Resist

I have taken time to ponder the #Resist movement, and I have decided to say my piece.

Firstly, I am relieved that we have finally started boycotting as a political instrument, but I will expound on that later. After I talk about Safaricom.

Safaricom had twenty three point three five Million consumer customers in 2015. A report that takes time too, to mention road accident fatalities. In 2017, their services assisted 1 Million Kenyans in accessing healthcare. Aside from their actual micro health insurance policies, when someone has had an accident, that’s not the time to walk for one hour ukitafuta Airtel money. No bad blood for Airtel here, awesome clarity.

Amongst us there are actual owners of Safaricom, share holders, and for them, asking them to resist Safaricom is asking them to boycott themselves.

For many of us, asking us to boycott Safaricom is asking us to boycott ourselves.

Which brings me to why I agree with boycotting as a method of political resistance. I am tired, of lower class Kenyans dying in the street for elitism. Violence, or “civil unrest” and police brutality or “raids” as they are sanitized are an infinitely cruel way to convince people to do anything.

In fact it is the presupposed premise of the upper classes, that those who have not reached ‘there’ are just not trying hard enough and if they really fight for what they believe in their dreams will come true. Basi give guys a chance. Don’t allow any eventuality of neighbour, burning neighbour, chopping neighbour, No!!

That, is what is called oppression. Spreading hate, is oppression, whatever side you are on, political waves will come, and they will go, and they will come again, that is the way democracy works, according to history. We have to work from the bottom up, lift each other up and re-establish a new sense of community.

Ultimately, whatever our leaders political aspirations for the country are, the truth is too, that there is generally a lot of money in the stakes. So why should Kenyans then too speak with their own pockets. Buy based on principles, thereby effecting influence, where it is most likely to cause attention.

I have only two issues with the #Resist movement;

  1. Don’t ask us to boycott Safaricom. We are Safaricom. Just remove it from the list.
  2. It should have happened months sooner.

I am happy the #Resist movement is here. I hope it is the dawn of bloodless politics.

 

 

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Baba

You stand above the mantle Baba,

And any description of you

Can not evade the word smart.

Each Guka and Cucu has placed you there,

You were very handsome Baba.

Even those of us who never met you ,

Remember you.

We have evidence.

There is evidence,

in a time when photographs and uniforms were privilege.

Baba, i see pride in your eyes,

I see surity, that you saw

What you were doing was right.

And I hear stories, of how

You went too soon.

But thats all we descuss of it.
Ive read the history books Baba,

The ones that say that the men who wore uniforms like yours were bad Baba.

They say they took the side of the oppressors.

They call them home guard.
I heard whispers of depression once,

And wondered how could you not be.

When you discovered that progress and literacy would come by any means possible,

That your side, brought a tide of atrocities,

When you caught wind of butchered babies.

Of bottles or human chains…

If you heard screams.
You may already know Baba,

Myto looked after the family.

Watoto wote wali soma,

Maybe thats why I write to you in English.

She is still here, we give thanks,

And she still remembers how handsome you were.

She remembers you with a full smile, and she gave us all her strong teeth.
You stand above the mantle, Baba,

and any description of you can not evade the word smart.

Each Guka and Cucu has placed you there.

You were very handsom Baba,

Even those of us who never met you,

Remember you.

On Dyslexia

I am not proudly dyslexic 

  I am openly dyslexic.
ie. I would like to share

my flaws, with the purpose of

inspiring, on Instagram/

facebook, photos of my note book.
Let no rule measure Your

creativity, and find it too 

Individual.
That is the Point.
Be free with your manufacturing.

Love Kenya, Just A Little Bit

And for heavens sake,
Don’t Litter.
Unless you want your children,
To raise their children,
In a dustbin.

I don’t mean just throwing
Bottles out your car window.
I mean, become mentally conscious
Of the amount of waste you purchase,
And where the trucks that take it go.

Upper class to middle class Nairobi,
I have news for you.
The next time the thought crosses your mind that
Kibera looks like a dump site,
Yes,
It’s quite probably yours.
All our waste is in the same place
And the people there excel
In any case,
Can you not see what Treasure
That indicates,
Our wealth is The Kenya People.

