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Up/Root the Podcast

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Selam and hello! Up/Root is a podcast about identity, culture and global living. We are redefining what it means to be "uprooted" by sharing stories of joy, resilience and justice --and celebrating the roots that allow us to rise up.

Selam and hello! Up/Root is a podcast about identity, culture and global living. We are redefining what it means to be "uprooted" by sharing stories of joy, resilience and justice --and celebrating the roots that allow us to rise up.


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Selam and hello! Up/Root is a podcast about identity, culture and global living. We are redefining what it means to be "uprooted" by sharing stories of joy, resilience and justice --and celebrating the roots that allow us to rise up.






Live! The Havoc of Choice with Wanjiru Koinange: Part 1

Would you choose to leave your home and your family if it meant preserving your self-worth? Is choice a commodity of the privileged?Has Kenya mourned together well? Has Kenya healed? We didn't ask any easy questions as the wonderful women from my book club help me interview brilliant author Wanjiru (Shiro) Koinange about her debut novel 'The Havoc of Choice.' In this season four premiere, Wanjiru discusses the choices of her characters and her country during the post-election violence of...


All I want for Christmas is...joy to the world!

Joy. Joy is a choice. Today artists extraordinaire June Gachui and Pete Odera join me to SING, talk, share what this year has been for them and how they have chosen joy in their work and personal lives. Many of you know June Gachui (@junegachui) for her many roles on stage as a speaker, singer, actress and host but she is also an intellectual property lawyer who is passionate about the law and artistic expression. June graces us with her voice, humor and shares what 2020 has taught her about...


All I Want for Christmas is....human rights!

Njeri Mwangi and I spend this episode talking, laughing and shedding a few tears as we talk about the importance of human rights. Njeri co-stars with her husband, activist Boniface Mwangi, and family in the documentary film Softie (https://www.softiethefilm.com/) which tells their story and invites us to see ourselves in the love, struggle and fears they experience as human rights defenders, parents and everyday citizens. Njeri is the co-founder of PAWA254 (https://pawa254.org/)and in this...


All I want for Christmas is...peace of mind!

Welcome back to Up/Root! As the holidays approach - there are few things that I actually want - and none of them can be bought. Peace of mind is a gift that 2020 has tried to take from all of us and today my friend Julie Githiri-Goko (@julie_githirigoko)will give us practical advice on how to manage our stress, support our kids and enjoy the festive season. Julie is a psychodynamic psychotherapist and psychosexual therapist and has been practicing for over 15 years. She specializes in...


Black SISTERHOOD Matters

This episode is a tribute to all the aunties, sisters, cousins, godmothers and women out there who make our lives so rich with laughter and wisdom! On today's show, sisters Annie and Shazz Nderitu, who are two of five siblings, share with us how they survived the Westgate terror attack, how they celebrate and support one another and why sisterhood is such an important part of their identity and lives. Shazz tells us how family inspires her work as a comedian and Annie lets us in on who the...


Black JOURNALISM Matters

Today on the show we will continue in our series of topics on why Black Lives Matter by discussing why Black Journalism Matters with award-winning Kenyan journalist and filmmaker, Elijah Kanyi. Elijah is the 2017 and 2019 Annual Journalism Excellence Awards Journalist of the Year, an acclaimed investigative reporter with Africa Uncensored and founder of SautiTV, a mentoring program for young journalists. Elijah was born and bred in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s poorest neighborhoods and...


Black JOY Matters

Black Lives Matters - and so does Black Joy! In part two of our series, Christian Lwanda joins us and shares how he defines joy, what his grandmother Selah taught him and how he walks with both joy and suffering in his life. We shared experiences and laughter in this conversation as well as the strengths of Kenyan culture that have guided the country through generations of change and resistance. Shout out to local artists whose incredible home goods were a part of our set: Love Artisan (IG:...


Black Lives Matters Everywhere

Today I talk to you from my home and my heart. "Black lives matter" is a cry that has been heard worldwide as protests in over 60 countries have shaken the world. It's also what we tell our Black children and ourselves as we face the world - and wherever we are in the world. Black lives are a triumph and Up/Root is embarking on a new series to explore the complexity and power of our community and this movement. Black lives matter - and so does Black joy, Black teachers, Black families, Black...


Live! Cross Cultural Kids: Developing Identity

Daniya, Mandisa and Jason join Up/Root today for a live show from the International School of Kenya and enlighten us on what makes them "proud to be me." Identity certainly develops throughout life and these cross-cultural students who have grown up between cultures and countries took us to school about the assumptions they face and how they navigate expectations in their families, schools, and communities. They offer us insight and wisdom and many reasons to feel hopeful about the future....


