Tag Archives: Nairobi

#ConversationWith Kamene Goro: Kicking Ass! (Personal)

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

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

Two years ago Kamene was a 21 year University of Nairobi Law student. She is now a Senior Anchor at EbruTV who also hosts two hour-long content-intensive talk shows per week.

ebru chics

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 various personalities peeking out and her brains shining through.

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

Our chat began with the professional, then went into the personal and goofy…

curves

ModerateKenyan: Describe yourself.

Kamene: Firework. Phoenix. Indelible.

ModerateKenyan: How would your friends describe you.

Kamene: (laughs for long) Crazy.

ModerateKenyan: Your enemies.

Kamene: (pauses..cocks head to one side..) I do not have enemies. I am simple nice chic to all.

ModerateKenyan: Most important person.

Kamene: Simplest question. My mum. My baby sis.

ModerateKenyan: Most important thing.

Kamene: My career. I am in love with my job.

laughs

ModerateKenyan: Happiest moment in your life so far.

Kamene: (thinks..) I have had so many (laughs). Last year I had worked daily for 4 months straight. Took a break, went to the coast by myself. It was magical…view of the sea, the sunrise in bed. I love space and air. Thinking of it is giving me goosebumps. (laughs…)

ModerateKenyan: Most difficult moment in your life so far.

Kamene: Career going up. My relationship with long-time boyfriend going south. Having to pick between the two. It was terrible. It had to be done. No regrets. Just lessons.

frontal

ModerateKenyan: Favourite music, food, colour.

Kamene: I love colour. Yellow, black, I can wear a rainbow (laughs). White rice should be banned! Hate it. Everything else I will eat. I can cook very well. Broad taste in music. It dependents on my mood.

ModerateKenyan: What can you not live the house without.

Kamene: My phone. We are in a relationship (laughs). Crazy about Instagram…need pics.

ModerateKenyan: What is on your bucket list.

Kamene: Hahahahaha. Too crazy to say. Hahahaha. The PG list is sky diving, scuba diving, visit Tomorrow land and also go to Jamaica.

ModerateKenyan: Random things you would like to share.

Kamene: I LOVE books. I am a member of the 4/20 movement (we laugh and fist bump). I have 5 tattoos (I stare and she laughs), in concealable spaces (more laughs).

*her phone rings…it is her boss…asking about her Just the facts talk show..*

Kamene: I have to go. Work calls.

And she struts out like she walked in.

Confident in her brains, personality, skin and curves.

One to watch. Literally and figuratively.

GOD BLESS KENYA!

Photos – Kamene’s.


#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.

student

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


Nairobi Restaurant/Kibanda Week

Setting: In a formerly middleclass estate in Nairobi.

Mum: A lady in her thirties, who was in a hurry with a daughter in tow.

Daughter: A girl of 8 or 9 years old.

Daughter: Mum….mum….mum…

Mum: Nini? Harakisha…

Daughter: Mum, ushawahi kula pizza?

Mum: Hapana. (harshly) Kwa nini?

(The two then walked past my earshot.)

*********************************************

This exchange which happened awhile back got me thinking. On food, experiences and economics.

It has been cooking in my head ever since and the on-going Nairobi Restaurant Week has triggered this post.

For those clueless, #NRW2015 is an annual event where high-end restaurants reduce prices and enable more people enjoy fine-dining.

NRW-Blog-Post-NC

Our local cuisine as Kenyans is pretty basic and it is mostly dependent on where you come from. Rice – coast, Ugali fish – Nyanza, Githeri (mashakula) – Central. Food in Kenya is not cheap and thus folk mostly eat what they farm or readily access.

githeri

In the urban setting, food one consumes is dependent both on economic capability as well as exposure.

How old were you when you fast tasted pizza? If you are in your late twenties and above chances are that it has happened in the last decade and losing your pizza virginity was a big deal. Back in the day, kuku quarter and chips and soda was the epitome of cool. Pizza come with the South Africans outlets and it did not quite get traction.

pizza

However, in the past decade Nairobi’s middleclass has balloned and with it has lead to an avalanche of trendy food joints.

Through social media into the mix and being with it now involves KFC, Pizza Inn, Cold Stone and other foreign food joints that have opened up in Nairobi. For a few the cost is not prohibitive but for a majority a meal at these cool joints is a cause for major personal budget realignment.

cold stone

So I feel for the daughter who wants to be cool but I also get that the mum has to think of the family budget and thus talk of pizza is unsettling.

To counter the #NRW2015, folk have tweeted and posted on Facebook in jest about Nairobi Kibanda Week.

