Panel I: Historical Context of Trauma
Sitawa Namwalie is an award-winning Kenyan poet, playwright and performing artist known for her unique dramatized poetry performances, which combine poetry and classical Kenyan music. “Cut off My Tongue,” her first performance was performed in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda and at the Hay Festival in the UK in 2009. Sitawa’s growing body of work includes short stories, dramatized poetry productions and plays, “Homecoming” (2010), “Silence is a Woman”, (2014), “Black Maria on Koinange Street” and “Room of Lost Names” (2015), “Taking my Father Home” (2020), “Escape” the Musical. Sitawa lives in Nairobi and earns her living as a development consultant. She holds a BSC in Botany and Zoology from the University of Nairobi and an MA in Environmental Studies from Clark University, Massachusetts, USA. Sitawa represented Kenya in tennis and hockey in her youth.
Okhiogbe “Omonblanks” Omonhinmin is the founder & creative director of The Art Concept (TAC). TAC documents and archives the narratives of people of Black and African heritage and those within the many intersections. As a storyteller and spacemaker, he believes practitioners, especially those of Black/African heritage, deserves no limitations like the academics to explore any horizon and get the same respect and regard as theories need practicalities to make meaning. Omonblanks is an “ambassador of entanglement” who, like water, takes on the shape, form or position needed to actualise projects. With critical discourse he works within intersections, and uses tools such as research-based methods in oral storytelling, biographical conversation and documentation. He believes the body is a memory collector, and that everything we do takes on a life of its own. This is evidenced through his relationship with people, stories, spaces, spices, and cooking. He is currently a fellow and lecturer for University of Art, Berlin.
Pinkie Mekgwe is the Chief Operations Officer at Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI). She was the International IDEA’s Senior Regional Adviser for Africa and West Asia up until joining the AHRI. She was previously the Executive Director of Internationalism at the University of Johannesburg and also served as Deputy Director at the Office of International Education and Partnerships of the University of Botswana and as Programme Officer for the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). Mekgwe was a lecturer at the University of Botswana, visiting researcher at the Witwatersrand Institute of Social and Economic Research, and a visiting lecturer at Malmö University in Sweden before featuring in nonacademic engagements. She is a published poet, past UB writers’ workshop coordinator and a practising Sangoma.
Stephen Temitope David (panel chair) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for the Study of the Afterlife of Violence and the Reparative Quest, Stellenbosch. He has a PhD in English and Literary Studies from Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and an MA Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. David’s body of work focuses on the ways in which remembrance and nostalgia are weaponised for diverse violent ends in Africa. His research adopts an intersectional methodology which pays close attention to the ways in which gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity, ability/disability intersect to create multiplex modes of being and belonging within Africa. This mode of approaching conflicts pays attention to how sameness and difference often interact to silence some voices within popular histories.
Panel II: Contemporary Challenges and Importance of Change
Iris Nxumalo-De Smidt increasingly identifies as a feminist systems innovator, who leverages research, facilitation, organisational development, and movement building to support systems change for social justice. She is currently the Founding Director of a feminist consulting practice called Lorha Nakambe Innovation Consulting and supports collectives to transform their organising for social change. Iris holds an MSc in African Studies from St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, and is currently reading for an MPhil in Inclusive Innovation at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business. Her research focuses on feminist organising for systems change in philanthropy.
Kui.Sun is a Creative Polymath, a person whose brain needs to be working on several things at the same time, to feel any sort of Mental Stimulation. Kui.Sun is a painter by passion, an Architect by training, and a Fashion Designer by profession. Kui is interested in the betterment of the Human Condition, from the Angle of WellNess, to Spirituality and Culture... She run a Fashion Brand called, Koincidence By Kui; where they take a philosophical approach to beauty and aesthetics. Koincidence believes the body is the conduit through which the Universe Speaks. Kui.Sun true quest is to bring about a ReLoveution in humanity that catalyzes a shift toward Utopia and Spiritual Bliss.
Adé Adeniji is a certified coach, group facilitator and consultant who works with individuals, teams and organisations. He is passionate about co-creating spaces of connection, compassion and healing, in which people can bring their stories and experiences, their strengths and struggles, their shadow and light. He is also keen on helping individuals cultivate the necessary habits for consistent emotional hygiene. Adé has an academic background in law, with a specialism in employment law. He holds an MSc in Human Resources Consultancy and a Diploma in Group Facilitation, Counselling Skills and Conflict Resolution. He is a Certified Daring Way™ and Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, programmes based on the research of Dr Brené Brown which explore topics such as vulnerability, courage, shame, empathy and worthiness. Adé is an ordained Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor. He is also a Mental Health First Aider.
