The Beauty files; getting your weave on

Kelly Rowland baby!

Kelly Rowland baby!

It was a very surreal Saturday for this blogger as I started the day on the couch with my trusty TV on after a night out on the town. I am a GOTV subscriber and on my screen was BET and I realised that I must have nodded off watching something like The Real Husbands of Hollywood Soul Sessions. As I got my bearing I noted that Chris Rock was chatting about weaves and on looking at the TV menu it turns out that I was watching a documentary called Good Hair (you can watch the trailer here). Women are doing so much to make themselves the best that they can be why lie. They are working their bone to be as good looking as they can. Not for men of course; for “themselves.”
So where does one get those weaves in Kenya? Well Vera Sidika famously said that she bought hers for hundreds of thousands of shillings which seems to correspond with the crazy figures being given in that documentary. But then again there must be a cheaper alternative seeing as the weave has taken over the Kenyan space even worse than Nollywood and No-Grammy (Naija music?). So what are the options.
The first port of call for me has to be OLX that has indoctrinated some of us with their Eric Omondi powered advertising. A search on that site for weaves shows that there are very many options for the young woman wanting to get her weave on. Here are some of the options right now if you log on right now;

Get the Kerry Washington Scandal weave y'all.

Get the Kerry Washington Scandal weave y’all.

So between Kshs400 and Kshs9,000 you can get a decent new weave for you to flounce your head like Farrah Fawcett, Kerry Washington or my favourite Destiny’s Child Kelly Rowland.
So you now have the weave. You want to head to the salon and get the look from your local weave installer. You can search for a salon on the same site and there you will see some decent offerings. The downside with that search is that you will get a lot of products to buy or even whole salons.
For those who might be foolhardy enough to try and install their own weave there are options. OLX has many products for the discerning weave installer especially in the health and beauty segment. For instance a search on there I saw a ceramic flat iron being sold out of Langata for Kshs1,350; negotiable. Not too bad. A hair steamer coming out of Kilimani for Kshs8,000 is a bit steeper but definitely reachable.
So you want the good hair that we all love to love (or hate depending on your opinions on hair) then the market place is for you. OLX is a good starting point. If you are not inclined to do the search then I suggest arming yourself with an arm and a leg worth of cash and walking into your nearest Salon. Good luck.

A Westgate Attack Documentary Video review


A new documentary on the Westgate Mall attack form last year appeared online on Tuesday. This video was the one that was allegedly shown on American TV network HBO and is a powerful piece of journalism produced and directed by Dan Reed.

It starts with people having a typical Saturday morning in Nairobi headed to the Westgate Mall. One of them is there to work so she sets up a stand to sell. Another is a lady who has gone shopping with her kids. A gentleman has gone to do some shopping.

It all unravels as men attack the mall with guns and a mission to cause the highest amount of damage. The men are four and go in two waves. One group of two starts at the ground floor and shoots their way into the mall causing havoc and death. People run into the Nakumatt supermarket and the two go about their merry way shooting their way in killing anyone that moved.

The other two go the top of the mall and start by killing people who had come to a cooking competition that had been organized by East FM. They execute their mission and then move to lower levels.

At one point seven good guys, five plain clothes officers and two civilians who are licensed to carry handguns, go into the mall and execute one of the most daring rescue missions in Kenyan history as the SWAT team wait outside for instructions from above to act. These seven people are the ones that save the most people from various part of the mall.

Eventually the army guys storm the place shooting anyone that moved; including at the police officers who had been at the venue leaving one officer dead. Eventually the mall is secured by the army and an explosive device blown up in the venue and there is no footage after this.

The beauty of the documentary is that it uses footage from the many cameras in the venue to tell the story so you don’t have to be told too much. There are firsthand accounts of the survivors from the attack with a starring role for Abdul Haji the dashing young man who was at the forefront of saving so many lives as well as a corporal who was shot. Those who were there give a very bizarre recounting of the attackers which showed both their brutality as well as their compassion leaving some to go safe where they killed others mercilessly.

One of the most moving things in that documentary for me was the view of my former colleague Ruhila Adatia laying on the floor with her hands out asking for help before she is carried into an ambulance. That as far as I know the last image of her alive. You can see that at 33.59 minutes into the movie.

