Voice of an African Child

There are countable things in this wretched life that give me joy. This is not, however, to say that I am a stuck-up or what others would refer to as uptight. No sir, I am a guy who enjoys a lot of things. For instance, I love the smell of soil when the clouds sweat over the earth. I love the smile of girls with crooked canines in a way you would not understand. I love the orgasmic feeling that comes with itching my ankle. However, there are only two things that give me pure unadulterated joy in life; baby videos and literature. We will discuss babies another time.

The first time having my work recognized can be traced back to 2010 when I was in upper primary school. A focused young lad then, I participated in a Taifa Leo competition and emerged 19th nationally in an essay contest. My small butt could not sit down to contain the excitement. I was a boy from an unknown village school in the depth of Kisii County’s Bondonya village right at the bottom of the great Sameta Hill. I did not expect to have my work ranked right next to kids who were studying in expensive private schools with libraries as big as my whole primary school. My Swahili teacher then, Mr. Ken, was a stern man whose smile was as rare as his compliments. Delivering the news to the whole school during an assembly, he moved his lips a bit to show a faint smile. He slowly stroked his chin while holding the “Taifa Leo” page in his left hand. “This boy has tried, and so should more of you,” he said, and knowing that was the best he had ever complimented anyone, I was happy.

In my final year of primary school, I read. No, I do not mean reading for the national exams. I mean, I read everything and anything I could lay my eyes on. It was a significant boost that I was the library captain-well, it was not a categorized library since it was the size of a Githurai single room, but it served its purpose. I squeezed myself in there with autobiographies of Kibaki, stories of Charles Mangua, and the severe writings of Ngugi wa Thiong’o. I fell in love with the narratives of Africans and amazed by the description of places I had not been to. I wanted Chinua Achebe to write me letters about Abuja in a way Afrosinema could not show me. I wanted John Kiriamiti to tell me how it felt like waking up in hiding and what it did to his identity when he was a hunted man. So I consumed more literature as I wandered into worlds far away from the confines of my village hills.

Sameta Boys Primary’s library could not have fitted more than 100 novels and storybooks and still hold curriculum textbooks. I read everything though. I went through every single story that was in a paper in that tiny room; flipping pages and pages of fiction and non-fiction and memoirs and plays and poems. At the beginning of the second term of my final year, I had nothing more to read, and the school could not buy more. I felt incomplete and lacking and went back to read school work I had already exhausted revising. My only wish at the point was to get admitted to a high school with enough facilities for my literature yearning. I desired National schools where great writers like Ngugi wa Thiong’o went to study. But surely, It felt like the world of fiction had deluded me to thinking I could beat all the odds from my tiny village public school and get admitted to such schools. How could it happen while the best teaching talent was tutoring kids in Nairobi, and I was sharing textbooks in a desk of three in Sameta. But because life is funny that way, I did get admitted. Yes, to Ngugi’s alma matter.

I arrived at The Alliance High School with everything they wanted plus one additional thing- the Taifa Leo page where my name had appeared. It reminded me of the most exceptional point in my writing to that point. Bush, as it is popularly called, has two separate libraries: the junior library for the first two forms and the Senior for form three and four. When I stepped into both libraries, I was greeted by shelves and shelves of books, old and new. I closed my eyes and took in the smell of ages, books that had made a home on those grounds since 1926 when the school started. These were books written by, for, and about great men. I ran my fingers on the slightly dusty old wood that made the shelves and felt a bit of electricity on my fingertips. That had to be the juice of great literature coming into contact with my village-boy skin.

Stay with me. Before joining high school, I used to watch a lot of Afrocinema or DJ Afro movies anytime I came across a TV set. Stop judging and focus on my story first. Haya. This one time, I watched a Naija movie involving clashes between two gangs. I cannot remember what both called themselves, but the one that stuck with me was the “Black Scorpions.” They were ruthless, effective and no one knew their members, but their work got recognition in whatever town of Nigeria they were operating in. “All hail the black scorpions!” I chanted with them as the movie progressed since the name sounded cool to me. When I joined the Writers and Journalism club in high school, I decided to go anonymous. I was “The Black Scorpion.”

