Tag Archives: kennedy odede

Kennedy Odede Running for Board of Trustees Position

odede at grad

Kennedy Odede ’12, everyone’s favorite rapper and alum, is running for a Board of Trustees position. Current seniors can vote, and he’d like to get the word out! The election is from April 7-May 25. From Odede:

I am missing Wes! In fact, I miss it so much I am running for alumni elected trustee.

I believe so much in Wes, and want to give back somehow. I’d appreciate everyone knowing to vote!

Kennedy Odede’s Tribute to Nelson Mandela

Image via NY Times

Kennedy Odede ’12, President of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) and accomplished rapperwrote a powerful tribute to South African anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela, who passed away on December 5. In the piece, Odede writes about how Mandela inspired him during his childhood in Nairobi’s Kibera slum:

I had many conversations with Nelson Mandela, although I had not met him.

In my family’s tiny shack in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, my one-way exchanges with the great man kept me going. Mandela survived 27 years of prison; maybe I would make it out, too.

Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, when I was 10 years old. In Kibera, people celebrated and talk circulated the streets about this man, but I didn’t see how his story connected to mine until much later. I was struggling too hard simply to survive.

One of the great works that would hugely influence Odede’s thinking was Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”:

A visiting American gave me two books. I had never gone to formal schools, but I had learned to read and write with the help of a kind priest. The American gave me a collection of speeches by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom.” It was Mandela’s book that spoke to me. I couldn’t put it down. Here was someone whose life I could somehow picture.

For the first time in my life I saw I had a choice. I could either submit to the degradations of poverty, to the prevailing hopelessness, or I could start my own long walk.

Happening Almost Right Now: First SHOFCO Meeting

Why choose between bold and ALL-CAPS when you can do like Ari Fishman ’13 and get the BEST OF BOTH WORLDS?

There’s so much to plan: this month, the school started their new term, there’s a new class of pre-kindergarten, and the gender-based violence clinic is up and running! Let alone the fact that Chelsea Clinton did a report on SHOFCO on NBC

Our first meeting of the semester will be
at 9pm
at 200 Church.

Date: Tonight, January 29
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Place: 200 Church
Cost: Free

Odede ’12 and Posner ’09 Featured on Rock Center with Brian Williams

As I was flipping through the channels this evening, enjoying the waning days of my winter break, I was struck by a cardinal red flash that seemed eerily familiar.  It was, in fact, Kennedy Odede ’12, delivering his final address while a student to the Wesleyan community.  He, along with wife Jessica Posner ’09, were featured on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams for their work building the Kibera School for Girls.

Footage aired from Wesleyan’s 180th Commencement, and featured Kennedy giving a big ol’ hug to President Roth. Video after the jump.

Chelsea Clinton is (arguably) a better journalist than I’ll ever be, so I’ll let her give you the details.

SHOFCO Photo Exhibit

SHOFCO invites you to the opening of our photo exhibit featuring photos from the Kibera School for Girls and other SHOFCO projects. The opening reception will be this afternoon (Saturday) from 3-5 in Zelnick Pavilion. Chai will be served and this will be your last opportunity before Commencement to hear Kennedy Odede ’12 speak about his experiences growing up and working in the Kibera slum. The exhibit will be showing through May 24th. Sponsored by the Adelphic Education Fund and SALD.

Date: Today, May 12
Time: 3 pm – 5 pm
Place: Zelnick Pavilion
Cost: Free

Wes Jam: Student/Faculty Baketball Showdown

From Lucy Britt ’14 comes the most bodacious event flier I’ve seen this side of Brendan O’Connell ’08’s Wesleyan Poster Archive:

A showdown for the ages between legends. One game. Eternal glory. Roth. Odede. Who shatters the backboard first? One way to find out.

Come see Michael Roth ’78 face off against a Kennedy Odede ’12-coached student team in the year’s biggest basketball showdown.

SHOFCO Summer Institute Info Session Friday!

