Gaze at the face of Nigeria’s Rotimi Babatunde the 2012 winner and get motivated.
The Caine Prize for African writing was announced yesterday and the list was quite surprising to say the very least; four Nigerians and 1 Sierra Leonian. No other nationality was named in what many consider one of Africa’s leading writing prizes.
Kenyans have a pretty cool relationship with two Binyavanga Wainaina and Yvonne Owuor winning it in 2002 and 2003. Wainaina’s piece was “Discovering Home” and Yvonne’s was “Weight of Whispers.”
Its been dry since. Almost literary desert like with only Parsalelo Kantai in 2004 (“Comrade Lemma and the Black Jerusalem Boys’ Band”) and Muthoni Garland in 2006 (Tracking the Scent of My Mother) being nominated. Last year was much better for us (Kenya) with Billy Kahora’s story on some drunk going to confront his bosses in the office “Urban Zoning” according us the first nomination in a while.
I am not going to lament that the Caine Prize team failed to do regional representation with their nominations. I am going ask Kenyan fiction writers to up their game. The winner of this prize has good things coming their way starting with a £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 8 July. And then there is the profile you raise when you get in those spaces.
So Kenyan, I urge you to read the following shortlisted nominees, get tips and go for the 2014 edition:
- Elnathan John (Nigeria) ‘Bayan Layi’ from Per Contra, Issue 25 (USA, 2012)
Read Bayan Layi
- Tope Folarin (Nigeria) ‘Miracle’ from Transition, Issue 109 (Bloomington, 2012)
- Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) ‘Foreign Aid’ from Journal of Progressive Human Services, Vol. 23.3 (Philadelphia, 2012)
Read Foreign Aid
- Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) ‘The Whispering Trees’ from The Whispering Trees, published by Parrésia Publishers (Lagos, 2012)
Read The Whispering Tree
- Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) ‘America’ from Granta, Issue 118 (London, 2012)
All the best Kenya people. Also Ugandan people. And Tanzanian people. Basically all None-Nigerian and Sierra Leone people.
These aloe vera products can be yours.
We all know Martha who was introduced to us as Martha Nyagi before she was married and was reintroduced to us as Martha Kibi. The graduate of USIU has in the last decade since graduation had an interesting career working on and off with Chase Bank as she went on with her business which for a while was being the wedding planner on call for many.
The bubbly young Nairobian has continued in the same vein in recent times. She is the marketing manager for one of Nairobi’s leading banks but that doesn’t prevent her from continuing the hustle. Martha is also a distributor of Forever Living Products. The products whose main ingredient is Aloe Vera are sold as supplements, beauty products and home cleaning agents through network marketing. They are said to be natural and safe for both kids and adults and affordably priced which Nairobians will love. If you want in on the Forever Living jamboree you want to email Martha at email: m_nyagi at yahoo.com
The Hostel TV Series is a show about students in a hostel in Kampala Uganda who attend the local university which I can only assume is Makerere University. The show sheds light on their trials and tribulations as well as their highs and lows from their abodes. It is aired on NTV Uganda and also aired on NTV in Kenya which is why I started watching it in the first place.
The show is really well done with the main characters of Patra, Hope, Gilo, Arach and a bunch of other keeping me in stitches whenever I watch the show.
The show had ended last year with the death of one the main characters of the show Odoch. It was believed that the show would be ending as it had been losing some of the founding stars on a regular basis. The death of Odoch was seen by many to be the end of the show.
Well the show is back. Season 3 of the show launched yesterday with its first episode. I never got to watch that one buts its only a matter of time before we get to see those cheeky scamps on NTV here no? I can’t wait.
Update: Looks like the show will be screening in Kenya after 10 episodes. Thats three months away people.
This is the best in men’s fashion no? Somehow I think not.
I have been on Google Plus aka G+ since it was launched and to be honest I have been trying to figure out what I was on with little success. I would get added in circles and invited for events and much was going on and I have been basically oblivious.
I recently found myself in the middle of the organising for the launch of the since of Camp Mulla and Wondaboy which is launching on Friday at 2pm and I figured that I might as well try to figure what on earth this Google Hangout is. My actual experience with a hangout initially was watching Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars as they launched one of their singles. Keys was launching Girl on fire while Mars was launching Locked out of Heaven.
It was an interesting to watch the hangout which involved the artist taking to a group of fans across the planet logged on who asked them questions on what they were felling about anything. The questions were those things that fans like asking celebrities like “Do you ever get star struck”” and the like.
As I read about it and checked my twitter feed was surprised when I saw Anne McCreath talking about the Kikoromeo Google Hangout chatting about men’s fashion that was going on at the time.
