LUPUS: A STORY ON RESILIENCE

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As Written By Austine Arnold

 

Let me tell you something you may not know.

 

 

One day, your body may decide to turn against you. On a fine crisp morning like today’s, after several years of being relatively healthy, your immune system may wake up in a bad mood and start fighting your very healthy organs and tissues.

 

 

You will have no clue what will be going on but when you visit Dr. Samuel Juma at Doctors Plaza, he will tell you your kidneys are failing, or your lungs barely functioning. That’s the morning your life will take a swerve: a completely new turn. That morning most of your life will crawl out through the ventilation of the diagnosis room into the sordid outside air.

 

 

Dr. Juma will tell you about a condition called Lupus. A condition you had no clue even existed. A condition that cannot be treated, only managed.

 

 

More of your life will escape through your legs into the ground, as if your body is an earthing device.

 

 

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system gets manic and begins to attack healthy tissues and organs in the body. Autoimmune here means your body cannot tell the difference between foreign invaders such as viruses and your body’s healthy tissues and therefore creates antibodies that attack and destroy the healthy body tissues. Imagine how sad that is!

 

 

It is a disease of flares and remissions. It therefore normally relapses in the form of flare-ups and remits at other times and the patient is well. It also exhibits itself differently to different people but Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) generally results in inflammatory reactions in most patients.  Your body therefore swells and bulges. There is accumulation of fluids in your face, stomach, legs and most of the body parts. And the accumulation saps all the energy away from your body.

 

 

The thing about a condition with flare-ups and remissions is that it destroys your cycle of life. One day you could be hearty, happy and content, and the next you are strained by excruciating pain. It takes away most from your social life and career. Even when you are well, you never know when it will relapse into flares again. You therefore are constantly oscillating between moments of being well and moments you wish death on yourself. Between being bed-ridden at hospital and being at home.

 

 

Autoimmune disorders exhibit themselves in different ways, and are constantly misdiagnosed. Most Lupus patients normally do not realize their condition at early stages due to misdiagnosis. Most doctors only realize it could be Lupus in the late stages. It’s a story of resilience in pain.

 

 

When my friend Ken confided in me and told me the story of his sister who had been battling Lupus, it was intense to say the least. I, like you, had no clue what Lupus was. And I had to sit there as he explained five grueling years the family has withstood. He told me of the toll it took on the family and how the family has now decided to take Joyce to India, to see what that would mean for her. He told me of a woman who for those five years has been smiling like life has the most meaning to her. A woman who does not take every waking day for granted like most of us do. That’s how as a writer a story gets thrust onto your palms. I accepted to tell her story.

 

 

True to what Ken said, the first time I met Joyce she was smiling. A smile leaves a great first impression on all of us, one that is never easy to erase from our minds. She was seated on the couch watching The Surgery Ship on TLC. At first glance, she was any normal person. Her inflammations were not as pronounced other than on her legs which were neatly covered. I had expected I would be talking to someone by her bed side (which gave me chills). So for a while we watched The Surgery Ship together. The Surgery Ship is a show where a group of top doctors are going round the world performing complex surgeries on a ship.  This episode is on this Nigerian boy who has a tumor that has covered his left eye and bulges from the forehead. The thing about the show is that everything is done on camera. So you watch how the surgery is done. For someone who ducked Medical School because of being vain, I closed my eyes and avoided the ‘unpleasant’ sections of the surgery. She told me she watches the show whenever she can. I filled for myself it’s probably because it gives her the conviction that there are people in the world who suffer far worse, and that she isn’t alone.

 

 

When we settled for a chat, it was curious how she lit up every time like the pain she was undergoing was nothing. For a vain man again, every time she mentioned God (which was every time), she struck some chords in me. She was jovial, but you could see the pain by the paleness of her skin. It was a smooth pale, one that recounted its own tale of survival. Her hair too was short and soft, the kind that take time to grow out of their roots. But the thing I noticed more about her were how her eyes still had an unbowed look, that whatever she had gone through, she was still ready to face every day unbowed, unbent, unbroken.

