Kasichana Riziki Mumba has a vivant demeanor. She describes herself as a lover of art, poetry, literature and music. You’ll find me at almost all the events that have these being showcased and my love for reading helps me to appreciate the books I get to buy and read, she says.
It was no coincidence that she found herself in Somaliland for the Hargeysa International Book Fair 2017, which happened July 22 – July 27. I’m a lawyer by profession hoping to combine law, human rights and art to explore advocacy, she adds.
Was it your first time in Hargeysa?
Yes! Thanks to the Rift Valley Institute, where I was an intern, I got the chance to travel to the Book Fair and help cover the 5 day event. It was amazing!
Well, you were a social media wizard for the HIBF, how did that come to be? I mean, you are a Kenyan, how did you land a gig in Somaliland and what was your experience?
As I have mentioned, it was largely in part due to the fact that RVI is a great partner and supporter of Dr. Jamma Musse and the Red Sea Cultural Foundation, the forces behind HIBF. So I went there to cover the festival both in my personal capacity (and I love anything artistic so this was perfect), and on behalf of the Institute. To say that the experience was above and beyond what I was expecting would be a lie. It was superb and it was made even better by the fact that Somalilanders are quite active online. I ended up making very many new friends.
Have you attended other festivals before? What was so fascinating about Hargeysa, since I understand you were practically everywhere over there, compared to other festivals?
I have attended a few festivals, but none of the magnitude of HIBF. The reason I managed to be at almost all the sessions was the facilitation by RVI and Red Sea Cultural Foundation. We were able to get to the festival’s sessions in every venue they were in and also cover what was happening. Plus, the HIBF Social Media team made me a part of their group so I got timely updates for any programme changes. They are the real MVPs. 🙂
In 100 words, describe the ‘Hargeysa experience’.
I don’t know if I have 100 words! What I can say about Hargeysa is that the people…dear me. The people there are so warm and hospitable and friendly. They are always ready to help a guest or visitor and they have the most cheerful spirits! The city is growing and flourishing and before we know it, it will be a haven for everyone within the region to visit.
What advice would you give someone planning to go to Hargeysa next year?
If you’re a woman, have abayas and scarves to cover up with. It is a Muslim city in an Islamic state, thus they adhere to their faith quite seriously. Be ready to buy books during the festival, be ready to eat large portions of food & get ready to be swept away by the warmth and love of Hargeysa. 🙂
Kasi, as everyone calls her, is working round the clock for the Storymoja Festival which takes place in Nairobi, Sept 27 – Oct 1.