Friday, September 24, 2010

Have You Ever Seen a Healthy Vegan? #7

Konju Oruwari

Konju Oruwari (née Konju Briggs Jr.) was born in 1983 in northern New Jersey to Nigerian immigrant parents and will turn 27 around Halloween 2010. He is a novelist, blogger, martial artist (Kung Fu Wu Su), licensed massage therapist (NY and NJ), former graduate student (MA, Africana Studies, NYU, 2008), and currently the research assistant (and scribe) at the Africana Institute at Essex County College in Newark, NJ.

His vegan life began in the summer of 1999 when he was fifteen. Much of his overnight transition was due to exposure to new and meaningful modes of thinking (transcendentalist literature in high school, pro-vegan radio shows by the likes of Kamau Kokayi and Gary Null on WBAI, conscious adoption and espousal of leftist politics, and especially hardcore immersion in Eastern philosophy, particularly Zen Buddhism, at the time) that all converged to make using animal products seem cruel, repulsive and unhealthy.

That summer, he also worked at a local fast food restaurant for only one day before immediately quitting and going 100% vegan in the following couple of weeks. Earlier memories, such as a disturbing childhood visit to a slaughterhouse in southern New Jersey to accompany his father selecting the goat to be slaughtered for his goat-meat stew, also informed his 1999 epiphany. Since then, he has never looked back and is approaching the point where half his life, and already all his adult-hood, have been enjoyed in healthy veganism, thanks to the permissions of a forward-looking and tolerant mother during his teenage years.

He now blogs about vegan theory as pertains to human rights and human liberation, ecology, sustainable development in the third world, food security, food sovereignty, and food justice in his primary blog, Green Chimurenga. His time spent in West Africa as a graduate exchange student of University of Ghana in 2007, studying third-world agronomy and gender issues, reinforced his commitment to seeing community lifestyles and material economies in their relationship to sustainability and development. Another of his blogs, Afrikan Satori, primarily addresses some of the broader political issues of the day while also housing some of his literary samples. He is currently seeking publication for an Afrofuturist dark comedy entitled An Android Reads the News while working on another novel which, from a magical realist perspective, explores the intercultural absurdities and political nausea facing people of color and immigrants in America today.

Konju Oruwari has also trained for several years in Kung Fu Wu Su in New York, hopefully to achieve first degree in 2011. After graduate school he studied massage therapy and personal fitness training at the Swedish Institute in Manhattan as well. His experiences have demonstrated thoroughly that carnivorism has no special relationship with athleticism that veganism cannot meet or exceed. He trains daily in kettlebells or other exercises, and has not been physically ill in years.

Konju has been a raw vegan since the fall of 2007 and a low-fat raw vegan/ fruitarian since January 2009, taking no supplements and subsisting only on fresh fruits and greens. His physical vitality has been the most vigorous and energetic during this current phase of his plant-based lifestyle.

He is currently contemplating and applying for graduate school again (for Ph. D. positions related to neo-colonial and Africana studies, for MS occupational therapy programs in possible combination with an M.PH, and perhaps even MFA programs if he is really crazy). That is unless writing novels pays off enough to fund the lifestyle and provides its own outlets for research and teaching. In either case, he will remain a healthy vegan.

Blogs: Green Chimurenga is at and its supplemental facebook site is
Afrikan Satori is at


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yup, take it from me, a friend for over 5 years, that Konju is definitely the most physically fit person I know. Very inspiring fellow always trying new and interesting things.


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