Roughly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Kenyan Journalism

A reading list of some of the best works of Kenyan journalism available online.

This curation project (and the title) was inspired by this reading list published on The Atlantic. Its role is to serve as a cultural repository; a small digital home where we can always come when we need to find brilliant stories. Click on the titles to access the articles and videos.

Feel free to suggest any other exceptional piece, image or cartoon by a Kenyan (or about Kenya) in the comment section. Since this is a work in progress, we will add them to the list. As we also work to remove all those annoying question marks and fix a few other things.

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ROADS & KINGDOMS/East Coast, Best Coast.By Barbara Wanjala. June 18, 2015.

“Dilapidated wooden boats surge back and forth on this shore of Lake Victoria, its murky brown waters lapping at the feet of a group of fishermen, out to supplement their meager earnings by offering boat rides on the lake. One of them leaps out of a boat and approaches us with long rapid strides, hoping for easy prey.”

FOREIGN POLICY/ Kenya’s Vicious War Against Its Youth. By Nanjala Nyabola. March 14,2016

“The youngest victim named in the report was 16-year-old Maslah Daud Hassan. He was taken from a small town just outside Mandera and transferred to Nairobi, where he was tortured and subsequently detained at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. He is still being held there a minor in an adult prison without charge. There has been no public outcry over his case or those of any of the other victims named in the report.”

DAILY NATION/How Ruthless Coffee Mafia Enslaves Kenya. By John Kamau. November 16, 2015.

“Coffee farmers are the last class of economic slaves in Kenya. They are tied by the law and regulations designed to favour processors, traders and marketers. When they pick their coffee and take it to the factory, they lose control over their crop. They have no negotiating power, no knowledge and no responsibility over their crop.”

EA DESTINATION MAGAZINE/ Elspeth Huxley’s Thika. By Helen Kinuthia Gathenji. September 11,2014.

Thika in those days, the year was 1913, was a favourite camp for big-game hunters and beyond it there was only bush and plain,” inscribed The Flame Trees of Thika novelist, Elspeth Huxley. At 6 years old, Huxley and her mother, Nellie Grant, took on a two-day journey from Nairobi via ox-cart and made their way to settle in Thika, a lonely piece of earth on a map, in a land that was itself, little more.”

THE STANDARD/Long Journey to the Borders without Doctors. By Augustine Oduor. May 7th, 2010.

“The four-wheel drive Toyota vehicle that was leading the way on a rugged road, ahead of a ten-tonne lorry, came to a halt at the edge of a river without a bridge. The headlights illuminated the reddish water of a wide Kakong river flowing in slow current. The truck made the first plunge to cross but in the middle, it appeared lose power. The time was shortly past midnight. Moonlight illuminated the grassy plains around us and made the river water glitter like iron sheets. The truck revved and heaved and finally managed to make it across. The Toyota followed easily.”

CHIMURENGA CHRONIC/ Manufacturing the post-election peace: A reporter’s election diary. By Parselelo Kantai. August 21st, 2013.

“And still in the live TV studios, the stench went unnoticed. Outside on the streets, the celebrations were beginning. Passing cars honked, loudly, repeatedly. Up the road from my house, bars that were Jubilee strongholds, were erupting in cheers. The alcohol would flow until dawn. Or maybe I had just become more alive to the associated sounds of victory; maybe somebody was having a birthday party. In the distance, you could now hear more than the occasional victory whoop, the wails and screams of the deliriously jubilant. But it could have been a robbery and those could have been sounds of distress.”

THE STANDARD/ Harrowing diary of guardians’ week-long search for blessing. By Kiundu Waweru. April 18, 2015.

“We meet Muturi at 10am at the Chiromo Funeral Parlour, a day after the massacre. He had traveled to Nairobi from his Nyeri home for a busy day, and his phone had been switched off, only to be swamped with frantic text messages and missed calls at about 4pm when he came online. On learning that Waithera, a third-year student pursuing a Business Management degree at the Garissa University College, is missing, he spends the night in Nairobi eager to know her fate.”

DAILY NATION/The Lord or the Doctor, Whoever Comes First. By Pauline Kairu. January 14th, 2015.

“Those are great plans, but Mr Titus Maina, the man who cannot swallow food because of throat cancer, and whom the good doctors at KNH have told to go back home and wait for one year before they can attend to him, just wishes someone would shine a light down his oesophagus today.”

KENYABUZZ/Famous & Kenyan: Personalities You Didnt Know Have Roots in Kenya.?By Tim Mworia. 29th Jan, 2015.

“But this piece is not about Barack Obama, Lupita Nyongo, Louis Leakey or the many other celebrated figures who have a Kenyan heritage. Its about the others. Many less heralded but just as influential. Others very famous but you probably didnt know have a Kenyan connection.”

STANDARD/ Mystery of meeting elusive Nyayo House ‘Torturer-in-Chief.’ By Kipchumba Some. October 23rd, 2010.

He looked frail and weak, wasted by disease and, perhaps, whatever other fears he may harbour of his controversial past. Brief as it was, that chance sighting indicated how rare a man he has become. As we left his homestead, we could not help reflecting on the manner Eunice had received us. She refused to open the gate although she had the keys in her hands.”