Therefore, The Black Scorpion read and wrote. I read Mandela and Mariama Ba and Steve Jobs, initiated into the alternative writing of Binyavanga and the prolific brain of Meja Mwangi. I met the works of Dan Brown and consumed the Da Vinci Code in the cobbled pathways of Bush. The Black Scorpion read and wrote, and the people talked about his weekly publications. He wrote and published in the famous “Bush Fire” school magazine and people asked and wondered who he was. But The Black Scorpion read and wrote anonymously until the final year when he was a prefect on duty. Standing there in front of the dining hall, I announced the prefects on duty and their aliases. “Those are your week’s prefects on duty and I, I am The Black Scorpion.” There was a sudden break of murmurs across the hall as I smiled at the revelation and muttered under my breath, “All hail the Black Scorpion.”

 After high school, I was working in a Cyber CafΓ© right when Facebook was still the thing. It is during those free internet and idle periods that I stumbled upon the writings of Bikozulu. I read every single piece he had ever posted since 2010 in the space of fewer than two weeks. I marveled at his description of mundane everyday activities and how he could tell a story out of anything. Later I would read Magunga, and Owaah, and Yvonne Adhiambo, and I fell in love with their creative writing. So during my small commutes to and from work, I posted about my adventures on my Facebook account. It was a blend of funny and new to try and give a fun view of my village life that no one had seen. Then a comment from a high school friend, Jesse, who eventually became my editor, changed everything. “Dude, start a blog!”.

However, work at the Cyber CafΓ© had come to an end, and zero access to a computer or fast internet speeds became an obstacle to even starting a blog. I had a small Neon smartphone, the size of my palm, and a burning desire to write. I found the Taifa Leo cut-out from 2010 and smiled at the young boy who wrote from a small library and achieved a fete he could never forget. So I decided to use what I had at the moment and work with it. I typed. I typed 1500 words or more from a small phone without enough storage. So I would type right inside WordPress, and sometimes the site would refresh, making me lose all the progress I had made. It was frustrating, tiring, and a very thankless job. But still, I typed and put out my first story. Then I wrote my second, and third and seventh, and I wrote even some more while hunched over my small Neon phone. There were typos since I didn’t have a laptop or Jesse who would edit for me later. But still, I wrote about my life, my village, the world around me and published some more. I was a happy Black Scorpion who had grown from a Taifa Leo Insha to a creative writer.

Later, I would get a laptop and bang the keys away, pushing stories every week with three other creative friends. We called ourselves the “Voice of an African Child.”People would wait patiently for our work, and we would writeβ€”all the four of us. We wrote. We did. Then there were three of us, and we wrote a bit more. I wrote even way more. Then we were two. We pushed our work and even submitted it to BAKE Awards (Bloggers Association of Kenya) to face not even a nomination. But we still wrote.

Eventually, it was just me. I wrote stories of circumcision in Kisii and eating Mutura in Nairobi and travelling to Capetown and Paris and Samburu and Being an MC and Christmas and Chang’aa.

I wrote about Chang’aa. In fact, I wrote about Chang’aa so passionately I won the Igby Prize for Non-fiction Africa awarded by the Kalahari Review. I was 19 at the time and thought there was no way a small village boy from the deepest part of Bondonya, Kisii could win a prize adorning submissions from everywhere in Africa. But I won. I became a rotating judge of the Magazine, which is even crazier. It allowed me to read and review and judge stories by other young African writers and traveled with them. My domain expired, and I could not publish, but still, I was banging keys and pouring words to Bill Gate’s Microsoft Word. My domain got renewed, and I wrote, and stories were shared, and then my domain expired again. My laptop was stolen. Twice. But still, I wrote and sent stories to my friend Ngoiri (God bless her soul), and she published them in her medium.

