Tag Archives: kenya

The Link Between #BabaWhileYouWereAway and #SabaSabaDay


CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Raila Amolo...
CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, Kenya Business Alliance Against Chronic Hunger – World Economic Forum on Africa 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa, June 10, 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not everything you see on the internet is real.

If you have read Enders Game (The movie does not have this bit), Two children, a brother and sister,Peter and Valentine,living in one house, shaped global ideologies on politics and policy, by writing blogs with pseudonyms, often writing against each other on opposing ideologies apparently from different corners on the continent as Locke and Desmosthenes.

You might be aware of the unveiling of supposedly catfish accounts on Twitter. If you do not know what I am talking about, a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Twitter, Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue or push deceptive online causes.

Now read this blog on Exposed Parodies. In a nutshell, a number of prominent “twitter bigwigs” run multiple parody accounts to support their causes and to bait people.

The trap of following and conversing with parody accounts is easily to fall for. They are already being followed by thousands of other people, so this somehow implies they are an authority on whatever subject they speak about. You find them driving social conversations and ideologies, all by someone who doesn’t exist. A good number of Twitter accounts are not real, nor the thought leaders and ideologists speaking behind them are not real. There are teams of people tweeting and directing ideologies this way and that.

Obviously,there is a danger here,that of Social Control Through Social Media and it binds two elements:

1. Kenyan Hyperactivity on Twitter

2.Social control for mass causes or ideologies

The Feb 28th movement was a test run of social control in Kenya through social media. It occurred two years back,on Feb 28th 2012, where, all people on twitter were supposed to come out at 1.00 pm wherever they were, and sing the national anthem. I experienced it from an office in upper hill, on the 7th floor, and I could hear people in other offices and in the streets singing the Kenya National Anthem. This was indeed proof that social media can be a tool to rally and control mass action.

Kenyans have grown online since then. Over the years as well, Kenyans have been prolific on Twitter, pushing a number of global Twitter trends, just by the sheer volume of tweets, not by the numbers of people on Twitter. Kenyans have attacked South Africans, Nigerians and fought and won Twitter wars. Seemingly, Kenya is the most switched on nation on Twitter in Africa.

Today, whatever trends on Twitter is sure to be on the evening news. On the most part though, Kenyan Twitter trendsetters are for entertainment value; media personalities and representatives of branding and ad companies. Which means their endorsements are rarely for causes and mostly for parties and products. There is the growing thought leader on policy,politics and business, these however are tied down by family and corporate image and branding to risk their neck for a Kenya that is seemingly not worth fighting for. Even the firebrand and hitherto vocal @BonifaceMwangi Quit Activism.

Come #babawhileyouwereaway, a Twitter trend on a politician making his return back home after a three month visit in the USA. After he came back, he calls for national dialogue by the 7/7/2014. The historic Saba Saba day, a day of note in Kenya’s history in terms of policy changing political rallies.

This is my prediction. Whatever exists of CORDs social media team will try to create a trend on or around the SabaSaba day in line with all the complaints on #BabaWhileWereAway, an attempt to veer the mind of the middle class into action.

Sadly, and fortunately for Kenya, the Kenyan on Twitter still utilizes the tool as a means of entertainment. Social media tools, in the form that politician are attempting to use them, to drive ideals and ideas,  are the preserve of the educated and urbane.Most of the action on Twitter remains online. The Kenyan middle class tweets and shouts silently  from the comfort of his suburban home. On the most part, it is a means of news, misinformation,gossip,trending wordplay and jokes.

It will take about 5 more years, whence smartphones will be ubiquitous and pervasive, for the average Kenyan to be rallied by calls to action on a mobile phone trend.

 

 

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The media is awash with different perspectives on the Laptop for Kids Project being implemented in Kenya.

 

I find it interesting that very few of the contributors to this very important discussion care to quote or review other global instances of children being exposed to technology at an early age.

 

The global experiences of OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) in its various formats, of The “Hole In the Wall” experiment by renowned educationist Suguta Mitra all point to this program being an opportunity to spark the next level of professionals ready for the information age.

 

 

 

 

I feel blessed to have gotten got early exposure to technology.

 

I was fortunate enough to get a feel of DOS,Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Lotus 123 (and a lot of Paratroopers, Digger, Chess, Prince, TD (Test Drive), Lotus, Budokan… I clearly played more games than anything).

 

 

Under the tutelage of The Late Steven Barasa Wamalwa, at The Computer Centre, Eldoret, I experienced one of the first child-focused computer educational programs in Kenya in the late eighties-early nineties. Under his direction, some of the most influential Kenyans in technology, like John Walubengo learned and honed their craft.

 

I was never particularly interested in code, thus I did not end up as a developer. Yet in my view this early exposure to command prompt and the basics of  how computing works has aided me to be the formidable Information Worker I am now.

 

In all fields today, computing is melded in the substratum of process, communication and output. Yet we still find people claiming a computer is not working, yet they haven’t turned it on, or being less productive because of screens like this:

 

 

oBgm7TT

 

 

I can quote the venerable Bitange Ndemo stating,

Bitange Ndemo ‏@bantigito18 Jul

1m kids will join std 1. If 10% of them become computer literate, that is 100k. If 10% of these end up in ICT, you have 10k experts

 

False, some might say, but I was one of those kids who had been working ({sic} playing) with computers since I was 7 or 8; the benefits to me have been invaluable.

 

Working with computers may not necessarily guarantee us a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. We may have a higher chance of forming a Larry Flint or a world ranking member of Anonymous, or none at all.

 

Of this, though, I am certain, we shall have a more productive and more effective workforce as a whole.

App Piracy


Let me clear things up a bit. I AM NOT PRO PIRACY.

I have touched on this before, in The Truth About Software Piracy and more recently, Are applications making us dumb?