 

 

She recounted her five-year journey with Lupus and overwhelming moments came to me in gushes. How she had at first been misdiagnosed with Rheumatism until later on when the Lupus persisted. How for five years she had oscillated between hospital and home, and the hospital was more home than home itself. Her struggle with immune-suppressants such as Mofetil that meant more life to her every other time as they were her survival. Her story on how she could be in remission and the next second the flares start that she could not even breathe. Her story on how her inflammations were so severe and how at one point she had an accumulation on her stomach that people always asked her if she were pregnant.  How from last year September till January she had lived with a pipe on her sides. Hers was a story, one she told me without letting back, and without shedding a tear. I sat there wondering how crushed I would be if that was me. How teary I would be.

 

 

When I asked her what made her wake up each morning and want to go on living, she was curt, ‘God and Family’. She was indebted to God, and that she repeated with each passing statement she made. But she glorified her family too, how they have been there for her every single time she relapsed. Theirs is a tight-knit family. Her condition has brought them more together, and its lent credence to that old saying, when the chips are down, its family you rely on. She may have lost contact with her friends, but family has been immeasurably supportive.

 

 

She feels bad for having lost her social life, and especially her career. She told me if she got well the first thing she will do is get back to job. She misses it, and yearns to go through the thrill of it once more. I asked her the one lesson her five-year journey with Lupus has taught her and she told me, ’Hope. The one thing you must never lose’.  One of her friends died last year with the same condition, but she believes God has not brought her this far just so she could reach this far.

 

 

This article is about a condition a majority of us remain ignorant about. A condition we erroneously assume could be Cancer or HIV/AIDS. A condition our government and health institutions do little to create awareness about, and has relegated that job to non-profit organizations such as The Lupus Foundation of Kenya and The Kidney and Lupus Society Kenya. A big shout out to the work they are doing. This is about a condition that ail over 5 million people around the world, and that kill thousands yearly. This is about a condition we need to know about and we have to create awareness that it can be managed. That one can live life with Lupus. A fulfilling life.

 

 

This article is also about a story on resilience. A story on how one woman has weathered five years with Lupus and knows God has even better plans for her life. A woman who refuses to give up on life just yet: who smiles knowing tomorrow will be a better day. This article is about Joyce and the people who battle Lupus everyday hoping to one day win the fight. You will. That kid with a tumor on her face in The Surgery Ship may never have believed his better days were ahead, now he basks in the glory.

 

 

This article is about hope: the one thing you must never lose.

 

 

(PS: Joyce will be heading for medication in India. If, out of the abundance of the heart, you would wish to help, please contact Nancy  at 0720 393 942).

 

 

Photo: Courtesy

FOUR TYPES OF PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP BUT DON’T REALIZE IT

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Written By Eric Winston

 

 

I went to both Primary School and High School with Eric Winston. In Primary, he always came First; brilliant chap. In High School, he was the football team Goalkeeper. Hehe.

 

 

Considers himself some sort of a Smart Ass, his WhatsApp status reads, “I use Sarcasm because it’s illegal to beat up people.”

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, ERIC WINSTON.

 

 

Remember when some nice-looking lady with a crooked behind sat pretty in office while her employees were buying dildos with your taxes? It’s sad that there are rumours she wants to be a Governor now, because I would run to the remotest cave there is this side of the Equator and hide there for the rest of my life. I’m not sure which one, between being a Ministerial head and holding a Gubernatorial post, has lighter duties. But if you can’t stop well educated people from blatantly including sex toys in a public budget, I don’t really think you can lead thousands of illiterate former city council askaris who were mostly employed on who-do-you-know basis and were absorbed into their new posts because getting rid of them was more difficult.

 

 

We have a society full of people who need help, serious help, but don’t even realize that they do. We’ve had future leaders die from plain drug overdoses, and their deaths blamed on unclear circumstances. Harambee Stars have, on more than one occasion, been sabotaged by sex addicts who sneak out of the team camp for random lungula on the eve of a game. And have you heard of that Shabana FC fan who thinks he is the ONLY ONE fit to run Kenyan football? Such fuckery!

 

 

But forget these ones – they are serious cases that can only be helped by prayers from The Mighty Prophet of The Lord, even though he himself needs help (before he creates the next ISIS from the people he’s brainwashing, just my two cents).

 

 

There are minor offenders, people whose actions don’t have much influence in the society. People whose scale of impact and decisions they make are negligible. But they need help all the same, before they self-destruct, because it’s just annoyingly tiring to be around them sometimes.

           

 

Serial Chatters

 

These are those folk who are always typing into their phones you would think they are data entry clerks or some shit. Ask them to do something, and they will be on their phones two minutes into the task. It will take them 90 bloody working days to complete a 30-minute task. They spend 99.99% of their waking hours replying to a chat. This – ladies – is not to say you should reply to a text 3 days later, but you should distinguish between your private life and social life. Have time for people you care about but are far away, and in the same measure have time people you may not care much about but are right next to you. And have time for yourself too.

 

 

You should be concerned when you go to bed past midnight yet there’s nothing significant you’ve done that day. Come to think of it, you can’t chat with one person for over 12 hours each passing day. Simple logic tells you that these people are cheaters too.

 

 

Who are you talking to all the damn time? Who is that person you can’t tell you’re taking time off your chat to do something meaningful? What do you say to each other all that time? Are you tracing the Eurobond?

 

 

Have some principles, tell people not to text you after 10pm, don’t text at the dinner table, keep your phone away when having face to face conversations, get your shit together.

 

 

Gamblers

 

The allure of easy money is mouth-watering; let’s not beat around the bush on this. Otherwise we would know where our $999million is, and our Supreme Court wouldn’t sacrifice its reputation for a $2million bribe. So while our government is embracing the Biblical philosophy of ‘to those who have, even more shall be added to them’, it is a blessing in disguise for the entry of sports betting into Kenya.

 

 

People however need to understand that betting is meant as a leisure activity and not an investment. Betting is becoming the main occupation amongst the youth of today. We should be worried about the impact of betting in the next five or so years. If you can’t see a reason why, visit any campus and find students betting with their parents’ hard-earned money meant for their school fees. Worse still, ask them what they will do with the money in case they win. If their answers still don’t get you bothered, check into the nearest mental institution, you have way bigger problems than theirs.

 

 

Ticking Time Bombs

 

At this exact moment, there’s some nosey Internet stranger waiting for you to say something so they start ranting. They have a certain unexplained bitterness welling up inside just looking for the smallest of cracks to come out. No matter how small your post is, they will always find it sensitive and/or offensive. Even when it’s just a mature argument, there are always those people who will resort to insults and unprintable expletives at whoever does not share in their views. I mean, who hurt you? Who stuck their finger up your ass? It’s never that serious.

 

 

You can lie to yourself that your social media life is different from your real life, but the two are correlated and your online bitterness points at an underlying problem in real life.

 

 

Holier-Than-Thou Human Beings

 

On his final day of the US tour last year, The Pope asked Christians to pray for him in his line of work and non-believers to wish him luck. No standards set, he didn’t ask the non-believers to convert to Christianity and pray for him as well. Non-believers just wish me luck, that was all he said.

 

 

We all understand that everyone is imperfect in their own respective ways, and everyone wants to be accepted with their imperfections. The problem is that there are some perfectionists out here, some holier-than-thou wannabees, who want to be accepted for their imperfections but are not willing to accept others with theirs. Such are people who, upon realizing that they have an inadequacy, try to hide it by highlighting others people’s weaknesses.

 

 

Accept yourself the way you are, and accept others the way they are. Life is not a play where a given script has to be followed. If the Pope didn’t deem himself fit to set standards, who are you? Who the fuck are you?

