Two Years of Baraza 

It’s been two years already since we launched Baraza Media Lab! That December in 2019, it felt like both the culmination of many months of planning – at that point, Baraza had been an active work in progress for more than 18 months – and the start of a daunting task. We had high expectations to fulfill and we were excited to begin the work.

In hindsight, it turns out we were at the cusp of our whole world being turned upside down. The Covid-19 pandemic hit just three months after the fanfare of the launch, just as we were starting to find our footing and gain momentum. Disorienting doesn’t begin to describe it – we quickly had to close the space and go virtual, and find a way to be relevant and helpful to our members and community amid the deluge of remote work and Zoom webinars.

Thankfully, we got ourselves together and have been able to do a lot in the past two years – from sharing knowledge through our events, supporting media practitioners and creatives through our programs and fellowships, retrofitting one of our meeting rooms into a podcasting studio that we run in partnership with our friends SemaBOX, and so much more.

The work is nowhere near done – in the coming year, we want to put together initiatives that speak even more directly to the experimental nature of the Lab, exploring some “crazy ideas” that can only be described as moonshots. I’m pretty sure we’ll fail at some of them, but my joy is going to be in that we were not afraid to try, to explore, and see what would happen.

We are grateful for all the friends we’ve made, all the partners who’ve supported us along the way, and the ones that trusted us on this journey. As we bring 2021 to a close and prepare to usher in the new year, we are filled with hope and optimism for all that 2022 has in store for us and look forward to another year of all that you love about Baraza.

In the meantime, here’s:

  • What We’re Reading:  A little late to the party, but I’m reading The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste, a novel set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia and casting the light on an unlikely fighting force – the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record.
  • What We’re Watching: Again, this one is not exactly new, but for some reason I find myself rewatching the strange and mystifying Love, Death + Robots. Terrifying creatures, wicked surprises and dark comedy converge in this NSFW anthology of animated stories for adults.
  • What We’re Listening To: We wouldn’t really be in the festive season without a festive soundtrack to get us all in the holiday mood, and one of our favorite playlists is Christmas with Kaz and Sage. These are re-imagined Christmas carols by the heavenly sounding duo of Sage Chemutai and Karen Lucas – Kaz. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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