Sed Africa 5
To me, there is nothing as magnificent as the concept of a tiny seed growing and maturing into a mighty tree. What was once a seed submerged beneath the ground with almost no trace to be found, becomes a majestic canopy-like greatness. I would like to think that this is what Sed Africa has become. Not only did we manage to get the highest number of submissions in the history of Sed Africa, but we also gathered what I may term as some of the best pieces yet. I am so proud of my team: Angie, Jade and Jentrix who worked tirelessly to make this issue a success. It can only get better from here.
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Becoming: The Moon Child, by Jade Makory: “Inspired by the light that the moon steals to shine upon us: I wish to draw light from all the experiences I have had the privilege to have come my way, and shine these acquired insights into my life. My becoming…”
Losing Simiyu – a lesson in grief, by Jentrix Wanyama: “I dreamt that we were face to face once more, laughing at nothing outside T-mall. You were so happy, so honest, and I whiffed in the fresh air that was your authenticity. It always was an odd combination- your charm and sincerity. You were dressed immaculately…”
Postcards From Europe, by Alexander Otuka: “The city is fascinating. It holds hidden extremes, not unlike you. The town is modern, towering, and shimmers hues of white and blue. The streets at its fringes are ancient, rustic and radiate warm hues of red and brown. The town is bustling by day and by night falls silent…”
The Sermon, by Aziza Mwendwa: “He had won the presidency. For a moment there, he didn’t think he would get it. A perverse sense of relief had filled him. It was however a passing moment and he did win. It was his first “unofficial” public appearance since his swearing in. Of course…”
Mis escapadas de viaje, by Taria Trixy Wafula: “‘Experiencing a new culture is both frightening and exciting. You can either hate the culture or love it. I would say that choosing to travel to Argentina was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. The culture, the people, the country is nothing but good vibes…”
Red-Stained Tears, by Wabia Nganatha Karugu: “‘She adorns her flesh with silk; fine brown silk that hugs her thick body gently, yet firmly. A glorious assortment of warm colours exudes through the silk: caramel, cocoa, coffee, charcoal- and an array of toasty blends in-between. The elegance she radiates is effortless…”
Butterfly, by Faith Wanjau: “A butterfly floats its way through the night air. / Forgetting itself as its gentle skin fades / And its gentle skin grows to become the night air. / A butterfly floats in my mind and its gentle kiss is the valley between yours and mine / The universe of a mind that tears us apart…”
Dichotomy, by Joanna Kahumbu: “You wait nervously / for that light to blink on your phone, / For that doorbell to ring / While you sit in the marmalade light of your bedroom / Contemplating / The eerie silence of an empty house, / Shafts of light stream through the lilac curtains / drawn back just enough…”
False Fidelity, by Ian Makamara: “A blinding sense of security, / Their defences coming undone, / Each in the others obscurity, / They would become one, / The lad, he chose to avert his eyes, / From the gaze of her own, / For in them, lay not the truth nor lies, / But the hollow that was his soul…”
Muse, by Joanna Kahumbu: “Spend some time idealising people, / Place them on pedestals, / Then slowly start to wonder / If there is someone / Somewhere out there, / In this too-big world doing the same for you- / Writing endlessly, / Draping poetry over your shoulders, / And crowning you with prose…”
Play No Games, by Alexander Otuka: “Play no games, ain’t nobody got time for that, / Feelings? Pay no mind, there’s no point in trying to catch. / Know that even the Man can’t give you a dime for that, / The wheels must turn, even when the fires burn. / You want fair play, balling with no hate, no shade…”
Red, by Loice Kerubo: “Red was always my colour. / Since my lifetime ago, living in rooms in shades of stone and blue. / Now crimson melds with my hazel complexion and seems demure / But if you look closely, it creates a Hollywood allure. / Allure that makes my cherry lips pout and draw lovers into my arms…”
Stillness, by Faith Wanjau: “The white cloth floats in the gentle breeze and the plant breaks through the soil that loved it / The soil that gave itself for its nourishment; gave itself so that it may find life / The stars above are the hollow spaces of a beautiful mind / And the mountains are the distant spaces of a distance well spent in time.…”
