Daily African Proverb with Simon Okelo

“When the branches of trees in the forest are fighting, the roots are kissing.” ~ Senegal

Today in the Daily Arican Proverbs room on Clubhouse, Simon shared this Senegalese proverb. “When the branches of trees in the forest are fighting, the roots are kissing.” It hit a cord for me because I immediately thought of the storms that I have personally endured. The roots that I had in the ground are what kept me stable. Whatever had taken root in y heart really took control over how I visualized the fight that I was currently in.

Another point that popped up for me was that damage to the roots will ultimately cause the branches to be weak, but a damaged branch does not weaken the roots. This is interesting because we find ourselves often doing a lot of work to strengthen our branches because that is what people see. We want beautiful budding flowers and fresh green leaves to bring attention to what we may be doing or saying.

Over time, I have found myself going back to my roots…pun intended. Looking at my core when it comes to family, the business, spirituality, and even creativity allows me to not only monitor my roots but also to make them stronger. It can seem weird at times because this is not the process that most coaches or mentors present to their clients. This the opposite of “faking it til you make it” and “looking the part.”

I wish to do more than just “look the part”! I wish to change how the part looks!

My name is Simon Javan Okelo. I grew up in the slums of Manyatta in Kisumu, Kenya, serving as the Field Director of Solace International and Co-Director of the Young Generation Centre from 2002-2010 where I directed humanitarian projects in Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, Liberia, and South Sudan. I also worked as a DJ and producer, organizing Unite The People concerts in 2008 in the wake of post-election violence and founding One Vibe Africa.

I came to the US in 2010, and I have since organized events and digital campaigns celebrating the African diaspora locally and globally. For example, since 2014 I have organized Madaraka Festival at The Museum of POP Culture headlined by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Sauti Sol, Blitz The Ambassador, Rocky Dawuni, Meklit Hadero, Nik West, Naomi Wachira, Karun, and other renowned grammy award winning artists.

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