Marriages are a lot like cars nowadays

Marriages are a lot like cars nowadays. When you have a new one, you paint your Facebook wall red with pictures of your new thing, you take trips a lot more frequently, but you can only drive one at a time and when old, you have the option of pimping, or replacing, and both are costly, and come with heartache, or toothache, depending on where they come from.

Written by Nicholas Makau

Marriage is,

marriedeven to those of us not willing to admit it, a good thing. It is, going by the excitement I see every time a proposal is accepted, and gauging by the many weddings I have been into, a key to a happy future…sort of. But the skeptic in me won’t let go of the rising divorce statistic, and, in case of my neighbor Tom, a marry-go-round with his partner Kate where they decide to get married, or stay asunder, depending on who gets their salary first. The married, especially the ladies, are too willing to go to town about their bedroom problems, even when that is not necessary. I do not listen to Classic 105 alot, but I hear much of it in lifts, ATM queues and the occasional lone lady at the corner stool in a noisy pub.

The past couple of months has seen a lot of love in the air. And when a man turns his back against the over a billion women on earth for that particular someone – we all can’t be the pope -then you know that love has conquered.

I write this from my single conclave, where I have been since I was dumped out of the passion wagon three years ago. So you will forgive me if some of it comes out as utter jealousy. Last weekend I had four wedding invites, all starting at 11 and ending at 3, in various gardens strewn around town. I knew I had no excuse to not attend all of them, but I couldn’t. On my way to the third venue, a neighbor of a friend called and directed I be at my friend’s house immediately, where I found his girlfriend of 5 years weeping after being Kidero’d and then all the jealousy was immediately replaced with being content. Content that being single is not a bad idea after all.

As I drove back home that evening in Wini (my car), I could help but put a statistic in the day. In a time where marriages are in the same rate as breakups, you are safer single. Or as for me, you are safer in your car.

Marriages are a lot like cars nowadays. When you have a new one, you paint your Facebook wall red with pictures of your new thing, you take trips a lot more frequently, but you can only drive one at a time and when old, you have the option of pimping, or replacing, and both are costly, and come with heartache, or toothache, depending on where they come from. You might dump your car due to a mechanical problem only to find the one you acquire after has a different, if not bigger problem. What you drive in a marriage could be a…

Mercedes

They are sleek and stylish, and at the dowry negotiation you will be told they are reliable, that’s why you need to spend more. You take her home and realize that the sleekness was because they bath in a rare oil that has to be imported, and that they can only be serviced at certain places in town where the price of service is non-negotiable.

Land Rover Defender

They are reliable, and will never let you down, even when broken. Your friends are jealous coz you have what they can’t get. Like the Mercedes, you only service them in places of their own kind, but the price per service might be negotiable.

Vitz

They are efficient, that is the word you regret to have believed from your sales man, or the guy who gave you the through-pass. Everyone who knows me knows that I love this car, in the same way I love Classic 105, bungee-jumping, hot liquids and mosquitoes.

Range Rover Sport

The beauty is always in the eyes of the beer-holder, but for the Rangie, everyone appreciates one when they see it. Do you just notice how everyone drools at the majestic curves, the rich rear and sheer exudation of confidence when one passes? It’s a lot like the queen passing, even the matatu drivers stop in their madness to appreciate. If you have a Rangie for a girl, then you are in for some trouble, with everyone. Trouble with her boss, because you know he can get her; trouble with your boys (remember the EABL advert about replacement?); trouble with the butcher man; trouble with her gym instructor, he`s got a bigger chest; trouble with the cops. It needs a lot of fuel though, literary

Subaru Impreza

This is the common-place urban girl. She might call Rongai home but takes Mojitos when you offer to foot the bill, otherwise she is a Smirnoff black ice on a normal Friday night out. Your marriage to her will be smooth, until you run broke and the Mojito becomes more important than your actual impreza spare parts

Nissan Lafesta

She is the common-place rural girl who came to town and discovered she was beautiful. She knows how to keep her house, her dress code could be bettered by brushing. Your marriage to her will be smooth all the way, but you will have to pay to keep her beauty from fading, and in turn, she will feed your ego till kingdom come.

VW

Its like an argument with your primary school teacher, one of you must be wrong, and even if the teacher is wrong, you both know who will be wrong at the end of the day.

