker, The mwanamke mwendawazimu, Afromusing and The mental acrobatic. If this is redundant for any of you, oh well, cheers!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Daily Gospel

"the truth is a powerful thing that haunts you when you don't let it be."
– Sanaa @ Pressure Makes Diamond

Bon Appetit

"To belong is to have a place from which to face the world. To belong is to be a part of something. To belong is to realise the luxury and peril of both being able to reject and the possibility of being rejected. To belong is to actively repudiate that which dares to question the basis of one's belonging. To belong is not to be an alien in place, person, or practice."
—Raimi Gbadamosi

Curator, Mixed Belongings: Eight Contemporary African Makers

A must-see exhibition for anyone interested in art, identity and all the conversations that join and polemics that attempt to disconnect the two.
@ the Crafts Council, London, UK until 21 August '05

Flowers for Russell/ Always Everything

I'm sitting in Bloomsbury Park by Russell Square. Not too far way, on the grass, there is a memorial—flowers, candles, cards, and sentiments for the victims from last week's explosions in London. People keep venturing there, absorbing it for extended periods of time. It's quite interesting to watch this human behaviour. I assume that most are random opportunistic spectators who are drawn by the commotion and colourful display. Drawn by curiosity and it is the nature of this curiosity that intrigues me.

Sometimes I fear that I’m heartless but surely, if I were to care deeply about everything, I would have nothing left within me to carry on even just basic survival. It would take too much out of me — the grief, the sorrow. So I gaze, somewhat distanced, across at the moving crowd.

What draws them?

Does the display remind them of their mortality? Does it remind them that, whatever they may be going through, it could be worse (presuming that most view death as a bad thing, which is also an unfortunate fact. And why does it take negative events to remind us of how positive every day and every breath is, or can be?)? Is it out of sympathy that that they are compelled to come and look?

Personally, I despise the concept of sympathy. One can never feel another’s pain unless they go through it exactly themselves, from the same perspective too. You can claim to ‘know’ how it feels but this knowledge is pieced together from social mores and probably from a lot of media absorption/propaganda. And what does sympathy do anyway? Nothing I can think of with any great consequence. The victim of your sympathy will probably not significantly alter their perception of you because of this expression. (I feel a lot of people extend their sympathies because it is “the right thing” to do. Because it is expected.) Actually, if you are indeed a close and special associate, they might begin to doubt your genuineness for, in my experience, overly-conscious sympathy comes across as phony as it can get! Just be there, as yourself. That’s all anyone should ever expect from you anyway.

So back to the commemoration in question. I cannot help but think that it is, after all, done in the spirit of exhibitionism. The families and friends of the victims have perhaps placed pictures and eulogies there for the world to see and feel their loss. Is it out of that common human drive to show and share your love. The families and friends may not live anywhere near this display. Its location is only guided by proximity to the scene of the crime. Who and what does that really serve? I don’t know. But then again, I feel that way about cemeteries too. Nowadays, with people being buried at cemetery grounds I wonder, why should I have to travel to ‘spend time’ with my deceased. That traditionally people were buried in their villages, near the homes that their families had and would continue to live for generations, makes a little more sense to me. However, nowadays with landlessness and movement being more the norm, that no longer holds. Why are we so fixated with physical space? So skeptical of and resistant to the intangible? Why do we limit ourselves so? Our people are with us everywhere and at every moment.

I would like to be cremated and have my ashes thrown in the Indian Ocean — left to travel to wherever they will. Left to once again become anonymous, just another in a universe of particles. Each relatively insignificant, nothing, and yet always everything. And that is what I can fathom to truly be a resting place.

I think I’ll take a close walk by this commemoration. Perhaps it will bring new insight and understanding.

For all the victims and their people — peace.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Location is an amazing thing. It can play such profound tricks and games on the mind. Or to be specific, on the mind that chooses to, even momentarily, lose focus. Everything about life is so delicate. Any slight change in the conditions that keep something in one state can significantly alter it. And since change is inevitable, consistency is hard to hold on to. And it all reminds me about the dangers of attachment. Attachment is like a heavy parasite that becomes so much a part of you that you begin to depend on it almost as much as it depends on you. In the spirit of annihilating any and every instance, occurrence, example of this certifiably ludicrous behaviour, I embrace the great unknown knowing that Complacency (Attachment’s favourite vice) will not be able to keep up with me on the journey. I embrace Newness and it’s great mentor Growth. I challenge Nostalgia knowing that she can never bring me down and if anything, will only push me closer to Total Conviction. Always climbing, always breaking through.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Camera as a Weapon

Storyteller extraordinaire, the father of African film, Ousmane Sembene speaks about filmmaking in Africa, pan-Africanism and where it all comes together. If you haven't already and are presented with the opportunity, watch his latest production "Moolade".

