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 Bravado And The Kenyan Man’s Masculinity Problem

My older brother who was a decade my senior, had a collection of unusual stories. In his stories, the humour was found in the irony of life. Once he told a story of a motor mouth character he knew of at the Kisumu bus park. A gifted hustler who could talk the hind legs off a donkey. His stage name was Olago Queen Cake aka Olago Q.C. He could be entertaining but most of his notoriety came from his regular display of crass behaviour. His insults were straight out of the book of an underpaid and overworked cane cutter in Awendo. People avoided a verbal spat with him for the fear of a public humiliation.  He was an aggressive man who never passed up an opportunity to get into an argument. Over time, he had built up a reputation as a guy who liked to stir trouble and some came to admire his audacity.

Who Is Next? The Criminalization of Poverty in Mathare

“Who is next” is the title of a report by Mathare Social Justice Centre ( MSJC) launched on 30th of May at the British Institute in Eastern Africa, in Nairobi. It documents over 50 cases of young men arbitrarily executed by alleged rogue police force members in Mathare. The majority were between 14 and 20 years old. It poses the loaded question, why have extrajudicial killings become accepted as normalized incidents for inner city urban youth in Kenya?

The story of Mathare’s extrajudicial executions of young men is a story repeated in Kibera, Kayole, Dandora, Eastleigh, Majengo in Mombasa and Obunga in Kisumu. It is the reality of been born into hardship and violence in a society that criminalizes youth and poverty.

A Man Is A Man

Be a Man! What is that supposed to mean these days? It is all a question of context. Where you come from, how you were raised, from where you picked up your influences?

When I was in school at Lelboinet in Keiyo District, I met a reformed Pokot cattle rustler ( so he said), a hard-core warrior who had raided entire villages for cows and raced with them through the length of a district on foot all night. He had no idea how to change a car tire. What kind of guy are you, I wondered? These are basics. Every guy has to be able to fix a puncture at the very least. He snarled back and asked me how many men I had killed. Those were his basics.

Guest Post: For Men, Age Is More Than A Number

Words: Clay Muganda

Newspaper columnist, Clay Muganda reflects on ageing and the lessons he picked up from his father.

Doctors. They are the best. Or so we think. Many people believe that medical staff or doctors can keep secrets. Patients easily share stuff with them that they would never reveal to their spouses, sexual partners or children.

Opening up to a doctor is so easy. We never think much about the things we tell doctors about ourselves, and how they might be used against us.

But at some age, you become conscious about what you tell your doctor and wonder whether these young men and women can keep secrets.