Tag Archives: Kenya

#ConversationWith Kamene Goro: Kicking Ass! (Professional)

The Igbo say if a child washes her hands she can eat with the Kings.

Kamene Goro is an accidental journalist who is up lapping up the spotlight while leaving a string of achievements not to mention admirers in her wake.

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Two years ago Kamene was a 21 year old University of Nairobi Law student. She is now a Senior Anchor at EbruTV, a pan-African TV station based in Nairobi. She also hosts two hour-long content-intensive talk shows per week.

in studio

I met her at Java Junction for a chat over masala tea (me) and vanilla milkshake (her) and it was a laugh-a-minute conversation with her different personalities peeking out and her brains shining through.

She strutted into Java in a low cut pink top complimented with an afro-necklace lying on her cleavage, a fitting knee-length black skirt which hugged her very voluptuous figure, pink high heels with a Masaai-ankle bracelet and spotting cornrows, big shades, many bracelets, a man watch and impeccably done very long nails.

ModerateKenyan: Law student to journalist. How, why, when…

Kamene: Always wanted to do Broadcast Journalism. My parents thought I should do a solid degree so Law it was. Parents also thought after years of private school it was time for public school to balance out. So from Rusinga School to UoN Law School. Culture shock at first but then turned out to be best 4 years of my life. Mum always knew of my dream so when she met EbruTV director she told him about it and I was invited for a screen test. Took me two weeks to gather courage go and then I totally sucked. But the Head of News at EbruTV, Mr. Nadir saw something in me and he took me in and mentored me. It was a steep learning curve but I am a quick study. The late Reena Shivisi was my biggest cheerleader and teacher.

ModerateKenyan: What do you do at EbruTV.

Kamene: I am the main anchor. Do the Prime time bulletin Monday – Friday. Occasionally do the Lunchtime as well as Early Evening bulletin. I also host two talk shows: Just the Facts on Thursday 9.20pm and News in focus, thrice a week after Prime time news. In addition I am a general news reporter who regularly goes out on assignment.

ModerateKenyan: Biggest story/interview so far.

Kamene: Interview with Raila on Just the Facts. It was herculean task to get him but it was worth the effort. He is an enigma and he is painted as a villain but he is very very cool. He loves Kenya so much. He is a great man, a great visionary. I learnt so much from him. He is human. Also I love that he got and laughed at my jokes!

raila interview

ModerateKenyan: Worst experience at work.

Kamene: It is hard being a woman in the media industry. It is a harsh world. Quite fucked up. Think Game of Thrones. Men (politicians, corporate big shots etc) can be slimy. Achieving work goals and retaining your respectability is a tough balance. Daily difficult challenges. Different pot of shit daily to gobble up. It looks glam but it is not all glam. There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

ModerateKenyan: Day in your life.

Kamene: My baby sister wakes me up at 6am on her way to school. Mum checks in at 7am for a catch-up chat. Listen to music to get into the mood. Pick clothes (hate it, it’s hard, being on TV means everyone has opinion on my outfit). Do not take breakfast. Get to work at 11am and leave earliest at 11pm daily. Basically a 12 hour shift.

editing

ModerateKenyan: Are you a celebrity.

Kamene: (scowls) No! Yuck. Shindwe. Hate that word.

ModerateKenyan: Consider yourself eye-candy/sex siren on screen.

Kamene: (laughs) What is that? (laughs again) I am so oblivious. I am a tomboy. I think like a man. Hahaha. Love my tees and sweatpants.

ModerateKenyan: Come on…

Kamene: Okay. It is hard not to be seen as a sex siren. No clothes can hide my curves (laughs). Cannot change my looks (shrugs). When am dressing I think what would be okay to wear in front of mum-in-law while still having fun and being me. Cannot help what men will see or look at.

studio2

ModerateKenyan: Attention due to job.

Kamene: (laughs) It can be crazy…proposals from Nigerians, 400 friend requests on facebook a day, stalkers…(pauses) other crazy things I cannot talk about…hahahaha…no complaints though…it comes with the job…plus I am friendly person, believe living life with open arms..past a certain limit I will block, ignore..I am a big girl…can handle myself…(laughs)

ModerateKenyan: Parting shot on work.

