On the morning of Friday 28th December Ife Piankhi was admitted to hospital in Uganda after a suspected stroke and bleeding on the brain. This is a very serious situation and condition. Hospital services in Uganda are NOT free so Ife and her family will need assistance with meeting those fees to make sure Ife gets the best care possible. The medical costs for Ife in the hospital have been set by the hospital at £12,000. This is an enormous amount of money that the family will not be able to achieve in such a short space of time. Every penny raised will go direct to the family in Uganda. Your generosity will be very much appreciated and blessed. ￼
Last week I ran a two day workshop with 15 women for the Voicing Entebbe project. Initiated by Ugandan artist Christine Ayo (www.christineayo.com) who fundraised to build a monument in rememberance of the 23 women brutally murdered in Entebbe last year. No suspects have been apprehended and its significant has been reduced to political partisan bickering. Christine’s plan was to build a monument in the mayors garden in Entebbe. She’d been talking to the mayor for months via email and he was totally supportive of the initiative. Unfortunately, now it seems the monument needs security clearance in order to go ahead. Even with this decision we decided to go ahead because she had approached me to develop a piece of performance which would accompany the opening of the monument.
I fill my mouth with it. Never mind that I am lactose intolerant and in a few hours my stomach will be gripping and bloated. I will release gases and hope I am not in the company of others. If I am, I will attempt to hold it in or release it without making a sound. Impossible.
Every other person in Kampala has ulcers. It is a national epidemic that is not on the radar of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It’s all HIV, Ebola and now the Zika Virus. We are under attack from new strains of bacteria which are now resistant to treatment because of the antibiotics our doctors prescribe like sweets. One of the unfortunate side effects of antibiotics is that they are not selective in choosing which bacteria to kill. All the good bacterial colonies in the gut die along with the bad. Doctors give you the pills in small envelopes with the name of the tablet (sometimes) and the numbers 1×1 or 3×1 written on them, to determine when and how many of these you should take. There are no instructions other than that. Maybe if the drug is particularly harsh on the stomach they would suggest taking them with food or liquids.
I’m sitting in front of the computer trying to recollect all what I have achieved this year. It’s hard without my notebook. I have such a poor memory sometimes, so I tend to write things down. As a result I have many past notebooks collected in a box which I take out from time to time to reflect on my life’s journey. It’s surprising sometimes to see my aspirations and goals written down and to realize that some of them I have achieved. Others have not yet manifested but that I am on the way. I feel proud of myself. Especially when it seems that Life is just not going to plan. I encourage all of us to write our dreams down because otherwise It’s hard to see how far we have come.
This month I will be a panellist at the Bayimba Music Festival Kampala, invited by the Lantern Meet of Poets a group of young Ugandans who come together to critic and perform each others poetry. I feel honoured to be a sounding board for them as they strive to make poetry more accessible and appreciated.
But I’m frustrated, the discussion will be about the challenges to ones creativity especially when it comes to making a living. I’m talking about getting paid for ones art. It seems that organisers and venues want creativity but don’t want to pay for it, or they pay some artists and not others.
Babylon is all around me
concrete and steel,
right before my eyes.
Babylon is all around me
Confusion, I cannot see.
Extract from Babylon
by Ife Piankhi
I wonder how the freedom fighters; Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney, Toussaint L’Overture, Nanny of the Maroons, Paul Bogle, Yaa Asantewa, Nyabingi felt, when they realized they had to break the law in order to liberate their people?
We’re taught to be obedient. It’s a desirable thing. Instilled in us is a respect for authority, hierachy and all things Western.
When a child questions how soldiers can help reduce the spread of Ebola, its something to think about. Conspiracy theories are numerous. Where did this disease come from and how has it managed to spread so fast? Kofi Anan is quoted as saying in the East African that the fight against Ebola wasn’t a high priority because it effects only Africans. In the same paper there are articles about scientist tracking the origins of the disease in order to determine its future mutations. The CDC has a patent on Ebola right now. All this sounds like the weapons of mass destruction to me.
We are African people, whether you accept it or not. You don’t have to go to Africa to be an African. If a cow is born in a pig pen, he is still a cow. The cow will always say “Moo” even though he is amongst pigs.” – Mutabaruka
Yesterday I was told to go back to my country. I was saddened and angered by the statement because I know my origins are on the continent of Africa. Before the imposition of geo-political borders we were a race who had many names but shared commonalities. How we related to each other was our highest axiological reference. The just treatment of people was an essential component of our humanity. As ancient Africans we were never afraid of difference, we embraced it as a reflection of nature and the creator.
Creative Facilitation is what I do. I deliver learning using creative mediums -music, visual art, drama, creative writing, movement. Whatever the topic, learning can be delivered using creative tools.
People talk about creativity a lot these days. Some express that they are not creative because they don’t sing or dance but creative thinking is a skill which can be taught. However its a highly undervalued skill which is often overlooked.
What is creativity and why is it important?
Creativity is defined as using the imagination to create something. This may sound simple enough but these days with the influence of mass media, many young people no longer engage the imagination (creating images in ones mind) because they receive stimulus from watching images on screen. Thus the ability to see things that don’t already exist has been stunted. I am a creative person because as a youth I read a lot, listened to a variety of music and danced. I also spent many hours in the garden with my mum as she planted food and herbs. I believe this gave me an appreciation of processes which is also essential component of creativity.
Today my friend Abundance of Creation challenged me to participate in the gratitude challenge. I had seen her post earlier but didn’t read it due to limited time. So when my night time bundle became active I read her post on Facebook. I was surprised to see my name at the end of the paragraph after reading the following: