BOOKS AND BLOGS (#booksnblogs) LAUNCH10:49:00 AM
My text ringtone for the longest time has been Goapele’s Closer to my dream and it goes without saying that every day I get closer to it, I fly high and high and high, yes I feel it in my soul…in the height of my dream I started June on a higher note, I mean look at all the previous posts, I am not glorifying attacks and lame days, I am talking upward forward and it is uber smashing (a round of applause). This post should have been done 5 days ago but I have been swamped, giving birth to a new gig plus thinking of this year’s World Mental Health Day celebrations which we are privileged to be holding in conjunction with World Youth Parliament at UN Grounds, Gigiri, during their week long Youth Conference from Mon 17th – 21st October, more info later in the week, if this isn’t going higher and higher, I do not know what is.
So on 1st June, I launched my new baby; Books and Blogs, #booksnblogs,(yaay to new beginnings, praying for many more babies and success through and through, bottoms up to higher and higher, closer to my dream) a regular reading club gig after months out of the game and it felt so so nice. I admit it wasn’t a smooth face launch, it was an evening of mixed feelings and great confusion mixed with greater relaxation, don’t ask, keep reading. I had the wrong lighting so we had to borrow NTV’s lighting, thank you Mercy Maroma (@mercymaroma) for the patience,hope your boss doesn’t read this blog but that interview was lovely, got me 7 suitors. Besides that things were awesome and I was really excited, my readers were amazing, my aunt graced that first event which meant a lot to me for her to see my work, Zawadi (@zawadin) came with her whole clan and her brother played the sax for us as the event began, thank you for making that first one a success hun, my pals from the hood and from other networks came through and it meant a lot to me to have ‘family’ there, I know, I need to stop being marshy.
Alongside the family, blood and otherwise, the gig was also graced by Footprints Press (@footprintspress) who have done an amazing book on Kenyan women, from Poet Caroline Nderitu, Tazim, Patricia Amira, Amani, Njoki Ndung’u, ok I cannot remember them all but I bet all the amazing women who have done grand stuff are in that book, need to confirm if Nyajiru and Mekatilili are in there, as I campaign for a reprint and have me in there, George do something ;) The retail price is Ksh 5,800 and it is an amazing piece to have in your collection. We say there are no heroines in the land, well read this book and you will have a mind shift. I think we should host it on books and blogs and tag all the wonderful women in it sometime but I need people to read it and help me come up with a list of women we can host.
That’s me being futuristic, back to earth, the book we read at the books and blogs premiere (#booksnblogs) was Zawadi Nyong’o’s(it looks funny to write her name and put all those punctuations) When I dare to be Powerful, Download a copy here. I did the intro,
still dependent, still vulnerable, but nevertheless, a bad woman turned good. But then comes along the other woman - the badwoman; the one who refuses your ‘help’, who just can’t be helped, and although all her clients are the upstanding men in your community, you are sure she is the devil incarnate.
“She doesn’t want to leave sex work?” you ask, shocked, horrified even.
“But, we gave her a sewing kit. Why did she not become a seamstress?”
Is this woman a victim, exploited by predatory patriarchy, or is she a bastion of feminist sexuality, an embodiment in herself of the body politic? Amidst the grandiose debate and the fanfare of controversy, the voices, opinions, narratives, perspectives of women who engage in sex work, in fact the only voices that really matter, have been lost.
“When I Dare to Be Powerful” presents the multiple dimensions of women’s lives. Women who happen to have worked or still work in the sex industry. Women in their complexity, full of personality, experiences, dashed dreams and high hopes. Mothers, sisters, lovers, wives, women with vulnerabilities and women with strength. The book presents the interwoven tapestry of narratives that tell merely a thread of women’s life stories, rejecting the “single story”, telling neither the negative stereotype, nor the politically correct narratives, reinforcing and debunking myths. These stories were told not to make an argument but to share a herstory.
Zawadi read from Mclean’s story, Daughtie (@mistressflirt) who came with her son read from her own story and Capital FM’s Laura Walubengo (@lwalubengo) read from another sex workers story. Then there was a Q & A, from why Zawadi wrote the book, how she met the sex workers, to if Daughtie misses sex work, if she has told her son about her life as a sex worker. After which Zawadi told us about Mtwapa, the city we have to see for ourselves to understand sex work, anyone thinking of joining me on this adventure?
I have a few bookmarks left over from the event, follow me on twitter and ask for one and we will make arrangements to get it to you. The next books and blogs is on June 29th, Crooked Q Rooftop from 7p. I will confirm the book we will be reading from before the end of this week. But mark your diaries, if you were a Poetry at Discovery loyal you know I do not disappoint with guests.
Have a lovely week ahead, get closer to those dreams and if you have none, start dreaming, it doesn’t cost to dream. I am off to rehearsal for my performance at Kwani? Open Mic tomorrow, 7p. If you are in Nairobi, I am the guest poet so come listen to my new piece Ana Ji Nubi, inspired by all the Southern Sudanese in my life, plus some of your all time favorites, A little more, Insecurities and I’d still be your woman.