Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Oscar Pistorius: From Triumph to Uncertainty

             Nicknamed "Blade Runner", "the fastest man on no legs", the story of a South African sprint runner Oscar Pistorius was inspirational, motivating and attracted worldwide admiration. 

          He was born with fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs, which were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles when he was 11 months old, but he's renowned for having competed in global events for single below-knee amputees and for able-bodied athletes since he was a teen.

    He attended Constantia Kloof Primary School and Pretoria Boys High School, where he played rugby union in the school's third XV team. He played water polo and tennis at provincial level between the ages of 11 and 13. In addition, Pistorius took part in club Olympic wrestling, and trained at Jannie Brooks's garage gym in Pretoria, South Africa.

        His accomplishments include: In the Paralympic Games - Bronze 2004 Athens 100 m (T44), Gold 2004 Athens 200 m (T44) Gold 2008 Beijing 100 m (T44) Gold 2008 Beijing 200 m (T44) Gold 2008 Beijing 400 m (T44) Silver 2012 London 200 m (T44) Gold 2012 London 400 m (T44) Gold 2012 London 4 × 100 m relay (T42–T46). When asked by a journalist for his "sporting motto", he said: "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have".

              In February 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. At his trial in 2014 he was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of culpable homicide and one firearm-related charge, of reckless endangerment related to discharging a firearm in a restaurant. Pistorius was found not guilty of two firearm-related charges relating to illegal possession of ammunition and firing a firearm through the sunroof of a car. 

         On 21st October 2014, Judge Thokozile Masipa gave Pistorius a five year jail sentence. Pistorious was definitely admired for his determination and passion by many people worldwide, I included, and encouraged for his landmark athleticism. We sincerely hope to see the best come out of all these. Condolences once again to Reeva Steenkamp's family and may God continuously strengthen them.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Cr3w Teflon, Kenyan prolific teen musicians, feted with Mask award

           Cr3w Teflon was founded in August 2011, by then 16 year old rappers Accurate (Ben Vic),Timmy Tim (Timothy Ahere) & Biior, later joined by Singer/Lead Vocalist Kavi. Their mission was to change the face of new generation music, embrace and impact society. “We wanted to take it to a whole other level- take South Sudan to Brooklyn and hold our own; bring Kenya to Paris and still pass the message”, says Accurate. They have broken into the music industry and redefined urban beats; with the help of other talented crooners including Camp Mulla (and the 25Flow Movement), Abbas, Octopizzo, Kavi and others.          
                The Mobile Arts School in Kenya (Mask) organization held its annual creativity competition and announced this year's winners at Nairobi University's Department of Art and Design. The winners included Darubani Talent Academy from Maasailand and Nyumbani Lawson Secondary School who won the school category, Cr3w Teflon who won the video category for their song "Children's Anthem" and Louis Nderi who won for his photography. In addition to winning a Sh50,000 prize, the art pieces will be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London in September 2014.              
            Members of Cr3w Teflon Accurate (left) and Timmy Tim (3rd from left) with Alla Tkachuk (2nd from left)

             Originally recording at Phoenix Records, the talented teen group has branched into music with a positive influence to change youth mentality and prove that armed with heart and a will, anyone can achieve greatness. Their singles “Cold World” and "Kilimani's Barz" moved audiences from Nairobi to Dallas. Their first release of 2012, Children’s Anthem, produced by Cypher Studios and Globesolute, distributed by a leading global music group,ISland Def Jam,managed to merge African and American music.It was Released to support a global campaign,andit fofilled its promises by giving audiences sweet easy melodies compounded by hard-hitting messages that made audiences press play again and again.

                     Mask, which was started in 2006, has worked with schools in Kenya providing more students with the skills they need to develop their creativity and innovation. The Mask prize awards, which was presided over by founder Alla Tkachuk, hopes to promote creativity among young people and schools and was open to anyone under 25. The theme for this year's competition was “The creative nation” which Tkachuk said was to highlight that “creativity has the ability to generate new ideas that bring out change”.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Lytro: Youthful yet generational

       Lytro camera was invented by Yi-Ren Ng, company founder and CEO of the same-named company, Lytro. 

               It's technology began while he was studying at Stanford University, from which he obtained a PhD in computer science years ago, though he's still only 34. 

                            It's is a small square tube camera with a retro feel to it that does away with the focus button by capturing all the planes of focus or as Lytro describes what it does, “it captures a field of light”, the first consumer camera to do so.

               The camera is a squared-off tube less than five inches long with a lens opening at one end and an LCD touch screen at the other. The first generation of the camera comes in two options: one with 8GB of memory and can hold 350 pictures, and one with 16GB and can hold 750 pictures.

          According to TechCrunch, plenoptic cameras such as Lytro's are "a new type of camera that dramatically changes photography for the first time since the 1800s”.

      In February 2012, Lytro company won the Silicon Valley/ San Jose Business Journal’s Idea and Innovation Award in the consumer technology category. 

                This is a tremendous motivation as well as challenge for us young people because we're blessed with so much technology and information to strive and produce much.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

UoN, USIU & Daystar Students @ USIU's SKIKA forum

               In early 2012, broadcast and communication students from the United States International University (USIU) in Nairobi, Kenya, hosted students from University of Nairobi and Daystar University (Nairobi) for a discussion/ debate regarding "Freedom of Expression as it relates to the Media and the Youth that consume it".


      It was an engaging, positive & open forum, a type of which should be held as regularly as possible by all universities globally in order to involve them in information and sharing of diverse views regarding a subject so relevant and complex in this generation.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Kibera children & youth growing in extremely unhygienic and life threatening conditions

          Kibera is the largest slum in Africa and home to approximately 1 million people. There is a lot of garbage throughout the slum, causing flies and insects to spread infectious diseases, as well as sewage all over and no toilet facilities. 

                       One latrine is shared by up to 50 shacks/ informal settlements and young boys are the ones given the responsibility to empty the latrines in river water the moment they are filled to capacity.

                    That is a serious health hazard and a severe form of water pollution. UN-Habitat and other agencies have tried to assist but the pace is not encouraging. 

        The heartfelt wish is that the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya's environmental body, would get support from the government, local community, international bodies and well wishers in order to drastically improve the situation.