Is The World’s Fascination With Africa Hypocritical?

A couple of weeks back, I happened to get into a conversation of sorts on a page I follow on Facebook centered on a certain meme. The meme in question had an individual announcing their desire to visit Africa, with the other person insisting that the individual be specific on which country in Africa, they would like to visit. Of course our opinions happened to be varied with other page mates concluding that a section of us were simply being overly sensitive.

However, I think we have very valid reasons as Africans to be skeptical about the world’s fascination with Africa. Having been categorized as a third world continent for the longest time possible in addition to getting quite negative coverage by the international media, we can’t sometimes really help wondering whether people from other parts of the world, genuinely appreciate our continent.

In certain cases, the desire by others to visit the continent has been in essence, to confirm whether Africans still lead lives as the primitive people they have since been largely branded to be. Not forgetting the fact that a majority of countries in the African continent have a dark history of colonization and therefore, are still a tad bit distrusting of the intentions of foreign visitors. Not that we feel a repeat can happen but past experiences tend to shape present perceptions.

Africa is a continent made up of several nations with very distinct cultures and ways of life but that has not stopped the rest of the world and especially the West, from failing to acknowledge this fact. Hollywood has often seemed confused and thoroughly ignorant about Africa when basing movies and shows  on the continent. It is always disconcerting for an African to watch a movie or show, that decides to mix two African languages, from two different countries and then try to pass it off as a movie set in one particular African country.

Even more upsetting is having to keep explaining yourself in a foreign country as an African, that where you come from is not plagued by war and disease. The idea that Africans still walk around naked, live in makeshift homes, possess primitive ideas and the likes, has failed to completely fade from the minds of  Westerners who seem to still feel the need to “discover” the continent.

I understand that for foreigners of African descent, their wish to visit Africa has always been to connect with their roots. For us Africans who have been born and brought up in our motherland, we may many times fail to understand this specific need.

Perhaps, we find it absurd that they would just desire to be in the continent, without being specific with which country in particular because for us who come from the continent, we can easily trace our roots. And our individual roots, happen to be centered around a particular locality and not the continent as a whole.

voiceofafrica.fm

Indeed one of the arguments that came up in the aforementioned conversation on the page, was related to this inherent need by African-Americans and people of African descent from the Caribbean, to visit the continent. However, this does not completely erase the fact that our continent happens to be the most misunderstood by many, often basing their view of the continent on hearsay.

Call it inferiority complex, sensitivity or what but Africans are increasingly getting tired of having to justify their legibility to others who are not from the same race or continent. Issues of racism and racial discrimination do not make it any easier for us. It only serves to heighten our skepticism of the world’s interest with our continent.

It should be understood that histories of oppression by others who felt superior to us, have contributed largely to Africans feeling the need to protect themselves from hypocritical intentions. We may argue that issues of xenophobia are perpetrated by Africans to fellow Africans and therefore as an African, I have no right to conclude that only those not from the continent discriminated against us and oppressed us.

Xenophobic attacks such as the ones witnessed in South Africa are deeply rooted on colonialism and the fact that Africans felt divided and denied of opportunities at that particular dark time. I’m no advocate of senseless killings neither am I trying to lay blame on the colonialists at this point in time. However, how a nation chooses to heal from past hurtful experiences, determines the way forward for the development of the nation in future.

I would like to believe that many South Africans have healed but there is still that percentage, that has not completely healed and are therefore willing to incite and attack their fellow brothers and sisters, whom they feel are taking away opportunities meant for them, the original citizens.

As a continent that is forever trying to get to the same level as other continents and many times falling short in the process, our main concern is being genuinely accepted as capable of competing on the same level as other continents. It may seem like a far fetched idea to many but past branding of the continent as incapable has contributed to our wariness. We may many times fail to understand other people’s intentions or might even be right about their hypocrisy, who knows?

Do Long Distance Romances Work?

I used to be very skeptical about long distance relationships until a personal experience recently changed my view. Love is a beautiful thing but my reasons for being skeptical in the past were largely due to the fact that, many men I encountered made it clear that a long distance relationship would not work.

All these men happened to be in the same country as me, but felt that a distance of a couple hundred kilometers from a woman they were in a relationship with, would definitely pose a challenge. I also used to feel that being in an LDR, required an extra huge amount of investment in terms of keeping the spark alive.

Image courtesy of glamour.com

However, my eyes have since been opened to the fact that you can indeed have a successful LDR only if you pay attention to these few pointers;

Communicating via a medium of communication is not similar to communicating in person.

Of course many LDRs start online. Therefore, the initial conversations may be through skype or over the phone or via facebook or whichever other medium of communication, that can facilitate long distance interaction. It may surprise you to learn though that interaction in person may be/can be different when you two eventually meet.

You may quickly discover a significant difference in personalities and/or perceptions which was not quite evident, while the two of you were chatting since you are now able to read body language, see the other person’s reactions and experience first hand how they normally act. So it’s always important not to set your expectations and standards based on your online initial chats.

You might not feel the spark in person.

