Teaching Fatuma How To Walk

Last week we held the 14th session of Fatuma’s Voice under a very thunderous theme that got people expressing some very wild thoughts. We are slowly coming of age. The many challenges we are going through make us stronger and wiser. Pawa 254 is an awesome venue for such an event, but we are rapidly running out of space and a larger venue that’s closer to the city centre would do great to all of us, the organizers and the audience. Every big thing has its baby steps anyway.

After an action packed outing last Friday, the ‘African Bull’, Koa, drove me to his home in Fedha estate where I spent my night. It was not the first time this great man was welcoming me to his house. We have been close friends since mid 2012 when he was running Poetry Spot at All Saints Cathedral, the stage on which my humble star rose. This city has a few good men in it. It is hard to earn a man’s trust and attention, and Koa is among the rare gems found in a dusty land where everyone minds their own business. His loud and profound support for Fatuma’s Voice has beaten my comprehension. How he willingly comes with his high-tech cameras just to take photos of performers and attendees, pays for the entrance even when he is on the performers’ list, all that in the name of love and passion, is quite something.

If you met me a year ago, I was just a mere poet who was still struggling to ask for performance slots in the many poetry gigs happening around town. It never occurred to me that someday I’ll be a source of inspiration to many through this talent. I remember El Poet giving me bus fare to attend Slam Africa sometime last year as I worked to find myself a name in Nairobi’s poetry scene. It’s certainly been a wonderful journey.

There were a couple of things I learnt from spending at Koa’s last Friday. He went to sleep at 11pm and left me watching a World Cup Qualifier football match between Uruguay and Ecuador. I softly grabbed his photo album and took a long walk through his early life in still pictures. He seemed to have been a very focused chap throughout his school days. His love for the camera is evidently a long time passion. Having known him for a year or so now, I’ve always been intrigued by the softness of his heart in that huge frame that is his body. And he has taught me that there is never a need to live in fear nor complicate life. That laughter heals you regardless of where you are. I am not however sure if he laughs the same in his corporate meetings, but he surely cooks good food. :-D. 

Well, one of the reasons we began doing Fatuma’s Voice is so that people could get in touch with their hearts and face the realities that are in their lives. As the event grows, I am also growing: meeting people, learning new things about myself, discovering talents and such. It might be hectic running the program during the sessions, but we clearly enjoy ourselves. For me, nothing beats that.

In the long run, we would like to take Fatuma to the whole of Africa. The dream is on. The time is now!

Post Author: Eric Onyango Otieno

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