Underneath the jesting is a bit of harsh reality. There is a Nairobi for Kibandas and one for Restaurants.

Many years ago, Kitu Sewer of Ukoo Fulani Mau Mau rapped, “nikitaka kujua story ya economy ninacheki price ya kaquarter kwa butchery.”

Clearly, food is a great indicator of national, local and personal economy.

Then there is exposure or readiness to embraces new experiences.

Many people who can afford it, have never eaten Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Thai, West African? Why? Comfort zone.

And on the flip side many people have never enjoyed the thrills of Mama Ntilie food in a kibanda. Why? Uptightness.

nyamama

My people say he who has not travelled thinks only his mother cooks well.

Maybe as Kenyans we need to broaden our palate and maybe, just maybe, there is room for both Nairobi Resturant Week and Nairobi Kibanda Week.

Bon appétit.

GOD BLESS KENYA!

(PS: All images courtsey of Google.)


#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.

vi-travelcarecartoon5

So maybe I will bless the base after all.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Christian Raving

The Lounge as defined by one of its organizers, DJ Soxxy of the Kubamba fame, is a Christian hangout with varying themes; DJs, karaoke, spoken word or featured artistes held every Friday at Petma Restaurant which seeks to provide Christians with an alternative to the club scene.

Courtesy | Google

Adawnage were last Friday’s featured act. In my previous post I shared what a pleasure and blessing it was to watch Adawnage perform LIVE at The Lounge.

It was my first time at The Lounge. As a student of human nature I was intrigued by what I saw and I had to share with you.

Let me digress, I had spent that Friday afternoon listening to the Adawnage’s Safari album in anticipation of their gig. This resulted in an interesting incident with my colleague.

My colleague is a young staunch Christian lady. Those who in days gone were called Dada katika Yesu (Sister-in-Christ). She was quite surprised nay shocked that a) I knew of Adawnage b) I was jamming to their music and c) I was planning to go for their concert.

Now while I am not by any stretch of imagination be a Ndugu katika Yesu (Brother-in-Christ), I do have a relationship with God. It may not be ideal or textbook but it is there. So I certainly did take offense at the judgement and I told her as much.

While we are on the subject, let me just say I am tired and put off by saved guys who throw judgement at me and preach to me. Let me also say I am truly thankful to my saved pals who show their Christianity to me by their actions. End of rant.

Back to The Lounge. I have to say at first impression, the only difference between it and a regular club in Nairobi is that there was no sale of alcohol.

Every other element you expect to find in a club was present. Beautiful women, all dressed up and made up. Couples. Ladies and gents on the prowl. A DJ playing very loud danceable music. Folk dancing provocatively.

Let me be clear. Adawange did NOT dance or sing provocatively. During their performance guys were mostly seated except the random person seized of the spirit who would stand and sway to their music.

The dancing happened before Adawange went on stage and during the interlude of their performance lead by Zionists dance group.

This resulted in a big culture shock for me.

I may not be Ndugu katika Yesu but I was raised Anglican and church in my mind is solemn and reflective.

In this I am not alone. Muslims have women and men praying in different places at the mosque so as to reduce temptations. In ‘conservative’ churches women are required to wear long dresses and cover their hair. These measures are put in place so as to ensure that when worshiping, distraction and temptations are reduced to a minimum.

I wondered where Jesus was in the crazy dancing which in all honesty was no different from that happening in the pub next door. I was also trying my best not to have sexual thoughts while in ‘church’ but the ladies shaking what they mothers gave them were making it quite hard for me.

For me, it felt awkward and not right to dance and party like that in ‘church’. I stayed only for as long as Adawnage were performing and left immediately after.

For the regulars, they were in a zone. It was a ‘party don’t stop’ kind of situation with Adawange’s performance seeming to be a blip in their raving. When I left at midnight, DJ Sanch was getting ready to take the party to the next level.

With the provocative dancing, high energy levels and relatively young age of party-goers/congregation, it was not far-fetched to imagine hanky-panky situations ensuing.

This got me thinking.

The Lounge is meant to take Jesus to the people and provide clean wholesome Friday entertainment for those who are saved. But I wonder whether in taking Christ to the masses, the message is getting diluted. Whether the ‘cool gospel’ which is all the rave now may be doing more harm than good.

Or whether like my aforementioned colleague who did not think that as an unsaved guy I could listen to gospel I was being judgmental on saved folk who want to party and shake their booty till morning.

I am aware of an instance in the Bible where King David danced for the Lord in joy. I am also conscious that Christians were asked to be the salt and light of the world.

From what I saw at The Lounge, I was left with question marks.