Atoti

I know we have been told haichoki. But that is the same word we tell our politicians when on campaign trail, even if those words come from their wives.

Wini

He was lambasted for his passion for Naivasha, when she preferred the South Coast option. With my Wini, we never run into such frivolity, even when I got to Naivasha five weekends arow. She just pulls her heart out nicely and delivers me to my destination without complaints. She is quite content with staying outside of the tent, even when it rains. Marriage then, should be like me and my Wini, we have our tacit agreement to remain reliable to each other, and have our moments when we don’t deliver on the promise, like if I don’t fuel, she won’t take me to work.

But in the end,

Women are like cars you can trade them in for a new model but when you miss your old car, it will have become a classic and out of your price range.

Ode to my father: J.E Owuor(I have my father’s hands)

Written by Faith Oneya

I have my father’s hands. Most of my life I wished I had my mother’s hands though. Hers were a pianist’s hands. Tapered fingers. She could have been a hand model; I used to think as I stared longingly at them.

My father’s fingers were squat, like mine. All my life I have been teased about having ‘sausage’ fingers and ‘fingers that do not match my height’. Yes, I am 5” 7’ with short fingers.

If God had allowed me the space to choose, I would have chosen my father’s eyebrows and my mother’s fingers. But I am grateful now that he was not that philanthropic then because my fingers remind me of my father every day I look at them.

I remember that my father never raised his hands on me except to pat me on the back the day my mother died. To tell me, in his own awkward way, and through the tears that were burning his eyes, that things were going to be okay.

I remember my father’s hands as they flipped through my report book, turning the pages as he remarked on the teacher’s comments. He would tell me;

“You have always been a bright girl; you just need to focus more.”

I remember my father’s hands as they held my suitcase on my first day of campus, walking me to my room.

“I want to meet your room-mate,” he said.

I remember my father’s hands too; when I was four and I came home crying. He picked me up and placed me on his laps;

“What is wrong Mummy?”(Yes, he used to call me mummy when I was a tiny tot)

“I don’t know how to draw a fish.”

I remember my father’s hands as he took his Parker pen and drew me a tilapia fish, with all the fins and everything.

I remember my father’s hands too, the first time I asked him to draw me a girl, and how I cried when he did because he drew me a stick girl that was, in my 4 year-old eyes, naked.

“Why doesn’t she have clothes on?’ I asked

“Because, mummy, she had washed them.”

I remember my father’s hands too, when he switched off the television whenever the Mexican soaps were on because; “What exactly are they teaching you?”

I am glad I have my father’s hands.

What they should tell you about regret

Written by Faith Oneya
You think you have laid the demons to rest. You have taken a month off, sitting idly in the house taking wine or vodka. You smile that morning as you go to work after your month off. Your tears meet your smile halfway. You take the matatu.Your hundred shilling note is in your hands. The makanga tries not to meet your eyes. He is half drunk already and has enough problems with both his sugar mummy and baby mama to care about one more hormonal woman. A dollop of a tear falls onto Kenyatta’s unflinching face. The makanga watches as the tear spreads, shrugs and gives you your change. You are now in the office. Regret will follow you to work. It will sit in your computer and stare blankly at you. Your colleague will then ask you: “Is that regret I see on your computer screen?” and you will say: “No, it is just work”. Regret will follow you to lunch and eat half your lunch. You will read a book late into the night just so you will sleep tired and not dream of regret. You will fall asleep over a glass of wine or vodka. Regret will fold itself into your duvet. They should tell you that regret will punch you in the stomach at about 6am, and your tears will be thick, hot and flowing. You will let them flow. Regret will follow you to the bathroom and blend in with the soap and toothpaste. You will lather regret into your washcloth. Regret will caress your skin-gently at first, then roughly, tearing through into your heart, pulling at its tendons. Your heart will break. Regret will blend itself with the eggs in the morning: how do you like your eggs? Regret will fix itself into your perfume, blend into your deodorant and spread its scent all over your body. Your hair too, will smell of regret. They should tell you the truth about regret.

Romance Writing Opportunity:DrumBeats Call for Submissions

Dear Writer,

Do you yearn to celebrate the rhythm, the love and passion within the East African heart?Do you wish to capture and celebrate the love story behind the beautiful, sexy, confident, focused, hardworking and romantic East African – irrespective of ethnicity or race?