But Nairobi culture dictates,
That the thing to do
Is take and take
So, instead of moving forward,
We stagnate.
Just jams caused by drivers who,
Undertake.

The moment you grab land,
You buy a plot for your destenants unmarked graves.
And i not mean just throwing ethnically insulting jokes on memes
I mean, become mentally conscious of the amount of hate you dissipate
And what could be achieved if kindness took it’s place .

And for heavens sake.
Don’t litter!
Unless you want your children
To raise their children in a dustbin .

Whats happening with Meena?

Friends and colleagues have asked me what is going on with Meena. The short answer is that ‘it’s complicated’. So decided to give you the play by-play.

All I aim to do is present common knowledge and information from documents in the public domain. It would be irresponsible to interfere with an ongoing court case, so I wouldn’t want to do that.

Grapevine Time Line,

Amina Shiraz Yakub, is the CEO of Very Impawtant Pets Spa. The company deals with pet grooming, boarding services and offers the KSPCA periodic assistance with its pet services.

In the dog world, during the months of March to May 2015, her friends and colleagues sent up prayers for her husbands full recovery. He was sick, in and out of ICU, and even had to go South Africa for further treatment. She was missed at dog events during those times, when she could only appear briefly before returning to tend to him.

During the week of the 26th July 2015, he was due to return to South Africa for follow up treatment, but Jimmy Jagathrum Baburam sadly passed away. He left behind his wife, Amina, three children aged 10, 4 and 2 at the time, his father and three brothers. He had drowned due to an epileptic seizure whilst swimming.

Legal Timeline

  • 26th July 2015, Jimmy Jagathrum Baburam passed away while on holiday at Medina Palms Hotel.
  • 27th July 2015 autopsy was conducted and official death certificate issued.
  • 26th of April 2016, nine months later, Meena received an official summons to Malindi Court for a Murder Inquest that was to determine whether or not there was reason to conduct a murder investigation.
  • 18th May, the Murder Inquest had its first mention at Malindi Law Courts and was postponed.
  • 15th July the inquest had a mention and the next date set was 30th September.
  • 30th September there was a mention next date postponed to the 14th
  • The inquest has not followed up after the 30th of September, 2016.

Detainment Timeline

Week 1.

Amina was arrested on the 9th of October 2016, at Moi international airport, on her way back to Nairobi from Mombasa, after a weekend trip. {In custody at Malindi police station}.

Judge wasn’t sitting on the 10th . . {In custody at Malindi police station}.

The state requested to do a mental assessment on whether or not she was fit to face trail on the 11th October. The request was accepted. {In custody at Malindi police station}.

Mental assessment done in Mombasa, on the 12th . {Assesment conducted at Coast Province General Hospital, after which she was returned to custody at Malindi Police Station.}

13th she was arraigned in court to be formally charged with the murder of her late husband.

Upon hearing the defence and prosecutions arguments for her release on bail, the judge slated a date of the bail hearing for the 26th of October, 2 weeks later, during which time she was remanded.

She spent the 14th to 16th of October in Mtaangani Prison, Womens Quarters.

Week 2.

Began and ended in Remand at Mtaangani Prison, Womens Quarters.

Week 3.

23rd to 26th October, she was still remanded in Mtaangani Prison, Womens Quarters.

During the ruling of the 26th of October 2016, the ruling orders terms are as follows:

(i)      The accused to deposit her passport in court and should not leave the court’s jurisdiction without permission.

(ii)     The accused shall be released on a bond of Kenya Shillings Ten Million (Kshs.10,000,000) with two Kenyan sureties of similar amount.  No log book or books should be used as security document.

(iii) The accused to report to the OCS Gigiri Police Station, Nairobi once every week with effect from 1st November, 2016 until the finalisation of this case.

(iv)    This case shall be mentioned once every month and the accused to attend all mentions.[1]

Concurrently she was the DPP preffered other charges against her. Namely; Conspiracy To Defeat Justice.

28th her aunt offered up her property, and the prosecution requested one week to verify her passport. This bond application was rejected because her aunt is a holder of an American passport, and the prosecution told that verification can be done in two or three days. The next date was set for the 3rd of November.