Kamene: (serious pose, hands clasped) You will most likely get once chance at a lucky break. Own it. Run with it. Be on beast mode. Kick ass.

GOD BLESS KENYA!

(Keep it here for part two which has the Personal (and goofy) side of Kamene)

Photos – Kamene’s


#LifeSnippets – Guilt Tax (Kenyan welfare)

Setting : A middle class estate in Nairobi.

Cast : A group of men are seated at the ‘base’. Chewing mugoka, drinking spirits and smoking as they ‘escort the sun’.

‘Base’ is the name for where jobless, hustling guys seat in Nairobi estates passing time, abusing drugs, taking in the sights of the neighborhood and debating anything and everything.

buru

Me: (passing in front of Base, waving)

Cast: Come for a bit!

Me: (walk over wondering wsap)

Cast: We need to talk.

Me: About?

Cast: Ever since you moved on up and started working there is something you have not done.

Me: What?

Cast: Blessed the Base

Me: Ooooh!

Cast: You need to buy us drinks till we drop. Do not think of us drinking your money but more like you pouring liquor on this base and the base thereby blessing you and your money.

Me: (laughs a lot) I have heard. (Walks away)

***

Unemployment is huge in Nairobi. You may think its only prevalent in the slums and lower class estates but even the so-called middle-class estates are not immune.

Its effect is worse in the middle-class estates as the unemployed are children of retired bankers, civil servants, teachers. They saw their parents work their butt off to secure their education but now that education is redundant as job search becomes the job. Their parents being working class also limits their entrepreneurial spirit as all they were conditioned to aspire to is employment.

No job leads hopelessness. Hopelessness leads to life apathy. Life apathy leads to a drug-full life. Whiled away at base.

Simplification? Yes. Reality? Yes.

If you are lucky enough to get a job and you are from the hood then you will at one time or another pay guilt tax.

TAXES

Guilt tax is paid when you are walking/driving through the hood and someone asks for a ten bob for a cigarette or you are in the local and someone hustles you for a beer or for additional cash to buy a drink.

You pay the guilt tax not because you are rich or because you have to but because you know but for the grace of God there goes you.

You are not special just lucky.

Away from the hood setting, the guilt tax is also paid in family, extended or nuclear. We all have that uncle who texts asking for an MPesa donation because he has new wife, new child or new cow.

In retrospect, the guilt tax maybe Kenya’s version of welfare.

Plugging the gaps and pushing the broken societal wheel forward.

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So maybe I will bless the base after all.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


#LifeSnippets – 4am Loving

*Of interesting things that happen to me and things that I happen to overhear.*

clock
4am on a Saturday morning.

At the gate to the court in the estate.

A Passio driven at top speed comes to a halt.

A lady jumps out and says, “Thanks! Ufike poa.”

The male driver pleadingly asks, “You’ve just gone? You can’t even say thanks with a kiss?”

Lady leans in. Kisses man for half a minute. Then bangs car door and jauntily walks into court.

Man reverses in haste. Gears engaged. Car flies off.

Frustration is not a good look.

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Got me thinking. At 4am not only do you have to look out for drunk drivers you have to be wary of another breed of drivers.

The sex-crazed: Those who have chipod and are rushing to get some.

The frustrated: Those who thought they have scored only to discover they were a cabbie for the night.

condom

Stay safe on the roads and no matter what time you love do remember to use protection.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


#LifeSnippets – Becoming Baba Nani.

*Of interesting things that happen to me and things that I happen to overhear.*

Setting – barbershop in the hood

Man 1 – late 20s, early 30s, office worker. Getting haircut.

Man 3 – mid-30s, hustler in the hood. Waiting in the queue.

Man 2 – Barber. Oldish guy.

 

imagesBABY
Man 2: Mbona umetulia hivi. Mawazo ni ya nini? Si ulimarry juzi. Mama ameenda nini?

Man 1: Sare za ovyo. Mi nataka mjunior mbaya. Nimepeleka mama mbio lakini wapi.

