YWCA- Nairobi was the place to be on Saturday September 15th ,2018 whereby we marked three years and a month since the forum started back in 2015. It was an afternoon of pomp and colour, as we gathered to unwind to art and laughter and celebrate the milestones the forum has accomplished so far.
SEMA-Mapenzi Bila Chuki or ‘Speak Out -Love without Hate’ is a program started by the Kenya Gender Based Violence Partnership (KGBVP) as an initiative to respond and break the cycle of gender-based violence in Kenya. They run various programs such as Advocacy and Activism, Bringing vital services to the community and Mentorship and awareness raising. SEMA-ANIKA forum is the product of the partnership between Sema and Anika (an art based youth led organisation) and every month since August 2015 they have been creating safe spaces for young people to come together and discuss issues affecting them while coming up with creative solutions for them.
‘Sema- Anika’ has been running a mental health awareness series from 2017 whereby we would have discussions with panelists around various topics on mental health such as depression, self love, eating disorders and so on. Therefore as we celebrated our three years anniversary, what better way to mark the day while structuring our conversations on what our perceptions of ‘love’ are.
At two in the afternoon, the forum started with discussions on the day’s theme which was “what does love mean to me?” It was well-moderated evoking diffrent answers from the audience. Some said it meant a parent’s love, others were of the view that the love of God was the feeling they could relate to , some related love to the one their significant others offered and so on. Needless to say, we were unable to come to a conclusive definition as to what love really is seeing as everyone had their own conflicting views. All in all, we were able to agree that love is pure,kind, does not fear and it leads to other great values. To conclude the discussion, we had various performances centered on the theme of love. These included poetry, music performances, spoken word , dances and so on. These artistes were able to create awareness on what love meant to them while offering a smooth transition from a discussion to the next segment which was rather|fun.
We started off with ‘charades’ , a game whereby miming is used to help the audience figure out what you mean. It was an engaging session of light competition among teams A,B and C. The games continued for almost an hour before we switched to performances at five . There was rap from Larry, a spoken word piece from Mercy , Enigma, Desmond just but to name a few. Thereafter a few speeches were offered in regards to the three year anniversary celebrations. Finally we celbrated the birthday of a memebr of tthe Anika fraternity simultaneously with the forum’s anniversary . It was a light moment that ignited excitement from the audience since “who doesnt love them a black forest cake topped with oreos and strawberries?”. As we indulged our tastebuds in happiness, we could not help but hope for a better season . For what the future holds in store for the new chapter of ‘sema anika forum’. We reflected on better and deeper conversations on topics whisphered of along dimy lit corridors. See the thing is we agreed that with this milestone comes the power to collectively use our voices to speak on what needs to be spoken about.
At around seven p.m refreshments were served as people socialised , took pictures and left at their own pleasure.