It’s been a journey of love and struggle and pain and patience and creativity, and writer’s block. Regardless, I am unable to stop what I had started with Taifa Leo and continued in High School as the anonymous Black Scorpion.

But I am no longer the black scorpion. I am the Voice of an African Child.

Breast Cancer

1.She is at long last here
   I know it’s been a while there
   But I, we want this because we care
   There is longing, however no dare
   To say words which will leave all bare
2.Staring into her eyes, memories unfold
   Moments spent that seem beyond
   Damn masculinity ;the tears I cannot withhold
    Feelings running deep in me lie untold
   Though not now but earlier I was bold
3.It came  without any warning
   In the midst of our family bonding
   A savage with time that began devouring
   My happy limitless became draining
   Into a world that her health was failing
4.The epitome of this I have to say
   Was amputation that sent her off bay
   Loss of part of her a price pay
   The Chemo we prayed would make her stay
   Urgently we needed the thing out of our way
5.Toto and I have streamed in and out
   Hospitals often accustomed to its lot
  Our best we have tried to fight
   Against the perils of disease caught
   Against the implications burdened and even the cost
6.Not openly:in the dark in mere silence
   Battled by this day and it’s very essence
   I am terrified, dreaded at its presence
   Awakened my thoughts build on her innocence
  Helpless I am I cannot take vengeance

Yet still I hold on, I have to not for me but for Toto, for her(my happy). Our past lies vivid my happy she will and is she remains despite this cancer divulge. As she enters the operation room, I remind her I love her holding her pretty bald.. All that remains……. Hope

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The 3 idiots-an insight towards life.

00:19

I just finished watching the 3 idiots 

It’s an Indian film about three engineers ( fun fact Indian movies always have singing in between so it was almost 3 hours long. I emphasize on it being a must-watch, heads up it has subtitles)

In general the movie is about life, yes I’m sure you know everything there is to life: work hard go to school, get a job, get a mortgage, meet a man or a woman, get kids and die a ripe old age …. well you’re wrong that’s not life in totality, there’s more and this movie just proved it to me.

One of the guys always wanted to be a wildlife photographer but his father forced him into doing engineering; all his 4 years he flunked cause it was not his passion.

The other one came from a poor background and his dad had paralysis, his sister wasn’t married cause she wouldn’t raise the dowry. (another fun fact in India the lady pays the groom’s dowry, sshh!!! my country people shouldn’t hear this or I will find myself married to an Indian πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚) and his mother always complained about everything.

Then there is the main star Rancho, he is smart… like extremely smart. The kind of guys who never study but when the results are out πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ let’s just say at the ground level things are totally different.

I am not trying to write a movie review or anything but to drive the point home. Rancho challenged his 2 friends and they were able to steer their lives into the direction they wanted… they followed their hearts and passions

What is it that you think you live for?

Many people are out there fighting depression either cause of trying to fit in, cause they are afraid of what people will say or it’s already too late for them.

People are walking slaves, they don’t have a purpose so they look to the outside world for gratification and meaning. What happens in the end when you can’t get what you want or you finally get it, then what? 

Others live in fear, fear of failing, fear of being rejected fear of being different and sticking out like a sore thumb. Fear is the reason we have so many idiots leading a country like Kenya

We are all different, of all the 7.7 billion people you are unique in your way; fingerprints, DNA and so many small but intricate things about you that can’t be matched.

It’s not worth it to live to the expectations of others, to live the life of your mother and father or to live in fear. 

Stand up and say

MY NAME IS…AND I CHOOSE TO LIVE LIFE, MY LIFE 

Drop the shit show because if you don’t do it now that you’re young it will be too late to steer your life back.

1. Stop caring about what people will say

2. Stand up to your parents 

3. Stand up to your lover or spouse who is mistreating you or abusing you

4. Stand up to your fears 

5. Stand up to your so-called friends 

6. Stand up to your addictions 7. Stand up to the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough.

and in that moment when you are standing there, heart thumping just take a deep breath with your hand to your chest, whisper/ shout 

“ALL IS WELL”

25 Nov 2019

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WET FRY FISH FILLET

 

Hello everyone
I’m sorry I’ve been gone for two weeks .Took a short break .Taking breaks is healthy .White meat is also healthy πŸ˜›
For a long while (most part of my life actually) I have not cooked white meat and blame that on my mother (hi mom:))
So I found out that around Ruiru where I stay ,they sell fish fillet from as low as 100bob ,and I decided to try make fish fillet .
I’ll teach you how I made this ,it’s super easy ,super awesome, very satisfying and the whole process is fun 😊

Ingredients
1. Fish fillet
2.One lemon
3.Two tomatoes
4.An onion
5.Chilli
6.Garlic
7.Cooking oil
8.Salt to taste
9.Wheat flour

Procedure
1.Cut the fillet into slices the thickness of your finger (if you have tiny fingers like mine try something slightly thicker than your finger )
2.Spread them on pallet .
-Grate your garlic (or use mashed or garlic powder ) then sprinkle on both sides of your fillet slices .
-Squeeze your lemon and spread the juice on both sides of your fillet pieces .
Add chilli if you like and a little salt
3.Marinate (or chill )for about 15-30 minutes .
4.Coat each fillet piece with wheat flour .
5.Shallow fry until golden brown then set aside .
6.Place some oil on a pan ,then add chopped onions and garlic and cook till brown ,then add your tomatoes (I prefer to grate my tomatoes so that they’re pasty )
7.Cook for five minutes and then add some of the lemon juice and salt and then add your fillets
8.Cook for ten minutes (keep stirring so they don’t burn ).
9.Serve hot !

I had this meal with ugali and I tried having sukuma on the side and it just didn’t workπŸ˜‚
Bon apetit!

Nkatha Muthoni

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MEET THE MEATBALLS

Food Blog by Nkatha Maureen

Hello guys,

I’m new here and it’s scary ..to be honest.
But I’m here to teach you how to make edible stuff 😊
We’ll start with my all time favorite..MEATBALLS !!


These babies are so satisfying, they can go with practically anything and they’re oh so delicious .
The best part is that making this doesn’t strain your pockets that much 😊

*Ingredients*
.Minced meat
.Garlic (a few cloves finely chopped ,the rest grated)
.Mixed spice
.Two Bulb Onions finely Chopped
.Coriander
.Tomato Paste
.Cooking Oil
.An egg
.Breadcrumbs
.Salt and pepper to taste
.Two tomatoes (blended or grated)

*Procedure*
1.Place your minced meat in a bowl and add grated garlic cloves ,finely chopped onions ,mixed spice ,pepper and salt ,finely chopped coriander and mix well .
2.Add the egg to the minced meat mix and mix well .
3.Add a fair amount of breadcrumbs and mix well .
4.Let it sit for fifteen minutes then make sizeable balls and place them aside .
5.Heat some oil on your pan (quarter a cup) .
6.When the oil’s hot ,place your meatballs in the oil (and don’t let them cluster too much )
7.Cook for about five minutes and then flip them and let the other side cook for five minutes .(You can flip them again,though you don’t have to because we’ll be cooking them again)
8.Remove from the pan and set them aside ,and drain off the excess oil from the pan (I will cook them in paste in this same pan)
9.Add to the pan the chopped onions and garlic and let them cook till golden brown .Add the grated tomatoes (you can use tomato puree instead).Add a little salt and cook for five minutes .
10.Add in the tomato paste and a little water .Give it a mix till the sauce is not too watery and not too thick πŸ™‚
Cook for another five minutes then add your meatballs and stir .Cook for fifteen minutes (give it a stir in between because you don’t want the paste to burn )
11.Serve!!!!
I have so far had my meatballs with Spaghetti,Rice and just recently with Viazi Karai:)

Remember you are not restricted in whatever way. Throw in whatever you want .Be free .Experiment .Create your magic !
bon apetit!

 

 

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