• Education

“Kibera should be seen as a place of hope”

By John Muisyi, Kenya

Kibera should be seen as a place of hope. There’s great potential here. I have grown up in the slums. I have been to primary and secondary school here. Now I am taking electrical engineering at university. This is just one story. Many other people are taking other courses, but people don’t see them, they just see the small evil that is happening.

I am aware of the issues that exist in the slums, but the fear of them remaining encourages me to speak out.

Gender-based violence is a big issue. People fear mentioning it. They don’t want to talk about domestic violence, but I want to break this silence. Through my work with Wasanii Sanaa, I talk about gender, to help people understand it has nothing to do with the abused, but rather the abuser.

One of the greatest impacts we can have is to make sure people speak out for themselves. Every day, young people are killed for crimes they didn’t commit. But people are starting to speak out, thanks to our work with Amnesty International, which focuses on educating people about human rights. Now, if they don’t agree with an issue, they peacefully  protest. People are aware of their rights and, rather than running away from the police, they walk confidently. We shouldn’t have to live in fear.

As a member of Wasanii Sana, I MC our events, fusing together content and humour. It makes me happy. I want to differentiate myself from other MCs in the slums. My shows are content-based, so if our event focuses on police reforms, I will talk about our rights in relation to arrest and detention. If I talk about violence, I back it up with statistics. I do a lot of research before gigs, as I want to have enough content to share and inspire people.

The truth comes out when we speak out – that’s the only way people will listen and recognise our potential.