The movie illustrates what we all know. This was an attack by Al Shabaab attacking Kenya for their invasion of Somalia. It also puts to death myths that have come from the event. There were no mattresses burning in the mall as alleged by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku. That was the army’s doing.

Ultimately the lesson from that day is that our security forces are one of the most uncoordinated ones around which is why they were killing one another instead of killing the bad guys. They should have acted sooner as this would probably have saved more lives.

As we come to one year after the attacks there are several events to remember that traumatic few days that will not be forgotten soon that saw 67 dead, hundreds injured and millions traumatised. The Storymoja Festival is currently having one at the National Museum one that started on the 15th of September and will be running for a month. If you are in Nairobi please check it out.

OLX Social Media Awards nominees list out

OLXSOMA2014The nominees of the awards ceremony for users of social media are out and voting is welcomed from you the voting public until the day of the Awards ceremony will be held on October 3rd . The theme for this year’s OLX Social Media Awards is “Making Social Media Work For You.”

All these nominees are already winners as they will all get a course by Hootsuite University that will help build capacity of nominees and further enhance the impact of social media on our society. The Hootsuite University Program is designed for professionals seeking to increase skills in Hootsuite and other social media tools and tactics. The Hootsuite is a web-based social media management tool.

The judges have shortlisted five nominees under each category of the Awards, which include the National and County Governments, Learning Institutions, and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Other categories are Social Network Personality of the Year, Large Corporation, Traditional Media, Best use of Social Media and the Best of the Best.

To vote for the nominees, social media users will be required to visit the Awards website: OLX Kenya has been the title sponsor of the Awards for two consecutive years.

The full list of the nominees are;


