Thursday, November 27, 2008

End Of Year Open Mic Slam

Written by Kwani · November 25, 2008

End Of Year Open Mic Slam

When: December 2nd 2008

Where: Club Soundd

Time: From 7 PM Sharp

The first 15 poets to register will get a chance to read / perform a 3 minute poetry piece.The audience will vote for the winner through an unriggable secret ballot

FIRST PRIZE : Kshs 6000

Second and Third Prize: Books from Kwani?

The audience is also a winner! A raffle will be drawn where you stand a chance to win Kwani 1, 2, or 3


Thursday, November 20, 2008

in the words of Nelson Mandela.

it's amazing how luck loves smiling upon my wretched self,I dropped by a friend's room and found this truly fab' book -IN THE WORDS OF NELSON MANDELA,complete with raw photos of the bigger than life MADIBA smiling in a way nobody could describe aptly..

Now I just can't seem to let go of this jewel of a book.

But to be plain and simple,it's about MANDELA'S take on a whole lot of issues,actually all the issues that pertain to living;its amazing how normal talk can go on to be really revolutionary work that inspires so many people..

There is so much to say about this book but I wont tel it all;to the youth he says this;
"Young people are capable,when aroused,of brining down towers of sppression and raisng banners of freedom"

To be able to be lucky enough to be let into the mind of a man who towers over so many,is proving too much for me and my humble senses,each phrase I read hits me so hard that I have to pause and re-read it afresh in my mind.

NELSON MANDELA is a man above the rest and an icon above the many we know;this is the finest that I grasped-


Writing is a profession which puts one right into the centre of the world and,to remain on top,one has to work really hard,the aim being a good and original theme,simplicity in expression and the use of the irreplaceable word"

From a letter to his daughter Zindzi,4th Sept.'77

around me...

You cupped my face
And told me;
If I ever felt lost
I should only look
And I’ll surely find you...

You would be
The soft breeze
That gently ruffles my trousers
And yet still
The harsh wind
That lashes at my face
You said you’d be
The morning rain
That the grasses love
And still the ghostly storm
That tears down trees

You told me
You’d always be there
As the sunlight on my skin
And the darkness to my eyes
You told me again and again that
You’d always be here

But now
That the air stands still
And the yellow sun
Is chained behind clouds
I realize how much of me you took with you







the next Maurice Kirya experience...

Maurice Kirya

11-25-2008 20:00 at ROUGE


Cost: 10000

The Maurice Kirya Experience is a monthly showcase of live artistic talents which occurs on the last Tuesday of every month and features music, poetry and art. The Maurice Kirya Experience is a platform for new and established singers, musicians, poets and visual artists to showcase their talents in a warm supportive environment. We hope you will be able to come and Join The Artistry

sunday saloon-nov.23.08..nairobi

Sunday Salon Nairobi

A Prose Reading Series


Juliet Maruru

Moraa Gitaa

+2 Screen Writers from the Kenya Film Commission & Kwani Trust Screen Writing Workshop

& Musician


Four readers

Four unique voices

In a tranquil outdoor setting


Sunday 23rd November

Kengeles, Lavington Green

Entry Only KSh. 300


Moraa Gitaa

Moraa Gitaa was born, bred and raised in the port city of Mombasa. She has lived and worked in the coastal beach town all her life and only a year ago moved to Nairobi where she is a fulltime writer and is working on plans to initiate an organization that provides books for disadvantaged children residing in informal settlements and those challenged by dyslexia, a condition that had challenged her daughter.

She attended the Aga Khan group of schools in Mombasa and studied Administration and IT at the Coast College of Commerce.

‘CRUCIBLE FOR SILVER AND FURNACE FOR GOLD’ is her debut novel published in Canada. She has a finished crime fiction novella (INDECENT PROPOSAL) and an inspirational text (I DARED TO DREAM) that is due to be published by StoryMoja.