So for the first time with a bit of a clue I logged onto G+ and tried to get into the chat. It didn’t happen. I did post something on the event wall then decided that I wanted to post a picture as well. When I clicked the add photos tab at the top I was mightily surprised. What popped up was all the photos I had been snapping away on my cell phone. What this told me was that I could now post any photos I took out there directly to a Google hangout or page. A bit exhilarating and scary at the same time. I picked a humorous picture of me with a Tuskys bag waiting for the rain put it out there. I asked if they had something better than this for me to go out on the town in rainy Nairobi.
I never did get to watch the discussions until today and here I observed Anne Macreath chatting with Sapelle.com‘s Daphne Kasambala who seems to be based in the UK. The discussions WERE on men’s fashion but I have to say I have never been so bored in my life. The thing is they were discussing the hues of colours (earth tones) and materials of the clothes and the cuts and… Zzzz. Talk about fashion even for men clearly has its owners.
So the lessons;
- You can get a group of people together from any part of the world with an Internet connection and a web cam and they will be able to hangout. Thus the Google Hangout.
- You can add photos and comments – text audio or video on any discussion wall of a hangout.
- Photos you took out there are saved by your phone and can be posted directly to the G+ hangout.
- Not all Hangouts will work for everyone.
Thats it for now. If you think that you have gotten this one for you. Try out the following two Hangouts on Friday;
- Camp Mulla and Wonderboy at 2pm – courtesy Sub Sahara Ent
- Eric Wainaina at 3:30pm – Courtesy Mdundo.com
Malawi will be blowing up in September
At the beginning of the year I did a list of cultural events to consider to attend in 2013 if you can. Several of these events have already happened with Burkina Faso Pan African Film Festival Fespaco happening in February and Zimbabwe’s Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) at the beginning of this month.
One of the events that I had mentioned was the Lake of Stars festival which happens in Malawi. I was informed of its existence because Kenyan artist Dan Aceda was one of the performers at the festival last year. Since 2004 the Lake of Stars project has staged an award-winning festival on the shores of Lake Malawi, alongside other events in the UK and across the globe. The project has reached more than 200 million people through international and local media coverage.
The ten year festival now has something new to offer. The organising committee inform us that there shall now be the City of Stars. The City of Stars will be a brand new city-based festival and arts conference in Lilongwe, Malawi from 27 to 28 September 2013. It will be showcasing the best in emerging and acclaimed talent from Malawi and beyond.
This includes live music, film, theatre, literature, exhibitions and speakers, it will promote Malawian culture and creativity as well as attracting international artists and arts practitioners.
The festival has secured funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi’s Latitude 13 hotel and Scotland’s David Livingstone 200 Fund.
So all you lovers of the creative arts can put this event on your calendar for September. Send us pictures from there if you go hey? Those in the creative business – yes you artist – can also get to show your stuff here. Talk to the organisers. And good luck.
Come see these guys.
If you are following the literature space from out of Nairobi you would probably believe that the only people who have written books in Kenya are Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Binyavanga Wainaina. The truth is that there are many people who have written books in Kenya with less exotic names and the chances to see them aren’t that many.
Well for those who say that there are no novels in Kenya The Junction Mall on Ngong Road in Nairobi will be the place to be as a battalion of writers invade the mall. Some of the authors who have already seen their work featured on this blog include;
- Muthoni Likimani
- Joseph Ngunjiri
- Binyavanga Wainaina
- Stanely Gazemba
- Nganga Mbugua
The list is exhaustive and it actually includes novelists, motivational writers, “memoirists” (I really that word exists) and more. It includes TV stars past Joyce Mbaya of Apprentice Africa fame and present John Sibi-Okumu of Kiss TV and everyone in between. If you want to meet them; buy their books; take photos with them etc you want to head out to the Junction on Saturday from 11am to 4pm.
In case you are wondering its free.
Tips on the ladies of Jo’burg abound.
One of my favourite movies is Quentin Tarantino offering From Dusk Till Dawn. The 1997 movie with a starring cast including George Clooney and Salma Hayek begins as a sort of prison break type movie. The movie begins with George Clooney and Tarantino as criminals who escape into Mexico taking hostages along the way. They go to a place to meet a contact who would help then live in Mexico and suddenly the movie changes as it turns out they are trapped in a nest of vampires. So from action movie to horror flick all in one movie.