A copy of the cartoon Gado drew when Moi left the presidency in 2002.

A copy of the cartoon Gado drew when Moi left the presidency in 2002.

DAILY NATION/ Boy, you smell so good I could eat you: How British paedophile lured street boys into unnatural acts. By Pauline Kairu. March 17, 2015.

“Not coming to this house meant sleeping in town on a veranda, cold and hungry,” says Dom. “Every time I came here it was because I thought I could get here and refuse to do the bad things.”

Dom says that one day, when he was aged 10, the old man put the other boys to bed “and then brought me to his bed, unwrapped my towel and started touching me”.”

CHIMURENGA CHRONIC/ The Rise of the Somali Capital. By Parselelo Kantai. March 1, 2013.

“The Somali invasion, whispered on the street and occasionally affirmed by speculative newspaper articles, had all the mythic strangeness of urban legend. Nobody had seen it coming and this added to the confusion, the rumours. Like the Ugandan women in the 1970s who with their batting-eyelash guile, their bedroom disco, were stealing rich, Kenyan men. They were using witchcraft, it was said. Behind the myths and xenophobia, however, lay a far less exciting story, but one which spoke of new social undercurrents.”

TRANS-AFRICA/Stones and Memory. By Ndinda Kioko. March 2016.

“When we do not see, we are no longer haunted by the memory of those who died there. And so we rebuild, we rename. It is also true that those who have survived these horrors might never want to return, even by seeing, to the place of their own suffering.”

DAILY NATION/The highs and lows of 100 years of aviation in Kenya. By Roy Gachuhi. October 18, 2015.

“On October 3, 1915, a Breave airplane took to the air and shells from it forced a German advance backwards from Taita Taveta during World War 1. Today, in the era of the Dreamliner, images of that plane make it look like an absurdly rickety contraption. Such is the distance travelled and progress made.”

MAIL & GUARDIAN AFRICA/The politics of Koffi Olomide, music superstar who leaves cheers and tears in his wake, and tells of a different Congo. By Christine Mungai. March 19,2016.

“The main act of the evening was one of Africa’s most iconic musicians, for whom superlatives do no justice-Koffi Olomide. When he got on stage, I’ve never seen hysteria like that. It was like a fog had descended, I even saw a couple of men discreetly wipe away tears when the man began to sing.”

CHIMURENGA CHRONIC/ Buru. By Billy Kahora. September 23, 2014.

“Some people living in Buru Buru and Langata eye wealthier estates and suburbs with a greedy gaze, while at the same time displaying disdain about all non-estate (read slum and low-income) spaces. Their aspirations and penchant for hype ignore the hubs of youth unemployment, alcoholism, increasing criminality, family breakdown, insanity and social dysfunction that places of middle-class normality such as Buru Buru have become.”

DAILY NATION/Men Still Call the Shots Despite Women’s Progress. By Dorothy Otieno. March 6, 2016.

“More than five years since the Constitution was promulgated, womens participation in political processes and representation in decision making has remained muted. Not a single county governor is a woman, and only a quarter of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cabinet consists of women.”

AL-JAZEERA/Revisiting Kenya’s Forgotten Pogroms. By Mohamed Adow. Dec 15, 2013

“February 10, 1984, the day of the Wagalla Massacre – one of the worst atrocities in Kenya’s history. On that day his wife and daughter were raped in front of him by soldiers who then took him to the Wagalla airstrip outside Wajir town. At the airstrip, where hundreds of men were interned, he witnessed soldiers behead his four brothers.”

MAKERS OF A NATION/ Makers of a Nation. By Hilary Ngweno.

“Hilary highlights key personalities who helped shape Kenya into who she is today- the men and women who impacted Kenyas history”.

DAILY NATION/ Why the Economy Slows Down in Election Years. By Dorothy Otieno, Vincent Ngethe.

“Low economic growth means companies have fewer opportunities to grow and they hire fewer people, making jobs harder to come by. It also means less revenue for the government and more taxes to cover government overheads. For the individual, it results in less money to spend, fewer job opportunities and a high cost of living.”

THE EAST AFRICAN/ Verdict on Kenya’s presidential election petition: Five reasons the judgment fails the legal test.?By Wachira Maina. April 20, 2013.

“…this judgment is both detailed and important, but the parts that are detailed are not important and those that are important are not detailed.”

INFORMACTION KENYA/Disputed Fields. By InformAction Kenya. Published May 24th, 2014.

“Narrator Tirop arap Kitur, human rights defender and former political detainee, throws light on the deadly dynamics at play over land ownership in Kenya’s Rift Valley. He has unique insight through his work and friendships among the competing communities: “Don’t start the nightmare again”, he warns — “it will catch up with you.”

DAILY NATION/ No app can make up for a lack of political will. By Nanjira Sambuli. March 11, 2016.

“Somewhere along the way, we embraced the idea that technology would help us fight corruption. We invested in technology, particularly in the public sector, only that we actually enhanced the scale at which corruption is practised.”

TECHCABAL/This Kenyan Writer Is Using The Internet To Get Others To Read African Fiction. By Eric Mugendi. March 11, 2016.

“I chose the internet”, Magunga says, “because that is where everyone is. The internet has no borders.”