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Have You Used Your Voice Today?

We have been blessed with these great abilities to observe, assess, think, respond, to express ourselves! But it's amazing how under-exercised they some of them are. I have lately become very antagonistic toward several service-providers Stateside. But ahhhh, the beauty of Customer Service. Well, not quite. Usually I get through to a machine who obviously can never cater to your individual needs and queries and they are making it increasingly impossible to get past all the menus and options to talk to a real live human-being. What thoroughly frustrated me the other day was the fact that a company like Amazon.com doesn't even have the courtesy to provide customers with a telephone number! No. This was not going to work. Seek and ye shall find and this I did: answers and an excellent example of using one's voice. Peruse and be impressed (or not).

The Pleasure of Unemployment

A lot of people I know have lately been dropping out of the 9 to 5. The parent generation shake their heads and despair for the future of their children. Now, appreciating that everyone’s experience is unique, I cannot help but look at the great potential and world of possibility in a decision like that. Our generation has a lot more choice and often when we take advantage of that fact, we are seen as naïve, spoiled, frivolous and inexperienced. Well, of course we are inexperienced and experience is the only thing that begets experience. So let us jump into the fires we create. They may turn out to be the kind of fires that destroy and they just may turn out to be the kind of fires that create new substances of value. The parents should only hope that they have prepared us well enough to deal with the scalding and to not let it discourage us from jumping in again.

Below is something I wrote a while ago, at a point where I decided grab 9 to 5 (well more like 9 to whatever time or day the deadline is) by the balls.

The Pleasure of Unemployment

On my job search, I have realized that most calls for graphic designers are really calls for either impressionable putty to be moulded to required specifications or for already formed but malleable material that is content to oblige to any required specification.

There is always that point in the interview when I realize whether or not I’m going to get the job. The moments preceding it have been equivocal, either outcome was still possible but then, right then, I realize that everything following is merely formality. That the decision is made. Sometimes that moment occurs when I step into the building, sometimes it happens when the first employee passes by me, sometimes it even occurs when I answer the ad posting the job. You would think I derive pleasure from it as if it is some sort of game. You may think that I’m a masochist who goes around searching out disappointment. The thing is however, it’s not disappointment that I feel. It’s a quiet acceptance and further concretization of the truth that I have been trying so hard to conceal. Now as I start to open myself up to it, it no longer hurts but in fact relieves. This is what I’ve been afraid of. This is why I’ve wasted so much time?

But I don’t look at it as wasted time because that in itself is wasting time. I am brought to this point in my life. And had any single detail been different, I may not have reached this point, like this. Like how? One may ask. Like this: calm, ready, enlightened, excited, invigorated, prepared, confident, cool, thankful. All the experiences and decisions made in my life so far, have brought me to this point and for that, regretting is useless.

I guess the absence of disappointment is explained by the presence of affirmation. When I realize that I am not the kind of candidate that they are looking for, it is not failure, inadequacy or imcompetence that I feel. I know that I am competent. I spent my childhood proving to myself that I could do almost anything that I was really determined to do and that I could excel at if I so wanted. I know that I could do this job they’re asking of me brilliantly. But gone are the days when I am eagerly prepared to spend my precious time doing something that I derive no joy in; something that brings nothing positive to my existence—something that doesn’t celebrate it in anyway. Yes, thankfully those days are past. So as I sit in that interview room, I know that I have a choice. If I really wanted to, I feel I could convince the interviewer why I’m the perfect candidate for the position. It is not hard to make people like you. However, when I realize that the job is not really for me, I no longer see any need in wasting energy to get it. That seems to go against the nature of the universe: going after something which is not for you. It’s obvious that the only thing that can follow that is unhappiness. Of which I want no stake in.

