Latest Qwani Posts

First Time At The Rodeo? | Gladys Njamiu
First Time At The Rodeo? | Gladys Njamiu

Disclaimer, I am not a certified therapist. What I am is a girl who loves hot chocolate and has survived a couple of hard days. I went from happy and active to sad, never leaving the house person. After COVID, everyone seemed to adjust well. My classmates were excited to go back to school and friends to hang out and make memories. I, on the other hand, was struggling to get out of bed. I didn't cook, clean, go out or shower. I had been diagnosed with depression, but was in and out of therapy. When I look back the shame and denial kept me in the sad and I despair loop. I didn't want to ask for help because of what people would say and I believed people like me should not be depressed. 

I didn't have a worst day, I had worst days, and here's how I survived them:

Here’s how to survive your worst days:

Tip 1: Acceptance 

From your big sister to you:  the first step to dealing with anything, literally anything is acceptance. Accept it sucks I know the feelings are big and heavy but I need you to look at whatever is bothering you head-on. Acknowledging things for what they are frees you, giving you the headspace to see things more clearly and rationally. 

Tip 2: Sit With Your Feelings.

I love and hate this part. I love it because I get to sit down, light a candle, burn sage, and journal. I also get to enjoy comfort films and food. A big bag of tomato-flavoured crisps. I get to enjoy my pajamas from dawn till dusk, cuddle my teddy, and of course skip washing utensils. But, accepting how deeply some emotions demand to be seen or felt, getting that burning sensation on my chest, or heaviness on my back; that’s what drives me crazy.  Expressing our emotions gets the heaviness out of us allowing us to clear the fog. 

Tip 3: Get Working 

So, now you know how badly you are hurt, disappointed, or frustrated. What will you do? 

You could sit and wallow but that was step two. Here, you cultivate good habits. You go for walks, make a meal and schedule therapy. You clean your room. You get going a day at a time. Your journey to better days might have twists and turns but  it's yours. Embrace it. 

A day at a time might take you weeks or months, like I said it's your journey. Honor it. I truly believe numbers two and three are sisters. Some days you will need extra pajamas, other days you’ll kick ass. Give yourself the grace to survive both days. 

Tip 4: Trust Your Gut. Trust Your Body. 

Whatever you need to get out of a funk baby, you have it in you. Trust that little voice in you. The gut controls our motivation, energy levels, clarity, and decision-making.  You learn to trust your gut by keeping it healthy and trusting the small nudges you get. 

Trusting your gut might take time if you don’t feel at home in your body or you don’t trust yourself. Thus, starting small is the way to go. Trust what your body wants to have for supper or breakfast and feed it that. If you struggle to trust yourself, start by switching to a gut-friendly diet, writing down the moments you ignored your intuition or trusted your intuition and what happened. 

Also,  affirm yourself. Repeating phrases such as:  I trust myself; I only want what’s best for myself; I easily make the right decision;  eases you into being someone who can make the right decisions.  

Tip 5: Let Your Faith Guide You. 

If you pray, then get on your knees. Turning to the higher power one believes in for help provides one with a structure to get through difficult times and support from God or members of the same religion. Although meditating is difficult, it’s crucial as it calms and inhibits stress response. Practicing mindfulness reduces activity in the amygdala, the part of your brain that controls your stress response.

My favorite way to meditate is by listening to the birds chirp, watching the butterflies, or taking a hot shower. Sometimes I use a guided meditation from YouTube. Physical activity helps in the production of happy hormones called endorphins. In case you’re in a stressful situation, a 10-minute mindfulness walk removes you from the situation giving you time to catch your breath. 

My favorite way to add movement to my day is taking walks and 10 minutes of yin yoga. In yin yoga, we hold the poses for a long time allowing you to pause and see how your body reacts to the pose. This calms and relaxes you whilst helping you connect to your body. 

Basking in the sun triggers the brain to release serotonin. Serotonin helps you feel calm and focused. In my case, waking up with the sun or before the sun helps me cure insomnia as it allows me  to sleep and get into a routine. 

Observing my circadian clock makes it easy to fall asleep at night and easy to wake up. I’d then conquer my day as shown in tip number 6.  Breathing exercises help you relax the muscles thus relaxing physically and mentally. My favorite breathing technique is Box breathing: breathe in, count to four slowly, hold your breath for 4 seconds, exhale through your mouth for 4, and repeat till you feel relaxed.  