I have written previously on Gospesecular music but to see the Christian raving for myself was pretty unsettling. Hence writing and sharing my experience at The Lounge with you.

Maybe out of the ensuing discussion I will get enlightenment.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Heritage Series – A Wife’s Tale

The sun that had earlier kissed the slopes had progressively disappeared under the heavy clouds. Gradually chilly it had turned. It seemed like the afternoon rains which are very common in the Kenyan highlands would pour anytime.

At a corner, where two houses join, a lady sits on a stool, taking in scenery and enjoying the breeze.  Donning several sweaters, a maroon dress, a blue woolen cap which covers her white hair and she has a walking stick at her side.

Upon sighting her visitor, she bursts out laughing. “My husband, is that you or are my eyes deceiving me?” she exclaims. A hearty handshake ensues accompanied with the rhythmic vocal intonations.

She may not do it herself due to vagaries of age but just like a wife would, she asks Wairimu, her helper to get her husband a stool, take his bag and warm up a mug of uji for him. Wairimu, does all this in short order. She also introduces herself to the husband as a distant relative.

Wife and husband then proceed to catch up on ‘home’ matters. With each finding out what the other had been up to since they were last together.

Conversation drifts leisurely as the husband sips his uji. “Is it too hot? Should Wairimu bring another cup to aid you cool it?” wife soothingly asks husband.

During a lull in conversation, a cow moos at a distance. A cockerel chases two hens around the homestead. The dog, Tiger, sniffs out the visitor and attempts to play. For its efforts it earns itself a poke with the walking stick. Wairimu washes the dishes, begins preparing the evening meal and lights up the jiko.

Husband picks up the thread of conversation. He guides it to an area that had previously just been glossed over. Wife lights up like a Christmas tree. Making light work of the many decades that have passed by. Her memory razor-sharp.

She begins to coherently answer the prodding questions

When I first went to Nairobi, we lived in Majengo. This was in the late 1950s. I moved to be close to my husband. By then I had three children with the then last-born just a couple of months old. My friends in Majengo were Khadija and Fatuma. Swahili women who loved talking and cooking. They greatly improved my Kiswahili. Unfortunately once I left Nairobi, I forgot most of it.

One day a white man did allocations for houses in Bahati – a newly-constructed estate for Africans. Three families were to share one house. It was a big leap from living in Majengo. With the many constructions in Nairobi I cannot point out where the house stands now.

To eke out a living I sold vegetables in Marikiti Market. A group of us women would harvest vegetables from the banks of Nairobi River after paying for strips. The farmers were from Embu and Ndia. I do not know if they owned the land or just farmed it.

We picked the vegetables during the day, washed them until they looked very fresh, and then took them to the market at 3am. There were matatus to town. I would sell my stock and still come back and prepare breakfast for my school-going children.

My clientele at the market were mostly Asians although there was a sprinkling of white ladies. I struck up a friendship with two Asian ladies. One did not have kids. One did. She invited me to an Indian wedding. It was a great chance to sell my wares and experience the eight day ceremony.

By now I had gotten more children. I was also taking care of my nieces and nephews as well as other family’s children. To further supplement the family income I brewed flour-based African beer. I bought the flour from my Majengo friends.

Sympathetic to my large brood, the alcohol consumers made a beeline to my house every evening to partake of my brew. I sold a quart at one shilling and a pint at fifty cents.

The shadow of the white man was never far off. Several encounters spring to mind. Once I had to stand in an identification line as a betrayer picked out Mau Mau sympathizers. Off course I had taken the oath. The betrayer was fully covered. Only his eyes were visible. He did not speak. Just nodded or shook head to show who was Mau Mau. He did not pick me out.

Another time was more risky. My husband ran a charcoal business. He kept guns for Mau Mau in the sacks. The authorities suspected but never found evidence. One day there was a swoop, he was taken to a police station and almost taken to jail but luckily he was not. The sight of me with a child several days old must have softened the cops’ hearts.

Kenyatta, I cannot say I saw a lot of. Father of Odinga walked around Bahati a lot. He dressed in shorts and a Swahili cap. He seemed a brave man at ease with people.

The Independence Day was quite something! It was at that big open piece of land. What do you call it? It rained a lot. Lights were switched off. Then upon their return the white man’s flag had been brought down and Kenyatta hoisted our flag. It was the end of the white man. We were very happy.

The questions cease. Husband takes in the impromptu history lesson. Wife smiles and has a far-away look. She appears to be reminiscing. Husband is awed by how her memories tell a story of Kenya’s last 50-years.

Husband is grandson. Wife is grandmother.

Wife’s memories are her husband’s heritage. Wife’s memories are Kenya’s history.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


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