The pleasure of unemployment is not, as myopia may have one think, having nothing to do. To me, having nothing to do is a kind of hell. No purpose, no aim, no satisfaction in solving a given problem. The pleasure of unemployment is the freedom of working for yourself. And I do not mean that merely in the sense of being your own boss. A lot of these people still, in effect, work for others—those they want to impress, those who consume the services they provide, and it goes on… No, I mean the freedom of doing work that is your own. You created it, you go through the process of making it come to life and at the end, you judge it. Though others may too, your judgement is the only necessary one. The only satisfying one. The only one you could care to hear.

Now I may be venturing on idealist territory here. This is something that I often do and with no excuses. Every one of us has a unique voice. A unique calling and a unique thing to offer existence. If we tune into that, we will find that our work has space to exist. That if we do our work, we will find a place for it to rest, even though it may have seemed that there was no room. That is faith. That is what believing in yourself is all about. We were not brought to life to just use up oxygen. I believe there were more noble reasons. We insult our existence when we make nothing of it. When it is just our physicality that concerns us as if we are machines whose work is just to run as expected. Anonymous and regular, just like every other machine. No, that cannot be what life is about and those who make it so sentence themselves to the very unhappiness that they suffer.

* * * *

Incidentally, I did have this one amazing interview that is hard to even define as such. It was more like an easy conversation between friends—totally candid, totally real. And yes, I did get the job.

* * * *

Confucius say: "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."

Well, I don't look at work as a bad thing so may I take the liberty (the nerve!) to ammend quote to my liking: "Choose work you love and you will never have a job for a day in your life."
Well maybe it's not quite there yet. My point is, work, to me, is elevating whereas "job" is more synonymous with obligation.

The Lazy Way to Success

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Flabbergasted/Strike Me Down!

I came about this in Psalms (137):

"O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us. Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!"

This? In the Bible. Not some new Quentin Taratino vision but that old good book itself! Good book? Totem of a religion that claims to herald virtues such as tolerance yet intolerance reeks from its every breath? Schadenfreude, vindication, lovelessness. And don’t they tell you to love thy enemy?

Now before I obliviously unnecessarily offend any believers let me state here that I have never studied the Bible, I have rarely ever gone to church and the times that I have visited were mostly out of obligation to wedding parties and folks in need of confirmation. Incidentally, I come from a line of pastors and staunch believers. My grandfather preaching this, his brother preaching that, one uncle preaching the other, one uncle bringing the good book and “holy” music when he visits lest our secular lifestyle should tempt him out of the queue to salvation.

Now when it comes to God, I am a great believer. And I appreciate that everyone has their own interpretation and way of conversating with and appreciating God. Who am I to claim one way is better? Who am I to claim that in this world of billions, each person with different likes, dislikes, mannerisms, lifestyles, mentalities, cultures, identities, opinions…that there is ONE RIGHT WAY to reach salvation (that’s the common goal isn’t it?). Why should I be so concerned about my neighbours’ activities anyway, when my own aren’t necessarily in check?

And this concept called forgiveness? Should I only practice it when some ulterior motive nags me to (e.g.. when I want to justify my own latent shortcomings by accepting them in others)? Should I just claim that I practice it, for claiming’s sake when really I’m harbouring graphic schemes of how, after I have led under false pretences the offender into a sense of security and warmth, I shall blast them out of that naiveté with one deft blow of quid pro quo! (See aforementioned Psalm)

I am here now led to understand that, I should revel in vengeance. That were I to take it into my own hands, I should feel myself overcome with joy. That the sight of blood and baby bits splattered over rocks should bring me satisfaction and a sense of having gotten the job done.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Daily Gospel

"if you can't beat them, arrange for them to be beaten."
(my good friend Spooky)

DISCLAIMER: Not always wise or sane but it is in the absence of these adjectives that great things usually come about.

A little bit of Om

It's so funny/pathetic how it sometimes takes reading another's account/view/opinion/thought to put together in a sense-ical manner those loose canons that have been tearing up cohesiveness and articulation in your mind.

The mind. Such a crazy dark crafty shrewd evil perfect enlightening wonderful fascinating perplexing space. And that different minds can come together in agreeance and better yet that different minds can conflict, destroy, build up again, supplement, complement, compliment eachother ensuing in even more crazy dark shrewd evil perfect enlightening…results!

This blog really isn't about anything, per se. It's just one of those times when I don't really have anything specific to say so random thoughts flock in from everywhere and go on stage with no particular script to follow. It's just me appreciating…every thing and it's own individual uniqueness (beauty, truth).