Look. Africans Do Not Pay For Software. In Any Medium.

Africans don’t pay for apps. We crack them. Even the wealthiest of app users won’t pay for an app when he or she can get it for free.

This is why it has been reported that 83% of software in East and Southern Africa is pirated. This includes corporate accounts with spending power.

While developers speculate on the viability of monetizing apps, VAS Content Providers and Mobile Networks and their partners are earning thousands of dollars from USSD and SMS based content services such as ring tones, marketing promos,raffles, edutainment and NGO initiatives.

This is where the money is.

Forget the iPad/iPhone and Android apps.

Even in the projected 5-10 years, user retention is low, competition is too stiff from international apps who are better capitalized,more established, who’s end game on tech projects are built around sound business, very different from the tunnel vision that most dev. projects seem to be, purely tech without considering the whole concept as a business with an exit strategy.

But the simplest reason is that people won’t buy it when they can get similar value for free.

My perspective is based on statistics on software usage, on whatever medium, in east and southern Africa. It has been reported by that 83% of software in this region is pirated.

This is on the PC platform, with way more security checks and sound business models than the fledgling mobile markets.

After several years and several counts of winners of global and regional application and software development awards in East Africa, we are yet to see an impactful and properly monetized software in the region. If you know of any, kindly tell me of them.

On the basis of this peculiar financial and behavioral history of Africa’s spending and software usage habits, why do we expect people to spontaneously begin paying for mobile applications? Whoever thinks this is possible must be counting on primitive energy.

A clearer example: No sooner had Miguna Miguna’s politically explosive book, Peeling Back the Mask been released, than the same had been forwarded to every Kenyan email address and hosted on every download portal on the internet. I guarantee you that no other book in Kenya’s history reached the eyes of its readers sooner than this one.This is how Kenyans treated an alleged  “whistleblower”. How much more shall they respect your app that tells them what time their bus will arrive?

MONETIZATION

You can make NGO’s, the World Bank, USAID, UN, pay for the app. You might (with a  little insider help, ) make a government pay for the app. But it is easier to have a lion live through ransacking a Masaai herdsman’s cattle pen than making an end user pay for an app.

The key thing here, I believe, is if you truly want to monetize your concept,it will be about who pays for the app.

I have glanced at some discussions on piracy, and specialists posit that in the next five to ten years, we will be a strong app market.

Flash forward ten years, Smart phones are commonplace, accessible, and affordable, Africa is developing, Vision 2030, blah blah…which means the app market will no longer be a small niche market but a mass market.

The small chance that this market will be profitable is based on the following dependencies:

  1. The software is unhackable
  2. The networks receive half of the revenue.
  3. Payments are favourable: The cost is low, or the consumer pays indirectly, or in small bits long term.
  4. The platform has lock in. (For one thing, unless the Samsung App store and the Android market place aka Google Play store is as “watertight” and controlled as the Apple store, there is little chance that any app business will monetize in Africa, its difficult to achieve high margins due to the several layers of service provider mouths to feed)

My Conclusion

In my view, local application developers will be like the music industry,where global management and production companies like Universal and Sony have the platforms, means and structures to take on the long term capital costs, while the local app developer will have little revenues and limited rights to his application.

As such its my view that international platform owners, the Nokias, Blackberries,Apples, Samsungs, Microsofts of this world stand to gain from this market. Not forgetting the Chinese.

Ok, I’ll just leave this here….

athletesfoot.com


jelimo2

Pamela Jelimo is back! Kapsabet express is back! I watched her reclaim her 800m and was glad.

Where was this girl, where had she disappeared to and why was her performance so bad? What was wrong? Why does she fluctuate so?

Sad thing is,no one can really answer those questions.

Unrelatedly, I was looking through Kiva, the world’s first lending platform, an organization who’s sole focus is loans to MSME’s in developing nations targeting the very bottom of the pyramid.

The base target is the small business and microfinance hungry market, as the logical progression is that the top of the pyramid will only grow if the bottom has purchasing power.

The web is rife with different flavors of initiatives of investing in third world countries.

In a separate tangent, I saw an ad on CNN for golfcitizen.com

It is a portal with global golfer profiles, like a social network for global golfers, where you book, schedule and play in different courses, benchmark your handicap against others, you get the drift.

Then it hit me,

ATHLETESFOOT.COM

Ok the name sucks.

The idea doesn’t.

It is a fact that for the longest time, we have been seeking a definition of what it is to be Kenyan.

najivunia kuwa mkenya

Najivunia Kuwa Mkenya? Brand Kenya? Mkenya Halisi? The Kenyan National Dress? When government itself drove a search for a glocal identity? (New NGO word I learnt from my NGO world cousin Philo.)

The spirit of a nation is carried in the pride of its people.

Our athletes are the most irrefutably consistent bearers of our nation’s pride.

Kenya’s athletes are the best in the world.

Yet there are very many talented athletes without the support they need to turn them into international stars.

There is no shortage of athletic meets, across the globe, through Asia, the Americas, Europe.

Yet the world records stand unbroken because the breaker is fighting the wind herding cattle.

Lets have an athletes foot portal.

Lets track the profiles of future Jelimos,Bekeles,Tergats, Kiptanuis etc.

The portal lines out their training programs, their needs,their coach, transfers,training teams, movements, racing meets.

The athlete receives crowdsourced investments with the general public investing in shares of the athlete.

It is a true investment, payable with interest.

This allows the athlete to have a following, with whom she or he can communicate through new and old media.

It generates interest in budding athletes and we as a populace begin hoping in our own stars instead of tracing LeBron James, Tiger Woods et al.

It uplifts the athletic profession as a career, not the subsistent creature it presently is,with responsibilities and demands to meet, answerable to Kenya as a people.

