Mutana Gakuru

Sounds of Freedom

Mutana Gakuru is a Kenyan creative based between Paris and Nairobi, and is the digital innovations lead at African Digital Heritage as well as founder and creative producer of the African Fiction Academy; a hub for artistic innovation inspired by African cultural heritage.

In this podcast he talks about the 'Sounds of Freedom', an audio film series that captures the lives and personal experiences of the young men and women who chose to fight for Kenya's independence.


IG: @soundsoffreedom_africa

IG: @africadheritage

Sounds of Freedom Premiere here.

Episode Transcript

Mutana Gakuru - Sounds of Freedom


[00:00:00] Hosts (A/N): We sit in a dark forest.

Surrounded by Kenyan freedom fighters. With the legend himself Dedan Kimathi.

Guiding us through the oathing ceremony.


[00:00:09] We are so absorbed that for a moment. It skips our minds that we're in an auditorium in the heart of Nairobi CBD. Listening to the sounds of freedom audio film.


[00:00:20] Welcome to Afrika Design, a creative tour of Africa.

Introduction

[00:00:24] Mutana: My name is Mutana, full name is Mutana Wanjira Gakuru. I'm Kenyan and I'm 28. I am a resident in Paris. I've been here five years. I'm a creative. I've always been a creative. I started sketching in primary school. I did spoken-word poetry when I was 15 years old and I'd have to go to over 25 clubs where they had, you know, spoken word nights jam sessions.


[00:00:51] And I had to be accompanied by my sister who was older because there's no way a 16-year-old is entering a pub that was one phase of my life. I became a photographer when I started uni(university), made the transition into video, started shooting short films. I got into documentary filmmaking.


[00:01:08] And that's when I decided to make the shift into producing and to figuring out how it can become a producer. I felt working in Kenya because I'm born and raised Nairobian. So being born and raised Nairobian and means that I had a very good understanding of the city, but, nothing else essentially.


[00:01:27] And what I knew of course was from the media I consumed or for...From all these things and not getting to, especially through documentary filmmaking, I got to discover my own country a lot better and I got to discover what it means to be Kenyan. And that's when I also had the same reflections on, how can we develop our industries better?


[00:01:48] And I felt there was a huge gap in entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative spaces. And there was a huge gap in management. So that's exactly why I came to France. That's where I, you know, well, two years later after arriving here, I started my MSC in management and entrepreneurship in the creative economy to kind of see whether I could fill that gap in my own career and understand things a lot better about how to create business plans, how to manage creative projects and you know, how to take my own project that we're going to talk about today, from the ground and launch it as I'm expecting to do, this October.


[00:02:29] As I was doing this masters, I got a scholarship to, expand on my personal project, which is the African fiction academy, which, is a lab where we can come and experiment on ways to learn, create, and commercialize works of art inspired by African cultural heritage.


[00:02:48] And this is essentially what I'm working on today.

Sounds of Freedom

[00:02:52] Naitiemu and Adrian: how did the idea for the sounds of freedom take shape?


[00:02:56] Mutana: I've worked on audio sound maps before and what I appreciate about the sound maps, is their ability for you to discover an area geographically through sound? So, one of the projects we did was in, I did my masters in, the city of Nant in the west of France. And we got to discover a lot about the history of this city dating as far back as them being contributors to the slave trade.


[00:03:23] Because Nant was one of the slave ports of, France and also to discover the city's history through the experience with world war two, for example, and for us to be in it, it's almost the city that's furthest west of that, and to see how far the Germans

got, you know, like by the time you have that far, and you've taken up that much space in France, you basically just taken over France, you know, and, they had bankers there.


[00:03:54] For example, when you go to Nant, you see the German bunkers that have now been repurposed into creative spaces, so to have this history here and to return it through sound and to move around the city and to, you know, listen to all these different bits of history was quite inspirational for me.


