In September 2009, Sheniz Janmohamed, President and Founder of Ignite Poets, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to establish its Kenyan branch. With the guidance and support of fellow poets Muki Garang, Pepe Haze and Dennis Dancan Mosiere, Sheniz was able to organize a show of Kenyan poetry, music and spoken word. The show, Ignite Poets: Two Nations, One Flame, was held at the Alliance Francaise De Nairobi on October 7th, 2009.
Featured poets included Maik Kwambo, Wanjiku Mwaura, Kennet B, Moses Omondi (Pillars of Kibera), Ritongo Afrika, Joshua Muraya (Storymoja) and many more. The proceeds from the ticket sales were donated to the Hawkers Market Girls Centre in Parklands, Nairobi. The Hawkers Market Girls Centre is a partner with the Kenya Girl Guides Association and trains young underprivileged women in various skills including computer literacy, basic accounting and entrepreneurship. The girls from the HMGC performed for the first time at Ignite Poets: Two Nations, One Flame, reciting a poem written by one of their peers, Caroline, entitled “Unity and Diversity”. The topics covered at Ignite Poets: Two Nations, One Flame included government accountability, the post-election violence in Kenya, women’s empowerment and hope for Africa’s future and its next generation.
At Ignite Poets: Two Nations, One Flame, Sheniz Janmohamed presented a collection of poems, words of encouragement and letters from authors, writers and artists from around the world, including letters from Lahore, Pakistan, Trinidad & Tobago and Toronto, Canada.
Ignite Poets was established in 2003 and its aim is to provide opportunities for young poets, musicians and spoken word artists to collaborate and creatively work together for peace and partnership. Ignite’s second show, Ignite II: Unite, raised money for The World Partnership Walk (The Aga Khan Foundation).
“The contribution you have made will definitely go to enabling the girls to pay for their computer fees for exams so that just like the pens you gave them, they will be able to connect with others who write and give the spoken word its power to heal.
You have spread the word of the Hawkers Market Girls Centre, far and wide. The messages from all of them are poignant and say volumes.” -Shariffa Keshavjee, Founding Member of Hawkers Market Girls Centre