Submitted by Nathan Mackenzie ’12:

Interested in volunteering for Shining Hope for Communities at the Kibera School for Girls? Looking for a challenging, meaningful summer experience with real responsibility? Passionate about SHOFCO’s mission and work, with a commitment to learning from local leadership and empowering women and girls? If you answered “Yes” to any of the above the Summer Institute might be for you!

The Summer Institute is a highly competitive program that provides deeply motivated college students with on-the-ground experience teaching at The Kibera School for Girls, the first free school for girls in the Kibera slum, Africa’s largest slum located in Nairobi, Kenya.

Come hear more about the program and talk with past Summer Institute volunteers. Some information and the application are located here. Can’t make the session but still interested? Contact Nathan at nmackenzie@wesleyan.edu.

  • Date:  Friday, February 17
  • Time:  12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
  • Place:  Usdan Multi-Purpose Room B25
  • Application:  Here

First SHOFCO Meeting of the Semester — TUESDAY NIGHT!

Interested in getting involved with Shining Hope for Communities this semester? Want to learn more about The Kibera School for Girls, Kennedy Odede ’12, and what SHOFCO-Wesleyan is all about? Come to our first meeting, Tuesday (tomorrow) at 9pm in 200 Church. New members are welcome. See you there!  (Click here, too, for an interview with Odede about SHOFCO and his pending book deal.)

  • WHEN?: Tomorrow (Tuesday, 31 January) @ 9pm
  • WHERE?: 200 Church Street


Odede to write book; waxes poetic with Wesleying about it

“I have been through a lot in my life, so I have a lot to say and remember.

Student. Activist. Organizer. Philanthropist. NYT op-ed writer. NYT op-ed subject matter. One-time hip-hop producer. One-time subject of would-be hip-hop producers. Campus personality. Pine street resident.

Kennedy Odede ’12 is a composite of all these things, on top of everything else that he is. But you probably already know this, if you’ve been keeping your eyes peeled and ears open, and most importantly, if you’ve been following this blog to any capacity. If not from us, then probably from the Argus, the university’s website, Idealist.org, or even your mother. An exemplary representation of why Wesleyan possesses the granola hopey-changey do-good public persona it does, Mr. Odede as a tale and a legacy has consistently been surging upwards in the public sphere. Continuing this trend is the recent addition of two more items to his ever-increasing list of descriptors: book author and book subject. Bouncing off a strong reception to Nick Kristof’s op-ed in the New York Times, he has decided to start working on a book about his life.

No surprise, really. After all, Mr. Odede is, in and of himself, a living embodiment of the rags-to-friggin’-awesome story (a popular variant of the rags-to-riches story). Born into toughness in the slums of Kenya, he fought for social justice all the way into his early 20s, which is when a college girl from Colorado – Jessica Posner ’09 – suddenly shows up, joins him in the fight for social justice, and then transplants him to Connecticut, USA, where he continues to fight more for social justice. The narrative also has a layer of romance; to put it in Nick Kristof’s words: “And one more thing to make the story perfect: In June, after Kennedy graduates, he and Jessica plan to marry.”

That’s a book waiting to happen right there, with some crazy-ass neo-noir film adaptation – written and directed by Charlie Kaufman (or more realistically, Sean Penn as financed by Bill Clinton) – surely to follow.

On Zach’s supreme command, we here at Wesleying got in contact with him to talk about it – and he was nice enough to send a detailed email back (including the picture up there). Read on?

The Girl Effect Challenge: Help SHOFCO Win! – ERROR CORRECTION!

BZOD EDIT, 6:32 PM, 11/3/11: The number to which text donations should be sent, below was previously listed as 8088. This was an error; the actual number is 80088. The change has been made below. That is, text “Give 8954” to 80088 to donate $10 to SHOFCO. Original post below:

SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities, founded and run by Kennedy Odede ’12, for those of you who don’t know) is a finalist in the The Girl Effect Challenge, for which they have until November 15 to participate. Donation from lots of people can help SHOFCO win (they need the most unique donors) Go to this website to donate! Your donation could help SHOFCO win thousands of dollars. You can also text “Give 8954” to 80088 to donate $10. For more information on SHOFCO’s mission or the challenge in general, read past the jump: