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PA - MOJA

by Blanes Wathumbi

Pamoja
The swahili word for together.

A word so powerful as to unite Nations and bespeak strength in unity.
Broken apart however, the results are quite ironic.

Paa...
Is the swahili word for fly

Moja
Is the swahili word for one.

Granted there cannot be unity without a sense of individuality,
but of late I've been questioning this idea of being;

"pamoja."

A word that supposedly sees no race, no gender or no bias.
A word that preaches unity across all boards and so versatile in it's use...
Like when I met a long lost friend the other day and as he left he said...

"sawa pamoja!"
As though the word would freeze this moment till we next met and transcend the feelings till then.

In all honesty, it felt like he meant,
“ Aight... ”
“ See you later, ”
“ I've got to fly... ”
“ Solo... ”

Deconstructed and directly translated that's what pamoja could mean...
Paa - fly... Moja - As one.... In other words

"fly solo".

Coz it takes more than the physical presence of people to be truly together...

Takes more than relatability and mutual causes to be united.
In a way, we are ok flying solo but masking it in words and actions such as protests and pleasantries.


The part doesn't justify the whole if unity is the assembly of people with individual and self centred goals.


Like when goats graze in large fields, is it the shepherd that unites them?
Or the mere fact that they share similar features and have similar goals?
Without the shepherd would the idea of unity still hold?
Better yet, without the field would the flock ever grow?

So when we say Black Lives Matter and crowd the streets,
gather the voice to speak and highlight the oppressive misdeeds...


How many are really in tune with it... with the crowd...
With the shepherd that comes in the form of a united cause against oppression?


What's in it for us, for them?

What really is the grass in the field that motivates people to flock the streets?
Is it really an act of unity? 

or just a depiction of the phrase;

"Pamoja" 

© Blanes Wathumbi