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Six Degrees From Home|An interrogation of East African migration in the diaspora

Six Degrees From Home is a project that aimed to:

  • host and curate live events

  • facilitate conversation around migration, displacement and identity in the East African diaspora using art as a mediator

  • build an audience for East African creative work

Launched in 2016 the first event, a tea held at iKhaya Lodge in Cape Town, was held exclusively for East African womxn by East African womxn. Each of the womxn (aged between 18 and 25) was asked to bring an object or garment that reminded them of home. Each womxn had her portrait taken with their chosen object. Socialising, sharing, and the building of community were essential facets of the event. The Six Degrees From tea featured food from the East African region carefully catered by Tanzanian restaurant The Meeting Point which included spiced chai, chapati, mandazis, and roasted peanuts.

The three photographers responsible for the portraits were Kenyaa Mzee, Shari Mwanika, and Irene Namuganyi all of whom were at the beginning of their visual artistic careers. The series of pictures taken at the event was titled 'What Home Gave Me'.

(Top left is a painting by Sarah Rose; bottom left supplied by Phoebe Apondi; middle portrait by Shari Mwanika; right portrait by Kenyaa Mzee)

In 2017 I presented ‘What Home Gave Me’ at the Dreaming Feminists Futures Symposium organised by the African Gender Institute. This presentation was a continuation the first event. With these portraits we heard stories from eight East African women about their construction, articulation, and experiences of home while living in Cape Town.

The portraits were taken by Aisha Mugo and Jess Mule, and edited by Naserian Koikai.

(From top: Kenyaa, Jess, Marion, Naserian, Sandrine, Shari, Afeefa, Aisha)


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