Meeting someone you have been talking to online is definitely a new experience that might make anyone nervous. So of course all these mixtures of anxiety, nervousness, fear of the unknown, shyness etc. etc. might interfere with that “spark” feeling. Give it time.

Cultural differences.

This is a crucial factor that often determines if an LDR will survive or not. If you two come from different countries, go into the relationship keeping in mind that your cultures are different and therefore your values, way of life and perceptions may totally be different. Compromise may be required. Equally, considerations of whether the both of you are up to the challenge of accommodating each other’s cultures have to be factored.

If it is meant to be, it will be.

Normally, we have a tendency of placing relationship expectations and this is no different with LDRs. However, if at all you do meet and feel uncertain about each other, don’t sweat it. Take it easy and enjoy the moments you two spend together. If it is meant to morph into a serious relationship, it will. If it is not meant to be anything romantic, then count your lucky stars for adding you an additional long distance friend.

LDRs need double the work in relationships within the same locality.

The fact that you two are miles, kilometers or continents apart requires the both of you to go the extra mile in making the relationship work. You need to both develop a certain level of trust, loyalty to each other, patience, tolerance and optimism.

Those periods when you will be apart for months and there’s nothing you can do about it because you are both bogged down with work or your respective life demands, these attributes will come in handy. So if you both feel ready to be in a serious relationship, a  huge amount of planning on how you will be organizing your meetings, communicating, solving disputes and working on your relationship is required beforehand.

 

 

The Curious Case Of Anti-Social Entertainers

If you suspect to be an anti-social entertainer, then you are probably in the wrong business and I say this with good reason.

Very recently, Nigerian musician Burna Boy suffered vicious attacks from the #KOT (Kenyans On Twitter) fraternity as well as revelers, for what they termed as a poor performance at a club in Westlands, Nairobi. Turns out that Burna Boy was only making a club appearance and not a show, but the fact that he turned up on stage at 3 am to perform for only an hour or so, thoroughly angered those who had paid to watch him perform.

The said club has since clarified and given their own version of what truly transpired. Apparently, Burna Boy had been stuck in traffic for about an hour and a half and the club’s previous decision to charge an affordable price for the tickets, had seen large numbers turn up. So the club had to be forced not to let other revelers in which of course didn’t sit well with those particular revelers. Okay, I’m really trying to understand which massive traffic was this in the early morning hours of Nairobi, that Burna Boy was stuck in, but I will keep my opinions to myself on that, this time round.

Anyways, I’m more concerned with how the musician chose to react to the situation. The heat must have been too much for him because Burna Boy ended up blocking most of his Kenyan Twitter followers and at some point mentioned angrily that Kenyans were peasants. Now, now Burna Boy, I understand that the #KOT family can be unnecessarily harsh at times and as a normal human being, it is totally in order to show negative emotion when you feel unfairly attacked. However, being an entertainer, I think you kind of have an idea what the price of fame entails.

There are people out there who will attack you for nothing or something just because they are so used to seeing your face, being in the public eye and all, and now they assume that they know you personally. How you choose to react to such kinds of scenarios speaks a lot about you as an entertainer. Are you the divalicious* entertainer whose fame has got into his head or the entertainer whose sole mission, is to deliver to his fans and understands that sometimes he can come under fire from those same fans.

In my opinion, Burna Boy falls in the former. Why in the world would he even think of calling a section of the consumers of his music, peasants, just because he felt attacked by those same consumers?? There is actually no justification for his reaction to all that hullabaloo. And if those so called consumers, were not that interested in Burna Boy as an entertainer, then they wouldn’t have turned up in large numbers, just for a club appearance of his and eventually felt offended when they felt he under delivered. Burna Boy was actually being too petty and immature as an entertainer with his reaction.

Burna Boy. Photo Courtesy of Google Images

However, it’s not the first time that a musician from a different country has shown up on our Kenyan soil and proceeded to misbehave. Yet another Nigerian musician, Davido came to Kenya sometime in 2015 and went ahead to totally act uninterested and rude on The Trend Show hosted by NTV’s Larry Madowo. He walked out before the Interview was concluded. The concert he was headlining in the country, was nothing to write home about with disappointed revelers complaining on Social media of a mediocre 30 minutes performance and an entertainer who appeared drunk.

Congolese maestro, Koffi Olomide would be another musician who would land on Kenyan soil and proceed to attack a female dancer of his at the airport, throwing a kick at her in 2016, while oblivious to the fact that it had been caught on camera. He was so confident that he was going to still perform in the country after the incident, that he appeared on Citizen TV only to be arrested soon after and was eventually deported.

So incidents of entertainers exhibiting anti-social behaviors is not entirely new to us. It is disheartening though to realize, that some of these entertainers tend to quickly forget that those same fans they have since taken to disregarding, are the ones who made them what they currently are. Those fans in turn, expect the entertainer to deliver and will not hesitate in expressing their displeasure, whenever they feel taken for granted.

Burna Boy and all those musicians who turn up in Kenya and proceed to act in unsavory ways, should know that some of those tickets to their concerts that Kenyans pay for, equal someone’s rent for a month or two. I doubt a mere peasant would afford to pay a ticket for something, akin to a club appearance from a musician who is totally convinced that his fans “owe” him for his time.