DrumBeats Romance invites East Africans to tell their own love stories. We invite manuscript submissions of love stories based on the attached guidelines.

To help you get started, Storymoja has organized a Romance Writing Kickstart Workshop. Please rsvp to book your place:

Date:  Saturday, 20th October 2012

Time: 9am-2pm.

Venue: Storymoja offices. 2nd gate (brown) on Shanzu Road, off Lower Kabete Road, behind the Spring Valley shopping centre.

Charges: Kshs 500 (Water, Tea & Snacks provided). Please Mpesa the chapa and RSVP: faith.gatimi@storymojaafrica.co.ke  Tel 0722611020

 


WHY DRUMBEATS?

DrumBeats are passionate, sexy love stories from East Africa. They bring to life our very own memorable heroines and heroes, who face varying conflicts on their romantic journeys but ultimately love conquers all.

WHO ARE DRUMBEATS CORE TARGET READERS?

Literate black females aged 18-50+ years, primarily living in East Africa, with at least a high school education. They are avid readers of the romance genre like Mills & Boon, Harlequin.

They are mainly middleclass urbanites, including small town dwellers, and probably use public transport though they may be working to own a car. They may live in a rented apartment but aspire to own their own home and work hard to make this possible in future. Through initiatives like self-development projects, relationships advice, career guidance and spirituality, they seek to empower themselves.

They have conservative parents or family set-ups and operate in a social environment that is quite chauvinistic and/or paternalistic. But they have a modern, more liberal outlook in life, and read True Love, Drum, Passion, Saturday Nation, and watch local soaps and dramas like Changes, Makutano Junction, Generations, Siri, Shuga and western romantic comedy movies etc. The writer is advised to read these magazines, and watch the dramas to get insights into the core target readers’

  • Habits and thought processes
  • Aspirations  and interests
  • Socio-economic status and lifestyles
  • Family dynamics
  • Public dynamics

They aspire to find true love in a mutually fulfilling relationship but are surrounded by so many negative examples and messages that they often seek temporary escape through what they read and watch. They are hungry for true love, even if it’s just in a dream, a romantic movie, and/or a DrumBeats Romance!

OTHER READERS

High school girls also form a significant constituency, and the DrumBeats Teen romance series is intended to specifically target this group. For readers interested in more mature romances, and more graphic sex we plan to develop DrumBeats Harder. Guidelines for these are in development.

WRITING GUIDELINES FOR DRUMBEATS ROMANCE

FORMAT AND STYLE

  1. 1.     Between 20,000-30,000 words of between 8-12 chapters respectively.
  2. 2.     Love Story. Think Mills & Boon or Harlequin but about people we know in places we know
  3. 3.     Sex is allowed as long as it’s not too raunchy or pornographic 
  4. 4.     Story is set in East Africa, preferably urban – large or small town
  5. 5.     Story must involve several settings since the heroine is active
  6. 6.     Story is  told from the main female character’s perspective
  7. 7.     Story is told in the third person
  8. 8.     The hero and heroine must be East Africans, and can be of any tribe or race

THE HEROINE (main female character)

  1. 1.     She is between 25-35 years
  2. 2.     She is attractive, smart and gutsy
  3. 3.     She is either in college and near graduation, or gainfully employed, (formal employment of self-employed) with a stable income and aspires to financial independence
  4. 4.     She is driven, self-motivated and determined
  5. 5.     She enjoys exploring her hobbies and interests, and  has an active social life. Therefore, the story must involve several settings and at least one event that involves the heroine dressing up
  6. 6.     She has at least two close friends or close family members of either sex.  One represents modern view points while the other has a traditional mindset

 

HEROINE’S ATTITUDE AND EXPECTATIONS 

  1. 1.     She knows what is expected of her by her society but may chaff against some elements of it
  2. 2.     Although past or current personal, financial, and/or social baggage may drag her down, she is committed to achieving success
  3. 3.     Although faced with temptations that may temporarily derail her, she is ultimately a moral person who cares about the feelings of others
  4. 4.     She feels emotional and financial obligation to her family, but not necessarily the parental type of responsibility. She uses part of her income to share and uplift her family standard of living
  5. 5.     She has a strong spiritual grounding, though the writing should not have a strong religious slant
  6. 6.     She aspires to equality/equity with male partner

