21 May 2013

A STROLL WITH SOPHIE UMAZI MVURYA (For World Day For Cultural Diversity For Dialogue And Development)

Photo Source: mattieonline.com

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the achievements of Sophie will leave you spell bound (pun intended) …lol

She’s the founder and CEO of the ‘I Am Kenyan’ Project—a picture based campaign aimed at preaching the message of embracing our Cultural diversity and abolishing ethnic prejudices.

Sophie combines school work in college with her work as a social entrepreneur/activist—which means she’s very busy. But like I always do on THE STROLL, I was able to catch up with her in between her busy schedule to have this stroll with me… well, here is what we discussed;

Ebenezar: Hi Sophie, it's really an honour  having this stroll with you. Personally I've had 'near death experiences, and  I know how terrifying they can be. How did you feel when those guys tried to kill you during the ethnic dispute? And does that experience haunt you from time to time??
Sophie: I was more disgusted than scared. I could not understand why I was being judged based on my skin color and not my character. Even more so I felt sorry for them for I could clearly see that they did not fully understand why they were doing what they were doing. Regarding being traumatized, yes sometimes but it's not that deep. There are people who have been through worse and I am grateful I am still alive and didn't get any scratch. :)
Ebenezar: Believe it or not, ''I Am Kenyan''  is one of the reasons behind the successful elections in Kenya this year. How do you feel about the success of this Project?
Sophie: Hahaha... I  really think that the whole country invested in a peaceful elections but I am humbled and glad that the small role my team, friends, family and I played was of benefit to the nation :)

Ebenezar: Photography, 'clicktivism', art. . . Have you always had this ''thing'' for pictures?? And do you fancy a career in Photography or maybe art??

Sophie: I am more vane than people think. I love taking pictures of myself so I guess that is where part of the concept stemmed from. I am more inclined towards the arts and I love them all and so they are a huge part of my hobby. I paint when I am frustrated, play the guitar from time to time, I love African literature and I always have a camera to capture my experiences. Regarding my career, I actually see myself being more involved in the Kenyan political scene from an activism angle.

Ebenezar: I saw your presentation at TEDxTeen, it was so great. I also saw Kelvin Doe talking about his remarkable feat. Looking at the next generation (our generation) of Africans, do you think there's hope for Africa's future? Considering the fact that the AU celebrated her 50th anniversary a couple of days ago. . .

Sophie: I think that every African generation started like ours. We all had fire burning in us and we had hopes and dreams for our respective countries and continents. However, with time this fire dies due to various factors. It is my dream and wish that our individual fires do not die down. More so I pray that personally I am not strayed off my vision :)

Photo Source: Sophie Umazi Photos

Ebenezar: In a couple of months we'd be  marking Internet appreciation day on the UN calendar. What advice do you have for youths all over world on the use of Social Media? Do you think Social media can be a tool for positive change?

Sophie: I think anything can be used for positive change. Social media is a global platform that can unite people from everywhere and from different backgrounds. It is really just up to us to figure out how to constantly unite so as to challenge the vices in our societies.

Ebenezar: Finally, your project had inspired ''I am Pakistani'' and ''I  am Nigerian'', that is really great if you ask me. So what next for Sophie? Would you just focus on school work? Or you have other projects you'd love to carry out soon . . .

Sophie: I really don't know. I mean there is still a lot to do in terms of changing a lot of the things in the world so I'm taking a small break to re-strategize and make long term goals that I can attain. I began I am Kenyan blindly, but now I need to look into how to make it into a better platform that can be more efficient in terms of impacting the society positively.

Ebenezar: Thank you very much for your time Sophie, I wish you success in all your future projects :)
Sophie: Thank you for having me :)
 For more about Sophie(@_umazi) and her "I Am Kenyan" project, check the campaign website here
Well, before I go I'd just like to leave you with this; If all the fruits were mangoes or grapes. . . will we have fruit salad? God made us all to be different for a reason--Variety is the spice of life they say--So instead of fighting people because they don't have your skin colour or eye colour, Why not learn about their culture and appreciate the thing special about them--Because there is something special about everyone.
Till my next Stroll, Jesus loves you. . .
By; Ebenezar Wikina (@poeticjazz)
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