They should know that their music is given enough airplay on Kenyan radio stations sometimes at the expense of Kenyan music. That should be reason enough for them to at least show some respect to their Kenyan fans. Burna Boy should have waited for temperatures to cool down, before offering a formal statement just as any normal, wise, level headed entertainer who values his fans’ opinion of him would.

But of course in this era where vanity surpasses logic reasoning, such entertainers of the above description are becoming increasingly rare. Perhaps it is time that the Kenyan market started to look within and appreciate the talent we have in the country before looking across borders for entertainers who probably, have no interest in respecting the Kenyan market. Entertainers who selfishly pocket our money, then prance out of our country in a show of disdain and arrogance.

Breast Ironing And The Fear Of Sexually Active Pubescents

Just when I had been tempted to think that FGM was the only remaining barbaric practice targeting the female sexuality, I was recently awakened to the retrogressive practice of Breast Ironing. Apparently, some African cultures such as the one in Cameroon find it okay for grown women, to heat grinding stones, spatulas, hammers and what nots, then proceed to press them on the chests of young girls, who are just starting to grow breasts.

The common belief behind this archaic and oppressive practice being that breasts are attractive to males. And so to prevent this pubescent girl from getting noticed by the opposite sex and possibly get pregnant if she gives in to their advances, these African mothers have taken it upon themselves to subject their young daughters to the unimaginable pain, of having their breasts pounded or massaged with these hot objects. The result; traumatized girls, shame in adulthood, malformed breasts, damaged breast tissue and sadly, in some cases, difficulty in breastfeeding their young ones later on in life.

Speaking up against breast ironing practice. Image courtesy of 9jas.com

The disheartening part about this practice is that it is carried out by mothers, believing that they are preventing their daughters from early marriages, unplanned pregnancies, unwanted sexual attention and incidents of rape. In reality, the only thing that this retrogressive practice succeeds in achieving, is promoting the lowest self esteem in women and furthering the stereotype that a female’s sexuality, is to blame for sexual violence or societal ills. These women have sadly been conditioned by their environment to think that by doing so to their own daughters, they are in fact helping them. Perhaps in the hope that they will thank them later in life for it.

I doubt whether these Cameroonian women, who have been subjected to breast ironing and are now forced to live with the negative consequences of the practice, actually thank their mothers for trying to cub the growth of what makes them beautifully female. It should be noted that most of these barbaric cultures sugarcoated as “tradition” and “helping the woman” do little or nothing to that effect. All of these cultures are characterized by one thing in common. And that thing is often to deny the sexuality of a woman by tampering with what was designed for a woman’s own good in that aspect. In the process, empowering the male’s sexuality.

In this breast ironing case, denying the sexuality of a woman and hampering the nurturing role of a mother to her infant. If this woman who has had her breasts ironed by heated crude tools in puberty, cannot be able to breastfeed her young ones and therefore nurture them, then she has been denied one of the crucial roles in motherhood. In addition to being repulsed by the image of her own breasts, flattened and ugly, from what transpired when she had just started to blossom as a woman.

Just recently, I was shocked and saddened by the fact that some young men actually thought that FGM was beneficial for a woman. We often say nowadays that the boy child has been neglected at the expense of empowering the girl child. However, that recent discovery I made on social media when I read a post from a young man encouraging FGM, makes me think that the girl child has hardly been empowered and that the boy child, is currently enjoying the benefits of being male and in a position to further oppress the female.

Breast Ironing and the tools used. Image Courtesy of Daily Express

The female’s anatomy and what makes her beautiful has constantly been considered a threat and something that needs to be kept in check, if these breast ironing and FGM practices are anything to go by. Society has since led women to believe that they are to blame if a man cannot control himself sexually. We have been conditioned to accept some horrific cultures as things intended to help the woman, even though the only thing they contribute to a woman, is causing her emotional and physical scars that are often times hard to heal.

Women have since been made to feel ashamed of identifying themselves as feminists, in the event of trying to speak up against some of these retrogressive practices that interfere with womanhood. A feminist who is trying to help the girl child escape some of these practices that do her more harm than good is often branded a bitter, wayward, male basher. But perhaps it is time that we decided to actually pay attention to what these feminists are trying to preach, in efforts of allowing a girl child to blossom as the woman she was intended by God to blossom into. In certain cases, only a female is better placed to understand the underlying consequences of some of these harrowing practices.

I tend to feel that the boy child is still very much empowered than the girl child. The boy child still gets to experience his puberty without much interference that will cause him permanent scars in future. Of course I’m not blind to the fact that some boy children, are denied the right to being children and going to school in the event where they have to herd the family’s livestock, get forced into being child soldiers and the likes.

However, society still gets to treat the boy children gently in terms of tampering with their anatomies as men. Circumcision for males is a rite of passage from childhood into adulthood. A badge of honor. Circumcision for females signals the onset of early marriages and is actually aimed at preventing the female from being sexually active or promiscuous to put it that way. In the case of breast ironing, subjecting the female to an unnecessary practice, so that the male can not be attracted to a blossoming female as if the male cannot interpret by himself, that he shouldn’t be messing with this young girl who is just but a child.

