Igor ‘Shakii’ Mongulu attended Arts & Media School, Islington from 2006 to 2009.
Along with his friend and collaborator, Neron Turner-Power, Igor displayed a talent for writing at an early age with song lyrics which they would record together in the school studio after school. He then discovered a talent and appreciation of poetry in English with the help and encouragement of his English teacher entering the First Story competition which we still enter to this day.
My name is Shakii. I’m a 22 year old writer from north London.
After spending the last 5 years of my life working in the finance and banking sector both in London and New York, I had an epiphany and completely fell out of love with the industry and its selfish, capitalist nature. I then made the brave decision of quitting my lucrative role in New York to come back to London and dedicate my life to using my writing to inspire my generation.
Upon abandoning my corporate identity, I did a lot of reading on Black history and was absolutely astonished at what I found. Firstly, I was shocked at the fact that at the age of 22, this was the very first time that I was learning about all these amazing things that Black people had achieved. And secondly, the more and more I read about past greats of my skin colour, the more empowered and confident I felt about myself.
Then it hit me: if me learning about my history can have such a profound effect on how I perceive myself, then what would it do for my younger siblings? How would it change how they look at themselves? And what type of positivity could it bring into their lives?
What also crossed my mind was: if teaching young Black people about their past and showing them images of great people that looked like them could help him them, then why isn’t any of this history being taught? Why do we only learn about Black history in October? And when we do, why is is it that all we learn about is slavery and the civil rights movement when Black history goes back so much further than that?
From that questioning, the poem “Nothing” was born.