KHAYYAM YAKUT, 18
Khayyam Yukut is a young activist, journalist, storyteller, and poet from Zanzibar, Tanzania. She joined the Zanzibar’s Children Council at the age of ten and has been a committed child rights activist ever since. She was inspired not only to learn about her rights, but also to actively educate her peers about their rights and responsibilities.
At the age of seventeen, Yukut joined a youth reporters program to become an advocate for generating employment for Zanzibar’s young people. She helped plan income-generating projects, agriculture, and created her own small business selling locally made juice and food. Yukut used her visibility on the radio to inspire her peers to start income-generating projects of their own. She has a deep connection to her community and a passion for storytelling. Her outgoing personality combined with an acute ability to listen, enables her to collect individual stories from her community, which she then incorporates into her weekly educational radio show aired through Coconut FM.
Yukut dreams of becoming the top journalist in Zanzibar and believes that her weekly radio shows, rapport with the community, and her information communication technology training from Mwanakwerekwe Vocational Training Center, where she is currently in her final year, will propel her there. In addition to her passion for radio, community work and commitment to child rights, she enjoys spending time with her family and singing traditional Zanzibari songs. In Zanzibar’s traditional male-dominated society, female leaders like Yukut are bringing new voices to the forefront and inspiring a generation of young women to access their rights and achieve their dreams.
It’s Our Time
by Khayyan Yakut
It’s our Time! Zanzibar women, it’s our time! While our culture, behavior, and history make us think we are not strong or capable to lead, we are stronger than anyone. It’s time to put aside the thoughts that we must not engage in traditional “men’s work.” We need to be the best we can be for ourselves, our future, and the generations to come, and lead with passion and integrity.
I see my fellow young women on social media, snapping photos and sharing stories - why not turn that into employment? Videographer, photographer, storyteller; our beautiful island would benefit from women behind the lens. As young women we think to take up simple jobs or those traditionally for women, like nursing or teaching. These professions are important and powerful, but we need to open our minds to other professions and opportunities like IT or tourism or even the military.
We are trustworthy though often not trusted. We have dreams to travel, to work, to live a life we choose. A simple poem:
Violence is just like mataka
To be against mashaka
Let’s fight till Kisakasaka.
To be honest, violence has speed
Taking children without limit
Crying like a bird in the sky
Till the end no misunderstanding.
Children are like gold
Wherever they go they build
Their actions sweet and pure
No one should compromise
Government is protection like a supervisor in a section
Let’s ensure elimination
No one will come with investment.
Be it international or local
These problems need a resolution
Education to be the solution
Let’s fight till Kisakasaka.