Two years ago, I had been invited to a conference organized by the African Union and UNDP ‘How to Silence the Gun in Africa’ to present my on-going conceptual photography exhibition titled ‘Why African Are Not United’ in Nairobi – Kenya. This was the first project initiated by STORYTELLERS since it was formed in 2012. Two days before the conference, I went to a local pop located at an industrial area within Nairobi called ‘Choices’ for a popular showcase called Thursday Night Life.
On this night, I was fortunate to witness change. Playing on the stage were these young, talented and angry musicians. They certainly were angry about something as I kept starring at them. It would only take me few more minutes before I get closer to the stage. I was completely thrilled by their theatrical and energetic performance.
After the show, I quickly inquire about whom this group of angry youth is and simultaneously searching for them on Google, I found almost no information. I knew I had to meet them; I wanted to know what makes them happy since watching them for nearly two hours was like watching a military parade.
The next day I met with the planning committee of this high level youth consultative meeting from the African Union and I asked if they already had an entertainment plan for such a pan African forum. Yes there was, but I was very pushy to consider giving this un-known band a chance, and yes they did. The band ‘SARABI’ came saw and conquered.
I still hadn’t the chance to speak to them; I was desperately looking for any moment with them but they were constantly surrounded by new recruited fans. I resulted in scheduling a meeting with band, but I just couldn’t wait.
On this day, the entire band members couldn’t make it as I only met with the band manager and the lead singer. Ten minutes into our deep conversation, I knew I was going to share their story to the rest of the world. Within me, I kept telling myself, this is a CHANGE story. It changes everything I know about youth development, Africa developmental aid, Art as a powerful medium to bring the youth together, and social justice. This was a spark for me, I needed to tell this story to change the narrative of poverty and its foreign policy intervention from the corrupt African governments.
I completed this feature film with my personal funds knowing raising money for such a passionate subject might be practically impossible or possible delay and frustration by the so-called donors who are simply interested in paper report or their organizational agenda. I knew it was a story I had to share, and lead by example. After filming for a year and three months, I finally have Music Is Our Weapon to present to the world