And it's amazing to realise, when you stop trying to be, that you already are.

Perhaps a little bit of context would help with clarity (but clarity is sometimes overrated anyway).

Friday, May 27, 2005

Daily Gospel

"The best protection policy by far is to vigorously pursue winning rather than to expend most of one's energy (as most do) on avoiding defeat."

Tom Peters

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Raising the Bar

It is ironic that in our society, relationships are set up to fail yet being in one seems to be held in such esteem. From the moment that we can discern the meanings of words, the brainwashing process begins as television, films, songs and books romanticize the idea of being in love and more specifically, being with someone. Little girls dream not of being great thinkers, great artists, great scientists, great leaders, but of being whisked away to eternal bliss by prince charming on a white horse. It is inevitable then that they will be disappointed. Boys, on the other hand, are pushed, held-up and guided toward self-actualization, independence and self-reliance. To them, relationships are fashioned to be symbols of success and institutions that allow for further support of their aspirations (Imagine a US president without a wife!). The women, in effect, are service-providers and as we all know—there is no use in continued patronage of a service that no longer fits your desires. So the girl who believes she has finally found the prince she's dreamt of all along, soon learns that she is expendable. That the adoration has cruised down a lonely one-way street and now she is back in her wilderness.

When two people can meet, each recognising and respecting that the other has dreams and goals. When they can nurture each other to facilitate eachother's growth without being dependent on it. When they can see and believe in the other's potential and not get in the way of it. When they can speak even the most intimate of their thoughts and be their unabridged naked selves without fear of exposure vulnerability or judgement. When they can appreciate each other for what they are and not just what they are to eachother, together, in the relationship, but for what they will still be, irrespective of being "together." When there are no hesitations, no doubts but plain shameless candor. When no one else matters for the union is sacred to the two involved…

I don't think that's asking too much. Maybe tomorrow I'll change my mind and edit thoe expectations but, so far, this is the point that all my experiences have brought me to. I am never dejected: I am so very excited by the prospect of living this. Living thus.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Daily Gospel

I came across this blog with a great name:

"Mkombozi wa mwanamke ni mwanamke mwenyewe"!

(translation: the liberator/saviour of a woman is the woman herself)

Friday, May 20, 2005

On Lock Down but Free As Hell

So after almost a decade of threatening everyone that I would…I did. Now, I’ve tried it in the past but after a week, I gave up. I wasn’t ready. I was still attached to the (relative) novelty of my versatile ‘fro. But the winds of change have blown away my apprehension and here I sit, 4 weeks after beginning the locking process. Inspired by fellow bloggers Mama Junkyard and Soulsystah, I am compelled to write about locks in my life.

Well, the reality of other people’s reactions to my chosen hairstyle is still not with me. Currently I am around people who are tolerant of the idea, my mum surprisingly included. I have an inkling that she thinks it is a quickly passing phase. I believe that the first real test will come when I step out of customs and immigration at JKIA. My father subscribes to that (generational?) mentality where locks=dirty, scruffy, hoodlum etc. My brother went that way about 3 years ago and my father would plead with me to talk some ‘sense’ into him. Not a chance. Who now will talk sense into me? I’m sure I will be told by many how having locks will affect the way people look at and treat me. Sure enough, even with my tamed natural hair, people with similar but disguised hair textures would volunteer and reassure me that my hairstyle was okay, and that I would be alright. Thanks. It sure was reassuring to know that I would be alright despite the fact that I had chosen not to alter my hair with the use of chemicals!

As for the political implications of dreadlocks, I will not venture there in this particular post. I will admit however, that while those romantic notions of getting back to the “real” and shedding foreign standards of beauty sure can be attractive, that is not my main motivating force. Truth be told, ever since I refused to be a slave to Nice n’ Lovely, Soft n’ Beautiful, Crème of Nature (note the self-deprecating propaganda explicit in the names alone!), I have been exponentially happier. Nevertheless, it has not meant lower maintenance. The extra extra coarse grade of hair that I have been blessed with would loudly proclaim that it was opposed to combing and, when I defied it (and it was a tough job let me tell you), it would shortly demonstrate its opposition by behaving as if it had never known what a comb was! So I decided to submit and let it be. That does not mean that I am resorting to raising what I call “real dreads”, i.e. through the “neglect” method. No, I’m still too vain for that…

Support Group

God has Arrived

Recently, I have been pondering the concept of God more than usual. Could be the influence of my good friend and fellow pilgrim who this week decided to more consciously seek out the God in everything. Could be my reading of an anthology of Black feminists from the 60s and 70s and their continuous call for revolutionizing and thus liberating the Self as a prerequisite for any farther-reaching movement and progression.

