Romance is Un-African and Valentine’s Day stories

Show me proof that you love me?

This is the question many unfortunate men will be grappling with on Valentine’s day, to prove to the chosen lass that, she and only she was worthy of his affection.  The poor boy child will be forced to engage in an elaborate love dance, all in the hope of gaining new status as a romantic. Valentine’s day arrives with the flair of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Lord forgive the ignorant, for we poor native children in the tropics once believed that a man with a woolly beard wrapped in a red fur coat riding a sledge pulled by reindeer through the snow, would be squeezing his overweight self down our non existent chimneys to leave gifts under a Christmas tree, decorated with bits of cotton wool to represent snow. There were no reparations for this blatant lie sold to wronged children. The illusion of Father Christmas continues to get passed down, from one generation to the next like electoral fraud in Kenya.

Grow a pair

There is an old African saying, “Character is like pregnancy. It cannot be hidden forever”.

A young man, called Hoze, in his late 20s finds himself embroiled in running battles between the police and demonstrators in a rural Kisumu county. It is October 26th 2017, a day scheduled for the repeat Kenyan elections.  In his home village, protestors have blocked all the main roads leading to the primary school serving as a polling station. They are determined to prevent arrival of the ballot boxes in the unshaken belief that the elections are rigged. He has never seen so many enraged and agitated people. Thousands, gathered on the main highway ready for battle. Word had gone around a week earlier that no one should remain indoors because stories from Nyalenda and Obunga in Kisumu had returned of police raids, involving rogue elements who break into houses targeting civilians. Even babies were not spared. When the police arrived, everyone would be profiled as guilty and served with the same brutal treatment. No one wanted to be a sitting duck.

Policing Libido In A Pornified Culture

Ezekiel Mutua, head honcho of the Kenya Film Classification Board has earned a reputation as the king of censorship. He polices our TV screens like a vigilante, protecting the innocents from pornography in our liberal society, where citizens won’t let anyone infringe on their right to sexual arousal.

Ezekiel Mutua’s censorship stance, comes across as detached from reality, akin to a story I heard about a herdsman who came to Nairobi city to collect his money after selling  30 head of cattle. Well aware of “Nairoberry”, he came to town prepared, carrying a sturdy metal box, fastened with a solid padlock. After the transaction, the money was arranged neatly in the metal box and securely fastened. The herder tucked the key into his socks and went to catch the next bus home at the busy Machakos terminus. As he waited, a trio of young hoodlums, snatched his metal box and varnished among the horde of commuters.  Two curious onlookers surprised by his nonchalant attitude queried why he was not running after his belongings. Without missing a beat, he announced,

They are wasting their time, I have the keys”. 

The Boy Who Loved The Kitchen

There was a young man who wanted to be a celebrity chef. Just like the rich white men on TV paid millions for turning cooking into an art form. He wanted to be a professional, a gatekeeper of the knowledge of forgotten foods and a master of traditional flavours. He knew all the gourmet restaurants with kitchens and followed every critically acclaimed cooking show on TV. He aspired to talk about food like those chefs and master the science of gastronomy. To pick obscure spices with the tip of his tongue and identify an assembly of herbs from a single whiff.

Why Every Man Needs A Mentor

This is my 20th year since, I ventured into writing career. It was supposed to be a side hustle,as I angled for a real job with a corner office and a view. The side hustle became the main stay and people said we suited each other. It is a good time as any to write a short account about how I became a ‘meat wrapper’.  Two decades is a long time in one line of work and I am certain I would not have traveled this far without the constant guidance of tens of mentors. The year 1998 was the turning point in my decision to become a writer.