The Story Of Kenya

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Fact: If you are Kenyan, a vast majority of laymen among the international community probably think you live in a Savannah surrounded by the perils of jungle life. This is further complimented by the fact that our precious Nairobi National Park sits so close to the Nation’s capital that you can see giraffes making love from the KICC rooftop. They probably think slay queens emerge from Manyattas to hit the spa for a detox session. Let us imagine Kim Kardashian looking for a holiday destination on her Mac Book air and suggesting Kenya to her chisel jawed husband.

“I was thinking you, me and the kids should go on a Safari to Kenya”, says Mrs. West

“Kenya? Isn’t that where Obama traced his dad?” Mr West retorts absent minded groping at his wife’s ass.

“I dunno, maybe…Obama was like the president right?” Mrs West is now getting confused, thinking seems to do that to her.

“No Baby, let’s go somewhere people actually wear clothes…” Mr West exits the room mid-haste probably to tweet a troll on Taylor Swift.

Now imagine an average English bloke sitting in front of his Telly somewhere in Birmingham, profession notwithstanding, watching that distasteful movie ‘Eye in the Sky’ that showcases a shanty wasteland in Nairobi called Eastleigh that even has Alshabaab controlled zones. He probably thinks Kenyans are either Maasai living in the vast grasslands or city dwellers that are downtrodden by terror groups.

In truth, I have never really been anywhere myself, I have lived the entirety of my life within the confines of Kenya’s borders. I may have crossed the border once at Busia into Uganda which is similar to saying I can speak Spanish; while the only things I know how to say is compliment a woman with a great rack. (And most Spaniard women do especially those in Spanish Soap Operas). However I do not judge America based on the Grand Theft Auto franchise which is an action-adventure video game that is loosely based on various cities within the USA. Otherwise I would be given to the bias that the society in the USA is white, paranoid and ready to shoot at anything that is different.

Meanwhile back in Kenya we are busy fighting among ourselves. We are a divided lot on the basis of tribe and menial things like the presence of a foreskin or lack thereof. There is little love lost between the fanatic followers of concerned political blocks. Yet from a distance the rest of the world is oblivious of our differences and indifferent at best. It does not matter what political block you belong to or whether you are circumcised or not. It holds no meaning to them that we do not all speak the same language. They know nothing of the so called historical injustices that some politicians are so quick in pointing out at various forums. To the untrained, average and impartial eye of the rest of the world; we are simply black; nothing more and nothing less.

Thus it is imperative that as we work towards new and exciting ways to make our already shitty existence unbearable for each other, to remember in the immortal words of Jay-Z; “You still a nigger…”

 

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How To Raise a Girl

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My wife is a feminist, my mother too and her mother before that; I am attracted to feminists myself because they have no feeling of inferiority although Mother Nature gave them fairer features. Au contraire, they feel empowered as they actually know for certain that being a woman is very powerful business if conducted properly. Maya Angelou was my all-time favourite feminist and most of her work is stupendously insightful into the world of the feminist.

Popular belief has it that feminists are man-hating lynch mobs that are fuelled by the ideals to establish a matriarchal society. Yet this is very far from the truth, unless of course you hail from those misogynistic societies where women have as much rights as a dairy cows. Feminists are not even the opposite of male chauvinists, they are rather simply human beings who above all else think that the thing that is most wrong in our society is the injustices that their gender in specific is accorded. It is a just cause in any case but I question its legitimacy like Thomas did The Resurrection.

I met this 24 year old at a funeral recently who was in a desperate need for a husband, it was in the colour of her eyes the span of her hips and the length of her arms (Hehe see what I did there?). I pitied her a great deal because for starters she was too easy on the eyes to be in her predicament. She was a graduate of a local private varsity and she held a position of repute as a procurement officer in a firm. She hails from a well put together nuclear family which is to say she has the right blend of daddy issues. It puzzled me so because from my stand point a girl in her shoes should have a waiting list for dates as long as Kelly Rowland’s legs.

Last week I watched a girl with albinism get applauded after emerging best pupil in the National primary school examinations. It was a feat worth recognition by all means seeing as how she was from a medium income home which means the odds were stacked high against her since she was born. Somehow she seemed oblivious to what this meant for the girl children her age. What struck me fancy was the lack of conceit in her demeanour which feminists need a dose of.

However, I may have unwittingly stumbled upon a pearl of wisdom in my alcohol induced poetry. There is a better way to raise a girl. You show her that she is beautiful and intelligent and make mirrors of your eyes and pray that she believes it. It may take a lifetime and divine patience but success lies in the event that she believes you. Then the story she tells herself in her head will change and she will transform into the ideal feminist; a woman who is not only seen as beautiful and intelligent but intelligently seen by the present day patriarchal society.

Briefcase Inc.