 

THE HERO (main male character)

  1. 1.     Aged between 25-40 years
  2. 2.     Physically fit and good looking (not necessarily TDH)
  3. 3.     Intelligent
  4. 4.     Gainfully employed (formal or self-employed) and aspires to career and financial success
  5. 5.     Different outlook on life from the heroine, hence the cause of tension. It could be he is more traditional in his outlook than she is, or vice versa.
  6. 6.     Although he may not appear to be, he is ultimately a moral person who cares about the feelings of others

 

THE PLOT

 

  1. 1.     The main plot line revolves around the heroine and hero’s struggle to build a romantic relationship
  2. 2.     Their mutual attraction is established early
  3. 3.     The heroine must face at least two key, escalating obstacles on this romantic journey – external and internal
    1. External conflict – outside forces (at work or in family or their communities) try to keep them apart
    2. Internal conflict driven their own attitudes, assumptions or worldviews, that they may be unaware of,  get in the way of finding true love e.g. she may be selfish in her desire to achieve
    3. Internal conflict driven by social pressure e.g. their own conflicting opinions about the role of women/men threaten to keep them apart
  4. 4.     Romantic tension should escalate and escalate before a satisfying resolution is reached
  5. 5.     The heroine and hero should have one or two intimate scenes together, not necessarily consummating in sex. But they should not have intimate scenes with other lovers unless this happens before their romance blossoms.
  6. 6.     By the end, all obstacles between them have been overcome and love finally triumphs. The heroine must land her man.
  7. 7.     By the end of the love journey, the heroine must grow internally e.g. she realizes she was selfish and becomes more sensitive about hurting other’s feelings.

Sub-plots should be kept to a minimum. Develop only those that influence internal growth in the heroine.

IMPORTANT TIPS WHEN WRITING

  1. 1.     Story must be in English, though you may pepper in a few Sheng words or short phrases that reader can understand in context
  2. 2.     The heroine must come across as a native of East Africa, not an impersonation.
  3. 3.     The heroine acts, she makes things happen, doesn’t just wait for things to fall in her lap
  4. 4.     Show, don’t tell. As much as possible, use lots of action and dialogue to tell the story – make it dialogue sound like its coming out of the mouths of East Africans
  5. 5.     Even if fictive, make the settings seem real, and recognizable. Do not be afraid of the local.
  6. 6.     Use lots of internal speech so that the reader has insights into the heroine’s journey of self-discovery
  7. 7.     Avoid explaining the ‘moral’ of the story – manifest it in what they say and do and thus allow the reader to conclude what the moral is.
  8. 8.     Every chapter should end with a cliff hanger, no matter how minor (should she call him, will she see him, why did she forget that earring etc)
  9. 9.     Deliver what your love story promises. Love wins. No disillusionments for readers. No death of either hero or heroine or their ideals.

 

THE STRUCTURE

Chapter 1       

Introduce the heroine to the reader.  Offer a brief description of the heroine and her character or worldview and social class through her language, tone and manner. Place the heroine in her day-to-day environment. Let her interact with her family, girlfriends, work colleagues, clients or customers. Offer a sense of her feelings about love. You may introduce the hero.

Chapter 2       

Let the reader get to know more details about the heroine; her personality traits, physical attributes, opinions, distastes and anything that shows the character of the heroine. If they have not done so already, the heroine and hero must meet and the initial spark must flare up. The plot starts to take a direction during this chapter, a sense that the road to true love will not be smooth, sow a drop of mistrust.

Chapter 3-4    

Offer further insight into the hero’s character, as seen or heard by the heroine. Sow the seeds of character differences that later lead to conflict. Introduce hero to heroine’s world or vice versa – work or friends or family.  This allows her to chat with her friends or family about him. Reasons for the major conflicts or obstacles between the two become apparent and derail the smooth development of their love trajectory. Heroine may even decide not to continue on the love journey.

Chapter 4-7    

The chemistry builds between the heroine and hero, and seems almost beyond their understanding or control.  But conflict develops as the hero and heroine interact in several settings you place them in, including one in her world, and one where she really dresses up.  Character development of the heroine and hero intensifies – introduce emotional dispositions of hero and heroine. What does heroine stand for? What does the hero stand for?  Internal conversations should give insight into internal conflict.