Week 4.

This week began in Mtaangani Prison, Womens Quarters.

3rd November her grandmother offered up their Nairobi family home as bond with the relevant documents and she had 3 Kenyan sureties.  She was released on bond on the same day, thanks to diligent lawyers paperwork processing.

My Opinion

In the years I have known Meena, she has shown herself to be a person who has exceptional levels of empathy and value for life. The idea that she would kill or hurt anyone is preposterous to me, and to many of the friends and colleagues I have spoken to. She is the last person to stand by the waste of a life.

All round, we sent many prayers for her release on bond, as her three children are intimately attached to her and were asking for her every day.

As I attended court and tried to understand the legal jargon involved, I have come across the heart breaking realisation that there are so many stuck in the legal system with no hope of being offered their own human rights. I am very grateful for the time that was taken to explain to me what is going on in legal terms, as to me, legal jargon is just like another language.

It is, in this country, very possible to get stuck in jail for a crime one has not even sat trial for. Few people can afford legal counsel and even fewer have any idea what their rights even are. The courts primary occupation seems to me to be to aprove the postponements of justice.

When I visited Meena in remand, the wardens addressed her as ‘Teacher Amina’. I had to ask why, and the answer was that she spent her mornings there teaching the infants in the prison the alphabet and names of colours in English and Kiswahili. The day after her release, she insisted on returning with food supplies, sweets and nappies to the prison. In truth, I can’t exaust how heart breaking her circumstance is to me. Especially as it is not outside the rhelm of possibility that she may go to jail for something she did not do.

For these reasons, I can only pray that her trail is free and fair as possible.

 

 

[1] http://kenyalaw.org/caselaw/cases/view/127213/

http://kenyalaw.org/caselaw/cases/view/127213/

Pre Performance Hat Tricks for solo performances.

When you are performing on stage, on your own, rehearsing over and over can sometimes lead to a monotone. Unlike performance dialogue, you have no one on stage with you to bounce off. That can leave you at the mercy of your own idiosyncrasies.
The following guidelines and tricks are some of what I use to escape my idiosyncrasies, hope they are useful to you too.

Performance should reflect your intentions.
(Let’s call it performer’s intent). First we will cover some vital questions to help you shape your intent.

Who are you?
Who you are may be a protagonist. But, it’s important to define who that is if that’s the case. Define your character with a purpose, or defining attribute not name and or age.

Who are you talking to?
Identify and specify an intended audience. What language do they speak. Where and how do the live? You will address a five year old different than you would address a 45 year old policeman, so your intonations should reflect who you are talking to. Once you define who you are talking to, you can look for commonalities and differences between you and your intended audience.

What are you trying to say?
What is your intended message? How do you want people to feel? (devastated, elated? etc) The purpose of the content, should come through in the delivery.

All of the above questions would ideally have different answers from each person. That individuality is what a performer can draw from, to create an authentic, unique performance.

With the above ideas in mind, the following little tricks can help expand your versatility. You can apply the above questions to an entire performance set, and also to each line.

Like any tool, they only work if you work them. Choose tools as you need them based on the answers to the initial question.

Hat Tricks

For the below hat tricks, you can use the sentences in italics to experiment with the tool that’s being discussed.

Pace Control
Exercise your speed. Recognizing when to go fast, when to pause, and when to go slow can be powerful.
Saying something very slowly can be powerful.
Use it wisely.

Maintaining the fluid ability to change pace at will, is only achievable when you can also go as fast as you want too.
Say things in fast forward. As fast as you can, while only missing syllables that are permissibly missed in the dialect or accent you intend to speak in.

Emotional expression
-Intonation;
Pitch variations
I can deep down my voice, but my exercise for high pitch is an excerpt from Under the sea, From The Little Mermaid.

Under the sea,
Under the sea,
Baby its better, down where it’s wetter,
Take it from me.

I prefer to attempt it in the shower, at times that there’s no unfortunate casualties in hearing shot. Bear in mind that the more you can brave embarrassing yourself, in front of yourself, the less scary it is to stand in front of people, so push yourself out of your comfort zones during rehearsals.