In the public is engrained a sense of ownership, a culture of belief and goodwill and sparks entrepreneurship and a go getting attitude, a national spirit that binds the people together.

KENYAN MEMES IN 2011


English: Picture of Makmende
Image via Wikipedia

Viral trends are the daily social flares that rise up as if out of nowhere, and then flares out as if it was not there, usually tied to specific events or ideology in a day in time.

Daily trends are mapped by sites like http://www.whatthetrend.com and http://www.trendsmap.com.
Google Zeitgeist also outlines global trends.
One of Kenya‘s first globally recognized viral internet trends, is of course, Makmende.   Google it.
From these sites one can trace the current hot topics on the internet in any city at a specific time.
Memes on the other hand, grown up trends. they just do not go away.
They, by nature, carry a consistent repetitive theme or concept, but expressed in a myriad different ways from a persons perspective or usage in different concepts.

What is a Meme?

meme/mēm/

Noun:
  1. An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.
  2. An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.
Memes last and last. They are a variation of the Darwinian biological theory of Natural Selection, and here too, the same factors apply: What makes a concept last?

“Natural selection occurs whenever the following conditions exist (Dennet 1990):

  1. Variation: a continuing abundance of different elements.
  2. Heredity or replication: the elements have the capacity of creating copies or replicas of themselves.
  3. Differential “fitness”: the number of copies of an element that are created in a given time varies, depending on the interaction between the features of that element (whatever it is that makes it different from other elements) and features of the environment in which it persists.”
It is normally a derivative of a single concept, but hitherto expressed in varied ways that ensure the concept does not die out.
The science of memes is one of the oldest and most discussed aspects of social engineering, as memes shape our thinking, how we speak, our ideologies on life.
However in this article we discuss internet memes. Memes that cut across through different internet media and have a place in the real world.
A good place to understand internet memes is http://www.knowyourmeme.com, which acts as a Wikipedia of sorts outlining the origin, growth and progression of internet memes.
An example of a global meme that is easy to relate to is YO DAWG.

The Yo Dawg image is a Meme that erupted from Xzibit‘s show, Pimp My Ride, which featured Xzibit making superflous surprise upgrades to someone’s car, mostly in tandem to someone’s hobbies.

This concept is extended to anything that any person does that is an exaggeration of a basic idea. For example, if someone is overdressed, a simple  “Yo Dawg….” would do.

Xzibit’s reaction

The explosive popularity of microblogging service Twitter has reached celebrities, Xzibit included.

In one of his first tweets he decries his embodiment as a meme: View Tweet

…which led to the creation of this image macro:

Several days later, he rescinded his criticism, saying “i’m not mad @ you”: View Tweet

In the final stage of celeb-o-meme — “acceptance” — Xzibit embraces the yo dawg, attempting to his own: View Tweet

Know your meme puts into internet history important trends that fixate into memes, that mark the influence of certain social events that thereafter create a change in perception or reaction to certain concepts.
In this regard, it is equally important for us to note down our memes and herein I make a feeble attempt from my limited knowledge. Kenyas memes are conveyed mainly through music,media and internet, i.e TV and Radio, Facebook and twitter.
I will need your help so please feel free to add to this post by comment.
So what are our memes in Kenya?
UNBWOGABLE
You may have forgotten this one, but in my book Unbwogable was Kenya’s first viral meme. It was a simple song by Gidi Gidi and  Maji Maji, a dholuo slang word which translates to unstoppable.
Released in time with Kenya’s 2007 elections, the song was popularised by both the ODM political campaign and used to mean that they were unstoppable.
The term stuck and is still in use in kenyan slang.
TOKLEZEA
A kenyan slang word that means to arrive, it was popularized by the song Toklezea by Abbass and Chantelle.
It was made even more popular by the political satire, XYZ’s caricatures of beleaguered politicians, The Hague Six, giving a rendition of the same concept.
It is now a regular word that is used in high and low places to mean to appear, to stand out, either for a meeting, a party…anything.
Eg: This girls smile has tokelezead, I have tokelezead for the party, Thierry Henri has toklezead at Arsenal… you get the drift.
UJINGA NI
The Ujinga Ni, both on facebook and twitter  and in real world, translates to “Stupidity is…”
It simply refers to exaggerations on basic aspects of commonplace stupidity.
An example, Ujingani buying me a cold hotdog.
check out the Ujungani Tacebook group, http://www.ujingani.com and the hash tag #ujingani on twitter for more.
MAJIBU ZA MAKANGA
Public transport is an aspect of typical Kenyan life, one that is not slated to go away for a long long time. The gritty aspect of this mode of transport has produced some of the rudest bus conductors ever, giving birth to the “Majibu Za Makanga ” Meme. (Which loosly translates to: The replies of   conductors”
The facebook group Majibu Za Makanga outlines the populace’s experiences. With about 57,000 likes and growing.
Here is one of them:
Pass: Hey…turn on the radio.
Conductor: gimme a light.
(Its terribly funny in Swahili. Some jokes cannot be translated.
Stude: Si uwashe screen!
Conda: Leta kibiriti)
MCHONGWANO
Mchongwano is kenya’s equivalent to America’s Yo Mama Jokes, though Yo Mama jokes are specific to mamas, Mchongwanos are generic on any topic, butthe point is to diss the recepient of the Mchongwano. the word loosely translates to “the Act of teasing”
there are several Facebook Groups and internet sites on this.
KALONZO MUSYOKA
I wish to first state that this is not a political mudslinging campaign, and that it is a representation of the perception of him is a is the internets.
Our Vice-President has made a meme of himself. Due to his political lifecycle and his ability to shift allegiance, Kenyans have memed him.  He stands for indecisiveness. As such Kenyans use the term Kalonzo in everyday use, in jokes, even in serious situations.
One may hear statements like: “the weather today is kalonzo kalonzo”, or “We ni Watermellon kama Kalonzo ( You are a watermellon[Red inside green Outside] like Kalonzo)
What other typically Kenyan memes might I have left out?