In some Asian philosophies, it is believed that by giving your life and identity to God, you attain the identity of God. I’ve been examining what that means, for me, and these are a few of my reflections…

God does not laze around in an unthinking, uninspired state. By devoting our lives to growth and opening our minds and selves to new experiences; by opening up to learning; by rising up to action and progression—by doing these things and beyond just the doing: by being these things, we attain the identity of God for we tap into that God-force, God-essence, God-spirit…that is within us.

Indeed, maybe God is purely a force, energy. So in a sense, you do God or God flows through you. Life after all is about movement. Blood constantly flows through our veins. Oxygen is inhaled and CO2 purged. Our cells break down and are regenerated. Our minds are challenged and if we allow it, enriched. To lead a complacent and static life GOES AGAINST life. To submit to defeat GOES AGAINST life. To mechanically answer to other people instead of creating your own space and journey GOES AGAINST life.

Not only are these things going against life but they are indications of a disbelief, a rejection in effect, of God.

The things I wish I were doing and the things I wish I was—by putting them off, I shortchange God (the God in me). By not exercising my potential, stretching it to and then past its apparent limits, I will never attain the identity of God.

Why are we so afraid of Godliness if indeed it is such a phenomenal thing?

As kids we are more in touch with it but we are gradually and systematically trained to detach ourselves from it. Conditioned to see it as a separate, untouchable, unattainable, mysterious abstract worthy only of wonder and reverence.

All our prayers and conversations with God are empty and worthless if we do not truly believe in God. The essence of God. The God in us.

“…Time, money and energy could be better invested in… the acquiring of skills and knowledge and a groovy sense of self so the child isn’t menaced by stupidity and other child abuse practices so common among people grown ugly and dangerous from being nobody for so long.” (Toni Cade, The Pill: Genocide or Liberation?)

GROOVY SENSE OF SELF! The answer always seems to boil down to revering the self. That is the start and the finish. That is the identity of God—indeed he fashioned us in his image. Why do we so routinely forget?

Of course a lot of the time, people and the institutions they create exist to make the forgetting all the more easier because they too recognize what power there is in a healthy recognition of the self. So preoccupied with keeping others from their selves, those people distance themselves from their own selves. A significant detail that they either seem to forget or sacrifice in the name of transient glories…

Yet it is only the Self that endures.

Love for one’s fellow being.

A being is a representative of something. Being is acting out, demonstrating the existence of something. So if there is one true self, then human beings are manifestations of this one thing. Renditions, acts, roles—and we are all this one Self. We are all God?

And if indeed the key to understanding others is to understand oneself, then is it so preposterous to infer that not to love another stems from the inability to love yourself?

A difficult concept to grasp and embrace. Your head may quickly be filled with examples of people you could never imagine loving. But people and their actions are never absolutely defined. It is more correct perhaps to say I hate it when so-and-so does this than to say I hate so-and-so. Even we can admit to ourselves that we do things that are less-than-desirable… so perhaps true love of ourselves (as representatives of God) means the ability to see the God in everyone (and everything) and consequently love everyone (and everything).

Namaste indeed!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Daily Gospel

"To die for the revolution is a one-shot deal; to live for the revolution means taking on the more difficult commitment of changing our day-to-day life patterns."

The quote is from an essay, Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female by Frances Beale. While it comes from a specific context, I think it is extremely appropriate to many different areas in our lives. Revolution begins with the Self.
"A revolutionary must be capable of, above all, total self-autonomy" (Toni Cade).

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Turkish denim brand Mavi has a magazine called Maviology. Their Spring 2005 issue is devoted predominantly to Rasta culture. The introduction reads:

“Rasta became an audio-visually globalized culture in the last 20 years. Reggae as music, catalyzed by this wave, but different peoples admired the culture as by its symbolic items as well. Today, a reggae fan, wherever travels around the world, can find an item, belonging to Rasta. This is just we call ‘the cool side of’ globalization.”

