I am Nisha. As an older sister of 4, I am driven by the love of and for my younger brothers. I am currently on a path of discovering my faith, in addition to myself, and currently focus on the idea of self-love and how to better understand who I am and who I want to be. TEDxYouth has offered me an opportunity, a platform that grants my ideas and passions validity. I am excited to put out information into the world that can generate curiosity, creativity, and question. As a self-identified Meme Lord, I bring value to what is frequently-undervalued, and seek to push the world to understand how technology and youth are changing how and why we communicate.
If there is something that I can do to help my community – my family – why would I not? Because ignorance has taken control, we tend to overlook the consequences of our actions. But what if a small, simple initiative could help change the lives of those who need it the most? My name is Muskaan Bhaidani and I want to break the boundaries that separate ‘I’ from ‘US’. If we can show the world that it’s not about charity, but about equity, we can truly understand what it means to live in a community.
I hate the question “who are you”, because I can tell you my name is Ciku Kimani but that’s not what you want to hear. You want to hear the gritty details that make up myself, what I think about, who I talk to, what I like, what I eat. Haha, there are so many things I can tell you about myself but I don’t know where to start. My name is Ciku Kimani, more often than not I am confused for a 7 year old when I really am 18. I like books, and art and the occasional walk on the beach. I’m giving a TEDx Talk on the existence of self when I barely know myself. I love people and people love me back. If you ask me who am I. I am a manifestation of my thoughts and experiences and other people’s thoughts and experiences. A constant revolution.
I am Aroha Oyugi, and I spend the majority of my free time either creating music or attempting to interact with autistic children. The only problem with the latter is that they have a tendency to run away from me during our first interaction. Our encounters have now developed into something more: I observe and learn as they just live, always from a safe enough distance. One of my favorite experiences was with a boy who has this amazing ability to mimic well-known Kenyan radio presenters. He was obsessed with waves; he’d take off his school tie and create an oscillation as if it were a circus baton. Maybe he was imagining radio static, or changing the channel frequency. Maybe that’s just me. See, the greatest lesson I’ve learnt as a result of these interactions is that we’re not here to change people. That’s not anyone’s purpose on Earth. We exist as honest, substantive, free spirits. To just be.
Three adjectives that define Elya are charismatic, determined, and ambitious. These traits push her to question the set ideas that define everyday life. From a very young age, Elya recognized the beauty and poise that surrounded her upbringing. Growing up in Madagascar, Elya recognized the confusion of African resources, commonly found in international brands, but frequently rejected when presented locally. She became impassioned with the idea of revolutionizing the cosmetics sector, and initiated her own cosmetic brand at the age of 15. As a current Diploma student, Elya is pursuing an education and career in business management in which she can continue to reverse the misconceptions of African value. As a proud African woman, Elya seeks to be one of many upcoming entrepreneurs that re-establish her homeland as the land of ethical and local opportunities.
Neel Patel is a soon-to-be adult, raised in coastal Mombasa, Kenya, and is ready to sail through the harsh currents the real world has to offer. As an aspiring icon, Neel strives to bring his love for theater, his defiance of the norm, and his passion for the arts and the spread of inclusivity to all walks of life. Pursuing politics and law next year in university, Neel seeks to continue his crusade against gender inequality and stereotyping. Neel wishes to view the world by recognizing one’s capabilities and personalities before identifying their gender or race or age. Neel wishes to continue to influence others in the embracement of support, allegiance, and togetherness.
Hezekiah is a caring and calming being, grounded in a spread of passions and interests that make his day-to-day life hectic, yet rewarding. As a confident swimmer and rugby player, a growing computer scientist, and heart-breaking guitarist, Hezi brings out the many aspects of his heart and soul through his hands and mind. Hezi is a man of the world, a voice for many and selfless in his actions and diction. As a quieter person, TEDx is a major step for Hezi in his path of claiming the wealth of knowledge and values in his early experiences in the technology field. Hezi will be pursuing a career in information technology, and seeks to bring his identity into this field as a model for all other minorities that have faced exclusivity in the age of technology.
I am your classic young student who wishes to explore different things. I am an artist, businessman, speaker. Like you I am fascinated by many things, for me, I am most captivated by the growing possibilities and opportunities within entrepreneurship and I am increasingly interested in how this world works. I am someone who is constantly exploring and doing, and have never let my age or inexperience define what is possible for me. Along with the love of entrepreneurship, I feel very connected to marine life and the issues that face coastal communities, such as my new home in Kenya. I am driven by numbers, and seek to be lead a new generation of young, socially-minded African innovators. Those both that marvel at ingenuity and are marveled for their own.
Gregory: "If I was to describe myself with one word, it would be “different”, and my city is a big influence on why I’d say this. Nairobi’s mix of race, ethnicities, cultures and views makes it both homey and a new experience each time I leave my bed to start the day. Exposure to a variety of cultures and worldviews are what make me believe I am unique. Being an artist allows me to share my lens with everyone who experiences what I create and as I grow and the lens evolves, my art evolves with it. As an artist, someone able to replicate the reality around them, I experience and act on the world around me in a way I have never seen in another person. As a different being, I seek to challenge perspective, for those that can’t, for for those that can, but won’t be heard. Being a part of TEDx this year is giving me a chance to share a crucial part of my artistic journey and the struggles that I have faced within this passion of mine."