HOW AFRICA DOES SOCIAL MEDIA IN CORPORATE COMMUNICATION


Social Media: Changing Business
Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr

Presence on the world wide web gives an organisation a way to succinctly define themselves and have digital information about who they are and what they do quickly accessible, allowing you,your business, your products and services to get found by internet users.

The challenge of what to say is often faced by businesses who have not clearly defined who they are and what they do. A communications strategy must be defined in tandem with the organisation’s business and marketing plans. This is an integral exercise that business decision makers must invest in with their communications resources before implementing any communication via traditional or new media.

It has been suggested that a sound business concept is one that can be defined in 140 characters.

The first base,otherwise known as Web 1.0, usually a brochure webpage and an webmail email address for internal and external communication. This is where most organisations in Kenya are currently placed,where social media is primarily viewed as an edgy marketing tool, a new means of communicating to current and potential customers.

A cut and paste from the organisation’s brochures and introductory letter structures may do as a start, but depending on the nature of your core business, an investment into a deeper web communications model may be necessary.

Note that, not all businesses require a steep investment into web communications. Do not go into web communications merely because it is the in thing. Despite the following snazzy figures;

As of 18th May 2011, there were:
•667,020,540 Facebook accounts globally
•(KE: 1,093,400 NG: 3,149,320 RSA: 3,816,780 EGY: 7,258,860)
•Over 200 million Twitter accounts (70,000 active in Kenya)
•Over 50 million You Tube accounts (March 2010)
•Over 100 million LinkedIn users (March 2011)

delving into web communications exposes your business to both negative and positive publicity.

The nature of your business may therefore leave you with more complaints and negative publicity than positive feedback. There exists too, the threat of negative campaigns from competitors.

These and other factors must be considered by stakeholders before your business is placed under public scrutiny in matters that may have otherwise been handled quietly, risking the creation of a cost centre where there was none.

Second base is web 2.0.This is where an organisation goes beyond the posting of information and establishes a conversation with her clients. The organisation builds an online community around herself and the web is used interactively. It offers new avenues of having business to business interactions and customer communications. Here, a website is no longer a brochure website but also meshes with interactive suite of web and communication tools.

At this level, the challenge is usually, content. Again, as said earlier, not all businesses are by nature geared to act interactively.

However,here are a few FREE ways of implementing interactive public and private communications both for internal management of the organisation and client communication:

    • Modern email tools like Gmail, Yahoo Business and Outlook live, which go beyond mere electronic mail and incorporate corporate document management, chat, among other features.
    • Linked-In as tool of outlining industry relevance,business to business networking and resource base
    • Newsletters for client communication, and highlighting industry relevance and expertise
    • Skype for international communication and transfer of information
    • Yammer and Salesforce Chatter for CRM and internal corporate information management
    • Twitter Handle for corporate marketing, press releases and client interactions
    • Facebook Page for corporate marketing, press releases and client interactions.
    • Participation in Industry-relevant Mailing lists and websites by technical, management and other departments.

An organisation which has implemented corporate communications effectively is Capital FM: Facebook page Over 111,000 likes
Capital FM Twitter Handle
Over 7,300 followers

If your organization lacks the expertise internally, it is necessary to include a consultant or consulting company to implement a change in your corporate communications strategy.

It is not enough to hire a resource to post across social and communication portals. For a sophisticated deployment in corporate communications, organisations like Gina Din Communications, ScanGroup, Ogilvy and Dotsavvy, among others deploy end to end office and web communications, which includes SMS, corporate phone solutions, CRM and web tools, all the while implementing a shift in the organisation communication practices.

Remember, it is never plug and play, but involves a shift in long term organisation communication policy.

5 KEY FEATURES M-PESA DOES NOT HAVE.


Mpesa has been lauded by many to be truly a game changing revolution.

However there are some key features lacking in M-Pesa reduce its impact as an effective solution.

1. Automation and Management of End-to-End General Accounting Procedures

Mpesa should handle basic administrative financial processes from start to finish,which it does not. the solution leaves gaping holes in the financial accounting procedure cycle, were one truly utilize the product fully for business, it would be difficult to account for transactions.

2. Support for Worldwide Financial Processes

Support for multiple currencies and conversions, languages, country-specific laws and guidelines, and multi-national transactions – to better coordinate activities that span countries,nations,multiple departments and business units, and improve the execution and management of all financial tasks across all global locations.

This is the target of Zain’s Zap, who have a regional approach to the Mobile Money question.

3. Planning and Forecasting

Companies who utilize financial management software solutions have a dramatically enhanced ability to leverage historical data to predict future financial activities such as trends and patterns in income, revenues, and expenses.

In line with this, M-Pesa has been touted to provide a scenarion that would aid a basic business to develop a habit of saving and growth there businesses.

In this case therefore, M-Pesa should allow a trader to understand how certain potential conditions, can impact its financial status. This makes strategic planning more accurate and successful.

4. Cash Flow Management and Tracking

Tracking income as it is recognized and monitoring how funds are spent is a basic necessity for any application handling your money.

Can you imagine going to your bank and requesting to see a years statement and not being able to?

Well, that is the case with M-Pesa. One can not currently query the ststem for financial history, even after a day. If one requires such information, one has to go to an M-Pesa Agent and pay kshs.500/= for every three months of ones statements .

This is way higher than the rates that commercial banks have for their own statements and to this end M-Pesa is being unfriendly to the common man.

Zain Zap on the other hand have a provision right from the SIM Zap application for querying for ones financial history.