Man 2: Wacha nikuchapie. Hii kitu haitakangi mbio

Man 3: Eh. Mimi first born wangu nilikula mama kutoka first mpaka thirtyth ya mwezi ya kwanza. Halafu next month hivyo hivyo. Na bado hakuget ball. Mpaka ikakuwa tension kwa hao. Ndiyo mzae fulani akanichanua. Kula ni ka mchezo. Usifikirie stori ya mjunia.

Man 1: Nashangaa niaje. Nikicheza nje kitambo madem walikuwa wanaget ball na misitaki. Sahii nataka siget.

Man 2: Nimemarika for long. Nisikizeni. Mtoi ni God. Ukimwonyesha ati wewe ndiye unajua atakuonyesha si wewe. Utakula mpaka uchoke. Na usiget mtoi. Kwa hivyo tulia. Toa stori ya mtoi kwa kichwa. Kula mama bila pressure. Enjoy. Utashangaa atakuambia anaball.

Man 3: Imagine hivyo ndiyo kulienda. Ki-surprise tu mama akaniambia anaball.

Man 1: Wazi jo wasee. Nilikuwa nimeshangaa niaje.

Me: Aha!

Such is the level of intimacy men exhibit at a barbershop.

Also, conception and parenthood is as much a concern for men as for women.

And fathering a child (when said man is ready) is seen as a feather in the cap by most men.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Spinning the ICC, Governing by PR

Let me let you in on a little secret.

I lined up to welcome private citizen Uhuru Kenyatta who returning from his Hague date. Ssssssssh. Keep it between us.

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As a schoolboy lining up for retired president Moi – who prophesied that KANU would rule for 100 years to much derision (Who is laughing now?) – was normal. He seemed to always be on the go and he (or his handlers) felt that school children should either be lining the road waving or singing for him at different forums. Moi also said “now you are saying Moi must go but one day you will say Moi must come.” And the hullaballoo at Moi’s birthday did somewhat validate his statement.

So Chief Chef Lenku’s circular requesting for peace-loving Kenyans presence along the roads which the private citizen/President was not a shocker. After all the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Curiosity and my continued study of human nature fuelled my ten minutes walk to Makadara along Jogoo Road. And my timing was impeccable. Fifteen minutes upon my arrival the motorcade made its appearance.

It is common knowledge that Uhuruto used ICC case and astute PR to ascend to power. Communities which felt under siege came together to protect their sons using the tyranny of numbers. And spin or PR if you like whitewashed the picture (and eyes).

Just how much this ICC and PR narrative sold is now unfolding.

The-International-_2166929b

The mass of people at Makadara was positively buzzing. These were not rent-a-crowd folk. These were people sharing a common unshakeable belief. Not subject to reason or logic. It is because it is kind of belief. It felt like a stadium or a church.

Young and old. Male and female. Seated and standing. All waiting. Happily. Anxiously.

Snippets of conversation in the alternative national language floated around me. “He is ours.” “God-given.” “He is our blood.”

One side of phone conversations was overhead; “I am here. I could not miss it for anything. Where are you standing?” Also, “Where are you?….you can’t make it…he is almost here.”

Then the outriders’ zoomed past signalling the much awaited moment was near and the buzzing crowd became alive. Screaming, chanting and dancing. The junction into Buruburu from Jogoo Road was blocked as the frenzied crowd demanded an address.

Before I walked away I caught a snippet of Uhuruto and their astonishment was clear. The narrative gelled together around ICC and PR had worked beyond their wildest dreams. More conversation snippets floated around me. “See what we voted for?” “See the fruits of our labour?”

The ICC case and astute PR has managed to turn Uhuru support into a fanatical undertaking. The support is more than political. It is something akin to religion. And religion is now being woven into the narrative. Uhuru is viewed as the Chosen One. A popular chant of Uhuru supporters is “Si nguvu/si uchawi, ni maombi.” (It is not our strength/it is not witchcraft, it is prayer.) Songs have also being composed to that effect. Uhuru’s presidential victory is touted as an answered prayer.

kenya-flag

Another by-product of the ICC case and PR is flag-waving patriotism. Most of the crowd at Makadara had the flag. Matatus and even private cars flew the flag. The flag being used was Kenyan but is the Nation Kikuyu? Put another way, to the crowd at Makadara is the Kikuyu nation synonymous with the Kenya nation? Or another way to ask the question is did the challenge mutate from personal to communal to national? And now international?