 

 

About The Writer

 

 Winston

 

” I was supposed to be the Kenya National Football Team #1, but shit happened somewhere in between 2009-2010. Now, I’m an Upcoming Sports Writer who occasionally indulges in other topics, like this one here. I’m a Chelsea fan, on loan to Leicester City till the end of the season, just because Arsenal is in the title race. And when I’m not doing any of these things, I’m a kick ass Communications Specialist. “

DEAR UoN STUDENT

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This is a Guest Post by Carey Baraka. You guys don’t know Carey, so I’ll tell you a little about him.

You know those guys that you went to high school with and were your best friends but then they disappeared after high school only to resurface eons later? Yeah. That’s not even close to it.

Carey is a guy I went to school with. High School. We could have been friends by virtue of having a couple mutual buddies but I don’t think we even talked to each other much. On most occasions, we just said our Hi’s and Bye’s. When it stretched, we argued over football. He’s an avid Arsenal fan…to the hoots. Which, for the cool guy persona he portrays, still baffles me. Who in their right cohorts still supports Arsenal at this day and age? What loser? Okay, that was just a retaliatory attack for a few shots he’s going to throw my way towards the end of this guest post. You’ll see. Arsenal is alright.

So, where was I? Yeah, football and banter. Carey was just a class behind me. Language Guru, used to bag awards for leading in English whenever results were released. He was lucky we weren’t in the same class though, I woulda whopped his corny ass. [Lanes, kid. Lanes. Hehe!]

Anyway, so Carey and I only began talking about a month ago when we realized we had something in common; Writing; That deep-seeded love for the pen. He has this crazy style of writing, he bullshits 90% of the time and will keep your mind going in circles with random wit and simple sarcasm. You will enjoy his writing, if you have a sense of humor somewhere deep within you. Believe that. 

DEAR UoN STUDENT. By CAREY BARAKA.

Dear Form Four leaver,

Earlier this week, your college admission status was made available to you. You have finally been admitted to that dream course of you always wanted. Alternatively, you may also have been admitted to that course you never dreamed you would do (Yeah, it happens, don’t fret, you aren’t the first one.) You can almost call yourself a college student. Almost here; meaning not yet – till September. Unless, of course, you sneaked into that university that only offers business. I hear they got in the other week. Still, you deserve a pat on your back. And a beer or two to accompany that pat. In fact, I should change the addressee of this letter…

Dear Almost College Student,

Please note that the key word there is ‘almost’. Don’t go bragging about how you’re in college; how you are at Moi, or KU, or the like. You haven’t been admitted yet, have you? Foot on the brake pedal, fellas. Unless you got into that University that only offers Business. Then you can confidently and proudly proclaim yourself a student of Business University. For the rest, keep your lips shut. Don’t go bragging about how you are a student at The University of Nairobi. You’re not, yet. You are just an Almost Student of the University of Nairobi…

Which brings me to the actual addressee of this letter…

Dear Almost Student of The University of Nairobi,

Allow me to offer my hearty congratulations to you on your admission into this great institution of learning. All your four years of hard work, or four weeks of massive exam irregularities, have been rightfully rewarded. You are now an ‘almost’ student of the only University in Kenya, nay, Africa, with the article ‘The’ in its official title.  The University of Nairobi. The ‘The’ should be italicized, capitalized and boldified (if that’s even a word). The University. That is how you introduce it when someone asks you which your (almost) institution of learning is. Better yet, you can just refer to it as “The.” Be arrogant. They’ll know what you’re talking about.

That’s brings me to what I wanted to talk to you about. You remember being taught to always be humble? You remember being told repeatedly how Pride comes before a fall? You remember where you were told some bullshit story about how a hare was proud and was beaten by the chameleon in some insignificant race? You do? Good. It’s time to toss those teachings out the window. Here at The University, we are batshit arrogant. We are proud, vain, conceited, narcissistic, vainglorious, self-important, bigheaded and inflated. Like what I did there. You see, a normal person would use the word proud, and be happy with himself for conveying his intended meaning across. A normal person. Well, here’s the problem, we are not normal, that has never been our style. To us, it makes better sense to use a million words, even at the risk of ambiguity, to refer to a single action. We are The University. The. Aye, Babu Owino?

