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Kenyan poet shares her passion for the Spoken Words with US young learners

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Kenyan poet and writer Njeri Wangarĩ got a rare opportunity to share her passion for poetry writing and spoken word performance with over 600 students aged 10-12 years in two middle-schools in Minnesota, USA during a two-week programme where she was invited as a visiting poet.

For the last two weeks, Njeri was the visiting poet at Oak-land and Stillwater Middle schools where she shared about her journey into discovering poetry, writing, becoming a spoken word poet as well as about her culture, her continent and country to 5th & 6th graders, most of whom had never heard of Kenya before studying her works.

The genesis of Njeri’s visit dates back to two years ago when her poem ‘Words and Guns’ which she had published on her blog www.kenyanpoet.com piqued the interest of Dr Jim Hainlen – a volunteer poetry teacher at Stillwater Middle school. He requested permission to study the poem with his class 5th & 6th Graders. The poem was studied again in the 2018 class in which Njeri, through a Skype call was able to tune in to the debate session prompted by the poem on which yields more power; guns or words.

Dr Hainlen approached the two principals at Oak-land middle school and Stillwater Middle school; Andrew Fields and Eric Vanscoy with the idea of having a visiting poet which he believed would have a great impact on the students as most had been studying Njeri’s work.

“Being able to bring a living poet who, despite having come from Africa was speaking on issues relatable to our everyday reality was a great opportunity which I felt would have a great and lasting impact on the students, her being there in person, to speak about their work and hear the student’s interpretation of her work would be a rare privilege and experience for them,” said Dr Hainlen.

Njeri’s hope as she started the two-week program was that she would change the perception of the young students who admitted at the onset that they found poetry boring and un-relatable. They had never even considered that they could appreciate it or even enjoy writing and performing it. Her mission was to work with the students for them to realize the power and beauty of words in self-expression.

The two-week teaching experience culminated in an evening of poetry reading & performance by 22 of the students who wrote and read their own poems. Njeri performed her three studied poems from her collection as well as a new one she had written during her visit; an ode to Prince – the celebrated award-winning musician who is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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The students studied literary tools such as metaphor, alliteration, simile, rhyme and rhythm as they debated and reinterpreted poems such as ‘When Change comes’, My Hair, Fire she Said and ‘My Spoken Words’ from Njeri’s first collection; Mines and Mind Fields, my spoken words and the poem ‘Words and Guns’ from her upcoming second poetry book.

“I had a wonderful time teaching, talking & sharing the beauty of words and power of poetry with all your students in what was for me, a time to have my work taken apart. To bear witness to how each student interpreted the words to their world was one of the most joyous moments of life as a poet. Njeri said upon her return to Kenya last week.

The Oak-land Principal, Andrew Fields had this to say following Njeri’s one-week teaching stay

“We loved having you in our building and working with our students. You exceeded my expectations! We will need to think of how to partner with you again!” said Andy Fields, Principal, Oak-Land MiddleSchool, Stillwater, Minnesota

The project to have a visiting poet teach was the first of its kind for the two schools and was sponsored by the Partnership Plan, a nonprofit that funds extra programmes in Stillwater Area Schools.

Njeri stayed at the home of Mary Wangui Ries & Darin Ries. Their daughter Makena Ries had been in Dr Hainlen’s 2018 class. It is during the class Skype session, that Mary and Njeri got to meet. Mary was instrumental in making Njeri’s travel and stay smooth.

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Having lived in the US for over 20 years, she welcomed Njeri into her home with open arms treating her like her own daughter. Njeri described her stay at the Ries’ residence as a home away from home during the school poetry performance evening as she gave some remarks.

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Uhuru Cuts Ruto Down to Size in New Executive Order

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday moved to cement his authority as the leader of government by abolishing the Presidency in a new executive order that domiciles Deputy President William Ruto’s office under the Office of the President (OP).

This effectively renders DP Ruto powerless as he will be unable to hire and fire staff as the privilege will now be a preserve of Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

The major political ramifications of the executive order are that the Office of the Deputy President will no longer have an independent budget, or be autonomous and will from now on take orders from (OP)

Executive Order No 1 of 2020 also places Ruto’s Chief of Staff Ken Nyaucho Osinde under the OP which means that he will now be reporting to State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita. Nyaucho will now work hand in hand with Waita and Kinyua.