That same page is illustrated by so-called Rasta items that have been collected from around the world, including a stuffed “Rastafarian” doll, complete with “take it easy” printed on its Tshirt and a disproportionately huge spliff hanging out of its mouth. I cannot help but wonder then, about this proclaimed ‘cool side of’ globalization. It’s cool that belief systems are distorted and reduced to stereotypes that promote existing ideologies that seek to marginalize and subjugate certain cultural groups? Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive, indeed this is a rant.

What gets me is when people try to be progressive yet manage to make profoundly contradictory mistakes in the process. Oblivious or not! Another article in the same issue talks about Haile Selassie. They give a brief (brief!) history and on Selassie regaining the throne from Mussolini: “The original plan was to achieve a level of modern [read: European] civilization in an African country, but, in the end, Ethiopia shared Black Africa’s unfortunate fate.”

And later: “We appease our consciences by buying a Sinead O’Connor CD, listening to Bono, or attending a Live Aid concert with humanitarian aid, but there are dozens of countries like Ethiopia and Africa. During the world’s globalization, we’ve forgotten Africa…”

And I won’t talk about the article that mentioned learning Jamaican.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Back to Afrika

I was reading this short story, Reena by Paule Marshall and one of the characters (in a 1960s NY setting) says about Africa: “I want to live and work there…All I know is that I have to. For myself and for my children. It is important that they see Black people who have truly a place and history of their own and who are building for a new and, hopefully, more sensible world. And I must see it, get close to it, because I can never lose the sense of being a displaced person here in America because of my color.”

Interesting, “Black people who truly have a place” yet, in the early sixties, most African nations had not yet or were just tasting their first days of independence. And legacies of centuries do not change overnight so indeed, these Black people were in “a place” whose possession had been taken charge of by outsiders who told them how they were to exist in it (and only in parts of it at that!) “And a history of their own” which for the most part had had a hugely significant part of itself erased. Knowledge about how people lived before colonization is elusive. “Who are building for a new and hopefully, more sensible world.” Well a quick look at what’s going on in Africa today clearly shows that we have so far fallen short of this expectation.

“African American” views of Africa and Africans are often misinformed. Watching a popular reality tv competition this week where the contestants visited South Africa, one Black American contestant kept effusing how great it was to be back home!!! One of the big debates. A lot of Africans I have met here in the US are offended when non-Africans refer to the continent as a whole. They insist that Africa is not one big country but a continent of many distinct nations with differing characteristics that spread the gamut. One wonders sometimes though why we should hold so steadfast to separations that were carved out by our otherwise usually repudiated colonial fathers!

And to play the risky game of stereotypes for a moment… There is the Black American who rejects the term “African American”, refusing any attachment to a place that they have never known and have no intention of knowing. Some have a patronizing attitude toward Africans, angry that African immigrants (who are justifiably more hard-working and less complacent) are taking over their jobs. They joke about Africans being dirty, ugly, uncouth and plain primitive. They nurture their ignorance in order to, it would seem, console themselves that there is another group that is lower than them on the racial ladder (I am reminded of that famous quote from Hotel Rwanda). Then there is the Afro-centric Afrikan American who embraces any- and everything that is remotely African (which means that they are ripe prey for impostor goods!). They self-consciously wear head-wraps, mudcloth and natural hair. They loosely use words such as “Nubian” and speak about the Motherland with extreme reverence. Their whole life seems to be a grand preparation for their return home but their conviction is belied by the fact that, when it comes down to it, most of them do not really plan on actualizing this ‘dream’. Not to knock them completely for indeed, how does one return to that which one doesn’t know? Where would one start? Would one be accepted?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Another Dog Chasing Its Tail


That heavy heavy word. A controversial issue. A widely misunderstood and misused word. A powerful word that is often the single source of conflicts: from devastating wars to self-destructive thoughts and deeds.

What is my identity? That’s something I’ve been trying to figure out for years. Preposterous, one might say. Your identity is so intrinsic a part of you that you should not have to seek to find it! I have a hard time accepting that. And perhaps it is just that, stubbornness, which keeps the answers ever-elusive. There is the truth of who I am, and a reality that I would prefer. Theoretically, in accepting the truth, my present existence will be better informed and through this awareness I will be able to fashion how I will exist tomorrow. But this introduces the question: do we have a choice over who we are?

Is identity displayed in your physical characteristics? The colour of your skin, the length and breadth of your nose? Is it your religious affiliation, your caste or class?

