Invisible

I did not know what to expect when I picked up Kevin Mwachiro’s Invisible: Stories from Kenya’s queer community’, so I went ahead to satisfy my curiosity after the tasteful launch of the book at the Goethe Institute.

The book is a compilation by journalist and activist Kevin Mwachiro of narratives from Kenyan activists on their discontent against discrimination and uphold the respect and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals.

The story in chapter 14 of a Turkana boy is particularly compelling, so pure and honest that I wanted it to become a novel. The author of this piece tells his piece in one of the most refreshingly sincere way. No agenda. No 3-pronged objectives. Just a boy, telling his story, leaving out nothing.

Continue reading

Husbands for breakfast

If ever there was a play that missed the mark in my years of watching plays, then it must be Heartstrings latest play Husband for Breakfast.

The plot was, at best, harried, devoid of the key ingredients that make up the Heartstrings plays that I have come to know and love: Improvisation, Kenyanness and spot-on humour.

It seemed like a jumbled up version of a cross between a Festival of Creative arts play and a Phoenix Theatre play.

Themed around infidelity, the plot revolved around two philanderers and a thief/conman trying to outwit one another- in the non-wittiest ways.

Continue reading

(A lost chapter from One Day I Will Write About This Place)

11 July, 2000.

This is not the right version of events.

Hey mum. I was putting my head on her shoulder, that last afternoon before she died. She was lying on her hospital bed. Kenyatta. Intensive Care. Critical Care. There. Because this time I will not be away in South Africa, fucking things up in that chaotic way of mine. I will arrive on time, and be there when she dies. My heart arrives on time. I am holding my dying mother’s hand. I am lifting her hand. Her hand will be swollen with diabetes. Her organs are failing. Hey mum. Ooooh. My mind sighs. My heart! I am whispering in her ear. She is awake, listening, soft calm loving, with my head right inside in her breathspace. She is so big – my mother, in this world, near the next world, each breath slow, but steady, as it should be. Inhale. She can carry everything. I will whisper, louder, in my minds-breath. To hers. She will listen, even if she doesn’t hear. Can she?

Continue reading

Poetry contest - Nation 7

Writers in Kenya are not paid very well. Poets especially aren’t paid very well. It therefore is a kick in the shin for a newspaper to go ahead and ask poets to pay for their poems to appear in the newspaper. The said callout was by the Nation newspaper. The advert read:

“Send a 50 word love poem to valentines@ke.nationmedia.com and stand a chance to win a valentine to remember!! Once the email has been received, you will receive a reference number that allows you to pay Ksh 1000 for your poem to appear on 14th February 2014 in the Friday Nation. The winning poem will be picked by the editor . No correspondence will be entered into thereafter.”

Continue reading

Pawa

PAWA 254 is one of the premiere art spaces in the country. Many people know of it, but few know where it is. Getting to PAWA254 is a long journey to me. Located off state house road, getting there from town is literally an uphill task. As exhausting as it is getting there, I like the location of the environment.

There is something amazing about the serene and quiet environment around it. There is no struggle to walk into the gates or pushing people as you walk into the building. Once you get there, the YMCA, which holds the building is very inviting. It’s a place that makes you get in-touch with your inner self and truly enjoy whatever reason brought you there. I get a sense of calmness embrace me when I’m there. Continue reading

abu sense

Down the Mountains, into Sin City. My reign began. Hollywood will be conquered. This is what Abu Sense says when asked to introduce himself.

We had a few questions for him and this is what he had to say:

1. What was your first phone?

The Hulk of all phones, code named trinosaurous rex. The ultimate, ground breaking telecommunication device made from Superman’s bicep using 36th century alien technology… THE NOKIA 3310.

2. What do you prefer? Facebook or Twitter? Why?

Whichever that makes it easier to stalk crushes. As of now, Facebook.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In theatres/cinemas near you
Continue reading

Imagine having a friend you can always talk to without spending phone credit, or data bundles, or bus fare to go and meet them. All it takes is a kasuku notebook and a Speedo pen and you can rant all you want. It won’t stop you with impatient glances towards their watch. It won’t criticize you for whatever you are saying. And maybe one day, ten years down the line, it will transverse across space and time to whisper to you words applicable to your dilemma or predicament at the time.
You don’t always have to go to Ranting Mode. Sometimes you can go to Recording Mode, just tell your diary every boring detail of the day. Including what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Maybe you’re already a writer. Maybe you’ve written on an air sickness bag 15,000 ft above the ground or on a tissue paper inside a coffee shop; writing is an OCD you are not interested in treating because you know treating it would bring about more serious ailments of the mind and heart.
Continue reading

48-hour-film-project

The 48 Hour Film Project is a challenge that gets filmmakers to write, shoot and edit a movie in just 48 hours. The project that began as a challenge amongst friends about 12 years has grown to arguably be the largest filmmaking competition in the world. This year, Nairobi is among the 125 participating cities and the challenge will take place between Friday 29th November and Sunday 1st December.

The Challenge will kick off that Friday at The Michael Joseph Centre on Waiyaki Way where the participants will get details on given genres, characters, lines of thought and props they have to work into their movies. The finished product will be submitted at the same venue on Sunday by 7.30 pm strictly and those that miss the deadline even by a minute will be disqualified.

Continue reading

You will find all sorts of people in Nairobi and in my opinion, they make the city move. If you go looking for a person with certain traits then you can almost be sure to find them in Nairobi. Some are extroverts who are celebrated for their speech rather than actions while others are great handymen. The successful but uncelebrated introverts will often be forgotten because they live an extremely private life but they are definitely a force to reckon with. You will find a few people who are very knowledgeable and more people who think they know it all.

What’s common about all these people is that they have a hustle/means to earn a living, and those who don’t are actively searching for one. It fuels their aspirations gives them reason to work and hope for better. There’s always someone who’s working at creating something new or making better what already exists and another’s thinking about a Continue reading

The problem with being a reader is you don’t just read black text against white paper. You read gestures and body language. You read characters and choice of words. You read what is being said and what is not being said. The silence between the words carry on as much weight as the words themselves, and the interpretations of dialogue…they can be pretty endless. Three tiny words with one syllable each may carry fifteen different meanings, and the thing is, you can’t help but think of the negative meanings and those may give your self-esteem a blow especially if it has a history to reinforce it.

The problem with being a reader is that you tend to link random objects. Specific words get linked with real memories. Continue reading