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  • The Ones We Lost: How Reflecting on Death Helps Us To Lead A Meaningful Life

    For many years, Oyunga has chronicled stories of life and death as both existential and ritual experience among the Luo community, Kenyans, and Africans at large. Since 2020, he has explored the themes of Living and Dying. Life exists in the midst of death and yet death remains one of the most disruptive affairs of our lives. The book revolves around the idea that the stories of death are the stories of life, and by focusing on how our loved ones died, we extract lessons for living fulfilled lives that prepare us for the inevitability of death. It focuses on how we can unravel the mystery of the separation, by accepting the reality of death and what it is meant to teach.

     

    Contents.

    1. Foreword
    2. Preface
    3. Introduction
    4. Is this How I die?
    5. Baba’s Gone
    6. The Unmournable Ones
    7. The Urban
    8. Children of a Revolution That never Was.
    9. Comedy and Tragedy
    10. Death of a Father figure.
    11. The Pugilist
    12. Our Man in Somalia
    13. Memories of Silence
    14. Fall of a Rugby Great
    15. Gone, without a whisper
    16. Dani is dead
    17. Digging your own grave
    18. Death in a strange land.
    19. Here But I’m Gone.
    20. The Winter of our lives.
    21. Baptism by Fire.

    Epilogue

    The Ones We Lost, is an anthology that comprises a collection of short essays and curated obituaries drawn from a two decade career as a columnist and a participant-observer of Kenyan social reality. Each story is independent but also interconnected, weaving the common thread of using those stories of those who died as a mirror to raise awareness in how we take responsibility for our lives.

  • Breaking the Silence on NGOs in Africa

    Members of the Organic Intellectuals Network are active organizers in the struggle to achieve social justice. They have experienced the contradictions of the NGO discourse and, just like others before them, have found themselves in the struggle versus survival dilemma. To get a clear picture of our contemporary struggles and the despair of NGOs operating in the proletarian movement, comrades decided to reflect, study, and analyze Prof. Issa Shivji’s book Silences in NGO Discourse: The Role and Future of NGOs in Africa. For the authors, these analyses and reflections are based on personal experiences in their day-to-day organizing. In summarizing the authors’ observations regarding the impacts of NGOs in organizing, this book calls into question the fundamental question, ‘why do NGOs exist?’ To answer this question, the authors provide a historical chronology of the resistance in Kenya, Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa, relating those to the subjective factors in existence at every period. Through this, a scientific relationship can be drawn between social movements and NGOs in our current epoch. From their experiences with NGOs, the authors, representing grassroots social movements, highlight the dangers associated with donor funding. Often, donor funding ends abruptly after making people dependent on them, creating severe strain on grassroots organizations. The more one engages with NGOs, the softer one becomes to critique NGOs, particularly in highlighting their relationship to imperialism. Further, NGOs usually help in driving reforms. However, they play no part in revolutionary work. As a result, they merely preserve the present order and help exacerbate the frustrations arising from massive inequality in our society. In the long run, NGOs play a critical role in stifling the development and independence of grassroots social movements. This publication also includes two previously published essays by Prof Issa G Shivji, Silences in NGO Discourse: The Role and Future of NGOs in Africa, &, Reflections on NGOs in Tanzania: What We Are, What We Are Not and What We Ought To Be.

  • MATHARE: An Urban Bastion of Anti-Oppression Struggle in Kenya.

    History is written by the victors of any war. But what happens when the victors forget to write down their history or omit the cog of the struggle? This is the untold story of Mathare Slum that has never been told to the world: of the role it played in anti-colonial struggle and the planning ground for the Mau Mau struggle which culminated with the fall of the British Colonial Empire in Kenya in the midnight of December 12th 1963. Mathare has also played a critical role in anti-oppression struggle against the four regimes that we’ve had since independence and continues to do so up to date. This history has not been documented and has only been done piecemeal. This has overtime eroded the rich history of Mathare and led to a distorted history of once a planning ground and a bulwark of Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KFLA). The current generation are not cognizant with the critical role Mathare played in the independence of our country. Presently, Mathare is majorly known for all the negative reasons and its proximity to Mathari Mental Hospital has contorted its image to the outside world. My story tries to re-tell the history of Mathare from an informed insider perspective by threading the struggles from the colonial era to the present day and the role it has played in agitating for social justice. My story brings to view the past history of this informal settlement in the heart of Nairobi, the present struggle and the promising future through community organizing.

