Transforming Communities using poetry

“I believe we all have abilities in our own unique ways, and when we come together, definitely change will be felt.” 

Meet Rajab Salim, a vibrant young man from Mombasa who is using poetry to create change in the coastal region of Kenya.  Popularly known as Malenga 001 (Malenga is Swahili for Poet and 001 is the county number of Mombasa), Rajab started doing pieces in 2010 while in Primary school.  Inspired by a character from the Swahili book Siku Njema by an author named Ken Walibora, he started performing his poetry in 2016…having successful build an audience on his Facebook page. 

His poetry touches on issues affecting the community such as corruption, rape, poverty, education, terrorism and the likes. “I believe when young people hear from fellow youth especially when the piece is humorous and entertaining, it gets their attention as well as relate and somehow spark conversation”.

With such promising talent and with a desire to create impactful change, Rajab found himself at Swahilipot Hub, a community of artists and technologists hub based in Mombasa-Kenya whose goal is to help the community develop themselves by nurturing the community members to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate in their skills, character or with their talent.

Today, the coastal region has one of highest unemployment rates in Kenya – roughly 1.8m youth. Having young people like Malenga who use their talent and skills to find creative and innovative solutions to everyday real-life issues affecting their community. Who better to fix an issue than the person who understands the context better? 

Malenga’s story is an example that goes to show we can uniquely tackle problems in our society using our skills and talent.

Kenya nzima tuko wima, kwakupigia makofi
Tumefurahi mtima, na tabasamu hazifi
Umeileta heshima, umefanya kazi safi
Ni arubaini na mbili, kilomita umekata
Umepambana kikweli, ushindi ukaupata
Kipchoge u mkali, nakusifu sitosita
Sekunde kumi na tisa, zimebaki kwenye saa
Dunia umetikisa, bendera yetu yapaa
Kistajaabu ya Musa, Kipchoge ndiye taa
Kenya nzima ni vicheko, mbinja na vigelegele
Najua huko uliko, zakufikia kelele
Karibu nyumbani kwako, twakusubiri tu tele

Rajab Salim Snow
[email protected]

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