The Power Issue - September 2017
Issue # 46   September 2017

The Power Issue - September 2017


Peter Mutuma of Phocus Photography.



 Lucy Robi & Ruth Odhiambo



 Rose Ngina



 Emily Kinye of Tito’s Salon

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What is your definition of power? I ask women this in interviews so many times as I was writing this sentence I finally realised I have never asked the men to define power. And now suddenly I want to know nothing more than what men think power is. Is it the bipolar mother on medication, struggling with ADHD while raising an autistic son? Is it a life lived on the edge so precariously and peppered with mistakes that you know you have to fix and somehow make right. Power is knowing your team and your beat and your body with such intimate understanding you are fearless on stage. It could be that moment when you finally tell your crush, the love of your life or significant other what turns you on, and your relationship hangs in the balance in those few seconds that s/he processes the phrase BDSM in his mind.

Power is that moment you step into your house at the end of a long day and into this magnificent sanctuary you created, inside this space you call home that looks exactly like you wanted it to when you were 6, 16 or 26. Or not. Power is fuelling your body, making it strong, efficient, alive, awake, knowing you have limits and still, still you are ambitious enough to push past them. Power is being a superhero to your loved ones, when you make a child laugh and get rewarded by the purest sweetest sound. It is the moment you look at your shoe collection and the fabulous clothes hanging in your closets and realise all the things you want to say are spoken with the textures and colours of your wardrobe. When you make a choice saving the environment and money.

When I was doing Fashion Watch I practised yoga daily. My arms, legs and abs were beautifully toned. I loved the feeling of fluidity my mind had, the strength of my spirit, the power in my core. Then someone tweeted how my arms looked manly and muscular. I read that tweet. I paused, listening, waiting for a gut response. This tweet came following months of social media trolling which had resulted in substantially denting my confidence. My gut gifted me with a smile. And a reply. “No one who has ever been held in my arms has ever said that.” He apologised. I truly did not care. The breaths in between those pauses before I tweeted back, made me aware I had taken back my power. That I owned myself now. That I would no longer be broken by other people’s opinions. Every time I have told that story I have been told, that’s power.

The flip side of power no one tells us is how it is acquired. We are warned as women not to want it. That power isn’t our thing. Not to aspire to be powerful. Women influence. Men own. So we love using words like ‘fierce’, ‘fearless’ and ‘own your power’ but they are empty even if we say it like we mean it if we never confront the things that make us feel powerless. I now know power is not this colossal unstoppable hurricane sweeping into the room. Instead, it is little steps leading to bigger ones. To go all medieval and gangsta, think of it this way. If you vanquish one enemy say shyness, you can vanquish two. The true beauty of power is once you have it, it is yours. Once you own it, the only person who can take it from you, is you. Basically, you cannot not be powerful.