Thursday, 5 April 2018

Magnus Carlssen, Record Setting and Breaking World Chess Champion

    At the tender age of 13 Magnus Carlssen became a chess grandmaster, the highest title a player can hold. The Norwegian later became one of the youngest ever World Chess champions at 23 by defeating the legendary Viswanathan Anand in 2013, he’s still the reigning champion.

               He was introduced to the game aged 5 and played in his first tournament at 8, later competing successfully against the world’s strongest grandmasters by 2007. He surpassed an Elo rating of 2800 in 2009 and reached No. 1 in the FIDE (The Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation) rankings in 2010, thereby becoming the youngest person ever to achieve such feats.

      After retaining the world title in 2014 he also won both the World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship, thereby becoming the first player to simultaneously hold all three titles. This allowed him to reach the highest peak rating in history with 2882.

                  I must admit to understanding and playing chess from around age 9, but without total commitment to the game as a profession due to priority for school and tradition, it could have been very difficult for me to accomplish such. Carlssen’s story is a genuine inspiration that from a young age with motivation, practice, unwavering belief, commitment and focus, everything is possible.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Former FIFA World Player of the Year elected Liberian President

        George Weah, former Liberian international footballer and still the only African player ever to win the FIFA World Player of the Year/ Ballon d’Or, was elected President of his country in late December 2017 and sworn in January 2018. This was the nation’s first peaceful transition of power since 1944.

            It continues the pathway to great hopes noting he succeeded the country’s and continent’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and years after a combination of two dreadful civil wars that lasted between 1989 and 2003.

                    Liberia is special as the first African nation to gain independence in 1847, and its early presidents since then were freed African American slaves from US mainland, for many years before they got their first indigenous leader. All the best for Liberia and its people as they continue on a promising future in a continent that greatly yearns for such examples.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

ONE Youth Ambassadors making milestones in ending Global Poverty

                  ONE Youth Ambassadors is an initiative that seeks to empower more than 100 activists across Europe to carry out the fight against extreme poverty. They campaign locally, nationally and online. ONE thinks that the youth is a state of mind, therefore they seek applications from anyone between 16 and 35 years old with the odd space available for outstanding candidates who are over 35 but still young at heart.
    Ambassadors would become leaders for the ONE Campaign in their communities and beyond, and carry out a variety of creative, ambitious, and innovative actions in support of their advocacy work, particularly around the European elections. 

                               Their tasks include writing to and meeting their local Members of Parliament and candidates for the European elections, lobbying members of the European Parliament, meeting with influential decision-maker, campaigning using social media, organizing and delivering local events/presentations, writing letters to local media, recruiting new members and attending ONE events.

       ONE believes this is a critical moment in the fight against extreme poverty. From 1990 to 2000, global extreme poverty dropped from 43% of the worlds’ population to 33%. From 2000 to 2010, extreme poverty worldwide went down again to 21%thereby cutting it in half over the past twenty years. If this trend continues, extreme poverty can be virtually eliminated by 2030.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Angry Kibera NYS members demonstrate and burn toilet

       Today morning, 23rd June, there was tension and heavy police presence in the Kibera neighbourhood of Nairobi County, Kenya, as the youth from the National Youth Service (NYS) protested against Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru. On Monday evening, the youth set ablaze a public toilet that had been built by the NYS. 
                      A police headquarters statement noted that the youth numbered about 300 and started demonstrating yesterday evening 7pm at Kibera’s Olympic stage, where they lit bonfires and barricaded the road.
                                                                            Part of the public toilet that was burnt
         They wore NYS- branded t-shirts and marched to Parliament buildings and Office of the President chanting; “Hatutaki siasa, tunataka maendeleo” (We don’t want politics, we want development). This is a common cry for the Kenyan youth in general who occasionally feel shortchanged by the government when it comes to jobs and other opportunities.
                             I hope that a long term solution is found as the events unfold so that no more damage occurs especially in Kibera that hosts one of the world's largest informal settlements, and requires massive upgrades.

he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:
he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:
he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:
he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:
he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:

Monday, 22 June 2015

Racism/ Indoctrination? Dylan Roof, 21, kills 9 in South Carolina, USA

               At Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States, on the evening of June 17, 2015, the members were having a Bible Study. A 21 year old young man, Dylan Storm Roof, opened fire and shot nine black people dead including the senior pastor who is also a South Carolina state senator, Clementa C. Pinckney. A tenth victim was also shot but survived. The church is one of the United States' oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights.
                Joseph Meek Jr., of Lexington, S.C., told the Associated Press regarding Roof, “He said blacks were taking over the world. Someone needed to do something about it for the white race”. According to his roommate, Roof expressed his support of racial segregation in the United States and had intended to start a civil war.

