5 decades of books, 5 Genres and African writers who’ve found unique and refreshing ways to tell the African story.

5 genres by loved African writers of the future, from different countries.

As the African Union celebrates its 50th anniversary, and Kenya the Madaraka day that falls in its 50th year, I have listened to quite a number of programs that have tried to condense the truly African experience. There have been walks down memory lane , 50 African songs condensed into 5 minutes and now, my books version of my African experience.

1. MODERN POETRY .

Kenya: Shailja Patel.
Book: ‘Migritude’
Activism Poetry
A critic once said of a controversial long poem by a renowned American writer, ‘if this is not poetry, it is something greater than poetry.’
These are the same sentiments I shared as I read my copy of Shailja’s poetry book ‘Migritude’.
A Kenyan woman of Asian origin who resides in the west, Shailja, makes up her mind up to tell the stories about her vast experiences. In the book, we see Shailja the Kenyan, the woman, the Asian and finally the immigrant, a citizen of the world.
Spivak rightfully calls her ‘an activist poet in prose and verse’, and she is.
Most of today’s’ emerging youthful poets around the country loudly cry for a chance to be allowed to express themselves through the free verse model of poetry dubbed ‘spoken word’, and they use this as an excuse to produce substandard work that is a disgrace to poetry lovers and literary thinkers. Unfortunately, the youthful poets then go ahead and claim that these works , bad as they are, are just but their personal expressions.
They definitely need to learn from Shailja, who just like them, uses the spoken word to express herself, and she does this magnificently because her self -expression is based on intense research, is edited and re-written before being performed.
Shailja also employs the use of universal vocabulary ‘ which makes her poems accepted globally. Had she resolved to using fad dialect, or kenyanese’ so to say, then her work would not have seen the moving light of the Broadway theatre.
In this regard therefore, Shailja has taken into account Mary Olivers advice regarding a poets’ notion of an audience, ‘write for a stranger, born in a distant country hundred years from now’. And she did.
Choosing to tell her stories through different times in history, Shailja starts us off in neighboring Uganda where Idi Amin the military dictator, expelled the whole Asian population. We then move with her to Nairobi’s Hospital Hill Primary School, where as a student, history lessons were dented, leaving out horrifying stories of how the white officers raped women and children in central Kenya and how they abused them.
On the vulnerability of being a woman in a war country, she tells of how Iraqi women started vanishing after the US invaded Iraq, and her decision not to wear clothes she cannot run in, namely sari’s , because they made one weak, vulnerable and a walking target.
Shailja then, tells us of shilling love. Like most Kenyan parents, hers struggled too to give them the best education. They never said that they loved them verbally but showed it through saving, taking them to good schools and locking them up to study so as to get scholarships. Love is a luxury priced in hard currency, she says. That our tongues are inferior as compared to English she speaks of in ‘Dreaming in Gujarati.’
This is definitely a book of the future because it deals with many issues that affect africa’s worldview.

2. Literary journals.

Countries : Kenya and Uganda.
Books: Kwani ? ‘Majuu’ 7th Edition and ‘Fresh Paint’ by Goethe and Amka space for Women Writers

Literary Journal : Kwani
Launched at a pomp affair at the Kenyatta International Conference Centers’ helipad earlier in the year, this book is a blessing to those of us who grew up reading and digesting the reader’s digest and hence appreciate diversified readings in a single anthology.
Through a compendium of literary essays, poems, interviews and short stories, Billy Kahora, whom I consider one of the best editorial brains in the Kenyan publishing world, put together carefully selected stories from all over the continent that neatly sum up the African immigrant experience.
In it you find the skills of master short story tellers from Uganda, Kalundi Serumanga and Doreen Baingana, alongside kenyas’ Andia Kisia, Billy Kahora and poets Phyllis Muthoni and Ngwatilo Mawiyoo.
The book is quite timely, coming at a time when the United States of America is reviewing its immigration laws and also when the African union is celebrating its 50th anniversary. On reading the journal, one ponders over why, half a century later, Africans still believes that ‘greener pastures are only found in the lands of the green and blue cards.’

· Anthology

Book ‘Fresh Paint’ By The Goethe Institute and Amka space for Women Writers.
This is a collection of essays, poems and short stories by budding women writers edited by Dr. Tom Odhiambo of the University of Nairobi and Eliphas Nyamongo of the Goethe institute .
The experiences of different Kenyan women are skillfully documented and one gets to experience what it truly means to be a Kenyan woman living in the country.
The stories come with a freshness and new perspective that is unexplored in the existing literature because most of these women are finding their voice for the very first time after the Goethe institute sponsored the compilation of their works into a book.
Definitely a book of the future as it injects fresh blood into Kenyan literary scene.

