Get Together

Room for reimagining masculinity 🤝Onyango Otieno, Nyumbani

Episode Summary

An interview hosted by Bailey Richardson and Whitney Ogutu, “Get Together” correspondent, with Onyango Otieno. Onyango co-leads the Nyumbani community, which creates an online safe space for men who've been sexually abused. We talked with Onyango about the power of personal stories in the healing path and self-care as a community leader.

Episode Notes

Note: we will discuss sexual assault in this episode and advise our listeners to practice discretion in tuning in.

“Everybody's story is valid. The fact that people feel they cannot speak up about their own pain is my motivator.” - Onyango Otieno

At twenty years old, Onyango Otieno was the victim of sexual assault and found he had no where to turn. In Kenya, as in many other societies, the patriarchal structure turns a blind eye to the sexual experiences of men. Men are socially conditioned to hold in their pain.   

Because of his background as a storyteller, Onyango instead began writing about his experience. In sharing his story on Facebook and Twitter, he found “some kind of liberation.”

Onyango continued exploring African masculinity and advocating for mental health, and eventually put up a post sharing that he was starting a WhatsApp-based mental health support group.

Over 200 people raised their hands to join him there. 

Onyango put these folks into two groups and offered some basic community guidelines that allowed members to define the space the way they wanted. Today they call these groups Nyumbani, which is Swahili for “home.”

We talked with Onyango about structuring a community support group starting with community guidelines and his personal self-care as he leads people to unpack trauma. 

Highlights, inspiration, & key learnings:

👋🏻Say hi to Onyango (onyangohome@gmail.com) and learn more about Nyumbani

✨Say hi to Whitney Ogutu, “Get Together” correspondent.

📄See the full transcript.

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Episode Transcription

📄See the full transcript.