about me

I am an independent researcher, dancer, facilitator and writer of regenerative presents and futures rooted in African ways of being, knowing and doing (ontologies). I work in the intersections of inequality, environmental* issues and narratives and centres Africa, the earth and ancestrality in my work. This blog incorporates these and other interests:

I am interested in representation: (a more complete) representation of those usually left out of narratives the world lives by. Representation in the sense of how we understand and perceive e.g. the environment and people. Representation as history and histories, and stories and storytelling. Representation in the sense of communicating, whether that means raising my voice to speak, amplifying another’s voice, putting my thoughts down here or elsewhere, or dancing.

I am interested in how people claim spaces for themselves especially those for whom those spaces were not constructed for. I believe that everything happens within a physical context and that this physical context impacts how other challenges develop. In order to effectively respond it is imperative to pay attention to contexts therefore.

I am interested in the inspirations and motivations of those who do things to make their communities, neighbourhoods, cities, etc better; and hope to be both inspired by them and inspire similar concern with social issues in others.

This blog began as a way to document my journeys working and learning about local environmental initiatives and movements in low-income urban areas. I have undertaken 3 multi-country journeys with this intention so far: One a study abroad programme IHP – International Honors Programme – Cities in the 21st Century in 2012, the second a fellowship through my school, Wellesley College, in 2013-2014, to learn from different models of environmental change and community development developed by and/or with those facing the challenges being tackled. In my last multi-country journey in 2016, also with the International Honors Programme – Rethinking Food Security focused on initiatives to reclaim communities’ sovereignty over their food systems and the challenges to this.

Back home in East Africa, I am undertaking a more local journey to understand the issues here, applying the wisdoms I have learnt so far, and as always, learning. I have come to see that in order to effect change, one has to be rooted somewhere. So I explore the role of traditions in energising action for regeneration, whether these traditions are old ones we go back to, or new ones we create with those with whom we make our communities.

Stick around and take these journeys with me.

* I think of the environment as all that surrounds a being. As such the environment in my view is the unity of social, economic and ecological systems and relationships surrounding us. 


3 Comments Add yours

  1. mills Moabi says:

    I’m in great awe of your superb work,i’m also very intersted in African Rock Art especially re imaging it for the modern narrative.would love to chat more

    1. Wangũi says:

      Hi Mills, sure, I would love to talk more about rock art. Send me an email?

  2. Dear Wangui,
    I read your piece on the Transitions blog on how your mother sees herself and on Ramachandra Gua’s book and couldn’t agree more that there are many ways of environmentalism in Africa.
    I was wondering if you know of the book Natures of Africa – http://witspress.co.za/catalogue/natures-of-africa/ ? It brings together ecocriticism and literary analyses of different cultural forms from different African countries. The analyses explore different apprehensions of the connections between humans, animals and the environment, and suggest alternative ways of addressing the challenges facing the continent.
    Anyway, I wanted to say, do let me know if I can send you a copy of the book, which i will do with pleasure.
    Keep on doing the good work!
    All best
    Corina Van Der Spoel – Marketing Coordinator,
    Wits University Press
    PO Wits, 2050,
    Johannesburg, South Africa

Talk to me