Celebrating East African Writing!

My Afternoon Well-Spent

Written by Flora Ojow

Months reduced to weeks then to days and as hours slowly elapsed; the long anticipated Storymoja Hay Festival was finally there. This was my very first invitation to attend the festival. On Friday the first of October, the premiere of the three day event I availed myself.

At the railway club grounds I was particularly impressed by the variety of personalities that seemed to connect; from the naive schoolchildren to famous people.

At the US embassy stage and Kwani tent, tension was mounting as the participants of the storytelling competition waited with baited breath for the judges to pass their final decision.


James Murua, Judge. Storytelling Competition. Friday, Oct 1


I could see perspiring faces and the weather was partly to blame for it was obvious the competition was stiff. Those who had impressed the judges in their masterpiece jumped up in ecstasy when their names were mentioned as having qualified for the next round. Friends and relatives gave out deafening screams evidently as sign of their joy. However, they were advised on areas of improvement which was surely a humbling experience for them. I also made acquaintances.



The sun was scorching hot and I took a break from this exciting event and quench my thirst with a cold drink.My next stopover that afternoon was at the Storymoja tent. This was a totally different experience from my previous encounter with the hyper active participants. There were just a handful of people in this serene room where all had given Tazim, the speaker their full attention.

Her demeanor was pleasant and very accomodative. This motivational speaker brainstormed the challenges of achieving goals in life. I especially liked the phrase she used; ‘sitting on the fence’. This is true of those who like to hold their hands and think there is someone out there who is responsible for their joy, sadness, success and failures; a very destructive attitude. I also was encouraged to see that my peers were facing the same challenges as I.

Tazim helped us to realize that power is not measured by social status, level of education, fame or beauty as per the common perception but the ability to believe in oneself. This was really food for thought as I always worry about what others say. The session would have lasted for eternity were it not for the next group to put it to an end. It was amazing how time flies for the sun was already setting when I decided to make my exit.

As darkness fell in the hordes of people that had once filled the ground started to vanish slowly. All definitely with a story to tell in their minds. Young and old all exhausted from the day full of activity. Much to be recommended was the effort put by all who made the day a success. And that was my story of the one world of many stories.

Comedy moments

Aly Khan Satchu at his Wealth Creation Session

Michela Wrong at a discussion about Whistleblowers

Benjamin Zephaniah at the British Council Marquee



This entry was posted on October 7, 2010 by in Writing.
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