Oftentimes people proudly proclaim their geographical origin as a signifier of who they are. However this becomes baseless, considering that, for example in Africa, nations were constructed by European colonialists with economic intentions. Something I found interesting when I first came to the United States was that, when asked where they came from, many people would name the State that they grew up in. Some who had lived in several States felt that they couldn’t really answer. It was unusual to me because, for many, the States that they ‘came from’ weren’t necessarily ones in which their parents and grandparents ‘came from’. Coming from a culture where “home” connotates the village that your progenitors were born raised and lived in. Nowadays, as a result of major rural to urban migration and intermarrying between tribes, the younger generations do not have as strong an identification with this notion of home. When asked, it seems that the answer should be to claim the place that their parents come from, however, most young people no longer have strong ties to or even any familiarity with the place. Thus it seems untrue to claim the place. It is easier to claim the people, that is, the tribe. Indeed, for example in East Africa, rather than ask somebody where they come from, it is more common to ask what tribe they belong to. But as I mentioned about intermarrying… This question too is becoming a more difficult one to answer. As cultures come into contact with eachother, they are transformed and it is ill-advised to uphold antiquated expectations of them. What does this mean for the individual striving to grasp an idea of identity that suits her- or himself? If she or he is a product of several points of origin, origin then becomes a more complex factor in the composition of identity.

Throw in a little displacement in the culture=identity equation. Displacement usually connotates a physical removal of something from one place and relocation in another. However, mental displacement pervades too. Again, I speak with East Africa in mind, and even more specifically, Kenya. Neocolonialism pervades and reminds us (not that we’ve been allowed to forget) of the supremacy of the West. It follows that we should emulate our generous colonial fathers in any and every way we can. From the way we dress (yes, parliament was in uproar over members who insisted on wearing traditional attire); to the way we speak (the Queen’s English is often spoken more fluently than one’s own mother tongue); to the way we raise our children (television has taken the place of interaction with our family and elders who in previous time imparted wisdom, our history and our culture to us through oral traditions. Them being oral, most are now, irreversibly lost). So though we may not have moved far from where we “originated”, our minds transport us to England and America and being able to eat a hamburger and watch another mindless Hollywood blockbuster in the cinema every week reminds us to thank our benevolent fathers for pulling us out of the darkness and propelling us toward the kind of civilization that our labour, land and resources enabled them to create for themselves.

Can I pick and choose what I want to say that I am?

Identity is often defined as the characteristics belonging uniquely to the person that inform the person’s personality. Some beliefs see personality as a self-construct and thus not one’s true self but merely the guise of the moment. The true Self is seen as never-changing. Characteristics however, one could argue, are transient and can be influenced to change by various internal and external factors. Is identity thus dynamic?

Another definition of identity boils it down to the name that a person is known by. ‘Known by’ implies perception by something outside of one self. How one is seen in other people’s eyes. This then cannot be a sensible definition as, when we allow ourselves to be defined by others, we exist only as players in their fantasies and not for ourselves. Unfortunately, this is the true condition that so many people live in, often without even knowing it. And even when we do know it, it is something hard to escape as there are a multitude of social economical and political constructs that exist to keep us in obliging captivity. The same system that upholds these imposed ‘favourable’ conditions, facilitated the annihilation of the systems of our ancestors. There are many who militantly call for a return to past ways. In reality, this cry falters for it asks for something that it doesn’t know and thus can never realize. How far back is the past? Before the white colonizers, before the arabic colonizers or before the black oppressors? Living in a fabricated past one appears suspect. Living in a present that has been fabricated for one, one is suspect.

We are constantly acting. Sometimes we put on masks to hide our true selves. Sometimes we put on the mask that we are putting on a mask and so manage to be true yet within the security of the audience’s ignorance. If these are identities, then identity is shifting, malleable and an illusion.

Sometimes I think that perhaps the answer is to define oneself by attributes that one has a control over yet it is impossible to completely extract yourself from your foundations and experiences. Is identity constructed or is it inherent? Is it a cumulative of both given and chosen elements? Maybe the better question to ask is: what is the purpose of identity?