I’m in no way trying to bash the male with my sentiments as you can see both FGM and Breast Ironing practices are carried out by women on fellow women. However, what I would like to bring to the fore is the motivation behind some of these practices. Often motivations that come about in relation to the privilege that most males are accorded in patriarchal societies that do not value female contribution. Perhaps a father’s intervention could have stopped a mother somewhere in Cameroon, who had picked up a hot grinding stone ready to massage her hapless daughter’s chest with.

But males you will learn, do not hang around environments where the females outnumber the males in such societies. There are in fact oblivious to the going ons and may not really see the need to speak up against some of these practices, only choosing to openly agree with them if it so happened that someone sought their opinion. And so only a feminist’s voice can come in handy in such a situation, of condemning a practice that should have long been done away with. My heart bleeds for the Cameroonian or African female somewhere who was forced to undergo breast ironing.

 

Are You Happy Being Single?

My tastes in men have been changing over the years.

In my late teens, I fancied any guy who had a stable job and was pursuing a Masters degree. Sounds really weird right now when I’m writing about it, that I would have wanted an already established man then, when I hadn’t even joined any higher learning institution at the time. But I did date a couple of guys in their mid twenties who had stable jobs and were pursuing Masters degrees at the time. And some broke my heart so it wasn’t smooth sailing.

In campus, I became realistic and surprisingly dated a guy in campus for well over two years. It wasn’t the all bliss kind of relationship and probably he was a wrong pick for me or I was the wrong pick for him, but we shared lots in common including having our tea sugarless. Anyway, who wasn’t dating on and off with the same guy in campus? At least our on and off thing lasted well over two years. Plus at the time, I had a thing for anyone with height and he was well over 6 ft tall. I still do, by the way. Biceps are a plus too haha!

Fast forward to the real world and after that on and off thing I had in campus, I have largely been single since then. A couple of try outs here and there, never lasted long enough to qualify as courtship and eventually, I decided to stop trying. This week, I got thinking about my single status. Am I really happy being single? Do I need someone in my life? Will I ever find that someone? Am I getting used to being single? What do I consider ideal in a man?

Happy African Couple. Image from Google

First of all, I nowadays have near zero tolerance for things I consider a waste of my time. So definitely at the moment, my decision to stay single is because I don’t want to get into something, then regret almost immediately why I got into it. I have nursed broken hearts in the past and it was never a good experience. For me, that is.

Now I admit this begrudgingly, but I’m kinda starting to get used to being single. Like I’m not attached to anyone and I can relocate to whichever country if need be and not have to worry about distance stuff and whether we’ll survive it or not. I don’t have to constantly keep contact with one particular person. I get to do my stuff and not feel like I owe someone my time. Sounds selfish I know, but if you haven’t been in any serious, lengthy relationship from mid 2014 like I have, you get used to the single life bliss. And you actually get to enjoy life just being you, interestingly. Call me out on that last fact, later.

A friend of mine recently put me on blast for fancying significantly older guys than myself. Not people’s husbands though! Don’t even start thinking on those lines. At 19, I dated a guy who was 7 years older and frankly age, doesn’t really concern me. That doesn’t mean I’ll go for an old, wrinkly guy. I never really see a 10 year age gap being a big deal. Relationships to me nowadays are more about respect, genuine support, care, getting along, sharing ideals and just enjoying being in each other’s company. If I do get that in a guy who is 12 years older, that’s fine. If I do get that in a guy who’s my age, that’s fine too.

Finding someone eventually will happen. We all know the dating advice that someone comes along when you least expect him/her to. I tend to find some truth in that. I think the best relationships started out rather randomly. You never really plan to talk to this particular guy and date him for 3, 4 years to come. Frankly, relationships I have been in that lasted really long, I never kept tabs on. It just happened and I looked back one day and realized that I had been with the same person for this length of time.

And yes, nobody should ever lie to you that it doesn’t sometimes get lonely being single. It does! I think this week has been that loneliness phase for me. We are social animals who desire to feel loved and so some days, you are reveling in your single life bliss, other days, you feel cursed for not finding the one person that makes your insides turn into jelly. Or that one person who will take you to an idyllic setting one day and look straight in your eyes while proposing.

Yes, I would love to be a wife and mum someday. That would be nice. But hey, being single does not signal the end of life plus one particularly positive thing I have learnt while single, is that you can only give love to another when you finally understand what kind of love to give to yourself.

I would love to hear your single life experiences if any. Do you feel left out in the dating scene sometimes? Has it been hard finding someone that you click with? Share below.

 

 

Why I Haven’t Been On A Proper Date In Ages

Let’s talk about disastrous dates whether first, second or third if you get lucky enough to be asked out on a third date. The ones that make you cringe and wonder why you even agreed to a date in the first place. I’m reminded of my sister’s friend who went out on a date with a guy whom I would like to believe, unintentionally farted at some point. He then proceeded to pretend like he didn’t notice the gross combination smell of cabbage, eggs, beans and whatever foods you might think of, that transform into nuclear weapons of mass destruction, once there is an emission of gas from the body. Needless to say, any forms of attraction toward him from my sister’s friend evaporated that very minute.