The Art of Love, by Wambua Nzioka: “The world stared, / My brain raced with trepidation / The words came / And fell out / Melting to the wind / “What runs the art of love?” / The mind, no! / The heart, I don’t know! / For pain and joy flow from the same source / Obscenities blurred, / Scars sacred / Ranked one with the stars…”
The Noose, by Keega Gakuua: “I whisper almost in silence / For in the silence we languish / We are a people yoked. / Chained to a belief and notion that stifles / Choking, smothering, suffocating then killing. / Today I stand tall, shouting from the rooftops / For the noose is winning and the end is nigh…”
What Else Should Be Done?, by Wambua Nzioka: “What else should be done? / When the birds fly away / leaving empty nests / and the wind blows by / Until they scatter / In the green fields / And how many huts / And mansions have they reformed? / Destroyed and swept away…”
When We Two Parted, by Esther Muli: “When we two parted, / There was no bye / Only tears prevented us / From seeing each other / And now that you are coming back, / How do you want me to greet thee? /With tears of joy or laughter? / With songs or laments…”
Sed Africa 4
An event tied to the life of one of the founders of Sed Africa had a perhaps significant if not dramatic turn for the fate of this magazine. Last August I was interviewed for The Books Cafe, self defined as a cutting edge KBC radio programme in the world of Arts, Culture, and Literature. I was asked to explain in detail Sed Africa. Many people around Kenya had an opportunity to get to know for the first time about this wonderful venture.
While speaking I inadvertently indicated that Sed Africa was published twice year. It is the hope of our managing team that this slip of the tongue may become a prophesy. In the meantime we celebrate yet another issue (number 4) of our magazine: another miracle!
Thursday, December 1, 2016
In the search for something beyond: Religion from the lens of Brideshead Revisited, by Angela Mukora: “Brideshead Revisited is possibly one of the most beautiful pieces of work out there, rich with lessons and themes of all kinds: from marriage to family to friendship, but of most importance to this paper, religion…”
Murky Streams?, by Natasha Teyie: “I’ve always felt like I was something other than what I have been told I am. Born to parents not of my choosing; named and bred as they deemed most fit. Adapted circumstantially to a language that I would listen to with my father’s ears, and speak through my mother’s lips…”
What Brideshead Revisited Taught Me About Religion, by Eunice Njoroge: “Religion is the major theme running throughout Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Here, the writer focuses on the grace of God seen through the interactions between Charles Ryder and the aristocratic Anglo-Catholic Flyte family…”
Playing Matchmaker, by Jane Pauline Pamba: “‘I’m seated on a bench somewhere in Nairobi going through my life. Why am I seated here? I am not ashamed to say that I am shamelessly watching people. I love watching people. How they interact, how they make friends, how they stir drama and unrest in an otherwise peaceful…”
My first time, by Keiilah Okari: “I remember sitting down across him in the hallway . I was smartly dressed to say the least adorned in my new chic black trench coat; I mean, you have to make a good impression the first time, right? My lips pursed together tightly as if in fear that words would suddenly come…”
The Art of Procrastination, by Wanjiru Mutero: “I am what they call a serial procrastinator. I mean, why do something now that you can do in an hour/ tomorrow/next week/month? Take this article for example… I knew for weeks that I needed to set aside a block of time to sit down and come up with a riveting story…”
[Untitled], by Jolene Muroki: “On this day, our graduation day, we can all swear that none of us leaving, the same way we came in. To many others, Strathmore is simply the place where we earned our degree, but to us, this simply doesn’t pass for the truth, at least not the whole of it…”
[Untitled], by Alexander Otuka: “It always happens when you least expect it. Well, maybe that’s a little obvious. People don’t exactly do it on purpose. A simple accident that’s all. But let’s get serious. When all you have is that lame excuse for a consolation, the main thing you’re going to ask…”
The Big Chop of Life, by Vision Sifuma: “My hair! This coily, kinky and stubborn mess on my head has completely changed my life. It seems so surreal to me that just five months ago I was hanging onto thin, feeble, single stranded, constantly tangled, split-ended but shoulder length hair…”
Steady, by Jentrix Wanyama: “Steady, heart, / The wind howls and sweeps dust off its feet, / Leaves laugh in branches, some are whooshed away, / Paper and grain and flowers flounce away, / Kites fly high and even the air dances to the tune of the wind’s whistle, / But when the party is over, / They fall hard…”
Why are you up so late?, by Maria Angela Maina: “I feel your presence near. / Not as smooth as honey / but fresher than dew. / I feel around the dark hoping to catch your hand / but all I touch is my pillow and my cold sheets. / My lungs lack rest and so does my heart. / Too restless, as the corseted strings suffocate…”
Sed Africa 3
Miracles happen. It isn’t easy to define a miracle for purposes of ordinary conversation but that is, hopefully, a different matter. (Shit also happens, as the recent events in Madaraka attest. It isn’t easy to tell what exactly shit means when it comes to prevention of terrorist attacks and that is, unfortunatelly, a matter inextricably related to the evaluation of the drill.)
In this third editorial of Sed Africa I would like to highlight a miracle – but then, is it really a miracle? Hopefully that doesn’t matter.
I heard months ago that Sed Africa 3 was in the works. Then never heard again a single word. As the deadline of December 1st steadily approached there was still not notice. I assumed —perhaps reasoning upon what I have come to call an African assumption— that silence meant inaction; that there would be no Sed Africa 3 or at least not in time. Then came the miracle: with a punctuality that could match the swiss one the whole new issue was sent to the Board perfectly in time.
Is something changing? Is this not Africa any more? Perhaps Leo Di Caprio and all his followers should drop the “T.I.A.”? I dont know. There is still shit. But there is too this miracle. Congratulations Sed Africa!
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Still saying men are weak?, by Martie Mtangi: “You have woken up to a world where the Kenyan women think that Kenyan men are weak. Well, this is probably the general feeling all over the world; it’s just that the Kenyan woman as usual yaps loudest. There’s probably one who just called me a sexist right now…”
10 Weeks in Buenos Aires, by Doris Matu: “‘To be or not to be… that is the question.” I didn’t even know that this was a Shakespearean quote until I was learning the verb “to be” in Spanish. The reference we were using had used that quote and had gone on to give various examples of the use of the verb “to be” in the Spanish…”
A Letter to a Dear Friend, by Vision Sifuma: “If I was poetic enough, I would write this in a poem. Or perhaps even a song if I was gifted with the capacity to do so. I am not. Will you accept this earnestly written letter instead? I promise it shall be short. As short as your lovely self is. I chose this platform because that way…”
Demystifying Luhyaness, by Martie Mtangi: “So, this time, my eyes were pried wide open by a recent visit to shags. The motherland… well not exactly because technically I was born and raised in Nairobi but you catch my drift. So I was Vihiga-bound. Rooooaaaaddd-trip! Eight and a half hours of seeing hills roll by…”
Forgiveness, by Salma Khamala: “The cell was dark and dump. The walls had this chilly grey feel as if the cold mist outside was seeping in wanting to freeze me out. I wasn’t sure what to do.Do I kneel and pray? Do I confess my sins first and hope that they will be washed away as easily as those songs make it seem?…”
My Memory of Introduction to Law, by Sam Kisuu: “Regarding this, my memory is quite hazy as I have had to remember too many things including birthdays and anniversaries. Anyway, the first memory I have of Introduction to Law (ITL) was the first class being in the afternoon; Professor Legarre…”
Numinous, by Jade Makory: “I’ve been thinking… thinking about what it really means to feel. Life is a rollercoaster of emotional events and sometimes you get to a place where you cannot recognise who you were before you felt some kind of way. That doesn’t quite make it easy to get used to feeling does it? Such a beautiful thing…”
The Futility of Life, by Angela Mukora: “For the past couple of years, I have had what I guess they call severe writer’s block. It’s been close to impossible to come up with something honest, something true, something I could believe in, which was almost as easy as breathing before…”
The Perfectly Clad Gentleman, by Jacqueline Njoroge: “When he walks into the room you think he’s just another stranger clad in a perfect suit. When he takes his seat, It’s as if he has calculated a poise just to make you notice him, and it works. You’re suddenly conscious of how you look…”
Sed Africa 2
What a tremendous joy it is to write again an editorial for Sed Africa, the local, Kenyan branch of Sed Contra. Another chapter of this crazy adventure is about to kick off. Newcomers and oldies meet for this beautiful game of writing. Hopefully more will come. Vision’s vision is still in command: she is clearly the chief of staff, as people seem to call her within the walls of Zumaridi.
