I recently interviewed Murray Shiraz, a spoken word enthusiast in Kampala. I met Murray through a Facebook connect before arriving here due to my interest in developing productive relationships with intellectually motivated individuals who have a direct and positive impact on the empowerment of the Kampala community.
Through his culture awareness, youth appreciation and love for uplifting people within and around the community, I knew Murray would be an ideal candidate to consider for my You Tube platform as this would give me an opportunity to expose his involvement with the spoken word movement in this great city on the hills.
Recently, Murray started a new program for Ugandan teens which allows them to express their talents, creativity and poetic influence in positive ways.
I knew that prior to my arrival, it was imperative for me to connect with people who were like-minded so that I can feel a sort of attachment that would help bridge the gap between the painful distance from my son and my new home environment.
Initially, I knew about the monthly poetry slam which showcased artists from the city. I always admired spoken word artists for their shameless approach and bold stage presentation. This monthly event, hosted by Open Mic Uganda, is definitely one of pure oratory madness, truly awakening a spirit of wisdom, pain, experience, intuition and extreme confidence as words connect, repeat, flow, slay and sound off, unapologetically.
So, I finally built enough courage to attend one of Murray’s spoken word events so that I could feel the power for myself. I even took the platform and performed my own personal piece which spoke from my heart and clearly from the depths of my soul as I shared the secrets, passions and painful experiences regarding love…
I told my no yes and told my yes to go for it. In the blink of an eye, I was on stage, performing yet one of my first spoken word performances to an audience of complete strangers.
After this incident, I decided that spoken word was more than an opportunity to speak. It gave others an opportunity to listen to the pain, happiness, sadness, challenges, triumphs, victories and power-driven moments. Words have the power to change, destroy and renew minds and of course, the soul. So, as I digress, I realized that making this meaningful connection with Murray was advantageous. I realized that it was necessary to stay connected with individuals who positively change lives.
There you have it! My indecisiveness about Kampala was validated in some sense. I could feel that my decision to travel half way across the world and leave my 8-year old son to teach at a new school and embrace this unique African culture was purposeful, at least in the context of making meaningful connections.So, in light of a recent poetry event that was hosted by Murray, I thought it would be ideal to have an interview to showcase the new and exciting initiatives underway which are ultimately enriching the lives of young people.
I hope you understand the capacity of my excitement as I share the news of local Ugandan high school students having the opportunity to participate in a poetry competition which allows them to highlight their talents, spoken word abilities and confidence. Do you know what this can do for a teen, especially in light of the fact that they may not have much encouragement or positive reinforcement otherwise? Kudos to Murray! Check out the video for yourself!
All in all, the mind is a terrible thing to waste as well as the art of spoken word. I’m so glad Murray had the opportunity to start this poetry initiative for teens as well as encourage fellow spoken word enthusiasts to share their wisdom inspired messages with the rest of the listening and conscious world.
Until next time, be blessed.