[00:04:11] And it gave me quite a few ideas about how we should start telling our own stories. And so, two years later after COVID I started thinking about ways in which we can restart the cultural and creative industries and the creative economies. And because a lot of times when you're starting something budgets are tight, everything is

just really closed up and you don't have millions to do what you need to do.


[00:04:37] And so this body of experience, which of course is one of the thousands of ways in which creativity can express itself was for me an interesting opportunity to start in an affordable way. First of all, because creating audio is as simple as pressing

record. For example, yes, it can get more expensive.


[00:04:57] Yes. You can get better microphones. You can do all this stuff. But for me, it felt that to have this one product as an audio product was strategic financially for me. And it was also strategic in the sense that we could tell a story and about a people

in the same places where they experience the same things.


[00:05:18] The sounds of freedom project is a project about the lives and experiences of the people who fought for independence in Kenya. And it follows this one specific group. That's one of the main groups that fought for independence. That's called the

Mau Mau. And these people are known of course, for their guerrilla tactics in that they fought from the forest.


[00:05:41] It's the same forest that we'd like to bring the story in. So, we'd like you to move in these same spaces and experience, what it felt like to walk in this forest and to listen to these different stories. And another thing that I find quite interesting about this project is also its ability to reconnect us with our youth.


[00:06:04] And what I mean by that is these soldiers who fought for independence as Kenyans. We see them today as veterans and they are our grandparents. They are our great grandparents. And because of that, we're not really attached to their youth and

today, beautiful experiences. And to the fact that when they were fighting in the forest, they were younger than we are right now, for example, or they were in their early twenties, they were young and the young people who decided to drop everything else and fight for the independence of their country.


[00:06:37] And this is the main message to me. And this is the one thing that I feel the strongest about it.


The Audiofilm Experience

[00:06:41] Hosts (A/N): And this is what visitors will get to experience and feel during the exhibit.


[00:06:46] Mutana: we'll welcome you to the Patriot sanctuary, which is a place where we've designed to be a space of reflection about what it means to be a Patriot, what it means to be Kenyan, what it means to have rights for example, and how to put a voice to our freedom, because these sounds of freedom project it's not only an audio film experience, it's the experience for us as youth faced with some of these questions right now.


[00:07:13] and this story, this first episode is going to be about the story of two young men who are in their early twenties.


[00:07:22] They're recruited by whispers in the village, and they're asked to, put everything else down and to go into the forest because this is the time to fight for land and freedom. And it's quite possibly in the early fifties, right after the state of emergency of 1952. And during such a time, you can imagine if you were born in such a time, and you want to go and fight for independence, it really was something that you

know, to, to go to the forest, just wake up, go to the forest and fight for your freedom, where against the British government who are throwing.


[00:07:55] All the bombs that be, did not use in the second world war on this one forest that you are fighting in it's the experience that we are trying to dissect, so what we're

creating for you is an immersive experience through the lives of all these characters. And it's going to have several episodes that are going to develop this concept of what it meant to actually fight as a young person.


[00:08:22] And what we're calling, this is an experience inside the mind of a freedom fighter. So, it's going to have very psychological reflections and you're going to hear a lot of easy thoughts, active thoughts of a lot of these fighters and what they're

going through psychologically. And this is exactly what about 45-minute presentation is.


[00:08:44] And this first episode is the oath taking, what, if you were taking the oath at the age of 20, what would the experience be like for you? And this is what we are welcoming audiences to come through, sit down in this auditorium, have a listen and tell us how it feels and how we can develop this and how you can express yourself as

a result of this.


[00:09:04] And one of the installations we're going to have is an installation where you speak into the microphone and say, what does freedom mean to you? For example, and this is the experience that we are creating, essentially.