Tip 6: A Small To-Do List

When we are in the trenches we tend to feel or believe things will never work out for us. We also might wither away jumping from couch to bed, from series to series. Being productive gives one a sense of accomplishment which then gives you something to celebrate. 

I love to-do lists as you can add anything that makes you happy. Start with 5 essential tasks that you must do that day. This list should help you slowly come out of the dark hole and ease you back into productivity. 

When I started, my to-do list read: wake up, freshen up, Eat, draw the curtains, sweep the house, 5 minutes of sunshine. Although waking up and eating were mandatory they were on that list to help me accomplish things even on days I didn’t tick anything else.

As you progress, break down your to-do list into 3: a monthly list that should be drawn from the quarterly goals or yearly goals you’ve set, a weekly to-do list that helps you achieve your monthly goals, and a daily to-do list that helps achieve the weekly goals. As you set these goals remember to reward yourself weekly and monthly, no matter how small the gift is. You deserve it.

Tip 7: Patience 

It might take you days, months, or years to feel whole again. The journey to  finding happiness requires that you grant yourself the patience and time. Sometimes sadness just finds you. In these moments, please be kind to yourself. 

It took me 2 years to start feeling normal again. It does take deliberate effort to get your happy hormones in. Some days will be tougher than others and on those days remember to simplify your tasks. The sadness might feel like a cycle but  I wish you kinder seas.  


Image by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash


Gladys Njamiu writes on mental health, books, food, girlhood, and entertainment. She’s a poet, cat and podcast lover. She shares her reading progress on her podcast (aunty_ wa_ vitabu podcast). She also runs a personal blog -> 

She’s a rest and boredom advocate.

In My Feelings | Evie
In My Feelings | Evie

It’s my birthday, but I’m in no celebratory mood

It’s been a while since I have been. 

So many conflicting thoughts

I don’t know how to feel

I feel:








Is this real life? 

What’s my purpose? 

Do I have one?

What is the end goal?

Where do I go from here?


So it is true,

Time is just but an illusion

And I’m stuck in this never-ending loop 

Let me out


Someone please,


I need to know how to pick back up,

How to walk again

That this isn’t the end


What do I do?

Where do I go?

Who am I?


At myself, why me?

Why do I do the things I do? 

Why do I just not care!


Like the great Freddie Mercury once said, 

I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all

Then I wouldn’t have to think about everything that life truly is

And not have the guilt of wanting to end it all


To not feel

I have a birthday wish this year,

Someone please hold my hand

Or at least see me.


For as long as I can remember, words have brought a sort of comfort to me. I have always gravitated towards them as a sort of security blanket, hence why I started my blog. My hope is that whatever I share brings a sort of community that I understand, and I’m here to tell you we are in this together.

To communicate more with the writer:

Instagram: @everythingmelaninblog

To read more of their works check out their blog:


Six Shades of Melanin | Mokaya Atambo
Six Shades of Melanin | Mokaya Atambo


When I closed down my stalls at Kamukunji, I tried hard to convince myself that I did it for me. For once, the Kanjo officers, often dressed in long raincoats on chilly mornings, wouldn’t pester me with almatums to settle my license payments and the accrued penalties.

The business was struggling. Customers no longer travelled all the way to Kamukunji for wares they’d easily find in well-arranged Chinese stores in town, even at lower prices. Every other time I’d sit with my ledgers and look through the numbers, I was being reminded that I needed to do better, and Kamukunji wasn’t the place to do it better.

Closing the shop down, for starters, relieved me of the stress of waking up so early to take three matatus so that I could arrive at work at least by 9 in the morning. I became less busy and had more time to even grow my afro.

However, looming within me, and slowly taking root, was the self-doubt that perhaps I had done it for something else other than my peace. I had become embattled with the notion that I needed to let go of a part of me that weighed me down in a selfish bid to soar to new heights of opportunity, juxtaposed with the sacrifice of despising a lesser internal glory for a greater external one. 

Hasselhoff was beside me after the fact, implicitly reminding me that I had failed in my black womanhood. He didn’t have to say it, but the leaning on that I did to him and the appeal I indirectly gave of, ‘I have no job so please sort me out,’ gnawed on my conscious. I felt like just another woman who depended on a man. A white man. I had given in to the whims and caprices of a mzungu, an unsure promise of richness that Ashawo women held on to dearly as a means of escapism.

I was never an Ashawo, but those blue Scandinavian eyes perked at my Adventist skirts, slit my good girl sundresses, and sewed them up to the bare minis that Ashawos donned on Friday nights.