Thats the feeling I get when I read Niq Mhlongo’s new Kwela published book Way Back Home. The third book from the Soweto based author starts with the story of Kimathi Fezile Tito a South African who was born in Tanzania as an exile in the struggle against the apartheid regime. After independence he moves back to Jo’burg and starts a business using his contacts in the liberation struggle to take advantage of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) program of South Africa. The book follows him as he seeks his biggest deal ever with his liberation days colleagues. We are reading a compelling story on a gentleman estranged with his wife with a drinking and need for flesh looking for business. Very nice story no?
Flashbacks are a huge part of the story as we are given glimpses of the life that the people in the South African liberation struggle had to go through which was very insightful. It helped with the narrative of the man with troubles although as you read you are left wondering where on earth the author is taking you. The writing is excellent so you stick with it.
The story slowly starts taking a turn as we start seeing the less physical. Ghosts. Weird imaginings. Suddenly the book is on the metaphysical trip with Kimathi having to go to his old camp in Angola to exorcise ghosts to set things right. The ending is shocking to say the very least.
This is one of the better books I have read this year. I like that the main protagonist in the book is called Kimathi (after our independence day hero Dedan Kimathi) being proudly Kenyan and all that. But the book also teaches us about the less than amazing tender processes in South Africa which I suspect would apply to the local situation. It offers lessons on the reasoning on some of the liberation heroes in SA as they fought around the continent for their country’s freedom.
More importantly it tells one where the get the largest variety of ladies (and shemales) of the night for pay in Johannesburg. So I like the book mightily.
Pick up a copy of this book. I read it in one seating so if you start reading you want to have little else on your plate that day or night. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
:: Niq Mhlongo reads from Way Back Home – Video
Run up this building for fun.
The Nairobi Hilton is one of Nairobi’s iconic buildings having been here since before I was born (I was born in 2005) and our friends there tell me that they shall be having a unique race there very soon; the Hilton Tower Race.
The race didn’t start in Nairobi. The London Hilton on Park Lane was the first one to do the race which involved racing up the tower to much enjoyment. This was followed by Hilton Dubai Jumeirah in 2012 which was also well received.
Its time for Africa sang Shakira. Actually she sang it but it was written for her and we all know that as much as she is a great performer her dalliance with that Barcelona ob doesn’t help her brand…. Anyway its time for Africa and now its the turn for the Nairobi Hilton.
The Nairobi Hilton version will see folks run up the fire escape from th Mezzanine of the building to its top on 31st May. Thats 300 steps up 17 floors. That sounds like fun no?
Its not just the running up stairs and keeping fit though. Those who enter the race (Kshs10,000 per person in a team of four) will also be helping folks at the Rural Vision Children’s Rehabilitation Home established in the year 2004. Located in Soweto slums in Nairobi’s Embakasi Division, the home caters for abandoned orphans, neglected and abused children in our society.
For more information please email nairobi_info AT hilton.com
The Sokoke cats
The biggest story in cat news in Kenya has to be poor cat that made headlines when its head was stuck in a jerry can and was screened on the news. I was going through Know my Kenya one of my favourite Facebook groups today when I saw a weird looking cat called the sokoke cat. Turns out that there is a cat that is indegenous to Kenya just like there is the Egyptian variety and others.
Going the website dedicated to the cat I discovered that,
“Sokoke cats are one of just a few recognized breeds of cat that are naturally occurring native breeds. This means that they evolved all on their own,without initial human intervention or breeding selection,They became unique to a particular geographic region, developing their recognizable traits (just like a man-made breed), albeit through a natural selection process…
The cat seems to have evolved from several cat species as well as street cats in the coastal region. Coastal region you say? Which leaves me wondering if perhaps this is the poor one that found its head in a jerry can. Or not.
Tony Gatheca (Extreme right) at a former MSK gala.
The Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK) is a very interesting organisation. It has had some of the most amazing people as its leaders with some like current Chase Bank General Manager Parmain Ole Narikae and current L’Oreal boss in Kenya Patricia Ithau at the helm. For those who want to see the later speak you want to go to the Networking in Heels on the morrow to see her secrets of making it in your career.
There was a period for while when the organisation went quiet with little information about their activities apart from the Warrior Awards held at the end of every year. There was even some period of litigation between some warring parties before it all died down. Its been very quiet since.
A new era is upon the MSK as the organisation chose a new Chairman – Tony Gatheca who is the current CEO of Transcend Media Group. Gatheca has been in marketing business for a bit making his name both at the Radio Africa Group and the Capital Group before he opted to start his own firm a few years back. His company has since gone on to get an impressive list of clients.
If his media savvy is anything to go by we shall start hearing a lot more about the MSK in the coming days. The funk the MSK has been in the last few years may be a thing of the past if we know its new Chairman and how things are likely to run.
Congratulations Bwana Gatheca.