-Body language
Look at your full body in the mirror and attempt different postures. Put yourself kneeling down, begging, or stand as a king would over imaginary subjects. Body language can be spit into a few smaller bits that combine to form your overall body language. Posture, Arm movements and Footwork

-Posture
Look at the physical postures people around you have, extend your posture out of your comfort zone while rehearsing. Get comfortable in postures that are not natural to you, and increase your on stage flexibility.

-Arm Movements
Be conscious, when the stage is yours, that it is yours. When you rehearse, compare wide extended, owning hands to arms folded across your chest. How high up on your body do your arms go, are you intimidating, or embracing your audience?
Are you cowering away from them?

-Footwork

Where are you going? Where does it look like you are going? This can be anything from military still, to Dancing in between. Even moderate movement can signify a place and or time has been crossed.

-Facial variations

Even when addressing downcast content, the variation in one piece can accentuate a particular emotion. When you are describing sadness, it often involves the loss of something. Describing the thing that is lost, helps your audience understand and feel the loss themselves. In this case , meet variation in content with variation of facial expression. I suggest sitting in front of a mirror, and looking back on past experiences,(eyes closed at first if you’re shy, then when you feel something, you weren’t feeling before, open them). Take a look at your palette of expressions and don’t be afraid to use them when you think they could be appropriate. I would advise against forcing smiles, unless you are meant to be doing a forced smile. Your audience can feel your emotions, so the best way to vary your facial expressions, is to call apon the feelings that inspire those expressions, not to change your face alone.

-Vocal variations
Consider volume, but for the most part reference the different ways that people have made you feel when they have spoken to you. Try out those ways. When you rehearse, reference the people around you. Mimic if you can. Mimicking can be complement as well as insult. When you are just starting out, shout during some of your rehearsals, get comfortable with hearing your voice loud, that way you wont communicate embarrassment when you are trying to impersonate a dictator.

Clarity and Audibility
Try out differing spaces when you rehearse, bigger rooms spread sound out more, differently shaped rooms spread things around differently. You may need to face more than one direction to project to a whole room, in the case of sound equipment, do a sound check, whenever it’s possible. Mic control does well with practice, so grab any appropriate times to test out different mics, and different ways of holding your microphone. Beware of Ps, Bs and Ts, try to angle your microphones in such away as not to push air directly into it when you say them, or they will cause feedback.

-Enunciation
Pronounce words in the way that you want them pronounced, if you practice different pronunciations, you increase your versatility. Who your audience is, and who your character is will have great bearing on what kind of pronunciations you use.

Overall, try to sound, look and feel how you would like to be understood, use variations in pronunciation and accentuation that take you closest mentally to the places you are trying to take your audience.

Which brings us to the last bit:

Audience Interactions

All of your audience interactions will give you an idea of your performances effect on them. Compare that to your initial intentions of what you want to say. Remember this: No one audience can define your worth as an artist. People differ, so if you don’t get the reaction you wanted, you can try changing a thing or two, but don’t take it to heart to the extent that it stops you from performing. The entire process is trail and error, use their reactions as a feedback tool, not for your own gratification.

-Eye contact
Look at people when you can, before, after, during a performance, they will express different reactions to you, and that is your truest feedback.

-Listening
Try to understand different types of audible audience feedback, volumes and timings of applause, the difference between a tension laugh and a mirthful one. How are they sitting? Are they moving around in their chairs, or are the dead still. Keep your ears open to their feedback.

-Prompting Feedback
Call outs, chants, and questions can be a way to hear back from your audience to guage their mood. Every way that you can receive feedback will tell you how your initial intention was received.

NB. I’ve seen a performer do this before, so please don’t make this mistake: DO NOT ask or demand for a standing ovation. Speaking as an audience member, it is extremely off putting. Standing ovations are a spontaneous voluntary compliment and should never be demanded.

Keep your process flexible

Sometimes a different and better outcome can come out at the end of the process, but putting the time into it can help you refine, what to change your mind about. Bear the first questions in mind when you record your rehearsals for review, and when you have the opportunity to have someone to practice for, ask them how your presentation made them feel.