I have had my fair share of bad dates, barely there dates and good dates. There are men I met who were chivalrous enough to take me out on proper dates to really nice restaurants. There were also men I met whose idea of a date was, a pretence of requesting I pay them a visit in their homes, in the hopes of getting some from me that night. And they were clueless enough to think that I would believe the visit would be entirely innocent and would only comprise of a dinner and singing of religious hymns before I got escorted back home. There are also men, who for some reason decided to take me out on what looked like a proper date at first in a nice place or setting, only to proceed to behave in the most neanderthal of ways.

I once went out on a date with a guy I really fancied, who decided to spend the entire period, stealing open, obvious glances at an Ethiopian girl’s back in a bare back top. To make matters worse, with the most silliest of grins on his face, he proceeded to mention that he thought the people sitting on the table where the Ethiopian girl was, were students. Now when you take me out on a date and I have spent hours getting ready for you, including doing my toenails in the most luscious of purple color, then you proceed to ogle at another woman, I will be thoroughly pissed. Even more pissed when you decide to trivialize your bad manners. Since when did university students become tourist attractions to be stared at?!

Bored couple on a date. Courtesy of Google Images.

Bored couple on a date. Courtesy of Google Images.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I can barely remember the last time I went on a proper date. It has been a lengthy period of time. Some years, I’m totally sure of that. Of course in that duration, I have been invited out for drinks, dinners or lunches by people, who thought it would be lonely enough to have a meal or drink by themselves and I equally thought, having restaurant meals and drinks once in a while broke the monotony of me sitting by myself, in the house. But I wouldn’t qualify them to be dates because there was no mutual attraction and we were probably feeding the need of having someone else’s company. We were just but two lonely individuals wondering why the odds were always against us in this oh, so cruel, cruel dating world. Trust me, there are many lonely millenials walking around.

Most of the time I have declined random suggestions that were packaged as dates but came at odd hours of the evening or night. Plus I have experienced lengthy periods of time when I have been out of work and therefore, too broke to even think of agreeing to go out on a date. Reason being, that an increasing number of men nowadays assume that you come for a date with your own fare back home. And if you seem like you never carried extra money, then it would be easier to accompany their sly selves back to their houses. So even if I desperately wanted to be asked out on a date, the thought of being broke scared the wits out of me.

Let me emphasize on this, being asked out on a date in a pub or club or to a man’s house or to accompany him and his football loving friends are in reality not dates. So to avoid tainting my image as the girl who is always available and down for whatever shenanigans thrown her way, I have steered clear of dates for a long, long time. Chivalry is pretty much dead in this generation of millenials who have a wide array of booty calls at their disposal. It’s simply the sad reality of how things are. Plus I’m just tempted to think that people are too broke nowadays, with too many needs to even remember how proper dates are supposed to be conducted. Or we simply became too lazy and selfish.

So to save myself the horror of a disastrous date, I would rather let it pass. Which disastrous dates have you ever been on?

Flashy Weddings And Keeping Up Appearances

Some years back, when I was still figuring myself out and what I wanted in life, I had this Kakibarua (small job) I was doing in my hometown of Nakuru and it so happened, that one of my workmates had a wedding coming up. He was a nice guy and of course all of us who worked with him got invited to the wedding. At the time, it was the advent of wedding shows which frequently showcased flashy Kenyan weddings on our TV Channels. Inevitably in our young, inexperienced minds, we expected such a grand wedding with an evening reception in tow.

The wedding turned out to be farely modest and ended by 5pm. We thought there would be a wedding reception afterwards which of course was not to be. Oddly enough, this is one of the weddings in my lifetime that I have attended dressed in jeans. I mean, literally all of us workmates to the groom who fell in the 20s age bracket, showed up in jeans as if we were attending a casual weekend event. I still have that particular photo on Facebook and it does not look anything like we were attending a wedding ceremony.

He must have been so disappointed in us although he made a good show of successfully concealing it. We didn’t even think of getting him individual wedding presents and only tagged along, to present the collectively bought table as the wedding present from the workmates of the groom. As if that was not enough, in our apparent disappointment with no wedding reception, we decided to spoil ourselves silly with drinks at a pub in town later on.

An African bride with her bridesmaids

An African bride with her bridesmaids

About a year back, I had accompanied my cousins for a goat eating party as we call them in our country. Now this, for my foreign readers, is a coated term for a wedding fundraiser. They call it goat eating party, just to attract more attendees since there will be nyama (meat) and Kenyans are known to love their meat.

If you have ever attended some of these parties, you definitely know how annoying they can get because you have to part with more money, than you had budgeted for. These are the kind of ceremonies where you get fined some amount of money for not introducing yourself loud enough for everyone to hear, speaking while the MC is speaking and just for being there.

This particular goat eating party was no different. And all because you want to fund a wedding that will be grand and remembered for years to come. By the time we left, we wondered why people didn’t simply save for their own weddings yet they could afford to hire an umarpket venue for a goat eating party.