Left: Dylan Storm Roof

                 One image from Roof’s Facebook page showed him wearing a jacket decorated with the flags of two nations noted for their white supremacist and racial segregation policies, apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. Another online photo showed Roof sitting on the hood of his parents' car with an ornamental license plate with a Confederate flag on it.

Right: Roof with a jacket decorated with the flags apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

       Roof attended several schools in two counties, including White Knoll High School in Lexington, in which he repeated the ninth grade, finishing it in another school. After that point, he apparently stopped attending classes, and according to his family, he dropped out of school and spent his time alternating between playing video games and doing drugs.
      This was yet another heartbreaking story from the US regarding racism, mass shooting, gun ownership and gun violence. My best wish and prayers similar to most people around the world is that we don’t get to hear and watch such news again. Unfortunately your guess is as good as mine so long as these issues aren’t addressed and children aren’t brought up properly.


Cr3w Teflon among talented young MASK Award winners

                The 2015 Mobile Arts School in Kenya (MASK) winners were announced this past May at the Michael Joseph Centre, Safaricom House, in Nairobi, Kenya. 

      Right: Cr3w Teflon manager Chris Alando, MASK founder Alla Tkachuk and two of Cr3W Teflon members Ben Vic & Timmy Tim
            Themed 'Young People - The Creative Nation', the Mask Prize builds national awareness of innovation amongst young Kenyans. It provides a platform to practise and share their innovation and creativity with other young people in Kenya and the West.
           For the second year in a row, cr3w Teflon wins another MASK Award. In 2014, the group won an award in the video category for their song 'Children's Anthem', and added to that with this year's music prize for the song 'Star' that they jointly shared with Hanna Nebiyu, 16, also from Nairobi.

                                The school prize was this year won by six schools: Naivasha Unity Primary School (Naivasha), Anidan Children's Home (Lamu) and Nairobi's Cogri Art Club, NPG Academies Primary School, Riara Primary School and Riara Spring Primary School. 
         In the visual category, First Prize went to Paula Karanja, 20, Nairobi; Second Prize, Churchill Ongere, 23, Kisumu; Third Prize: Richard Kuria, 22, Bungoma; Fourth Prize, Edwin Wainaina, 18, Nairobi; Fifth Prize, Paul Kidero, 19, Nairobi; Sixth Prize, Samson Lazima Jali, 18, and Louis Tamlyn, 19, Nairobi, all in Kenya.
        Left: Paula Karanja, winner of the first prize in the visual category.
The young artists walked away with prizes totalling around Sh300,000, donated by Rivers Foundation (UK) and Ann Brenner (USA). The winning artworks are then exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London and Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

My Harrowing Experience Working Within Kibera Informal Settlements

          While working with Carolina For Kibera (CFK) for two months as a Communications Assistant in 2014, I had anticipated the good and the bad that I had seen first hand a number of times before, watched on TV and also heard others talk about.
        Being the photographer and story writer responsible for several occasions, I once accompanied colleagues to Lindi, one of the Villages in Kibera during CFK's regular Taka ni Pato (Trash is Cash) program. The program works to promote and support community-run environmental programs that create jobs for both youth and women in Kibera slum. Waste management in Kibera is quite poor as garbage is thrown in trenches, sewage openings and all over the neighborhood.
             When one walks through the neighborhoods it takes a strong and resistant heart to stay in that environment for long. The stench from a combination of human waste, animal waste, piled rubbish mixing with and staying in water for days or weeks, rotten food on walking paths and public areas, all show the inhumane living conditions of which their bodies have been desensitized. 

          It is sincerely heartbreaking to think or imagine the reality that any human being lives in such a place on a daily basis. My conscience was a bit satisfied that I was part of a good cause to one of the worst of the worst places in one of the world's largest informal settlements. such scenes can only make one want to do more good for the extremely underprivileged around the world.