Hadithi ya The Art of  Participatory Leadership na Nia ya Ni Sisi! Chapters

Ni Sisi! is a nation-wide social movement uniting Kenyans to forge a collective identity to drive transformation in leadership and maisha.

Ni Sisi! Chapters are platforms for ALL youth in a defined geographical area to discuss their issues collectively and seek solutions to the challenges they face.  With support from USAID Kenya – Yes Youth Can! Program – Ni Sisi! Youth Chapters provide youth an opportunity to be the drivers of their own development and empowerment.

Who qualifies to be a member of a Ni Sisi! Youth Chapter?

Ni Sisi!Chapter membership can be in three ways:

a)       Active membership -Youth between the ages of 18-35 years, residing in particular focus area.

gacheke gachihi

b)       Alumni membership –Ni Sisi! Chapters’ alumni and persons who are over 35 years old who desire to keep supporting the activities of Ni Sisi! Chapters. They have no voting rights.

c)       Corporate/Honorary membership –Companies, individuals and other organizations willing to identify and work with particular Ni Sisi! Chapters. They do not have voting rights.

Why Ni Sisi! Chapters?

Inuka Kenya Trust’s Peace through Prosperity (PTP) Program aims to work with Nairobi youth to create a culture of peace and prosperity. The basic platform for engagement with youth is through the Ni Sisi! Youth Chapters. As a platform, the Ni Sisi! values will be imbued among Chapter members and at the same time ensure a ‘youth-owned, youth-led and youth managed’ approach.

In contrast to working with individual youth, Ni Sisi! seeks to work with a wider platform and representation of youth in a particular location (neighborhood/village  level). The Ni Sisi! Chapters will bring together youth from different backgrounds; diverse ethnicity, across socio-economic divides, non-disabled and youth with disabilities, gender, religious affiliations, together into an umbrella network.

Advantages of being a member of a Ni Sisi! Chapter

  •  Increased voice: Numerical strength, hence ability to air issues facing you in a stronger voice that calls for action towards solutions. Some problems and challenges are complex for one person or an individual youth group to solve, but which can easily be solved when these youth groups and individuals come together under a Ni Sisi! Chapter.
  • Engagement and Participation: Ni Sisi! Chapters provide you with platforms for engagement with local administrative, religious, and political leaders as well as local organizations among key players. Through these relationships, youth will be able to meaningfully participate in local processes, decision-making structures and ensure increased access to local resources (incl. Leadership opportunities)

  • Social Development:  Ni Sisi! Chapters provide you a chance to demonstrate capabilities through social/community development initiatives initiated, implemented, managed, and maintained by your peers. Furthermore, Ni Sisi! Chapters will create opportunities for exposure, leadership development, life-skills development, networking opportunities and broaden one’s horizons.
  • Improved Livelihoods: Through Ni Sisi! Chapters, linkages will be made for increased opportunities for access to finances under the YYC! Tahidi Fund.

Steps in setting up a Ni Sisi! Chapter!

 Ni Sisi! Chapters are based on geographical location and aim to bring youth from a demarcated neighborhood together. The size of the Chapter is dependent on youth population in an area but should aim to include all youth (18-35). The following are easy steps to follow to establish a Chapter;

  1. Mobilize youth and host an initial meeting to explain and discuss the Ni Sisi!Chapter concept and how to establish one with youth from an agreed geographical location (a village)

    APSP conference - 2009

  2. At this meeting, elect representative interim officials for the Ni Sisi! Chapter – they will assist in the initial set-up and running of the Chapter.
  3. Develop and/or adopt a Ni Sisi! Chapter Constitution, by-laws and elected interim officials by seeking members’ approval (simple count of hands could be adequate)
  4. Register the Ni Sisi! Chapter (A Constitution and registration gives the Ni Sisi! Chapters’ legal standing, guaranteeing Ni Sisi! and its partners that they are working with a stable structure they can trust with their resources).
  5. Once a Chapter is registered, members can hold an election in line with their Constitution, to elect officials to run the Chapter.
  6. Open a bank account
  7. Conduct outreach events to increase the membership and representation within the Ni Sisi! Chapter

Once the Chapter has been established, members should develop an action plan based on activities decided by Chapter members, in line with the needs of their area that they have identified.

Inuka Kenya Trust programme staff and community mobilisers will provide technical assistance in the formation and functioning of the Ni Sisi! Chapters.


