Mark Odecho: Getting to know your writer
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.
After months of searching, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a quote by Dr. King. A quote that helped straighten my convoluted path in how I carried out my research.
This quote was in fact the missing link that changed my understanding of the world. An eye opening quote that illuminated my path into uncovering our hidden history and 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 this amazing discovery I learned so much about black people. 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!!