Human rights

Not Yet Kenyan?(Video) by Mohamed Adow.

“For?Not Yet Kenyan??Adow goes back to see how the region and his people have come through the pogroms and started to prosper only to find that Al-Shabaab has established a stronghold in the region and is now throwing it into a new chapter of turmoil.”

AL-JAZEERA/Kenya’s Healthworkers claim mismanagement. By Abdi Latiff Dahir.

“According to the IBP, none of Kenya’s 47 counties meet the country’s targets for doctor-population ratios, which the government has set at 36 doctors for every 100,000 people. Kenya has a little more than 8,600 registered medical doctors – of a population of more than 40 million people – and only 4,500 of those doctors are currently working”

DAILY NATION/The Man Still Haunted by Ngoroko Ghosts. By John Kamau.January 24, 2016.

“At 5 am, Thursday, November 2, 1978, the man who had been at the helm of police in Rift Valley for more than 10 years wore his official uniform, took his Range Rover, KLM 874, and drove out of his home.”

DAILY NATION/Group’s Blow by Blow Report on KDF atrocities in Somalia.?By Nation Media Group,?November 16, 2016.

“There has been little independent reporting on the invasion, with coverage mostly from journalists taken on “guided” tours by the KDF or with public relations videos paid for by the KDF, and now, most recently, a book. According to the report, censorship has played a role as editors described being summoned to meetings with top military brass and told that critical stories would be considered as undermining national security.”

IP KENYA/How A Typo Cost Safaricom the Okoa Stima Trademark. By Victor Nzomo,?February 9, 2016.

“This blog post is intended to set the record straight on the specific issue of the chronology of events at the Trade Mark Registry of Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) involving both Colour Planet and Safaricom between March 2015 and January 2016.”

DAILY NATION/ Businessman who built popular city eatery. By Roy Gachuhi. September 1, 2015.

“At the height of Kanu-Opposition political hostilities of the 1980s and early 1990s, it was the universal place where both sides went in the guise for meat roasting to plot strategies. Kanu hawks like the late Joseph Kamotho (secretary general) would be there talking in low tones. Opposition doyens such as Raila Odinga would make their entry followed by President Mwai Kibaki’s opposition group in the Democratic Party led by former Kieni MP Munene Kairu.”

AFRICA UNCENSORED/No Country for Cartoonists: The Exit of Gado Mwapembwa.?By John Allan-Namu. March 9, 2016.

“Godfrey Mwapembwa, better known to Kenyans and followers of his work around the world as GADO, talks of this moment with shades of disbelief on his face. They seem to have endured the months between the November 2015 meeting between him and Nation Media Groups Editor-In-Chief, Tom Mshindi, and our evening meeting early this March. It is the disbelief, perhaps, of a man whose stature as an editorial cartoonist isnt just renowned locally, but globally. Every few minutes, he returns to one statement that perhaps sums up what feeling filled up that blankness he was initially confronted by; betrayal.”

Kikwete-cartoon-Gado-768x570

WAMBURURU’S BLOG/What you didn’t know about Matatu drivers. By Wambururu,?December 16, 2015.

“Think of a MAN haunted by what he encounters and the horrors he sees every day on his job. He has lost count of accidents victims, {badly injured; bleeding, screaming; trapped in the wreckage ; he has freed, dressed their wounds.”

DAILY NATION/Kibera: Its rich city folks who need slums most. By Charles Onyango-Obbo. July 8, 2009.

“One could argue that the slums also explain why Nairobi is the biggest city in East Africa and has the regions largest and richest middle class because it also has the largest number of slums and slum population to subsidise it.”

BIKOZULU/How to Bury a Luo. By Bikozulu. February 17, 2014.

“A luo will die. In spite of all the grandiosity and showboating and all the jokes that luos peddle to feel important and entitled and invincible, jokes about them not dying but passing on or retiring to glory, death remains spectacularly unmoved by those gags. They still die, eventually.”

OKAY AFRICA/Does Kenya Really Have A Naija Music Problem? By Eric Wainaina. August 18, 2015.

“So when a group of Kenyan musicians march the streets of Nairobi saying they want more airplay, what they mean is that they just want more. Of everything. They want more access to great producers, more policies that favour growth not through airplay quotas (who wants to force appreciation?) but through education, more damn money from airplay, more prosecution for content aggregators who don’t remit royalties. More space, not protectionism, to be heard.”

AFRICAN ARGUMENTS/Wangari Maathai was not a good woman: We need more of them. By Nanjala Nyabola,?October 6, 2015.

“That Kenya still doesn’t know what to do with the legacy of Wangari Maathai says more about a country at war with itself than it does about the activist hero.”

DAILY NATION/Jubilee, like Moi Regime, Scores a Zero by David Ndii.?February 27, 2015.

“Uhuru and Ruto are Moi’s proteges. Not only do they seem to have internalised the politics of mediocrity practised in Mois Kanu but they also missed out on the education and socialisation in liberal politics that the Narc coalition politicians went through in their 15 years in opposition.”

STANDARD/Wild Animals are “beautiful”.?By Mahanda Indakwa. November 23, 2013.