3. The Modern Novel.

Country Nigeria: Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi.
Book: Half of a Yellow Sun.
If there is one writer who can tell the story of Africa with her eyes closed, then it is definitely Chimamanda. In what was arguably her best novel, and her first, at age 25, Chimamanda, through her captivating story telling , proves that the novel , just like the short story, can be gripping enough to be read in one sitting.
If Walt Whitman was the first poet to look at America with the naked eye, then Chimamanda is the first modern day novelist to look at the Modern African Story with the naked eye as well. She, just like Whitman, gets her arms around the African continent so as to get the houseboy, the village peasant and the university professor into one loving literary cosmic embrace.
Reading it, you feel as if Chimamanda bled over her book, that it hurt to write it, that she took the human feelings and turned them into art . Through a thorough research into the Biafran war that claimed thousands of life in Nigeria in the 1960’s even before she was born, Chimamanda takes the reader right into Biafra, and the reader hurts and starves alongside the characters, who are so credible, one feels like they have met them before.
Definitely a book of the future because we readers hope that other African writers will follow suite and write amazing histories about their countries past(I have been waiting for a fiction on the mwakenya saga in Kenya or even the 1984 coup but it isn’t forthcoming.)

4. AFRICAN CHIC LIT.

South Africa: Zukiswa Wanner.
Book: The Madams
Every modern woman enjoys sharing her life experiences, joys, fears and perils with the world. It’s even better when these experiences are shared in a fast paced, witty and humorous manner.
The modern day storyteller Zukiswa’s style is so deft, so understated and so compelling that you have to slow down and savor each episode by itself.
Her first book, The Madams’ will make you see why Zukiswa was crowned the queen of Black Chic Lit is and why she is a favorite of many readers of ‘O’ the Oprah magazine. The story is about a young successful black woman in Modern day South Africa who wants to hire a white maid. This doesn’t go well with one of her best friends who is white and considers the act ‘racist’.
In this fast paced and hilarious book, Zukiswa uses a very friendly and conversational tone to narrate the escapades of Thandi, a working class modern African woman, her two best friends, the men in their lives and the maids who care for their children. It is an easy read and any woman who is trying to juggle work, marriage and motherhood would totally relate to.
Zukiswa’s other books, ‘Men of the South’ and ‘Behind Every Successful Man’ are also equally great reads . every modern day reader will love the familiar experiences narrated easily in these fast paced books.
Definitely a book of the future as it speaks to many Africans who strive to climb the corporate ladder and still keep their families intact.

5. Modern Day Childrens book

Country : Kenya.
Moran Publishers
Even as readers and teachers rightfully argue the at the Kenyan institute of education is ignoring the most basic and most important wing of readers, the young children, there is one Kenyan publisher who is out to stimulate growth of childrens’ literature . Sometimes in April this year, Moran Publishers launched a series of children’s’ books.
Bible story readers
The first batch consisted of famous bible stories specially re-written with the Kenyan child in mind. Compiled by local authors who were commissioned to come up with abridged versions of many bible stories, the stories are simply narrated, well illustrated and categorized for different children in lower and upper classes and according to age groups. They were edited and compiled by Pauline Megeke , Moran’s humanity editor.
Integrity Readers.
The other set of Moran’s children books is dubbed ‘integrity readers’. This came about because of the obvious lack of integrity in most of Africa’s leadership. The publisher then saw it fit to compile a series of books with stories meant to encourage youngsters to make right choices and stand up for the right thing, even when its not easy to do so.
The most popular books in this series are ‘The flying Pigman’ and ‘Holes of shame’ by Maina Mureithi William who seems to be taking after Barbara Kimenye in weaving fast paced school life tales and adventures.. In the former, he easily narrates the tale of a new boy in a school whose misery of being bullied ends as soon as the other students realize he is so talented. They develop a new admiration for him both in class and on the pitch until an event threatens their win at a football game that means so much to the young team. Will the flying pigman give into the demands of the twisted officials? In the latter book ‘Holes of Shame’ the writer cleverly weaves a tale of deception, rape and family reunion, sometimes, holes of shame have to be uncovered and dealt with before being filled up. The integrity reader series was edited by Naima Kassim, Morans’ English editor who also edited the famous ‘Running on Empty’ the story of Samuel Wanjiru the runner.

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Of David Maillu’s self Declared Brilliance and Begging Professor Chris Wanjala in the Literary Discourse Saturday Standard.