At a social gathering recently, a group of people were introducing themselves to each other. Inevitably, ‘where are you from’ was asked and as people began to explain their countries of origin, one man stated, with firm finality that ensured no further questioning, ‘planet Earth.’ As long as people live among other people, they will always strive to differentiate from or align themselves with others. Their interests (borrowed or their own) will determine what and who they claim to be. And that the claiming itself should be important. People will form prejudiced and opinions based on these claims and the marginalizing perceptions that they accommodate rather than forming them directly from their experience with the individuals. The Center will continue its tenure.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Daily Gospel

"Think better than you've been trained."

—Toni Cade Bambara
(who insists in her book "Tales and Stories for Black Folks" that Goldilocks was a burglar, vandal, usurper and colonialist…

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Just Because…

From Gregory Colbert's Ashes and Snow :

"whales don't sing because they have an answer, they sing because they have a song."

Art for art's sake. Music beyond just lyrics. Word collages. Deeds defiantly beyond reward. Heart-gut-soul-felt expression. Why do we so frantically seek answers when the questions often tell us all we need to know?
Squinting straining searching for something deeper than what we plainly perceive…when we may in fact find that in simplicity lies the greatest profundity.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Reading past writings, I realize the nature of the prism that I look through. And though it would appear to be formed by my experiences and my existence…I find myself occasionally doubting whether it is actually I who put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. The descriptions and situations somehow do not seem real, genuine. However I am writing what I know. This leads me to question: am I so removed from the environment and cultural space that I claim to be a part of?

I had the privilege and handicap of going to private school. Privilege is what would be assumed and while I did receive a valuable education, it was one that was often very removed from the context that I lived in. However, it was difficult to see that then as the set expanded far beyond the school fences. I went to school with people of all colours and over 40 nationalities. Initially, race was not an issue in my mind. As I grew and woke up, I started to question: in a predominantly black nation, why are there only 6 black girls in my class of over 100 people? Why do we learn mostly British history? Why would most people rather take French than Kiswahili? Why isn’t Kiswahili compulsory like English is? Why are there only two Kenyan teachers in a staff of over 40? Why are my classmates shocked that have to put oil in my hair when oil in theirs is an indication that it needs washing? Why am I self-conscious around the skinny ass-less girls? Why do people assume that the boy that I like is the only black boy in the class when Indians and mzungus like each other all over the place? Why do the Lenana boys at the rugby match yell angrily at me and accuse me of thinking I’m white?

I found myself in a little bit of a quagmire. I wanted to be around more people who were like me (i.e. black) yet I was afraid and intimidated, worrying that they would see me as somehow phony and not accept me. But that seemed the only direction to move towards now. I could no longer live in blissful ignorance. The life I was living was a constructed bubble that would one day soon inevitably burst leaving me susceptible to situations and realities that my psychological immune system had no idea how to handle.

A profound assumption lay in my quest. I presupposed that skin colour was enough of a basis for us to all relate. Indeed I found that it was all more complex than that. Class constructions, ethnic backgrounds and that ridiculous ever-popular Nairobian question, “what school did you go to?” were factors that determined the make-up of social groups.
And I slowly started to see the fruitlessness of it all. It is difficult to seek solidarity in sameness when at every level, it seems to be in people’s nature to differentiate even further. I set forth new criteria to determine those who I would spend time with. Criteria that had nothing to do with things that we do not choose ourselves such as: colour, tribe, nationality, economic background. For these may greatly affect, inform and influence our existence but they do not exhaustively determine our personalities, our character, our Selves.

Unfortunately, I am still left here where I began, doubting my own authenticity. Why? There seems to be an unspoken code that decrees that true revolutionaries know intimately the pain of suffering. They are better believed when they are direct victims of the system that they rise up against. They seem to have a patronizing contempt for those who haven't struggled as they have. Those who speak against the system that, at some level may have allowed them advantage, are seen as frauds. Why is this so? A true revolutionary has a mind that is open on ALL sides! Therein lies the difference between rebellion and revolution. Those who rebel today will tomorrow gladly live the life of those they rose up against. Those who revolutionize uproot the very fabric of the status quo and weave a stronger tapestry whose intricacies exist for the benefit of all.

Perhaps I use the word revolutionary too freely. Some may criticize me for attempting to wear shoes that are too big. However, the idealist and optimist in me believes that we should all see ourselves as revolutionaries. I’ve observed that a lot of people have so little faith in themselves and their abilities that they render themselves stagnant, useless and ineffective before they even try. Imagine what a great constructive force would be awakened if more people started to believe. Death to defeatism, life to action!