Articles 147 and 134 are in the constitution. Ruto is a Deputy not Vice. It follows then when principal is absent the deputy acts. But politics is about perception. And Uhuruto use of PR is phenomenal. So amid much fanfare President Uhuru became a private citizen while Deputy Ruto became Acting President complete with trappings of power.

uhuruto

A fact that one following the ICC case may found hard to believe is that post election violence actually happened. The Kikuyu bore a substantial brunt of the violence. The Uhuruto bromance aside, the hoi polloi still harboured a grudge. A Ruto presidency was unfathomable. Too much blood under the bridge it was said. But after ‘the handing over power’ show a Ruto presidency is now somewhat discussable. Which given numbers tyranny, then a ten plus ten Uhuruto reigns may not be fiction.

Remember the 100 years prophesy? Tingisa kabisa.

So what do all these variables portend for mkenya wa kawaida or for Kenya?

Is the ICC case good for mkenya wa kawaida or for Kenya?

Is the management by PR good mkenya wa kawaida or for Kenya?

I have no idea.

You?

GOD BLESS KENYA!

p.s – ALL images courtesy Google.


Word on the street…

(Guys in a house watching football, listening to music, having a beer and basically chilling.)

Guy A: Who will you vote for?

Guy B: (Proudly) Peter Kenneth. My conscience cannot let me vote for these other fools.

Guy A: Okay. After you and your conscience have wasted your vote and forced Kenya into an expensive run-off who will you vote for?

Guy B: Wa! Between worse and worst I guess I will pick worse so I will reluctantly vote Cord. I do not want to live under sanctions. Just look at Zimbabwe or Sudan.

Guy C: I was also going to vote for Martha or Peter Kenneth but after the alliances formed I realized it will be a close two-horse race. So I changed my mind! I am not going to waste my vote. I will vote for Cord. Not that Cord are that great.

Guy D: I will vote for Jubilee. Kenya and Kenyans do not need half-shocks like PEV 2007/8. Kenya needs major shock to happen so that it can rebuild once and for all. These half-measures mean Kenya never grows. Look at Rwanda? It totally broke apart then now it is doing well. Let us break apart totally and then rebuild. Also I can’t vote for Raila after his 41 tribes versus 1 tribe mantra in the last elections.

Guy C: So it is basically about tribe?

Guy D: Off course it is about tribe! This is Kenya. How would you feel if your community is targeted and singled out through no fault of your own? Even you are in Cord because your guy got running mate.

Guy B: See? This is why I am voting Peter Kenneth. To end this tribalism nonsense.

Guy C: To bad Kenneth has no chance in hell of winning. So you are wasting your vote. And these wasted votes will force us into a run-off. Do you think Kenya is politically mature enough and rich enough to go through a run-off? Or will a close election result in chaos?

Guy A: And to be honest, Kenneth appears to me to be an Obama in 2008. He looks good, can be branded well and he can speak well. But when push comes to shove he is short on concrete and long on fluff.

Guy D: So you who will you vote for?

Guy A: No one! I do not have a voter’s card. And looking at the options available and after listening to all your reasons for voting, I can’t say I am missing out on anything. Whoever wins it seems we are screwed and the question the election is settling is just how screwed we are!

Ends…

The above conversation played out in my presence over the holidays.

The guys chatting are all young, urbane and educated with exposure to internet, media and world affairs.

It is amazing that all these attributes seem to have had no impact on their decision on who to vote for. No one mentioned issues or track record. It basically comes down to tribe and political history of aspirant.

It is a sad indictment of the level of our politics/democracy after 50 years of independence.

With two months to what promises to be bruising and very competitive elections, it is also worrying and scary.

Pray for Kenya.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Kenya Daima…

These words of William Butler Yeats in his poem The Second Coming keep playing in  my head:

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

My country is no longer at ease.

Before I wrap my head around what is going on I would like to:

Pay tribute to all the members of the security forces who have lost their lives in the recent days while in the line of duty.

Pay tribute to all Kenyans who have lost their lives due to the recent spate of violence.

Request you to spare a minute every day to say a prayer for our beloved country Kenya.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


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