Over the last 15 hours, I watched a play and a TEDx talk that have gotten me fearful, joyous, and deeply thoughtful. I think of myself as an idealist, a social activist, a leftist, one who dreams of a just an equal society but is still trying to figure out how to make that dream a reality. Alone with my “crazy” and “impossible” ideas for most of my life so far, I am now realising that I am really not alone.
In the last month I have met fellow dreamers and artists trying to change society at Pawa 254, a creative arts space and office, and a hub of open-mindedness and questions and action.
Last night I watched a play entitled Kaggia, who was a Kenyan freedom-fighter and and unsung hero indeed. He was truly a “man of the people” who stood by his principles of anti-corruption, anti-racism, and equality of all people. Given the opportunity to live in luxury, he preferred to live like the average Kenyan until wealth (specifically land) would be equitably distributed. His open criticism of Kenya’s first government resulted in campaigns against him by those in power whom he had fought alongside with against the colonialists. Eventually he retired from politics. A line from the play that echoed with me is “a dream deferred” – his dream of an equitable society has certainly not died, as it lives on within many of us. Thank you John Sibi-Okumu for writing a provocative play that is so important for this country at this moment, many of whose citizens do not question enough the injustices they undeservingly live through, where colonization still lives on in our minds, and where we have much potential for change if we step out of robotic acceptance.
This morning I was in tears for the full 17 minutes of a TEDx talk by Alok Vaid-Menon, a young activist and poet who spoke such truth that I could not help but cry in heartfelt agreement. He points out how “success” in our world is always achieved at the expense of others, whether one is in business, in education, etc. He says that in order to truly succeed, we must “fail” in the traditional sense. I cannot do his words justice, so please check him out for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxb-zYthAOA
In conclusion I say question the status quo, be true to your heart and humanity, and let’s figure out together how to create a fairer society.