By Imou Eparis
Daniel Nyundo aka Greatness is a poet based in Kisumu and our poet of the month for October. I recently had the pleasure of having a sit down with him.
Every time I get asked that question, my mind quickly responds with why not? I keep answering out loud, there is nothing higher or lower. This is it (like MJ pun intended). I mean that is my whole life, I am GREATNESS, it goes beyond poetry and bleeds into my own life and aspirations. I am it; royalty doesn’t get better than this, I mean.
Did you have other stage names other than Greatness?
It took me a while to settle on the name. I had silly rap names before. I have always wanted to be a rapper. In high school, I used to call myself DNN. After college, I started brainstorming ideas and settled on D4G which is the acronym for destined for greatness. I stood with that for a while until I thought about just saying my name is GREATNESS.
I understand you went to school and studied theology. How did you go from preparing to be a pastor to a poet?
Yes, I did. Theology is a part of everyday life. I do not have to switch between being a poet and being a theologian. I am excited by both concepts in equal measure. So, I do not have a switch for me. I will be an artist and discuss scripture in the same heartbeat.
I used to complain about my challenges as a poet. Right now, am cruising. I belong to a brilliant collective called Poetic Hour, I have found a place where I belong. That has been a struggle for me in my career. Poetic Hour has helped me to do my first concept show, I got to travel to Kampala and also establish myself as a brand. So far so good, and the future is opening up nicely.
Can I call you a Christian poet?
Yes I am a Christian artist, a poet loved by God intensely.
Before switching to writing about suicide and mental health, you used to write a lot about love. Were you madly in love with someone at the time?
I have not stopped writing about love. My love story has its own randomised control systems. Recently, I have been writing about one particular lady. Let’s call her Ruby. Back to the question, I used to write to a fictional lady then, she was a mix of what I thought a good partner would embody.
What did you think a good partner would embody?
The biggest quality for me is kindness. I am big on that because I feel that it is a strong character trait that encompasses many strengths such as self control, anger management and emotional intelligence. It also indicates that she is mindful of the social spaces she is involved with that goes beyond trying to impress me.
Can you explain your interest in mental health and suicide?
I am in this season of life where the situations in the community around me have led me to speak on behalf of the human experience the struggle of those who are not able to be as vocal and to create an avenue for people struggling with suicide to feel cared for and heard.
My thoughts and concerns on mental health are meant to look at the best way that I can be a part of building a healthier community and society.
Anything new we should be on the lookout for?
Too much sauce! Expect more stuff because I intend to push the envelope further. High On Poems is a movement that will promote suicide awareness in every way possible. Top of the list is a high-on poems tour that this anthem will not just be contained in Kisumu, it will spread across borders. For the readers, there is a High On Poems book that will soon be in bookstores. I’m looking forward to an album for the same cause and a short film among many other things. I am also partnering with a film society in Kisumu soon to release 100 poems. So many good things are in store.