The Executive Order also places the Nairobi Metropolitan Services Authority (NMS) under the OP giving President Uhuru Kenyatta the proximity to oversight the body created to “restore” Nairobi’s glory.

Uhuru’s latest move is eerily similar to one he made last year that gave Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i sweeping powers on the oversight of Government programmes at a time DP Ruto had perfected the art of traverssing the country under the guise that he was supervising government projects at the behest of President Kenyatta.

On Tuesday, President Kenyatta took his crackdown on DP Ruto’s allies to the National Assembly at a Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting held at State House just weeks after kicking out Ruto stalwarts from powerful senate positions.

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In the changes, National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali and his Deputy Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire were kicked out in favour of Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe and Igembe North MP Maoka Maore respectively.

During the PG, meeting President Kenyatta once more dressed down Ruto’s allies and faulted them for disrespecting him. The president also intimated that he knew that Ruto’s allies refer to him as “a drunk”.

In the eventful PG meeting, the President fell short of saying that he will not be supporting Ruto as he promised in campaign rallies in the build-up to the 2013 general elections.

I will be happy to know that the person I will be passing the baton to is part of my agenda,” Uhuru told the 212 MPs. 

The President’s remarks came after he enjoyed a night out with Opposition chief Raila Odinga after the Madaraka Day celebrations at State House during the day.

The duo arrived at the Nairobi CBD in the middle of the night and was seen inspecting the re-carpeting of roads by the NMS.

See Also>>> Uhuru Pumps Sh2 Billion to Save Ailing Tourism Sector

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An Executive Order by President Uhuru Kenyatta

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An Executive Order by President Uhuru Kenyatta has abolished the Presidency and instead put the office of the Deputy President under the office of the president.

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THE PRESIDENT
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1 OF 2020
THE ORGANIZATION OF GOVERNMENT

IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred by Article 132 (3) (b) of the Constitution, as read with all other enabling Laws, I, UHURU KENYATTA, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence  Forces, order and direct:

(i) THAT the Government shall be organized as set out in this Order;
(ii) THAT this Order contains portfolio responsibilities and changes made in the structure of Government;
(iii) THAT this Order assigns functions and institutions among Ministries and State Departments; and
(iv) THAT this Order supersedes Executive Order No. 1 of 2018 (Revised) issued in July 2018.

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Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153

ISSUED under the HAND AND SEAL of the President of the Republic of
Kenya at State House, Nairobi this 11th day of May, 2020.

UHURU KENYATTA,
PRESIDENT.

Click here–> Executive Order No. 1 of 2020 formatted final Updated

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Pinnto, fast-rising Kenyan musician who is destined for greatness

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I love good music and whenever I come across an artist who makes dope jams, I always feel the need to inform other people about them because as they say, sharing is caring.

Also read: Gengetone is still alive, kind of

The talented musician I want to tell you about today is none other than Bernard Oduor Nyariro, popularly known as Pinnto.

His dad was a DJ and coupled with the fact that he knew that he had a special gift, this inspired him to start writing his own songs. As he was growing up, Pinnto looked up to the likes of Jua Cali, E-Sir and Nonini.

Pinnto has been doing music professionally for the last 8 years but it’s only a few years back when people started to notice how talented he is.

Asked why it took him so long to get his name out there, the fast-rising dancehall singer explained that it takes long to penetrate the Kenyan music industry because one must have good quality and show that they are serious.

Pinnto

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He is a very versatile artist which means that today you will find him spitting bars today and doing a dance hall jam the next day and Gengetone the day after that. However, he says if he does a Gengetone jam he will be careful.

Pinnto dreams of working with Khaligraph Jones, Masauti, Sauti Sol, Timmy Tdat so if they are reading this, please reach out to this guy.

He recently released a new song titled Under Curfew and it has been getting a lot of love. Interestingly, he wrote the wrote the some time back and decided to release it now that we are under a nationwide curfew.

Watch his latest jam titled Under Curfew below and tell us what you think.


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