‘A Sense of Where We Are’ is a series of brief notes and reflections from people in and close to the Enkare family about the 2017 elections in Kenya. When reading these notes, we ask you for two things: i) attention and ii) expansiveness. If prayer is ‘unmixed attention,’ then pray about what it means to be Kenyan today; pray about the lives that have been stolen; pray about the dreams have been deferred to build this nation, and the spirit in which it was done; pray about the promises made to our grandparents; and pray about the hopes, shared and private, that we hold in our hearts. Pay attention. This is our true and proper work. Come to these reflections with large-heartedness, with a willingness to stretch for your fellow humans, with trust that all life is worth preserving, and that the work required to do so is also worth the investment.
Note that while a few of us have some training in journalism, this is not a journalistic exercise. We are working to be as accurate as possible, but we are not a news house. We are not sponsored by anyone. That said, we do have affiliations. We would like to be affiliated with openness, with justice, with kindness. The media has shown its hand; its loyalties do not lie with us. The current government, also, has shown itself. It is time for us all to reveal what we stand for as well.
Enkare is new. We are new to each other, to this work, and to our position in it. Enkare is also old. We are lovers of art. We believe in wonder. We are dazzled by the time we have found ourselves in, the legacy we have been gifted. We are young. We are idlers, wastrels, loafers, slackers, noisemakers, troublemakers, back-benchers. We are often incompetent, but we remain audacious. This particular moment in Kenya demands audacity. Courage is demanded of us. We are here to advocate for wakefulness.
Our commitment is to art, yes. This same art is embedded in the society that inspired it, and for which it is created. If our commitment is to art, it is also to power and the ways in which it is wielded, symbolized, and thwarted. At Enkare, we are artists, engineers, students, researchers. We are concerned and committed. We will not be deflected.
Send us your notes, provisional as they may be. Send us your photographs. Send us your essays.
Stay vigilant. Stay open.
August 14, 2017.