For further information contact:

Inuka Kenya Trust

1st Floor, Concert House

Wood Garden Rd, off Wood Avenue, Kilimani

T: 254 (0) 20 250 2469

M: +254 717 786688 / +254 732 786686

www.nisisikenya.com | info@inukakenya.com | www.facebook.com/nisisikenya | www.twitter.com/nisisikenya

Our Values: Heshima | Diversity | Self-Belief

 [reposted from Bunge La Mwananchi: Pamoja Tunafika!, na upendo, from East Afrika to de diaspora of righteousness na de spaces between]

[i,S.I.S  note: reposting this obituary from Philo Ikonya with big love, respekt and humility, in honour of the legacy of yet another warrior in the struggle for Afrikan liberation……]

His serene face of concern, always brightened with a smile, was his signature. His words were always that he could give more. I am going to talk about how he always moved for us, always made greater space.

Something is not going right. Someone has been arrested or some people have been arrested in Nairobi. Or, there is a moment to stand up against corruption and be heard. You blow the whistle. Some people drop everything and turn up.

Odipo arrives early. He does not mind whether he is in front or behind the others, Odipo is there. He is not the kind of person who pushes for space for his body. But you can see his mind is focused. He moves it away for you to sit comfortably. He does not move his mind from you and the topic. I can see him move for me and others in a sitting at Kikwetu Restaurant, for a cup of tea that we need badly. I can see him always shifting for someone else to be happy. Odipo listened deeply and looked broadly. Odipo thought carefully through things. He saw himself as a link within a chain that must not break.

I have to share something deeper with you. Odipo has gone and left us but already he has proved that he has seen we are his living body. I mean it. And that means he is our spirit. I say this because after much anguish, the happy man I heard sing in my dream. He says, ‘I have seen my body.’ I cannot hide that from you. He has seen how you moved as Wabunge as a people, human rights defenders and others.

Odipo had seen and spoken about how important it was for all of us to be connected. I know that many amazing heroes of the Kenyan struggle have a history of remaining backstage, remaining the ones who do not get the accolades and wards and I feel pain. I also see signs that this will not always be so. I know it.

When Odipo was arrested with me, he immediately started taking care of me. He moved for me. He told the police off.

I will go into details here.

On 9 September 2009, just a year and two months and nine days ago, Odipo arrived early outside the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission office. He found Kingwa Kamencu, Khainga O’kwemba and Philo Ikonya outside the offices holding up a poem. We were waiting to read it to the anti-corruption board for we wanted to support them in their bid for Ringera to leave office. The president had tried to hold on to Ringera and Ringera was overstaying his welcome and not working against corruption in a convincing manner. We know the history.

Facing the offices, we had not looked behind us but when we did, there was a policeman, walkie-talkie in the air, striding down the street, the cars having been parked behind our backs. I said to Odipo, ‘Let’s go!’. We did not want to be arrested. Odipo told me, ‘Yes, Philo you are right.’ I heard the policeman say ‘those two’, and he was looking at us. We walked up quietly on the side of former CID headquarters and left the scene. We walked towards Heron Court Hotel and went past. We then came back and noticing a small police van driving slowly near Heron, we hid in some flats higher up the street. We knew the office and we chatted up the secretary nervously. We did not have phones on us and really we had no reason to seriously believe the police were waylaying us for almost half an hour. We left the flats and police cars moved out of the parking fast, and in minutes we were arrested.

I was grabbed first with the words, ‘Get into this car!’ I told them they could arrest me, not beat me and only if there was a woman cop and that he could not touch me. Odipo supported me and asked why they were arresting us.

We also said that if Mr Mugwai – who had beaten me up in February – was in the car, we could not get in.

We were in the vehicle that turned out to be as dark as night, especially since we had come from the light of a bright day. We were told to stay in the middle of the vehicle holding the bar on top. It was uncomfortable. As our pupils dilated and I began to see, I realised the vehicle was filled with helmeted riot police. It was just as well I had not made a dash for the hotel. It had crossed my mind but I had looked at the arresting officer’s own club, unaware that the vehicle was filled with a team.

I could not see Odipo. Suddenly as in the arrest moments someone loses some perspectives; I asked where Odipo was. He answered me he was there in the front of the back part of the van. I realised I still could not see well except for the dark shiny helmets – no faces. He consoled me. He had moved his body right up – and at once we realised this intimidation was too much. We tried to sit down, not realising that there was a person everywhere we could sit, and they threw us up from the bottoms – ‘Simama!’, they shouted. We sang. Odipo started off the tune. It was of the Kenyan national anthem. But the words were ours:

‘Eeh Mungu nguvu yetu,
Ilete Baraka kwetu
Haki yetu iwe ngao na mlinzi.’

The policemen started to taunt us. They asked me if I get a million shillings for wearing a sack. I told them they had done their job – to arrest – and that they could now keep quiet. Odipo went on: We sang three lines and changed to another tune. We sang to ourselves to stand firm and not be shaken.