“The period under Leakey, who served twice, and Western (and later Nehemiah Rotich) could be hailed as the finest for KWS. In these three men, Kenyas wildlife had a voice that resounded globally, one it sadly lost perhaps permanently when they exited the scene. Leakey and Western never saw eye to eye ideologically and it is curious why the two eminent thinkers never realised that neither was wrong but both were right.”

FOREIGN POLICY/ Je Ne Suis Pas Garissa (I am not Garissa). By Nanjala Nyabola. April 7th, 2016.

“I still wake up at 3:00 a.m. every day and remember what happened on that day,” he said. “These were not just 147 numbers. These were 147 people. These were our kids. I knew them. I talked with them. I spent seven days identifying bodies. I hope none of you ever live through that experience.”

DAILY NATION/All Women Have to Deal With Men Not Understanding the Word No. By Abigail Arunga. August 12, 2015.

“All women have had to stave off unwanted attentions from the opposite sex, and sometimes even bear condemnation and victim shaming from within our own sex who still think this in sexist way-that you are a slut if you sleep with more than one man (or God forbid, more, and before marriage).”

MEDIUM/Corruption in the Silicon Savannah.?By Brenda Wambui. November 18, 2015

“What makes the Angani situation particularly terrible is that people who were once considered community champions such as Erik Hersman and Riyaz Bachani, people who should know better, are behind the gutting of this start up in an ego battle that goes against the ethos of a healthy tech community.”

DAILY NATION/Why African Restaurants Fail. By Bitange Ndemo. September 7th, 2014.

“For African restaurants to succeed, the entire supply chain must be standardized to get a consistent taste that can lead to a marketable product.”

NAIROBI LAW MONTHLY/Economics of dominance, control. By David Matende. February 1, 2016.

“As Orange, Airtel and other struggling mobile phone providers stare at another year of measly returns, an emboldened Safaricom will continue painting towns and markets, villages and hamlets green, and smiling all the way to the bank.”

AL-JAZEERA/Why does Western Media Get Africa Wrong? By Nanjala Nyabola.

“Indeed, Western media continue – and will continue – to get coverage of African issues wrong because of their inability to confront this unspoken hierarchy of knowledge and the barriers it generates.”

AL-JAZEERA/Why do African Media Get Africa Wrong? By Patrick Gathara.

“African media commit many of the same sins though, given the fact that most only broadcast to discrete home audiences, it is easy for them to escape censure. While Africans in almost every country on the continent have the opportunity to be regularly appalled by their portrayal on?CNN, Al Jazeera and?BBC, it is rare that Kenyans will flip the channel to check what Nigerian journalists are reporting about them.”

AL-JAZEERA/ Killing Kenya. By Mohamed Ali. September 23, 2015.

“Kenyans are currently five times more likely to be shot by a policeman than a criminal.”

GATHARAS WORLD/The Price of a Good Kenyan Name. By Patrick Gathara. March 7, 2016.

“It must be particularly humiliating for our veteran journalists, many of whom cut their teeth standing up to and exposing the ills of the dictatorship of Daniel Arap Moi only to see their publications succumb to the supposedly more democratic regimes that succeeded it. It is a sign that despite all the reforms that have been enacted, including the adoption of a new progressive constitution, little has changed in the fundamental dynamic between the rulers and the ruled. Kenya still very much remains a country of wenyenchi and wananchi.”

CARTOON MOVEMENT/South Sudan: Who Got What??By Victor Ndula (illustrator, with Alex de Waal). April 15, 2015.

“Ordinary South Sudanese had thought that peace meant fewer men and fewer guns, not more of them.”

THE NEW INQUIRY/Silence is a Woman. By Wambui Mwangi. June 4, 2013.

“The natural condition of a woman is to dwell in silence, to persevere mutely, and to communicate speechlessly. Silence becomes a woman. Silence is what a woman, in be-coming a woman, becomes. Silence is becoming in a woman because silence is the be-coming of a woman. A woman is silent. The presence of a woman is the presence of silence. Silence is a woman.”

DAILY NATION/Who is behind recent terror attacks in Kenya??By Makau Mutua. June 2, 2012.

“why does the Kenyan State appear to be asleep at the switch when the country is under attack?”

THE EAST AFRICAN/A Story of Unnecessary Trade-Offs. By L. Muthoni Wanyeki. March 9, 2013.

“Kenyans continued to vote peacefully as the electronic identification system failed. They sat peacefully as the electronic transmission system failed as the first and most-costly legal guarantee of the integrity of their vote collapsed around them, the very system meant to ensure a different election this time round.”

GUKIRA/For Garissa University College. By Keguro Macharia. April 2, 2015.

“I imagine that some of the students killed and injured at Garissa University hated school. They attended school because their parents wanted it, because they had no other plans, because their friends were there. I imagine that some of them loved exams. They loved the thrill of pitting their minds against tricksy questions. I imagine some were falling in love, others falling in lust, and that both met on fields of vulnerable hearts and hungry bodies. I imagine that some had learned to stay up all night, talking, studying, dreaming, worrying, praying.”

GADO/ Free Expression in Kenya Today. By Gado. January 28th, 2016.

“Freedom of expression in Kenya is becoming even more and more limited.”

