Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mega slumming

The book launch and public debate on the future of Africa’s shantytowns was held on Wednesday 20th January 2010, 6pm at the Nairobi National Museum.

This book launch was like no other I have attended. Well, most book launches tend to have a guest of honor who gives a brief description of the author and the book at hand. Then we have the publishers who are also present who engage in a review of their book and the all important unveiling of the book by the guest of honor. This is usually followed by signing of books by the author for those who purchase their copies of the launched book.
However, Megaslumming which was authored by Adam Parsons in collaboration with share the worlds resources, a UK based think tank, was unveiled at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). I know you will ask why the Museums of all places but the National Museum after its renovation thanks to the EU offers space for events, may they be company events/launches or exhibitions. I understand at pretty competitive rates and the atmosphere there is great unless you have watched to many movies like The Night at the Museum!

The book launch was marked by a panel discussion which compromised of:

• Rasna Warah-Author and journalist
• Rajesh Makwana-Moderator and director of share the world’s resources
• Djemba-Young resident from Kibera
• Adam Parsons-Author of Megaslumming

This panelist did not disappoint and game their own views as to why we have slums in Kenya just like any other place in the world. How they arose, why they decided to focus on Kibera and life and times in the slums. This views as you can see from the panelist present were cross cutting views i.e. we have views from the top all the way to the bottom.

The panel discussion was followed by a public debate. The book launch had managed to bring quite a crowd. This crowd compromised of some of the best brains in Nairobi, academics. Such were; persons working for the UN, young people who maybe idealists and seek answers to present day problems. This young people are interested in finding solutions to extreme poverty (MDG 1) and how we can make life better for people who reside in the slums.
The author, Mr. Adam did give a background on how he engaged in the journey of writing this book and was at one point put to task why he choose Kibera of all the slums in the world. As opposed to the slums found in India, Brazil and San Francisco.
The author did reveal he is on a journey of documenting life in some of these places.

Megaslumming is written as an introduction to global justice issues and vividly describes life in Nairobi’s most notorious slum, Kibera and raises serious questions about the current direction of world ‘development’.
You can download the book for free or purchase a copy. So for anyone interested in this can visit:

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