Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bantu Mwaura's first anniversary, I celebrate his poem The Cactus

I would like to remember Bantu Mwaura with a poem that tells of his strength as a person and thinker. A poem which in hard times inspires me.

Cactus

Sand
Water-less, and
Dry, drrry
Dust
That's the environ

But even then, green
Albeit the sandy dirty green,
Thorny and brutal
Because of the brutal surround
Yet
Fleshy and juicy
Amidst the brutal dry dust

What will!
What power!
What strength!

That will to be
against non- existence
The power to live
amidst death
The strength to grow
against all odds
To strength
amidst all weakness

The cactus
Defies
The social laws.

Bantu Mwaura





Bantu Mwaura will always be remembered in Kenya and beyond for his good work. I will remember him as one who was a sentinel on duty for a people through his pen. May he be in peace. We will live in hope inspite of the pain of his early departure. Shailja Patel, a poet and author of Migritude is spot on with a memorial to be held on 8th May at the Kenya National Theatre.

She posted the appeal below for we must see Makeba and Mekatilili, Bantu's children continue to live the life they lived when their father was alive. Bantu Mwaura left us on 27th April 2009 in comforting Susan and the young family he left behind, we are in solidarity with a great colleague gone beyond the borders of breathing.


Dear Friends,

There will be a first anniversary memorial celebration for Bantu Mwaura at the Wasanii Restaurant (Kenya National Theater) on Saturday 8th May from 2:00-6:30pm. An exhibition will also take during the event. If you would like to present anything during this event kindly let me know and I will pass the information to the organizing committee.

Thank you. Your presence will be highly appreciated. (Kindly invite additional people not included in this listing)

Warm Regards,
Susan Bantu
sbantu@brookhouse.ac.ke
Psychology Teacher; School Counselor and Roundsquare Rep.
Brookhouse International School.
________________________________________

Bantu Mwaura Children Fund
Bantu's family and friends have now set up an education fund for his daughters: Makeba, aged eight, and six-year-old MeKatilili. Bantu was passionate about learning, as a scholar and teacher. This fund is a way to support his children on their educational journey, and honor the memory and legacy of our friend.

This account will be drawn only thrice a year, exclusively to pay for the children’s school fees. Please circulate this information to others who knew and valued Bantu.

Checks, transfers or deposits should be directed to:

Account Name: THE BANTU MWAURA C. E. FUND
Account number: 0151306093400
Bank: Standard Chartered Bank, Moi Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya

For quick assistance at the bank ask for:

Mr. Kinyanjui Kombani (The Business Financial Consultant- Standard Chartered Bank)
Email: Joseph.Kombani@standardchartered.com

Contributions can also be sent via Western Union, PostaPay or Mpesa to:

Mrs. Susan K. Bantu
Cell: + 254 720 318 984
Collection point: Nairobi-Kenya

Any questions can be send to:

bantumwauraeducationfund@yahoo.com

or

Mrs. Susan K. Bantu
Cell: +254 720 318 984)
Email: wanbantu@gmail.com


Bantu Mwaura

Cactus

Sand
Water-less, and
Dry, drrry
Dust
That's the environ

But even then, green
Albeit the sandy dirty green,
Thorny and brutal
Because of the brutal surround
Yet
Fleshy and juicy
Amidst the brutal dry dust

What will!
What power!
What strength!

That will to be
against non- existence
The power to live
amidst death
The strength to grow
against all odds
To strength
amidst all weakness

The cactus
Defies
The social laws.

Bantu Mwaura

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Am What did you think? I am so proud am Afrrican!! Watched Good Hair movie?





In my village if you suddenly said you were proud of, in this case it might be about, something, people asked you who asked you? Well, I am not in my village right now and if they did, by the way now they would not cos they wait to hear what I say since am supposed to know, but now the strange thing is that the world might ask the same question!

I actually thought that saying one is proud of race and color and hair was old ... like you know.. James Brown.. Am black and proud.. but eeh? As again they would say at home, eeeh? or iiiii, is it?

Travelling and living in western capitals major ones and also villages in this part of the world.. you re-learn that people have never got too settled with black skins. I am so happy to be in mine.. I do not know if am more African than my caucasian friend Kari but I know from children I have met here and from my own experiences in the west that race/color issues have not come down by degrees ... sad but isn't it true? Well, am not sad! I am so proud and always so happy just to be, that I even envy myself at times! And I love the babies and children who almost always want to jump out of their prams to check if they saw right and am ever surprised by the parents who can never tell why their 3, 4 year old is insisting on lagging behind and they pull them up. I think this rule of do not stare has killed our natural tendencies.. Welcome to Africa! In some rural parts the kids will just run after you and sing.. sometimes they will say mzungu.. not hiding what they have seen.. and you will just have to love it if you want to stay sane ( like my friend) because no one will stop them and they will be many! Natural wonder.

Today am very happy I found this blog.. on an Easter morning.. talk about resurrections! I have always wondered about my African hair! I sing to it cos I love it!

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/dreadlocks-how-to-maintain.html


I have just been getting crazy thinking what we got into with chemicals in our hair and not loving our natural skin ( mine is by the way just in case.. ) and hair. I was so proud to sit and watch Good Hair in Innvik, Oslo during Africa Cinema week just before Easter 2010!! I was so happy that I have been a natural hair girl for so long and only had a crazy interlude which is over.. .when chemicals knocked on all our doors.. But I remember always the frustration of Rose my hairfriend in her hair salon in Westlands! I would get all done and she would be combing every single hair smooth and then I would jump and ask her.. is there anything you can do to make it rough!! to make it "kinky looky even if silki!?". She would eye me troubled.. locks were not common, I was supposed to be trendy...in a posh embassy office! Then I got my last quarter of hair in the nape.. dreadedd.. and in Central Province when some women discovered it as I went about doing some social work, they asked me if I am Mungiki as did police in Nairobi last year.. now that I have a full head of locks seemed to think!

And before that Rosie as we used to call her, had coped with doing my hair by washing it and then plaiting it immediately.. even when it had chemicals and undoing it after drying it to give me a wild and kinky look... and it had worked for sometime!! And then, after 2007 elections with the violence.. I cut off my long hair.. all of it!! and now feeling so happy that campaigns and social work where dress mattered like that.. and not in an office.. i could lock my hair.. I did that! Someone did it for me.. I could not wait for the first growth to lock it! My hair is soft and I had a hard time locking it and am so happy to know that unlike people believe.. it can be so clean and healthy.

I now wash and style my hair on my own.. cannot believe it.. but this is what made me so happy when I watched Good Hair and sat there seeing the tortured heads of our sisters and brothers.. and human hair! I had never put this extension of human hair on my head!! I simply could not believe the price and the name! And I always asked my friend Rosie why it was called Human Hair? And she always told me it was from horses and etc.. cos something would make me think if it it human hair.. it should be my own..

Ooops.. in Good Hair I get to discover this is...is... human hair and is shorn off women in India!1n the temple.. Oh, no!

But this is hair thing is a big industry.. and it does get to women most! But look if you can have 1 000 dollars on your head.. well, you are free.. but for human hair extension.. you know, it shocks me! The women who give their hair in India get nothing.. it is the men who trade in it mainly in suitcases!! It all gets so terrible for me.. But you may continue wearing your huge hair.. the world haas made us think that is the only way of being. And, yes, I remember my caucasian friend in California also wearing a blonde extension.. it is not a black and white thing but Chris Rock who does the investigation in the movie does not go there! But the lesson is there.. let's at least save kids from havoc on their heads with chemicals.. and let us get them from the beginning to affirm, " MY hair is afro, kinky or whateva.. even locked but i love it!" In Kenya, it is not allowed for kids to go to school in dreadlocks.. but some escape with chemical treatment!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

For so many, we thank Ocampo and ICC for ....



... moving fast to deal with the Kenyan situation because it was shameful that Kenya fell this low through the work of those elected to look after the people. I hope the expressed desire of the ICC to open up the Kenyan case means real thorough work that leaves our nation healed at least by the attempt to give justice!

I was shocked that we fell this low.. and have never recovered from this and like most Kenyans, the post poll violence of 2007 became an ugly reminder of the fact that we have not yet build a nation even if we got independence in 1963!

May this woman who is standing outside a church in which many were burnt alive be heard above! May her cries be a shrill reminder of shame to those "leaders" and local people who did not attend the memorial ceremony including government ministers and MPs a year later at the church because they said they were not invited! They should have been there to hold a burnt nation in their hands as one! And many of us Kenyans can say along with this woman and others who were killed that we too did not invite these calamities to our land!