Gado2

DAILY NATION EDITORIAL/ Mr. President, Get Your Act Together This Year. By Denis Galava. January 1, 2016.

“Your Excellency, three years is a long time to live on hope. On more than one occasion you have addressed the nation and promised to fix the fundamentals of statehood once and for all. However, nothing has come of it. Your Excellency, why do you make promises that you cannot keep?”

NOTE: Denis Galava was fired from the Daily Nation for writing this editorial.

THE CITIZEN/ Who Will Free Kenyans from this Slave Mentality? By Rasna Warah. March 31, 2016.

“In Kenya it is perfectly normal to have Asian-dominated schools or Europeans-only clubs. In many restaurants, white people get better treatment from waiters than black people.”

DAILY NATION/ Burying Kenyatta: The Moments and the Memories. By Joyce Nyairo. August 18, 2013.

“All along State House Avenue and down Kenyatta Avenue, the only sound in the air was that of the horses hooves drawing the coffin alongside the synchronised marching of the pall-bearers. Silence. A deathly silence. A silence of uncertainty.”

KTN KENYA/ Jitimai ya Ugaidi: Jinsi shambulizi la kigaidi lilivyotekelezwa katika chuo kikuu cha Garissa.?By Mohammed Ali. (video)

“Jinsi shambulizi la kigaidi lilivyotekelezwa katika chuo kikuu cha Garissa.”

KTN KENYA/ Futari ya Sumu??(video). By Mohammed Ali.

“Mohammed Ali sheds light on the plight of residents of Owino Uhuru who are suffering from Lead poisoning”.

AFRICA UNCENSORED/Lead Poisoning in Owino Uhuru.?March 4, 2016.

“Residents of Owino Uhuru settlement, Mombasa, Kenya, find themselves plagued with lead poisoning following neglect from GOK”.

SAHAN JOURNAL/Reclaiming the Essence of an Accidental City. By Rasna Warah. July 22, 2013.

“Independence in 1963 removed the barriers that prevented Africans from moving to the city permanently. This led to a sudden surge in urban population growth in cities such as Nairobi, which has since then been characterised as a city of migrants, where rural folk come to escape the poverty and hopelessness of village life.”

AL-JAZEERA/ Dying to Give Birth in Northern Kenya.?By Alinoor Moulid Bosh.

“Kenya is rated among the 10 most dangerous countries for pregnant women, according to a?United Nations report,?which highlights the trend of maternal deaths from 1990 to 2013″

THE STAR/ How Our Government Rescued Al Shabaab. By John Githongo. July 31, 2015.

“Strategically, al Shabaab has achieved one of its initial objectives: it has made entire parts of northern Kenya no-go zones for non-Muslims. Many non-Muslim teachers, nurses, doctors, etc have fled. The terrorists are now evicting the government one village at a time killing soldiers and administrators.”

THE NEW INQUIRY/Political Vernaculars: Freedom and Love. By Keguro Macharia.March 14,2016.

“Political vernaculars shape the conversations one can have. Say “corruption” in Kenya and all in attendance will proclaim it a terrible scourge; say “tribalism” and, depending on where we are and who we are with, some will call it terrible. Say “impunity” or “good governance” and the positions are already established, arguments in place, and emotions already arranged.”

CAPITAL FM NEWS/Cops gang-raped me, imprinted name on my thigh.?By Judy Kaberia. March 7,2016.

“”He came and pulled me. He raped me again. His colleague held my hand as he raped me again.”The two colleagues then escorted her to her home.”They warned me to shut up. They told me if I say what happened they would kill me.””

AFRICAN ARGUMENTS/ Kenya’s under fire journalists refuse to be cowed. By Mark Kapchanga. February 2, 2016

“Kenya has a proud history of having a relatively free and independent media, but over the past few years journalists have been growing increasingly worried about state interference and the deterioration of journalistic integrity.”

COMMONWEALTH WRITERS/ Matatu Women: Going It Alone In Nairobi. By Ivy Nyayieka. February 3, 2016.

“Women in Nairobi are taught to look at alone-ness as something to be sneered at. The trajectory of a girls life even one who, by society’s standards of smartness, has excelled and has made it by a quota system to the highest level of secondary school is always aimed towards combating alone-ness and singlehood. Teachers, male and female, want to know who will marry you. Peers, male and female, mock you about singing along to Beyonce’s Single Ladies and remind you Beyonce has a man at home.

BRAINSTORM/ The Predictable Nature Of Corruption in Kenya. By Brenda Wambui. February 2, 2016.

“Corruption scandals have become a “fact of life” for many Kenyans, who have come to regard them as just another facet of Kenyan life, alongside high taxes, poor service delivery, our “cult of personality” approach to politics and religion, and the misfortunes occasioned to us by terrorism. These burdens seem to be ours for the long haul, and we seem to have accepted them, albeit half-heartedly. It is tiresome to watch or listen to the news; even being on Twitter at a time when one was not prepared for shock or disappointment can derail ones entire day.”

CIPIT LAW BLOG/ Music, Money and Middle Men: Changing Dynamics between Collecting Societies, Rights Holders and the Public. By Victor Nzomo. January 22, 2016.

