“Everyone is a human being. Whether you come from a big community or a small community, we are all the same. And if we unite, we have no idea what we can accomplish.”
In 2007, the violently disputed general election in Kenya divided people along tribal lines, and for the first time, many urban Kenyans had to identify their tribe. Almost 10 years later, many fear Kenya could be becoming more tribally polarized than ever before. Working with two primary schools in Nairobi and Mombasa, directors Wanuri Kahiu and Nick Reding intimately explore issues surrounding national identity. Using games and interviews the filmmakers ask 8-11 year olds what they understand about discrimination, tribe and religion, and how, when they are discriminated themselves, do they feel about their own identity.
Inspired by Jane Elliot’s “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” experiment, the film delicately picks at the religious and tribal tensions that exist in Kenya, by creating an exercise in which the class is arbitrarily divided into groups. The children narrate the experiences and talk about the lessons they learn as they themselves experience the anger, frustration and powerlessness of prejudice.
Through the eyes and guided by the wisdom of children, “Who am I?” gives an enlightened voice to the tribal and religious fissures that are growing in Kenyan society, providing a voice of wisdom and compassion, all with the inherent child’s understanding of fairness.