[00:09:17] Once you enter this room, it's, ceases as being just another auditorium. Just another place where you sit then you come and watch a movie or things like this. when you should expect to feel is a sort of intimacy to the project and to the story, because

the most important thing here, like the whole reason we're here is to


[00:09:38] rediscover life experiences. So, this is a life experience. That's very close to that of people who actually live these experiences. And it's something that prior to this

project, I personally didn't have access to. So, it's an intimacy that feels like you're sitting or standing right next to these people who were just about to make a life-changing decision into fighting for the freedom of Kenya.


[00:10:08] Over 11,000 fighters died, and that's the official number died fighting for this freedom that means that all these people, they have so many untold stories and because of post-colonialism, a lot of these stories were crushed down and a lot of us were expected to forget the story of the Mau Mau and to just move on, to just be money loving capitalists who want the best for Kenyan’s development and anything

before independence, let's not ask too many questions.


[00:10:40] And what we want you to feel is the human aspect, the humanity of this fight for independence.


[00:10:48] Hosts (A/N): And who, uh, the Maumau fighters.


[00:10:51] Mutana: The Mau Mau are kind of our heroes.


[00:10:54] You know, they're the people who fought for independence, and now we're free thanks to them and I'm a third generation Kenyan, meaning my mother wasn't necessarily born an independent Kenyan citizen, but in her early years in her teenage, she got to transition into independence.


[00:11:11] And her father, for example, got to also transition into this new state. And this movement for me, represented the heroes who fought against British imperialism in a situation where the British were quite possibly poised to win. So, they had all the guns,

all the tech, everything that they needed to stomp down this movement, but these fighters ended up putting on a good enough fight for us to be free today and that's what we know about the movement. However, when we go deeper into, and this is something I've done also just by what we did to write these episodes is, we got to discover that it's not as black and white as that, you know, it's, it's not as simple as them being the heroes of the day.


[00:12:00] actually the Mau Mau, were not our first leaders. our first leaders were not the people who fought in the forest for our independence and through this project where we're getting to understand the why, for example, what are these nuances and what exactly happened so that we attained independence.


[00:12:19] Mau Mau as you know, them are a group that fought mainly from the Mount Kenya forest and the Mt. Kenya region, all the way up to Karura forest, to make sure, to fight British oppression in these different, areas and make sure that Kenya is free.


Creation Process: Meet the Team &

Partners

[00:12:37] Hosts (A/N): Wanted to know what actually is entailed in creating an immersive audio film experience? Who are the people involved?


[00:12:44] Mutana: I got this idea last year, possibly November, December, 2020, and the first thing that I felt was that I am not in a position where I'm knowledgeable enough to speak about the Mau Mau experience, simply because I have not read about them in depth enough to act like an expert about it.


[00:13:02] So I'm not going to pretend to be an expert about it, even though it's a project that I feel passionate about and that we can execute. And, I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but being Kenyan does not mean you're qualified enough to speak about the history of Kenyan independence so for me, the very first people who I

contacted were the museum of British colonialism because they are a group who I

feel had started talking about this, had started saying guys, you know, these high schools in Kenya that were actually repurposed into high schools, but they were actually concentration camps before, or they were torture camps before these are the camps where they used to, you know, keep the, the wives and children of Mau Mau fighters, for example, and for them to not only present the research part of it, the documented part of it, but also to create digital content from it, where they have 3d models of what these detention camps look like or what this torture chamber looked like for me was the exact kind of spirit that I felt I needed.


[00:14:08] And they're the exact partners that I felt I needed to move forward. So, it's the museum of British colonialism that's a UK based, charity. that works on the subject of British colonialism and together with, some of the founders who are Kenyan,

they started in Kenya and the question of British colonialism in Kenya to explore these factors.


[00:14:29] So it is an organization that was led by Kenyans and British coming together to rediscover their history, it’s women led and it's led by young ladies who I feel represent me when they're talking about creating the bridge between these two worlds and trying to understand how the whole process of colonization went and what

exactly happened.