Most Influential Facebook personality

  • CabuGah

  • Stephen Musyoka

  • Rita Oyier

  • Dennis Maladit

  • XtianDela

Most influential twitter personality

  • Boniface Mwangi

  • Xtiandela

  • Sitawa Wafula

  • Chief Kariuki

  • Sunny Bindra

Most influential Instagram personality

  • MutuaMatheka

  • ThisIsEss

  • Misskihoro

  • Vera sidika

  • Benkiruthi

Most promising new blogger



  • -




Corporation with best customer care

Chase Bank



Jambo Jet


Corporation with most creative campaign

  • Open your eyes – by Safaricom

  • Aromat – Unilever

  • Tembea Kenya – KWS

  • Chasepreneuer – Chase Bank

  • Hands off our elephants

Most influential corporate personality


Bob Collymore

Peter Nduati

Gina Din Kariuki

Mohammed Hersi

SME Category

SME of the year

  • Buy Rent Kenya

  • Eat Out Kenya

  • PikaChakula

  • Ma3Route

  • SandStorm Kenya

Most Influential SME personality

  • Aly Khan Satchu

  • Sunny Bindra

  • Eric Kinoti

  • AhmednasirAbdullahi

  • GatwiriMurungi

National and County government Category

Most active State Corporation

  • Kenya Airports Authority

  • Kenya Tourism Board

  • Kenya Power

  • State House

  • KWS

Most active county government






Most influential government personality

  • Amb. Amina Mohamed

  • Alfred Mutua

  • Mike Sonko

  • Jane Waikenda

  • Sakaja Johnson

Traditional Media Category

Television show

  • NTV – The Trend with Larry Madowo

  • KTN – Jeff Koinange Live

  • NTV – Tujuane

  • Citizen TV – Sunday Live

  • NTV – Churchill Show

Radio show

  • Capital FM – The Jam

  • HBR – G money in the Morning

  • Milele FM – Bangaiza

  • Radio Jambo – Teketeke with Mbusina Lion

  • One FM – Drive

News channel

  • Citizen TV Kenya

  • Capital FM Kenya

  • K24 TV

  • KTN Kenya

  • NTV Kenya

Most influential Media personality

  • Adelle Anyango

  • Daniel Ndambuki AKA King’ang’i

  • Jeff Koinange

  • Julie Gichuru

  • Maina Kageni

Best use of Social Media

Best use of social media for entertainment

  • Sauti Sol

  • Buni.TV – XYZ

  • Ghetto Radio

  • Pulse Magazine

  • Kiss TV – Live on Blast Club AfterBurn

Best use of social media for charity

  • Eddah Hope Cancer Foundation

  • Beyond Zero Campaign

  • Hands off our elephants

  • Kenya Red Cross

  • Safaricom Foundation

Best use Social media by learning institution

  • ZetechCollege

  • USIU

  • UON

  • Kenyatta University

  • Strathmore University

Best of the best

Overall personality of the year

  • Amb. Amina Mohamed

  • Daniel Ndambuki AKA King’ang’i

  • Xtiandela

  • Mike Sonko

  • Paula Kahumbu

Overall organization of the year

  • Chase Bank

  • Safaricom

  • Eatout Kenya

  • Kenya power

  • Kenya Tourism Board

Africa Media Initiative on Hate speech and Safaricom supports Women in tech (kind of)

Dr Ron Archer in man drag

Dr Ron Archer in man drag

If you are not a huge fan of hate speech (who is really? Unless you are selling guns?) then one event you want to check out this gig tonight at the Pawa 254. Our friends from the African Media Leadership Forum invites all for the launch of their Pan-African campaign against hate speech, #TurnthePageonHateSpeech. The hashtag is a bit wonky and everything so I expect fully that the four Kenyans On Twitter not contributing to the #Kenyanisms trend will quickly turn in into the #TTPOHS. Or something.

Talking about tech and its use there has been the growth of many women in it with lists popping up ever so often telling us about the top ten women in IT in Africa. The one thing that many of these have common is that they all have Ory Okolloh and Isis Nyong’o Madison proving that once your name is in a list you have it made in town.

Its not just the Orys and the Isis’s of the world that have been proving that stuff is looking good for women in tech as many initiatives show up like Akili Dada and others I suggest that you use your Google engine to enjoy to enjoy. One of these is the Women In Technology initiative which is receiving backing from those guys who recently reduced the price of mobile money charges the other day.

The initiative means to celebrate and honor female professionals who have excelled as mentors,
exemplified unique vision, shown outstanding leadership, success within Technology related carriers
So showing women who are “doing good” in IT right? You are therefore invited to a Women In Technology Fathers and Daughters Edition tomorrow evening with… Mrs… Sorry Mr… or rather Dr Ron Archer at the Michael Joseph Centre in Nairob. Hey, Dr Ron Archer COULD be a woman no? Say it with me… #SilenceIsAWoman

Murage Gichuki’s brilliant idea for Zuku

Murage Gichuki

Murage Gichuki

If you are based in Nairobi you will have noted that the are looking to bag your data business as much as possible. Jamii Telekom is the loudest with their Faiba pronounced hilariously as “faimba” by a stone age dude. The others in that segment are Zuku and Access Kenya and a few other folks ensuring that especially in the homes and corporations segment have the best Internet experience.

With the players in a battle for the market every little bit of help given especially of the charitable variety. Enter Murage Gichuki who is a Zuku customer and a creative with one of the leading firms in town. Here is his contribution.

Here’s an idea for Zuku. They should consider allowing existing users like me to access their Zuku WiFi anywhere I find it. E.G At a popular coffee house, using Zuku it logs me in to my account and funnels more bandwidth automatically to the Coffee House Account.

This could even be the Zuku Points Loyalty program where the more users you allow to access their accounts through yours earns you points which can be redeemed for bandwidth or upgrades on PVRs. Etc. Just an idea that I would like to have as a Zuku client.

If I were Zuku I would try and make this one happen. It is a guaranteed winner. I think.

A Q&A with communication specialist Noel Wandera

Noel Wandera

Noel Wandera

Noel Wandera is well known in both journalism and PR circles for his stints in The Standard Group and Gina Din Corporate Communications (now the Gina Din Group). He talks to on his motivations, his view of where electronic media is heading and his new baby

Where did you go to school?

I did my primary education at St Peters Primary School, Ishiara in the then Embu District but now Mbere. For my O – Level’s, I went to Kakamega High School for my ‘O’ levels and St Peters High School, Mumias for my ‘A’ levels. I then attended the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton where I graduated with a BA English (Minor) & Automotive Technology (Minor). This was followed by proceeding to the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication for a Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication

You were well known for your job at Gina Din Corporate Communications (now GDG Group). What other jobs have you done?
Before joining Gina Din in 2006, I was at the Standard Newspapers between 2001 and 2006. I was on the business beat, covering Tourism, Aviation & ICT. I joined Gina Din in 2006 to handle clients related to my field of specialisation namely Kenya Airways, Safaricom Limited, South African Tourism Board and UUNET, now MTN Business.

I left Gina Din in November last year to Express DDB, an advertising & media buying firm where I had a short stint. My brief was to start a PR unit within the company. The unit is up and running. But realising that my ambitions were not being met, I made the hard decision to leave the company two months ago into self employment, partnering with a former colleague Steven Njenga.

What are some of the most memorable experiences in your life?

Positive experiences
The fact that I am married to a beautiful wife Jane, and two cute and handsome babies, Tamara & Tendai respectively

The exposure that I have been able to receive in my line of duty, both at The Standard and Gina Din Corporate Communications. While at the Standard, I had the privilege of touring the entire Kenya with the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), experiencing Kenya’s 42 different cultures & interviewing great individuals, chief amongst them the late Akuku Danger who had over 40 wives. I have also sampled European culture in France, Britain and Germany covering KTB events, as well as other cultures on the African continent, like Comoros, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, most of it with Kenya Airways when they were opening new routes to serve their Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub

Negative experiences
Being on the receiving end of commercial interest between Media houses and corporate entities. While with the standard, I wrote a hard hitting piece on the corruption that involved a major Government Corporation which I won’t name, importing poles from Tanzania while the same could be sourced from Kenya. Although I had my facts right, I was made to retract the story, which was the P3 headline, as demanded by the said parastatal. It is still vivid to me with my senior, David Okwemba, who had just joined to The Daily Nation, calling to ask if I still had a job!

The Kenya Airways Douala crash was one of the lowest points of my career. I remember being woken up by my executive director, Desiree Gomes at around 4 am and instructed to find my way to the KQ headquarters, Embakasi. What followed was almost a month of sleepless nights managing that crisis. You know what is happening, but cannot release raw information to grief stricken relatives and the media because sanity has to prevail. After the whole exercise, the entire Gina Din staff had to undergo trauma counselling.

How have these experiences informed how you go about the business of your life:
They have taught me moderation, patience and how to deal with disappointments & arrogance from others.

What are you up to now?
As I said earlier, my friend and former colleague, Steve Njenga have set up a communications consultancy agency called Arkhesolutions to claim a stake in Kenya’s Public Relations and online news gathering space, the latter of which we are still piloting –

What informed my decision?
Ambition, off course. We intend to be a force to reckon with, especially in the on-line media space, which has a lot of opportunities to exploit. We know that we have what it takes to succeed, having been in the media industry for over 13 years.

Where is the broadcast arm of the communication industry headed at the moment?

The liberalisation of Kenya’s media sector has led to it opening up its space, which provides the next challenge, which is to satisfy it with the requisite content. We will start seeing more independent production houses emerging to feed this hungry market with data every day.

With the intended digitalisation process coming, TV stations will have more airspace. There will be channels specifically to air business, entertainment, documentaries, sports you name it. In fact, sometimes I wonder if we shall have enough journalists and producers to satisfy this market needs.

I foresee the emergence of service providers from where leading stations will lease their services like going to the site and linking with the studios, instead of them sending their crew because of various factors like distance and even lack of personnel.

I also see a situation where TV stations will only have core employees – News anchors, in-house studio technical personnel and the management team etc – then outsource content producers who will however need to meet the respective stations’ quality standards

What would you say is a really good place to have a meal in Nairobi at under Kshs1,000:
I do not have any preference for a particular place at all. Infact what dictates where I eat is my meetings with clients and newsmakers.

Serena Hotel Nairobi staff go back to school

Staff getting canned by a stern teacher.

Students getting canned by a stern teacher.

The Serena Hotel in Nairobi seems like such a great place to work. Apart from having pretty decent service whenever they are there I tend to hear good things from the people who work there. They recently hosted a school uniform day at their Nairobi office where staff came dressed in their uniforms from when they were in school. It was sort of a little thing to flag morale in these dark days for Kenyan tourism.

The images need no explanation but for purposes of saving people’s embarrassment I will not give the names of the people in the images.