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When I was ten years old I wanted to be a Lawyer. I was seduced by their smooth and suave ways; they seemed like custodians of justice to me. I went to those primary schools in the mid 90’s where the teachers were underpaid, unappreciated and overworked. These were teachers that would cane you at the slightest whim, neo-Nazis if you may and this brewed my love affair with justice. They were a romantic lot in my ten year old mind (Lawyers of course, not the teachers) the fact that they eked out a living making sure justice was served. But that was before I had pubic hair and thus it does not count.

There is a silver tongued devil I know that hails from my hometown, consequently he is a pharmaceutical medical representative salesperson and he is damn good at his job. He began in the proverbial gutter, as a driver for the same company. All he had back then was a college diploma in procurement and his witty charm; but clearly that was more than he needed. Our friendship is based on the fact that he gives me free samples of supplements and whatnot.

The last time we met he was doing an eastern province run and we were in the same vicinity so we arranged a meet. He had his nine-year old son with him. Henry’s son is a miniature version of his father, a spitting image of the man that can sell anything from dirty iced water to bespoke medical equipment. He rides shotgun in his father’s Toyota Rumion where he fills out invoices for different orders. It is the epitome of a father son relationship; they look like Tom Hanks and his son from the motion picture ‘The Road to Perdition’. They do not split the earnings of course because the son is paid in edible treats like sneakers and Cardbury’s Lunch bars.

What fascinated me the most was the ease to which the ten year old could recite the benefits of their flagship products which were mainly diabetes drugs. He could tell the active ingredients of some drugs and the edge they had over other drugs of same kind. This boy even knew how to search for a drug in the pharmacopeia which is like a little dictionary where pharmacists look up different types of drugs and their generic types. At his age I had trouble arranging words in alphabetical order let alone look them up in the dictionary.

In many ways then Henry’s son is like a personal assistant, and many would argue that the son has a right to be a child. Indeed I agree he should, but he is usually very happy spending time with his father in this fashion. I actually pity his peers who are currently learning useless skills such as reciting the names of rivers in their county and how to tie a neck tie. At least he knows why he would want to be a pharmacist whom he does and he has the chance to find out why he would not fancy that career path. And this is more than I could say for his peers…

 

Speaking of Zimbabwe…

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Last weekend my Whatsapp status said that I was busy and that I could not take any calls. What it really should have been saying was that I was not busy at all, not in the actual sense of the word anyway. I was in the Rift-Valley house-sitting for an acquaintance in one of those remote places where geo-tagging would mean taking a 2 kilometre hike but by Jupiter was that place gorgeous! The owners of this house are a gay couple from Zimbabwe who I might add are actually friends of my wife. They are a jolly lot, better company than most heterosexual couples we have ever befriended. I have to admit that being gay has its perks; nothing beats the income and spending habits of two men. If I were a keen social climber I too would dedicate my anus to constant bruising and get accustomed to the taste of semen for this lifestyle. This house even had a wine cellar, maybe not as big as puff daddy’s but it is a wine cellar all the same, an outdoor shower head and a hot tub!

It boasts Persian rugs and suede couches because to quote Tracy “Leather is too main stream…”

It is a tastefully engineered wooden cabin that is set on a hill facing west overlooking a vast plain. It is a picturesque scenery, those that are perfect for insurance advertisements. I regretted having been apprehensive when Tracy* and Jude* (*Not their real names of course) presented this opportunity earlier. Jude who plays the role of the male in the union is a big guy, so big in fact that his parents had to buy a wheelbarrow instead of a baby stroller. He is a towering 6’ 2’’ and weighs in at least 90 kilograms. He is a civil engineer by profession and his partner Tracy is an interior designer. They met in their line of work in a romance riddled with the usual bullshit only that it was sparked by a conflict on the size of windows for a house belonging to a mutual client.

Their cabin is about 2000 square feet with real wooden floors for the most part. It boasts Persian rugs and suede couches because to quote Tracy “Leather is too main stream…” The television in the master bedroom is 55 inches but it seems bigger, watching basketball on it is not very dissimilar to sitting court-side in my opinion. The only thing I made sure was that we carried our own bed linen because really there was no point acquiring E coli or red eye from such an amiable experience. (Sorry Trace but i had to slot in a gay joke) The hot tub was heavenly and the outdoor shower was like kissing a pretty demon; risky yet strangely liberating.

In truth, we all suffer from the preoccupation that there exists abnormality in everyone who is gay. It is about 28 hours since I left that love shack from where I made some priceless memories- for free! It is all I can think about when I sit still. That is why I have decided that I shall never publish anything that does not reflect positively on the lives of gay people despite my prejudices. Tracy and Jude are wonderful people who are very human and have an intense sense of other people. They are uninhibited and not enamoured like most of us and that is the kind of beauty that is portrayed in their life and work. Thus some people are either put off or they are enchanted by them. Now I know for a fact that old ways will never open new doors.

THE DAY JUMA DIED

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There was a time right after Uni that I was living in single room in Kahawa West Nairobi; that was what I told everybody (women mostly) to blow smoke up their faces because I really lived in a slum called Congo. I thought Kawaha sounded better especially because my job then involved hoping through malls that were cleaner than my house. I was piss poor, I used to live on Ugali, kale and chewing gum.Yet somehow I had shitloads of hope in my pocket and the self-worth of Mufasa. Those were romantic days that I now reflect with nostalgia. I had a TV that I had bought for KES2000 that sounded like simmering onions on a pan while it was on; it had been dropped at least once. The picture quality was so poor sometimes you had to listen in to know what program was on. I had a tattered green carpet where upon I lay my mattress which was as thick as my thumb.

My worldly possessions were meagre and pitiable but I loved that house. It may have been as cosy as a stable but it spelled independence. It was by far the most daring thing I had ever done in my life and for the first time I was living. I even had real neighbours, mostly blue collar women working at the meat packing plant. There was a lady who lived in the house next to mine who had by far the saltiest stare in the entire slum. She had a daughter of about twelve who looked like she had been on a straight diet of fish and chips since she was weaned. Our rooms were separated by a door that remained permanently locked and barricaded from the madam snake eye’s side. The door maintained the autonomy of both rooms for the most part, except for Juma whom came and left as he pleased. I came to develop affection for the anarchy he stood for.

Juma was a rodent. Contrary to urban myth, vermin have standards too. Juma never ate from my cache of maize meal that I stored on the floor. He used to dine at madam snake eyes and then make his way to a burrow in one corner of my house where he would get some shut eye. Strangely my first instinct was never to poison him because I figured that he had rights too since he lived there first. Besides I did not want to enter into Karma’s little black book this early on in my life.  Juma and I were roommates and a mutual respect was our governing bond. For instance, he never chewed on my prized brown leather shoes that were my most valuable possession then. Never once did he show face in the presence of my guests who were mostly men until I began dating.

My then girlfriend, now wife (see here) spotted him once during a cleaning session one lazy Sunday morning. She tried waking me up to help her with killing the rodent but I would dare not. I did not know whether her scope of understanding would accommodate the fact that her new boyfriend loved a rat. I woke up three hours later only to find the lifeless body of my beloved roommate huddled up among the garbage. Death by house slipper…

Crème of the Reel

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Motion pictures are the second best story telling tools after books. Second because if movies were really that effective, formal education would be conducted from a couch in front of a television. In fact, I think movies are books for the chronically uncreative mind that requires to be stimulated visually to be fully engaged. In truth movie watching culture should be frowned upon because it really is slowly leading to the demise of a reading culture. Only thing that my generation reads are texts and memes. Be that as it may, there are movies that you should watch before you die. These are epic stories, chiefly from Hollywood, pictures that have changed my perspective on life by rattling me at the very core of my being. Walk with me.

  1. Scarface

Alpacino is a genius; Period. If the director had cast any other guy for the lead role in this movie, I would probably not be listing it here. Alpacino is a cool guy, so cool in fact he seems like the guy who can crush your throat; with his balls and then gets to second base with your woman and you shall forgive him. Well, maybe he is not, but in this movie the arc of his life is very well thought out and the way he goes out in the proverbial blaze of glory brings tears to my eyes each time I watch this movie- All the three hundred and forty-five times that I have watched it.

  1. Pulp fiction

The expendables movies are awesome, but they are strangely juvenile in their approach in the same way that a porn film would have a tacky storyline. If you read the list of cast members of this picture before you saw it, you would be mistaken for thinking that it is the classic macho bullshit that my wife and typically all women hate. But it is not. Watching this movie is like losing your virginity; it stays with you because that is how Quentin Tarantino works. He consolidates talent and wrings it dry in this movie, spare three hours of your life for this one.

  1. Casablanca

Shot in 1942 and starring one Humphrey Bogart, finding a decent copy of this movie is a mammoth task in itself. However, once you do, you shall not be rewarded accordingly. A word of caution though, this movie is best watched with a person with whom you are at liberty to have intercourse with. Sex and this movie go together, I don’t know- like guns and ammunition. It is very romantic without being too fruity or direct about it. So then, this is not a movie to be enjoyed with your nuclear family members, unless of course incest is not frowned upon in your locale.

  1. Cat on a hot tin roof

This movie like many of its day was adapted from a play that was a show popular on Broadway. The lead actors; Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman are so aesthetically pleasing together that if you are vindictive like me, you secretly draw pleasure from their dysfunctional marriage. They are a spitting image of present day couples and that is what makes this movie timeless. Au contraire you will sympathize with the bourgeoisie and their rich people problems despite your vindictiveness.

