1. How can you describe yourself in a summarized manner?
Loud, fun, questioning and impossible. Of course you know it is never easy to render oneself in abridged versions.
2. When did you pen your first independent piece (away from school work)?
I can’t quite remember but that must be a very long time ago, unless you are referring to the small notes I left God as a child hoping I’d get a response (I didn’t)!
3. What inspires your writing?
The quest to find meaning, fairness and justice in a world warped into selfishness by oppression and domination.
4. Apart from writing what else do you do?
When I am not writing poetry/chopped prose I think even more about writing and how best to be accredited as public nuisance through academic writing.
5. Do you have any A.K.As/stage names?
No, although different people know me by different names, on and off stage.
6. What do you think is man’s greatest invention?
7. Who would you term as a Kenyan hero? Why?
I think Kenya is saturated with an archive of heroic failures which makes it very difficult for me to imagine what a Kenyan hero would look like. We are all heroic at some point in our lives but often we fail miserably and that’s just fine.
8. The world ends tomorrow. What do you do till then?
Think about the world ending tomorrow.
9. What’s your furthest memory backwards?
When I was 8 years old someone in my class stole a Casio watch. By the time the teacher came searching our bags, the watch had somehow, by some mysterious divine intervention, crawled into my bag. And no, it wasn’t me!
10. If you were a cartoon character, who would that be?
I really love being a ‘real’ person. No, I can’t even imagine myself as a cartoon character that would be like imagining my life as a KES 50 note or something similarly insane!
11.Three words to describe your brain?
Rush hour Nairobi.
12. If you were to get a slap for every moment you wished you did something differently how sore would you be?
I don’t like Kidero.
13. That song that never gets boring to your ears?
Ngeke Un’Confirm (Brenda Fassie)
14. What’s your preference? Writing or performing (poetry)?
Some pieces are best written and never read; others wait until I have read them out aloud only to realize that anger is not always a very desirable emotion. Writing and performance make sense to me, separately and together.
15. What is that thing you did as a kid you wish you still would?
Not pay taxes, may be?
16. What do you think of the Kenyan creative and artistic industry?
There is enough space for everybody: the good, the bad and the disappointed.
17. Who’s that character you wish you’d pull outta the screen/book and elope with?
Janie Mae Crawford (from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their eyes Were watching God)
18. Any random question you’d like to ask the world?
Why, world, why?
- You are quite notably an activist for LGBTI.(lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender, intersex). In a country where homophobia is very rampant and tragic in some cases, how has it been for you especially as you use your true identity online and otherwise.
When I first started blogging I did so anonymously but then with time I realized that I should own up to that shit because I know what I mean. My many years of unpacking Patriarchy, Colonialism and body policing have prepared me to explain what I write, if need be. I am delighted that I do reach an audience however small. When I read people are unusually receptive but of course there are those faces that look like they’d throw up on my face in a dark corner just for saying things that I probably shouldn’t say in public.
For me, LGBTI activism (or whatever it is I often talk about) is not a single issue; it is part of a larger journey through gender (and its performance), the colonial projects of law, Religion, Capitalism, Wage slavery, war/violence and all other forms of subjugation that continue to oppress Black people (particularly those of us in this part of the world baptized Africa by White supremacists). I do not see Lesbian women, Gay men, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex persons as isolated victims of priviledge and power but rather I’d like to think of that population of people (aka Human beings) as struggling with rescuing their dignity as people just like most other Kenyans (and others) who are stigmatized, raped, murdered, demonized, ridiculed, shamed, exiled etc because they are different in a world desperate for homogeneity. These people are the ‘wretched of the earth’ (to use Franz Fanon) and they would range from HIV/AIDS-infected persons to sex workers, poor people, people with disabilities, infertile women and men, hawkers, widows, rape survivors, street families etc.
Word for Kenya on homophobia: Every time you think of hating or hurting another person/group of people based on, for example, religion (Christianity and Islam are notorious for this), ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”