[00:14:51] And they also have a partner called African digital heritage who are the women led as well. They're volunteer led they're based in Nairobi, Kenya, and they're the ones who digitized. for example, when they were doing the 3d models, they are the ones who are doing that digitalization aspect of it.


[00:15:09] And I thought like this unit is complete in itself and they are partners who, after having been established in 2018, have a portfolio, that's interesting enough to create a lot of value for this project. And thank God when I pitched it to them, they

were like, yes, let's do this now.


[00:15:30] And, they definitely have been of great help to help us understand. They give us the material we needed. Now, of course, the next person I needed was a script writer. And he's a script writer who I've worked with for years and he's Ugandan and he's very experienced in, show running and creating scripts for television.


[00:15:51] And of course, as you can imagine, our main challenge was okay, so how do we create an audio experience? How do we translate this to audio because writing for television is not writing for audio? And that was also a journey that was very interesting for us to discover. And the museum of British colonialism gave us a researcher who ended up making the gap in our knowledge for us to know exactly how, the oathing ceremonies used to go or the different testimonials of guys who were

recruiting while they were young, so that you see, these are the components of research that we put into our fictional work to create an audio experience. We

coordinated the script, writing and production through another company called

friction entertainment, which is an audio-visual company.


[00:16:38] And we worked with the studio director to bring together the resources we needed. So that's where we recorded it from. So once we had the script, ready we recorded it at fiction entertainment, which has also Nairobi based and worked with now all of us to start bringing together the cast, all these people we recruited.


[00:16:57] A director because you see another challenge is that, okay, sure. a director can direct, anything visual, but to find a sound director. It was quite a huge learning curve for us because a lot of times, and I don't mean this in a bad way.


[00:17:13] Film directors rely a lot on what you see on what they're showing you. So, a lot of these times shifting this consciousness to what you're hearing is not exactly the same. So, we couldn't just pick up any director and expect them to be able to direct an

audio film. And we were lucky enough to find someone who's also has experience

in voice coaching


[00:17:36] and he's the one who ended up bridging the gap for us. That was absolutely brilliant. We work with a switcharoo. Who've been a consultant for this project, his whole time in, human resource mobilization. So, they sent over some production assistants to this project.


[00:17:53] And also with the experience in curating events, we've had a lot of success in trying to make sure this experience is as immersive as possible for you. And, once we had our film, we needed a bit more funding, of course. Our first funding partners are,

the European union national institutes for culture who.


[00:18:14] Launched a call called wasanii waomoke, wasanii, means artists, waomoke means, let them be empowered. So, it's like an artist empowerment fund and they came in they love the project and they want to see what it looks like, because I think we won the fund a few months ago and we've been in close contact with Alliance Francais

who were the vice presidency of the fund.


[00:18:37] And they are now by extension the hosts of this first exhibition that we're gonna show our audiences. So, Alliance Francais has been a huge supporter for the cultural and creative industries in Kenya, in east Africa. So having them as partners has also been great because they come with a wealth of experience on what it means

to start, you know, creative projects and to exhibit them.


[00:19:03] So I've honestly been very lucky to have a combination of partners who all complimented each other and who all built towards having a very solid product. of this fight for independence.


Who are the Mau Mau? Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi

[00:19:16] Naitiemu and Adrian: In the story you mentioned that there are young men who heard about Dedan Kimathi and went to the forest to meet Dedan Kimathi and, follow the Maumau fighters. Could you tell us more about Dedan Kimathi?


[00:19:28] Mutana: So Dedan Kimathi is the main hero, he's the main protagonist in this story kind of is the larger-than-life soldier, who we all know of. So, if you can't name any other freedom fighter, then you will name field Marshall, Dedan Kimathi, because he was one of the main figures who led this resistance movement.


[00:19:50] He is a very interesting character and I really like, learning more about him because he's, you know, a young man who was born in colonialism, so in a colonialist system. He used to be interested in school, he went to school, he studied.


