Posted in African literature, book review, humour, my library, personalgrowth, reading

We need New Names

“Look at them leaving in droves, the children of the land, just look at them leaving in droves. Those with nothing are crossing borders. Those with strength are crossing borders. Those with ambitions are crossing borders. Those with hopes are crossing borders. Those with loss are crossing borders.  Those in pain are crossing borders…”

The characters, the names oooh my . Who comes up with such names? Bastard (naughtiest of all), Sbho, Stina, Godknows (always asking ques), Chipo (if you in my country this is fries/ female got laid and in the book she got laid by her grandfather?!), Mother of Love, Mother of Bones, Prophet Revelations Bitchington Mborro, Bonfree…man i could go on with the names but someone take me back. Take me back yas-yass-yaaasss. I think i need to see more creativity of names in the books i read next. Any who, Darling the main chic used to live a normal life where food, clothes, luxuries were not an issue until all that went away and her family relocated to the shacks. Her father ran to South Africa since tough economic times in Zimbabwe needed one to man up only for him to come back with AIDS! Life at the tins was not bad at all as tree climbing and stealing of guavas survived her and her pals. The gifts they got from the NGO peeps made them even more happier. And then all that changed for cabbage ears as her aunt took her in, in America and adjusting was not easy but she managed although missed her home terribly.
What happened on the last chapter of the book is that i lost concentration dance. I got bored by the ending (a jealous Chipo blaming D from running away from home, D reminiscing or did i miss something in between?) and just winded it for the sake of winding it. However, what captivated me the most is that Bulawayo deviated from the norm. The norm where authors come up with sweet names, the ideology where one leaves for the States and all this racism occurs;didn’t dwell on that just a sneak peak. The belief that living in shacks is hell nope-gif but the life these buddies had i would die for-Paradise is where the fun is. The humor, way of expression i mean you have to read it to know what am talking about. But all this misery boiled down to: poor governance, inflation, dictatorship, corruption, colonialism and a cry for change.

“……they flee their own wretched land so their hunger may be pacified in foreign lands, their tears wiped away in strange lands, the wounds of their despair bandaged in faraway lands, their blistered prayers muttered in the darkness of queer lands…”

Posted in challenge, communication, economy, energy, finance, humour, Lifestyle

Ask Wanjiku

via Daily Prompt: Survive

Wanjiku is knocking….

Pardon me but Wanjiku is the suitable name they came up with when they wanted to refer to the common Mwananchi (i). The mastermind behind the coining is not known but who cares Wanjiku reigns! Inflation has been pinching and emptying my pockets at the same time in the name of living. Unfortunately, it decided to pick up during the cold weather when everyone complains of this or that.

My love for food as you already know though never showcases itself in the outer being usually gets higher in the cold season. Reproduction was my favorite biology segment so am not going to dwell on the metabolism part since am no teacher. Anyway, it is during this season that my worst meal that I loath to cook, Ugali (ii), becomes the wanted. It just satisfies the belly and makes you warmer in case there are no shoulders to rub you throughout. Problem is I hate buying the various maize flour brands that make one shift to a cock, hostess and kick off the market at the same time as they never cook to the desired taste no matter the amount of heat and time geared upon. Am the posho mill fanatic that awaits the maize harvesting season and grinds maize to flour making it a win-win game as i get “makore (iii).”This is actually the best Ugali more so when cooked using a jiko (iv) and not gas (how many times will i tell people this? My Western peeps enlighten this ones) and makes me go gugugaga. Drought has made this nearly impossible since no harvest was made and now the Ksh190 packet of flour is skyrocketing screaming “stick to your chapatis. (v)”

Funny enough the government subsidized the prices after a ship docked the country with tons of maize causing controversies as some said it was from Mexico and the rest from South Africa. Talk of another unresolved scandal! The prices came down to Ksh90 for a packet of maize flour and one could say the world was coming to an end as shoppers flocked their favorite outlets for purchases.

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The GOK Ksh90 subsidy pack

But you couldn’t keep the entire stock to yourself as managers warned shoppers with the “do not pick more than 2 packets” notice. Then the flour went out of stock and we back to square one. Sigh.

Morning breakfasts got better with my usual traditional meals of sweet potatoes and arrow-roots not deleting my brown bread  till I upgraded to cornflakes and Weetabix’s that needed milk.

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testing my middle middle class upgrade

This crossover was me testing the middle middle class if such a thing exists since it is not just the elite who take this stuff. At first I was disappointed by the number of flakes in a pack yet expensive for who? Milk was not an issue since the Ksh25 small pack or the Ksh30 ‘straight outta cow’ from my regular mama kiosk was always trickling in. I was getting accustomed to strong tea (water mixed with tea leaves) and my fake cocoa that was made of hot water and cocoa as I started my hustling journey till I also upgraded to milk drinks. Then the worst happened. Milk also hit the roof! Now I think I should just sit down and be humble as I trace my humble beginnings that never were a bother. Goodbye cereals, hello…..

I almost went berserk when my mum told me the monthly electricity bill was Ksh 3,000. I mean since I have lived in that house we have never paid such a hefty bill. This was a first. She lamented how the KPLC providers never come to do their readings and end up with estimates. So keen to confirm that indeed it was true, I went to my Facebook where I love hitting inboxes of companies that I got issues with. I read the current meter bill , gave them the account number and voilà we were chatting till they confirmed the dreaded. My mum started blaming us on how our gadgets were consuming electricity, how we would boil water using the jiko blah blah and all I could say was ” we rarely here.” Last month the KPLC guy just came in time when I was around but not to do his meter reading but cut us off! Yes we had neither received the bill nor the famous SMS.  Luckily, the entire neighborhood was going to get the cut since no one had received their bills. For the first time in history, I the never no bribe lady did it. There was no way my vacay would be ruined by electricity and who was going to pay the reconnection fee? Me? No. That settled I inquired why the high cost and not that we owned a factory in the house! Drought, no water he assured me. Then as if to test my patience he added that the next bill would also be high!Lucky are the tokens in the urban areas that all signal red as if danger awaits an entire building.

Yes I hate sugar. In fact I joined the Granny’s club way back as I enjoy sipping my tea sugar free. The hike in sugar is not affecting me at all that is the ONLY thing am at peace with and y’all freaking over it should join my club.

All this hullabaloo brought in the external factors debate. We blamed drought, the government that others decided to take the situation as their campaign mantra but did we really blame ourselves? No since no one wants to accept reality. Truth is our sugar is the most expensive in the world yet we got sugar companies that go under now and then. Can’t these people make sugar cheap for us? We continue to depend on rain fed agriculture no matter how many times the weather man warns us. Year in year out, drought happens at the same time, same months but do we really learn? No, we wait for drought to kick in, wait for relief food, wait for media expose then come up with a campaign to help drought affected populations. Then the cycle continues. We see big chinks of uncultivated lands as we tour the country that have turned into forests. This are not bushes but fertile lands belonging to some inhuman humans who would rather see a forest than food. We run to the city leaving our lands to be cultivated by God knows who. Then we rant hunger yet your land that could have helped gap this food insecurity is barely clothed. We see how desert countries like Dubai are food secure but we would rather exploit their aquarium malls and desert rides rather than imitate them.

The rains are here but how prepared are we? Shall the hashtag #WanjikuDecides be the trending topic come 2months time? Wanjiku has cried, cursed and lost it. Jumping into the Wanjiku bandwagon is not me. Am a survivor, I will survive this turmoil.

(i)Citizen

(ii)Dish made of maize flour

(iii)Chicken feed made out of maize cobs

(iv)Type of stove that uses charcoal

(v)Unleavened flatbread made of wheat flour. Roti/roshi

Posted in humour, sentiments

Emotional Eva

Lately I have realised am becoming too emotional. I don’t know where that came from since yours truly is one hardcore bitch! Whenever am watching a movie/series and there is that cry, hurt moment I always have this balancing tears leave alone reading a book or listening to some shenanigans.

