Amani Kibera: Simple wisdom wins our smileAmani Kibera (AK) is working for peace in a slum area. The library has become a movement for peace. Artists united against tribalism is a great project of AK.
|We love to drive in peace. Always room for all, Ubuntu!|
In a non-conventional format, I intersperse my interview questions in my feature on Amani Kibera. I spoke to BO who manages Amani Kibera. I am PI. I use narrator to continue commentary. This is experimental mixing. And I do not hide that am partisan in loving peace and freedom.
|Amani Kibera serves democracy to Kenyans for Kenya|
Political personalities hog the banner headlines in Kenyan newspapers almost every day. The people make themselves felt, seen and heard in many ways. Out of Kibera slums in Nairobi a huge spirit of peace and victory may well fill Kenya, our beloved nation this new election on 4 March 2013.
PI: Who are you BO? I know you are a volunteer for Amani Kibera but what else do you do for a living?
Social media, banners of old, text messaging for mobilising and simple village greetings. Often simple is best. AK may look small their style compared to the big lavish styles of the politician, but in African folklore it is often a small animal that outsmarts the big ones. Kenyans must win peace now and on March 4, 2013. We cannot harvest violence as politicians triumph in their ways. And all peace is related, therefore the issues of Somali refugees being sent away to the North camp, Dadaab must be resolved. Somalis are Kenyans were it not for the borders Europe made in Africa. The issue of Al Shabaab needs a better approach. The Kenyan social fabric is fragile and we do not need bombs and grenades anywhere. We must find a peaceful way out.
|Artists united against tribalism|
How do you feel AK reaches Kenyans with regard to our daily problems of bread, education, health and tribalism?
I am sure it is the small efforts that people have made to connect after the violence we experienced in politics that will hold Kenya together. It was people who saw how hard it is to organise peace during violent times that are more prepared to work even harder for peace. For in this case too prevention is much better than a cure. See how they long for peace. African culture is one of peace in many places.
Recently at Chief Albert Luthuli´s home, which is a museum, I listened to an ancestor (on audio tape) speaking peace for Africa. he said in his Nobel Peace Prize speech:
"This is an honor not only for South Africa but for the whole of the continent of Africa, this continent, Mother Africa! To all its people, whatever their race, colour or creed might be...It is an honour for the peace-loving people of the entire world and an encouragement for us all to redouble our efforts in this struggle for peace and friendship."
|I am peace!|
We need to listen to other things beyond political rhetoric and of course to VOTE! That must be our little task even though some of us abroad have been sidelined. There is no political will for that. But we must find more voices for strong and effective culture and talk about them more, fearlessly.
Our culture. Ubuntu. Utu. are based on the effect persons have on persons when we are open to one another. This is ironically Africa´s gift. You do not find it all over. We must make it ours.
I was reading somewhere that Africa must hold this that peace will be ours if we listen to our soul. An article by Robin- Edward Poulton and Djely Karifa Samoura elaborates on that. The two remind us that African ways of peacemaking are appropriate for all including Muslims and Christians. Yes, I , know Mali is threatened by rebels too. The people working for peace must not cease to organise. People against peace are fewer than those for it but they work in overdrive whilst we sit back. Amani Kibera is awake.
Amani Kibera told me that at the time they organised more than
10 000 peace ambassadors. For now, no big politician can boast of having done that. Most people feel and fear the opposite has happened. In any case even those indicted for the last atrocious violence are still thumping their chests about leading Kenya. None of them have prayed the people for forgiveness. Not one.
In October 2007, the lesson was learned by Amani Kibera and others. Amani Kibera will not sit on her laurels. Discussions on democracy, leadership courses, sports and entertainment has been taking place, all with the aim or reiterating how important it will be for Kenyan not to be divided by politicians.
Amani Kibera is among the beautiful ones in action. Amani Kibera, which means Peace Kibera, has been strategically working for peace.
Going back to our culture. In our stories, the hare beats the big elephants, the Big Five if you wish at everything - and just an aside, I remember one hilarious woman who told us in Zimbabwe never to forget we have the Big Sixth- the politician who almost scares the lion, the rhino, the hippo, the leopard and the Buffalo back in their lairs becoming the Greedy Sixth. They often use the law against us, the people. But now Kenya has a new constitution since 2010 August. The people gave it unto themselves! And a new Chief Justice, a better judiciary. Dr. Willy Mutunga, the Chief Justice visits slums sometimes.
PI:What kind of people do police arrest in Kibera and who are considered to be dangerous?
What has been happening at AK? In the last five years, many people have been reading in the library after school. I had a Skype conference with Amani Kibera in 2011 when more than 60 youth sat doing their school homework.
To appreciate a library completely in a slum area, one has to understand that when people live in shacks, doing homework is a hard. There is no space often. There is no table. There is little light and no silence for the rest in the house must do their other business. There is even more noise from outside the shack. The library I sat in for the Skype conference in was a have of peace in comparison. But now the elections in Kenya are nigh and Amani Kibera has been spilling with action. There has been many activities there and most of them posted on this Facebook page.
|Where we live, our shadows touch, our clothes touch, we are so close we cannot afford a fire of violence or any other. We are one.|
PI:Are there religious differences on the ground? Which are expressed negatively?
PI:Is tribalism visible at other levels of our society or only politically?
BO:Generally there is negative ethnic based stereo typing within the society that politicians take advantage of especially during political campaigns to gain political mileage. After the post election violence, it is clear that most people would not like to invest in what they call passive as “home”. Most people feel comfortable investing or even living in places where they have many people from the same ethnic groups as themselves.
So cry, my beloved our country. But we hope to win peace still. What have the politicians done to help heal Kenya? Healing was not among the subjects touched by the presidential speech on 12 December a day on which in celebrating Kenyans independence which was won in 1963 many listen to the presidential speech. Neither was HIV/Aids for that matter nor the nurses on the latest strike were mentioned despite the fact that World Aids Day falls a some days before. Nurses were on strike. Doctors have been on strike several times in recent years. So have teachers. The questions rage. Is Kenya healing or has Kenya healed? If we are still healing, what is the quality of our healing? Who is doing what for justice and peace in Kenya? Who is working for future generations?