Sunday, December 30, 2018

With Friends like these....

There is comfort in surrounding oneself with trustworthy friends. Think of those hard times when a friend or two will stand by your side and assist in whatever way, or by whatever means, in lessening the burden on your shoulders. Truly, difficult times tend to prove who your true friends are.

  It is, however, disconcerting to note not every friend you've invested your trust in will reciprocate the same in kind. The ungrateful lot believes every one owes them and in return they have nothing to pay one back. It is useless to remind them the good you did to them as the godly act has it you do well to others and go your way expecting nothing in return.

  My walk of life has always taught me a vital lesson; everyone will be a good friend to you when you're better off but will see you as an unnecessary burden when you're worse off and treat you differently. Granted, no one is supposed to remain at topmost rudder rung throughout their life.

Monday, December 10, 2018

When Controversy Can Make, Not Break Your Brand

During the run up to the August 8th, 2017 General Election in Kenya, a Nakuru based radio station known as Ithaga FM attracted controversy when the current Bahati Constituency member of parliament, Kimani Ngunjiri, fought off his then fiercest challenger, John ‘Honest’ Mbugua in the studio. The station was to again attract controversy when many young people from Bahati constituency took to the social media and attacked the station labelling it a ‘Facebook Radio’ as they claimed its signal reception is poor in many parts of the constituency. The station proprietor, Njoroge Ng’ang’a (pictured), says such controversies only served to market his brand instead.

How did Ithaga FM came into be?
The station began three years back and was initially known as Fahari FM when I officially launched it. As many did not identify with the station, and this was impacting the business, I saw the need to rebrand to Ithaga FM and broadcasting in vernacular from Kiswahili.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Stepping in to Fill a Market Gap

Many may not easily identify with Ikon Africa Designs given that this business outfit is relatively new in the market but the person behind this brand name is an experienced hand in the field of branding, printing and designing. Robert Kinyanjui, who also goes by the name of Robbie Robbie, is not an average youth in his twenties but an entrepreneur in the making.

  Like any entrepreneur, he saw a market gap that needed filling and stepped in. “After doing a market research, I learned the Kenya fashion industry is still young and I wanted to be part of the game and therefore founded Ikon Africa Designs to create a platform where customers can get dressed under one roof and reduce the stress of moving from shop to shop bargaining for a better fit,” he says of his business located in Nakuru town.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Who Said Partners in a Union are Perfect?

  After that elaborate wedding ceremony, there comes a time to make adjustments to accommodate each other as couples begins their long (or short-lived) married lives.

  If the courtship period preceding the marriage was the shortest time, there are some habits and traits that each of the pair failed to notice in the other one. The first few months in marital bliss can be awkward for such couples and it all boils down to trying to correct each other.

  Granted, no union is perfect. And no partner is perfect either. Each partner sees an imperfection in the other and tries to correct this. But no one wants to be corrected as some of the picked habits have become integral in an individual's life and may construe a part of their psyches. It may be chaotic trying to correct the other's mannerisms.

The Liberated Modern Woman

Today's 'liberated' woman is a classic case study. She is educated, independent, working, proud and arrogant. She is unmanageable to the extent many men out there would rather settle down with a 'lower class' type rather than a self-independent one.

  The modern woman is the face of everything. She graces our living rooms as that sexually lilted voice telecasting news, doing commercial voiceovers or explicitly dressed in adverts to entice you buy products from multinational companies. She is in billboards distracting your attention as you drive by. You hear her voice telling you 'mteja hapatikani' (the subscriber is unavailable) when you can't reach the other party you are calling. She is in different postures gracing the covers of glossy erotic magazines, the newspapers inside pullout pages, movies posters and so on. You see her as that stunning beauty with a sizzling voice leading in church worship choirs and the list is endless....

  It seems tailors and fashion designers have run out of materials in designing attires compatible with the bodily figure of the modern woman. It looks like a consensus had been arrived at worldwide, except where theocratic or religious leaders of the day exercises mandate over a populace, to have designs that only reveals more than covers the female body's figure.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Finding Success in Entertainment Industry

Denis Sume Meso (pictured), is in his early thirties and was until three years ago working with Ipsos Synovate, a research company, and decided to go into self-employ in the entertainment business at the end of his contract. The man who confesses a love for anything showbiz from back in the years is today the manager of an entertainment company by the name of Mesox Entertainment.