Until most recently she was the Kenya staff writer for G21 for 4 years and is currently a correspondent for the American publications Mshale and African Magazine. She has penned a couple of book reviews for the Sunday Nation. Moraa has several short stories published in various anthologies including G21’s Africa Fresh!–New voices from the first continent (2007) and Author-Me’s Author Africa–2008 Anthology,some of which were submitted for the Caine Prize for African writing.

In 2005-2006 with 11 other screen-writers they co-authored and created a concept in the form of a new TV crime detective series titled CID Nairobi but are yet to get funding for the 13 series shoot. She has refused to be the ‘SAFE’ under 35 year old writer that most traditional local publishers have been looking for! That is why some people refer to her as a rebel writer, unorthodox and unconventional!

She cites her greatest inspiration as her thirteen year-old daughter Tracy and the Kenyan-African woman who struggles daily to ensure she provides for her family.

Moraa has also submitted her second novel ‘THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL’ to the Canadian publishing firm. She is working on her third novel provisionally titled ‘SHIFTING SANDS’, of which a chapter excerpt titled ‘From Shifting Sands to Deeper Dimensions’ won the NBDC(K) National Book Development Council of Kenya Literary Awards Book Week 1st Prize in the Adult Fiction Category at the 11th Nairobi International Book Fair September 2008.

Juliet Maruru

Juliet is a 20 something year old writer, a semi-trained kindergarten teacher, a writer and Editorial assistant at Storymoja. Her yet to be finished adventure novel for teens(looks like she has not given up on teens completely), might yet be published some time next year, but you can read her work on

She loves to read, to write, to work with kids. Her motto adopted from a city then off a tolerant lawyer declares that ‘she floats..’ She needs to judging from the umber of times she finds herself in a deep end.

Juliet will be reading her short story, ‘There goes my Career’ which she describes as ‘one more story about surviving in the big wide world, drowning a little bit, then finding my stroke again, and loving it all’


Maia represents another amazing side to Kenya’s dynamic musical scene. Her voice
and style has an affinity with female jazz vocalists of the 1930s and soul and folk music
of the 1960s. In all her compositions, Maia is blazing new trails in Kenya; experimenting
with different styles, and creating a hybrid sound that is her very own.
Funk, groove, and soul…all this describes the music Maia creates. Music is not
something she merely enjoys; it defines who she is. Whether busking on street corners
while backpacking around the world, or jamming with friends at university in
Melbourne, Maia’s sound has developed from playing with musical talents from
around the world, injecting her own personality, background and culture into her
Her first single, Altered Light, was the result of collaboration with a funk bass player in
Melbourne. Since then, Maia traveled to Berlin and continued writing, singing and
collaborating before coming home to Kenya and continuing her work with artists,
friends and producers. Drift, Maia’s first album, is a culmination of her travels, her
meetings, her collaborations and her experiences; a global cross-pollinated vibe.Maia weaves her
adventures, stories and memories into this album producing jazzy riffs with folk licks to soulful percussive dub, a unique addition to Kenya’s music scene.In Kenya, Maia has performed for numerous awarenesscampaigns including the Korogocho Slum Campaign and a UN (youth) campaign on awareness in Mathare and Kibera slums, raising money for various schools in those areas. Maia has also composed jingles for various advertisements in Kenya and Berlin and music composition for a South African/Canadian theatre production, Crossroads, that raises awareness in Africa on issues of rape, gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS ( Her latest composition was featured in
the much-acclaimed Kenyan production, “From a Whisper”, depicting events of the 1998 bombing in Kenya.
In her creative forays around Kenya’s extremely rich cultural scene, Maia has been
able to find a highly motivated, talented and original individual. Together, this duo
has brought life to the imaginings and possibilities of Drift.

Kato Change

As the leading guitarist, Kato is one of Kenya’s most promising guitarists. Born into a
musical family, Kato has been musically prolific since the age of three, tapping on the
drums, experimenting with harmonicas, and ultimately teaching himself the guitar.
Kato’s style is reminiscent of George Benson and Paco de Lucia, with his own origin

Thursday, November 13, 2008

too busy

I couldnt pick her calls
because I was busy all day..

