Guest Post: Pain and Pen

Words: Biko Zulu

When I think of Josaya Wasonga I think of a lone and embattled wolf separated from the pack. We worked together for the same publisher in the late 2000s. We were both features writer’s; him for Twende Magazine and me for Adam. He spoke very little. He was always a furtive figure, like a modern-day Zorro, going about the office with little detection and noise. He seemed to walk through walls. His writing – unsurprisingly – was in contrast to the man. It was bright, loud, vivid in description and often laced with strings and strands of wonderful imagery and large looming storeyed columns of metaphors and a hybrid turn of phrase. Of course I greatly admired and respected his writing. I still do. The funniest I ever read was a travel log of him running over someone’s chicken in Luhya-land and the ensuing conversation with the irked villagers who had gathered around their beloved dead chicken in the middle of the road. Traffic was halted until that chicken was accorded the appropriate justice. The story – told with a beautiful tongue-in-cheek was hysterical and in complete departure from the silent man who sat not many desks away from mine. His humour  would spring from nowhere in his pieces like a predatory cat in waiting.

Of Independent Candidates And Rebels Without A Cause

Last week, Nyeri Jubilee party nominees made a damning attack on independent candidates who abandoned the party after losing the nominations. The smug nominees called a press conference and crowded behind their spokesman, wearing stern faces and announced in one voice that anyone who ditched the mother party was a rebel and would be considered a friend of the opposition. How things have changed?  In the old days, the rebel tag was a compliment.

The Seven Books That Changed My Life

Kush Asher is a Jamaican storyteller and perpetual student of the film inspired by the Most High. He is based in Kingston, Jamaica but he has traveled around Africa telling stories and spent six months in Kenya making movies. He has done music videos for Grammy winners Sean Paul, Damian Marley, and Reggae legends Big Youth and the Mystic Revealers. His television work includes a fashion reality show, Mission Catwalk, and a business reality show, NCB Capital Quest (Produced by the LAB International; based in Kingston). Kush has also made a series of films with Spielworks Media, an independent film, and production company based in Kenya. His most recent project is a feature film called 50 Days in Afrika. These are the books that influenced his life and work as a storyteller.

Missing The Big Picture

A picture is worth a thousand words. Yet most pictures, tell a lie. Images are enhanced, filtered, photo shopped, staged and framed to make the subject more glamourous than they actually are. When you look keenly, the picture is often marketing or promoting some product or the other. But once in a while, you run into a picture that makes you think. My picture of the past week was a human moment captured after the 2017 London marathon.

It was a simple picture of Prince Harry, posing with the elite men and women winners of the marathon, Daniel Wanjiru ( no relation to the late Olympian Samuel Wanjiru) and Mary Keitany. Prince Harry was standing in the middle with his arms wrapped around the Kenyan athletes, at ease in manner and dress.  On his left side, Mary Keitany with a radiant smile enhanced by her high cheekbones and a left running shoe heel raised, God knows why. An elated Daniel Wanjiru was on Prince’s Harry’s right side leaning into the shot, both his hands occupied. One hand holding a gift bag and the other an open box a gift watch in it.

Guest Post: Nostalgia Diaries: Kenyan School Life In The 70s.

With all the drama that has dogged the Kenyan education sector, it is hard to imagine what schooling was like in the 70s. Our nostalgic correspondent Ochieng Kochidi, takes a trip down memory lane to a different era when students used fountain pens.

I attended Primary school in Nakuru during the 7-4-2 -3 era, which was characterized by seven years of primary school, four years of secondary school, two years of high school and at least three years of University for the undergraduate degree. Around 1985, the Government transitioned to an 8-4-4 system, which consisted of eight years of primary school, four years of secondary school and at least four years of University for the undergraduate degree.

One of the things that I remember quite clearly is the textbooks issued in school. Yes, you heard me right! Textbooks and even notebooks (we called them exercise books) were issued free to students in primary schools all over the country regardless of which school you attended.