Conversation with Class of 2020: Global students in a global pandemic

Do you remember your senior year of high school? Thoughts of the future, prom, freedom, finally graduating? The pandemic has put a damper on the plans - but not the spirits - of graduating secondary students across the world. Today on Up/Root, five students - Hilary, Jaya, Matias, Selah and Troy - share their thoughts on the "new normal" of their lives, their thoughts on the future and how they are staying positive during this pandemic. Oh to be young again! These students are the real deal...


Human Rights in a Pandemic with Irungu Houghton

Health is a human right - and in a pandemic, human rights must continue to be protected and promoted. Irungu Houghton, Kenya Executive Director of Amnesty International joins Up/Root to share his thoughts on how humane policing, good citizenship and community involvement are critical elements for any country to survive a crisis. Irungu has spent his professional career fighting corruption and speaking up for vulnerable communities. In this episode, he highlights what is making him hopeful...


The Patriarchy of the Pandemic with Julie Mwabe

History has taught us that during times of global crisis and epidemics - longterm outcomes are worse for women than for men. Data indicates that women make up a majority of essential workers, from health care to markets, and in the midst of lockdowns and school closures - domestic labor and the education of children falls disproportionally on female caretakers. Julie Mwabe, a Gender Advisor in the Executive Office of the President and previously a communications and policy specialist at the...


The Latest on COVID-19 with Dr Michael Chung

Dr. Michael Chung is an infectious disease and internal medicine physician with an MD from the University of Chicago and a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University School of Public Health where he also completed his internship and residency. He and his family have lived in Nairobi for 18 years and he is a Professor at and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Aga Kahn University in Nairobi and an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Chung joins Up/Root...


CNN Hero of the Year Freweini Mebrahtu

It is an absolute honor to welcome Freweini Mebrahtu to Up/Root! Freweini is a global leader in menstrual health management and CNN's 2019 Hero of the Year for her work to eliminate the stigma associated with periods and her 15-year campaign to provide women and girls in Ethiopia equitable access to reusable pads. She started Mariam Seba Sanitary Products Factory in Mekelle, Ethiopia in 2005 and her factory is staffed by over 60 women who now produce over 1 million reusable sanitary pads...


Black History Month in the Context of the Continent

Author and professor Samual Nyanchoga joins Up/Root to talk about why Black History Month still matters, Black historical heroes and how Blackness is a universal civilization. Dr. Nyanchoga is a Dean of Faculty at the Catholic University of East Africa and Fulbright Scholar (Boston College) and is the author of seven books: Author of Aspects of African History, Contemporary Issues in Kenyan History, Citizenship, Ethnicity and Politics of Belonging in Kenya, Governance in Africa: Historical...


Live! The Politics of Remembering (Part 2) with the Too Early for Birds: Tom Mboya team

In part 2 of our conversation, some of the Too Early for Birds family, Ngartia, Abu, Mercy and Mugambi, talk more about the role gender, language and joy played in creating this three-hour epic story of one of Kenya's native sons and heroes, Tom Mboya. We talk Jay-Z, we cry, we laugh and by the end - they offer us hope for the future and clear direction on how to support the arts and make sure these stories keep getting told. Thank you TEFB for letting me fangirl for 2hours with you! This...


Live! The Politics of Remembering with the Too Early for Birds Tom Mboya team

Tom Mboya is a hero of Kenyan history and in October 2019, the Too Early for Birds storytelling theatre production group told Mboya's story in the "dopest, funkiest ways you can imagine." This is the fifth show they have put on in Nairobi and their performance was so popular they had to add four more shows in November 2019. The Tom Mboya edition was transformative, electric and challenged all of us to think and act more consciously based on the lessons of history. We go deep in this...


Happy New Year with Eliud Kipchoge!

Olympic marathon gold-medalist and world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge is a living legend and a global inspiration for his incredible feats of athletic dominance. In October, he became the first person to run a sub-2hour marathon and captured the imagination of an international audience with his endurance, tenacity and brilliant run. Kipchoge shares with Up/Root how he trains, who his heroes are, why mental agility is as important as physical strength and why he believes that sports can be an...


Live! Who Am I? Understanding identity through race, language and religion

Huwaida, Sam and Jason share how their identities, linked to language, religion and race, have affected their Kenyan and global lives. They answer questions about privilege, gaps that exist between generations and how they respond when someone asks, "are you really Kenyan?" Up/Root is grateful to Trademark Hotel in Village Market that sponsored this live recording on December 11, 2019. Sound recording and editing provided by Bakachi Akatsa for BSTU Nairobi (bstu.av@gmail.com). Photography...


Eritrea+Ethiopia: Our history, Our future

When Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October, many Ethiopians and Eritreans marked the historic moment with pride and celebration. It was also an opportunity for me to re-visit the shared and intertwined history of the two sister countries with my friend Moges. We talk, laugh and discuss our Eritrean and Ethiopian identities and examine the important moment where our histories diverge. I learned so much and was reminded that coffee will always...