I remembered these two incidents when one Kenyan man, decided to wow his in-laws by arriving in style for the dowry proceedings of his wife-to-be, complete with a convoy of vehicles and a helicopter, that caught the attention of Kenyans and the media. A flashy wedding would cap it all off. Just last Sunday, the guy in question was in the papers for all the wrong reasons. Apparently, he had made his millions to afford such a wedding, from swindling foreigners into buying gold. Well, we are yet to see how the story unfolds.

A wedding venue. Image courtesy of Google

A wedding venue. Image courtesy of Google

Kenyans will agree with me that there has been an over commercialization of weddings in recent times. A wedding nowadays, is gauged by how much money was used in arranging it and not so much on the value of a wedding, for a couple who have decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Kenyans are increasingly trying to outdo one another in just how they conduct their wedding ceremonies.

Since an increasing number of middle class Kenyans earn good salaries and are exposed individuals, a grand wedding is indeed made possible. But because we often have a budget beyond our means despite the good salaries we are earning, the annoying wedding fundraising cannot be totally ignored. So we will arrange for these and have disgruntled workmates and friends attend, some deciding not to attend the wedding out of their dissatisfaction from being forced to help in funding it.

We understand that African weddings are a community affair, but we do not want to part with our hard earned money, yet we can clearly see that both the bride-to-be and groom-to-be, have good jobs to sustain themselves. And so, in the wisdom that I have since attained over the past few years, I would gladly congratulate my former workmate for holding a wedding within his means. None of us was asked to contribute a dime to the wedding and therefore, it was shameless of us to come with our own selfish expectations.

Asking other people to fund your weddings and going overboard with the ceremony, just to make an impact, takes away the initial value of a wedding as a ceremony of being joined in Holy matrimony to the one you love. I have no issue with someone who can afford the helicopters, imported gowns and 10 tiered cakes on their wedding day complete with a honeymoon around the world. If they are making the money with their honest means, then it’s theirs to enjoy. However, it would indeed be a tragedy if stories such as the one mentioned above, came up just when they had settled down to start a family.

It kind of puts a dent in the perfect image that their weddings had created in the minds of the public whose attention they intended to capture. So if you intend to do a flashy wedding and lack the means to do it, why not scale down the budget a little bit? It may not be considered that entertaining or grand of a wedding but in the long run, it is the couple who matter and not what the attendees think or imagine.

 

The Things I Hate About The Monthly Period

Image sourced from Face2face Africa

Image sourced from Face2face Africa

When the ladies from Always started coming to our school back in primary school, I knew they had seen the need to educate us 10 year old girls about menstruation. My mum had mentioned a few things in passing to me before. But the Always ladies had a lot to tell us about the period, how to use the sanitary pads and how to use the sanitary buckets for disposal and for once, the boys were not allowed in our talks.

In a way, it made us feel important having people coming to exclusively talk to the girls at school. Little did we understand then, about the real horrors of the monthly period because 3/4 of us hadn’t started having them. Recently, one of the bloggers I follow, girlwiththafro, decided to talk about the period and I couldn’t help get amused for I could so relate.

Other than being reminded monthly why I’m a female, there are things I really hate about the period. So here goes;

1. Period Cramps

I’m one of those unlucky women who cramp like they are giving birth on most monthly periods. I don’t usually walk around with a grimace on my face on those days, but I kind of grimace inwardly each time I’m hurting. I’ve had my cramp moments that unintentionally drew attention to the people around me or made me lose things.

One time in high school, I was cramping like they had been paid to torture me and I had to put a straight face and get through the day, even though I just felt like lying down and doing nothing. I had a set book with me that day. The ones you read and are supposed to decipher hidden meanings that will be examined in your English literature exam. Those books were hot cakes back then and got stolen at any given careless moment. In my turmoil, I stood up from the dining hall table and left the book lying there in full view of merciless thieves. And that’s how I lost the book and had to pay for it after high school.

Another cramp moment happened one really cold July morning. So I’m tossing and turning in bed and a male cousin of mine, walked in and asked with concern written all over his face if I was okay. Of course I wasn’t and I had to tell him why. The horrified look on his face clearly said how much he thanked the gods for being born a boy. And he was understanding enough to send a female friend of his to the chemist to get me painkillers. Thank God for family.

On a Sunday when I wouldn’t let anything get in my way of experiencing the Holy Spirit including the godamn cramps I was having, I literally dragged myself to church. Only to end up sitting through most of the service and wondering why I even showed up in the first place. As soon as service was done, I perservered till I got to town and walked right into the first chemist I saw.

On most of those days, it’s usually a guy who serves you coincidentally and when you ask for Buscopan plus tabs, they just know what’s really up with you. But I must commend these chemist male employees for being so kind and understanding and inquiring if you need water to take the tabs. Of course yes, you need water to rid yourself off these pains!!!

