May the cries of the marginalised not go unnoticed like tears in the rain

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It is the season of the long rains. Humankind has its plans, but nature laughs at them – the recent floods are a testament to this. But whose plans are these meant for? Plans for all humanity or plans for a select few? Images and videos on social media prove the latter – for the most part, residents of rural areas and slums have been adversely affected compared to their fewer, more privileged, planned-for-counterparts in the leafy suburbs. The recent floods have claimed scores of lives in Mathare slums and Mai Mahiu, located in the countryside. It is unclear who will look after the injured given that these crises have taken place against the backdrop of a doctors’ strike. In the midst of tragedy and industrial unrest, the government recently made public its 2024/2025 Programme Based Budget showing increased budgetary allocations for the office of the president and the office of the deputy president. Kenya is truly a collage of contradictions, a panorama of inequality. This is the environment in which writers and artists find themselves in and where Ukombozi Review comes in.

In the seventeenth edition of our journal, the much-ignored contradictions of our society have been given the due attention they deserve. The contradictions between men and women, pastoralists and so-called conservationists, artists and state functionaries. The role of the artist in highlighting these contradictions and inequalities has also been discussed. To a large extent these inequalities are not functions of nature but man-made. However, in the face of propaganda and socialisation, they appear natural and therefore are accepted as an act of God. May the writers and artists labour continually to debunk this. May they show through their works that these inequalities are artificially produced and can therefore be artificially undone. May the cries of the marginalised not go unnoticed like tears in the rain. Welcome to the seventeenth edition of Ukombozi Review Journal.

Mwongela Kamencu

Assistant Editor

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