This East African nation is known for stability. But drought and rising prices are fueling insecurity as the world’s poorest country is mired in conflict.
By Stephen McDonell
It’s the kind of place where most people look to the heavens and feel themselves blessed to be alive – at least, that’s the message of a new song by a group of young women. “We are Africans, we are part of Africa,” sings a group of women. The chorus goes on: “we are Africans, we are not Africans.” “We just want to be treated as humans.” That’s where the “people-first” sentiment comes from, and it’s the message by the young woman group known as HEMANI.
The phrase is popular on the Internet and can be found on the Facebook page of HEMANI, which means “I have a heart of men and women.” There are more than 30,000 Facebook fans of the group, but many were unaware it was a group of women singing about their country’s struggles.
The song, entitled “A Message to the World,” is a prayer to be heard by the rest of the world. The video, posted to YouTube, shows the young women singing the chorus and dancing with their arms outstretched toward the camera. They then pray to Allah (God) and make a sign with their hands that says “HEMANI” before returning to sing the chorus again.
Since 2008, the group has been touring the country performing at theaters throughout Nairobi, with two concerts scheduled for this weekend. The group’s goal is to reach the rest of the world, with the goal of getting people to hear the chorus of “A Message to the World.”
“I think we are very different,” says HEMANI lead singer, Hiba, as she describes herself as “very liberal.” Hiba joined the group when she was 21, and as of this writing, she is the group’s youngest member.
Her father is a doctor – a doctor who would give her his blood for transfusion. Her mother is the group