Chapter 8-10  

Develop the physical and emotional tension between the heroine and hero as they face intensifying internal and external conflicts. Introduce an intimate scene here. Could be sex or not. Heighten the internal conflict. Again, heroine may resolve to give up.Heighten the chemistry between the heroine and hero. Give more insights into their inner beliefs as face their external opposing forces.

Chapter 11     

Introduce an element that leads to the final build-up of both internal and external conflicts – the story climax. The climax involves the confrontation between the heroine and hero.In this chapter, all the conflicting viewpoints have to be discussed and dealt with.

Chapter 12     

Conclude with the final romantic union of the heroine and hero. E.g. they confess their true feelings to each other, ask for forgiveness and so on. 

 

REMUNERATION

  1. 1.     Authors must sign contracts ascertaining that their manuscripts are original and unpublished.

 

  1. 2.     Authors may elect to use a pen name and remain anonymous. However, all payments will be made in the author’s legal name as per the signed contract.

 

  1. 3.     For the initial manuscript by an author, No Boundaries Ltd. (Storymoja’s holding company) will purchase all rights for a one-off flat fee of Ksh 1 per word (excluding VAT), based on the final word count after editing, payable once final proofs signed off.
  1. 4.     On subsequent manuscripts, the author will choose whether to:
  • Accept a flat fee of Kshs 2 per word (excluding VAT), based on the final word count after editing, for all rights worldwide and in all formats, payable once final proofs signed off.
  • Accept 15% royalty fee on net receipts, for all rights worldwide and in all formats, accounted for twice a year and payable on an annual basis. 

MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Before submission, ask a discerning friend to read your manuscript and offer feedback. Only act on criticism that makes sense to you, especially if they point out issues that need more clarity.  Proof read your final manuscript and run a spell check. Then have a friend proof read.

 

Follow these simple formatting guidelines:

  1. a.     Times New Roman Font. Point 12.
  2. b.     Cover page with author contact details – address, email, telephone, TITLE in bold capital letters and under it,  the pen name or real author name, and the word count
  3. c.     Title, author name and page number on header (every page)
  4. d.     The word ‘END’ at the end of your story.

 

Kindly email your completed manuscript as a word document to faithgatimi@storymojaafrica.co.ke and copy muthoni@storymojaafrica.co.ke

Opinion: How to Answer the Question “When is Your Turn?” at Weddings and Baby Showers

Written by Faith Oneya

You are an eighties baby.  You have gone to so many weddings and baby showers that you mutter words like ‘fascinators’ and ‘fuchsia’ in your sleep.

It is at one of these weddings that you will meet a  former high school mate  you have not seen since the Just a Band’s Makemende video went viral.She will  give you one of those “cheek hugs”(Because she has not fully mastered the  pretentious hug which, if  done extremely well ,should be  a mid-air hug, or something). She will smile and ask;

Where have you been?

To which you will answer.

Around. Niko Tu.

A literally pregnant silence will follow, which she will fill with:

When is yours?

To which you will reply.

It is coming. But do not hold your breath.

She will look at you with sad eyes and pat your shoulders as if you have just been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and say;

Do not worry, Utapata  tu.

On a Friday, you will be invited to a house party, where you will meet a dude you used to go to campus with. You vaguely remember his face because he has gained about ten kilograms and belches more times after two alcoholic drinks than any other male his age you have ever encountered.

He will ask you the same questions as that random chic you met at the wedding asked you. His reactions though, will be slightly different.

Belching man: What have you been up to?(Read: Are you married? Any children?)

You: Not much…I am waiting for the list of supermarkets where such things are bought ndio nijisort…

He will laugh uninhibitedly (As any inebriated man is wont to do)

Belching Man: You mean you never got married? You were too choosy in campus. You never took a look at guys like me.

You: (Assuming a lightly laced sarcastic tone).That is my loss,aki.

Belching man: I work for blah,blah,blah…I have a son now. Would you like to see him?

The belching man will then unleash a Nokia (The phone in a drunken man’s pocket is always a Nokia) to show a grainy 5 minute video of his toddler son chewing on something.

Belching Man will then say with pride;

He is eating a cob of maize.

A few minutes later, after mistaking your silent 5-minute polite stare at the grainy video as a look of longing, he will say;

Do not worry, you will get one too.

