As a world, we exist as a complicated web of interdependent and interconnected individuals, cognizant, but simultaneously ignorant of our reliance on the self and the group. The current aim of human life is to find purpose, but where is purpose given and found? As a web of many independents searching a meaning, can we truly believe that the pieces define the puzzle? Or does the puzzle define its pieces? If we take a step back, it becomes evident that every piece is effortlessly, carefully crafted. There is a purpose to every piece, connecting the corners, edges and sides to create what we desire to achieve, not just to fill an empty space.
The theme “One in a Billion: A Piece of the Puzzle” invites speakers to step into a space of vulnerability and explore the evolution of our existence in the African context. With a population of over 1 billion people, Africa remains at the mercy of its inhabitants, and in their actions independently and as a group. This theme encourages the individual to question the state of our being, to promote visionary campaigns, to analyse the ideals and the reality and thus, seek our individual truth.
But there exists a thin line between what is carefully crafted and what can be considered beautifully chaotic. And if our pieces can be reduced to mere disorganization, then when and where do we step in before the puzzle collapses? If every piece completes the puzzle, then what is our piece, and where does it fit? And ultimately, what does the complete puzzle look like?
Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.
StudentAnais Shalita is an alluring individual who utilizes her captivating voice to open minds and change perspectives. She finds herself entranced by the natural process of self-discovery and remains in continuous search for the turning points, the distortions to this absolute state of “knowing” and “self-awareness”. Through her song, she explores the implications of feeling just a part, and a minor part, in the grand scheme of things. Her performance is a daunting call for the regaining of consciousness in the confusion of the world, to allow oneself to revert to the unending process of self-discovery.
StudentAyaan is an exceptionally talented young man, one that truly emphasizes that immense bravery and great skill comes in even the smallest of packages. His original piece is a pledge that he is making to his community, a promise to both himself and society. Ayaan aims to use his piece of the puzzle to sing for the voiceless and to speak for those who can’t, while simultaneously staying true to himself and to his own voice.
University StudentCatherine Delight is an alumna of the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa. Infamous for her songwriting, musical talents, and commitment to the community, Catherine was a leader and role-model for many. Catherine is very excited to be attending Ashesi University in Ghana in the Fall of 2020.
StudentCinzia is a caring, thoughtful and animated student at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa. She strongly believes that everyone has a role to fulfil and that it is vital to find purpose in meaningful ways. She considers one of her goals to be able to empower people to be able to right a wrong should it ever arise. Growing up in a rural area of coastal Kenya where sustenance farming is commonplace, Cinzia has grown to love interacting with her fellow community members on issues of agriculture and sustainable farming practices She is fully observant of the various struggles faced by her community and is determined to find innovative solutions to enrich the quality of life of all those that surround her.
Primary School TeacherA career teacher and mother to two adorable girls. Evelyn currently works as a Year 5 Teacher at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa and works to incorporate co-curricular engagement and leadership into her students' day-to-day lives. Evelyn loves to sew, listening to jazz music, and creating hand-made items whenever she in not in the classroom. When on her breaks from the academic calendar, she enjoys solo road trips to places unexplored.
StudentGabriella Mukisa, a vibrant figure whose personality radiates through the things she is passionate about. Her positivity is infectious but has stemmed from the realization that joy can only be found within oneself. She is a firm believer that if one takes the time to truly notice, accept and love all that makes them quirky or a queen (their strengths and weaknesses), they can learn to appreciate the life around them. Through her spoken word, she explores individuality, noticing the pieces of herself that make her who she is while expressing the beauty of being alone.
StudentJai is a passionate and enthusiastic student at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa. He believes that apathy is an enemy of progress as it hinders the showcasing of people’s creativity and passion. Two years ago, Jai saw a meme which dealt with the difficulty of personal finance and he wondered why he never learnt about it. Jai wishes to change the students’ perspectives on the “foreign” concept of personal finance by expressing his concern about the danger of financial ambiguity.
Writer, Podcaster, JournalistKevin Mwachiro has over 18 years of broadcasting experience under his belt. He has worked as a radio journalist and producer in Kenya, Uganda and the United Kingdom. Kevin is now building a career for himself as a writer, poet and podcaster. In 2017 he launched a story-telling podcast, called Nipe Story, that addresses and shares compelling stories from around Kenya. He describes himself as a storyteller, a lover of written and spoken words and an activist.
StudentLaiqa is an ambitious, vocal and focused student at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa. She has a passion for the Visual Arts and strongly believes in valuing one’s culture. She thrives in an environment that stimulates her intellectually and thus enjoys discussing real world problems and their solutions. Having grown up in Tanzania, she considers the African influence to be an essential aspect of who she is. But she is concerned about the western takeover that she sees happening all around her under the name of ‘development’. She is concerned for the loss of a culture that is so inherent to who she is and wishes to challenges the concept of development.
StudentLouis is a funny, zealous and focused student at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa. While crafting, Louis found a correlation between the malleability of clay and the minds of young children he has interacted with. He recalls a time in his life when his role models preached bias as fact, and now he is uses his newfound voice to challenge “talk before thought” and urge older minds to consider that the future is very much in their hands and thus what they ingrain in young minds, matters.
StudentBelonging to a culture that upholds the values of community and togetherness, Malaika is an inquisitive and dedicated student at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa with a strong passion for sports and understanding the mechanisms of the world through a scientific lens. However, she believes that identity is not as simple as it seems and that creating a seamless concept of the individual draws upon several tenets of individuality. She attempts to break down the walls that restrict her from embracing her ultimate sense of self by defining her own values as she journeys through life.
StudentMarco is a confident, open-minded, forthright student at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa who passionately contributes to the all that he commits to. He considers himself to be both charismatic and driven, feeling empowered to voice his concerns about issues that are important to him. Being surrounded by stereotypes that inhibit the ability to empathize and connect with different individuals, he aims to challenge these social stigmas and revise the ideologies so prevalent in a community setting.
StudentMartha Malambugi is a Diploma Programme 2 student at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa who plans to pursue psychology at university in the coming months. An effervescent and compassionate individual, she is on a continual search for that which sets her heart on fire. Her past experiences, and current challenges drive her down the path of self growth, as she aims to not only improve herself, but augment the lives and experiences of others.
Arts EducatorMichael Wamaya teaches ballet in Kenya’s Kibera and Mathare slums for One Fine Day, a programme that attempts to encourage students to reach their full potential. As an instructor and talented ballet dancer, he combines the teaching of dance skills with social skills. In this programme, he explores the individual human potential and creativity and incorporates these concepts into conversations on identity, knowledge, culture, and self-confidence. Michael is proud to be bringing brighter futures into these areas of Nairobi and promoting arts and arts education as valuable and viable experiences for Kenya. Michael was recently awarded as a Top 10 Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize in 2017.
Performance PoetMufasa is a renowned Kenyan performance poet who uses spoken word art to tell stories and to humanize situations. Passionate about human dignity and justice, he uses concept events to discuss and showcase works that are meant to ignite conversations and instigate social consciousness. Mufasa also serves as a judge and workshops facilitator at Poetry Slam Africa, a competition that aims to recognize poets and spoken word artists discussing a range of current issues affecting Africa and the world at large.
StudentMuhaimina is currently an A Level student at Jaffery Academy in Mombasa, Kenya. Muhaimina emphasizes her studies in Maths, Business, and History. Muhaimina is passionate about her debating experience and has enjoyed the challenge this co-curricular has offered her as a growing student, She wishes to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics after her A Level graduation.
StudentNeema Gatumbu is a Diploma Programme 2 student at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa. A passionate and charismatic individual, she bears witness to the journeys of the people around her and uses them to inspire her creative pursuits. A lover of the arts, literature and psychology, she uses her talents to enhance the lives of others in any way she can.
Technology ExpertFounder & Managing Director of the Innovus Group, Osman Varwani is a proven business and technology leader with over twenty years of industry-gained experience. He is a networked tech expert with strategic insight, a mentor, an influencer and a thought leader. The Innovus Group helps local businesses rise to the challenge of disruptive change through provision of business and technology advisory services and solutions tailored to specific business and digital transformation needs. Osman also serves the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology under TVET as the Council Chairman of the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic and continues to serve on various other local, regional and international boards and committees serving various causes.
Diploma Programme CoordinatorShouquot Hussain. A teacher, a poet, an agnostic, a liberal, and a lifelong student of English literature. Sees himself as a wanderer who travels light, and does not care to take himself seriously at all – because that would be baggage. Loves the arts, because they tell stories – be it a book, a movie, a song, a play, or a painting. Hates the othering and bracketing of people, because that poisons even the best of stories. A staunch advocate of personal freedom and the freedom of choice, Shouquot is an incorrigible romantic who believes that building relationships is the key to building everything else.
Public Policy DirectorTendai is the Chair of the Kaya Advisory Board, a public policy initiative of the Foundation for Law and Governance Trust. He has been involved in public service for the last 20 years affirming lives, enabling ability and facilitating positive partnerships. He is the immediate former Economic and Governance Advisor to H.E Anne Waiguru, the Governor of Kirinyaga County and the former County Executive Committee Member for Children and Education in the County Government of Mombasa. Tendai holds a Bachelors Degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading, UK, where in July 1999, he was the first international student in the U.K. to be elected as the President & Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University Students Union. He is currently pursuing a distant learning Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Wahaab Jawaid Ali
StudentCommitted to a lifestyle that combines his passion for sports and his desire to push his limits both academically and otherwise, Wahaab strives to achieve balance in all that he does. He is an animated and determined student at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa who wishes to voice out his concern over the rigid educational framework that only considers academic results, as opposed to a more holistic evaluation of the individual. He hopes to engage the students in a discussion about creating their own custom definitions of success through unorthodox methods.