[00:20:05] And he liked it so much that because they didn't have the resources for him to actually go to school regularly. He used to do side jobs and, you know, maybe tutor kids on the side so that he could get some money for that, or, you know, do some trips

so that you could go to class. And it's something that was quite interesting for him, this whole learning process, and now to write and things like this.


[00:20:28] And even to his dying moment, he still wrote letters. It's something that was to him. Very important. Even in his last letter, you spoke about the education of his son.

when someone who really believe in education, but life had a different plan for him, because you're colonized, you know, so he went and, I don't know, we can say registered in the army, you know, in the African rifle as they called them.


[00:20:53] So the African rifles or the African unit,of the British army, basically and during training, he had a temper problem. He had anger issues. He didn't really like being told what to do. And he was a bit sporadic. And I don't know, he punched his

superior in the face. I don't know. But somehow, he got kicked out. So, he was like, you know what?


[00:21:17] I think like, let's, let's just, let's just do something else. there was a really a movement called the KCA that had already started, you know, handing out pamphlets about the need to fight for independence. It's like, you know, I'm going to join those

guys. So, he joined them, he became the secretary. by the time, you know, things were heating up.


[00:21:36] He became the oath administrator. So, if you are going to meet that Dedan Kimathi in 1952, you are going to meet him at an oathing ceremony where he's telling you the vision of the Maumau and he's riling you up and firing you up to tell you my friend, we here to a fight for land and freedom. The rest we don't know, it's not about

being European.


[00:21:57] It's not about being African. It's about fighting for the land that it's truly yours. So, I would have loved to be in an oathing, ceremony like that. So, we, we wrote that in the film because, you know, we don't know much about how this oathing

ceremonies used to go, but in this film, you get to be right at the center of such moments.


[00:22:18] Where, if you've seen, if you type Dedan Kimathi on Google, for example, you see him right after he was shot and, captured. Bringing him back to moments like these, moments where even he was on a personal journey in 1952, he ended up dying in '58 I think and bringing these stories.


[00:22:39] Back to life is something that I found very important for us all, you know, to rediscover the humanity of a lot of these people. And to us, the legends that are said about him, people say he could shape, shift into a leopard and then you know, hide in

the trees. And he could move at the speed of light from one side of the forest to another.


[00:23:00] And that he was 10 feet tall sometimes. And he could heal 10 soldiers with the swing of a hand. And, you know, a lot of legends were told about him. And what we're speaking about is the man behind this legend, you see, and when you listen to him and when you listen to him speaking, his voice will possibly not even fill the room

as if it were the skies that opened and God was speaking to you. It is the sound of a big brother. Who's telling you, we need to focus and get this freedom going. So, this is the Dedan Kimathi that we want people to rediscover in this story.


Timeline of Maumau movement

[00:23:37] Naitiemu and Adrian: What were these years of the Maumau fighting?


[00:23:39] Mutana: It's not as black and white as that it's because the identity of the Mau Mau was also something that is quite…there's still a debate about it because they didn't start fighting for freedom. When the state of emergency was declared in 1952, when the state of emergency was declared, that's when the British were like, okay, now stuff's hitting the fan and we need to declare an official state of emergency And it's this declaration of a state of emergency that gave the Kenyan governor the ammunition he needed to drop all the guns He needed to drop to clear out this movement but that

doesn't mean that that's when they started or that's when you see the fight was a decade long By that time you see people were even from world war one , there's fighters who came back and wanted to. you know, who was speaking about freedom and independence and it's the story of Harry Thuku, for example and in, 1945, Kenyans came back from the war and they were completely rejected by the British army and just taken back to their villages with, nothing but a tap on your shoulder.


[00:24:48] They decided to start using these skills that they got to start showing other people fighting tactics. they became now the first, in my opinion, that first kind of

generation of freedom fighters who were more mature and were teaching their younger brothers, guys these are the British fighting tactics.