Sarah Peace (Panel Chair) is a British-Nigerian writer and socially engaged visual artist with an interest in the intersections of art, culture, and religion. Her 2021 publication Nollywood on the Pulpit: Magic and Performance in Pentecostalism explores gender and sexuality in contemporary African religious expression. She holds an M.A. in Art and Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London. She is an advisory board member of iAfrika where she brings her wealth of experience in the arts and creative media to the iAfrika team.
Panel III: Interventions/solutions/strategies for holistic healing
Chine Ezekwesili is a designer, teacher, artist and co-founder of Akanka Design. A company on a mission to design experiences that make the world a happier, kinder, and more creative place. Chine is a m
Laurence Sessou is a trained bodyworker with over 17 years of clinical experience. With roots from the Republic of Benin, she is a h older of sacred space. With a focus on healing spaces for women and children, she is an experienced massage therapist and aromathera pist and a Doula-in-training. Traditions and rituals of ancient people and tribes are the source of her inspiration, her grandfather was a Chief and healer and her grandmothers were traditional dancers and channels. Animism is the path her ancestors followed; and her work is greatly inspired by her heritage.
Donald Molosi is an award-winning actor in film and theatre based in London. Molosi has written and performed original solo shows off-Broadway to great critical acclaim. In 2016 Molosi published his off-Broadway plays in a collection called We Are All Blue, which won the African Authors Award in the Best Narrative Category and is currently taught in universities around the world. To commemorate his 21-year career in theatre, Molosi will debut his drag queen alter-ego called Dumêla Fella in London’s West End this year. Dumêla Fella is the first mainstream drag queen from Botswana. Molosi’s film credits include A United Kingdom, opposite Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike, the award-winning 2064 and the upcoming Boy Boy filmed in London and Gaborone. Molosi holds an MA in Creative Writing from Brunel University London, MA in Theatre and Performance Studies (University of California, Santa Barbara), a BA in Theatre and Political Science from Williams College. He trained in Classical Acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Dominique Dryding (Panel Chair)is a student of life who is constantly evolving. Her motto is ‘inner peace for world peace’. As a Security Studies graduate, her personal focus for contributing to peace in the world shifted from trying to influence external structures, seemingly inhibiting peace, to cultivating peace within. She is passionate about personal empowerment and the role of relationships (intimate or otherwise) as incredible opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. These passions are cultivated in her work as a Sex, Love and Relationship Coach, lay counsellor and meditation practitioner. She also wears the hat of Capacity Building Manager for the Afrobarometer network, a pan-African research network which provides reliable, timely data on the views of ordinary Africans to inform development and policy decision making in about 35 countries in Africa. She holds an MSc in Leadership, Security and Society from King’s College London and a BSc Honours in Justice and Transformation from the University of Cape Town.
Joyce Mahlatini Best life advocate and free-spirited globetrotting Joyce Mahlatini teaches yoga and dance to adults and children. She is a Zimbabwe-born wellbeing guru who lives her life to reflect the limitless possibilities within the individuals, which can be tapped into and harnessed to birth a holistic version of oneself. Joyce had lived and taught yoga in eight countries across World.
Edgar Kimathi is Conscious Kenya co-founder. He has been practicing Vipassana, an insight meditation technique for the last 15 years. He has also done meditation & mindfulness training in Thailand and India. He enjoys cultivating inner peace within himself and wants more and more people to tap into the healing and emancipating power of meditation and mindfulness. He now directs his time and efforts towards growing Conscious Africa - an online collective of wellness and conscious practitioners and enthusiasts in Kenya and beyond. Through his work, he hopes to help others have easy access to information, support, venues and resources for healing, peace of mind and spiritual development.
Susan Muriungi has She is a strong believer that change for the better is inevitable, and sees herself as an instrumental agent in making that change happen. Susan has a bachelor's degree in Arts (Sociology and Economics) from the University of Nairobi, a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from the United States International University in Nairobi and Masters of Arts degree in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College, London. She is the current Regional Director for Africa at Protection International.
Toyin Ajao (Moon Goddess) engages with the world as a globetrotter, freethinker, storyteller, public scholar, feminist activist, holistic researcher, and creative healing practitioner. She is the founder and director of iAfrika (derived from Ìmọ́lẹ̀ Áfríkà), which advances peace and healing culture in Africa through Ubuntu philosophy to transform the multigenerational legacy of trauma and deep-seated conflicts in human relationships for an awakened humanity. Toyin uses storytelling, expressive writing, breathwork, meditation, music, and dance therapies as part of iAfrika’s creative healing engagement in Africa.