You will be sitting in traffic when the ever-relentless hawker will shove a Ben-10 branded toy in your face and say;

Chukua kamoja ka junior.

Because your window is already open and you want to be counted among the polite Kenyans, you will tell him;

Si leo,na ata sina m-junior.

Ah, aki uko serious? Ni sawa tu madam Mungu atakujalia upate.

You will then say: Sawa, asante.

The hawker will watch you pitifully as you drive away.

Later,you will come up with possible responses to shut anyone who would like to know the real answer. Examples;

  • You  got married to a strange man in the bar after a drinking binge and now you do not remember his name or where he lives  you cannot track him down for a divorce( this should be said with a careless shrug of your shoulders)
  • You are still waiting for a response from the dating site you registered and paid a hefty down payment for a match
  • You have just ordered for a groom from an Asian country and are waiting to save enough for dowry
  • You were recently diagnosed with a psychiatric condition that makes you spontaneously stab people who propose to you

The list will be endless. You will share the responses with your girlfriends over cocktails and rejoice in the endless possibilities of life.

Opinion:Of Ticking Clocks and Paris

Written by Victorine Ndinda

Just the other day, I met a friend from way back in high school. The last time we saw each other was on a sunny afternoon, 7 years ago, outside the gates of Kahuhia Girls High School, after having completed our secondary school. Like all normal girls, we shrieked, threw our hands around like we had touched poop with our bare hands and were now trying to get it off, jumped up and down and finally hugged each other. After this ritual, we sat down to catch up on where we last left, a week ago, over the phone. It was great to know that she is now a practicing advocate with the High Court of Kenya, something that had been my dream career until I realized that my mastery of the Queen’s language wasn’t good enough to allow me to pursue Law, blame that on the cut-off points required by the Joint Admissions Body. But my friend Anne had made it and I was happy and proud of her.

This is not about my meeting with Ann however. That, I could post on twitter. This is about Selina. Well, before you get confused here, let me introduce Selina to you. Selina is another girl we schooled with in high school and what a bright young girl she was! She was always amongst the Top 10 for the 4 years we spent in high school. Her mother must have been lucky; she didn’t need to struggle every time she came for the Parents meeting to look for her daughter’s name on the notice board. I remember one time while mum was trying to locate my name among the Top 20(I wasn’t badly off either), there were two women looking for their daughters, names too. One said to the other “look from the top as I look from the bottom, tupatanie katikati”. Mothers, don’t you just love them!

Woman in Paris
Source: http://www.allposters.co.uk/-sp/Woman-in-Paris-Posters_i7349128_.htm

Selina is a practicing advocate too. In fact she is doing so well because she is also working already, for a prestigious organization as a legal advisor. Now, what shocked me is that she had declined to vie for a Youth Representative seat in her constituency because she wants to get married! Fine, that may or may not shock you, nothing shocking about a woman getting married really, after all, which woman doesn’t want to get married anyway? What shocked me, and made me really think hard about the dilemmas women find themselves in, is that she was so sure that she would get the seat (Reasons: 1. No one was contesting for the seat 2. She had been approached by various people telling her to go for it. 3. She was the only well-learned girl from that region. 4. Her parents had some fairly good influence within the region, something that would really work for her). These, I agree, are not reasons enough to give her the seat, given the shaky nature of Kenya’s politics, but still, she had quite a lot working for her.

I was therefore amazed that she instead decided to let it go, because she wants to get married first and have kids. Getting into politics would make it almost hard for her to achieve this, because ‘men are afraid of vocal women, especially those involved in politics’, her words, I was told. Well, I wish I could know how young Charity Ngilu, Nyiva Mwenwa, Orie Rego Manduli, the late Wangari Maathai and many more other women leaders in Kenya were when they got into politics and if they had been married already before they got into politics. I have given Kenyan examples because I believe this has more to do with our African culture than anything else. Most people (read most Kenyan men) are afraid and skeptical of women who engage in in politics. Politics is largely viewed as a no-woman zone. Am sure I don’t need to defend that.