[00:25:08] And this is how we can readapt our own tactics and develop a fighting style that can guarantee our success. And that's why I'm saying it's not as clear exactly when it started. It is a movement that was definitely much stronger towards the end of the,40s and that died out at independence.


Voice actors & environment

[00:25:28] Naitiemu and Adrian: back to the experience. Are we going to hear, uh, Dedan Kimathi are we going to hear voice actors? Are we getting to hear sound effects? Can you give us a clue?


[00:25:38] Mutana: Every song you're going to hear every one you're going to hear are voice actors. Who we auditioned for this project? So Dedan Kimathi, for example, we audition someone for the role of Dedan Kimathi and even when we were auditioning someone for the role of Dedan Kimathi, we didn't audition for a very mature voice.


[00:25:59] He's not 40, he's not 50. He's in his twenties. So, you hear a very young voice in all the voices that you hear in this film are going to be surprisingly very young voices. And we did that for very specific reasons so that you can feel the youthfullness of

this experience. You can feel the naivety, you can feel the playfulness of this whole experience because these people were exactly that they were young people, you know, they were not soldiers.


[00:26:30] They were not, you know, the captain America version of you got no one was born a super hero in our story. Everyone in our story is young naive, and just living the human experience. So, everyone that you hear represents that, and the sound effects

that we have are to the best of our ability from that era.


[00:26:49] So the guns that you hear, for example, are from that era and the environment or the, the, the different you know, when you're walking in a forest.


Freedom

[00:26:59] Mutana: You can feel that you're in a forest. You can feel the wind moving. You can feel the different animals you know, making the different sounds.


[00:27:09] Hosts (A/N): sounds of freedom, explores and questions. The meaning of freedom, patriotism, independence and democracy. We wanted to know what these mean to Mutana.


[00:27:18] Mutana: Freedom to me is an opportunity. To express yourself in the way you feel you should. Of course, not to disrespect anyone else or not to freedom is not

destructive in this sense. You see the moment Nelson Mandela said that both the person who, and this is not like a direct quote, but the person who oppresses and the person who is oppressed, they're both in the same system So they're both in the system of slavery, no one there is different from the other. You're not superior from the next person because you're the slave master. And for me, freedom means being in a place where you can, take what you've learned from the world and express it in however way you wish in a way that creates more value to the very next person.


[00:28:06] Naitiemu and Adrian: Nina Simone said freedom is having no fear. And that to me is struck me, like when you're able to live without fear. And it goes to what you've said, being able to express yourself enough with the situation. what is a Patriot? What does it mean to be patriotic?


Patriotism

[00:28:20] Mutana: For the first Patriots, it's a twisted concept, but it means that a system of nationalism was created and a Patriot unfortunately exists within this nation.


[00:28:32] That was created for them, so. As a Kenyan. I wasn't a Kenyan before. It's you whose come and told me, okay, now I'm a Kenyan and now I need to be proud of being Kenyan. So, it's a twisted concept because now it's like, okay, you're Kenyan. So now I need to fight for independence as a Kenyan. Which is something that the Pan-Africanist movement was trying to really break these borders.


[00:28:55] Because like, the difference between Kenya and Tanzania was basically just the, British and the Germans being like, okay, we're going to move straight and that's going to be the border. And we are going to keep Kilimanjaro and you guys can have Mount Kenya and Mt. Elgon, you know, so it's a twisted concept to be a Patriot in this sense, but to be a Patriot of what you believe in is a whole different thing.


[00:29:19] And I think that's what we're talking about here. It's not about being a Kenyan Patriot it's about being someone who believes that they were born with rights to their land, with right to their expression, with right. To their freedom. And they're fighting for it. So, definition of being a Patriot is different from the political definition.


[00:29:37] Which is what I was saying. That's the wide definition of what a patriot is. But to me, someone who can fight for what they believe in, which is a shared vision of a community, even, if you can come together as a community and say, this is what we're

fighting for, then maybe you’re not using the right word, but I'd considering you a Patriot of your community or of your people.