Lotfi: "I am a self-proclaimed lover of all things fiction, a friendly eccentric, and creative soul that strives to bring color to my own, as well as other people’s lives. I began my literary journey when I was 5, and I have, since then, consumed a multitude of books, though I only began to write when I was 14. As a budding novelist, I have fostered entire worlds in my mind, born from my imagination, but I am always inhibited by an invisible force wearing down at me. As a writer, I consider myself a kind of artist, and as an artist, the wish to become the greatest puts a great amount of pressure on me, as I know that the only way to reach the most people with my work is to have a qualitative advantage over everyone else. I, as well as my colleague, Greg, wish to spread awareness about the issue of ‘perfectionism’ and how this ties together with artistic procrastination, and hopefully, we might even change the world view of someone stuck in a vicious cycle of self loathing."
This is Sharon. She has five sisters, who she so fondly loves, and who have impacted her family deeply in how they experience and view their home. The gender identity of women in Kenyan has strongly impacted Sharon as an eldest sister, and this identity has shaped how Sharon views her purpose. Sharon seeks to bring about positive change for all girls in Africa, and sees TEDx as a platform for that call to action. Sharon strives to be a part of the background, her quiet nature and watchful eyes has made her an observer of the world and its more covert facets. However, Sharon views silence as the gateway to truth, a door to one’s self, to culture, to world perspective, and world change. As an emotional and thoughtful youth, Sharon dove extensively into her art, finding meaning in her intentions, based off her circumstances. Her mind and her art begin at a blank sheet, her thoughts and actions unexpected, but she completes with a vision of self-expression; freedom. Via the pallet knife.
Nafisa Khanbhai is the founder of the Dear Diary Initiative in Kenya. She was born with a crack in her spine that hindered her childhood and caused many ailments in the future. Yet, Nafisa believes that a disability is not an inability as everyone needs to live life to the fullest. Her social activism has allowed her to make much progress in desensitizing the stigma around physical disabilities in Mombasa.
Kimathi Kiambutho, known as his stage name Yours Truly, is an electrifying artist, writer and spoken word poet. Growing up, he was very confused about what he wanted to do in life and which career pathway was the right fit for him. Eventually, after pondering about weather a lawyer or a doctor was a better option, Kimathi turned towards his passion of poetry. Kimathi is able to deliver powerful messages to grand audiences through his poetic prowess.
Aisha Wanjiku is a colorful news personality and the host of KTN’s lifestyle show. However, behind her charisma and charming personality is a tumultuous story of struggle. At the age of 19, Aisha was put in a position where she had to be independent in order to fend for the rest of her family, including her young child Lamar. After years of struggle she has learnt the value of tenacity as a means to overcome periods of difficulty.
Elias Okwara is a graduate from the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, class of 2008. Since his departure, he has made a worldwide impact in international law, diplomacy and cybersecurity. Some of his experiences include the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, United Nations Association of the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He has used these experiences as a chance to dispel misconceptions people have about Africa and help others to cultivate an international mindset on a global stage.
Chris Muthoka is a member of the popular Kenyan soul music band Kaskazini. Though they are very young, they have gathered much attention around Kenya for their moving music. Chris is inspired to be a part of a movement that nurtures talents from the get go. He believes that the continent has a plethora of talents to offer to the rest of the world.
Douglas Smoki Kihiko is a professional graffiti artist and muralist based in Nairobi, Kenya. He founded an organization called Graffiti Girls Kenya that aims to get more women involved in the graffiti scene. Through encouraging women to share the issues that affect them the most, they are sure to be heard as they channel their creative interests on a greater platform.
Stefan Muriuki holds years of experience in Bitcoin research and is a strong advocate for its widespread essentialization. He has written many publications through which he wishes to fight the misconceptions that people may have about cryptocurrencies and promote it as a means of economic empowerment. Stefan currently works as a creative partner for E-LABZ where he puts his skills towards the art of effective content marketing.
Sean Karanja is not your ordinary 19 year old; he is leading the change for youth interested in making a mark in the world of business and innovation. During his time at the African Leadership Academy, Sean founded Nafasi Africa and is today the chairmen of Nafasi Investments and Co-Founder of Project Exponential. He is passionate about what he does and loves nothing more than helping others.
I believe that people are more than labels. I believe that no one can tell anybody who they are. I think that one of the few things that we are entitled to is our identity and if that is taken away from us, then who are we? One of the main things that steals this from us are labels, these words that are given meaning by society and inflicted on us. In my poem I speak of a target. Society places targets on everyone and shoots at these targets however it pleases. These shots symbolise the assumptions and accusations that are made from labels. Many people spend their entire lives thinking that these arrows being shot are the truths about them. Many people let society cage them to live, think in specific ways. And most importantly, a lot of these people do not realize that they can rip off these targets before they slowly destroy them. Labels play a big part in someone's identity and it takes a lot to believe that they do not have to fit into society's descriptions of what is right.
Wandia finds herself spread across many different nations and regions, born in Dallas, Texas, prideful of her Canadian ties, but a confident Kikuyu woman with roots in central Kenya. Wandia’s greatest passion lies in film-photography and painting. TEDx will be her first time performing solo. Her voice embodies a power that leads and sways you, but will not control you. As a musician, Wandia respects that each individual has a unique and original interpretation of song, and such endless meanings and impressions has made her fearful of how distorted performance can be. Although she is stepping into this unfamiliarity, Wandia is ready to perform a piece for her school community this year. For the first time, you will hear her.