‘Eeee iyayaya ya weeee!
Philo wetu, weewee,
Eeeh Odipo!
Simama simama simama imara!’

Odipo was roughed up. He gave up his body whilst his mind looked at me. At Kilimani police station, he told the policemen and the inmates to respect me. He was coughing badly. He got sick. He kept on looking out for me.

I was very surprised by that dream I had the other day. But why should I have been? Odipo always gave up his body for the spirit to grow. I feel he should have lived, but he tells me he wants one body and that he has seen his body. Odipo has not died so that we might be weaker. He has died so that we become stronger.

I feel very challenged. One, it is hard to share dreams in public. It is so easy to be ridiculed when you speak about dreams. But two, they must be shared if they are about us. I draw a lesson: We must continue to dream on and work together. We must heal the divisions that are brought to us.

I know that later that day, I realised Kenya was not so divided, including in civil society in 2007 especially, by chance. We have people who watch us all the time. They work even when they do not arrest us. Today, they will tell you who am I to speak dreams when I am so far away; yesterday they said, do you not see who gets all the attention and even awards, those big guys who speak on TV.


In 2007, they spread to Kenyans that some tribes were this and others that. A village woman spoke to me about communism in a political competitor and her age and all that showed me that this was pure government propaganda. Have you stopped to wonder how even the churches came to be so divided? There is an intelligence that does not like our unity. We have a choice to make. Odipo tells me to insist on the issue of solidarity and not just to say pretty things about dreams. Can we do this together bearing in mind that solidarity is not about uniformity? We must learn to see the wedges, the knives that they run between us and hold on together for real change! I note that Odipo’s great friends had no ethnic code; they were just Kenyans. Let us keep a real Kenya in focus. Let us know our enemies. They know us.

I will not sing a dirge to you
Son of Ramogi,
And of Kenya.
On Mt. Kenya,
Son of Afrika.
My dirge is challenged-
to sing victory
To a child of truth.
To a man of strength,
To a man of commitment.
Of freedom.

I come bearing not flowers picked along the road,
But words you spoke and sang.
I come bearing pain too.
Mama Odipo is crying still
The whole clan in tears but blessed.
I want her healing to be Change in Kenya.

I have not come late Comrade,

I come to say you are calling.
You are calling us for greater
Freedom and growth.
I come to say you debated
democracy and rights,
Even on an empty stomach,
in the cells and hospital bed.
I come to say you cared for us.
I come to say your friends were Kenyans,
not tribe. I say too you made my spirit grow.

I feel pain, I do. But you urge me on.
You tell me you have seen your body.
That your body is ours.

Comrade Odipo,
I salute you.
Beyond the grave you still challenge us.
Peacefully and with searching glance,
You urge us stand as one!
Bless your tenderly loved ones,
Bless your loved Kenya.
Bless us with growth.
Tell ancestor Ramogi,
And Kenya on Mt. Kenya,
we still stand.

Go well Odipo.
Go well.


Dear  be/loved peeps…..

 How do we harvest the resources we have to share with our communities, across time and spaces? How do we harness the powah! of the all those intersections of our diversity to mobilise continental Afrikans and those in the diaspora in re-constitutional-i- sing our political and social systems to sustain not only all Afrikan people’s liberation, but all our living relatives?

[like real tox we all know many gifted en loving folks in our communities that are hungry to gain more balance, grounding en wellbeing while serving the frontlines in their hoods, many of us have be/come familiar with weariness en ‘thick’ skins, with living ‘cheque’ to ‘check’, en sacrificing ‘personal’ time for collective sowing, planting en harvesting bounties that shrink en swell according to imperialist currencies and the commitment of warriors….truthIS  there’s always a crisis in the horizon..day before yesterday it was the prime minister spewing hatred in a call to arrest gays and lesbians, and those hours of panic en fear, a few weeks ago it was the (slow) burning of witches, every day it’s the po’ and indigenus people’s struggle]


Real tox: who en where are the ones who are willing to harvest the powah! of our love for Afrika(ns) to rebuild sustaining and sustainable united villages, cities en states of Afreeka that hold us ALL safely? are the questions too massive to reason en organise through, outside of OUR  social movements? or are they too specific? what is the appropriate scale to work through on a small-ish blog on the world wide web? what are the right questions to galvanise each other to seek ourselves out and support our family en comrades mo?

in the (t)here en then en now, in solidarity with LGBTTIQ folks in Kenya, what creative sustained resistance and renewal can we magically craft and organise in response to the increasing backlash to Queer/trans communities in East Afrika?

