Imani Woomera: Inspiration in Everything
IT wasn’t until a few days after I met Imani Woomera – the Hawaiian-born, Kenyan-raised multidisciplinary multi-tasker – that I felt the impulse to Google her curious Christian name.
ITS definition, ‘faithful’, couldn’t encapsulate her more accurately. In the short time that I spent with the 28-year-old author, teacher, performer, producer, radio presenter and recording artist, I was stunned by her inspiring thirst for life, her devotion to help others; her dedication to the cause.
My life is an inspiration,’ Imani said without an air of self-importance. ‘Everyone I come across is an inspiration. Everything I hear and see. Everything is a seed. Every single thing inspires something.’
It seems almost unfeasible that in such a short life one could achieve so much. With several spoken word audio albums and poetry books under her belt, and radio and theatre shows to her name, the yoga teacher and devoted Capoeirista is also an active youth campaigner and founder of the Slam Africa Movement, a ‘youth empowerment platform via the art form of spoken word poetry’.
‘It’s born out of the need for a positive, healthy form of self-expression for youth’, Imani said. ‘These kids just need a place that they can be heard, a place for their voices to be heard, but also teaching them how to read more, how to write better and how to assess their thoughts and self-educate. To spread their message whatever that may be.
‘Africa has so many serious issues and these young people have many serious issues and they need to talk about them. One of the things I’m really passionate about is youth work and empowering young people through art forms that they can relate to. So spoken word is one that I’ve used to help empower African youth, because that’s where I’ve been based – in Kenya for the past several years.’
So what brought this remarkably spirited traveller, teacher and youth mentor to the White Isle for her first summer season this year?
‘I was brought out here sponsored by [African cotton garment company) Lamu Kultura Kikoy. I’ve sang a few times in Aura, Pacha and Kilometre 5. I think I’m going to put something together for Ibiza Style this year and come back next year with a proper show. Something Ibiza style. This is my first time in Ibiza. It’s a special place, it really is.’
Before she returns to the island for summer 2011 Imani will first complete a US tour of her one-woman theatre show Internally Fly. She then plans to revisit the recording studio (‘I’m working with a producer now and I’m recording a song’) before resuming her online studies in Criminal Justice with the University of Phoenix.
‘I’m branching into working with young offenders through spoken word… in correctional facilities, where they are really troubled, where they need guidance. In the past three years I’ve realised this is where I’m supposed to focus: on youth empowerment. Empowering youth and propelling the next generation forward with something positive, something beautiful.’
First published in Ibiza Style Magazine, Ibiza, June 2010.
© Abbey Stirling