What is this business all about and why the choice of the name?
Mesox Entertainment is an entertainment business based in Nakuru that deals in offering professional and quality services in events like emceeing, quality sounds, disc jockeying and band services. I settled on the name Mesox Entertainment as it is derived from my name and also because I wanted the clients to identify the person and the business at the same time.

How did you start and how long have you been in operations?
I started with Sh50, 000 which was mainly savings from the earlier job and bought a few sound equipments to start me off. As business began picking up, I added more equipments with the growth. Currently, the business is three years in operations and doing well.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Memories of a Dam Tree

It was the tallest tree in the village. You could see it from miles away. Besides, it was the best known landmark – simply referred to as muti wa demu, or the dam tree, for it grew on one side of the Wanyororo (Catholic) dam’s banks.

  I’m referring to the eucalyptus tree, the once giant that towered to the sky.

  For those with a nostalgic memory of it, they can attest the tree’s summit literally hugged the sky.

  Its trunk was as thick as a baobab’s; though so smooth making it hard for daredevil adventurists (mostly local louts) to scale up.

  Up high the branches eagles had nests. Occasionally, they would swoop down to homesteads around and pick chicks from the free range breeding systems, and make nice meals out of them with bones to be found dropped at the base of the tree.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Rewarding Sycophancy?

With the dust from the last General Election having long settled down, the elected leaders, without much preamble, went into proving themselves by launching development projects as others, impotently, chose a backseat delaying implementation of same until such an appropriate time with eyes trained to the next elections - a tactic that has time and again been used to hoodwink the gullible electorate!

  Youth empowerment is one of the oft cited campaign agendas for any politician under the sun with the promise of bettering the lot of the majority of who are unemployed, and, invariably, forms the bulk of the population of our nation.

  It makes for an interesting observation to note that, during what is disguised as 'youth empowerment drive', selection of beneficiaries of such 'drives' are done selectively mainly to sycophants and bootlickers who crooned to high heavens, or were pointmen and campaign footsoldiers of the said politicians. As an example, why are some beneficiaries of a 'mheshimiwa' largesse mainly those who were integral in his/her campaign team?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Of Mama Mbogas and their Strange Source of Wealth

That mama mbogas are a hardworking lot is no contention. Some can invade markets as early as 3a.m to get the best of fresh products for their roadside stalls or to supply where they have landed lucrative contracts. A story is told of a banker who was surprised by the amount of money a thriving mama mboga used to deposit each other week. On questioning her closely, it is said he realized there was much money to be made out there than sitting in an expansively furnished office donning a suit and a tie daily - that he too ventured into green grocery business.

  However, a close look at some of mama mboga run sheds returns a different narrative. Not all can fit the bill of the above highlighted example. Some of the makeshift sheds can be said to be fronts for illegal activities than genuine businesses. It behooves one's mind to learn, for example, that a mama mboga runs a green grocery business netting a daily profit of less than Sh300 but lives in a rental unit charging a monthly fee of Sh7, 000!

Monday, September 17, 2018

In Food Crisis of Own Making

Mr Mkulima is a farmer of renown this part of our village. He is a noted hardworking man no wonder praiseworthy names have been ascribed to him as titular honours. The one we've come to associate him with is that of Farmer Number One.

  Before each planting season, he sets the precedent that other farmers emulate. If, for example, he begins clearing his shamba the residues of the last harvest, farmers likewise follows suit. This is irrespective if the rains are a month or two away. When you hear the villagers say that Mr Mkulima can forecast rains with an accuracy that can baffle the local weatherman, you better take cue and prepare your land accordingly.

  That Mr Mkulima is an indisputably hard worker is reinforced by the fact he rises early and can be seen most of the day tending to his crops. Despite the fact most of farmers here owns pieces of land less than an acre in acreage, Mr Mkulima beats them hands down when it comes to harvesting. The much each farmer would get are ten bags of shelled maize at most whereas the Farmer Number One gets an average of thirty bags. The problem, however, is that most farmers have refused to embrace new farming concepts opting to stick with the "tried and tested" methods, no wonder harvests are dismal each other season.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Next Pablo Picasso

Dennis Thuita dropped out of Technical University of Mombasa where he was pursuing a degree in building and civil engineering. The latter was not an accredited course, which saw him forgo his studies and instead focus on being an artist. The early twenties artist doesn’t regret the path he took despite criticism from several quarters that he is wasting away ‘doing nothing’ instead of working in a white collar job. Art to him is like any other career that puts his food on the table as well as in meeting his other financial commitments. His tools of trade are ivory papers, pencils, brushes, canvases, acrylic and oil paints.