Funny enough I find myself craving for ice cream or chocolates😂😂 things I detest. For starters, I hate sugar. Secondly, I like my chocolate in cakes or hot cocoa drink. Plus this thing has its way of fuelling one’s crimson wave during the month like some hurricane. As for ice cream, if there is one part I love in my body apart from my tummy are my teeth. I can’t stand the icy sensitivity on my black filled molars. Then that mucho feeling with bae ever happens then we shall scoop each others cream and spoil ourselves silly. Talking of spoiling, the other thing I intend to use ice cream for is leg over.

Maybe your lady is maturing to a human where feelings need to be felt but damn I got to put my shit together. Back then nothing stood in my way, staying put and been in the mandem was me. More so, I used to laugh at the emotional wondering why they could never put their act hand in hand. Look at me having a dose of my own medicine and been all miss mouse so meek and mild.

Some will say it’s a phase, to others I needed to fit in their shoes and the rest will claim am in a situation ship with a guy. Am I? (Psss…Eva are you falling in love?) Back to my animations, comedy, action and lil drama to juice my life. Ooh not forgetting my CNN and hip hop music. Those am sure never made me get teary.

Posted in African literature, book review, gender, humour, Lifestyle, my library, personalgrowth, reading, sexuality

Hairdresser Of Harare

What happens when everything you have believed in, the praise, pride and entire attention finally disappears in a snap? Faint probably. Vimbai was a known hairdresser in Mrs. Khumalo’s hair salon who believed in making her clients look like white women since they all wanted a style that mimicked so and so from magazines. She rubbed shoulders with the who is who in Zimbabwe and she took comfort in been the best.  The setting takes place in Zimbabwe during Mugambe’s reign which depicts the rising useless dollar currency as citizens try to make ends meet. Not until one day Dumi, a young man appears from the bush and gets the city talking. He takes over as the best hairdresser, promoted to manager and at one time the other hairdressers receive their first pay rise thanks to unending clients. He even starts selling condoms and the salon changes its talks to sex!

When I read the book my guts told me the lad was gay and this had me read it all and bum- he was gay. This is proven when he moves to Vimbai’s house since his expenses are cut off from his accounts by his father who found out he had an affair with a white guy. She seduces him but nay women ain’t his brood. At a church service the pastor preached on homosexuality and Dumi opted they leave for the salon. Next prove is when Vumbai found him with MR.M in her house and it is shrugged off as a business talk not forgetting the glances at the salon were strange. To the real prove of all this is when Vimbai in love finds his dark diary under his bed and shoot-trouble looms.

Before all this truth in the last chapter😉yeah, i started with the last bits ,Tendai shows how culture shuns one off in the inheritance of property especially when women get it all. When Vimbai’s elder brother died in the UK,  his big mansion was left to Vimbai creating a will contest amongst her brothers but she won the case and ended up been hated by family apart from her younger brother Fungai who bothered to check up on her.

Like any other naive girl, Vimbai fell in love with a sugar daddy who pampered her with gifts but we know how the game gets played. Philip was the old bastard who raped her and Chiwoniso was born. Even today we clearly see young girls taking off with older men for luxury and good upkeep only for a lonely poor future when they hit the road.

Another disturbing element is misconduct towards house helps. There is always the notion that village girls don’t know a damn about housekeeping and city girls will strike you dead with their cunning ways.  Another fear factor is that you never allow her to wash your kids because abuse is everywhere and from doing it yourself you testify if indeed molestation happens when you away. Mandei wa Vs’s help who doesn’t receive praise but ridicule from her boss till one day she decides to treat her well; out of love frustrations.

The Ncubes, Dumi’s family get to know V after she attends Patrick’s wedding as Dumi’s plus one. Chemistry clicks off and she is liked by his entire family for saving their son. They even pamper her with trips, she gets a passport thanks to Mitchell corrupted ways and on her birthday she gets a salon of her own. Talk of heaven blessing her abundantly. It is not all rain and sunshine in her world when Dumi’s dirty diary is found and she alerts Mrs.M who sends out her mob to kill Dumi. With his life on the verge of death, Vimbai blames herself for letting the cat out of the bag but Mr.M assures Dumi of an escape to the UK. Mrs.M however has all Dumi’s belongings including his passport and no way can he leave. It is up to V to trade her life with the passport for Dumi’s safety.

