Stories from Quick Reads and Kenya
Mark Kaigwa, who declared “Twitter is going to change Kenya” in February 2010, describes the A to Z of Kenyan Twitter:
Kenyans on Twitter are the ones to be rallying behind a hashtag, making light work of creating a global trending topic. Be it to bringing CNN to apologise for a story, correcting misperceptions of the country with #SomeoneTellCNN or to celebrate the humour behind the national education and final examination system with examples such as #KCPE2010, #KCPE2012 and others.
In another fleeting moment they will wage virtual war on another African nation (be the reason sparked by football (Nigeria), politics (South Africa) or foreign policy (Botswana). Again the war cry of #SomeoneTell beckoning them. And #KOT won’t stop with just trading barbs and insults, they’ll take any misperception and stereotype they can find and using what seems to be a growing lexicon of African-made memes as when attacking Nigeria.
Erik Hersmann shares his experience with a new Android app that is set to revolutionise motorcycle courier services in Kenya:
This year at Pivot East I had my first look at Sendy, which does for motorcycle courier deliveries and customers in Nairobi, what Uber did for taxis and passengers in San Francisco. At its heart, Sendy is about bringing the vast and growing motorcycle courier and delivery network in Africa into the digital and networked world.
This is a big deal, because those of us who live in large African cities know just how inefficient driving a car around the traffic-plagued metropolises can be. With the bad roads, traffic and high cost of fuel, motorcycle deliveries are a natural path.
Indeed, in almost every city, from primary to tertiary throughout the continent, you’ll find thousands of motorcycle guys sitting by the side of the road, ready to courier a package or serve as a taxi.
Olivia Kidula explains why breastfeeding in public should not stop:
A friend of mine recently gave birth to her first baby girl and is still getting the hang of motherhood. I began to notice she breastfeeds only when no men (besides her husband or father are around) and when she can “comfortably” hide away in a small space. When I mentioned to her that there should be no shame in feeding and nourishing her child in front of anyone, she responded,
“society would rather she starves than look at my breasts.”
The more I thought about the implications of her words the more upset I became. Who would want a child to starve? Who would truly want to deny a child nourishment and comfort at the chest of his mother?
Danstan Obara shows how Kenyans can lead a double life in the US:
The American double life starts by making sure that your social security card does not have the stamp that says “Valid for work only with INS authorization”. The things that people do to get rid of this stamp are amazing. I will not go into those details here.
The next step is to walk into an organization or business and apply for a job. You will have to pretend that you are an American, born and raised in America. This can be a very dumb thing to say sometimes because in many cases when you are fresh out of Kenya, it is difficult for anybody to miss the accent. Amazingly almost everybody I know has always gotten away with it. There is a law against racial and ethnic profiling in America so, employers would rather go with the information they are provided with and stick with what they can prove.
Individuals with visiting visas, who opt to extend there stay do not even get the social security cards. What this means is that they cannot legally work anywhere. The things they do are even more hilarious. It is a psychological fact that white people cannot easily differentiate black people. So people simply share identification documents. Imagine of a guy walking into an office to apply for a job with an identification card that has someone else’s photo on it. Once again, not even one person I know has ever been caught.
Did you know what are the top most visited websites in Kenya? Read James Wamathai's blog post on the subject:
A lot has changed since February, when I did the last Top 50 most visited Kenyan websites list. Budget airline Jambo Jet was launched, NMG’s county paper Nairobi News was launched and then killed off, entertainment website izvipi was relaunched and Sauti Sol released a controversial, but popular, video for their new song ‘Nishike”.
On the websites popularity front, there are a few changes as well.
Kenyan Post has overtaken Ghafla as the most popular blog in Kenya
Jumia, KRA, Career Point Kenya, Helb and Techweez have gone up the ranking.
Niaje, The Star, Orange and Michezo Afrika have gone down in the ranking.
Ben Kiruthi, KU, Kenya Today and Kopo Kopo have joined the top 50 ranking.
One Vibe Africa uses music and art to inspire Kenyan youths to appreciate culture and tradition and to develop their own creative potential. Their latest initiative #Africafromtheskies needs your support. Africa From the Skies is an expedition to create empowering films and media, capture culture and facilitate workshops.
Njeri Wangari highlights 9 amazing animation videos for African children:
1. Jungle Beat
Jungle Beat is a fun, family friendly series of CGI animated self-contained, dialogue-free, 5 minute episodes focusing on different animals and the bizarre situations they encounter in nature. From the firefly who is afraid of the dark to the giraffe with a stiff neck, this wholesome series aims to entertain, inspire and ignite children’s curiosity!
2. Kirikou and The Sorceress
In a little village somewhere in Africa, a boy named Kirikou is born. But he’s not a normal boy, because he knows what he wants very well. Also he already can speak and walk. His mother tells him how an evil sorceress has dried up their spring and devoured all males of the village except of one. Hence little Kirikou decides, he will accompany the last warrior to the sorceress. Due to his intrepidity he may be the last hope of the village. Kirikou et la Sorcière or Kirikou and the Sorceress is a french animated film based on Western African folklore directed by Michel Ocelot.
The story has been translated to English and into Kiswahili.
Meet Peter Owiti, coffee shop entrepreneur in Nairobi, Kenya:
The story of Peter Owiti, the brains behind Pete’s Coffee shop, speaks volumes of the great deal of effort that is spent when setting up a successful business. In the brief video below, Pete, who is a father of three, talks to Kuza Biashara about the challenges he encountered when he set up shop in 2004.
Peter resigned from a well-paying office job and, left with nothing other than his lifetime savings that amounted to Ksh500,000 ($6,000), he resolved to tread a path he was barely familiar with. Today, his business is valued at Ksh5,000,000 ($60,000). This admirable growth was recorded despite the scourge of Kenya’s Post Election Violence (PEV) in 2007/2008 which threatened to break his sequence of success.
Kenyan blogger James Wamathai shares a list of top 30 Kenyan blogs:
According to Alexa, the following are the top 30 Kenyan blogs.
As with the list I did in February, it is dominated by gossip, entertainment and lifestyle blogs. One notable entrant to the list is benkiruthi.com which is the only photography blog on the list.
Kenyan blogger James Murua lists 10 African literature rich blogs:
So you want to keep abreast of what’s happening in the African literature space. Want to get news and reviews from the books written by and about African experience? Try these ones listed in alphabetical order;
1. Authors in Africa
This blog focuses on bloggers in the African continent without a focus on mainly writers from all over Sub Saharan Africa. The site gives reviews of books as well as interviews with authors, a section dedicated to poets and essayists, as well as book synopsis and short stories. The site is regularly updated.
2. Bookshy: An Africa book lover
This blog is managed by a London based book lover. The book contains news from the African literature scene as well as reviewed by the blogger. With over seventy reviews of some of the best books from the continent this is an important space to keep up with our scene. I especially like the “meet” section where the blogger interviews some really cool writers. The blog is updated every week or so.
3. Books Live
This is probably the most well managed blog out there for Afro lit. With reviews coming regularly as well as the keeping track of what your favourite authors are up to or what is being written about them this might be THE site to keep visiting. Based in South Africa, the blog is rich in content from the writers from Africa’s most southern most country but it also keeps you abreast of many from other parts. There is new content on this site daily. #Win