5.  Reporting and Analysis

One does not require third party applications to analyse ones own data.

If at all the solutions is to be robust enough, the capacity to view manage and draw trends in usage and expectations of payments should be a basic, especially when M-Pesa is to be the saviour of the Jua Kali trader.

At a minimum the solution should feed into a mobile application that is able to handle basic analysis of financial data.

If he be truly empowered, this little system should act like an entry level financial management tool with, at a basic level, the features of a fully fledged accounting solution.

The points in this note have been borrowed from “The Key Features of a Financial Management Software” which underscores the basic minimum a money transfer and management solution should do.

Over to you, Safaricom.

Sewage Flows Freely in Upper Hill


Sewage water flows freely in Nairobi’s upper hill area. This has been the situation in the last one week and it is getting worse.
A burst sewer lays its contents on the roads and culverts near geomaps building. The area,located in what journalists would call leafy suburbs is now a reeky suburb.
Reports have it that an assistant minister resides close by, with prominent civil service residences next.
A series of flats said to be owned by a Very Powerful member of government stands adjacent.
We do hope the Nairobi City Council reads blogs since they do not seem to heed phonecalls…..

TWITTER FOR KIDS, KIDDER !


Twitter changed our everyday internet experience by allowing people to know everything we do in a simple series of daily status updates. However, one group is largely under represented on twitter and that is children. Which is strange seeing as children often have the most interesting and varied lives to update online.

Twitter knowing the importance of this demographic has announced the launch of its new twitter for kids, Kidder! Kidder will allow children to “kid” their status updates online at all times and keep us updated about their complex and interesting lives.

One child was quoted as kidding “Charlie bit me.” Another child was quoted saying ” I can wipe now.”

Some people are skeptical about a website that is virtually unusable by it’s target audience without the aid of an adult, but industry analysts say that this was a website waiting to happen. Robert Johnson a website prospector at the Institute for Safe Investments, says “Kidder is an advertisers dream, now we can get toy advertisements directly to the parents who’re the ones who have to use this crap anyway!”

Kidder will no doubt become an intricate part of every childs life and will work as an excellent supplement for KidSpace. Though that site recently had to close down after it was reveled that it had become nothing more than a clubhouse for pedophiles. Hopefully Kidder can avoid such problems.

I highly suggest kidder. You don’t want to miss what these crazy tots are doing.

Ok. so i am six days late for an April fools gag but I wrote this post on April 1st so it still counts, doesnt it? 😀

VIA NEON SOLID -GOOGLE BUZZ

makmende memories,remember august?


This is a note by my friend Arnold Gitata, one of Kenya’s best kept secrets,a writing diamond.

The last day of school, packets of junkfood being passed around. Scores being settled ( ma-wanted) the only way we knew how; Sema ng’we..cross this line..
Teachers passing out report forms to students already adepts in forgery.
the bell-ringer strolls out of his class to do his duty. Even before his well-stroked bell has earned its first chorus, classes are half empty. This is waaay before holiday tuitioning.
We stream out of the gates, passing by the heavy-set woman who sells a myriad of goodies throughout your school life. Kashata, Mabuyu, Sukari Nguru, Cools..the list was endless. Sh 1 buys you a maembe with free pili-pili. Sh 2 buys one for your boys to share..
Girls?? Lets Get them!! Its amazing how they put up a fight.
The holidays are in. Ah, life is sweet. We know what we are going to do the whole ‘summer’: Lets get our bikes ( dont have one? no probs, your cohorts will give you ‘raos’,which they will prompt you to remember if ever they need anything from you). Watch out for that gang; they jack yours if they get you.
Lets play shake, or three sticks. Lets hide and seek (or Mkebe, hide-and-seek on steroids). soccer on narrow streets and dusty fields.
Thirsty? drink straight from the tap. We never got hungry, though.
Need sweets? Okay, you distract the shop-keeper, I’l get them from behind.
And then, we would steal kisses from the enemy. And they would be delighted (i think).
We had girlfriends who never knew..and were boyfriends to girls we never knew. We would literally call shotgun on everything (though we must have used another phrase).
Running wild on the streets, being chased by rabid dogs and more rabid parents.
Dusk would fall. The mbotches start coming out to call the young-uns in for their bath ( ever so loudly). The elder ones stayed out, defying parents only long enough to discover their pals have been sneaking home one-by-one.
Sneaking down the stairs, way past bed-time to watch adult programmes ( not to be confused by today’s definition of adult movies). and then, KBC would shut-down, but not before a prayer and the national anthem.
Tomorrow is sato. Then KTN changed all that..tomorrow is Tranformers. Sunday was church (or sunday-skul), followed by Saber-Rider (and-the-staaarrr-sheerriiffs)..

Of Knots and Ties


What is one meant to do to old ties?

I have very many ties in my closet. Don’t get me wrong. Every man does. Some are bright, others dull. Some ties always end up in my hands and on my neck and are well worn and worn well.

Whichever way I tie them,they look great ; so much so after a great day with one close to my chest, it sometimes hurts to unwind the knot..and you put it back in the closet knowing the next experience will be even better….

Others, I wonder how I got them in the first place.

And yet I still have the urge to get more ties. Each time I see a new one in a new design. I stop and wonder, hmmm…

Of course I have to consider, does it suit my suite of suits? Does it go with me,does it make everything brighter or tones it down. ( Depending on the circumstances, both are important, you know?)

Sometimes its just spontaneous, like” boom”: I saw one like this in GQ or with that CEO chap,so I find myself tied up in a tie that deep inside,I really dint want round me.

My problem is why we, as men are always seeking out new ties when we have a closetful of old ones.
When will they ever be enough?I don’t suppose they are meant to burnt?

It cost so much to get some one would rather keep them as decorative pieces.Some we keep of course, due to sentimental value, the memory attached to it,the thoughts that are tied to it.
And sometimes we do let go of the sentimental yackidyshmackidy. But the tie remains.

So the question still stands;
What am I to do to my old ties?

The Story of Edgar Nyorora


The story of Edgar Nyorora

Once upon a time not too many decades past, I was a young boy, a young boy was I.

If you lived in that period then you know what I’m talkin about; apart from the huge monster estate football matches, it was when geared bikes had just come to Kenya and everyones dream was to own a comerella.

Remember the tiny hero blackie, the bmx, chopper, hunter,the huffie?and boys took off from home and rode all day and came back home caked in dust.

One little memory you may have forgotten about…
Edgar Nyorora.

Edgar,as I recall him, was a short, plump ,stumpy boy. Edgar always had this huge grin on his face. And he had a he’ll of a mouth on him. Boy was a talker. He could cheat you out of your soul.

Now this story doesn’t sound so amazing if u do not take into account that I was in standard three and my peers party to this tale were either a year above or below this.

Edgar took our hunger and passion for the road a notch higher. This little guy was my agemate. But the dude had the makings of a lawyer way before he could even petition the Chief Justice.

Edgar convinced each and every child in the neighbourhood that he had a friend called Hermann, who lived in a neighrbouring( in a “novaa” manner,) estate.
Hermann also happened to be stinking stinking rich. So rich that he had kiddie size models of every luxury and sports car at his place.

He told us stories of how they would go racing on the highway speeding under lorries coz the cars were small and low.

How the two of them had so much fun driving and cruising the day away.
(Now that I think of it, much of his story stunk of Mc gyver and Mc cormick…hmmmm…)
He then told us that we each had a choice to pick our cars and Hermann would place the order.

I chose a black Beemer, an uncle of mine drove the sickest black beemer at the time and I imagined how cool it would be to upstage him with me arriving at a family function with it.

Others chose Mercs, Porches, Lamborghini, name it, Hermann had it.

So each day after a laborious day of biking, Edgar would tell us his tales of how he spent his day driving. He said he had placed the order on the cars and we should be patient and wait on our custom vehicles to be built.

And finally D day came. THE day we were to go pick our vehicles.

Picture this. An army of five, six, seven year old boys walking six kilometres from their neighbourhood, the View, towards a place called Poly, as it was close to a Polytechnic.

Yes, walking. And where were our bikes that day you ask? Dear reader. If you are going to pick your car, do you go to where it is with your bike? Besides Edgar had already dangled his keys at us, saying he had left his car being serviced.
And so we walked and got to Poly.

We finally got to meet Hermann. Short and plump like Edgar he was, but with lighter skin. He was broody and quiet. I am not quite sure whether the broodiness was his nature or it was caused by the crowd arriving for their vehicles.

Edgar pulled him to the side and asked him about the whereabouts of our cars. They walked off and into Hermanns home.

I cannot quite remember what happened after this, or whether or not there were confrontations, (and if you were there this day please do tell what you recall,)but I remember there were no vehicles.

Dreams of driving were mercilessly dashed that day. ( Huge sigh) We all walked back home sad, some angry. I’m not sure what Edgar said to wriggle out of that one, because the very next day we were all playing together again.

I still haven’t gotten my black beemer yet, but I will soon.

Microblogging and Social Media: Changing our way of life


As I lie here in the dark of night having been captured by this thought, and now sending it out to the world , I realise that every human being is important.

The advent of blogging, viral media and social networking affirms this more than ever before.
This has however altered the way daily life is lived.

Each event, function,concert,holiday cannot be simply experienced without being twittered,flickred or facebooked

It is all based upon the presumption that everyone in our world is looking out and cares for what we have to say,that we are perpetually on a stage.

Or the grim thought that at our death our history and eulogy is digitally written by our own hand.
The benefits of social media far outweigh the demerits.
However this microwave era, this period of bubblegum life will soon enough come to pass.
This is, to me, made clear in three key aspects in which it has affected our lives.

The first aspect is the lightness with which it comes;a serious message that was once carried in a weighty letter is posted in a microsecond and quickly buried in a mass of meaningless garbage.
This adds in the “cry-wolf” effect, where a serious message is taken lightly. I need not remind you what happened to the boy who cried wolf.

Do you not find it annoying, the multiple media we have to deal with? Today, an afternoon after a hard days work for the typical urban person means skype,email,i-pod,facebook,twitter,flicker,newspaper,tv,radio,sms,phone calls. All this outside direct person to person conversations.
You would think that we are now better at multitasking, but surveys show that persons raised in this media explosion have extremely short attention spans.They can hardly concentrate.

What hurts me most though, is the waning of pure peace and enjoyment of beauty. One no longer basks in a the orange basket of a sunset or sunrise,plunging and losing oneself in its beauty, without first whipping out a camera to “capture”the moment, not knowing the moment was lost once the plunge wasn’t taken, and the decision to be a cold observer behind mirrored steel was made. We will then tumblr it, tweet it, facebook it, stumble upon it, sms it and by the time we are done, it will be dark or high noon,the moment lost in time.

Instead of building addictive habits around our media,we should validate and qualify the importance of our use of the same,and thereafter,use them in moderation.

The Story of Edgar Nyorora


The story of Edgar Nyorora

Once upon a time not too many decades past, I was a young boy, a young boy was I.

If you lived in that period then you know what I’m talkin about; apart from the huge monster estate football matches, it was when geared bikes had just come to Kenya and everyones dream was to own a comerella.

Remember the tiny hero blackie, the bmx, chopper, hunter,the huffie?and boys took off from home and rode all day and came back home caked in dust.

One little memory you may have forgotten about…
Edgar Nyorora.

Edgar,as I recall him, was a short, plump ,stumpy boy. Edgar always had this huge grin on his face. And he had a he’ll of a mouth on him. Boy was a talker. He could cheat you out of your soul.

Now this story doesn’t sound so amazing if u do not take into account that I was in standard three and my peers party to this tale were either a year above or below this.

Edgar took our hunger and passion for the road a notch higher. This little guy was my agemate. But the dude had the makings of a lawyer way before he could even petition the Chief Justice.

Edgar convinced each and every child in the neighbourhood that he had a friend called Hermann, who lived in a neighrbouring( in a “novaa” manner,) estate.
Hermann also happened to be stinking stinking rich. So rich that he had kiddie size models of every luxury and sports car at his place.

He told us stories of how they would go racing on the highway speeding under lorries coz the cars were small and low.

How the two of them had so much fun driving and cruising the day away.
(Now that I think of it, much of his story stunk of Mc gyver and Mc cormick…hmmmm…)
He then told us that we each had a choice to pick our cars and Hermann would place the order.

I chose a black Beemer, an uncle of mine drove the sickest black beemer at the time and I imagined how cool it would be to upstage him with me arriving at a family function with it.

Others chose Mercs, Porches, Lamborghini, name it, Hermann had it.

So each day after a laborious day of biking, Edgar would tell us his tales of how he spent his day driving. He said he had placed the order on the cars and we should be patient and wait on our custom vehicles to be built.

And finally D day came. THE day we were to go pick our vehicles.

Picture this. An army of five, six, seven year old boys walking six kilometres from their neighbourhood, the View, towards a place called Poly, as it was close to a Polytechnic.

Yes, walking. And where were our bikes that day you ask? Dear reader. If you are going to pick your car, do you go to where it is with your bike? Besides Edgar had already dangled his keys at us, saying he had left his car being serviced.
And so we walked and got to Poly.

We finally got to meet Hermann. Short and plump like Edgar he was, but with lighter skin. He was broody and quiet. I am not quite sure whether the broodiness was his nature or it was caused by the crowd arriving for their vehicles.

Edgar pulled him to the side and asked him about the whereabouts of our cars. They walked off and into Hermanns home.

I cannot quite remember what happened after this, or whether or not there were confrontations, (and if you were there this day please do tell what you recall,)but I remember there were no vehicles.

Dreams of driving were mercilessly dashed that day. ( Huge sigh) We all walked back home sad, some angry. I’m not sure what Edgar said to wriggle out of that one, because the very next day we were all playing together again.

I still haven’t gotten my black beemer yet, but I will soon.

KENYAN BAR CULTURE: REALITY CHECK


In Kenya, we live life in a strange pseudo reality.
A state where we do not trust our vision, feel our emotion, we hear but do not listen and find meaning in words. We touch but we do not move, act like we care but do not share.

An amazingly stupid incident is the cause of this rant.

It’s a Friday night and I’m on my way home.

I have turned down the company of an amazing girl because new work rules dictate that Saturday is half day.

I’m used to doing a jig on Friday nights at this nice spot with her but today I must pass.

So here I am minutes from home tweeting as I walk towards my place when this charming stranger stops me. He tells me never to use the phone at night, and how his got stole in the same area a few months before.

I appreciate his directness and I introduce myself. Hand him my card. He tells me he is in tourism and an interesting conversation begins. Two jovial guys chatting away. Oh, did I forget to mention Koi, his girlfriend? This is what “networking” is meant to be about.

They are headed to the local round the bend. I let them know all I have to do is drop off my work stuff (herein being laptop and my suit) before I can join them for one.

I have been on an attempted beer diet. No actually I am trying to quit drinking altogether. The cause of this is the subject of another FISHY story unrelated to this .

So I go ahead and quickly dump my stuff.

Head to the local. This place is amazing. Whatever day of the week, pilots, execs,makangas, you name it, it’s packed to the brim. Totally unbelievable. And they say ati uchumi ni mbaya.

And what greats me is a request that I throw a rao. I promptly do so coz the idea is we each throw a rao and thereafter head digs, to each his own. Wamboi doesn’t count as she is taken. I have forgotten the much sweeter old school version of that phrase. If you know it hebu remind me.[i]

Their best friend was already there by the way.

So three guys one chick. One rao later and my beer is not forthcoming. They have gotten their own rao and I’m seated there looking and feeling sheepish. Not that I cannot buy my own beer. In any case I was only planning for one for the bed.

It’s about integrity.

You guy that is one thing many Kenyans lack. Very few Kenyans have.

If I say that things are going this way they should go that way.

If I tell you each one of us is throwing a rao each one is throwing a rao.

If I tell you baby lets meet at one for lunch, it should be at one for lunch.

If I say dude let’s have a power sharing agreement and you are the prime minister and I the president and things are fifty fifty, let it be so.

But alas. This is Kenya as Churchill would put it.

Everyone acts like they are the stereotypical Nigerian.

And so I left the pub, angry at myself, feeling like “the mark” that just got hustled due to his own greed.

It would have felt comforting and rather expected were I shafted by a fly demu. That is rather kawa and expected.

But to be shafted by a guy, tena one with whom you have had an apparently meaningful business discussion with?

Dare he send me email kesho expecting me to throw business his way!

Foko Jembe!

Goodnight guys.

I am a tad the wiser.

 

 


[i] She is spoken for!

WordPress for Blackberry


I am wondering why I did not know about this earlier.
The nice guys at WordPress have made available WordPress for Blackberry for bloggers on the go. Yet another cool application for Blackberry.
This application has been in public beta from july 2009 and is available for download.
The application works like a charm. Its running smooth and loads pages real quick.
It allows for access and management of multiple blogs.. Uploading of images is pretty straightfoward,with one being able to upload images from the sd card or system memory. All the necessary fields like tags and categories are all there just like the full site. However,one is unable to load the themes as those in the full site whilst previewing the blog.
It is quick and lightweight and loads much faster than twitterberry or facebook for blackberry.