Like that public call of hate for mo’ state-sanctioned homophobia, and quite explicitly for mass allegiance to our persecution…. that kinda shit gets people killed, and Dear Raila, he knows that very well, so today, en tomorrow en the moons en years after, it would be amazing and much needed to hear more voices calling for mo’ than a public retraction, en organise with more bodies to advocate for and serve queer/trans communties all over Afrika

coz this shit is Raila’s hateful call and Bahati’s Bill , Burundi and Rwanda, Nigeria and South Afrika, Ayiti and Jamaica,  it’s about 53 African nations (that technically really should be states) denying observer status to the Coalition of African Lesbians and upholding coloniser’s/foreign laws so shamelessly….

the bigger point is, dis solidarity ofcourse is much more than media campaigns or pointing fingers, it’s bout working collectively on sustaining ourselves en our growing movements, en harvesting all the wealth we do have…..hadithi kama

African women’s decade: strategic opportunities http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/69053

Ayiti: reclaiming sovereignty http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/69025

Western Sahara: the forgotten conflict

The Western Sahara conflict with Morocco is one of those almost forgotten conflicts. It is one that is an unbelievable 35 years old – and still the Moroccan government remains intransigent. A Moroccan About a World around him reports on recent uprising in one of the camps in Laayoune the main city in occupied Western Sahara. Prior to this King Mohammed VI had accused Algeria of human rights violations against Saharawis in Tindouf camps ignoring his country’s central part in why they are there in the first place.

‘The violence was triggered when a battalion-size security force descended on the camp in the early hours of Monday in an attempt to raze it and disperse its residents using tear gas and water cannons. The protests seeped into Laayoune and resulted in substantial material damage and loss of life as a group of the camp’s residents that an official Ministry of Interior statement described as wanted criminals and subversive agents clashed with the security forces. Black smoke bellowed over the city and debris littered its arteries. The number of people injured and killed could not yet be confirmed. According to the BBC, about seventy people have been injured and over ten have died.’…..read more @ http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/69060

na pia…..

What powah! does reclaiming indigenus knowledge en spirituality have for harvesting all those intersections of our diversity?

….not against flesh en blood

 Sister Outsider

check dis….

Mr Odinga on Sunday said that police should arrest anyone found engaging in such behaviours and take appropriate legal action against them.

“We will not tolerate such behaviours in the country. The constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared,” Mr Odinga said.

Listen to Raila

“Any man found engaging in sexual activities with another man should be arrested. Even women found engaging in sexual activities will be arrested,” the premier warned.

Speaking at a public rally at the Kamukunji grounds in his Nairobi’s Kibera constituency on Sunday afternoon, the Prime Minister cited the recent population census results which put the ratio of men to women equal and wondered why people should engage in homosexuality.

“This [homosexual] kind of behaviours will not be tolerated in this country. Men or women found engaging in those acts deserve to be arrested and will be arrested,” he told the crowd.

He said leaders who were propagating rumours of same sex marriages in Kenya during campaigns for the new Constitution had failed miserably because Kenyans did not buy their propaganda.

“Those were lies from leaders who wanted to confuse Kenyans to reject the new law; the Constitution is very clear on that matter. It does not state anywhere that same sex marriage is legal in Kenya,” he added.

The Bill of Rights under chapter four of the new Constitution states that: “Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties.”

A move by Uganda to introduce a Bill calling for long jail terms or death penalty in some cases of homosexuality received international condemnation, with US President Barack Obama describing it as “odious”.

He said: “But surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are, whether it is here in the United States or… more extremely, in odious laws that are being proposed more recently in Uganda.”
But notwithstanding Obama’s remarks, homosexual acts are now illegal in Uganda and attracts jail terms of up to 14 years in prison.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Arrest-gays,-Kenyan-PM-orders-10670.html#ixzz16pge8BvV

[and that is the story of how Raila tried to score cheap points, and took another brutal blow to his leadership, going to show yet again, what he sealed in ink when he accepted his position as prime minister, that he is not the rightful leader of our beloved country Kenya, maybe the other Agwambo, but dis one here o…..he dun make too much war o, it’s time for him to go O, no? in the spirit of….]


many possibilities……

 Jus one of the many revolushunary organisations that we love, respekt and admire so, the ones that we have grown with en learnt so much from on building communities of (good) practice and the struggle for Afrikan liberation….



these are (some of)  the hadithi of the q_t werd [ on the ground]…

the ones that haven’t been published (yet)….

Proposal – Queer African Reader

Project Consultant: Sokari Ekine
Proposed Editors: Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas

We are writing to invite you to participate in the publication of an African LGBTI Reader to be published by Pambazuka Press in June 2011. The African LGBTI Reader is being published in response to the increasing homophobia and transphobia across the continent which aims to silence the voices of African Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex people.