Hasselhoff worshiped Melanin, for that is what he called me. He worshiped me. He groped at me with the thirst of the kids he fed on most of his philanthropic safaris. He kissed the darkest parts of my skin—armpits, knees, and elbows—as his eyelids clasped to each other as though he were tasting some heavenly, nutty smoothie. He called me names that foreign Ashawo-preferenced men called local women.

I never fully understood why it appeared to him that my blackness was the best thing in his world at that moment. Even from the point he met me, at an old classic cafe that also sold liquor in Ngara, he was drawn into me. I could trace the way his eyes studied my skin and how they marvelled at the color of my jet-black nappy afro. If he were a poet, the silence, coupled with his grandeur admiration for my melanin, could as well be creating sonnets and sonnets about melanin.

When he finally said the first ‘Hi,’ my thoughts were on my locked-down stalls at Kamukunji, my three-month overdue rent, the call from my mom the night earlier about fertilizer, and my Pinterest shopping board.

Hazel gave me childlike fleets that tapped into my conviction of and gnawing for promise and safety. Somehow, I thought that locking down my menial means of earning a livelihood to give him more attention would open me up to the vast ocean in his blue eyes, and that from it I would tap what all Ashawos looked for.

Kamukunji gave me some sort of fulfillment, even when, almost all the time, I felt shitty about it. Living a tourist life in a country where one should be touring away from didn’t appeal to me as much as it did to Hazel. For months, I fought with my doubts, conjuring morsels and morsels of confidence and energy to ask him what should come next. We seemed to vibe at every turn of the moon, but I was a believer of all things to have a meaning at the end.

Fearful that my questioning would make him leave me and find a blacker version of me from another black girl in a classic cafe in Ngara, I held myself, waiting for the perfect moment to ask him.

‘What now?’ I asked Hazel one early morning, distracting him from whatever reverie he got from tracing the stretchmarks on my skin with his white, impossibly clean fingernails.

‘We travel.’

We. He said we.


Ma learned the wrong way that I was living wild. Her friend’s friend had a friend who was also living wild.

One thing with living wild, especially for someone who barely respects the code of living wild, is that you will find the most unexpected of people you know living as wild as, or even wilder than, you. It is customary to just ignore them. Pretend that you just didn’t see your praise and worship leader playing with the Shisha pipe like she does with the wire of the mic at church. Just mind your fucking business and greet her on Sunday when you are done leading the prayer. Don’t say hi. If she’s leaning in for a kiss, give her a quick peck and look away. She is probably pretending she doesn’t know you either. Keep things straight. Don’t complicate stuff. Whatever happens in Nairobi Socials stays in Nairobi Socials. Besides, you’ll be too hungover the next morning to even remember to tell people that this church girl gets her praise moves from pole-dancing.

So one night, this muscular, hotwired, a little bit older friend bumped into my ass at Nairobi Socials. She ground and ground her frontal pelvis on me. At some point, whatever bewilderment I was sending into the locked-up brains inside her coccal chamber nicked her nuts loose. She cupped her buff hands by my shoulders and mulikaad her inebriated, jaundiced eye on me.


I might have been drunk, but I swear the way she said my name triggered generational trauma from the way Ma had spent years drilling that same name, into me. This buff and wild lady sounded exactly like Ma, said my name in the exact same way that Ma did too. Ma used it as a tool for correction and warning. Sometimes, she would quickly say it just before spearing me to near death after I’d fumble about and made mistakes like letting milk spill over the counter board. So that name, my real name, lashed at my conscience, and for once, I thought Ma’s omnipresence had caught up with me in the worst of places, scantily dressed.

Half-drunk, half-nabbed, I jabbed my fingers into the chest of this buff lady built like a cute Shrek in a bid to ask, Mom? What are you doing here? I waited a minute. Ma might have been a superwoman, working like a horse on Pa’s farm in Meru, but she wasn’t built like a gelded bull.

‘Do I know you?’ I hiccuped.

The music was too loud for me to see her face.


She realized she was making a mistake. ‘Sorry, I mistook you for someone I had seen somewhere.’ She left for another pelvis, all the while shooting questioning glances at me as though confirming that my awfully familiar face wasn’t undergoing some form of transfiguration.

When this ordeal trickled down the gossip chain and reached Meru, Ma called. She never fichad anything, So she laid it bare: I was becoming a disappointment, or, if she ever meant it, the things she was hearing about her good Adventist girl weren’t pleasing to her ears. She spat at me, her words boiling with a characteristically rich Ameru jaunt and a tone that her great grandma might have used to curse our entire generation.