Why the art?
  I would be an engineer today or in another career field that is deemed ‘normal’ for a graduate and not being an artist. Art is something I have engaged in for so long and which has been part of my life. It is something in me – an innate skill. Back then when I was a pupil at St Lwanga Primary School in Bahati, Nakuru, I would draw from observations of a newspaper, textbooks or magazines similar looking pictures. When I joined Jomo Kenyatta high school, also in Bahati, I was able to study art as a subject. I love reality with a passion and expressing things and sending messages using human faces and figures. I am a realist artist.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Changing Face of Ol Kalou

Against the backdrop of the debate whether Nyandarua County headquarters should be in Nyahururu or Ol Kalou town, it is imperative the latter is showing much in terms of growth and investors confidentiality. A host of storied buildings are coming up on every other corner of this one street town as investors, particularly real estate developers, flocks in.

  The main town street, unfortunately, is not paved, and when contrasted with the recently cobblestoned matatu terminus, makes for an ironical observation when it rains as being the muddy strip connecting the town to the tarmarked main roads (Ol Kalou-Dundori and Ol Kalou-Nyahururu-Gilgil routes).

Thursday, August 23, 2018

One Man's Quest for Community Libraries

Philip Mainge Wanjohi is a lover of written word and an advocate for establishing of libraries at ward levels to foster a reading culture. The man in his seventies is rooting for every ward in Kenya to have what he terms as Community Library Services, CLS, which will promote an interest in reading at grassroots levels, seeing that many jobless youths are wasting away in rural areas engaging in unproductive habits like gambling and drugs. 

You are an advocate for library services at the ward levels countrywide to foster a reading culture, why are you championing this?
I have read over 2000 books on various genres and the impact they left on me is immense. I was an avid book worm at the Kenya Library Services, Nakuru branch, for many years, and having read a great many books, I realized reading is informative and educative and our young generation of today should embrace reading, not only in classes for purpose of passing examinations like in set books, but as part of recreation activities. And the best way to begin this is by bringing library services closer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Poetically Speaking

Chidi Nwosu is a self-published Nigerian poet with his works appearing in different journals and anthologies. The man who is in early fifties divides his time between Mozambique and Zimbabwe (currently residing in the latter) where he works as an entrepreneur. Not a single day passes without him posting a poem or two, as part of his pastime, on social media forums and sites like the Free Poetic Universe and others. Here, he gives his take on poetry and why he chose this path.

You have this passion for poetry and no day passes without you posting a poem or two. Why love for poems over other literary genres?
My love for literature started way back in high school. I later went to the university and studied English language and literature for my first degree. Among other genres of literature, I find poetry easy to read, grasp, interpret and write. I like the condensation of words in poetry; using too few words to say much, unlike in prose. It may also be because I am a natural taciturn and my love to express myself lucidly with few words. Nevertheless, I love other genres of literature and have tried successfully on short stories and drama.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Parenting in Crisis

Today’s modern parents have become too soft and lenient with their children. Discipline is no longer meted out as harshly as in the days of yore no wonder many parents are bringing up spoilt children. There is also the notion that pampering the kids is the best way to bring them up.

  And with many of today’s couples working, it is clear some do not have time to be with their children unless on the weekends or on rare occasions. Young children from as few months old are increasingly being dropped at daycare centres and picked up in the evenings. Others are left at the hands of the nannies or house helps.

  No longer do we see families at meals together with meals being eaten at separate times depending on the time individual family members’ gets home. That the family set-ups are slowly disintegrating and going the way of some in the Western nations is not in contention.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hustling in Porridge Business to Pay Own College Fee

   There is this misconception that to be successful in life, one needs to begin big. Successful brand names minting millions in profits did not start big, however. Zipporah Njoki, also known as Nzijo, is an early twenties young woman who goes out of her way to get whatever she wants in life, as nothing comes on a silver platter. For many with no business acumen, Sh200, an equivalent of two US dollars, is not much in terms of seed capital to begin a sustainable business, but not for the young lady who hails from a tough background of Mai Mahiu in Nakuru County. The first of four siblings shares her story here.