What would I do if I was in her shoes? To be quite honest, am not sure also. And that is my problem right there-that as a woman, you can forego some choices, important in your life, for the sake of getting married, and having children because there is fear of a ticking clock in our ovaries (not as loud as our family members though) that keeps telling us that we have a limited time to procreate before our eggs age and shrink.  Sometimes I wonder-is it a curse, this want to have children? Does it happen to every woman? Can’t I just enjoy my life; achieve my dreams, before I start thinking about getting babies? Is it a societal thing or it is biological after all, the ticking clock? And if there is indeed a clock, who sets it? Me, the society or my body?

I want to live! I want to go to Lamu, Zanzibar, Paris and Switzerland. I want to travel, to all these places, at my own timing. I don’t want to be in a rush, I want to cherish every moment in my life. But that is just a dream, a fantasy. Because with all honesty, am told that I need to have a child by latest 28 years. “If you can’t get a good man Ndinda, at least get a baby”, I have been told, and sadly, told my friends too. But today I ask myself-really? Really Ndinda? Is this the only thing that makes you feel that you have achieved in life, having children and a husband? Is that all?

I have answers to some of the questions, not all. I have never had a baby, so I would be lying if I said that it gives you the greatest joy in the world. I have read about a woman who killed her 5 babies, all toddlers, by suffocating them because ‘their cries drove me crazy’. If you have been in Kenya in the past months, I am sure you read about a man who killed his 5 children, or the woman who drowned herself with a 5 month-old baby strapped to her back and a sibling. Or the woman who castrated her son. I don’t know much about love and children but I know I wouldn’t do any of this to my child, to something that should bring me the greatest joy in the world.

And so, I come to a conclusion-if that is what will make you happy, what will ultimately bring you the greatest joy in the world, go for it. No matter what anyone else or society thinks, because at the end of the day, it is YOU that matters, your joy. If you feel that you must have a child before you clock 28, or not, go ahead, have one. But be true to yourself, do it from your heart, because it is what you want, not because you have been rushed into it. Because again, life it too short to live with ‘What Ifs’. So, to my friend Selina, if you ever get to read this, I hope that one day, after you get those children and husband your heart so yearns for, that you will be a Youth Representative because you can make a damn good one!

Movie Review: Nairobi Half Life

Starring: Joseph Wairimu, Olwenya Maina and Nancy Wanjiku Karanja

Reviewed by Faith Oneya

Nairobi Half Life pulls no punches in the country pumpkin come to town story subject that it chooses to address. Each scene, each actor, each line uttered goes all out, often grabbing the watcher in tender spots in the heart, the mind and belly leaving laughter, sadness, awe and delight all at once in its wake.

Not unlike Xuma in Peter Abraham’s novel ‘Mine Boy’, the main character Mwas played by the talented Joseph Wairimu(Who walked away with the best actor award for his role in the Nairobi Half Life at the 33rd edition of the Durban International Film Festival) leaves the country for the city  with desire and ambition boiling in his veins and burning in this guts. Mwas is soon ‘baptized’ into the city life in a mugging incident  that leaves him penniless and desperate. A series of unfortunate events follow leading him to make choice in his life that lead him to ask this poignant question at the end….

“Have we decided to be the way we are…?”

Mwas’ story is the story of many Kenyan men and women. His inspirational journey, birth into the city and baptism by fire and his razor-sharp execution of his role leaves the audience tingling with emotions.

The star-studded cast also features Maina Olwenya (who may be better known as the pedophile uncle in MTV’s Shuga2) who plays the role of Oti, a thick-skinned, street-smart, smooth criminal who is charmed by Mwas’ childlike delight in his own dreams.

The local cast sticks to sheng as the primary mode of communication, with a few touches here and there of Kikuyu and English.

The cast is predominantly male, but Nancy Wanjiku’s role as the ‘call-girl with dreams of her own’ Amina  is played with a  depth ,authenticity and alacrity that only an established actress like her can pull off.

In the end, one leaves thinking: “That was one well-told Kenyan story.” Whether the movie wins an Oscar or not, they have already made Kenyans proud.

Nairobi Half Life Poster

Planet Media Cinemas Westgate, Friday 5th October to Thursday 11th October daily at 3:20pm and 7.20pm.

Century Cinemax Junction Friday 5th to Thursday 11th October 2012.
The timings for Junction are as follows
Weekends (Sat & Sun) 10:50am, 1:00pm, 5:30pm, and 9:00pm.
Weekdays (Mon to Fri) 10:50am, 1:00pm, 3:10pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm.