Tamunomiete Whyte and Michelle Kariuki (authors of the book)

The African narrative has been for ages characterized with endless civil wars, massive corruption, diseases, political instabilities and bad governance which has painted a picture of a dark continent on the verge of collapse. Akon once said that the media describes Africa as a ‘jungle of chaos and disasters’. But the story is fast changing, there has never been any point within the history of Africa that there were as many educated youth as there are right now. With the average age of the African population settling at 19 years old, it means that the continent continues to get younger by the day.

The certain surge in the number of educated young Africans has inspired an extensive wave of change seekers across Africa as the young people yearn to change the African narrative. Most if not all have taken it upon themselves to carry the lantern of change to the world and announce that Africa’s time is now! Such is the story of young bright minds at St Andrew’s School Turi who have decided to tell the African story in their own unique perspective and hopefully inspire more youth to follow the suit.

Ariana Manduku, Shawn Mwenje, Tamunomiete Whyte, Amy Miguna (authors of the book)

A group of 19 dutiful young boys and girls aged 16, 17 and 18, partnered with their teachers to come up with a collection of short tales to tell their own African story. The collection of stories formed a book called Whispers from the River which they launched on 7th of February this year at the Pawa 254. The event was attended by various stakeholders within the education sector and renowned linguist, author and novelist Ken Walibora who was also the chief guest. The launch was a one of a kind event that portrayed the critical role that the youth had to play towards shaping the future of the African continent. The eloquence and confidence that the authors (students) brought to the stage would be an intimidating sight to any person who wasn’t ready to embrace the African story.

Former journalist and author Ken Walibora

The book seeks to eliminate the stereotypical perception of poverty and suffering about the continent as it explores a diversity of cultures both within the African continent and outside Africa. Such is evident in Amy Migunda’s story where she narrates the story of a girl who gets an opportunity to go and study abroad but still remains deeply connected to her roots and culture. The stories also touch on social injustices that have threatened to cripple the continent such as drug abuse, bullying in schools, laziness, dishonesty, corruption, disobedience, nepotism, theft and bad governance.

Katricia Kariuki entertaining guests

The stories highlight the power of the written word through whispering subtle tales. The tales are a reflection of the lens of how young voices view the continent and their aspirations of what they would want the continent to look like. It’s a pure ingenuity of young voices given a platform and the freedom to express themselves in the most authentic way.

“As a continent, there’s a lot of talent and being able to share that through each and every one of our stories makes me feel very connected.” – Amy Migunda, student St Andrew’s Turi

“I think that running a story helps strengthen my African identity with myself. It also lets me realize just the depth of the culture that I live in every day.” – Jason Cowan, St Andrew’s Turi

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WHISPERS FROM THE RIVER

A summary by Frankie Gichuru

When we were told by our History teacher that the crew in Christopher Columbus’ ship ate rats for survival and when there was no rodent left, they embarked on their shoes before eating their dead colleagues, each child in my class screamed while swearing that he would rather die instead of doing such an abominable thing. However, if you can imagine being one of the crew on the fateful ship, you may rightly ‘see’ more heinous deeds that historians did not write about. After a few hours on board, you may even add that the surviving sailors would in unison shout ‘Halleluiah’ whenever one of their colleagues collapsed and died. Still on board of Columbus’ ship by imagination, you can precisely read the surviving sailors’ anticipation and correctly predict their next course of action if none of their colleagues collapsed. Such is the power of imagination.