[00:30:01] Naitiemu and Adrian: remember sneaking into a friend sociology lecture many years ago, and his lecturer was explaining that a Patriot, if you see yourself as a Patriot, then nationalism and patriotism are two opposite things almost because they can be because a Patriot wouldn't litter on the floor, they would look after their environment. They would look after that habitat, their community, as you said. What about independence?

Independence

[00:30:25] Mutana: It's what I’m linking to this concept of nationalism. Where, what does it mean to be an independent citizen of Kenya? Yeah, it means that in Kenya there are certain rights and freedoms that I have attained simply by being born in this geographical region. But for me to be truly independent goes back to.

[00:30:48] What it means to be free. A free thinker is an independent thinker. And those two things definitely go hand in hand. Of course, the politics of the world tries to make as much of a distinction as possible, but for me, they both should exist in the same way. I am not obliged because of the color of my skin or because of my social status to do what you want to do and to achieve your vision. If it's not a vision that I share myself. So, independence is your independence from a state of oppression from another external force,

[00:31:24] now whether we are truly free is another question. Whether we are to really independent is another question, you know, what are we independent from? Are we financially independent? For example, are we socially independent?

Soundmapping

[00:31:36] Hosts (A/N): We've been working on a sound Atlas this year for African crossroads. And we wanted to find out from Mutana more about the other projects he's worked on.

[00:31:46] Mutana: One of the partners that we're hoping to work with as soon as possible, they're on echos.xyz and they create immersive audio experiences.

[00:31:57] And they're people who have been in contact with, for quite a long time we've been trying to see how we can partner to actually do this. And they're working on geo-localization and geo locating the different the different pieces of content that you may have in an augmented way. What that means is you'd have your headphones on and you don't necessarily need to press anything.

[00:32:20] You just need to walk into a room and the story begins. And that's the aspect that will help us which are saying in the beginning to rediscover all these different spaces, you know, to just be walking in the middle of a forest and stumble on a conversation.

What's next?

[00:32:34] Naitiemu and Adrian: So, as we are winding up, we'd like to know what's next. After this, what are the plans?

[00:32:40] Mutana: once we release this first one, we have the next two scripts ready so we're going to work on, doing this again and again, and that's why it's a series, you know, expounding on this, what we're calling the human experience or the fight for independence in Kenya. We definitely going to go in depth with that because these conversations that we need to have as Kenyans and I'm saying as Kenyans, because I feel it's a truly organic project and it's truly organic to being a Kenyan right now is that

these questions that were left unanswered and there is a divide that we haven't really gotten the chance to talk about.

[00:33:22] For example we both know about the great betrayal of the Maumau soldiers who were immediately betrayed by the government, and what does it mean to be a Kenyan? Now who's on these two sides of the war, because when the Maumau were fighting

[00:33:37] the British did not get out of their houses to fight this war for themselves. They used Africans as human shields in this war for independence, for colonialism on their side. So, for them to colonize they did oppress a large number of people into doing

exactly what they wanted them to do.

[00:33:56] And that definitely segmented Kenyans, you know, in such a crazy way over, because one brother is fighting for the Maumau and other brother is fighting for the British. So, one day they will have guns pointed at each other. And these are all conversations that are very difficult to talk about, but conversations that I feel through

entertainment, we can find ways to bring it back up and to raise people's reflection about what it means to be Kenyan because now in the long run, I hope that it's something that can help us make better decisions about the leaders that we elect, for example, or because I feel politically there's a lot of wisdom that comes with being aware of your past. And once we come and we develop this that I think we can make wiser decisions about what the next point is.

[00:34:44] So the short term, the medium term is developing the entire audio series Exhibited in the same ways and they're going to work towards putting it in different spaces and seeing how people react to it and taking it to different parts of the world.