This book has got a lot of comparison from then and now:

1) Back in the days hairdressers were women and a man who took up the task was regarded a sissy. Look at the best salons in today’s world all accumulating young men with creativity and passion that takes them to higher heights. I also want my hair done by a man, who doesn’t?

2) In the African culture homosexuality was a taboo and believed to be Westernized. The white people were regarded as the masterminds who corrupted our morals. Not blaming anyone in the present, the numbers of homos parading themselves in our streets is alarming and all I can say is quote Fungai’s philosophical thinking……….

The question of what the human body may or may not be used for is one that is as old as time itself. The question of what is termed human sexuality is perhaps even older. We assume that there are two types of sexuality since everything is made in pairs. Therefore,  when you look at what you think is a man and what you think is a woman, you fail to recognize or acknowledge other ambiguous possibilities eg. Hermaphrodites. ( What he says next might contradict me)😉

3) It was disturbing for a young man to be in a relationship with an elder woman who had a child. However, from the book the Ncubes are OK with it as long as their son’s secret is not revealed. Today we don’t hide secrets and it is very alright for one to love whoever. Age is just a number any who and kids are a blessing, we tell ourselves!

4) Racism was still present as a commotion  between white and black clients erupted in the salon. Power ruled and a group of guerrillas beat the color out of you. Today not so much is evident but we can smell it from a distance.

5) You should know people. People to run to for favors by chunking away a lumpsum to get deals done. Vumbai had no passport and to avoid the long queues, longer processes, Mitchell would jump in and help her secure one in a day! The wealthy speaketh in communities. Nowadays if you don’t have a godfather somewhere things might take eternity for fulfillment but hey I always think only the lazy go for godfathers. Why would you need one anyway?

6) Jealousy, anger, hatred and betrayal consume us when one challenges our careers. Vimbai had the right to be jelo but what was she not doing right? From the black diary, Dumi wrote that she lacked creativity from the soul-she was too mechanical. Today, we do things to please people, for the sake of it not taking into considerations how it makes them feel in the long run. Learn to do things from the soul.

7) On the inheritance issue customary law did not include women in the right to property. However, the law states that women have a right to equal inheritance as their male counterparts. The argument in the book and today is that the woman leaves her father’s home and is married elsewhere where she finds land. What if she doesn’t find land there? As long as the will includes or doesn’ t include her, she has a right to contest for her share. Period! Never argue with the law.

8) Rejection of men. Why is it that when a lady rejects your wooing the next thing that splits itself from your mouths is hate speech? V rejected many and all she got was “you ugly, you will die alone” naysay. Flashforward, it still happens and they hate to be turned down. If I  don’t like you, I simply don’t like you. Why is it hard to swallow that?

9) Punch lines. I would not be a-ow-kay if I don’t write this. We all get wooed but the lines this pot bellied man on the streets said to Vimbai got me thinking of DJ Khaleed and how he would put them across. Never mind me am that hiphop lady. This works out today I think…

God must be missing an angel because girl when I saw you, I knew you must be one of his angels. You must be a hell of a thief because you stole my heart just by the way you walk. Hell, baby, you are hard to get but let me be your Romeo and I’ll treat you like the princess you are.

10) Music. Rhumba is what people loved- Kofi Olomide , Awilo Longomba, Papa Wemba and this proved how people were loyal to their culture till  Dumi changed all that to urban grooves. The transition of music shows how it has progressed from then to now. Which genres do you like?

11) Pastors, pastors, pastors! Getting their flock pregnant was another but blaming it on the holy spirit was outrageous! Patricia a hairdresser got impregnated by Pastor Chasi making her get fired from her post. Is it not true even today we see pastors who are the holiest of hollies going contrary to their teachings?