A year ago ten writers contributed to the first issue. The work of those ten forerunners has indeed been fruitful and many more have written for this second one.
Of course, there is much more ahead. Our hope is unbounded, as it is too the noble ambition of my African students. So let me reiterate what I expressed a year ago: Of Sed Africa, I say, may it live long if not forever!
Monday, December 1, 2014
Do you trust the Criminal Justice System, by John Nakholi: “First off, I want it stated that this is not meant to be a scholarly piece on Criminal justice. I do not want to take you through the theory behind it or the policies practiced in it but rather I want to air my views from a layman’s observation…”
Him, by Jade Makory: “As Ann Landers once said, Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is a quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weakness…”
The Blame Game, by Raymond Kibowen: “September 21st, 2013. This was a day of tragedy and loss for our dear country. One year down the line and it is, not only, the birthday of a very dear friend of mine, but also a memorial of those fateful events of “The Terror at the Mall”…”
Was Thomas Aquinas Wrong?, by Jade Makory: “Sometimes you read something that makes you ruminate about where you stand when it comes to beliefs you recently held dear. This necessarily does not alter your faith in that belief rather intensifies your curiosity and zeal to seek to understand the reasoning behind it…”
Kenya Universities Leadership is a Shame, by Francis Wanjiru: “These were the words of Professor PLO Lumumba on the 9th December, 1984 at the Great Court while delivering a speech at the inaugural ceremony as Chairman of the students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) of the University of Nairobi…”
School Subjects? Helpful or just a Waste of Time?, by Ruby Nyaoro: “Have you ever just sat down and wondered why you study so many different subjects in school that you never apply, use or even remember? ME TOO!! Things I didn’t learn in high school: how to:-pay bills…”
A Story About Canned Soda, by Vision Sifuma: “‘This text has been inspired by one James Kubasu. Just like him, I have been racking my brain for several weeks now trying to figure out what to write about. I have been searching for a ‘light bulb’ moment in vain. All this while, I have been battling with a…”
Mr Big, by Maureen Ngétich: “The 21st century woman is independent, fun-loving and most importantly blunt. She says what’s on her mind fearing none and is not hassled with what society thinks of her decisions. However, when it comes to being with someone, there’s a lot that she has on her checklist…”
[Untitled], by Jacqueline Njoroge: “Jostein Gaarder, in Sophie’s World, quoted “… the only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder….” Recently, a young man came into my life. We met as a result of a shared interest in acting…”
Teaching Assistants, by Sharon Kitur: “As I wrote this, I couldn’t help but remember the remarks made by our Argentine Professor Santiago Legarre the first time he asked for volunteers to be his teaching assistants, “ …anyone interested can write a one page essay and put it in the carton box by….8 am…”
The Furnished Injustice, by Mercy Teko: “The foundation creaked, / Whereas the roof crumbled in, / And the walls shook with much agitation. / The whole place being masked, / Camouflaged with the taste and decadence of woodwork; / The woodwork of lies and avoidance…”
When you were around, by Alice Mugo: “I remember the day when I first held you in my arms, / You were so small, so fragile, / And when your brown eyes met mine, / I knew I would always love you, / Because you were mine / Ten years later and your daddy walked out on us…”
Poem, by Jean B. Kalima: “Bodies lie in the street / Vultures come to eat / we sit and wait /While Mothers, Fathers and Children wail / Why the animosity and hatred? / Why the carnage and self-destruction? / Is there any solace in plunder and murder?…”
Sed Africa 1
What a tremendous joy it is to write these lines! We made it. Sed Africa is now real and with its inception begins a new chapter in the crazy adventure inagurated eight years ago in Buenos Aires, with Sed Contra, the digital magazine on culture for young people. Young people in Nairobi have now joined this enterprise and I’m glad to announce it is thriving. Sed Africa, an indepedent section within Sed Contra, will appear twice a year around the world of cyberland.