[00:34:59] Next, summer we're going to have a listening in Paris and that's something that I'm quite interested in exploring and have one in t he UK and seeing how UK citizens react to be on your film series. So that's basically what's next. And to building the partnerships and to getting all these guys to, you know, to talk about this, to not only see it, but to collaborate and to move it outside of the audio immersive space, because for us, that's how we choose to express it.

[00:35:30] But we would like artists from all fields to experiment on that. That would definitely be our number one goal, to collaborate with artists of all domains and to maybe even have a festival to celebrate African freedom. That's definitely things that are going to come in the near future.

[00:35:49] For example, it gave me a new found respect for Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, who we know from his works in literature and who had a play called Maito Juira, which was a play that talked about the evils of colonialism and post-colonialism and because of what he talked about concerning the evils of post-colonialism.

[00:36:11] At the time in 1982, when Kenya was under the dictatorial rule of Daniel Arap Moi these were things that were not talked about. So, it also made me understand that quite possibly. Now it's a cool exhibition that we can also all come and see and all do this and that. And the political implication is not as strong as it was in 1982, because things to the fight that people have fought for Kenya's democracy, then I do have the opportunity to have an exhibition like this and talk about it openly.

[00:36:44] But I know that for people who came before us, it's not the case. And I want to use also this platform and this podcast to talk about that, about thanking that people who did come before us to make sure that we have these opportunities to get the next generation to start thinking differently about their democracy and their

patriotism, and their freedom and independence.

[00:37:07] Naitiemu and Adrian: This is really important work and we hope that it will grow perhaps other people from other nations, I don't even want to say nations. Right. But you know what I mean? And, and the terms of Patriots in terms of this conversation, perhaps it opens up the stage for other people to have to share their sounds of freedom as well.

Where can people find you?

[00:37:27] Hosts (A/N): This is where you can find out more about the project and Mutana.

[00:37:31] Mutana: We're going to be on the African digital heritage, Instagram page. And from there, you'll get all the information. We're also going to be on the sounds of freedom, underscore Africa page on Instagram. And that's where we're going to be developing this, this reflection.

[00:37:47] And we're saying underscore Africa, because this is an African story. We'll talk about some of the freedom in Kenya, but you know, these sounds of freedom from all over the continent. And it's like the map you're talking about. You know, we want to map these sounds of freedom all over the continent and to talk about it in these different contexts.

[00:38:04] What if we talk about the Zanzibar revolution, for example, these are definitely things we want to explore and just come through, join the community. We're going to have clubhouse communities. For example, wherever you just get on calls and talk about it. So African digital heritage and sounds of freedom.

[00:38:21] That's exactly where you'll find us.

[00:38:23] Naitiemu and Adrian: Have you met any freedom fighters during the project or do you intend to meet some freedom fighters?

[00:38:29] Mutana: I intend to I'm based in Paris. So, I haven't even met my team. I've coordinated all of this from my bed sitter in Paris. So, I definitely hope that the project can develop well enough for me to get opportunities in the future to be part of the audience and to see some of these veterans and to welcome them. We've also invited some veteran associations to come.

[00:39:00] And listen to this and react to it. So, it's, it's definitely something that I'm doing as an homage to them with hopes that they will also come through and give us their thoughts and possibly give us their blessing moving forward.

[00:39:14] Naitiemu and Adrian: this has been amazing. Thank you very much Mutana.

[00:39:17] Mutana: For sure. For sure. Thanks so much for your time.

[00:39:20] Hosts (A/N): Thank you for listening. Be sure to catch the next episodes on Afrika Design podcast. That's Africa with a K. On your favorite podcast platform,

[00:39:28] and for full episode transcripts and information, head to africa.design.

Episode Credits

Produced by Nairobi Design Week

Hosts: Naitiemu and Adrian Jankowiak

Editor: David King'ori

Shorts & Artwork: Felix Owaga

Music: Phinoshey

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