By Gloria Mwaniga Minage

I was having a rather good time in the little breezy town of Eldoret yesterday, eating well roasted nyama choma with my brothers in a nice little eatery  known as ‘Members’ and devouring with pleasurable interest  and a ticklish sensation, Phillip Ochieng’s ridiculous article in the Saturday Nation.

True to his nature, Ochieng’ was offering a free English lesson to some unfortunate  Standard newspaper writer who reported that a girl called Anita had emerged top in KCPE  in Busia County despite leading her former school in verse, drama and music.  Ochieng concluded that in using the word despite in that phrase , the statement opposed verse, drama and music and preferred more academic subjects. He suggested that the correct idiom to be used here was’ go against the grain’   which means to behave in a manner completely uncharacteristic of you.

I almost chocked over my delectable meal when a few pages later, I came across the Literary Discourse   piece written by the author David  Maillu who in my humble opinion, had definitely gone against the grain.

In this regrettable piece of literature, Maillu was up in arms against Professor Christ Wanjala for what he termed as ‘destructive criticism’. Apparently Wanjala had Sonkonised’ (compared Maillu’s work to Sonko’s behaviour) Maillu’s work in the previous edition of the Literary Discourse hence the tirade.

Well, maybe the criticism was destructive for sure, but I find the method used by Maillu to respond rather pitiable because;

Maillu’s response is rather like that of a wronged spouse who chooses to remember every wrong committed to them since their marriage thirty years back. He starts off by calling Wanjala a bizarre critic who since the early 70’s had posed as a friend but poured literary venom over the former’s work. This to me is a rather interesting phrase since any writer worth their salt wouldn’t take criticism from a friend as literary venom and they most certainly wouldn’t say a friend ‘poses’ as a friend just because they are open enough to let them know what they think of their literary works.

Don’t get me wrong , I am not  supporting Dr Wanjala. If anything, I am quite amused that  Maillu says  and I quote,  ‘while Wanjala was still a professor of literature , he begged to be my student  in creative writing , this was when Wanjala was dying to write a novel  but lacked the imagination on how to go about it; ‘ Maillu further says that ‘years after his coaching Wanjala, the latter came up with one ‘sadly grim novel called ‘ Drums of Death’.

 

 

 

To borrow from Stephen Derwent Partington words on the next page, maybe the two have some ‘personal beef following past run-ins and are just washing their extraordinarily dirty linen in public’. Whatever the case, instead of embarking on issue based arguments, like telling us the themes of his works and why he thinks they are relevant to Kenya in this point in time; Maillu glaringly tries to justify his works by stating that one of his books is highly appreciated in Rwanda hence he is being read the world over. He even goes ahead and lists some of his so called academic literary admirers like Professor Egara Kabaji, Evan Mwangi and quoting them referring to him (Maillu) as flamboyant, enigmatic, phychologist , philosopher etc.

Somewhere in the middle of the article, Maillu finally gets around to some of the major points he should have addressed at the beginning. He throws in a line on how if anyone has to progress, then reading culture has to be developed, fast and religiously. He correctly states that turning Kenya into a publishing powerhouse  could lead to job creation and even culture development; He even thanks the Nation newspaper for giving ‘them’ such a special and valuable forum.

The proudly self-taught man from standard eight, who says many publishers admire his brilliance, proclaims that, contrary to what Wanjala said, his 130 manuscripts haven’t been turned down but that that’s the number of unpublished manuscripts in his possession.

The uncreative response by the acclaimed writer painfully reminds me of the state of politics in our continent. Hollow, corrupt, violence filled, non –issue-based, tribal arguments that are witnessed even in this time and age.  Maillu, by choosing to attack back directly and digging up from the archives all the marvelous things that have been said about him in the past (e.g what Micere Mugo told him when she was still a Dean at the Nairobi University, quite a long time ago.) casts a shadow of doubt on his many fans, me included, on the astuteness of authors like himself.

The good writer should always keep in mind a famous Swahili proverb that says ‘Chema Chajiuza Kibbaya Chajitembeza.’

 

 

 

BANKING ON CHAUVINISM AT THE LIMURU GOLF CLUB:Of rich men and the games that they play.

Gloria Mwaniga

In his book ‘the 48 Laws of Power,’ Robert Green may have said ‘Seek attention at all costs’, but some members of the  Limuru Golfing Club took this quote too literally and too far.

Even with the new constitution offering opportunity for more women representation and the world teeming with lots of NGO’s promoting economic empowerment, equity and equality, a bunch of chauvinistic males somewhere in  the cold town of Limuru still hold onto the belief that ‘ a woman should only be seen and not heard’.

These merchants of discrimination, appearing in this time and age can best be described using Shakespeares’ words   ‘ they are untimely snow in mid- summer.’