“Although it may seem obvious, it is important to understand the fundamental differences between CSPs and collecting societies. First and foremost CSPs are businesses like any other trying to turn a profit out of any investment as opposed to collecting societies which are registered and operate as not-for-profit entities on behalf of rights holders.”

DAILY NATION/ Mr President, you really do not need these ridiculous court poets around you. By Joyce Nyairo. November 12, 2014.

“You really want to be wary of people who post newspaper advertisements on your behalf, especially when those notices relate to inane populist gestures such as wishing you a happy birthday and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education candidates success at the national exams.Not only can you do that for yourself, but the money splurged on newspapers that the children of Kapedo, Kangemi, and Khorof Harar will never see can be better spent giving them posho, penicillin and pencils.”

THE EAST AFRICAN/Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye: Kenya’s literary enigma. John Sibi-Okumu. December 11, 2015.

“More often than not, I would arrive unannounced on a Sunday afternoon, secure in the knowledge that she would be there, after church. We would chat for hours on end, fuelled by black coffee, about the state of the world, the state of our country, prevailing literary feuds, my playwriting, my doubts about being a good husband and father, everything.”

DAILY NATION/ They should have killed me: Stories from the Rape Capital of the World. By Pauline Kairu. July 17,2015.

“At least 48 women are raped every hour in the DRC, especially in the eastern province of South Kivu, which is still beset by persistent flare-ups of conflict. Of these, 13 per cent are under 14 years of age, three per cent die as a result of rape, and 10 to 12 per cent contract HIV/Aids.”

THE STAR/ Moi’s God Complex And Its Foul Aftertaste. By Kiprono Chesang. October 3, 2015.

“Madness itself is when Nyayo visits your village. Big, black, flying escort cars breeze through rough dirt roads, sending free-range children and chicken flying. Stones are white-washed and the ugly black, red and green Kanu pedants hang from any post in sight.”

AFRICA IS A COUNTRY/ It Is Time: The need to rethink homosexuality in Kenya and Africa. By Kari Mugo. July 30, 2015.

“As an out LGBTQ Kenyan, I am privileged enough to not have to live with the fear that comes with being gay in Kenya. A very real fear that is realized through harassment, violence, raids on social gatherings, disownment by family and friends, financial disenfranchisement, employment and housing discrimination, and coded laws that punish “homosexual relations.”

CHIMURENGA CHRONIC/ Pwani Si Kenya.?By Ngala Chome. March 19, 2015

“Babu says that when he was growing up it was easier to live in Mombasa if you were a Muslim. But not a Mijikenda, a native. Because if you were a native and could not produce evidence that you were employed and earning a wage in town, you would be repatriated to the reserve.”

GRANTA/ How to write about Africa. By Binyavanga Wainaina.

“Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment.”

GATHARA’S WORLD/ Monsters Under The House. By Patrick Gathara. March 10, 2013.

“We voted and celebrated our patience and patriotism, brandishing purple fingers as medals for enduring the long queues. And we heaved a collective sigh of relief when it was all over. We afterwards wore our devotion to Kenya on our sleeves and on our Facebook pages and Twitter icons even as we were presented with the evidence of our parochial and tribal voting patterns which fulfilled Mutahi Ngunyi’s now prophetic Tyranny of Numbers.”

MAIL & GUARDIAN AFRICA/ Sometimes, voting along tribal lines can be the ‘smartest’ thing for an African voter to do -study says. By Christine Mungai. January 27, 2015.

“You might have a situation where in a particular ministry, for example, everyone from the minister to a cleaner is from the same community.Civil society and democracy activists hate this kind of thing, as it is a most brazen display of tribalism. But almost immediately, these newly-hired cleaners and messengers have more money, and so are able to send their children to school perhaps even re-enroll one or two who had dropped out and their next baby is likely to be born in a hospital and be vaccinated.”

THE STANDARD/ No Mr. President, numbers tell a different story. By Alphonce Shiundu. September 22, 2015.

“In a country like Kenya, it is difficult to convince teachers who are on strike over a pending pay rise that there’s no money; that the country is broke; that if they get their court-awarded pay rise, then every public servant will demand their share and that the wage bill will take up nearly two-thirds of the revenues collected.”

BROKEN NOTEBOOK/ Love and Repatriation.?By?Daniel Wesangula. June 16th, 2015.

“To be a refugee is hard. But to be a husband, a father and the sole breadwinner for family, both extended and immediate, is something else””.

WANDIA NJOYA/Mwanaume ni revolution. By Wandia Njoya. October, 4, 2014.

“So while girls have curfews, boys are given the keys to enter the house in case they arrive after everyone has gone to bed. Girls are raised by adults; boys are expected to raise themselves. Girls when they are not married off are protected till they’re in their twenties. Boys are told they are men when they’re still kids, when they are incapable of getting an ID, let alone getting a job and raising a family.”

GUARDIAN AFRICA NETWORK/We’re here, we’re queer, we’re African.?By?Patrick Gathara. January 29, 2014.

“…the rhetoric of a culture clash masks an effort to own and define what it means to be a human being in Africa. It posits the existence of a common African Culture, a mystical commonality that supposedly underlies the traditions and practices of the thousands of communities on the continent. This is, of course, fiction.”

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DAILY NATION/Why Our Second Liberation is Yet to Be Completed . By Mutahi Ngunyi. December 14, 2003

“This week I want to give a suggestion to President Mwai Kibaki: He should fire his speechwriter! If we lived in a “banana republic,” these people would have actually been charged with sabotage.”

DAILY NATION/ Technology killing journalism, but its a good thing: long live journalism. By Charles Onyango-Obbo. May 13, 2015.

“At one point he asked how many people were wearing watches. Most were. He noted that wearing a watch was no longer for telling time, but for vanity as everyone who could afford a watch could also afford a mobile phone, which was a better device for telling time. Folks look at their phone screens many times more than they do at their watches.”

DAILY NATION/Dennis Oliech’s long farewell and the condition of being unwanted at Harambee Stars by Roy Gachuhi. November 2, 2014.

“Oliech must have known all this time that a country never stops looking for new players. How else did he himself find his way at the top? That was not new. But declining his entreaties to rejoin the team and the thanks and praise marked the turning of a page. In polite society, when the executioner must be put to work, it is not necessary to use tough language on his victim.”

KUNAPIPI/The Redykyulass Generation.?By Parselelo Kantai. First published in 2007.

“At a book launch in Nairobi in April 2006, Kenya’s most famous historian, Prof. Bethwel A. Ogot stood up and declared that Project Kenya was dead. The ideals that the nationalists had stood for were bankrupt. Kenya, he said, had never been more distant an idea than it was now at the beginning of the 21st century. Nationhood no longer existed. It had been replaced by sub-nationalism: the different ethnic groups, in effect, had eaten up the country.”

DAILY NATION/The First Lady Kenya Never Had. By John Kamau, November 17th, 201

“The death of Lena in July 2004 caused confusion. At first it was announced that she would be buried in Sacho.

But this was shifted to Kabarak, where she was laid to rest on the trimmed lawns in front of the imposing bungalow where Moi lives. In death, Lena was reunited with her husband. Kenyas would-be second First Lady had largely gone unnoticed.”

OSMAN OSMAN/Prisoner of my Identity. By Osman Mohammed. 7th April, 2014.

“I did not emigrate to this beautiful nation, friends! I was born here 20 years ago in a small maternity hospital in Thika town, now part of Kiambu County, to an army officer who has gallantly fought for this nation for about 30 years now.”

ADDA/A Story of Marsabit; A Study of Home. By Dalle Abraham

“Afraid of becoming nothing, coupled with post-college restlessness, I discover that home isnt the romanticised place in which I had pictured myself. This realisation estranges me from the town I had known intimately. I begin to walk calmly in town; to re-see and re-learn. I am shocked by my discoveries.”

CHANYADO/ Letter to CBK Governor. By Aleya Kassam. 28th January 2016.

“We currently live in a country of no consequence. Every day people are exposed for fraud so mindboggling massive our brains cant wrap itself around the enormity. Every day people are literally stealing the future from our children. And absolutely nothing happens to them. We shake our heads, crack a joke, start a twitter trend and move on. Yet inside we are screaming as we break apart.”

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These are pieces of fantastic writing about Kenya and Kenyans.

THE NEW YORKER/Finish Line. By Xan Rice. May 21, 2012.

“But, at first, Wanjiru got away with it. It helped that he never skipped training, even when hungover. And he didnt have a coach in town to chastise him. Francis Kamau, who helped Wanjiru train but had no supervisory role, told me, He would drink at night and still run the time he wanted the next day. God had built the boy in a different way.”

FOREIGN POLICY/ Close your eyes and pretend to be dead. BY Tristan McConnell. September 21st, 2015.

“In the queue of cars waiting to enter the car park, Ben realized his lime-green Mercedes was boxed in, with the barrier in front and more cars behind. The shooting was getting louder, closer. He leapt from the car and made for a flowerbed by a low wall to his left. Two gunmen appeared.”

AFRICAN HERITAGE/Nkrumah, Kenyatta and the Old Order. By Peter Abrahams. 1963.

So Kenyatta, the western man, was driven in on himself and was forced to assert himself in tribal terms. Only thus would the tribesmen follow him and so give him his position of power and importance as a leader.”

BRAINSTORM/Corruption and Terror: Somali Community in Kenya Caught in the Crossfire. By Samira Sawlani. 2014.

“As Nairobi born and bred 26 year old Abdi Sheikh said, I will never be Kenyan, always Somali Kenyan and that translates to not Kenyan enough. We keep one foot out the door, not because we want to, but because we dont know when the foot inside Kenya will be chopped off, forcing us to run.

THE DAILY BEAST/Death Squads in Kenya’s Shadow War on Shabaab Sympathizers. By Margot Kiser. 4th June, 2014.

“Death happens. Life has strange twists. As he and his brothers grew up they took different paths. In fact, one of his brothers works for the Kenyan intelligence service, he told me. Sheik Rogo used to say my mother was fair: she gave one son to Obama and the other to Osama.

Then Makaburi said, simply, I am waiting to be killed. And so he was.”

THE ATLANTIC/Why Kenyans Make Such Great Runners: A Story of Genes and Cultures. By Max Fisher. April 17, 2012.