But the mere mention of the word 'BUSY'
is always enough to drill out her diamond tears
and lying was never the best of my virtues,

I'll tell it as it is.

'Hey baby;how was your day?'

Deafening silence after the curt reply
It's not all good.

'Well,thats all I needed to know
have a splendid night,
hope I'll catch you tomorrow..'

With that I hung up and toppled onto my bed.

But after a minute the cell rings
and the name 'luvliest' is on my screen

'Hey..I was trying to ease my achy body..'

She gets straight to it
and doesnt mince her words

'You don't love me anymore.'

Then the deafening silence

'You don't do me anymore
you don't see me anymore
and you don't even talk anymore'

'I do,I always have
I've just been...'


'Say it as plainly as you can;
you've been busy!'

Her voice is breaking
they must be dropping by now

'Too busy for the lady you call yours,
too busy to see me yet I've been ill,
too busy to know it was my birthday today,
too busy to care about tonight's dinner,
just plain too busy for me..'

One look at my calendar echoes all that she says
and I'm too stunned to talk

'So you don't even find me worthy of your words
your time and your care...
maybe we should chill out a little bit...'


She cries and waits
but I'm lost for words.
This isn't happening
finally the beep goes flat
she's hang up.

That was four days ago
the last time I was sober.


guiltiness and shame
don't walk these corridors anymore
thre's no blame neither

I feel the re-birth
as a new being rises
only righteousness lives here

Wednesday, November 12, 2008



A few words would aptly tell how the whole saga that is WAPI went down on the 8-11-08; "pathetic time management and disorganisation"

I could go on and on about how great WAPI is but I will not,true WAPI discples will testify that WAPI is God-sent..

I got to view the WAPI FOCUS UGANDA poster in my campus and I tried googling it so I could set
it on this blog but it was nowhere,I guess I should do it myself..
So its a Saturday and me and a pal have been running through a spoken word piece that we
would like to perform and he has his lines on lock but mine are vapour in my head,all hazy and unclear...

We got to the People's sapce at 11:07 and the stage hasn't even been set,boy were early..we head to the writer's tent and realise that nobody is showcasing their work as it has been in the last two WAPIs;there are no boards to exhibit our work so we improvise.

At about 11:30 our poems are up on display and a couple of people drop by and criticise,one reminds us that our pieces have no rhyme and I try to tell him that rhyme holds me down,it's not that I cannot rhyme but rhyme dictates a rigid path that I have to poetry isn't that ,its about freedon of expression.Someone else thinks one of the pieces shold begin with a diffrent line and I'm like "WHAT?.."; another cannot rate my poems because the music distracts him...

Big up to all those who showed us love,we appreciate it big!

Perfomances begun at about 2:08 and I must admit music was greatly represented..
BAXIMBA WAVES took forever to set up and an even longer time in perfomance but I have mad love for these geniuses and I would listen to their beats and words anyday.I also loved the fusion of BAXIMBA and GNL;it was out of this world.

GNL came in much later and tore up the podium as he always does,TOO EXTREME, my favourite WAPI underground kings did their thing and they too never fail to impress
"n*gga i'm the best
so you can f*ck the rest..."

Those lines are just stuck in my head and wont let go.

A few minutes past 8 RACHAEL K and LUFU decided to call it a day.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Nakato..

You should see my Nakato
Large eyes and soot black lashes
Waving humbly to the skies.
Fine full lips
Darkened by the hot groundnut soup
That she loves to insanity

You should see her…
How she scoffs
And hides her face
When I whisper into her ears in public.