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The owner of this blog, the blog upon which you are reading this, is a student at JKUAT. Wait, why do you have a look akin to one suffering constipation on your face? What’s that? You don’t know what JKUAT is? Oh, sorry, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. No, it doesn’t have the article “The” in its official label. Yes, yes, it’s the one found somewhere in Thika. Or Juja. Or Kiambu. Ian, where is your university found? (Loud whisper: Ian is the owner of this blog) Let’s just say that this JKUAT place is somewhere on the outskirts of Nairobi. So, some time ago, students JKUAT unveiled a laptop they had allegedly assembled. And I use the word allegedly because I am vexed, annoyed, angry, irritated, displeased, cross, upset (see what I did there?) that those bastards at Juja Boys (that’s an endearing term for JKUAT) developed a laptop before The University. My dear almost comrade, you will find that an almost JKUAT student will repeatedly attempt to sneak this laptop story into any conversation you’ll have henceforth. You are to nip this act of flagrant indiscipline in the bud by politely reminding said JKUAT student that we had assembled a car (Nyayo 1 anyone?) before their institution existed. Slight exaggeration there, but they wouldn’t know, would they? They’re from Juja, after all. And you are almost from The University. The only institution in Kenya where, as Ian so politely put it, students have KEBS stamps inked on their asses.

You must also be aware by now that POTUS will be in Kenya for some time, and part of his schedule involves him giving an address at Kenyatta University. I would like to take this chance to inform you that for current and future KU students, this will be the zenith of their entire university life. They will talk about his visit for the next couple of hundred years, because nothing of a similar nature has and will ever happen to them. You are to listen patiently at their gloating, then completely ignore everything they just said and ask them about the weather. Or something equally mundane. Crush their tiny egos to smithereens. Better yet, ask them how many of their alumni have ever won the Nobel Prize. Or whether any of their alumni has ever been a Prime Minister in Kenya. Or whether their alumni occupy more than half the cabinet in Kenya. By jove, I think their most decorated alumni ever will be Vera Sidika, if she ever finishes her degree. But it’s none of my business.

Please note that I have gone soft on KU only because my mother learnt there. (Hi mummy!)

Dear Future Comrade, you must also know a bit about Moi University. They go on strike a lot, around once a fortnight. Tsk tsk. Rowdy bastards. Moi University is in Eldoret. Wait, it is in Nakuru. Where exactly is Moi University? Oh, one more thing about Moi, my ex learns there. This is totally personal information, but there are no secrets between comrades, eyy?

There are other tertiary institutions in Kenya. We don’t really talk about them.

Young one, I have imparted all the knowledge you need to know for now. The rest will be availed to you when you join up in September. Otherwise, cheers!

Yours,

Student at The University.

PS: When you are sharing this article with your pals at KU, give them a dictionary too, okay?

PS2: Ian, I swear this is not a waste of time. This is valuable academic information that will change a nation…Ah, crap, who am I kidding? This is bullshit.

PS3: You should stop reading now.

PS4: FIFA on PS4 is quite good.

PS5: Okay, I’ll stop now.

You can follow him on his Blog, Kenyan Philosopher- http://www.careybaraka.wordpress.com

AGNES

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Now, guys, this is a Guest Post by Austin Arnold, whom you might remember from this interview [ https://ianreal.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/i-am-a-work-in-progress-austin-arnold/ ] as one of the main reasons I even took up writing in the first place. This is a chap who literally used to mark my essays as a kid.

 

Austin is one fellow who prides himself in wearing many hats; at least that’s what he says. He will go M.I.A on you for two weeks and when you finally reach him and ask him where the hell he was and what he was even doing, Austin will give you a resounding sigh and reply, “I’m a busy man Baba!” And you will let it slide because he called you Baba.