The gentlemen or otherwise, decided to do an unsavory thing   by passing a bylaw barring women from seeking elective posts in the club.  As though that was not enough, they even suspended the women who protested from the club and its reciprocating clubs like Thika, Vet Lab and Railways Club.

If you thought admitting your form one child or sister into a secondary school was a difficult task then you should try joining a golf club. This rich men’s game is reserved for the high and mighty for the simple reason of providing great networks and feeling good. Some clubs will only admit you upon recommendation of some of their long outstanding members; your curriculum vitae, several interviews and payment of a rather high membership and annual membership.

Having gone through all the trouble of registration and yet still facing  such discrimination, I wouldn’t blame the three women, Rose Mambo, Caroline Ngugi and Martha Vincent for getting lawyer Philip Murgor to sue the club on their behalf. I wish them all the best .

As for the un-gentlemen who think so little of their mothers and sisters, you will definitely be swept aside by the wind of change because time and tide waits for no man.

 

 

 

A Kenyan Mid-December Youthful Dream

By Gloria Mwaniga.

 

Adios 2012

Elvis Presley sang, ‘who can tell when summer turns to autumn’ and so it is with you. You didn’t even notice when Jan turned to June then July and now December.

Little ambers of hope are still aglow in that noble heart of yours.

These years’ resolutions only remain little stained ink drops on a white sheet of writing pad on the 2012 diary you bought at the catholic bookshop.

It’s rather true that things didn’t really work out that well. But ngoja tu! Next year, you’ll see.

2013 is the year.

 

It started with a New Years’ Resolution.

Just for the record, damn New Year resolutions.

They have never worked.

For one, you are still at your old job and every morning feels like a visit to the dentist.

Then, you had planned to save much much more this year. (After reading Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but well, even he is bankrupt now right?)

Then there is your love life, you vowed that 2011 was the last Christmas you spent alone. That by 2012, you would have a permanent someone to watch, ‘White Christmas ’with. (And I do not mean your cat.)

 

Bonus Holiday Trouble.

So you decide to be optimistic about life. (Thanks to Joel Osteen’s CD).

And you focus on the good of the ending year; Like the Company bonus that you were promised at the beginning of the year.

And the company party. (For a little gossip on whom the new General Manager’s eyeing, and who’s dating the hot guy in HR.)

And you will remember to forget the holiday plans you had for Mombasa, and you will postpone that to next year….

And that is why when someone mentions how fast life is changing.

You speak up almost defiantly and say……

Everyday is just the same….same old, same old.  Nothing changes.

 

But you are forgetting something…..

You forget that you are not the same age you were last year this time.

That the passage of time has left a mark, albeit unseen, on your perspective of life.

That your naivety is dented and a couple of your dreams discarded to give way to the ones that are more ‘realistic’.

You refuse to notice that in November unlike August, the city streets outside the Hilton are carpeted with a beautiful purple, thanks to the jacaranda tree shedding its flowers. And the golden brown broad leafs falling on Mama Ngina street loudly whispering that its fall.

You refuse to admit that your bank account has grown, even so slightly, since the year began.

And you close your eyes to the fact that your fathers’ hair is a little whiter than it was last year.

 

Everyday is the same.

Sunrise, traffic jams, noisy touts, classic 105 then work.

Same job.  Same boss. Same salary.

January to December.

 

Yet 2012 is almost over.

Someone might have discovered 1001 ways to use peanut butter in the recent past, but you know that no matter how creative humanity has become, there are only so many ways you can use 25 leave days in a year.

And so you sit and wait…..

You wait for something big to happen.

You wait for that life changing phone call that will waltz you off your rather boring job and into a paradise with a loving boss that triples you salary.

You wait to win TPF from the comfort of your sitting room couch.

You wait to meet that superrich super fly guy so he can buy you a dream house in Lavington, or Thika greens. Or a piece of land in Ruai or kitengela and build rentals there

You wait for your savings to be enough to pay for you Masters at UON .

If you are a writer, you wait.

You wait for a letter from Dorcas Odumbe or a Caine prize nomination.

If you are a teacher, you wait for the next strike that will translate into a pay rise.

If you work for a corporate, you wait for the next paycheck, and the promotion that is long overdue.

If you are a youth’ you wait for the next government’ that will give jobs to the youth

If you are in university, you wait for a real job, after all who wants to volunteer and do anything for free?

You wait because you are a generation Y and you cannot settle for a ‘small’ salary because it cannot fit into your Big Kenyan Dream

 

You wait because Kenyan men are broke asses (at least the ones you know in Nairobi) or Lazybones (Coasterians) or Players (kisumerian) or Mushy and more loyal than little Chihuahuas (Kao’s).