The African LGBTI Reader [Working Title] seeks to make a timely intervention by bringing together a collection of writings and artistic works that engage with the struggle for LGBTI liberation and inform sexual orientation and gender variance. The book seeks to engage with primarily an African audience focusing on intersectionality and will include experiences from rural communities, post-conflict situations, religious experience as well that of immigration and displacement.

We are proposing an alternative framework for the book based on a participatory model in which we ask prospective contributors and the broad queer activist community to discuss possible topics to be included that will push analysis and thinking within this distinct and diverse movement across the continent writing from the standpoint of both personal stories and experiences as activists. We feel this is important because of the multi layered issues which exist historically, regionally and politically with regards to sexual orientation and gender variance in Africa as well as the overall struggle for African liberation.

We hope to facilitate the writing of key African LGBTI leaders, activists and thinkers by providing a two week retreat where activists can create the space to reflect, share their ideas and writing, peer review each other’s work, have access to sources and resources provided by prominent academics and the institution. The writing retreat will be fully sponsored and contributors will be provided an honorarium for their writing which will enable them to take the time away from their activities to provide a critically reflective piece.

Possible Topics – not including personal stories, poems, stories

We have identified eight themes which are listed below with a brief summary of each. We are suggesting each of you think about the theme[s] that interest you and suggest specific topics on which you could write or would like to see addressed.


We repeatedly use the terms lesbian, gay, bi-sexual transgender and intersex but what do these mean in your own experience, your own community and country? How limiting or inclusive are these labels? Are they appropriate and do they reflect your own experiences? Does the identity cause more problems than the behavior? Does gender variance or gender non-conforming provide a more appropriate entry point for discussion in Africa given silence around all sexualities? How do we organize across definitions? Why should we?


What kind of strategies have been used or could be taken up to resist / challenge queer oppression?

Should we be talking about movement-building? What conceptualisations, experiences and visions of movements do we have / should there be?

Should the struggle for LGBTI Rights be framed within a Western construct which sees Rights as instruments and legislation or should the struggle for rights be constructed within a framework of movement building around which the oppressed organise?

How has the reliance on the NGO Industrial complex supported or hindered movement building? If the latter, what possible alternatives are there to organising and fund raising? How can we move towards more collaborative and collective ways of working which support movement building? What kind of strategies have been used or could be taken up to resist / challenge criminalisation and homophobia including that coming from religious institutions and the media? How should we understand and transcend the limits of the NGO-dominated activist space?


What are the problematics of internationalising campaigns and how do we work with allies in the West? How do we overcome donor dependence as a movement? Do the donors and bilaterals save us from ourselves? How do we measure victory e.g. in Malawi and Uganda?


Does South Africa have a particular role to play in supporting queer liberation in Africa? Does the shift in global power create opportunity or threat for African queer liberation? What other geo-political factors determine the course for queer liberation?


What are the intersections between the broader social justice movement in Africa and the movement for queer liberation? Why should one care about the other?


What political frames are useful in our movement building? While LBT activists have tended towards feminism does it exclude GT men? How do we address patriarchy and sexism in our movements and personal relationships even among women-identified folks? Why do many straight identified African feminists resist taking on queer issues as a feminist issue in Africa?

7.         GOD AND QUEER –


Does the movement have to come from a secular space? Given that many African queer folks identify as religious how do we overcome fundamentalism?

The US right wing church are using Africa as a battleground for queer bashing – why is this effective?

What of countries with majority Muslim populations or Islamic law for queer liberation?

What is liberation theology today from a queer liberation and broader social justice perspective?

What are our strategies here?

Are there existing experiences of this, and what can we learn from there? What are the conceptual, spiritual and strategic challenges that the concept of liberation theology throws up to religious queers?


What particular role has been/can be played by those engaged in activism through the creative arts? What has been/is the personal cost to working as social justice activists often working in relative isolation and in hostile environments? How can we better balance our lives as social justice activists with that of social people and the need to care for ourselves?

Submissions can be any of the following: essays, case studies of lived experiences on any of the suggested themes, personal stories, poems, art work, photography, short stories, short plays.

Submissions are welcome from Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora.

Download the Concept Note here.


Last few week(end)s I been talking en hanging with mo’ bredrin en dadas that I love, respekt en admire so….reasoning bout many tings close to our hearts: love/r/s, families, dreams, passions, work,  our Afrikan stories, healing en the transitions that we’ve stumbled, are walking en continue grounding thru…so grateful for the manifestations of our quests to spread (salaam)  love en unity within our communities, I give thanks for what brought and binds us together forever….

coz last  couple o’ nites were like heaven on earth…. where infinite possibilities (re)presented themselves with beautiful, loving folks coming together to cook en break bread [pan-afrikan style], fundraise, play, reason en share many resources….real tox: these are the hadithi of the q_t werd, the blessings en powah of  positive(ly)  productive collectives, everyday…

like yesterday, I heard bout the story of na nga def en of revolushunary collectives in the diaspora embracing back to Afrika movements, yet another [trailer of a] doc that changed my life forever, four women (en then some) struck deep, their werds walking with me since

When we organise we find strength then in (you know) supporting each other, in being able to project our voices collectively [talent jumo]…

you’d have to get people to unite, take my country for instance… I wouldn’t advise that people must now start fighting, but it took war for us in order to get freedom, and people of colour in Brazil need to unite and stand for one thing [sega khutlapyo]…

it’s about creating positive energy and positive vibes around us [angel wainaina]….

i personally would want to help in that fight [yaganoma baatoulkuu]…..

Pamoja tulifika on Saturday….. en Sunday night was a reminder of how far we’ve come, how far we have to go still in building solidarity amongst our communities, en how much we have to be grateful for with the loving, growing revolushunary villages being rebuilt in the heart of urban centres in de’ diaspora en on the continent en….I pray that we continue to change the destructive paths we’ve been on, en fulfill our destinies

Truthis…our love (and growth stories) is at the crux of coming together…..sharing fantasies en food, fundraising, storytelling, celebrating, playing en praying together…..filling our hearts with the divine energy of the kinda people that we want to rebuild our homes with…

Real tox is… these quests we’re documenting, are (not only) our own and of people we know,

in dis space, now….we’re still getting to the crux of where we wanna be, in another place not here…

and there’s always the matter of how much villages should know about who exactly is coming, when the child hasn’t even arrived or chosen to stay in dis world yet…..

The riddle of the sphinx (in the q_t werd) is in the connecshun between nneka en nneke dumela. Where did nneka en nneke meet? In what different world(s)?

Real tox is….. there’s only so many stories we can share ‘about’ the q_t werd before we’ve finished production, only so much we can tell you about nneke before the biomythical monologue for the play is even finished, or bout nneka before we’ve even shot the interview, so we’ll tell you about the mid-wives first, from long long ago hadi leo, until next year….

In other werds, because there are so many of our true true stories to share, because the world is bigger than 5, 7 or 9 bredrin en dadas, we’re going to continue sharing hadithi about s/heroes, teachers and legends we love

Continue breaking down the complex of fear generated around being betwixt en between binaries and identities, playing with masks and [ideologies of] time and space, kama akina dada wa Afrika halisi


Truthis, because we’ve shared so many of our fears before, the trust that’s been building, the safe spaces we’ve maintained, the metamorphosis we’ve witnessed and the love we’ve shared with each other en our loved ones have cushioned our rebirthing and transformed the pain

……….It was love in the first place, must admit, you blew me away, all the music…..inside of me,

got me feeling, some kinda madness…it was love…….

A woman speaks

Bout turning pages, making changes and showing (big) love….

Hadithi? Hadithi?

Nipe mji?

[B is for bredrin en dadas in solidarity: our (vision) quest is to implement queer/trans youth arts collective/programs & circles for healing and self recovery in East & South Afrika in collaboration with anitafrika! dub theatre: an intersection of radical creativity, activity, and thought, human positive and moyo wa afrika: a coalition of Afrikans on the continent and in the diaspora who are committed to the reclamation of Indigenous Afrikan spiritualities, knowledge systems, economic praxis, and resources as the only viable means of addressing the colonially-induced dis-ease and dysfunction plaguing our peoples….

Lakini kwanza….]

A is for anitafrika! dub theatre: founded by artistic director d’bi.young in spring 2008 under the mentorship of visionary dub artist ahdri zhina mandiela, adt is a radical arts initiative rooted in the orplusi principles of storytelling, being developed by d’bi.young.

The 7 living/en/working principles are 

language, orality,

political context (or protext),

rhythm, urgency, sacredness, and integrity:

fundamental tools in the (re)emerging genre of bio-myth-solo-performance storytelling or ‘dubbin solo’,

according to artistic director d’bi.young.

[en between the lines: the Q_t werd is a documentary series/work in progress, charting the evolution of these principles  en reclaiming ancestral legacies……]

Through the intersection of these principles, the theatre seeks to explore and expand the relationship between the storyteller, their village(s), and transformation.


adt! is inspired by the seminal work of dubpoetry visionaries anita stewart and ahdri zhina mandiela. trained during the early to mid eighties at the jamaica school of drama (now the edna manley college of visual and performing arts), anita stewart wrote her thesis dubbin theatre: dub poetry as a theatre form on the progressive movement of dubpoetry into a theatrical realm which radically dramatized both the socio-economic tribulations of the jamaican people, as well as their potential for rebellion against their oppressors.

in her unpublished manuscript stewart identifies four major elements of the then emerging artform of dubpoetry — music, language, politics and performance — as bridges between the personal and the political and vice versa. stewart’s early documentation and analysis of dubpoetry as a working people’s socio-political movement, provide the primary lens through which adt! focuses.

in the late eighties early nineties, ahdri zhina mandiela coined and further developed the term dub theatre in reference to her own evolving work as a dub aatist. in the prelude to her dark diaspora… in dub: a dub theatre piece she defines dubtheatre as dramatized stage presentation comprised of varying performance component, including an indispensable/uniquely tailored dance language threading thru oral/choral work proliferating with endemic musical elements.

d’bi.young is a second generation dubpoet who learnt the artform from her her mother anita stewart and her mentor ahdri zhina mandiela. young is building on the foundational work of stewart and mandiela by developing dubpoetry/dubtheatre theory and practice through anitafrika! dub theatre: a launch pad of artistic training that locates itself within art for social change.

En A is for the legacies of audre lorde, that’s wassup!

Dream/songs from the moon of Beulah land I-V


How much love can I pour into you I said

Before it runs out of you

Like undigested spinach

Or shall i stuff you

Like a ritual goose

With whatever you think

You want of me

And for whose killing

Shall I grow you up

To leave me

To mourn

In the broken potsherds

Upon my doorstep

In silent tears of the empty morning?

But I’m not going anywhere you said

Why is there always

Another question

Beyond the last question


Out of your mouth

Another storm?

It’s happening

I said


Whenever I look for you the wind

Howls with danger

Beware the tree arms scream

What you are seeking

Will find you

In the night

In the fist of your dreaming

And in my mouth

The words became sabers

Cutting my boundaries

To ribbons

Of merciless light


You say I yam

Sound as a drum

But that’s very hard to be

As you covers your ears with academic parchment

Be careful

You might rip the cover

With your sharp nails

And then I will not sound at all.

To put us another way

What I come wrapped in

Should be familiar to you

As hate is

What I come wrapped in

Is close to you

As love is


To death

Or your lying tongue

Surveying the countries of our mouths.

If I were drum

You would beat me

Listening for the echo

Of your own touch

Not seeking

The voice of the spirit

Inside the drum

Only the spreading out shape

Of your own hand on my skin


If I ever really sounded

I would rupture your eardrums

Or your heart.


Learning to say goodbye

Is finding a new tomorrow

On some cooler planet

Barren and unfamiliar

And guiltless.

It costs the journey

To learn

Letting go

Of the burn-out rockets

To learn  how

To light up space

With the quick fiya of refusal

Then drift gently down

To the dead surface of the moon.

Kesho……The (A, B, en C’s Of the) Q_t werd in dub video

dear toronto,

If this open letter to tdot is to stay true to its mission, it has to start with (re)acknowledging where we’re at, on turtle island & where we coming from, mama afrika. It’s also only natural that in speaking truth to power, we share that we are in our final stage/week of developing & organising for

  1. The Spaces Between [produced by the Peace camp],
  2. Peace is Possible Parade &
  3. summer workshops at Crescent Town Public School  with Full Circle, Regent Park Camp, Balmy Beach, Learning for Life, Seeds of Hope…..

The ‘official’ werd on the ground is

The Children’s Peace Theatre of Toronto will be holding its 10th annual Summer Peace Camp from July 5-24, 2010. Under the direction of Liz Pounsett and musical direction by award-winning jazz artist Brownman with the artistic direction of Karen Emerson.

A group of 60 children and youth will work alongside professional artists to create a theatrical collaboration called ‘The Space Between’.

This is bound to be the most provocative of Peace Camp productions as the children explore faith and reason and how these concepts affect our lives personally and globally. It confronts head on the issues associate with the interplay of faith and reason with the level of honesty, humor and energy only children and youth can impart. The Space Between is sure to be visually stunning, thought provoking and full of surprises].


We’re inviting Tdot, all our friends and visitors, to come with their pikney and friends, join us on Friday July 23rd and Saturday July July 24th in the PIP Parade and the gala performance of the Space Between.

So ofcourse we should first tell you the story about the source of this peace theatre.

Hapo (si) zamani (sana) ya kale

In 2000, the Hannon-Shields Centre for Leadership and Peace reclaimed parts of the Massey Goulding Estate and under the ‘official’ leadership of Robert Morgan, launched the Children’s Peace Theatre (PT)

As Robert has said: “We place children and youth centre stage, not because they are cute or candid, but because they display humanity’s capacity to evolve, even in the harsh conditions of the current times. Young people are demonstrating an instinctive desire to move away from the dominant culture of self-interestedness and aggression, and are moving instead towards building relationships and community due to an innate desire to seek stability, safety, and peace.