 

The good ole’ bloke started blogging around a year before me but towards the end of last year till now he’s been a little held up with other affairs [*sneeze*Politics]. When he mailed me this piece and told me he wanted to feature on my blog, I was humbled. I read it and it swept me off my books; impressively written and well thought outside the box. Folks, he still got it. And he’s back.

 

So, ladies and gentlemen, AGNES. By AUSTIN ARNOLD

 

This is how you want your story with Agnes to turn out.

Yes, you want a woman named Agnes because nothing screams phonier than Bianca. And you want her to hate her name so much she prefers to be called Angie. You want to call her Agnes every time just to upset her and see her twitch her face in that sexy way your heart skips to Kapedo. You will tell her that her name sounds so colonial Dedan Kimathi turns in his grave, but its way hip than Bianca. You will not tell her your hatred for Bianca is because she dumped you just when you started loving her.

You do not want to meet her in a conventional way. You don’t go to Church on Sundays. You hate clubbing on Fridays, and you hate people so much house parties are an anathema to you. But you want to meet her at Aqua Lounge on Tuesday night, with a Guinness in tow. And you want to ask her why the hell someone would take a Gino on a Tuesday night, and hear her reply “Because I have an extra ball hanging from my penis”. You want to savour the taste of those words for so long, because they would be the beginning of something magical. Of magic itself.  Because you want to sit with her at that same spot on Tuesdays for the rest of your lives.

You want to meet her donning Bantu knots or Marley twists. And you want to tell her you are impressed, because, like in a man, you have always held that what a woman flaunts on her head shows how neat her brain is. And you want her to call you out for such kind of bullshit. But you want to meet her in a natural hairdo just so you can know what she thinks about hair politics, and Chimamanda. And for the first time, you want to be in the presence of a woman who doesn’t think Chimamanda is a disease, and who will tell you The Purple Hibiscus made her cry. And she will pinch you for saying Taiye Selasie is a better writer than Chima.

Agnes will tell you she is adventurous, and that she is taking an online course in Greek Mythology. She will tell you she did three years in Medical School and got so bored she dropped out, because conforming is not her thing. And that her dad never talked to her for two years because of that, but she never gave a fuck because she did not have any fucks to give. And you will orgasm. And then dive headlong into why Socrates was not as wise as Bias of Priene. And you will fall head over heels in love.  For the second time after Bianca.

She will tell you that sometimes she likes to have someone fuck her so hard. You will admit you have never done any woman so hard, but it’s a challenge for which you are ready, and you will be all guns blazing when that time comes. Because you will fuck her so hard you will be too tired to get out of bed the next morning she will bring you breakfast while humming to Liquideep’s ‘Still’. And you will grab her, fuck her one more time and tell her she is the only breakfast worth any struggle.

You will offer to take her out to dinner and you will argue between Chinese and Ethiopian. Her choice [Chinese] will win because you hate winning against her, and you will spend two hours Googling what it is the Chinese really eat other than snakes. You will settle on Sweet and Sour Pork because of your love for Pork Chops, but she will again box you into ordering the drunken chicken. It will be shit of course, and so you will look into her eyes and tell her she is turning you into someone else. She will look into your eyes and give you an even curt reply ‘You are at Liberty to change me too. That’s why we are doing this’. Fuck this orgasm.

She is not as beautiful as Sarah Hassan. Because in your myopic mind Sarah Hassan has been the all-time litmus for all beauty. But she will be so comfortable in her skin Sarah Hassan would be envious. Her legs will be so beautiful you will remind her they are the kind of legs that one would not just stare at once then look away. And for the first time, a woman will tell you that you are not as handsome, but your eyes drive her crazy. And that they are only things that made her speak to you that Tuesday night at the club. The next day you will ask your buddy Bianca what she thinks about your eyes and she will tell you ‘they are intimidating’. The Fuck.

On a nippy Thursday evening you will assemble your buddies at Wambugu’s to introduce them to Agnes. They will smirk about you dating someone called Agnes in 2015, and you will smile wryly and tell them to shove that up their asses. They will come nonetheless, and an hour later Agnes will show up with her best friend Joyce. And you will have a whole evening taking meat and talking about nothing in particular.