“It turns out that Kenyans’ success may be innate. Two separate, European-led studies in a small region in western Kenya, which produces most of the race-winners, found that young men there could, with only a few months training, reliably outperform some of the West’s best professional runners.”

THE ATLANTIC/A Encore for Chaos. By Bill Berkeley. February 1996.

“Is Kenya to become yet another African nightmare? Many fear so. The miracle is that it has not already done so. For years Kenya has been viewed as the proverbial powder keg. There were epochal assassinations in the 1960s and 1970s. A failed coup in 1982 exposed sharp divisions of group and class. Now the clashes have inflamed those divisions. Yet somehow Kenya confounds perennial predictions of an imminent inferno.”

ESPN/ Into the Wild. By Seth Wickersham. May 18th, 2012.

“In 2010, Marko persuaded Friess to check out William Ritekwiang, a cousin from his Kenyan village who’d just graduated from high school. Friess offered him a scholarship. Marko and William had grown up together, were initiated and circumcised by their Pokot tribe together, witnessed tribal fights together — raiders carrying AK-47s, occupying their village at one point for three months. But William neither looked nor acted like Marko. He was shorter and broader. William was as quiet and moody as Marko was social, as raw a runner as Marko was polished.”

FOREIGN POLICY/The Last Famine: A Natural History of Hunger. By Paul Salopek, March 2, 2012.

“The sun was devastatingly hot, and Linda and I sucked down bottled water. Seeing our thirst, Mister Inas and Lotur politely declined offers of drinks. They accepted granola bars, but judging from their exchanged deadpan glances, must have found them disappointing. Mister Inas then showed us a few wild plants the Daasanach resorted to during famines: the berries of the kadite bush and a gnarled tree that produced a currant-like fruit calledmiede. People were forgetting their use. “Today, we eat food aid instead,” he said.”

NEW YORK TIMES/The Prosecutor and the President. By James Verini, June 22 2016.

“The International Criminal Court embodied the hope of bringing warlords and demagogues to justice. Then Luis Moreno-Ocampo took on the heir to Kenyas most powerful political dynasty.”

THE GUARDIAN/ The Missing Millions of Kibera. By Martin Robbins, August 1 2012.

“Does this matter? Yes, if it means that years of funding and community planning are based on figures that are complete and utter bullshit. Kibera hosts some of the world’s poorest people; residents whose problems are very real and immediate, whose scale hardly needs exaggerating. In a community estimated to host several hundred NGOs, charities and agencies, sucking in millions of dollars in foreign aid, such a fundamental error raises a more disturbing question: if so many people are so wrong about something so basic, what else isn’t true?”

AL JAZEERA/?Magazine: A Witness to FGM.?By Mariella Furrer, 10 July 2015.?

“Juliana was held down, her mouth covered to smother her screams, as a legally blind woman cut at her genitals.”

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED/?Far from Hollywood, the life of Charles Gitonga Maina is a complicated tale. By Greg Goggel, 8 July 2016.?

“Less than 10 minutes later, in this city bigger than Chicago, Charles Gitonga Maina ambles into the bar and asks if someone was looking for him. I awkwardly shake his hand and try to explain why Ive come. Were both overwhelmed. Boy, do I have a story for you, he says, his speech slightly slurred.”

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We are still looking for more pieces to add. Comment below or on Facebook/Twitter with any you feel are missing.

Curation Assistant: Kish Wakisha. [Blog]

Owaahh, 2016.

One story is good,

till Another is told.

  • iQ

    Having followed this blog for a while I am perturbed by the fact that you selected quite a few hacks to quote in this particular piece in all their irrelevance and equally surprised that you, Owaah, haven’t quoted yourself at least once because you have done a stellar job of curating Kenya’s history over the years in journalism as opposed to for example a musician (Nanjira) and a self-important Know-It-All (Bree) both of whom I have personally known for over 10 years amongst others. I mean, come on, where’s Wahome Mutahi? Where are the Marjorie Macgoye quotes if you are sincerely writing about Kenyan journalism? Where is Icon (of Diasporadical fame) and Crystal Ading’ and Crystal Simeone and Aleya Kassam and the Media Madness-es of Kenya for the pivotal work they did/are doing?

    I did however enjoy the idea of 100 fantastic pieces of Kenyan journalism and I do wish to see a more balanced affair whenever you next wish to revisit this tpe of blogpost.

    Signed, Avid reader.

  • UzalendoChapChap

    Thank you ! Straight into my Pocket.

  • Muthoni

    Bless you for this Owaahh. A farm of bananas is being purchased in your name.

  • Sam Speech

    Great list. Go ahead and recognize your own self for this brilliant piece: http://owaahh.com/the-sack-of-imperial-bank/

    Also, here are some I quite enjoyed from KenyaBuzz:
    http://www.kenyabuzz.com/lifestyle/the-story-of-leicester-and-east-africa
    http://www.kenyabuzz.com/lifestyle/famous-with-kenyan-roots

  • A N Analyst

    It must be said a (now clearly “seen through”) new species, the blatant presstitute, has not reached as high a level of shamelessness in Kenya, as in the jew owned Western MSM. But as they say anything that happens in California ultimately pervades the world, including rainbow yarmulkes !!