Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BUDDHA BLAZE HIP HOP LECTURE - CONTEMPORARY HISTORY CLASS, TRINITY COLLEGE, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, USA

INFLUENCE OF THE MAU MAU ON KENYA YOUTH & HIP HOP CULTURE

By Buddha Blaze Pictures by Eli Jacob Fantuazzi


Buddha Blaze at the lecture



It took a deep professor to be able to connect the dots between the freedom struggle of the Mau Mau fighters in the Mt. Kenya jungle in the late 1950s with the present day human rights struggles of the urban warriors. The Mau Mau may have done it in the jungle and used the gun to pass their message across, present day urban warriors are poets, singers, rappers, writers, activists and creative designers who use prose poetry, song and expressions to fight the oppressor. Only things is the oppressor now is not a colonial imperialist the oppressor now is ignorance, corruption, poverty and bad leaders.

When history Professor Seth Markle at Trinity College http://www.trincoll.edu reached out me to do a lecture at his Contemporary History class in a session called: “Influences of the Mau Mau on Kenyan Youth & Hip Hop Culture”, I obliged as the, manager of one of Africa’s biggest urban movements where I have witnessed first hand the emergence of a new type of mindset within the youth in Africa that directly influenced by the freedom fight fought by the Mau Mau. Kenya’s human rights freedom expression has improved through the works of artists, poets, writers and other creatives. It is through expressions of hip hop, poetry, song and design that www.facebook.com/WAPIKenya has gained so much popularity amongst the youth.

The History class at Trinity College with Buddha Blaze

One thing that clear is that the new age freedom fighters may not even speak directly about a certain topic, they maybe even romanticize it a bit but the message is very clear. That kid wearing that Mau Mau t-shirt may not be the first to start a riot but the fact that he chose to wear that t-shirt alone is a major statement in its own right. The new age freedom fighters are only respecting a consciousness that our fathers and grandfathers were too scared to acknowledge. Up until 2002 Dedan Kimathi the same man who brought freedom to Kenya was still considered a terrorist even with a black government.

Kenyan Youth holding patriotic t shirts


My main intent with this lecture was for the students at Trinity College understand that in this era of technological advancement, our struggles can now be recorded, documented and put to good use. Kenyan hip-hop artists are the new school Freedom Fighters. The mind is a vital instrument towards achieving absolute freedom in the world. If you can free a people's mind you can free the whole world. Inspired by the struggle of Mau Mau fighters, the struggle is now told through prose, poetry and worn on the backs of many Kenyan youth. It’s these youth that keep the nation going when things are thick.

Buddha Blaze in session.


Hip-hop in Kenya permeates the general society through fashion, sheng' (language) marketing lingo and books. One of Kenya’s biggest designers Jeffery Kimathi who owns Jamhuri Wear www.jamhuriwear.com is inspired by the work of Kenya’s freedom fighters. Hip hop artists have enabled regular Kenyans to look at themselves as enabled humans, something their leaders seldom tell them. Inspired young Kenyans think that everything is possible with hard work and persistence. It started when Kalamashaka dropped the jam ‘Tafsiri’ it was over – all Kenyan youth felt like the sky is the limit. A whole industry has been built after them creating jobs for millions.http://www.mistarivideos.com/videos/kamah/angaliasaa.html

Buddha Blaze with Kenya Human Rights Commissions Director Muthoni Wanyeki at Trinity College



The aim of the lecture was to get students to know that young Kenyans are memorializing the Mau Mau in creative ways, not only found their the music but also in fashion. Professor Seth Markle has asked his students to read the following books: Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir, Harry Thuku’s Harry Thuku: An Autobiography, R Mugo Gatheru’s Child of Two Worlds: A Kikuyu’s Story, Wambui Waiyaki Otieno’s Mau Mau’s Daughter: A Life History, Bruce Berman’s “Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Modernity: The Paradox of Mau Mau and Mau Mau testimonies of torture collected by the Kenyan National Human Rights Commission its is important for them to remember there’s a whole new generation of freedom fighters.

Buddha Blaze building with International Relations Professor Vijay Prashad

1 comment:

  1. i wish the same would have been done all round kenya.

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