12) Lastly, a book is not a book if it does not take you into the moment and let you feel you in the scene already. I was in Zimbabwe riding on kombis (buses I presume), taking tanganda tea, eating matemba and sadza, learning the traditional  greetings of makadini henyu, selling maputi and freezits,  walking on streets bearing Mugambe’s names to talking the Shona lingo. Not forgetting the worthless currency that is still present in the country.

…..and Mugabe is still president😮

 

Posted in book review, humour, Kenyan Literature, my library, politics, reading, religion

I will marry when I want

 I shall marry when I want

Since all padres are still alive

I shall marry when I want

Since all nuns are still alive

I shall marry when I want

This is a play portraying the pre and post colonial periods. Names of characters in this book go hand in hand with their behavior. For instances Kiguunda the main character means a farmer and he owns a one and a half acre land with its title deed hanged in his poor structured house. He keeps staring at it like a found treasure. Ahab Kinoru means a well endowed person with a fat belly. This son of a gun is known for preaching water and taking wine. He owns everything but most from oppressing the poor. Kinyanjui wa Munyui is a drunk character who let’s the cheap liqour take control and burst the truth out like marrying when he wants and no woman can make his world any harder. Jezebel even in the Bible was a hell of a cunning woman and here she eyes Kiguunda’s land and convinces Kinoru to snatch it away. (Talk of Naboth’s Vineyard)

Other characters include Wangechi (Kiguunda’s wife), Gicamba and his wife Njooki who are  Kigunda’s besties since they also poor like him, Samuel the nouveau riche farmer and wife Hellen who are Kinoru’s partners in crime alias preaching mates. Ikuua wa Nditika is Kinoru’s dubious business partner who sees unto it that he provides the Kiguundas with the loan and take their land as security.

The book clearly brings out the religious aspect where the poor believe it was the missionaries who introduced religion and should therefore not be converted and be Westernized. It is here that Kinoru pays Kiguunda and wifey a visit convincing them to repent of their sins and have a church wedding. Despite having all traditional ceremonials he is urged to have a wedding with his land as collateral to get a loan to fund it.

What spurs  next is the believe that their daughter Gathoni is in love with Kinoru’s son and so they must marry to open doors for them but this hunch is not the case. The woman is once again seen pressuring her husband to acept the offer (Remember Adam and Eve?). They get a loan, pimp their house to a modern one, get all the expensive things they would ever think of while Gathoni and her lover go to Mombasa. It is here that she falls pregnant and comes back crying in the middle of her parent’s wedding. It is declared she is a whore who got pregnated by someone else and not Kinoru’s son doing. They  therefore cannot marry and this smell of deceit makes Kiguunda storm his enemy’s home armed with a panga. Jezebel on the other hand takes her gun and misses shooting Kiguunda after a heated confrontation. Kiguunda now becomes like Munyui always drinking his betrayal out.

Normalcy returns to Kiguunda’s homestead with no luxuries but a poor hut and no title deed hanged on the wall. It is all back to scene one.

There are songs used here that showcase freedom  from oppression , religious hymns, flashbacks to narrate a past event and dances depict the various tunes and styles danced back then by our forefathers (Mwomboko, Mucungwa). As a reader you surely want to jiggle to the beat. Proverbs, phrases, idioms and all that hard hidden talk makes you want to laugh while at the same time crack your head up for the meanings. My favourite though…wait for it (PG 18)….a man must brag about his penis no matter how tiny.

This is one book that had its play banned as it was against the government ruling although from reading it, shots were well fired and Ngugi deserved  a trophy rather than a one year detention.

The turnouts here are very much present in our society where capitalism, bad governance, deceit, betrayal and using religion for the wrong reasons are what makes our community revolve.

Am not going to do the spoiler alert  but I think this book should be in the high school set books category. Moreso, the play should come back to our theatres. What do you think?

PS: It was originally written in Kikuyu dialect and would die to have that copy in my hands. Ngahika ndenda.