Justus Nyang’aya: I hardly open the fridge door

Saturday April 15 2017

Justus Nyang’aya is the Kenya country director

Justus Nyang’aya is the Kenya country director of Amnesty International. PHOTO:KINGWA KAMENCU  

By KINGWA KAMENCU

Justus Nyang’aya is the Kenya country director of Amnesty International.

He studied educational science in Kenya and Great Britain.

Nyang’aya was the director of Lead Africa, an organisation working for the qualification of African managers.

He also worked for the Netherlands Development Organisation as well as Unesco. Amnesty Kenya’s work concentrates on the prevention of forced evictions, the protection of housing rights and women’s rights.

What is your off-duty passion?
I am passionate about processes that create cohesion among people, or peace and conflict transformation. I am invited often to create environments for dialogue and team-building among clans, families, couples and institutions.

If you hadn’t turned into who you are now, what would you be?
I would most probably be an elected Member of Parliament providing public service to Kenyans! 

What signifies your personal style?
Diplomatic, calm, humourous!

How do you manage your wardrobe?
My wardrobe speaks volumes about African attire and casual dress.

When in East Africa, where are you most likely to be whiling away your time on a Saturday afternoon?
More often than not, I would be in church either participating in an afternoon session or giving a talk on family life programmes.

I would be sharing the importance of bringing up a solid family in Kenya for a better society.

What is your best destination in East Africa?
I once visited Kabale in Uganda. It was breathtaking, so beautiful and serene. I do not understand why we as East Africans are not marketing such places as tourist attractions.

Anywhere on your must-visit list?
Takawiri Island in Lake Victoria.

What do you see as East Africa’s greatest strength?
If we can get the East African economic bloc right, we would be a major power in Africa because our collective power as a people is our strength. The number of countries joining the East African Community has increased. 

Justus Nyang’aya is the Kenya country director

Justus Nyang’aya is the Kenya country director of Amnesty International. PHOTO:KINGWA KAMENCU

What’s your best collection?
I have a good collection of African writers — novels, biographies and poetry books.

What’s the most thoughtful gift you’ve received?
I have two. My wife gave me a Worldspace radio in 2000.

I love listening to news from around the world and Africa.

That type of the radio had very good clarity of reception. Even though the Worldspace radios discontinued their production and marketing. It was a very powerful piece of innovation by an African.
Also, a refugee from the DRC gave me a gift of my portrait done with extreme skill and taste — known in art as pyrography, created by burning an image on a piece of wood. 

Your last great read?
I reread The Challenge of Nationhood, by Tom Mboya

Which movie had a real impact on you?
A movie about the life of Nelson Mandela.

What’s your favourite music?
I love spiritual music with African motifs, especially from the Luhya and Zulu communities.

What’s the constant in your fridge?
I hardly open the fridge door, I do not remember the last time I did that!