African Feminist Profile: Immah Reid

1. Who is Immah Reid? (Where are you from? Where did you grow up? What do you miss the most about your childhood? What do you miss the least?I grew up in a small shopping centre along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway; in Limuru, about 40 kilometers from Nairobi. Despite the area being unquestionably rural, my most cherished memories are engrained in farming, taking walks, reading and stealing fruits which I later found out, wasn’t considered ‘stealing’ there. I don’t miss how cold it would get around June though. I now reside in Nairobi, which I shall describe as crowded, alive and somehow still a silent space.
2. How did you come into your activism? Think of a moment, either of witnessing injustice or justice that made you realise that a different life can be lived in this earth. To be clear I didn’t even know the word 7 years ago. . It’s more honest to speak of how I found myself in activism, after finally connecting with the queer community in Nairobi, that’s about 6 years ago at a time when I thought I was the only gay in the village. Everything I learnt from others and my own experience made it clear that a conversation is necessary and I had to do my part in it, being as loud and as passionate as I am. I haven’t doubted it ever since.
3. What inspires you daily? It can be people, it can be things? Inspiration? ……My firm belief that a world away from oppression and various injustices is possible. Though I would like to emphasize that it is a generalization and my struggle with inspiration is just as consistent as most. In terms of people I would say Tracy Chapman and Paulo Coelho have ‘picked me up’ a few times.
4. Do you believe that the future we work hard to achieve is possible? What gives you hope? I am a romantic, it comes easy for me to visualize the said future. I also subscribe to the thought that within our lifetime, there are realizations, changes and goals to be met. After which we pass it to the next generation. Tapping into our purpose and the love we hold to deliver that, must be done and more so we must, remember to remain present to those gifts this journey holds for us too.
5. What can you absolutely not live without? A pen and a paper.
6. What is your favourite time of the day? The first three hours past midnight are when I am most alive and I love the silence it comes with.
7. How can we strengthen our work as queer women/womxn in Kenya and Africa? African womxn have to capitalize on their expression to speak to our individuality, it is up to us to make it clear our body and political autonomy isn’t debatable. A collaboration with documentation on our various experiences and thoughts could magnify the impact of our work within and outside the continent.
8. What would you do with a million dollars (not shillings) dollars? I would start an orchard where everyone is allowed to come ‘steal’ fruits as they please. Then use the remaining 95% of the money to start a digital media network that serves African alternative voices and artists.

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