The biting cold would not stop Nairobi poetry enthusiasts from attending one of the popular events among the lovers of creative art, a Cre8tive Spillz poetry show dubbed, ‘Frequencies’, the poets rocked the stage to the amazement of an audience hungry for words.
FreeQuency aka FreeQ Tha Mighty a Kenyan Born New Orleans based spoken word artist, Raya Wambui, Laura Ekumbo, Shingai Njeri Kagunda and Tessy Aura were the all-female lineup of poets in the event that was hosted by the British Institute of East Africa (BIEA)
The stage literally spilling with creativity saw the poets address issues ranging from sexuality to the rights of children and women with an attack on the apparent modern day vices that are ingrained in the historical injustices in the world which is arguably a patriarchal society.
The issue of racism would not escape the wordsmiths swords which cut across the injustices the Black man has had to face with reference to the recent happenings in America- a cloud that every Black American has to face. The brutal reality exposed by the poets’ words sent my memory back to an encounter with an American black surgeon and poet Dr. Neal Hall, who painfully told me of how it was inconceivable in the eyes of some white Americans to regard an African American as a qualified surgeon. Hall said that in numerous occasions, he has been perceived as an orderly. FreeQ Tha Mighty would paint the gardens grim with her chilling emotional poems about black oppression and tainted image of black immigrants to the US, through her experiences and close proximity to the issue.
As the crowd digested the brutal realities about racism, the women would not let up as Raya Wambui in her nostalgic piece, ‘As she Should be’ would not let the silent audience go without reminding them about our mother earth and her children tormented by pollution, desertification and above all the fading beauty of the Rhino and the elephant:
“I will tell my grand children, Stories of Giants, who had giant teeth, we called tusks, Big enough to carry three children on. They will laugh. But I will not find it funny Because although I’ll love to see them smile, They will find my stories senile, For dwelling on historical times, When Rhinos existed in real life.” (courtesy of rayawambui.wordpress.com)
The poem was more of a gratifying feat as nature merged with humanity at the BIEA Gardens as on occasion a monkey would stop by, cold and distant, lost in their own revelries, and then move ahead likely to look for the left over resources to squander.
The audience was, in the words of Raya Wambui, Amazing because ‘they listened to every word, every emotion, every gesture and responded in kind.’ As the curtains closed down, according to FreeQ Tha Mighty, who refused to be the first performer, because, on several occasions, -“the room isn’t the same after hearing FreeQuency spit”- was awed by the response of the audience who gave the ladies a standing ovation.