Eric Onyango Otieno is the first born of three children. Fondly known as ”Rixpoet”, he has journeyed through life like a soldier sent to war. And isn’t life a battle for all of us? We would need to write books to tell the whole of his story.
‘Rix’, who has grown up in a violent home, has been a street boy in his teenage life, suicidal at 16, unable to smoothly attend University to pursue his passion for Journalism, knocked down by a matatu in a hit and run incident in Nairobi Central Business District surviving only with bruises, is now our Program Coordinator and Co-founder at Fatuma’s Voice, a poet with tremendous works and a father figure to many, opens up to us at how he sees himself in this hard world.
His is a reminder to each of us who is battling with something that makes them feel unworthy. You are needed. Someone depends on your talent, your voice, or even your presence, to face another day. There is a lot of good awaiting you if you press on.
Eric says:
I look into the mirror and tell myself: ”You pretty little boy. Look how far you’ve come. When you were sleeping in the streets at 16, nobody who saw you then thought you’d ever wear a suit, or speak proper English. When you were scoring low marks in Science and Compositions in primary school, none of your teachers imagined you’d ever stand to address an audience. Heck, now you even write poems old men sit to read. When you were expelled from your first high school without an expulsion letter, everyone supposed that was your end.
When it was said you were a disgrace to the family, you stopped believing in yourself. You have been lonely, distraught, lost, and forsaken, but you have also messed up so many things. There are people who have never let go of the pain you caused them at a moment in their lives. Some even spit when your name is mentioned. You have been dirty, inconsiderate, selfish, childish and careless. Yet, somehow, you’re still here, like some sort of diamond that never cracks.
You laugh hard. You love tea. You write like a child. You’re bold and beautiful. You fall and rise. You love rain, and the morning sun. You adore silence. You are poems the world is yet to read. You dance; sometimes like a puppet, sometimes like a dreamer. You are charming and sexy. You are God’s beloved. So much soul, pretty little boy. So much soul you’ve got in there. You’re made of grace rainbows marvel at. I need you to keep burning.”
Besides running our programs at Fatuma’s Voice, Eric loves speaking to people about how to cope with life and attaining self awareness in schools, workplaces, and to individuals on invitation. He is also a self taught social media manager and is an avid reader.
He has just e-published his quote book recently, a collection of his thoughts and experiences that help us see how he views the world and in turn teach us a thing or two about the things we really need to be thinking about in our daily lives (The ebook goes for 200/- payable via MPESA line 0722790479. Text your email address after sending the amount then your copy shall be emailed to you).
In addition,Eric Onyango Otieno is working on a spoken word poetry album with his poet friend, Oscar Ogero aka Gufy Dox, and plans to publish his first poetry collection hopefully this year.
For a man who in many instances seemingly had nothing promising, it is remarkable seeing what persistence, proper direction and passion can do for one human being. Imagine what they could do for you.
Just to give you a different perspective of who Eric is, here is an excerpt to an interview by one Rayhab Gachango on her award winning blog:
It’s Wednesday and time to meet one of the men who work, live and play in this city. Our Man Around Nairobitoday is Eric Otieno aka Rixpoet.  Eric Onyango Otieno is a Kenyan poet, born and bred in Nairobi.  He is a Social Media Executive when he is not creating, reading, having tea, or dancing.
Eric Onyango Otieno began writing poetry at the age of sixteen, and has been performing his work in several poetry events including Kwani? Open Mic, A Word & A Mic, Poetry At The Park, Slam Africa, Poetry Spot, Upgrade Poetry, Poetry Under The Stars, Words Galore, among others. He is the Co-Founder of Fatuma’s Voice, an arts forum that brings people together to discuss societal matters using poetry, music, dance, motivational speaking and other forms of art.
Eric Onyango Otieno is also involved in mentoring young poets across East Africa. ”Rix” is also the founder of Siri Zangu, an organization that’s out to help people use their traumatic backgrounds for betterment of themselves and their surrounding by having them share their stories to heal…