2. Sleeping at night

Forget that Always advert when the lady turns in bed in silky white pyjamas and wakes up like an angel, yawning like she has just been cast in a princess movie. We don’t sleep like that on those days!!! You might be wearing the longest, absorbent, breathable pad in this world with additional reinforcements, but you will still be cautious at night. You will end up sleeping on one side till morning and have to wake up in the middle of the night just to check yourself or possibly change a pad. Those days are when you don’t even want to be sharing a bed with a man.

Your girlfriends who know you are on your Ps and have just received a sleepover invite from a boyfriend will probably gasp, “Are you going to a guy’s house on your Ps??!!” They are not jealous. They simply understand the struggle too well and the horror of staining someone else’s sheets and especially a man’s, with an elaborate, red robot pattern.

3. Mood Swings

Ever wondered why you seem to hate everybody around you and make additional enemies during your monthly period? Mood Swings!! Those are the days you will literally be snarling at your boss in your heart (because you value your job and your face cannot allow you to snarl openly at him/her) and wondering when it will get to 5 o’clock and you can go home and break some cups and plates to vent.

For some reason, those existing problems you had that you had decided to face with optimism will seem literally magnified on those days. Please do not make rush decisions in this state! It’s just the hormones acting up and the period. It shall pass.

Of course we really hate men asking if it’s that time of the month when we are fussing over petty issues and throwing an epic tantrum, but sometimes, it’s really it. But we are women. We are supposed to know how to handle this, without someone having to remind us how entirely powerless we are with controlling the mood swings, at this time.

4. Not trusting white bottoms and dresses

I never trust any white bottoms or dresses at this time even if Jennifer Lopez’s stylist insisted. What if something leaks? What if I’m strutting around unknowingly, with an obvious red patch on my behind. No, no. No White.

One of my female cousins saw a woman in white bottoms, bent over mtumba (second hand clothes) on a crowded street in town with a small telltale red dot on her bottom. Needless to say, she didn’t even know how to tell the woman without causing her untold embarrassment. I mean, where do you hide in such a situation?

I saw enough girls get laughed and snickered at by both boys and girls in school, when they stained their school tunics on their very first period, to even effectively explain the kind of embarrassment, a grown woman can feel for staining her clothes. Thank God, my very first started at home. And so painfully, my cousin chose to keep quiet.

So, what do you personally hate about the monthly period? Share below.

Advertising For A Wife

Quite recently, I came across an article on the Nairobian, about a 32 year old Nairobi man who had decided to place notices all over the city advertising for a wife. Apparently, he had spent about Ksh3,500 on the whole venture and his notice included the specifications for the woman he wanted and a deadline date of March 30th 2017. Among his list of specifications was an insistence that the woman should not have kids and should be able to work in the farm.

He also made a point of mentioning to the Nairobian reporter who did his story, that he was not interested in Nairobi women as a result of their indignified ways. And that so far, he had started narrowing down to his choice despite the fact that many pranksters including men, had already contacted him. Well, that is the most stupid thing I’ve come across since the year started and here’s why.

I find it very stereotypical when men living and working in Nairobi thump their chests and declare, “Mimi siwezi oa msichana wa Nairobi” (I can’t marry a Nairobi woman). Then what are you doing in Nairobi?! Pack your bags and relocate back to the village where you will find a village woman of your choice! Even more so irritating, when some Nairobi men arrogantly assume that a Nairobi woman, is just like the rest of the “bad” women they have been involved with in the past.

A workmate of mine once asked me if I was married and I replied in the negative. He then went on to ask if I had children and I replied again in the negative. Then the fool said in a huff, “nyinyi wasichana wa Nairobi mnadanganyanga hivyo na mko na watoto nyumbani” (you Nairobi women pretend that way yet you have kids back in the village). Were it not for courtesy, I would have smacked him right in the face. Why was he asking me if I have children yet he supposedly knew the answer?!

Nairobi men I speak to you today, those stereotypes that you have over time developed about Nairobi women are the reasons why you are probably still single in your 30s.

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

For someone to even think of advertising for a wife and with such dumb specifications like she should not have children, I think quite a number of Nairobi men are fumbling in the dark. Those horror stories you were once told about evil Nairobi women, are probably lies from a male relative or friend, who was unlucky enough to date a particular woman lacking in morals. They lied to you and you foolishly believed them and began viewing all Nairobi women as conniving witches only interested in money that you may not even have.

I find it insulting for a grown man to look down on a woman who has a child to show for a past relationship. Would you have liked it better if she had aborted that child and then proceeded to lie to you that she had never been pregnant before? I wonder. Along the way, I stopped being judgmental of single mothers as I have personally been a product of a two parent home and eventually a single parent home. Before you decide to judge a woman for having children out of wedlock, find out what happened first with the child’s father. You are equally not a saint. Or would you like us to believe that you are still a virgin male at 32?

Enough of this nonesense about Nairobi women or town women being this or that. Are you even looking in the right places for the right women? If my memory serves me right, one Nairobi woman/girl if you would like, since we have developed a Kenyan habit of referring to women in their 20s as girls, recently married her Nairobi man in a union that cost only Kshs 100. Before all these other companies chipped in with their contributions of a grand wedding, tiered cake and double honeymoon to Diani in Mombasa and Dubai, this Nairobi woman agreed to be joined with her fiance in holy matrimony, that only cost Kshs 100 for both rings. I repeat for emphasis. She did not exhibit any signs of being materialistic as the stereotype often states.