Why touch past my hijab
When it’s supposed to keep me away

You should see her
When she wails

And tears doodle on her face
As I smile to my triumphant self…
You ought to see my Nakato
When she’s happy.
And tells me not to hurry.
Yet she knows I’ve never been a fast one

You should see her
Living beside me

it was nice meeting you

I met her at city square, beside and below the taxis hooted and sped off gradually. The men who worked for bitano and bibiri thought I looked OK. You thought sneakers on shorts was crazy. I should go and change then we would meet later.

At the beach my friends stole clubs as I swallowed full smirnoffs. You thought alcohol wasn’t good. I thought I should go swim. It is warmer in there than here. I left you dancing and swam in my boxers. Later on I realized my swimsuit was my underwear. I took you back home without undies beneath my Owino jeans.

In the waters I flirted with a girl. She swam in her bra and thongs. She let me touch and held me fast and easy. I wanted it better; she thought rubbers don’t work under water. We skinny dipped and held tight. You didn’t see me.

Your sister said it was too late and I ought to take you home. She was furious but I made her smile when I said that I still liked her beans; the ones that gave me acute constipation. I left the country the next day, I also left you.

I must admit though, it was nice meeting you.

antie,I had plenty...

I remember how crazy you were over my brother
And how crazy he went
After he found out you and I were screwing.

I remember cupping your full butt in the cold night.
I told you I could have kissed you
If my breath was right,
Then I tried to justify it
By telling you about my full day’s intoxicated sleep.
You told me to hush.

I said we could’ve gone to my room
If it wasn’t so late.
You began walking towards it.

My auntie asked if I had eaten the next morning.

I said plenty.
You smiled when you had me say it...

longing for...

The last time I saw you
I was behind the library
Sitting on the grass writing poetry.
I saw you walking my way
And thought that your belly was too fat lately.
You wanted us to embrace but I didn’t.
Then you wanted us to walk but again I thought different.
You said I wasn’t the man you fell in love with.

I thought you were bluffing

You went away for 4 months internship.
I called after a month
And said I loved you but you kept silent.
You wrote me a text
And said it was only right for both of us to move on

You broke my heart
I failed to cry but wailed inside

You said you’d try to love me again.

I asked if you’d began missing me. You laughed loud and I felt good.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

baba Luku

Vancouver rapper looks to his African roots
When people think of Africa, they often think about poverty, hunger, and the HIV epidemic. But suffering is only half the story. What most people don't know about Africa is that there is a generation of youth coming up that's highly talented, creative, and motivated. All across the continent, this generation is channelling its energy and desire for change into hip-hop culture. It's not just a time of suffering in Africa, it's also a time of profound hope.

Vancouver rapper Babaluku has witnessed this movement firsthand. Babaluku, aka Mr. Africa, was born in the city of Kampala, Uganda, and immigrated to Ontario when he was 12 years old. His rhymes speak to the experience of being caught between two different cultures””what it felt like to be a young African growing up in small-town Canada. As a show of solidarity with his homeland, Babaluku raps in his mother tongue, Luganda. He is one of the pioneers of Luga Flow Flavor, a musical blend of African rhythms, soul, and hip-hop.

After years of longing to return to his country, Babaluku went back to Uganda last summer with his business partner””documentary filmmaker Aaron Elton””to investigate the hip-hop scene. The five-month trip was life-changing for him.

“I got off the plane and the smell of Africa hit me,”� he recounts over coffee on Granville Street. “It was an emotional time. In that moment, I felt like I let so much go””stuff that I was holding on to. I was back home.

“My mission in Africa was to check out the state of hip-hop,”� he continues. “But when we got there, my vision got bigger.”�

Unlike in other countries such as Tanzania and Kenya, hip-hop culture was still in its infancy in Uganda. Babaluku found that few artists were reaching out to youth who were eager to learn more about the art form, so he and Elton started organizing free concerts in the slums. With the help of local hip-hop star Krazy Native and his organization, the Ugandan Hip-Hop Foundation, they were able to put on numerous shows all over the city.

