No matter how foreign the concept might seem to us in an overwhelmingly globalized world, places where you cannot and even shouldn’t be heard or seen still exist today. These are worlds where your own identity struggles under the pressure of an exclusive culture’s tightness, restricted mentalities, stereotypes, sexism, strengths of norms and social sanctions, patriarchal domination… basically, limits.
Auma Obama: a name, an identity but many cultures
Auma Obama, author of a compelling memoir, And Then Life Happens, activist, humanitarian and sister of the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama broke these limits to redefine herself through education, humanitarian work and her frequent encounters with other cultures but her own. Auma Obama has simply refused her Luo (Kenyan tribe) culture’s status quo and her father’s insisting requests to “just behave and be a girl” and went on to paving her own way. Her journey started right after she had finished high-school with a scholarship in Germany where she studied and lived for 16 years, continued in England until she decided to go back to her original culture determined to make a difference.
Her current project, the Sauti Kuu (Powerful Voices) Foundation is a reflection of her passionate journey towards self-definition. Sauti Kuu is not just another African philanthropic foundation. With an astonishing social consciousness, Auma is fighting to change both the Western and local misconceptions of philanthropy, thus establishing the real needs of poor young Africans. On the one hand, she wants to teach young people that before reaching outwardly to organisations for help they need to strengthen their own identity as valuable resources able to care for themselves. On the other hand, she aims at diminishing old philanthropic conceptions that are still a common practice on African territory, that giving out money or food or clothes to poor people is they key to solving poverty. It’s all about teaching them how and giving them the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families.
But her work does not resume to only this. Auma Obama has learned how to go about the limits and also opportunities of her own origins and name, is currently working on teaching others the same thing and learning more about it in the process.
“Unlimited” at TEDxVienna on November 2nd
On November 2nd, you’ll have the chance to listen to and meet Auma Obama at the TEDxVienna UnlimiTED annual conference. Besides her, other 14 international speakers will take the stage of one of Vienna’s most beloved theaters, the Volkstheater. Among them, Aubrey de Grey, the man who fights ageing and death and Carl Djerassi, the creator of the controversial “pill”, Michael Stevens, the person behind the Youtube channel Vsauce, Ian Usher, the guy who sold his life on eBay. Secure your early bird ticket now!