Showing posts from January, 2009

Every Woman Needs A Good Wife - Part I

It's time for me to stop being tentative about this. I'm in a heady state of mind, perhaps as a result of the drugs my Ear Nose and Throat specialist prescribed for my bacterial tonsillitis . When this illness began on Monday night and I faced the painfully intimidating minute-by-minute task of trying to swallow, I found a new appreciation for the simple things in life. I need a good wife. It's that simple. I mentioned to my husband, who is a great provider, a wonderful caregiver like most out there, and has been bringing breakfast, lunch and dinner trays to me in bed; that if I can participate in selecting the lucky young lady (as I am sure we will have a few candidates waiting in line) and I retain the Head Wife status, in charge of the Common Pot, then all is fair in love, and all in love is fair. Gauging from the big bright smile on his face, I imagine that unlike me, he has one thing on his mind, whereas I have several including: picking up dry-cleaning, house-cleani

Beyond The Ashes

I met Todd from Santa Fe today. We were introduced by just another young poet walking the broken road to freedom . I invite you to follow the links to each of their spaces. The Peace Tile above is one of Todd's creations and his creative medium of finding peace through pottery resonates deeply with me; a soothing balm for my wounded soul as I slowly summon the courage to revisit memories of our kiln, destroyed in a ferocious fire that consumed the gallery where I grew up... I can look at the lone surviving figure above. A small but monumental sculpture bearing the personification of life force beyond the anguish, a gateway to the history of Africa where slash and burn agriculture cultivates seeds of creativity which, when practiced purposefully breaks the boundaries as we reach the unseen, a more compelling future. Mama Shujaa. Copyright © Hana Njau-Okolo 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Pole Pole Tutafika

When Baba na Mama founded Kibo Art Gallery on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Moshi, Tanzania in 1963, they called it their African Mango Tree, their mascot was the African tortoise. "It is like a mango tree; too slow in growth to compete with emphemeral fashions of the art world; but with roots too deep in the soil to be uprooted by any shallow wind of civilisation. Its roots sink deep into the earth to reach out for the bones of our ancestry and the sap that is our heritage from God. Its trunk powerful and round like true communal life in unity and harmony. Its branches open up into a generosity of leaves, flowers and colourful fruits to feed the world and inspire humanity with spiritual health, joy, love, peace and humility in eternal wonder." I share this with you today on the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. Barack Obama, Whose face glows with love and compassion like the sun of Africa. Who brings with him the fertilit

Too Raw?

As a child I often wished I could climb the Ma u Mau Freedo m Fighter behind our home. If Samwel Wanjau had carved a flight of steps up the back of a leg, I would have ascended the twelve feet to the fierce dreadlocks, and settled a few scores. " I'm the king of the castle, You're the dirty rascal. I'm the king of the castle, Get down, you dirty rascal !" The taunt, directed at my older brother, would have penetrated the canopy of eucalyptus trees and instilled the fear of god into the bullies of Ridgeways Estate. Instead, I climbed the Jacaranda tree in front of the house and daydreamed amidst clusters of fragrant, purple, trumpet-shaped blooms... If Wanjau had carved an aesthetically "palatable" symbol of Kenya's fight for independence, as he was commissioned, the Mau Mau Freedom Fighter would be standing in front of the Kenya Parliament building today, celebrating forty-five years of independence from British colonial rule. Instead, Wanjau conv

My Canvas

Stretched over decades and oceans is the canvas of my life, too long away from the polite, humble Africa; its music, its street life, its vast empty fields, its thick forests, and mkokotenis [rickshaws] delaying cars on the road. My heart's longing thrives on the call and response of songs; carrying me decades, across oceans, and then it all seems like just yesterday. Where are those Songs Where are those Songs my mother and yours always sang fitting rhythms to the whole vast span of life? Sing daughter sing around you are uncountable tunes some sung others unsung sing them to your rhythms observe listen absorb soak yourself bathe in the stream of life and then sing sing simple songs for the people for all to hear and learn and sing with you. From Where are those Songs ( Daughter of My People Sing! 1972) by Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo , Ph .D. A former student of my mother, to this day Dr. Mugo calls her Mwalimu [teacher]. Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo , Meredith Professor for Teaching Excelle

The Antelope Rising

Salaams of the New Year! As we bear witness to the creative hopes, challenges and joys of the New Year, I am thankful for the generosity of spirit I have encountered here, a dynamic meeting point of diverse minds and collective voices. A place where we find inspiration, we string together ideas and comments as we dedicate ourselves to a wholesome new way of tackling maisha [life]. Suffice it to say that this apprentice blogger is hooked. And as the year begins, I am consciously aware of the source of my inspiration, my Utu, an intangible source of strength. I grew up in an art gallery in Nairobi , Kenya . My trailblazing parents founded Paa Ya Paa Art Gallery in 1965, just two years after Kenya ’s independence from British colonial rule. The rest of their graduating class became doctors, veterinarians, politicians, you know, the usual safe occupations. Today, Paa Ya Paa is Kenya ’s oldest African-owned art gallery and holds a unique place in the preservation and promotion of a