“We did one concert in the hospital for the HIV kids,”� Babaluku remembers. “When they called us to perform, they told us they wanted songs that would not remind the kids of their condition. But the reality is that these kids knew they had HIV.”�

One of Babaluku's fellow rappers insisted on performing a track that he wrote about his mother, who died of AIDS.

“And while he was performing it,”� he recalls, “the organizers got mad. But the funny thing was that in the middle of them rebuking us, all these kids were getting up and pulling a thousand shillings out of their pockets and taking it to him. When I was watching that, I was like, 'Do you think you can hide the fact from this kid? Look at him. He is taking the thousand shillings he has to say thanks for singing about my condition.' ”�

Babaluku also hit the studio while he was in Kampala with his crew Bataka Squad””which includes Krazy Native and a female MC named Tshila. (Some tracks are streamed on Babaluku's MySpace page: www

“Twakubye”�, an upbeat dance joint that features Tanzanian MC Rah P, is a standout. The cut addresses those who doubt the power of Ugandan hip-hop, and highlights Babaluku's smooth, double-time flow against a backdrop of percussive beats.

“We, Bataka Squad, have really ventured out,”� he says of the recordings. “To take the form of hip-hop and shape it for Uganda, so that our people will be able to relate to it.”�

Tshila, for instance, has been working on merging traditional tribal music with hip-hop. “She went around the villages scouting for local instrumentalists and she's blending that with hip-hop in her own language,”� Baba?luku explains. “At the same time, she's playing acoustic and singing soul. The blend is crazy. It's something that Uganda has never heard.”�

In both recording and performing, Babaluku's main goal has been to help Ugandan hip-hop find its own unique voice. “I used to write rhymes in English, but the day that I started to write in my own language, everything started turning around mentally,”� he offers. “Now I could reach that kid in the village. He could know what I was talking about.”�

“Every stage I hit in Uganda, I never used English,”� the rapper adds. “A lot of people went back from Sweden, from California, and they're all rhyming like Jay-Z, all speaking English. When I hit the stage, my spirit would not let me speak English because I'm in Africa. I was chanting Luganda.

“I wanted to help build these kids self-esteem, to let them know that you can do hip-hop in your own language. You can reach out to your people. You've got to get out of this whole New York state of mind.”�

From these experiences, the Bavu?buka Foundation was born (www Babaluku and Elton launched the nonprofit to create opportunities for young people in Africa to express themselves. They hope to build a community centre and a youth camp in Kampala. The pair plans to return to Uganda this fall, bringing members of the North American hip-hop community with them.

“For me, as an African that has grown up in Canada, I take what I have learned here and share it with those kids in Uganda,”� Babaluku says. “I'm starting to network with a lot of African youth on this side of the world. I'm like, 'Yo, what do you do? Academics? Music? Whatever your gift is could change someone's life back home.' ”�


she gave it to me
too easily,

now I go down on her
too easily.

she tastes like Cinnamon
and rosemary..

Poetry Open Mic, Tuesday Nov. 4 ...NAIROBI..

Poetry Open Mic, Tuesday November

This month’s Kwani? Poetry Open Mic will feature ‘Smitta’.Tony ‘smitta’ Mochama is a poet and journalist who lives and works in Nairobi. A Law graduate, Tony is also a vodka connoisseur, gossip columnist extraordinaire, and has a collection of short stories coming out soon titled – ‘The ruins down in Africa’. He has also been called a ‘literary gangster’, from time to rhyme. His collection of poetry, ‘What if I am a literary gangster?’ was published by Brown Bear Insignia in 2007.

And the event coming on Election Day in the US, he have Obama as his theme.

The event is hosted by Cindy Ogana and held every first Tuesday of the month at Club Soundd. Poets (not singers please) who wish to take part in the Open Mic session should attend the sound check strictly between 5 & 6 pm on the day of the event. No late entries will be accepted. Please bring a printout of your work with you.

The event starts promptly at 7pm on Tuesday 7th October, and entry is only KSh100.