DeKUT held its virtual graduation yesterday. Influencer decided to catch up with one of the most influential graduates, Frances Njambi. Frances is known by many for her involvement in politics, debates, HeartBeat, the Kimathi Tech scene and… as she adds with a laugh, Afco.
1. What was the experience of graduating virtually?
Underwhelming. My family had such high expectations for my graduation. I felt bad they didn’t get that. My grandmother kept talking about how much she wanted to come to Kimathi.
2. Who is Frances Njambi?
Frances Njambi is a naturally quiet person but don’t be fooled she is very vocal about things she believes in and around close friends.
She is also a feminist, un-apologetically so.
In person I am just the girl next door. But I feel deeply and can’t sit back when action is required. I just graduated and got into YALI which I’m excited about.
3. Before you tell us about YALI, what’s with the name Frances; it is unique.
My grandfather’s name is Francis. They expected I’d be a boy but here I am. Frances is the feminine version of Francis.
4. Now what is YALI?
The Young African Leaders Initiative is a prestigious program that is so hard to get into 😂😂 It’s like getting into an Ivy league. It was founded by Barrack Obama with the intention of building the capacity of transformational young leaders. There are three tracks: Civic leadership – for social ventures, NGOs and such; Public management – for political leadership, policy making and Entrepreneurship.
5. You are part of the team that founded the Debate Club. Tell us about that.
I met a group of four guys from EEE and together we founded the club where I was Vice Chair for the first term. We went for debating contests organized by the Kenya National Debating Council (KNDC) and did pretty well. We were the only non-law scholars in most of the heats, along JKUAT teams. It was mad adrenaline but we always brought our own.
Debating opened up opportunities for me including being moderator for the student council debate, which I really enjoyed doing.
6. As a previous moderator, what do you think should be done differently in our student council debates to make them more significant?
Measures should be put in place to ensure that all the contenders are held accountable. For example I remember getting really worked up when they didn’t make it on time because they all wanted a grand entrance. This leaves the moderators with such little time and Comrades don’t get as much time to weigh in on the discussion
7. Do the student council debates even matter? Is there need to have them?
They help a little because the campaigns have now changed so much. Comrades don’t get a chance to meet the contesting student leaders. It introduces the comrades to their potential Dekutso and gives them a chance to form opinions about them.
As far as who wins is concerned though, the debates don’t matter here.
8. Your debating experience also led you to be an MC for Heartbeat. What was that like?
Heartbeat was an open space conversation forum initiated by Zee Culture. I was the MC alongside Manu from Zee culture but unfortunately he graduated and Zee died. We’d convene at the Old Mess and hold long heated discussions on literally anything. My favorite heat was on the topic Sanctimony😅 the audience got very worked up. Sanctimony is religious extremism.
9. Tell us about you and politics
Politics, well. You can never really avoid politics. I enjoy politics very much and I have a dream where governance in our country is more meritocratic than populist. I have a dream where Africa realizes her true potential through good governance.
There is so much more in the world of politics and I can’t wait to explore all the possibilities.
10. Your interest in politics is clear. Why did you never vie for a post in Kimathi?
I did not vie for very personal reasons😂
11. And where did your passion for politics come from?
I can’t really point out a specific point of origin. I guess I have always been drawn to governance. I remember having a crush on Ababu Namwamba back in form 2.
12. What are your political ambitions?
It would be great if I got the chance to get into parliament. But now it’s too early to talk about that.
13. You identify as a feminist. Tell us about that.
Feminism for me is about gender equity. I completely agree with the article Dottie Orina wrote here at DekuTrends. Feminism is about creating a level field for all human beings regardless of gender.
Feminism is not about putting men down, bashing them and insulting them. For the longest time in many parts of the world women have been looked down at and treated like objects, properties but they are human beings with as much right as men.
14. What’s your best experience in KImathi?
Students from Taiwan university of Tsing Hua had come to Kimathi to train a few students on computer maintenance. I was lucky to be part of the team.
It was so much fun spending the day with Taiwanese people and trying to learn Mandarin and their cultures. I still have the certificate and I’m proud of the experience.
15. What’s your worst experience in Kimathi?
Missing out on my graduation because of covid-19.
16. Give a shout out to some of the influential people you are living behind
Dorothy Orina. Feminism Friday must continue.
John Theuri and Sabul the Bull. Leading comrades is not for the faint hearted. Sabul must keep the opposition alive and I’m proud of Theuri so far. He should remain on his best foot.
17. Wrapping up. You mentioned Afco. Tell us about that magical place.
Afco well, team afco tibim!
Ed Sheeran once sang, the club isn’t the best place to find a lover so the bar is where I go😁. It’s a really interesting place to meet interesting comrades, witness brawls on the way out and just have fun.
18. This has been a pleasure. Influencer wishes you all the best moving forward. We are also proud of you and your fellow 2020 graduates. Lastly, give us your twitter handle so that we can connect with you.
My twitter handle is @MutahiFrancesNj
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