Kneel down with your hands up!

Kneel down with your hands up!

The school boy has landed some hot babes from neighbouring schools.

The school boy has landed some hot babes from neighbouring schools.

Is that an AgaKhan student/staffer?

Is that an AgaKhan student/staffer?

School prefect! Don't dare make noise in class.

School prefect! Don’t dare make noise in class.

Julie Otieno’s free advice to Uchumi Supermarkets:

A typical Uchumi setting.

A typical Uchumi setting.

Julie Otieno is one of the more respected public relations professionals in Nairobi having worked in several organisations before setting up her own outfit Traction Communications (Read the Q&A we did with her here). So when a serious communications professional like her gives you free advice you as an organisation want to have a listen as she might know what she is doing.

Here is the advice she gave to one of the country’s most well known supermarket brands Uchumi after visiting their Capital Centre branch on Mombasa Road recently;

Free Advice to Uchumi Supermarkets:

1. Forget what OMO says, Dirt is NOT good. Please reacquaint your cleaning team with buckets, detergent, mops and dusters. Alternatively, outsource cleaning services to Parapet.

2. Disorder clouds the decision to buy. Your veggie section would look neater if you could go the extra mile and remove the wilted greens and shriveled carrots and beets. Those are only good for cows and horses….and it’s highly unlikely that anyone blessed with a herd of cows or a Horse or two would come shopping for their animal’s meals at Uchumi.

3. Those trolleys and shopping baskets can actually be cleaned WITH WATER AND SOAP. Try it. The difference will amaze you.

Happy Sunday.

You think they would listen our friends from Uchumi right?

Free juice welcomes me to new Samsung shop at Capital Centre

The things free juice make a man do...

The things free juice make a man do…

There is a new Samsung shop at the Capital Centre on Mombasa Road in Nairobi. How did I find out you ask? No it was not one of those things where some PR professional sent you a brilliantly worded Press Release with long stories about there being VIPs that would be of interest to a news organisation. I find out about it when I went to continue celebrating my International Beer Day when I heard a whole of noise at the Capital Centre. As I was leaving the place the noise forced me to see what was about and I noted that there was some sort celebration. Turns out that there is a new Samsung shop at the mall where the Kazuri beads folks used to have their operation. I guess selling phones is more profitable than selling beads in this part of the world.

New Samsung shop (Photo taken with Tecno Phantom A+)

New Samsung shop (Photo taken with Tecno Phantom A+)

Anyway I went into the shop and it looks to be rich in the phone arm of the business with the Galaxy phones taking a lot of space. After looking around I walked and I was offered a free glass of juice for walking into the shop which I thought was pretty cool. If they do more launches like this I’ll be attending more of those…

Kenyan photographers be buggin’

The team whose work was being exhibited.

The team whose work was being exhibited.

Insects. We love them right? Wrong. No one who is not a scientist at ICIPE who is studying them, executives at Mortein Doom, Raid and Bolt who make a killing them or nutty folks will be seen declaring their love for them.

This is why it was so interesting when photographers Eric Gitonga, Abdul Mutuma, Martha Mutiso, Sabore Noah and Larry Asego, hosted a Bugging a Macro Journey photography exhibition at the Alliance Francaise in Nairobi the other day for insects. The event was sponsored by Alliance Francaise, Pawa254, Photographers Association of Kenya, National Museums of Kenya and Nature Kenya.

I was unable to attend the opening which was quite well attended but I went to check out the work at a later date. The exhibition showed a variety of the bugs that we see in our daily lives as well as some rare ones including spiders, house flies, fruit flies, praying mantis, ladybirds and many more. The photos of the insects are large prints that were retailing at anything from Kshs8,000 to Kshs20,000 depending on the quality of the photos.

The photographs have been done exceedingly well and I enjoyed the watching these creatures that I don’t love up close. I was able to see that these little critters in a different way without them being at the end of my boot as I stomped on them or as I swatted them. I suspect that the public was similarly amazed as the exhibition was so well received that the venue extended the dates by one extra week

For those who missed out on the exhibition there is hope you yet. The work of the five photographers was compiled into a book costing Kshs5,000. You want to check out the good work please email larryasego{at}

%d bloggers like this: