Yellow Fever by Ng’endo Mukii

CYNOSURE | By Lyra Aoko

I am very vocal when it comes to my melanin and my love for it.
I find it sad when people wish to be ‘better’ versions of themselves without realizing that their true form is wonderful, beautiful, unique and simply gorgeous.
I came across this short film by Kenyan artist and film maker Ng’endo Mukii about a week ago and it further inspired me to be the best version of Lyra Aoko I can be. I hope it will tune your mind into loving yourself as you are because you are perfect.

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Here is a short description of the video by it’s creator.

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I am interested in the concept of skin and race, and what they imply; in the ideas and theories sown into our flesh that change with the arc of time. The idea of beauty has become globalised, creating homogenous aspirations, and distorting people’s self-image across the planet…

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Exploring Nocturnal Nairobi: A photographer finds beauty in a city’s declining commercial center

Urban Bites

Image Msingi Sasis
A security guard and two companions keep watch in downtown Nairobi. (Msingi Sasis)

Nairobi’s Central Business District, or CBD, was once the hottest spot for East Africa’s entrepreneurs. A small shop on the corner of Kenyatta Avenue or an office in one of the cities modest skyscrapers was prime real estate in one of the continent’s most sophisticated commercial hubs. Recently, however, the downtown area has started to wither in both appearance and esteem.

Rapid rates of urbanization have clogged the CBD’s narrow, colonial-era streets. Thousands of minivans, called “matatus,” dominate the city’s informal transit system, flooding the city center each minute. Infrastructure woes funnel matatus into bottleneck traffic throughout the day. Nairobi’s most revered businesses have responded to the decay in unison: They’re simply leaving. Emblematic of the area’s eroding climate was the Nairobi Stock Exchange’s relocation last year to Westlands, a leafy residential area that has quickly become the city’s club district.

One Kenyan photographer, however, has captured the…

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Terry Hirst: The Trailblazer Editorial Cartoonist and Comic Author in Kenya

kimaniwawanjiru

Hirst_pixTerry Hirst is the pioneer editorial cartoonist and comic author in Kenya. He made his mark with his witty illustrations for the leading daily newspaper and touched the young minds when he created the Pichadithi series. The series title was coined from two Swahili words Picha (pictures), (H)adithi (story) and was without doubt one of the longest published comic series that was also grounded in the African traditional oral literature. The series had over twenty-30-paged comics that were developed from various popular fables, myths and legends that were told in various Kenyan communities and they were a joy for the young readers. He talked to Msanii Kimani wa Wanjiru.

 

Msanii Kimani: What inspired you to pen the Pichadithi series?

Terry Hirst: It was in 1982, and Kenya had just gone through the trauma of the attempted coup d’état. Working in the mainstream media had become politically very…

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“Boonoonoonoos little bit Boonoonoonoos” by Binyavanga Wainaina

Jalada

boonoonoonoos edited


It is Friday.

Eunice and Milka, sixteen and fifteen, are form-three students at Lamdiak Secondary school—a series of long dark wooden buildings that sit deep in a thick plot of soft Kikuyu grass in front of the Mau forest, one of the coldest places to live in Kenya.

It is five-thirty in the morning. There are already lines of girls washing in buckets at the end of their dorm. Form-four girls, cheeks burnt black with cold, have been up all night studying for exams.

The air is cold and foggy and smells of cow shit and charcoal irons and foaming Imperial Leather soap. When Eunice and Milka walk outside the cold squeezes them immediately, like two women holding the ends of a wet blanket and squeezing. For a moment it is hard to breathe. The throat is seized. Then heat and air bursts out of them, they puff out warm…

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No One Gets to Tell Me I'm Not An African Writer

people who write

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, Ghanaian-American Writer - peoplewhowrite African enough. (Photo by Hannan Saleh)

In the past two years, African literature has undergone a renaissance of attention. Articles in the New York Times and The Guardian have noted the growing number of African literary stars; new awards like the Etisalat Prize and the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship have cropped up to fete and foster talent, and blogs like James Murua’s Literature BlogBrittle PaperThe Ehanom Review, Mary Okeke Reviews and AfriDiaspora.com are among several dedicated to keeping their audiences abreast of writers and writerly news from the Continent.