 

If you are a Kenyan guy, you dream.

You dream of that one girl who is not materialistic like Madonna.( who lives in a material world.)

You dream of a boss who will one day ‘see your true potential’ and pay you what you deserve.

You Dream of Uganda’s bootylicious chics who serve you on their knees (literally).

Or the Rwandese softspoken submissive chics (Remember Gaelle?)

Because Kenyan girls are ‘too much’ . Shiko loves your wallet, Akinyis ‘raha and beer,’ Wekesa wants a brood of children and Mwende Is too…..well.. active huh?’

Mwanaisha is a lazy spender and Sanaipeis’ parents will want 50 cows (what the hell!!! kwani she’s a BMW?)

 

And so you stare at the green on the other side….unaware that it too could be a reflection of your Kenyan Mid December Dream!!!

 

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!

Book Review: Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: True Stories from a War Zone

Authors: Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait, and Andrew Thomson

Reviewed by: Faith Oneya

Available in local Kenyan  bookshops and on Amazon

Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures is the memoir of the interwoven lives of three  civilians working for the UN and the Red Cross who first meet in Cambodia and whose idealistic perceptions of the war and the UN missions get questioned over and over as they are repeatedly thrown in the front-line of the atrocities of war. The story reveals the corruption, greed and indifference to human rights  that eats the at the UN.

The devastatingly honest account of their experience in different war zones  is vividly told in the humorously and cleverly, making one conclude that this is one of those rare un-put-downables. This book will stick like glue to your hands.

The story begins is a laid-back fashion, perhaps in a bid to emphasize on the complacent lives that the three young people lived before they sought to find the “bigger purpose” in their lives. One of them, Heidi, was in a lukewarm marriage, Ken in an Ivy League College studying law(and questioning it), Andrew in medical college.

Amidst the tales of the warfront are their tales of romance brewing , lust bulging and deception boiling. The brutality of the war is brought to bear in the most candid way possible and the UN peace-keeping missions are also brought under the microscope in this daring book.

Nothing is left to chance in the description of what the war left behind.Andrew, the doctor, captures one scene at Port-au-Price where he had been tasked to visit the morgues in order to ascertain the number and causes of deaths.

“From the deep gashes, it looks as though they tried to hack his head off with an ax or machete and when they could,nt quite do it, just threw him in the surf.Microrganisms are still feeding on what’s left of his neck.”

On the Rwandan genocide, Ken says this of his first visit ;

“The entire country smells of decomposing flesh . The sickly sweet smell is nauseating and trips the gag refex. It gets onto your clothes, into your hair,onto the sheets, the kitchen utensils…”

Now, for those questioning when the emergency sex was had and by whom, here is the answer. All the emergency sex can be attributed to the female lead in this “reality show” Heidi, who seems to relish every opportunity she gets to sample the local male delights.Some of the escapades seem less of an emergency than the author would like us to believe, given that her male counterparts are more restrained or perhaps choose to stay mum over the periods  they had emergency sex.

The revelations in the book will horrify you.  This book will entertain you. You will laugh and cry in equal measure at this story of  the strength and elasticity of the human spirit and the power of friendship.

 

Opportunity: Kenyan Poets Lounge

The Kenyan Poets Lounge started almost two years ago and its active nature and speedy growth has attracted many poets both from within and without the country. Late last year, the members thought of creating something tangible out of their strong on-line relationship and that marked the birth of an anthology titled: THE POWER OF WORDS.

The book project incorporates all poets from several poetry groups; Full-house, Poets Spot (All saints cathedral), Poetry Night (St. Andrews), the Kenyan Poets Lounge(University of Nairobi), the A.M.K.A. women’s forum among others. It aims at uniting Kenyan poets and campaigning towards re-embrace the reading culture and appreciation of poetry as well as using it as a tool to transform society.

Our main aim is to use the power of words to make a difference and empower our country in a positive way. We believe that poetry can speak for the voiceless, walk for the crippled and do much more than receiving moments of applaud in a restaurant. This only marks the beginning of a series of projects that will help us achieve this objective.

 

In case you are interested or know of a poet who would want to be part of this initiative, you can send three of your poems as soon as you can, preferably on the topics of; FREEDOM, LIFE ISSUES, SOCIAL (IN)JUSTICE and LEADERSHIP, to thepoetryhub@gmail.com

 

We would be glad to get your feedback. Feel free to get back to us for any clarifications or queries. Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your week, won’t you?

Sincerely,

Ray Mwihaki.

+254722535035