Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nairobi Nights


Flashing lights,Speeding automobiles
Honking drivers, gas filled tanks
Loud music,bopping heads
Nairobi Nights

Packed Parking slots
Men, women on cell phones
Darting eyes, Drunken Gazes
Nairobi Nights

Friendly bar-folk, perfect strangers
Tequila Patron and a man who's new in town
Dry white wine and a dry spell stares
Nairobi nights

Curvy women, pot bellied men
Handsome exboyfriends and slit eyed women
Stilettos and dusty shoes, sweaty, humid, sexy, even
Nairobi Nights

Jameson, Captain Morgan and sexy platforms
Absolute Vodka, Chanel No 5 and cheap wallets
Men in suits and women with wanting eyes
Nairobi Nights

Keys on tables and a heated rush
Sweaty palms and roving eyes
French Kisses and chinese tables
Engines raving and creaking beds
Nairobi Nights.

I love my Nairobi nights.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

THE GREATNESS GUIDE ..a personal experience





I recently re-branded a venture that I put my heart into about a year and a half ago, and part of the rebranding took on a great deal of identifying purpose and my commitment towards developing my personal brand.

The ladies that know me well know me as the one who will do your make-up and attempt to re-do your wardrobe if you make the mistake to spend the night at my house. I am practically obsessed with style and make-overs.

With time, I have learnt to appreciate the cliche that we use quite often but pay little attention to:

"You only have one chance at first impressions"

For a long time, this quote referred to the physical: The clothes I wore, How I did my make-up, what shoes I had on and my posture etc, but I have now learnt that it starts from within and whatever impression one gives is only an indication of what's bubbling underneath. That's where the real stuff is. That's where greatness begins.

Last week I read about the 'Elevator Pitch" and I asked myself how well I or those I work with introduce ourselves and what we do in all of 20-60 seconds.

This has taken my team and I on a new journey of Personal Development and branding of ourselves as individuals.The first question we need to ask ourselves before we become great is to answer the simple questions that define who are we are.

Who am I?

What do I stand for?

What are my personal values?

What Impression does the world have of me?

When I do something, do I give it my all?

I recently picked up Robin Sharma's "The Greatness Guide 2" and it stays permanently in our humble office, every member of staff is required to read a page a day and reflect on the different ways in which they can develop themselves.

I am humbled to work with a young team that really inspires me with their energy, and being part of the team gives me a new found energy not only to provide leadership and mentorship, but also to be focused on developing myself to be the best I can possibly be.

We plan on being great.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

STILL I RISE- Maya Angelou



Thought I'd share my favourite poem in the whole wide world! Maya Angelou, Still I rise.

Still I Rise


by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise
- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15623#sthash.flh4D5EK.dpuf

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MODERATING THE LAUNCH OF UWEZO FUND



A few weeks ago I moderated the Launch of the 6 Billion shilling Uwezo fund, where I interviewed President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Cabinet Secretary For Devolution, Anne Waiguru.

My co-moderator was KTN's James Smart, It was a well spent Sunday Afternoon.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

365 STOLEN COFFEE MUGS



I had lunch with an old friend today, and oh such joy catching up with him over the generous portions of Nicoise Salad at Artcafe. (We are back there right?)

Anyway, I have not met with RR for a long time as he lives in Europe. He is an outstanding creative and avid traveller whose stories always make me want to wake up a girl with a travel itinerary that starts in Tanah Lot in Bali, to the Tunnel of Love in Ukraine.

He makes me set my dreams high, to plan my life in such a way that I enjoy the good things that life has to offer, AFTER you have worked hard for it. He has. Anyway, Mr.RR is in town for a few days so it was good to find out what he's been unto.

He is in town to take care of some charities he and his family have committed to. His is a wonderful story of a man who believes in giving back. He is in love with football, complete with a season ticket to Leeds and some interests in a few African football clubs.

So as I walked in to Art Cafe, the gentleman that he is, he left my name at the service table at the entrance to join him outside. And we had a great chat about his life and my life and how he has now decided to invest in at least one piece of property a year, across the world, he just bought a 'little piece' of land in Antigua.

He hands me a black card that reads this:

At the back of the card it says

" I have stolen your coffee mug. It is now mine. I have put it on display here As a restitution for my thievery, you are cordially invited to the mother of all coffee celebrations on the 14th of June 2014. It will change the way you think and feel about coffee"



So as I first do a double take about getting arrested for stealing a coffee mug, quickly get over it as we laugh and chat about his newest pet project, stealing coffee mugs.

Being the coffee lover that he is, he has decided to "steal" coffee mugs from anywhere and everywhere and post them in this tumbler space


He plans to 'steal 365 mugs' with an aim of creating a bit more love for coffee, all events lead to 14th June 2014, when the mugs will be up for sale, those that love and miss their mug can buy them back, and all the money will go to charity. I love the novelty of that idea, I guess no you'd understand why he's been my friend for a long time, very very inspiring!


PS. I could not use RR's name because he is doing this project incognito.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DEAR BUSY MUMMY, HELP!


My daughter, Imani, has been spending her holidays with her grandmother and cousins. The school break is rather long so it was only fair that she takes a break from me and her nanny to spend time with her relatives.

So the house, is too quiet, too cold, and too adult.

I call her ever so often to hear how she's keeping, but this morning she broke my heart.

I asked her about when she wants to come back home, and in her sweet voice, she says' I want to come back when you will have more time to spend with me at home" she went on to say " when are you taking leave? will they let you come home early in the evenings?'

She spends weekdays with me and most weekends (Sunday) with her dad, so we have Saturday to be together, and that's hardly anything. Is there another way to strike a balance?

After we ended the conversation I sat in my car and re-played it, over and over again.

I am a working mum, a single one at that, like many other women out there, but due to my working hours, I am hardly home in time for dinner. I have late mornings and manage to do the school drive,( a pretty short drive at that) but increasingly,I hear the words 'when you have time' more and more from my 7 year old girl.

I'd want to be home to make dinner every night (and she loves my food, especially helping me prepare it) i'd love to do Bicycle rides with her, have movie nights, or go out for weekly dinner like we used to when I had an 8-5 job.

Right now, I feel guilty, and a little confused because I love my job and wouldn't really want to quit, but for the first time in years, I am between the proverbial rock and hard place.

Is it really worth it?

Any mother's out there going through the same?

What would you do?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

MANDELA, MY MANDELA....






“Bring back Nelson Mandela, Bring him back home to Soweto, I want to see him walking down the streets of South Africa…”


As a young girl watching Sarafina for the first time, I thought that white people were the devils children, and Mandela was Jesus.

I sobbed as the family gathered around a relative’s living room watching a VHS copy of the movie that ran on Broadway in 1988.

That was our baptism into the realities of South Africa’s apartheid regime.

I wanted to be Sarafina, most girls my age did, and I remember wondering if I could convince my parents to change my name to Sarafina. She was bold, she was beautiful, she was loved, and in many ways brought to our little hearts the wretchedness that was South Africa’s black , white and colored’s policy.

And then Mandela became my addiction, I wanted to know everything about him. Lucky for me, my father collected books, magazines and newspapers. An avid historian, I remember the countless times he told me stories about Mandela and his role in the struggle for South Africa’s freedom. In retrospect that shaped my desire to do law, and perhaps be an activist, because that was the stuff that activists are made of.

For a young girl my age, who was a good student, always among the top 3, always a school prefect, I began to wonder what Mandela was like as a child, was he naughty and stubborn, or calm and proper, like I was?

I paid attention in my GHC class and I remember “Umkhonto we sizwe” and when mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. I remember listening to Miriam Makeba

I found out about his hard to pronounce “Rohlihlalha’ name. I always thought Winnie was his first (and last) wife, until my dad told me about Evelyn Ntoko, she was a nurse who married Mandela but got divorced for a number of reasons, among them was that she was Jehova’s Witness.

I was in awe of Winnie Madikizela, the viciously courageous woman. I had mixed feelings about her, some of which touched on a bit of envy. In my curiosity I also got introduced to the voice of Miriam makeba, of the ‘Pata Pata’ fame and fondly then known as ‘Mama Africa’ she easily became one of my unforgettable heroes.

Years later when I first went to South Africa, as we drove through the streets, it felt like a trip back into history. My host made sure I did that famous Soweto tour, where I also visited the apartheid Museum, I cried as we were guided through Mandela’s old home each room reminding me of the stories that I had heard about Madiba, and I was recreating scenes in my mind, my heart ached.

My curiosity about the drive behind his passion quickened and continues to puzzle me, I wondered how a man can give up the prime years of his youth, but for a country and its people, imprisoned on an island for 28 years. And still pressed on for freedom.

The lessons I learned about passion, brevity and a will to do the right thing still ring true until today for me.

Tata, Africa has not seen another like you, but we pray and hope that another legend (s) has been born, and will attempt to fill the rather humongous shoes you wear today.

You are Africa’s joy and pride, and inside my heart, the little girl in me swells with pride as the world celebrates your 95th Birthday.

I love you, even though you will never really know.




Monday, July 15, 2013

Necessary Distractions






Necessary Distractions....

The danger of a single voice begins to stalk me

But, Will I find stillness within distraction

Did I, blindly crush and instead create destruction?

Dare I stay blind when truth is deep and in a single voice, unknown ?


I see you, but inside dark shadows house your heart

I feel you, outside a brave face inside a bewildered soul

I hear you, loud and laughing but whimpering inside

I touch you, burning with fire but burnt out and ashy inside

Dare you stay blind when truth is deep, and perhaps known?



Necessary Distractions in the eye of the storm

Stillness and quiet

Is perhaps what that loud whistle calls

Until you read the writing on the walls of your heart,

And I mine



Perhaps a fluttering butterfly was all I was

On a journey that shouldn't end at your door

Listen to your truth first

And I will follow, away or towards

But perhaps you shouldn't close that first book so fast.














Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dear Obama, you denied us a feel good moment.





I've got a favourite song called "Obama" sang by the inimitable Chris Adwar and Villagers Band.

I love it so much such that each time I've got someone in my car, I ask them if they have listened to that song, especially if they are Luo, sometimes I play it on repeat.

Anyway, I've got mixed feelings about Obama's trip to Africa. On one hand I'd like to put on my Journalist cap and analyze what informed his decision,and scoff at international double speak of crimes against humanity, or say that it is duly expected that the Head of State of the U.S cannot stand with a country that voted in "criminals" as the top two have been referred to numerously.

But for now, I'll say I was a little disappointed that he didn't choose Nairobi as one of his 3 stops.

I have a favorite song called "Obama" sang by the inimitable Chris Adwar and the Villagers band. The song basically says what every African who has lived in a village identifies with, whole heartedly and passionately.

Here's an excerpt from the Obama song:

"I come from a village. When a Baby is born. It is not only the mothers, or only the fathers responsibility".

A child belongs to the village and he adds; "That is how I know, Obama is my relative".

It is an extremely hilarious tune that perhaps embodies the main reason why Kenyans felt like a bunch of neglected stepchildren when you 'skipped' Kenya in your African tour.

You see, we are one of the few countries that actually had a public holiday when you were first sworn in as a president of a country that's a continent and the atlantic ocean away and has very little over- amorous relationships with the governments, then and now and.

But Kenyan's still walk the streets in Obama wear and some shops still flourish selling merchandise that is Obama Centric. A part of our hearts own you. You are fondly referred to as one of 'us'.

Of course the men in suits have began analyzing the signals that you send by opting out of coming (home). Could it be that America wants to be disassociated with a country that voted in a leadership that is indicted by the International Criminal Court? Kenya has once again been bundled with Zimbabwe, as South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania are now gloating and repainting roads and buildings in true African fashion.

Sometimes, they say silence is the best comeback, and without saying anything you have sent us a thousand signals. I will not ignore that.

But the analysts, Mr. O, are few and far between, if I speak on behalf of the majority of us Kenyans who are still inherently and passionately Kenyan, it is a sad day. But don't worry, we will forget and move on.

I would like to sit back and assume like most views on the social media networks over the last few days that it isn't really a big deal you don't pass by, and that you are an American; an American President and not a Kenyan. But if you came by, those same people would be clamoring to get a glimpse of you.

Look, I know you wont add a dime to my income, you will not influence policy to reduce taxes, you will not affect what I as a regular Kenyan earns, you will not put food on my table, but still, it would be a feel good moment, if you came by. But, I am sure you've got bigger fish to fry.

But If you do come, I can assure you that there will be a celebration,even those tossing their weaves and moving on will be talking about it.That celebration will be BIG. Like a royal home coming.

Because you see, in Kenya, the child belongs to the father.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Balancing Acts, a challenge to media owners...



I will keep it short.

Over the past few days I have read a number of blogs about the Kenyan Media conspiring to sign up to a push for peace other than report, question and be the citizen’s watch dog, before during and after the General Elections of March 4th.

Some of the articles border on disgust towards the peace messages that were circulated across the country, other than focus on what the writers call “the bigger issues”. I wish to say that without peace, the deep issues that Kenya needs to deal with can never be achieved.

An article I read during the Easter weekend talked about the passion that journalists had during the Moi regime, where they were even jailed, they took part in riots and questioned the regime.

That was when most of us chose our careers. They were tough, they asked the hard questions and they got answers. They provoked, and they played a big role in shaping Kenya’s democracy.

But the world has changed since the rulebook of journalism was written. How the war against graft and corruption was fought then was different from how it is fought now. Dialogue has taken over teargas, rocks, whips and riots, and the fourth estate has evolved as a consequence, and perhaps the hunger to break news has disappeared along with that.

The 2013 elections provided a critical lesson media owners to build their capacity to ask questions that matter. To invoke upon our consciences a need to delve deeper into matters that Kenyans care about or should know about.

I agree that is a huge gap today in analyses and investigative reporting that marked the 80’s and 90’s, and that Journalists of today do not hold a candle to the scribes of yester years, I wrote about Thought Leadership in journalism a few months ago, and following the events of the elections, now more than ever do we need mentorship.

As we debate the thin line about a fearful press, let us remember that the sequence of events involves a healthy dose of peace. A revolution does not have to be bloody. That’s my take and I’m sticking with it.

Over to media owners, Thought Leadership is a lesson in progress.



Friday, March 15, 2013

Wrong is wrong




OF PRUDENCE AND PEACE
“You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism.”
― Warren Ellis



Welcome to the world that constantly reminds me of an article I read titled “the More we saw, the less we knew.” It was about the coverage of the Gulf war and the role that the media played in it, the arguments around that article were about the balancing act the media plays in reporting issues that are of National interest.

I just read Michela Wrong’s piece on Kenyan media and the 2013 presidential polls, and in it, got caught up in the emotions I perhaps shouldn't have as a journalist. I read it as a Kenyan, an angry one at that. I read a story of what seemed like bored foreign journalist caught up in the unexciting and anti climax news, with little or no war to report on. what blatantly stood out for me is that in the international space, only foreigners stand out as African experts. yet, we wonder why Africa is perceived as it is today.

Ms. Wrong’s article reminded me of this TED Talk by the BBC’s Komla Dumor on how to (or not) report about Africa.

The 2013 presidential elections were marked by heavy presence of international media, who were perhaps gearing for great TV like the blood bath that marked 2007 polls. Foreign press came in droves, I remember that because we had one of our journalists covering the airport and the sheer numbers of world press was astonishing. No one wanted to miss the heady shots because that's what award winning pieces are made of.

Allow me to remind foreign press that Kenya has had elections every 5 years since 1963. Some were peaceful, as young country with little exposure to opposition and a jittery democracy.Some had violence, brought about by land issues among Kalenjins and Kikuyu's, with other troubles in the Tana River area and parts of the larger Coast province. Not to say that the scale of these chaos made it ok.


You will remember Michela Wrong from her book; “It is our time to eat,” based on whistle blower John Githongo’s expose about the Anglo leasing scandal, and I must say she is an incredibly gifted writer. I wrote this article about John Githongo’s return way back then, and I still stand by it. I digress.

I would also like to remind her, along with other foreign journalists in Africa, that being a reporter in Africa does not make you an expert in African matters.
However, we as Africans have not moulded ourselves to be 'experts on Africa'. That is our fault.

Seeking 'African Experts'? All you need to do is Google Michela and a number of international correspondents in Africa and see how many interviews they get from across the world based on their reportage in Africa.
Then flip the coin and look at how many African journalists are interviewed by foreign press on the same.

In many ways, after reading this article by Ms. Wrong, I relate her to the Somali, Kenyan or Ethiopian villager rebranding as an expert about the U.S fiscal cliff. Pardon my sarcasm, it is laced with anger.

True, perhaps parts of the Kenyan media may not have covered the elections partially and with credibility, but because I have worked with a number of media houses, I know for a fact that the majority of the media houses still subscribe to Journalistic ethics.


To insinuate that Kenyan media is corrupt is a blanket statement and a new low, even for Michela. It would be interesting to know her take on which media house favoured which candidate and how they did it. In fact, for many, the coverage was alright until there was an election petition. Then media favour then was allegedly torn between the warring factions.

I would like to her to tell us if there were journalists that had evidence of election malpractice whose news reports were dropped from the news.

Brown envelopes exchanged or not; Today’s Kenyan newsroom and that brown envelope have changed quite a bit.
Here’s an expert from Mars group about the role of the media in 2007, 2008 PEV. Perhaps it will create the argument that backed the “gentleman’s agreement’ you talk about in 2013.

“We are seeing a situation where politicians create a problem, politicians promote violence, politicians incite the people and then when things do not go their way they start to blame the media. That ban as we all know was unconstitutional, it was illegal; the Editor’s Guild joined up with the Media Institute and went to court and just before the hearing the Attorney General, the government, revoked the ban and we went back to live broadcasting and what was not acknowledged during that period is the role, very positive role the media played in calming tensions.”

When you see hundreds of thousands of Kenyans taking to the polls as a personal priority even after the hell that broke loose In 2007, there is something bubbling underneath the citizens' social strata that ropes in responsible journalism, which in your article, you refer to as “partial.”

And the many Journalists I know want to have a peaceful country, and report as truthfully as they can. They live in a country that bore the brunt of an election gone mad. This was a delicate balancing act for any reporter across the country. A personal battle of responsible reporting, perhaps a topic that needs another blog.

Kenyan Journalists are as human as their American colleagues, I want to remind you of how American journalists and TV stations took a stand now to show dead American soldiers in Iraq.

This is a quote by CNN's Christiane Amanpour on how American Media covered the Iraq war "I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."

This is when Journalism 101 comes face to face with the stress test.

In essence, the "Gentleman’s agreement" was a weighing scale that measured the peace and economic future of an entire country vis-a-vis the telling of anxiety that couldn’t really be filmed, as really, nothing had happened yet. self censorship, perhaps.

Mombasa’s incident of possible MRC involvement in the Killing of police officers and a few others was a disturbing case, but when a country is teetering over the edge, the rope that's balancing act is pulled tighter.

Kenyan journalists did not lie to Kenyans. They decided not have 'live' heated political press conferences as the tallies were going on, does that make it to the books of bad journalism? I think not. Media houses had to be careful not to fan the fire.

And No, Ms. Wrong, Foreign Journalists were not threatened with deportation:

Here is part of the statement the Government issued as a warning to foreign journalists. If you see something “wrong” (pun intended) with people working illegally in the country, then you need law 101 as well.

“Nairobi — The Ministry of Information and Communication has warned foreign journalists who are working illegally in the country that they risk deportation.”

By all means, Ms. Wrong; as G.K. Chesterton said, “Journalism largely consists in saying "Lord Jones is dead" to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.”

Get of your high horse, Africa can speak for itself.

Note to ( African) Africa experts:
Go big or go home. You are the reason why the world thinks Africa is a bony, sickly child holding out a bowl for relief food.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stocking up!




I am writing this blog from the Brew Bistro, alone. I’ve got a 'Sunday afternoon' theory that needs a blog of its own. Meanwhile, I’m here, having a mojito at 6.30pm at this mini brewery that's become my favourite social hole over the last few years, even though my house is several kilometres away.

I come here for the ambiance. They have a Jazz Live band on Sundays. My favourite day however is Wednesdays where i get some therapy showing off the few steps I learned in my salsa class.

Seated in front of me is doobies (the rapper) wearing a shocking T shirt written ' 'don't let my big d**k scare you, I'm really a nice person." he's seating next to a lady whose Afro puff makes my mini puff get an inferiority complex. There is also an Asian man with slit eyes that keeps staring at me, and 3 white people. One of them is British; her accent makes me want to talk to her.

On my right two guys are having very philosophical conversations. They talk about a lady called Shiko who knows what she wants, she is very confident, she says what she wants and she doesn't like "-aibu ndobo ndogo" in their own words. The more talkative of the two is in a red tee shirt and speaks with a few kikuyu phrases every now and then when quoting Shiko. His friend is in a black tee shirt written ODM , uniting Kenya and Raila’s website . www.raila-odinga.com.

On my left is a friend I met last at a parking lot in December after his sister's wedding.

It's just one day before the Kenyan presidential elections. The elections will be the most complex after a new constitution; most Kenyans will be learning at the ballot box exactly what is expected of them. We are told it will take approximately 8 minutes per person to cast his vote.
There is a silent calm at this mini brewery, restaurant, and lounge this afternoon, as it slowly blends into evening. I think about the house shopping I have just done. I'm told that super markets and shops will remain closed tomorrow. So that means I should have just bought milk. But somehow, I was convinced to “stock up just in case”

But I am one of those hopeful people who believe Kenya will remain open and attractive for business after tomorrow. I wasn't going to shop, but this man who is increasingly becoming relatively important in my life insisted that we do it. He called it precaution. I called it loss of hope.

In 2007, we, like most Kenyans I was caught flat footed, and if the shopping crowd at Nakumatt West-Gate was anything to go by no one will be buying airtime for twice it's worth, if at all the elections go haywire.

So I'm here listening to the jazz rendition of "they say two wrongs don't get it right" wondering if what I did was that a loss of hope, or just precaution, as Mr. Important said it earlier.

I'm wondering how many people here around me at Brew Bistro have stocked up. And what that means to them, because my stocking up has made me feel very conflicted as a person who believes that Kenya will remain open for business after the 4th of March.
My daughter is also headed to Arusha with her father.

I put out a random tweet about my conflicting 'stocking up' and the most memorable tweet was of someone calling me and other Kenyans who have done the same 'hypocrites.'

There was someone who said, ' I haven't stocked up and I’m wondering if I'm the father who will be called irresponsible."

These elections have taught me loads, that decisions made by family remain so, that I may be in a relatively middle class lounge on a Sunday afternoon with many who are hopeful for a peaceful election and are dashing home to ensure they are up and running by early morning to vote. I have also learned that that precaution and hope mean the same thing where elections are concerned.

My Mojito’s just doubled again and this beautiful man just asked to join my table! I oblige, perhaps that's a blog for another day?

Vote wisely!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

True Love Huggable Bear Campaign




Here's a cause I am so humbled to be part of; for me it is all about giving kids a chance to be kids again. Cancer robs that from them, between juggling chemotherapy, school and recuperating, the life of a child takes a terrible turn. let us come together and give them a comfortable, beautiful environment to be in.

Below is what True Love Huggable care is all about:


This year, True Love plans to provide 100 children with Cancer at Kenyatta National hospital on the 28th February 2013 with personalized Teddy Bears.
So far Safaricom, PZ Cussons,Serena, Span Image and Capital Fm have sponsored this campaign and we will ask the public for support in order to spread love
What the cancer children ward requires is cancer drugs, to pay medical bills for the patients which is their urgent priority.

Others items that can be considered include Mosquito nets (300), Four water electrical heaters (kettle), 24 Rechargeable electrical lamps, four microwaves, ten room heaters, three TV and DVDs as well as pedal waste bins.

Kenyatta National Hospital attends to over 70 cancer children patients with various types of cancers every month.

Radiotherapy treatment for cancer for six weeks costs KES. 15,000 per patient (i.e. KES. 500 per day) excluding cost of admission of KES 800 per day

The cost of six (6) chemotherapy sessions per patient is between KES.150, 000 – 200,000 per year (Note: A patient can only have a maximum of 6 sessions annually). Children on chemotherapy also pay the same. (These are excluding bed charges of KES 800 per day)

Safaricom and Capital FM social media, Capital Fm Kids club and website will push the campaign as well. We will observe the response from public and that will give us a feel of whether we should indeed visit the children on the 13th February or extend it by at least a week..

True Love has opened a face book page and it’s called True Love Huggable Care Campaign and the twitter handle is @truelovecares and the public can donate on Mpesa through this line 0715 794589.
Kindly assist to push the campaign on your social media plat form. For face book please send me names of people who will support this campaign so that we can make them admin and also their email address so that we can update on the twitter profile.

We are aiming at raising at least 2 million shillings for this campaign. Your support in this will be highly appreciated.


Please join us to support this cause.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A blog post about Shambolic times





I imagine the number of eyeballs transfixed on Julie Gichuru’s Sunday Live show on Citizen TV was in the millions. Peter Kenneth had been scheduled to be on the show, and had tweeted about it earlier. I was looking forward to that interview.
At the beginning of the bulletin however, Ms. Gichuru announced that Nairobi’s Biggest boys (for now) Ferdinand Clifford Waititu and Evans Kidero, both running for Nairobi’s Governor Seat were on the popular show. Together.

(P.S I refuse to use the word gubernatorial in my blog, as well as the word shambolic- the title of this blog doesn't count :-) .

I was too tired and didn't catch the interview, but next day I managed to catch it online. It was quite the show. On one hand you had Baba Yao talking about his plan for Nairobi in his regular street smart way, and the other hand, Kidero, the man famed for Mumias Sugar’s turnaround, who I would like to call Nairobi’s middle class choice.

This blog however, isn't about that debate, or how Waititu managed to sway some more votes his way or what was largely perceived as Kidero’s arrogance judging by my twitter timeline. It also isn't about the middle class that was accused of “tweeting” votes from the comfort of their desks instead of moving their backsides to the primaries poll stations.

I’d like to engage with you about the lack of information, ownership in primaries or party nominations and lagging interest in politics in general.

That is not a middle class problem. It is a Kenyan problem.

I remember way back then when party nominations were a day when people were transported in hired heavily branded buses, wearing colorful T-shirts headed to Kasarani. Many of the party members attending, apart from those with political ambitions and had something at stake; were incentivized. That is an open secret. A number however attended because they understood their role in the voting system, while others were true supporters of their parties, with loyalty only seen during KANU days.

But last week’s primaries got me thinking, what really happened? Why didn’t the middle class largely participate? Or is the grassroots the politicians’ playground?
A random survey in my office, home and circle of friends showed that very few people actually knew that they were, as registered voters to attend the primaries and vote in a candidate of their choice who would then stand at the main polls on March 4th.

Some thought only registered members of political parties were to attend, some thought the only time they needed to vote was on March 4th, and others had no idea what the primaries were all about. Many are not registered in any party, and most are not even sure which party they want to vote for.

Martin, my hair dresser said he knew about the primaries, because of the activation that should have had NEMA arrest the event organizers, which were too loud to be ignored. Why did he not attend? His answer, “because I had to work.”
For all we know, it has been standard that one has to be a member of a political party to vote in the primaries, but under the current law, political parties create their own nomination rules.

For party primaries, each party’s election board created rules over who should vote in the primaries. ODM aligns itself to Universal suffrage, meaning anyone with a national ID card, over 18 could vote for the primaries, whether or not you registered as a party member. This means, if ODM is your party of choice, then you failed your party if you did not vote in the primaries.

My argument is; Most Kenyans do not really know what party nominations were all about and why it was pertinent that they put their vote in.

I spoke with “Boss”, Citizen TV’s Managing editor Peter Opondo who argued that the argument should be about where politics actually ranks on the priority list of Kenyans.

I agree.

It is in retrospect, a combination of both.

In the words of Kofi Annan; Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.

I believe that information seekers in Kenya’s political scene are driven by a hunger for knowledge, liberation, self-education, and ultimately, inclusion.
I believe that a number of the middle class who voted last week went out of their way to find out their rights and roles as citizens and most important, as voters.
Civic education was basically at ground zero.

But, when the system fails, we don’t have to go down with it. Sometimes the system will plan to fail so voters are locked out of a process that would be transformational. If more people knew that primaries are in fact a mini election, and in some places, an outright ticket, we would have seen a lot more involvement.

Kenyans (and not only the middle class) will need to get off their comfort zones and place politics higher up their priority gradient.




Thursday, January 17, 2013

Too late to the Party?





In many ways that friend could be Ronald Osumba.

When I first heard the news about him taking up a position as running mate in Peter Kenneth's Eagle Alliance on Monday, just 46 days to elections, what went through my mind was “perfect, but is this is a perfect Johnny come lately moment!
Ronald Osumba is an admirable man, at 33 years of age.

Here’s how part of resume looks like:

Chairman at Old Stareheian Society

Senior Manager - Public Sector Sales at Safaricom Limited

Managing Committee Member at Starehe Boys Centre and School

Board Chairman at Youth Employment Systems

Honorary Patron at Gem Youth Network

Television Talk show Host at Hatua Show




Many 33 year old Kenyans will not have similar Curriculum Vitae. It strongly mirrors a man who is passionate about his society, strategically or not; a man who’s got his hands deep in the issues facing young Kenyans.

But, why was he so late to the party?

“Who is Ronnie Osumba” could as well have been a trending topic on twitter for most of Monday.

What many do not know was that he has been the chairman of Peter Kenneth’s campaign team, which begs the question, why did PK take so long to unveil his running mate.

45 days to go, and Ronnie has just that to convince young people why he should be VP.

Imagine this, a young man would meet a girl today, and will have to wait for 90 days, (The 90 day Rule) you know the story about the birds and the bees? Well, Ronnie, as he is referred to by friends, has only half of that period

Peter Kenneth’s team and ambitions offer Kenyans a professional almost sophisticated leadership that the middle class would have their ears pinned back for. It is a team that will have no problem with eloquence and articulation of matters, and perhaps, as Old boys of Starehe School, symbolize and promise some level of morality that this country lacks in numerous ways.

I imagine that If Ronald’s candidacy was announced mid last year, and he had been vocal right from the beginning; many young people would be backing PK just because of his running mate, and Ronald would have had a solid plate on his table.

Ronald was born and raised in Nairobi’s Kibera. That easily translates to a connection with the youth, in a style and language that the big boys can only dream of. Even Raphael Tuju’s acquired sheng campaign will never connect in the same way. However, that the PK team may not have enough time to grow these numbers, something Waititu and Sonko, have (unfortunately) done extremely well

The Starehe Boys (PK, Tuju and Osumba) tag will also have to wear off fast as Kenyans online continue to roll their eyes saying a disadvantaged background does not necessarily beget leadership.

Young Kenyans need to believe in someone of a different strain; a young, professional, aspirational brand that Kenya’s young so badly need to emulate.

I would have loved to see Osumba mature in politics before being unveiled yesterday. To see him speak to masses and blast away on the campaign trail, build a confidence and charisma that only comes with being a politician.

To PK and Osumba, all the very best, I would love to see people like you lead this country, if it isn't a little too late, but keep running! Or Soar; you know what they say about Eagles!

"May the road rise up to meet you; May the wind be always at your back."
-Irish Proverb

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HOW TO SPOT A DIASPORAN






It's been a few tight lipped days on my blog, so let's have a laugh shall we?

This weekend, the amazing Liquid Deep band was in town, and, my daughter and I were among the thousands of Nairobians (and Summer Bunnies) who turned up. It was full to the rafters, it just felt hot and musky, even though the weather wasn’t that warm; like someone dropped me right in the middle of buzzy market place somewhere in Nigeria. Ok, I digress, but you get the point? Thanks.

When Imani, my daughter asked “Mummy, what’s a summer bunny?” We had quite a laugh trying to explain it to her.

December is official Summer Bunny month, and my diaspora holiday started off at Sankara, a friend had pals come over for the holidays, and I went with her to have a night cap by the rooftop.

I sat next to a gentleman with rather big hair, “(we no longer wear our hair long, dear diaspora boys, especially if you’re over 19.) Let’s call him Alan. I’m not good at making friends, but I managed to start a conversation with Alan. I asked him about his stay here and where he was from. “I’m from Baltimore” he said with a heavy American accent. He has been away for 8 years. He loves the new roads; he only wishes public transport was functional. He continued “you know in Baltimore….” I threw up a little.

About a week later I went to K1 after work with Maggie, our beautiful make-up artist. It was a summer bunny assembly.

They have an accent; mostly it’s a mix of accents. A healthy mix of Kenyaneese and Americanese.

They wear shades at night. I’ll never get over that.

I’m in Nairobi on a windy night, it might even rain, but little Miss thing walks into K1 with boob tube and leggings, she is on a beach in Saint Pete, Florida. ( I googled that, I have never been to Florida) I’m just hating because she had such an amazing little waist.



LL Cool J aint that cool anymore, drop the cap, especially in the club. And don’t lick your lips.


Buy a belt, Lil Wayne can pass without one, you can’t, really. Sagging pants is so 2002.



They wish MacDonald’s was here and KFC doesn’t “gerrit” , I told him they import potatoes from Egypt.

They complain about the roads, traffic jams and customer care, that’s ok, but when they add “ If this was an American restaurant”….good night, I can only handle so much on one night!

Feel Free to share your own diaspora holidays in the comment box underneath!

and, dear diaspora Don’t hate me, I love you too much!

Bring me a gift from America next time? :-)



Monday, January 7, 2013

OF THOUGHT LEADERSHIP IN A DRIFTING WORLD





All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.
--William Bernbach, DDB Needham Worldwide, 1989.


Saturday afternoon was perhaps the best beginning of the new year for me. I spent it at what was to be a cozy meet up of minds at the Serena, called by IMG PR’s Charles Gacheru. (Charles, Thank you for an amazing meet up).

It was great catching up with journalists and media players who I have worked with in different capacities over the last few years, and as over time we have changed employers, we have all become each other’s competition, it was amazing just to listen to stories of how and what makes us journalists, but what made my evening was a discussion on Thought leadership (or lack of thereof) in our media circles today.

Jebet Amdany brought the challenge to the slab, and asked us, if we as journalists are really interested in shaping the perceptions, views and opinions that the country will carry, or if we are standing by, watching as others take that role.
She talked of Jaindi Kisero, Wachira Waruru (who’s writing I would kill to read) Macharia Gaitho and other veteran journalists who for years shaped and without fear became the watchdogs of the country.

Let me back track and define Thought Leadership before we delve further into it.
A thought leader is an authority in a certain matter. He or She is considered the go to person on certain issues. He is an opinion shaper, he is respected, and his judgment is trusted. He provides clarity on concerns; he is a teacher, a leader.

According to Forbes:

A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.

The current crop of thought leaders has guided us through the years. Creating opinions on which to vote for and why, delving deep into topical matters and raising concerns that stir within the populace a need to react, or respond to national issues. They have been for years the reason why we buy the Sunday newspapers that are laced with opinion pages.

But what happens when Macharia Gaitho stops writing? Who, in the younger generation of scribes will fit into the shoes of those who we now address with reverence? Unfortunately, I cannot name one young journalist.

The issue of mentor-ship did arise, with most saying diving into the deep end without a coach has created a crop that’s too busy trying to get it right first, as individuals. It would be then difficult to begin to grow yourself as a brand that becomes the voice of clarity on topical national matters.

When Christian Amanpour pushes her guests between a rock and a hard place, she jolts the rest of us to begin to believe that even we can question leadership in high places. That is the kind of thought leadership that must be cultivated among journalists.

The ability to question not only stems from mentor-ship, but also from passion and a deep seated dedication to your country. That, evidenced from the meet up, may actually be the first step to deal with because the question “why should I care” did pop up more than once.

I beg to ask my generation of journalists:

What did those that set the pace for us does that took them to another level of respect with their readers and viewers?

What drives us? Is it the 50 thousand shillings extra by the next employer or a need to do something for the country?

Who will you want to be remembered as when you die? The hottest anchor in town, or the scribe that lived for his country?

The line between activism and journalism was pretty thin then, now we have a whole rift valley between the two, what drove the crater that deep?

We need to go back to the drawing board and begin to question what being a journalist really means. Perhaps then, we can begin to appreciate the pedestal we are on and use if for what it is rightfully intended for.

News Corporation, today, reaches people at home and at work... when they're thinking... when they're laughing... and when they are making choices that have enormous impact. The unique potential.. and duty.. of a media company are to help its audiences connect to the issues that define our time.
--Rupert Murdoch