It is also evident that young people have the imagination and the energy that will be necessary to establish a new culture of peace. Watching young people from very different backgrounds cross paths, encounter conflict, and find creative ways of making the conflict evolve in positive directions, gives me the audacity to believe that peace is possible.”


[10 years later, the ‘un-official’ werd on the ground on the opening ceremony  is: join us in a prayer circle on Friday July 23rd @ at 7:00am , in the heart of the peace forest.

The ‘official’ plan of the day is the Peace is Possible parade @ 11:00am, and the 2nd matinee of the spaces between which will begin @ 1.00pm, in the outdoor amphitheatre of the Peace Theatre @ 305 Dawes Road.]

[this subjective perspective on the process of manifesting justice, truth, reconciliation en peacemaking; is after many moons of ‘unofficially’ re/claiming the grounds of the peace forest,  since I came back from ‘home’ [aka. in another place, not here…], en in the years before, with osain as my colleague, en his home as my office. Close to eshu, obatala, ogun, oshun, oya en all the orishas.

I am deeply grateful for now ‘officially’ being part of that divine, growing team that is blessed, honoured and privileged to work here, [job soon dun, but it’s a contract with possible extensions of renewal nonetheless, and all the fertile spaces between metarmophoses, healing rituals & building solidarity with people of all faiths, all nations, with one prayer.

I give thanks for the artists, caregivers, comrades, elders en youth, peer educators, healers and peace makers, friends of PT, who contribute their energy, talent & time to rebuilding our communities, with our children, using arts for revolushunary social & spiritual change, sharing our healing stories with the 3c’s of PT]

I pray for health and prosperity, not only for myself but for others. I pray for humbleness, for myself and others. Please forgive my sins, those that I know about, and those that I don’t know about, those I am yet to commit, and those of others. Inspire those without hope, and strengthen those without faith. I give thanks for the cool wotas, the sun, moon, and stars, for the birds, and our trees. Bless all our living relatives.Onikpite]

I give thanks for our continued re/learning of faith in the true (true) ways of the ‘natives’ of port credit Mississauga, for our deepening connecuns with egun,

Bless taylor creek park en all our neighbours en visitors. Bless the ancestors betwixt en between, all around  crescent town, goodwood, thorncliffe, dentonia park, jane&finch, parkdale, regent park, in all our enclaves, trees, en living relatives, in these diverse hoods.

PIP song

I give thanks for the burning, metamorphoses en (for) the spaces between spreading big love en positivity in our communities.  I give thanks that the fiya this time feels like ‘the revolushun’ is with our breaking bread, making arts en crafts, playing, praying, reasoning and replenishing not only ourselves, but with our families and friends, en ‘others’.

Bless the motherless and fatherless, those sick in hospital. Bless the homeless, and those who ignore them. Ifa,  I pray that you continue to guide us in coming to our right/full destinites. I pray that the circle may be unbroken. Bless our wotas en granmama earth. Ase. Ase….

[blogger’s notes: It’s, only officially, been less than a moon that I’ve been working on programs at the peace theatre, there’s still many pieces of the past that I’m not familiar with, but I give thanks that this place, in another space, not home, is exactly where I need to be,….naushukuru that the blessings of yesterday, manifested today en I pray for them to carry forward to tomorrow…..

85 days 16[+72]hours 25 minutes – the caps finally contained the oil spill, and we are bound to pray for our continued healing en self recovery, to learn from our mis-steps, and continue changing the destructive path we’ve been on.


Taylor-Massey Creek is 16 kilometres long. Its headwaters are near Sheppard and Victoria Park Avenues. It flowed diagonally through Wishing Well Park and under Highway 401 at Pharmacy Avenue. The original headwaters were diverted to Highland Creek when the highway was widened to 12 lanes, so the creek now starts at a stormwater outfall just south of the highway.

The creek starts in Terraview Willowfield Park, a restoration project, named after a nearby public school. It flows through two medium sized ponds with naturalized channels. From there it flows southeast through a series of concrete lined channels and drains. This section runs along an abandoned hydro right-of-way before entering a residential and industrial section that is closed to public access.

South of Eglinton Avenue East it enters a shallow ravine and flows south passing through Pine Hills Cemetery. It exits the cemetery travelling west and enters a small park on St. Clair Avenue East. At Warden Avenue it turns southwest, moving through a park called Warden Woods. West of Pharmacy Avenue it enters a city run golf course. At Victoria Park Avenue it enters Taylor Creek Park and continues uninterrupted to where it empties into the Don River East Branch, just north of the forks of the Don.