The Interview

I got a message from Biko, late last week, “How are things?”

Kenyans have this unique ability to minimize issues. A man could be calling to deliver the tragic news of his own mother’s passing but that won’t stop him from starting the conversation with “Sema, how are things?”

I knew something was up so I asked him to cut to the chase.  Biko wanted me for an interview and it had to be the next day. Biko has been having these anxiety attacks over turning 40 and had launched into an introspective journey, talking to people who had crossed into their 40s in search of his version of the 48 ways to manage your 40s without the midlife crisis.

We The People: 10 Deep Philosophical Thoughts from Timothy Njoya

Timothy Murere Njoya is a retired Presbyterian minister, a human rights activist and a theologian. During the repressive Moi regime, Njoya turned the church pulpit into a platform to demand for political and social justice reforms in Kenya. Njoya was among the leading lights in the 80s and 90s from the church who mustered the nerve to speak out against the brutality of Moi’s government. He is also a prolific writer and as I came to learn, an ardent student of philosophy. Njoya is the personification of courage and purpose.

I was eager to grab a copy of Timothy Njoya’s memoir, We the People, published by WordAlive, that was launched on July the 3rd at Daystar University in Nairobi. Unfortunately, there were no copies for sale. Njoya in his address claimed that the book had been delayed deliberately by saboteurs. 30 years on, the words of this small bodied man with a wicked sense of wit still makes the authorities tremble. It was a compliment to his work that some busy bodies in government had to go through such extreme measures to stop Njoya’s ideas from spreading. The publisher reassured us that the challenges at the port would be resolved…soon.

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.