So if you are working as a security guard at a firm in the city and are busy setting your eyes on a lady professional in the company that you man the doors for, do you expect her to fall for your charms? Don’t you see the disconnect there and that your priorities, let’s be realistic and honest for once, may not align to each other’s? I have been an employee before and I’ve had security guards and other men too not only the said profession and with all due respect, at the place I worked at hit on me. I made it a point to politely make it clear that I wasn’t reading from the same script. Not because I was a snorty, materialistic Nairobi woman then, but because it was the honest truth.

Oh, I understand that some of these women you are trying to hit on and hint marriage at are not even in good careers but still resist your advances. Did you take your time to read the signs of whether she was on the same page as you or you proceeded to simply announce your intentions, assuming that it’s traditional for a woman to readily agree to settle down with any man, who exhibits signs of being serious?

Wake up and smell the coffee! There are rules to the attraction game and you should never proceed with your advances on a woman, who clearly shows the signs that she is after your money and does not even seem to care about you. Because you just know it when someone is golddigging you!

Don’t lie to us Nairobi men, you knew it when she always contacted you when in some financial need. But for one reason or another you chose to ignore all the glaring signs just like we women have a habit of ignoring certain obvious red flags. It’s a human need to want to feel loved and to strive to achieve that. Probably that’s what makes us ignore some uncomfortable truths in our dating life. But hey, I’m no moral judge! Been there, done that!

I simply implore on men who hold onto the mentioned stereotype, to kindly consider changing their views. Not every Nairobi or town woman is no good and you probably just need to work on certain aspects of your life to attract the right people in your life. I’m not sure if this man advertising all over for a wife will be successful but I’ll be honest, it’s just dumb.

 

 

The Sham That Is KooKoo Inn

Image Sourced from Instagram

Image Sourced from Google

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are the author’s communicating her personal dissatisfaction with the stated show.

When I first happened to chance on the advert on Maisha Magic East Africa, that a new program with the interesting name, Kookoo Inn, will start airing soon, I was elated. Elated because I have been to Kenchics in town and I knew that such a storyline had a lot that would be interesting. Nobody had thought about the concept, of focusing solely on a fast food restaurant as a TV production in my country in the past, if my memory served me right. So I assumed that this one would be fresh and funny.

I happened to watch the first episode and I must say my hopes were thoroughly crashed. The preceeding episodes that I managed to glance at, did little to change my already distorted perception. Quite a number of Kenyan TV productions have dissapointed in the past. There also seems to be an overflow of Philippines, Mexican and Brazilian Soaps on air, no wonder the milennials increasingly preferring to watch Western shows on their DVDs and Laptops.

Not to mean that we have a shortage of superb actors and actresses in our country. What I mean is that sometimes the scriptwriters of some of these Kenyan shows start with a punch and end with a fall along the way. The poor scriptwriting only serving a great job of shortchanging the actors’ and actresses’ talent.

Now I will tell you what is thoroughly wrong with KooKoo Inn. In a bid to make the show crazily funny, whoever is writing the script and producing the show, only managed to give a dumb comedy effect. Let’s talk a littel about Auntie Boss, yet another Kenyan production that has surprisingly managed to keep afloat in the entertaining aspect.

I’m an avid fan of Auntie Boss and that’s because what the scriptwriters and producers thought was funny and relatable to Kenyan life, actually came out funny in reality without degrading the cast. Save for a few instances when the jokes weren’t really funny. Quite few, I must add for emphasis. I rarely notice that there’s always an addition of new cast members, because the original ones who have stuck enough in the said show, are real comics themselves.

Image Sourced from Google

Image Sourced from Google

‘Nuf said about Auntie Boss. I think the producer of KooKoo Inn wanted the Jim Carrey kind of crazy effect in the show, but failed to conceptualize that crazy funny, can be a bit dicey sometimes and may end up coming out as kindergarten funny. I have never been a fan of Jim Carrey movies in my adulthood.

Simply because his kind of funny began sounding like the funny that a 3 or 4 or 5 year old would watch and erupt in guffaws. That was his area of specialization that worked pretty well for him in Hollywood. But there is the Robin Williams funny, God rest his soul, Eddie Murphy funny, that is still crazy funny but manages to tickle even an adult. I don’t know if that sentence makes sense even but that was the best way I could put it.

The cast of KooKoo Inn surprisingly is a highly talented one, that I have seen their awesome talent in other Kenyan shows that let that particular talent shine. However, I don’t especially find a grown man who supposedly owns a fast food restaurant playing with a water gun, funny at all. Neither do I find grown ass people goofing around like toddlers interesting. Whoever came up with this show’s concept, failed to capture what is relatable to Kenyans about it and actually make it come out funny.

It is kind of an insult to our comedy industry that is thriving and has been for a long while. And if anyone related to that show’s production might read this, take this as constructive criticism from a consumer who feels that, there is so much you can do to improve on the comedic effect.