East Africa embraces a people’s voice: XOConversations

It’s now four months since XtraOrdinary Magazine launched monthly conversations coded “XOConversations” in East Africa. The XOConversations is a live monthly café/living room conversations organized by individuals in their respective communities with guidance from XtraOrdinary Magazine team. The conversations were launched with an objective of serving as a platform to inspire, inform, educate and invite all Africans between and within all sectors of society to deliberately focus on our common and shared goal of deliberating our region and continent from injustices and focus development issues of our day. Also, the platform is aimed at encouraging and creating a safe space for lively, constructive, dynamic and fluid conversations that is grounded in respect for differing perspectives, civility and a desire to transform African society.

When the conversations were launched four months ago, little did we know that it would catch fire as it is doing now! People across the region and continent are seriously participating in the conversations we hold both physically and online. We are confident that with skilled technical team and mentorship, XOConversations will be that platform that people have been waiting for to express their concerns and desire. Thanks to our partners and mentors; Joan Blades, Co founder Living Room Conversations and Audrey Addison Williams, founder of One America Rising and Healing Soul of America, a Living Room Conversations Champion, for encouraging us to use the www.lrsandbox.com model and also supporting us in launching these conversations in East Africa with a belief that together we can create a healthier and prosperous community at its core.

We believe that XOConversations will help to establish a new Africa with a culture that values honesty and authenticity and never allows our cultures to be used as an excuse to be mean-spirited or disrespectful of anyone’s views. One thing for sure known to everyone is that African’s uniqueness lies from our social, cultural, religious, political and economic diversity; however, what is clear also is that we have seen continued social and economic stagnate among the Africans despite the African growth and opportunities.  This has mostly been brought about by our current inability to move beyond a culture of political, economic and social polarization. It is this rational that we are committed to using XOConversations to address such issues in our every living rooms, cafes, offices and social sites.

 I have held two conversations so far with a diverse audience of young dynamic Africans. What seems very clear for me from these two conversations is that our societies where we come from still live in a small, tightly knit circles of family, friends and co-workers, and in the neighbourhoods that are primarily cultural and ethnic havens characterized by people from the same region, religion, race or social class. Consequently, our world views tend to be limited to this narrow framework. I felt this in the last conversation where participants showed total rejection toward foreign investors whom they say are here to serve their own interests but not for the people. Whether it is true or not, it is not me to judge, but what is clear here is that; consequently, our world views as Africans are limiting us, we often are unaware or unappreciative of how they may impact our regions and continent.

I believe that XOConversations will foster the renewed growth by creating a platform where people can demonstrate courage and acquire the necessary skills to engage one another in dialogue with a goal of restoring civility, forming community, and achieving a fairer and more equitable society. Just like elsewhere over the world, the current media are not serving this end, as they are not interested in uniting and developing us; stories about such don’t sell papers and boost cable news ratings. Most Africans are weary and really want a new dispensation! The truth is that most Africans simply do not have the skills, tools and information necessary to begin to bridge the divide. XOConversations now provides that platform.  Africans need to appreciate that we are now not one Africa, nor can we ever be, until and unless we start acknowledging that we are many Africans right now. The path to truly becoming one Africa is paved with more than just good intentions but a demonstrated commitment to care about and learn from people with whom we disagree.

We run XOConversations as a community-based and driven by independent groups working toward a singular end. We shall continue to utilize practices already in place for Living Room Conversations. I believe this will create a major shift to happen all across Africa.  Change is in the air: people feel it, embrace it and yearn for it. XOConversation will be a catalyst for positive change, bringing together people from all walks of life and political persuasions to redefine the Africa and its dream.   It is time for Africa to dream a dream big enough to unite us all.

I truly remain you host for XOConversations; Nixion Jet Tusiime; a business “magnet”, entrepreneurship coach, marketing expert and editor for XtraOrdinary Magazine. Until next time, enjoy your life.