  • Life Histories from the Revolution: Three militants from the Kenya Land and Freedom Army tell their stories

    In the early 1970s, Donald Barnett — who worked with Karari Njama to produce Mau Mau From Within (published by Daraja Press) — also worked with three militants of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army to enable them to tell the story of their experience in fighting for freedom and against British colonialism. These rarely acknowledged militants were Karigo Muchai, Ngugi Kabiro and Mohamed Mathu. Their stories were published in 1973 by LSM Information Center (Richmond, British Columbia, Canada) as part of a series entitled Life Histories of the Revolution, as The Hardcore: The Story of Karigo Muchai; The Man in the Middle by Ngugi Kabiro; and The Urban Guerrilla by Mohamed Mathu.

    As part of its mission of Nurturing reflection, sheltering hope and inspiring audacity, Daraja Press is please to republish the three booklets as a book that will help a new generation of activists — Kenyan and international — reflect on a history that might inspire audacious struggles to continue the struggle for freedom that was the goal of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army.

    Donald Barnett’s introduction to each booklet contained the following text:
    The life histories in this series have been recorded and prepared as historical documents from the revolutionary struggles of our time. The techniques and methods employed at each stage of the process, from initial contact to final editing, have therefore been chosen or fashioned with the purpose of guaranteeing the authenticity and integrity of the life history concerned. These stories, then, to the best of our ability to make them so, constitute a body of data and testimony as revealed by a few of those history-makers normally condemned to silence while others speak on their behalf.

  • Kenyan Organic Intellectuals Reflect on the Legacy of Pio Gama Pinto

    This booklet on Pio Gama Pinto has been produced in the tradition of ‘looking back, in order to move forward’ to not only salvage history but also to use it as a mirror to reflect on the current political, economic and social conditions in Kenya. The essays, dubbed reflections, that appear in the booklet are a product of the efforts and dedication of young women and men under the banner of the ‘Organic Intellectuals Network’ in Kenya. We use the concept of ‘organic intellecutal’ as developed by Antonio Gramsci.
    Members of the Organic Intellectual Network selected the book Pio Gama Pinto: Kenya’s Unsung Martyr 1927-1965 by Shiraz Durrani (Vita Books, 2018) as a basis for discussion for celebrating and remembering the life of Pio Gama Pinto, Kenya first Martyr, a dedicated and selfless individual in the struggle for freedom in Kenya.

  • Undaunted: Stories of Freedom in a Shackled Society

    ….to free oneself or assist in liberating others involves taking risks, being suspicious of the status quo, leaving the safety of the shore and launching out into the deep and the unknown. This is a very lonely calling too as one immerses oneself into the whole of reality with courage to confront and listen. Yet, the calling is not to be the liberator of the oppressed but to make a commitment to fight alongside them, as Paulo Freire wrote in Pedagogy of the Oppressed. — Fr Gabriel Dolan

    From his work in Turkana, Kitale, Kapenguria and Mombasa, Father Gabriel reminds us that true transformative change comes from the people themselves, from the bottom up. This is a challenge that the social justice/human rights practitioners must internalize and the sooner the better. The idea of being the “voice of the voiceless” must transform to facilitating, encouraging and giving space to those who suffer the indignities of injustice, violence, poverty and repression. Indeed, one of the most significant tasks for the human rights community is to devolve away from Nairobi, in real, practical, and substantive ways.

    It is not easy for a white man, with all the attendant privileges that brings, to become an integral part of the struggle for pro-poor transformative change in Kenya, and be subject to arrest, harassment, and repression. For those who read these memoirs, please circulate them to everyone you know. Translate them, read them in the mosques, churches and under trees so that Kenyans can get a sense of where we have come from, what we should avoid, and what it takes to make some gains that benefit the majority of our people. — Maina Kiai

    USD $ 15.00