Of course, Sed Africa would not have been possible without Vision’s vision and Angie’s wit and charm. They got an efficient and effective editing team up and running.
Of course, the ten writers in this first issue deserve all the credit. Not only were they corageous, but they contributed fine pieces that make them the inspring forerunners of what is to come: much more!
Finally, when in May 2006 I wrote the Editorial for number 1 of Sed Contra, I suggested that while many journals and magazines are started, not many survive. Of Sed Africa, I say, may it live long if not forever!
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Theories, by Raymond Kibowen: “When I look at our people, sometimes, I get to the conclusion that we hate each other. Sometimes, it is not as bad as that, but the notion that is clear in my mind is that as a nation, we do not love each other…”
You are Cowards, not Heroes, by John Nakholi: “21st September 2013. 12:35 PM. One new Facebook inbox that reads ‘Dude, stay away from Westie, a gunfight is going on. I’ll tell you as soon as I have more news. Spread word.’
At the time I’m in a school bus full of teenage students…”
God’s love and the Hubris of man, by Kasyoka Mutunga: “I recently found myself seeking something greater than myself. Something greater than what I have ever had before; something greater than what my mind has ever conceived. I believe that such a thing has existed…”
The Suggestion, by Raymond Kibowen: “Today I want to talk about one of our greatest problems that seem to be intertwined together. These are individualism and corruption. From common knowledge, we know these two are barely related. However, it flows from reason that, if a person is very individualistic…”
Nakuru trip, by Leon Tororey: “‘Dan, I need to go to the washroom,’ Santi stated, euphemistically, as we sped out of Lake Nakuru National Park. The grey SUV stopped on the dirt road and he alighted oblivious to the two buffalo we had just passed a hundred meters away…”
When life gives you lemons, by Sharon Kitur: “There I was, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport greeted by a rude blast of cold as I stepped out of the Emirates airplane. It was just three days before the greatly anticipated day in Kenya, where I would be granted ‘Citizen of the Year’ award…”
The secret behind mi name!, by Sifuma Vision: “My name is Vision Sifuma. I am writing this in my capacity as a random person online on a boring Saturday afternoon. I have been ambushed with so many questions in my seemingly short yet extremely long life…”
4 colours, by Stephanie Wanga: “A moment of panic, a moment of shock… a moment of… / What could I call it? / What could I call it? / Confusion, memories, tears, fear, regrets, wishes, prayer… / All crammed in a second… / All crammed in a second… / Bodies… around me…”
My friend, by Loice Kerubo: “Aaaaahhh! / There it was again… / The blinding pain; so sharp so merciless / Numbing me to the core. / I dragged in a breath of relief as it went away just as fast as it had come. / Beads of sweat lined my brow as I placed a hand over my heart…”
Happily Never After, by Angela Mukora: “If ever this was a fairytale, then the end seems far in sight and completely unpredictable / You are the prince my heart would choose but the kingdom would not let me have / You are the knight in shining armor to rescue the princess from her biggest enemy, herself…”