Mark Odecho: Getting to know your writer
Who is Mark Odecho and why did he start writing?
Who is Mark Odecho?
Well, I am a Kenyan based writer with a passion for stories that revolve around people of African descent all around the world. I tend to gravitate more towards: history, self-worth, self-love and achievements just to name a few.
However, over the years I have learnt to embrace and write in various other niches and industries.
When did I start writing?
I actually started writing back in 2015. Even though I never published anything back then, I scribbled a lot and started piecing things together in my diary. Eventually, all the tiny bits of information I had gathered started making sense and I was able to transform them into full articles.
What was the title of my first article?
This was my first article. I wrote it as a Facebook note on December 9th 2016 before publishing it on Medium.
How did I start writing?
My journey began with me asking myself a lot of questions about people of African descent. Who were we? What did we achieve back in the days? Why can’t I see anything positive about us?
I was hungry for such kind of information because I felt without it a piece of me was missing. As a matter of fact, a very significant piece that essentially defined who I was as a person.
Most if not all sources that I looked at concluded that we did not have history. If we did have any, then it was insignificant and had no place in world history. I for one couldn’t live with that!
I was not going to sit back and concede to the fact that we as a people do not have history or relevance. It just wasn’t a satisfying answer to me. So I kept looking, digging and overturning every source of information I came across.
One day, I was lucky enough to come across Dr. Ivan Van Sertima’s teachings. Of all the Pan Africanist, Historians and Scientists in the world who tried to usher a positive image of Africa, no one single handedly influenced my life and built my mind brick by brick like Dr. Ivan Van Sertima.
Through his teachings I was able to also learn of other great African minds such as Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop of Sengal and Prof. Theophile Obenga of Congo. Together, they seamlesly thwarted an attempt by benighted, eurocentric, counterfeit so called historians to try and minimize Africa and claim our history as theirs.
This was done in a symposium held by UNESCO in Cairo in 1974. These two great Africans provided overwhelming and unparalleled evidence that clearly showed Mizraim, commonly referred to as Egypt to be a Black African Civilization.
A few months down the line, I was lucky enough to also stumble upon a quote by Patrice Lumumba, another great son of the land that influenced me in many ways.
This quote has no equal in the vile and hateful eurocentric world. It’s a quote that illuminates your path and uplifts your Africaness. It’s a quote that undoubtedly comes as a breath of fresh air in the pursuit of an independent Africa, void of foreign interference.
The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations. It will be the history which will be taught in the countries which have won freedom from colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history and in both north and south it will be a history of glory and dignity.
A couple of days later and with luck still on my side, I found another amazing quote. An eye opening quote by Dr. King that helped me uncover our hidden history and was indeed a eureka moment for me.
Dr. King said,
“Somebody told a lie one day, they couched it in language. They made everything black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word black it’s always something degrading, low and sinister. Look at the word white, it’s always something pure, high, clean. Well I wanna get the language right tonight. I wanna get the language so right that everybody here will cry out, ‘Yes am black! I’m proud of it! I’m black and beautiful.”
Martin Luther King Junior
See, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr made a clear distinction between: “being hidden” and “not having”. Those words from the good Doctor made me realize how profound a man he was.
Apart from him being a civil rights movement leader, he essentially summed up the sentimental views of biased linguists, scholars and historians in what they often cast (not unconsciously) as “African history”.
Dr. King plainly exposed the sinister motives of people trying to erase history and embed inferiority in language. That is why it was so hard for me to come by significant black history in most textbooks.
People essentially conceptualized, theorized and eventually couched superiority and hate in books in order to hide history.
After these amazing discoveries and coming across many more great leaders such as Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela among many others, I learned so much about black people that no one can take me back to the blind old days.
My thirst was quenched by the information I found because I knew how to navigate through it. To sieve misinformation from truth and to differentiate pseudo-science from factual science.
Ever since then, my journey to empower and educate people through writing never seized. Be it about the beauty of our melanin-rich skin or the curliness of our hair.
From great academic and career achievements by black men and women, to outstanding historical figures that did amazing things centuries ago. My journey continues!!