Knowing Ourselves/Knowing Others

Knowing me, knowing you (ah-haa) There is nothing we can do. —ABBA In early 2008, a consensus seemed to emerge among members of the Concerned Kenyan Writers collective (CKW), to which I then belonged: Kenya’s post-election violence had been caused, in part, because we did not know each other well enough, or at least well... Continue Reading →


A good memory: in the 1980s, Kenyan women had discovered European and North American hunger for ciondos. Women would buy ciondos, pack them in suitcases, travel to Europe and North America, and raise school fees. In my imagination, the streets of New York smelled like freshly-woven, brightly colored sisal. I would accompany my mother to... Continue Reading →

Killing Kenyans: One Strike at a Time

Kenyan health professionals—nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists—are on strike. Predictably, the newspapers are featuring stories of the many patients who are dying because of the strike. Health professionals, we are told, lack compassion. Crass materialists, they dare to put their own material comforts above the urgent needs of the most vulnerable: sick women and children. The... Continue Reading →

Post-Patriarchal: Eulogy for Michuki

Daddy, I have had to kill you—Sylvia Plath Let us now praise the dead old men. Let us now praise our desiccating fathers. Let us now praise our well-preserved corpses. Let us now praise our obsolescent regimes. Let us now praise our dead old men. Dance for the dead old men. Dance on and around... Continue Reading →

Are We Civilized Yet?

Kenya’s media is obsessed with civilization. Repeatedly, we are told that we “not yet” civilized. Lest I be accused of making up stuff, here are a few samples: In spite of our national consensus that we want to live together as a united nation, our tribal tendencies still haunt us. . . . [We want... Continue Reading →

Bad Activist Women! Bad!

The Nancy Baraza-Rebecca Kerubo story dominated Kenyan minds prior to the ICC ruling that now consumes our time. I want to think about the context of the case against Deputy Chief Justice Baraza, more specifically, the role of women activists and the much-debated gender requirements of the constitution. To give the quick and dirty, DCJ... Continue Reading →

Where are Kenya’s Leaders?

An update from the DN reads: Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka at Eldoret North MP William Ruto Karen's residence in Nairobi. He joins Ministers Samuel Poghisio, Ali Mwakwere and other Members of Parliament allied to the newly formed United Republican Party (URP) who have also converged at the residence. 12:56 pm. Are any of our leaders... Continue Reading →

PEV Ghosts

We must put the ghosts of 2007/8 behind us. --Uhuru Kenyatta And what the dead had no speech for, when living, They can tell you, being dead: the communication Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living. --T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” A skeletal hand scrabbles though the muck of forgetting.... Continue Reading →

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