BARUA YA BARAZA: Years that Answer , Editor at Code for Africa , and YALI Festival

“There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston

If you have been in Kenya in the past three weeks, or even following events from afar, you must feel like you’ve lived years in that short time. So much has been said about the protests led by young people in the country, a movement that is achieving things some of us have dreamt for years. Not only was the Finance Bill 2024 dropped, but there’s been a bigger call for accountable leadership and an end to political impunity and arrogance. 

I’ve celebrated all the small and big acts of resistance that have emerged over the past few weeks – including the beautiful chaos of Friday 5th July when Kenyans held several parallel Twitter* spaces at the same time that State House was doing the same (One of those parallel spaces was titled “Vibes and Inshallah: Open Mic: Maandamano Chronicles”, another one was hilariously titled “What the hell is going on”.)

Another example is what I’ve been calling #socialjail: deplatforming and denying politicians our attention and the social status they so crave. Now, many of them are not being allowed to speak at funerals and other social gatherings, the sirens of the fuel-guzzling SUVs that drive us off the road have gone noticeably quiet. At the time I’m writing this, thousands of people are gathered at a memorial concert in Uhuru Park, Nairobi’s best-known public park and ground zero for so many important moments in this country’s history.

I can’t quite chronicle everything that has been inspiring, impressive and infuriating about the past few weeks, otherwise this newsletter would be too long to read. Suffice it to say, that we’re living in the prophetic words of Langston Hughes in his short but powerful poem, “Harlem” (for today, replace with “Kenya”):

What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up

      like a raisin in the sun?

      Or fester like a sore—

      And then run?

      Does it stink like rotten meat?

      Or crust and sugar over—

      like a syrupy sweet?

      Maybe it just sags

      like a heavy load.

      Or does it explode?

It has always struck me that in the original rendering of this poem, the last line is always in italics.

In the meantime, here’s:

  • What I’m Reading: The IMF’s Policies are Destroying Kenya, Again, published in Jacobin Magazine. Read this to understand the bigger forces of global finance that have fuelled the current dual crisis of soaring living costs and mounting debt in Kenya.
  • What I’m Watching: Sons of Fortune | The Story of YK92 by Kenyan Historian (former NTV journalist Enock Sikolia). Another deep dive to understand the current crop of Kenyan politicians. 
  • What I’m Listening to: Speak Life” by Damian Jr. Gong Marley. We need to speak life in this moment. I’m also listening to a song that haunts me ever so often, Joka by Eric Wainaina.

(* sorry, I just can’t call Twitter ‘X’)

Christine Mungai
Curator | Baraza Media Lab

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Rafinki Open Mic

Unleash your voice during this special open mic poetry session in honour of World Refugee Day. This evening will be dedicated to amplifying the voices of refugees and the impact of global politics on their lives. Poet K2 will grace the stage, followed by an open mic for poets, musicians, storytellers, and anyone who wants to share their thoughts and experiences. Let’s mourn the struggles, celebrate resilience, and use poetry as a call to action for a better future.

Date: 10th July 2024
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Kids Book Club

Join us for another edition of the Kids Lit Club, featuring writer and Advocate of the High Court, Hadelite Kwamboka.

Hadelite’s passion for storytelling was ignited by the captivating tales passed down by her elders, sparking a lifelong love for African culture. As both an advocate and an author, her mission is to bridge cultural divides and inspire empathy, tolerance, and appreciation for diversity in young minds around the world. The morning will also be filled with fun activities and interactive games designed to spark the kids’ imaginations and deepen their understanding of the stories.

Date: 13th July 2024
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THE BARAZA JOB BOARD
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Senior Copy Editor at Code for Africa

Code for Africa (CfA) has an immediate remote vacancy for a Senior Copy Editor to join their Knowledge team to support initiatives across the continent. The ideal candidate will be highly proficient in English and have extensive experience working with a range of content from training presentations and marketing materials to grant proposals and donor reports.

Deadline: 12th July 2024
For more information, click here.

Click here to view opportunities.

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YALI Festival
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is the United States’ signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The festival aims to showcase the achievements and aspirations of the YALI network, foster connections and collaborations among its members, and inspire the next generation of African leaders.

Date: 24th July 2024
For more information, click here.


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