Contemporary African authors are earning global recognition for their work. Zimbabwean NoViolet Buluwayo’s debut We Need New Names has racked up a slew of awards including most recently the 2014 Hurston-Wright Foundation’s Legacy Award, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. Nigerian-Ghanaian Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go, was named to Granta Magazine’s list of the…

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xxvi

The Drums Of Shostakovich

a)

if I’m to rely on memory, my country, you say,

is in the north – you are not sure.

(a woman cleans the rooms at the back,

her Swahili less laboured than mine,

her answer to my imposition a nod of the head

and a return to duty, as if she’s known

many more travellers like myself.

some music from somewhere dark, something

with its own rules and guides for memory-

making)

if I’m to rely on movement, the plastic flower

in my motel room

will remain a thing of beauty. &

I will stay here, with the dead TV,

the hood of a lamp, the half curtain,

the simple joys of the coming days,

– I’ll make reliable lists from memory.

until you find me.

alone like this, with the body –

how also the map is torn in so many places

unwinding it is – or becomes…

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Why Create

The Adventures of the Village Beauty

Most times, when I’m standing looking at an awesome sunset (Yes, it’s important to be idle sometimes in this fast and furious age we live in) and I ask myself what it is I really do for a living, I get confused.

Then sometimes, when someone else asks me I get tongue tied. Here’s the reason why: I deal with ideas and concepts that are unseen to the naked eye and all other naked senses 🙂 It’s not like a bank where you walk in, serve customers all day then walk out at eh end of the day and switch off from your job. There is no off switch for creatives, because you may fill in the obligatory 8 hour minimum but the idea for a great ad may come to you in the shower, on the toilet or or on a jog somewhere in Karura Forest.

Wonderland | A…

View original post 103 more words

Why Create

The Adventures of the Village Beauty

Most times, when I’m standing looking at an awesome sunset (Yes, it’s important to be idle sometimes in this fast and furious age we live in) and I ask myself what it is I really do for a living, I get confused.

Then sometimes, when someone else asks me I get tongue tied. Here’s the reason why: I deal with ideas and concepts that are unseen to the naked eye and all other naked senses 🙂 It’s not like a bank where you walk in, serve customers all day then walk out at eh end of the day and switch off from your job. There is no off switch for creatives, because you may fill in the obligatory 8 hour minimum but the idea for a great ad may come to you in the shower, on the toilet or or on a jog somewhere in Karura Forest.

Wonderland | A…

View original post 103 more words

#StoroSosa: This Pizza Stinks of Privilege

#StoroSosa is a series of short bite-sized snippets as I weave stories through smoke rings.

‘Another glass of wine?’

He held the bottle in his hand, ready to pour.

‘No thank you. Alcoblow is an unforgiving beast’, I said

‘Oh I don’t need to worry about that’

I raised an eyebrow inquisitively.

‘I have red plates. They never stop red plates’

My eyebrow inched further up my forehead

‘Well, I don’t have that luxury.’ Sarcasm, oozing from every syllable, dripped off my tongue

The pizza had arrived, but we stepped outside for a few minutes. He pulled out a zippo from his pocket and handed it to me.

The conversation, as with smokers after a certain age, turned to the ways in which we compensate our bodies for killing them, in this case for both of us, it was  yoga.

He talked. I listened. He talked. I pretended to listen. He talked. I…

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Whizpopping Human Beans

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with Roald Dahl. I want to be him when I grow down. A few days ago was Roald Dahl Day – YES! It’s a thing. As I was digging in my computer, I found a poem that I wrote on the plane, after a particularly unpleasant incident with the person sitting in front of me. They had reclined their seat all the way back, so that to drink my tea, all I had to do was stick my tongue out and lap up the liquid. In a fit of passive aggressive defiance, I decided to show my appreciation for this inconsideration with a little poke at…

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