Then later in the evening you will ask your gang what they thing about her and they will have no words for you.

Keep her, this Agnes.

You can catch up with him on his blog, Zeal Chronicles [ https://auarnold2013.wordpress.com/ ]

THE BEGINNING

Written by Bonnie Kay

 

packing

 

As I pack lightly in my hostel room, I take a second to sit down and reminisce on the last four months of my first semester in campus. I can’t say it’s exactly everything I thought it would be. To be perfectly honest, campus is overrated. Contrary to popular opinion, campus is not a party hub. People don’t drink the whole day and smoke till sunset, the girls don’t bare it all in broad daylight (but it’s still debatable), and the guys don’t switch girls everyday (still debatable). My point is, there is more to it other than the whole cliché school of thought about it. I know everyone would expect the whole party animal act but I am sorry to disappoint anyone in that line of thought. It has been an uneventful four months.

 

A friend recently dropped by and with much excitement in his eyes, asked me how campus life is. At that very moment it hit me that I had almost nothing to say; nothing exciting to the ears of a form four leaver and campus hopeful anyway. I mean, how could I begin to tell him about how interesting sociology class was and how I attended every lecture? That’s how you lose friends! I could see the disappointment on my friends face when I explained how uneventful it was. Now am pretty sure I top the list of the biggest idiots he’s ever met. He was waiting to hear of my endless drinking spree and partying escapades. So yes, I didn’t drink myself silly, I never woke up next to a strange girl, I never smoked any illegal herbs( maybe once or twice] and I definitely didn’t take part in an orgy[yes, that happens]. I spent half my time in bed in an awfully quiet and isolated hostel watching orange is the new black and the other half is split between getting angry at the slow internet connection in the campus while trying to download Nick Dee’s top 40, and lining in line for hours at F-Class trying to get that chapo mix.

 

I swear I have never survived this much in my life. Forget high school, ten shillings has never had a bigger meaning than in the last four months. My stomach has been subjected to very odd foods so much that now I think am allergic to fast foods or anything that actually tastes good. Now, on top of all that, add women into the picture. There is nothing heartbreaking as a girl asking you to buy her a cocktail after class and you only have fifty shillings at hand. Buying that cocktail completely ruins your whole budget. It means skipping lunch, foregoing buying airtime and probably not stopping by at your mutura guy. See women think we are something close to being superhuman who need not eat. They somehow think that we are at their mercy whenever they please.

 

However, my first semester wasn’t as completely dull and full of hunger. I made friends, some interesting, some different and some not worth talking about. From the reggae guy who listens to Kelly Clarkson (it’s still a shocker to me, Bob Marley meets Bono scenario?), the weird neighbor who had never held a conversation with any female species for more than two minutes, to the big guy in the hostel’s common room who has an opinion about everything. I cannot leave out the guy with the larger than life ego. It’s safe to say I have made friends with misfits. On love, I couldn’t be further from getting Mrs. Right, if she exists anyway. For some strange reason, my understanding of girls has become more twisted. A few damsels crossed my way. Starting with the lass with the awkward smile to the damsel who knocked me off my feet just to give me blows while I was down. What’s with me and this bad luck with women? It wouldn’t be much of a shock if a crystal ball showed me still dreaming of marrying Olivia Wilde 20 years from now while my kinsmen are all married and “happy’’. Bottom line is, it’s only the first semester, right?

 

About the Writer of this article

Bonnie

In his own words;

 

I am Bonnie…What can i say, making words come alive is my thing. Am subtle but my inner demons tend to break loose once in a while. Am not the kind of person you could easily pick in a crowd due to that nature. You ask if am single? Well, I think “love” is over rated and rather than spending half my time trying to impress another mortal, I’d rather stay in my boxers in the house and watch reruns of 24.”

 

Warm Festive Season!

LET’S TALK MUSIC! THEN HOIST A FLAG…

Written By: Phanuel Isaiah aka Izzy_Dash

 

JAB
Well, I can almost bet this is the first form of essay I’ve written since I was through with high school a few years back. I just had to share my mind with you (yes you, I see you). It’s about a spot that touches on everyone in one way or another… MUSIC! (Kenyan music, in particular).  I intend to be as real as can be so allow me to start with the crappy side.

 
If you’ve ever taken a minute to listen to Kenyan music I guarantee you’ll feel me. Most of us share the same sentiments that Kenyan music has something missing in it. There is no need to point fingers here, it all boils down to investments. Most artistes are not ready to wholly invest in their music, though I do admit it’s a risk. I sought the opinion of a friend in the industry and he said “We, artistes, expect a lot from music but we don’t give the same” I believe music is not just about a studio session but how much you put into it; doesn’t have to be money. However, I can’t blame the musicians for not investing ‘cause of the massive foreign influence in Kenya. I mean how does it get to a point where Kiswahili is not cool enough?? Really??

 
Then there comes a very huge factor that pulls back our artistes… BRANDING!! Artistes need to have a full package to give. It’s not only about music but the connection with listeners, which is practically impossible without a brand. Let’s take a close example, Diamond Platnumz from TZ… I mean DAMN!! Did you see the crowd at the airport after the AFRIMMAs?? Tanzanians love this dude! It’s about the brand, there’s no time for beef (that’s so 90’s).

 
But there appears to be one major problem: AIRPLAY. I asked some underground artistes how they are handled before crossing to the mainstream industry and one said “We’re treated like they’re doing us a favor by playing our music” Didn’t we all see the “semi-nude’ demonstration by upcoming artistes at Nation Centre the other day over denied airplay? If you didn’t then, son, the internet is not your friend. It’s really disappointing, those are dreams being shattered. There is massive talent in the underground industry! Take a walk to a studio near you and listen to the music being made there, you’ll be in huge shock. Question is, where does that music end up? The Internet? Then what? This may sound really drastic or extreme but I feel we need to adopt a 60% – 40% policy of airplay. The former for Kenyan products.

 

You probably clicked in disgust when you read that but really, who do you think will come to represent Kenya for you if you won’t? Who do you think will give a damn about our music if we don’t? Wouldn’t you like to be in a conversation with someone out there and you talk about the good music in Kenya? Wouldn’t you be proud to see International awards given to your own?  Simple statistic: When was the last time you heard of a tour of Kenyan artistes together around the country if not for Safaricom shows? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out today that some of these artistes we call “big” are only known in Nairobi, what of the rest of Kenya?
Most artistes lack management and that’s the exact reason why I believe we should invest in record labels! Look at how far OGOPA DEEJAYS got, wouldn’t you like to see that more often? One of these days we should hold a meeting for Kenyans in the creative world with the Head of State and investors and all players in the industry to see the way forward (it should even be annual). At the end of the day it’s about Kenyan pride. Can’t we hoist our flag even higher? I believe we can but, hey, it’s just what I think. I can’t make the change alone.

 

About the Writer of this article

Izzy Dash

 

Phanuel Isaiah, a.k.a Izzy Dash, is an upcoming Kenyan artiste currently receiving favorable airplay on local stations, most notably KISS T.V, with two tracks under his belt: Getting Paid produced by Riccobeatz, featuring Richie G, Ceezy Montana, Bruno Kips and Izzy Dash as well as Za Kwetu, also produced by Riccobeatz and featuring Izzy Dash alongside Dida & Richie G of ATL Entertainment. Za Kwetu is a song about celebrating our local heritage and was featured in the (in)famous 50 Million Vera Sidika bleaching mixtape by one anonymous DJ a while back. The audios and videos of these tracks can be accessed and/or downloaded from the following links:

 

Getting Paid

Audio: http://mdundo.com/song/14183

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPeNepmMGSg

Za Kwetu

Audio: http://mdundo.com/song/12966

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JkXafxv7dg

 

Enjoy!