About Jahazi

Jahazi is an arts and culture journal whose vision is harnessing the wealth of artistic and cultural synergies in East Africa and how they are influenced by communities, even as they contribute to social change.

 

The Jahazi Journal is a knowledge sharing platform and a vehicle for mentor artists, theorists, cultural thinkers as well as the general enthusiast.

The journal aspires to be a bridge between theory and practice since clearly it is this synergy that can propel cultural thinking and artistic practice in the region to greater heights.

Jahazi hopes to expand the parameters of artistic and cultural analysis and seeks to provide depth in the processes of archiving and chronicling the work emerging within the arts and culture.
Considering the critical role that artists play as a mirror to society, Jahazi stands for the freedom of artistic expression. It seeks to reclaim the space for cultural and artistic thought and expression in the pursuit of inclusive communities and freedoms.

The Journal views cultures as dynamic and recognizes that human beings carry multiple and malleable identities, often expressed through language and art.

 

Culture is essentially a search for meaning about the world formulating, in this journey, certain value systems. It is
a driver and enabler of development.

Bantu Mwaura

Founding Editor

1968-2009
REST WELL

Bantu  Mwaura was the Founding Editor  and Editor-in-Chief of Jahazi.

By the time of his death on 27th April 2009, aged fourty years, he was a Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies at the New York University, USA.

A week before his death, he had appeared on national television defending the rights of Mau Mau freedom fighters and castigating the post-colonial regime for betraying its citizens.

He was an intellectual artivist whose research was largely focused on examining how performance theory interfaced with theatre practice in Africa, how culture impacted and was influnced by real politics, and on the politics of performance space.

Bantu re-enacted the lives of ordinary citizens on stage through theatre and story-telling. He was at the centre of popular culture in Kenya and occasionally retreated to theorize on it.

 

During his life was arrested severally by the Kenyan police. His trademark dreadlocks and the power of his performance must have created the impression that he was radical and leftist in his thinking. 

An award winning performing artist, director, playwright, storyteller, poet and university lecturer from Kenya, he was also a political and human rights activist and a cultural theorist who worked mostly with civil society organizations using theatre and performance in human rights and developmental work. 

He worked with students, churches and prisoners at the Lang’ata Womens Prison.

His poetry is available in several journals and anthologies in English, Kiswahili and Gikuyu.

 

He was commissioned by organisations such as the World Council of Churches and the World Social Forum to write and perform poetry in international forums, performing poetry and spoken word in Europe, the United States and several countries in Africa.

In Kenya, Bantu appeared in the monthly poetry slams organised by Kwani? and was part of the Poetry Africa programme at the World Social Forum in Nairobi in 2007.

He taught poetry, storytelling and playwriting in different universities in Kenya and the United States and his plays were performed in Kenya, Zimbabwe, the USA and the UK.

Our Partners

We are privileged to have the support of the following organizations.

The Lambent Foundation

The Ford Foundation

Contributions

We currently do not accept unsolicited articles. If you would like to work with Jahazi or have your works considered for publication, please contact us.