The coolest thing is that I’m having lunch while doing this.

THE POWER TO FORGET: FOR KITULA


This post is for a friend who took  his life.

I do not mean to rub salt into raw wounds.

“These things that we,too soon forget collecting dust,spiderwebs,that grow and grow till there’s nothing left” 8stops7,Forget.

Thank God for the power to overcome.. .There is this movie where the star, a doctor, says he doesn’t call his patients by their names because when he knows their names he remembers them,and if he remembers each person he loses…
We all have had our share of bad experiences in this here life, from death,trauma to mere bad dreams.

Some events are those we must quickly remind ourselves to forget.
In my own movie of a life,  I have proudly overcome many things.

Were we inundated by the vivid memories of these, I hardly think we’d have the strength to live.
We almost forget the passing of those once close to us.their memory,a mere glimmer in a trickle of thought.

What we thought was indelible soon becomes a faint thread.
Ultimately,the memory,though faint,leaves us with the indelible scars of experience.
Embrace your forgetfulness. Embrace the power to overcome.

Its a gift.

The elephants envy us.

Teenage sex study shock for parents


http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/671974/-/unyogd/-/index.html

CHIPS FUNGA
CHIPS FUNGA

I AM SHOCKED THAT THEY ARE SHOCKED!

If you have ever descended from your adult world and gone to earth, in this case being Westlands, or any other of the teenage bars for that matter this report would not be shocking to you.
Ati your daughter is at a christian camp for the weekend?
At a sleepover?
a sleepover of a different kind maybe…
We live in the chips funga era, where your daughter is the chips in reference herein.

Lets do some really basic arithmetic.

Or mathafu in their terms.

I will be a bit guarded and use safe, lower end figures, lest you die from shock.

Your sixteen year old daughter goes out twice a month. ( on the lower scale of things).

Each of those times, she gets chipsed ( take away, bebwad, hit ‘n ran, whatever  u wanna call it).

= 2 in a month

in a year that is 24 guys

in two years that is 48 and so on and so forth.

These are the same mamas who will come to you and tell you she has only been with thre guys since she lost her virginity.

this world,  I tell you.

For all ye parents, fear thee not…

Some of the baddest girls i have known have turned out just fine.

2012


I was her flawless knight,

she, my trusted Queen.

I grew in valor,

She grew in grandeur,

And I blinded her with my light

And so she closed her eyes to me

And the dark ages came.

And she forgot my name.

And the wars I fought,

I fought for her to claim.

Ravaged by battle,

Scarred by misdeeds

My road to heaven

Paved with bad intentions

She then saw my humanness;

In me saw humanity

And she took me back,

like she always will.

KWANI TENA….


KWANI
KWANI

This month’s Kwani! event at Club Sound was boring.

The Poets remain the same.

Its been one year since I was here and there is little change if any at all.

This time the MC was Cindy Ogina, who seems preety comfortable with that role and was easy on the MIC.

However the crowd was kind of slow initially, as the theme was Breast Cancer awareness.
The call was for a few in the crowd to jot down five lines on breasts. Of course five men got up.
This was interjected with periods of tales and poems from featured poets like Grandmaster Masese and Leon.

After peoples breasts had warmed up and guys had gotten comfortable with the place, there was a sudden rush of requests and Cindy had to shut down the number of poems from the public.

It was , as always, well attended.
My take is guys are still and always be interested in poetry.
The effect and power of the same in instilling positive change is however in doubt.

AN APPLE’S PAIN


imagesAN APPLES’S PAIN

As an apple fell from the tree branches, he sat under it, thinking. It came down, bounced on his head and much like the proverbial light bulb, an idea was wrought. And so the story is told that that is all the pain one Isaac Newton had to bear to formulate physics laws on gravity.

For some this would be too little, for others, too much. Does inspiration happen in an instant or is it wrought over time like oil deep in the belly of the earth? To a great extent both concepts ring true for though some things take time, others happen in a moment.

And yet, as it came to be, Newton’s third law of motion holds that a body in motion will continue moving in a particular direction unless stopped by an opposing force or slowed by friction. Simply put if you are going down one road, all factors held constant, unless an opposing or external force acts against you, you will keep going in the direction that you are headed and eventually get to its destination.

At this point I would like you to pause and take a look at yourself, your life. In our lives, there are things we would like to do, aspirations, hopes, dreams. There are things we would like to change about ourselves, be it money, careers, love and relationships or merely a minor acquisition like a new toothbrush, the same rule applies without fail.

If you are headed in a particular direction in your career, all factors held constant, you will certainly get where you are going. Of course in life there are always factors beyond our control. You may call it luck, be it bad or good. Others call it the Hand of God guiding our destiny. But the truth of the matter is on the most part, it is up to man to choose his pain.

For Some pain, either small or great must be borne for man to achieve his intentions. For some it will take great tragedy. A person may have to lose his wife to discover her importance to him. For others still, a mere bright thought at dawn is sufficient. For either path, it is up to the person to choose. This moment of choice, is man’s loneliest moment, for in those seconds he holds his future in his hands.

The realization that change is necessary is not enough. One must push himself or herself in a particular direction to achieve it. One must change himself or herself or be changed involuntarily by events around him. As they say, the world still goes round and round….

Thus the pain may be light, like Newton’s apple or deep, but it is necessary. On the other hand, if you are happy with the direction you are headed to, then full speed ahead, take heart and keep heading to wherever you are going, you shall certainly get there, it is the law of the universe!