  1. The counsellor

A guy I once knew said this movie was like a poet’s dream; and indeed it is. You shall remain glued to your seat and experience a barrage of emotions as the story unfolds yet even after watching it you cannot tell what the movie was about. In my case the opening scene with Michael Fassbender and Penelope Cruz in bed makes my day. I could watch that scene every day of my life before I leave the house for inspiration and that well would never run dry. This is a movie best watched with an alcoholic beverage at hand for full effect.

  1. An officer and a gentleman

When I was younger, my parents used to make big fuss of this movie. The VCR cassette it was stored in was safely stashed away and we were under strict instruction to never watch the movie. That is why I watched it anyway when I was ten after my sisters went to have their hair done at mama Rhoda’s one Saturday afternoon. This is a movie for the lazy Saturday afternoon that is the best conclusion I can draw eighteen years later. I have no idea why my parents loved this movie that much but I would encourage anyone to watch it all the same.

  1. The Way Back

This is a tale about human resilience, a true tale of those rare types of people who have the mental tenacity to find just about any excuse to survive the worst conditions possible. The movie is about a polish man who walks 4000 miles after escaping a Serbian POW camp to stick it to his wife who had sold him out in the first place. This is like The Count of Monte Cristo rewritten; only this time it is a true story.

  1. The Wolf of Wall street

A lot of truth is said in jest. This is because the truth is either one of two things; horrible or boring. Despite the fictional nature of the story, this movie explores the infallibility of the rich and the depths of depravity that the human animal sinks to in search of the Dollar. However, it is wonderfully told with the tactful help of Leonardo Di Caprio as the lead star. I have borrowed life lessons from this masterpiece that I would never otherwise have acquired from a crappy self-help book.

  1. Nairobi Half Life

Kenya does not produce that many movies relative to our illustrious Nigerian counterparts. But then they do, wonderful stories are brought to life. I watched the director to this movie come clean about how much of a financial flop the movie turned out to be and it almost brought me to tears. It made a miserly USD200 on its week of release. That notwithstanding, it is an incredibly entertaining and entirely plausible story that any well-seasoned Kenyan movie enthusiast would applaud.

  1. The Shaw shank Redemption

Allow me to say something politically incorrect. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman would make an amiable gay couple. The amount of bromance in this movie is nauseating, but that does little to change the fact that it is awesome. The only two women in this movie are on flashbacks and a movie poster. Yet these two women play a pivotal role in the movie, both Tim Robbins wife and the belle on a poster. This is a fairy tale really but I have never grown weary of watching it. You would too if you masquerade as a cynic but you are a sucker for love happy endings.

Human Error

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The other day I was having dinner with a close friend and his bimbo, yes, you know the type- loud as a motorbike when the open their mouth, pair that with a condescending attitude and an empty mind. I am not one given to the habit of judging the authenticity of people’s relationships and especially not those of their life partners. I am a liberalist who believes that everyone has rights as to whom they choose to fuse their genitals. For all I know, she probably gives him good head and hell knows how important that is in a romantic relationship.

“Maybe it is just me or I am allergic to her strain of daddy issues.”

However, I bear strong instincts that this particular bimbo is not good enough for my friend. For starters she gives off a whiff of desperation and this is surprisingly coupled with the mind of a social climber who is inept in the ways of making it higher up the social heap. She is the type of person to fish for complements on her knock-off handbag or flimsy watch and all I can do is engage her like a child. It is sad really the way she equates having middle-class relatives from posh neighbourhoods to being automatically superior. I used to enjoy meeting with my friend and sharing a meal because he is undisputedly generous and excellent company but since this woman of his became a permanent fixture, I have developed some cold feet to these meet ups. Maybe it is just me or I am allergic to her strain of daddy issues.

Anyways, the conversations were dull as they usually are with these things. Luckily we were in some fancy restaurant; those that have the ambience of a wealthy man’s living room. There was a fire cracking in the corner where a log was slowly making its contribution to the global warming industry. It left a scent of lavender in its wake and I made a mental note to self to make scented fires in my house when I become wealthy. I usually zone out of conversations when the bimbo in question begins to speak of her rich relatives and the brand of champagne that they use to clean their teeth. My mind is only activated when key words are mentioned. In this particular conversation the bimbo mentioned her mother, she rarely talks about her mother whom I have come to discover she disapproves of in one way or the other. The choice adjectives she has ever used to describe her mum in my presence are controlling, petty and disorganized.

Every fibre of my being aches to help my friend because I think very lowly of people who speak ill or their parents (With the exception of Eminem; because he’s white and them folks be different). In this particular occasion she called her mother petty. I have no idea where people get off talking ill about their parents to perfect strangers. As far as I am concerned my parents are saints, up there with the Wangari Maathais and Barak Obamas. I hope my friend not only reads this but also sees beyond the good head and wild sex because in my world any woman who talks ill of their mother has a soul as black as hell.