When I was selected to be an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow back in late December 2016, I knew that I was entering another level of favour and opportunity but I really had know idea what it would look like. When I stepped into Johannesburg the on 19th of February, the first impressive human being that I met was an entomologist/geneticist who works at Oxford University. She had brilliance and a beautiful inheritance and so she was the full package to me. She was Kenyan and speaking to her as a fellow New Voices Fellow-- I realised that I shared several spaces with her: expat living in the UK, malaria researcher, and African citizen. The latter is something that I am, yet I had not fully occupied my entire life. This is because its difficult to define yourself as something without continuously experiencing that thing.
During our one-week training, the experiences of, mostly , Africans across social class, religious background, and most pertinent: across social causes, totally engulfed and... accepted me! The first day of the conference was all about leadership... Our host Akaya Windwood, president of Rockwood Leadership Institute, used her perfected peaceful presence and thoughtfully crafted questions to make all us, Fellows and the Aspen Institute staff and Mentors alike, reflected on those in our lives who made the space for us to be where we were. We also had to think of those that we had influenced and how our presence had affected their lives-- this of course made me weep like a baby as I thought of my siblings, and in particular my younger brother. Throughout that first day we...Read More