  "I went into employment shortly after my high school in December of 2017. I have been in and out of several jobs and have worked in a car wash, as a waitress in a hotel, a kitchen cleaner and as a cashier at a wines and spirits shop. However, I can say I began working while in high school. When I was in Form Two, my father was unable to pay for my school fees as he was sentenced to serve a traffic related offence and my mother’s cereal business was collapsing as she could not cater for the family from her meager earnings alone. I had to hustle at a tender age working in several farms to support the family and also pay for my education fees -  had to repeat from form one as I was out of school for a long spell. And in between studying, I had to work odd jobs until I cleared high school.

Friday, August 3, 2018

I Finally Won the Battle with Alcoholism

Joseph Muchwe Karanja (pictured), is a mid-thirties man who had battled with the demon of alcohol abuse for over a decade but managed to free himself from its shackles in 2015, though with bruises that will serve as a reminder of his life’s dark phase. An advocate against alcohol and substance abuse, he narrates how his life was and the dramatic turn that changed him completely.

  The year 2005 can be described as the year I descended deep into alcoholism. By then, I was in the National Youth College, Gilgil, and like other youths with me, I was looking forward to the passing out parade and graduate later that year after four years of rigorous training. That was not to be, for I received my dismal letter owing to indiscipline stemming from alcohol use. That meant four years wasted with nothing to show for same.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Is the Level of Education one has a Measure of Success?

 Much emphasis is always placed on education level one has and many will be proud brandishing academic papers acquired along the life’s process. Though there is nothing wrong in quest for a better education or higher training to land that dream job, oft times, many end up in careers that are less paying or ones they least trained for. But does it take higher education and specialized training in any field of expertise to be a success? Amongst the many successful people in the field of their hustles that I have come across, some did not see the inside of a high school wall let alone complete their college education. This is not saying pursuit of high education or profession training is wrong but the examples of these hustlers’ stories can inspire.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Fool and His Money....

 Gambling is increasingly becoming a way for many seeking a short-cut to instant riches. The mouth watering sums at stake, especially the jackpot prizes, are seeing many a young person ‘invest’ in this front in hopes of striking it rich in life. Whereas few will smile their way to the bank, majority are left counting losses. And those unable to reconcile with losses can go to an extent of stealing or taking loans they can hardly repay just to sustain gambling addiction or even take their lives.

 When Jackson Kamau* won Sh1 million through Kenya Charity sweepstakes some years back, he thought he had it all mapped out for a life of ease and comfort for the rest of his days. It wasn’t to be, for financial discretion took a sabbatical and he was back to square one sooner than he anticipated.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Shocking Un-toiletry Habits of Kenyans!

  Each year, we are used to receiving annual reports on the state of toilet use countrywide whenever World Toilet Day looms. Surprisingly, a nation like Kenya, one amongst the developed in Sub-Sahara Africa, scores poorly when it comes to personal hygienic matters.

  A 2009 census on toilets in Kenya revealed about five million Kenyans lacks these vital facilities and makes do with bushes for their long and short calls. Others uses the bucket type ones on shallow dug holes which rapidly fills up with the filled human sludge discharged in soil posing health hazard in the long run.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Chris Patrick: Destined to Reach Great Heights Through Acting

Acting is something that comes naturally to him. And while many in their final years in high schools were busy preparing for their final exams, ‘Chris’ Patrick Ng’ang’a was producing his first movie, Point of No Return. That was while at Mwiruti Secondary School in Nakuru County with a one of his teachers, who had seen his potential in acting, nurturing him. As the movie title says, he had reached a point of no return in his acting, literally, and the way forward was to keep on marching!

  To match on he did, and in the process had produced several movies. Not until you watch one that you realize the 26 year old man, a talented scriptwriter, is going places. Though he confesses he is a lover of Nigerian movies, a fact which has played a significant influence to his productions, he digresses his plotlines follow similar scripts but are informed by every day happenings around him and the country in general.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Converting Cemeteries to Picnic Sites the Way to Go

 That death forms part of a human’s life circle is a known fact. Whereas some sees it as a rebirth or reincarnation to a new being or a better life in the hereafter, others hold it death is the cessation of life altogether with superstitions shrouding the dead having grown a life of their own. Regardless of your take on death, it is an inescapable fact we all will face it as a final bow of exiting this worldly stage.

