Kasichana Riziki Mumba, 27, is the artist manager for this year’s Storymoja Festival, which will take place from September 27 to October 1.
1. There is probably someone who has read the intro and is wondering what the role of an artist manager is…
I am the main liaison between the artists attending the festival and the festival organiser, in this case Storymoja. I am in charge of communication as well as the artists and the program too. I also organise the bookshop at the festival. Besides this, I take care of the needs of the artists. Other than being very terrified at being only three years away from the big 3-O, this role is both very frightening and challenging. I am enjoying it so far though – I get to meet some very amazing people.
2. You are a lawyer swaying into the arts, what with MC-ing popular art space Fatuma’s Voice, covering noted festivals such as Hargeisa and Rusinga Festivals and now doing artist management for Storymoja. Is law under the bridge or will you somehow fuse that with what you’re doing now?
Those who know that I am an advocate of the High Court keep asking when I’ll start practicing. My interest has, for a long time, been human rights and dispute resolution. In future, I intend to use the arts to advocate for these two subjects, so I will definitely try to combine law, arts, music and human rights into this wonderful square that I have in my hands. I plan to do a year or so in a law firm though, so that option is still open for me.
3. What is it like, getting to talk to some of your favourite writers and creatives? Who are you looking forward to meeting in person at the festival?
Goodness! It is both brilliant and scary, I won’t lie. There is the urge to squeal via email and gush when talking to them, but I often remind myself to keep it professional and civil. I look forward to meeting Abubakar Ibrahim, (I simply loved Season of Crimson Blossoms) and Wandia Njoya. I absolutely get blown away by how articulate and confident she is. There are so many others of course, but right now, these two wonderful beings top the list.
4. What are some of the hardest parts of your job right now?
Right now it is waiting for responses from the invitees. Everyone’s schedule is hectic and sometimes the time zones get in the way. I think they forget that the Storymoja team cannot make headway if they don’t respond. Also, having taken over from someone else means I’ve got a lot to catch up on, which induces a bit of anxiety once in a while. Thankfully, I’ve got a capable team to help me out.
5.Which is the last book you read?
Looking for Lakshmi, by Rajan Soni, who’ll be joining us for the festival. The book is about his life as a Kenyan-Indian and his journey to unwrapping the life of his grandma, Bibji. A really gripping tale. I won’t say more about it because I’d like people to get it when he comes to the country.