Falling Stories

You cannot see it but the jacaranda trees are flowering each blossom an insurgent against the sameness of life Soon the streets will be a revolution of colour suffused with a tangible tenderness Fight, grandma, fight It’s worth the struggle to witness next season’s lilac uprising.   Phyllis Muthoni   It’s September and the Jacarandas…

When something has to give (or, towards hope)

“The system adopted in Kenya is African Socialism, but the characteristics of the system and the economic mechanisms it implies have never been spelled out fully in an agreed form.” Sessional Paper No 10 of 1965, Part I, 6 “There are two African traditions which form an essential basis for African Socialism—political democracy and mutual…

Where is Kenya? A Review

“Today we commemorate our 54th Birthday as an independent nation.  On this day, 54 years ago, the Union Jack came down and the Kenyan flag went up.” Uhuru Kenyatta, 12th December 2017 (full speech) With these words, a week ago, the president began his speech to mark our 54th year of independence. It was in…

To Africanize, Decolonize Or Both?

This conversation on what it means to be African has been happening since the days of the independence struggles in many African countries, and has been a major part of African post-colonial discourse. The conversation has mostly focused on knowledge, since knowledge is the beginning of identity formation, with some commentators saying that we need…

Back to Basics: The Value of History

by Robert Munuku Often, while growing up in primary school, we challenged each other to name the capital cities of African countries, and it was a thing of pride to be the child who could name the most. There was one boy called Kieven Yu, of Chinese origin but born and raised in Mombasa town…

Some Dance to Forget

Last week I found myself in of a conversation where a friend talked about how artists failed the country post the 2002 election (not that everything was perfect before that though). Gidi gidi maji maji had just released their song unbwogable and it had captured the emotion of a nation fighting to put an ugly…

I Quit!

by Patrick Gathara Editor’s note: this following piece was first published in 2011. Still, it continues. On my way to work today, I had an epiphany. As I sat in one of the unending traffic jams that have become part of the daily ritual of trying to get to work, fuming as matatus “overlapped” the…

The More Things Seem to Change

“We asked ten years ago. We was asking with the panthers. We was asking with them – the civil rights movement. We was asking. Those people that were asking, they’re all dead or in jail. So what do you think we’re going to do? Ask?” – Tupac Moments only exist within context. To imagine about…

Repersoning

“The burden of identity is upon the identified” – Chuma Nwokolo “I say ‘I am a God’ and you go around saying ‘who the hell does that guy think he is?’ I just told you – I am a god” – Kanye West “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into…

Every Death Should Matter

This essay is taken from Brainstorm’s third e-book, Ha!Kuna Matata: Security in Kenya, which is available for free. DOWNLOAD IT HERE to read more such essays. by Morris Kiruga In the dead of the night, two groups methodically approached the small serene police station. The outer wall of the station had seen better, cleaner days. Its…