  A visit to cemeteries or mausoleums conjures the memories of the departed ones or evokes a dread fear. It seems there is mysticism surrounding souls resting places that not many would pay visits to graves of their loved ones leaving them in neglect. A careful look will, however, reveal the importance many regards the resting places of dear ones as far as entombing or burying their remains is concerned.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

This Man Philip Wanjohi

Not until you engage him do you realize he is not an eccentric old man as some would have it. He has a sharp mind and a knack of punctuating his talk with observations taken straight from some of books he has familiarized himself with. Though he is not as strong as his old former self, he believes his fist can pack a punch enough to dislocate the jaw of a donkey. After all, he was a pugilist and represented the country within the African continent thrice.

  But Philip Mainge Wanjohi, (pictured), who is in hie early seventies, is on a different mission. He has been agitating for establishment of library services at ward levels. The man who has read over 2000 books cutting across all genres decries the lack of a reading culture especially by the young generation. He says he was Member Number782 from 1980 to 1992 at the Kenya National Library Service, Nakuru, but distance and hard economical times had conspired to keep him from frequenting the place.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Failures Made Me Pull Up By Bootstraps

  PETER KANYI is the director of Fagilia Constructors, a company that deals with construction works. However, his has been a long journey to be where he is today as he shares his story.

A humble beginning is just a step to the right direction
  Shortly after high school, I began working odd jobs that came in handy. My first self-employment was in baking and distributing mandazi (buns) with a bicycle. That was during the early 2000s but I did not last long in that line. Part of the reasons being competition, and rather than compete with copycats who were supplying similar products to same customers, I had to strategize.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Revisiting the United Methodist Schools Case

For those who followed the case pitting the Roberts Education Center and the United Methodist Church, perhaps the the dismissal of the case by a Nakuru court is what came as a shocker to the church. Reason being the learned judge found that the latter doesn’t even exist as an entity!

  For one, the church had been operating in a rented building located in – only God knows where! Second, how a church without declared assets could acquire a ten acre piece of land and put up property worth Sh100 million defies logic. In this era where mega churches are the ‘in thing’ with most pastors, we would have seen a storied edifice of its kind that would rival the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in the Ivory Coast - the largest church in the world!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Who Controls Dundori Ward Politics?


When a few or a group of individuals can have an influence on a state to the extent of influencing the formation of laws to protect and promote their private interests, we have a situation called state capture. These individuals, known as oligarchs, seek to strengthen their economic positions.

  A look at politics at the ward level, especially the Dundori Ward, shows there is a cabal of such ‘oligarchs’, though power brokers is the apt term. From 2013, choices of ward leaders have been forced down on the electorate. Not that because the voters cannot make own rational choices on who to elect, but the power brokers, in selling their candidates, manages to psychologically capture their thoughts from the nadir to the zenith of the campaigns. It is no wonder the easily swayed ‘sheeple’ will legitimize a choice fronted by voting en masse!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Ambiguity of 'Nitawasikiliza'

Depending on how you see it, ‘nitawasikiliza’ can be an ambiguous term. It is in present tense to begin with, meaning one can only be heard before an action or event had taken place, though there are differing interpretations out there. But Dundori ward representative, Machembu Chege, avers this is not a broad based term that can be taken out of context and its literal meaning is ‘ready to lend a keen ear’. This, in lay man’s term, means the leader is ready or willing to give considerations to issues dogging the ward, but only after they are raised! (My take, anticipatory leaders can identify what needs to be done and take timely action before the problem reaches an unmanageable or a costlier level).

  I bet my two cents the MCA may be development oriented. Whereas his predecessor is accused of sleeping on the job, taking long to settle down before initiating few developments projects here and there, Machembu is setting a precedent. Literally, he hit the road running by grading roads, with one or two here and there left in such a state one would be forgiven to say Hitler's battle weary machines passed by on their doomed march to Stalingrad! 

Of the pious religious lot

It remains to be seen when coronavirus pandemic is declared contained worldwide, places of worship will be same as before. But given th...