Poetry is fast growing art and culture in Nairobi. I got to interact with Martin Mwangi better known as K-9 who emerged third runners up in the 60th Slam Africa. This is the biggest spoken word/poetry competitions in Kenya.
From watching Dorphan, another Kenyan poet in 2011, he knew he wanted to partake in spoken word. He was only in Form two at this time. 21 year old K-9 now writes his own pieces about issues that ordinary people face, especially in the ghetto where he resides, Githurai.
He draws his inspiration from his hope for change. K-9 not only aims to entertain people but to make a difference in their lives. One of his pieces from his Slam Africa performance struck me. He spoke of ladies who want and seek gratification from men. He used his words skillfully to satirize such women.
At the moment he is concentrating on live performances as he continues with his studies. He is a 2nd year student of business management at the Railway Training Institute. So far he has performed at Artbeat, Poetry after lunch and Poetry at the park now called Ndimi Zetu.
K-9 has also worked with Brass N Bronze drama group and S4C (SANAA FOR CHANGE) which speaks to high school students about using art as a way of expressing themselves. He states one of his challenges as poor recognition and appreciation of poetry and spoken word artistes compared to other art forms such as music. Passion, determination and fans who appreciate his work keep him going.
Being Poetry Slam Africa’s third runners up definitely made him feel like a champion!