Closing Day

Posted in: Writing    211 Comments



I started this blog because I was jobless- or to use a more urban-correct phrase “in between jobs.” I had just lost my job at ADAM Magazine. Working for the magazine was a scream. Those South Africans (Media 24) made us feel important; they gave my homeboy, Dickson Migiro, and I business cards written SENIOR FEATURES WRITER and a fairly decent pay and then sent us out to do what we loved; write. We felt important. In fact, we would have done it at half pay. Long before Subaru owners started getting loud about Subaru’s on social media, we were driving down for out-of-town assignments in a Forester, a fuel-card in hand and bagful of money to go do stories. Those trips, to us, were mere excuses for hedonism. Writing for a men’s title was a walk in the beach; I was required to write a paltry 3,000 words a month! 3,000 words, only! I had never been lazier.

Then the plug was pulled from Cape Town, and the magazine, struggling through recession of the late 90’s, went tits up. I started the blog soon after to stabilise my creative boat. I didn’t actually think anyone would read it and quite honestly, I didn’t care at the beginning. It was therapeutic for me; the blog was filling a creative hole. Then it started snowballing. Its growth, I noticed, became directly proportional to the size of my head – and forehead, actually. I was posting every Monday without fail, and loving it. In hindsight I was writing from an injured place, a place that had been wounded ...... Read the entire article

A Girl. A Book. A Banana.

Posted in: Fatherhood    109 Comments



How come you aren’t happy nowadays?

I’m happy.

No, you aren’t!

Yes, I am.

Are you really?

Yes, I am!

Silence.

You can tell me if you aren’t. You know, if there is something wrong.

Okay.

Does that mean there is something wrong?

Nooo!

Silence.

You aren’t happy, I can tell. You have been quiet lately.

Long silence.

Are you really okay, darling?

I’m fine.

(Silence)

Is school okay?

Yes.

Is there any kid who is harassing you?

What is “harassing”?

Disturbing you.

How do you spell that?

D.I.S.T…

No, the other one.

What, harassing?

Yes.

H-A-R-A-S-S-I-N-G

It has two “s”?

Yes, darling.

Pause.

Well, is there?

Is there what?

Another kid disturbing you?

Pause.

Sometimes Kyle disturbs me.

Kyle is a girl?

Nooo! She laughs. Kyle is a boy!

How do you spell that?

B-0-Y

Nice, but I meant Kyle.

K-Y-L-E

I think Kyle is a girl’s name.

Hahaha. Nooo!

She finds this funny. Which is a great for me because she finds me funny right about now. So I’m going to wring dry this moment because I don’t know when next she will find me funny given her disposition lately.

I tell her that in my whole life I’ve never heard a boy called Kyle. Does he wear pink ...... Read the entire article

How to Bury a Luo

Posted in: Life & people    202 Comments



A luo will die. In spite of all the grandiosity and showboating and all the jokes that luos peddle to feel important and entitled and invincible, jokes about them not dying but “passing on” or “retiring to glory”, death remains spectacularly unmoved by those gags. They still die, eventually. And death doesn’t even send them a memo a day before so that they can slip into their bespoke Ozwald Boateng suits or have, in their manicured hands, a short glass of their favourite single malts when they die. They just go. Death does to luos what death does to everyone else; death kills them, unapologetically, swiftly, laboriously and, sometimes, brutally. Death doesn’t care.

So maybe you knew this luo. Maybe he was your friend. Maybe you played golf together. Or worked in the same department. Or grew up together and lost your virginities to the same bird (let’s call her Zuhura). Maybe you did biashara together, supplying tissue paper to the government and robbing it blind while at it. Maybe you married best friends. Or both went to Maseno. Or you met in jail (him in for drunk driving, you for selling fake Kenya Bureau of Standards seals). Or maybe you are dating him and someone close to him is dead. And now you have to attend the funeral. Now you have to go to Nyanza.

But you are scared. Scared because you have heard weird things about luo funerals. You’ve heard that they shave people during funerals (not true) and you are thinking, “there is no way ...... Read the entire article

Pokot

Posted in: Travel    116 Comments



You are miserable. You think because you carry fruits to work and you drink eight glasses of water you finally gotten your body to a state of nirvana and that brings a level of joy to you. You imagine that the group chats with your close-friends is a high acknowledgment of your social stability. Go ahead and lose one eye, or your job and see how many of them will leave the group chat. You think just because watchmen flash you salutes as you drive in you have attained supreme social capital. You found Zumba? You are still miserable. But see, you don’t know it yet because you think misery is sitting in a loo and only realising later that the toilet roll is over. This is a different kind of misery, I call it latent misery. Yes, I came up with that alone. It’s a theory I coined not long ago as my ass froze in the hills of West Pokot.

You are miserable because you are locked so far out from any reality set on this limited path of familiarity that you trod. And the only reason it continues to work is because you don’t know better. There is more out there, beyond Waiyaki Way, or Mombasa Road. Beyond your safety zone of familiarity there are people who find happiness in such tiny things that will break your heart. People who use the generosity of the earth and the acts of mankind to find fulfilment. People who don’t sweat the small stuff. People furthest from this deceptive smog of Nairobi.

And do you know what these people would say if roles were changed and ...... Read the entire article

Sabina Joy.

Posted in: Men & Women    107 Comments



This piece was first informed by a slight altercation then spurred by bravado. A friend told me that I’m a “middle-class sympathiser” masquerading behind my yellowish rants as a way of “validating and lauding” the middle-class idiosyncrasies and that I should consider my modus operandi and “stop representing” the farce that this dated landscape has become.

Bullshit, I spat, I don’t representing anyone, and I only write about the middle-class because they are sitting ducks. “Sadly, you have become what you write,” she egged on, “and one day, when this middle-class skin has grown old, you will be left un-reinvented and stewing in your own reservoir of inoperable words.”

I asked her, “are you here to knock my head against a wall or is this going anywhere other than badly?”

“Get out of that shell, Biko.”

“By doing what?”

“Leave what you know. Go to the unknown,”

“Unknown? Like where this conversation is headed?”

“Close. Why don’t you one day show that you have the cajones to write about something challenging?”

“I actually like that.”

“What, the idea?”

“No, cajones. People don’t use that word enough.”

Stony silence.

“OK, fine. What do you want me to write about that you imagine will get me out of my comfort zone?” I inquired.

“Write about Sabina Joy.”

Enter stage left, Wanjohi Githae. Reporter with The ...... Read the entire article