I should have asked how she had known, but that wouldn’t sell her my outright lie that those stories were curated out of pure hatred and pettiness by people I didn’t even know rivaled me.

At some point within our discord, she simmered down, the Ameru rove undressing her concern. She wanted to come see me. I wanted to say no. But there was a quiet, forlorn moment in between, I will come to see you and can I come see you? She turned. Stirred even. I knew she wanted to say, I know it’s not been easy since your dad walked out on us but that would be cliche, and she knew I hated cliches. So instead, she said, ‘You are my girl. My only girl. Please don’t get yourself killed.’

She might have had a point. Girls were being lured from clubs into murderhouses by murderous men. Rich men. And she thought my living wild at that moment was one of the formative stages of Another Love Triangle Gone Sour, a TV headline to which she would recuse into her space, and after shedding a few tears, say a prayer to Murungu to keep her girl safe from the clutches of depravity and her eyes away from murderers who masqueraded as rich, appetizing, even tempting men.

Now, however wild you want to live, black girl, the blackness within you has a limit for you. The reality is, except for the music video, a majority of the ladies in Drake’s yacht bouncing their botox injections and smacking their puffed-up lips to the beats of In My Feelings are white. And rich. Well, a little.

I knew this, and that’s where I draw the line. The brokenness in me put a leash on the blackness in me which sought to manifest itself as a wild sort of thing. I knew this. So Ma assuming that I was as naive as to blindly let anyone stuff me into an insufficient BnB, which I found more spacious compared to my student studio, was not only condescending but also annoying.

I wanted to talk back. I wanted to say that instead of letting friends of hers feed her with stories of what I was doing in the city’s sin industry as though they were hired spies, she should have perhaps considered changing her friends. Perhaps she housed the best intentions in her heart by warning me. Or perhaps the butch lady, a friend of Ma’s friend’s friend, should have known boundaries. Perhaps she, the hierarchy of friends that reached Ma, and Ma herself had epiphanies and they didn’t want me to get lost alongside swimmers with the current.

Whatever the case, it wouldn’t change my disturbing realization that butch girls are the worst snitches!


The security guards at the embassy knew me too well. They no longer had fun frisking me. They might have been cooing behind my back that my visits to that place were unending and that I might be having struggles with life, judging by my polite nonchalance that met their small talk whenever they screened me before I got in.

A normal establishment would have their guards on rotational basis. Even security companies don’t ever post their select group of guards at a place for too long. I think it’s the rule of the industry. However, to show that the embassy is full of secret agents working as spies to eliminate perpetrators of the sporadic terror attacks, they don’t change their guards.

As soon as I finished high school, I got myself into a roller coaster of the American dream. I wanted to leave this country and school in the States for college, and, in the process, acquire residence in a blue-state countryside. I wanted it so much so I started willing it into existence. I started by getting obsessed with those campuses at university websites and brochures. I then moved on to attending a few college fairs. Every one of them reminded me why the United States was the best and how easy it was to enjoy one’s passions and fulfill their dreams. I believed that as long as I demonstrated need, applied for aid, and was approved, things like the visa would be easy pie.

I never mentioned to anyone that I wanted to leave the country. I was convinced that the best plans were the ones unsaid. I worked late at night writing and rewriting essays, doing math and reading those biased, long-ass passages with the hope that I would pass the college entry tests and get into a good Ivy League school. I became dangerously secretive, submitting fraudulent recommendation letters and forged transcripts in dingy cyber cafes. I hated the highs and lows that came with the whole process, and the fact that I couldn’t speak to anyone about it. Not even Ma.

When your friend sent you the reel that said, ‘Girl, you need to shut your mouth about your plans,’ she most probably should have sent another saying ‘Girl, it hurts differently when your secret plans don’t work out.’

The ride in the coaster was perfect, up until I got my first invitation to the embassy for an interview. I had watched that lady on YouTube giving perks about visa interviews and had, say mastered, the art of responding to the questions. I might have even said that I aced it, until I got the denial letter.

It hurts differently when your secret plans don’t work out. You become engulfed in this black… flame that burns into your entire self trust. It makes you remember God and His punishment for sinners: malipo ya hapa hapa duniani.

But Ma raised no quitter, so I applied for a different type of visa. Denied. Okay, fake that you were circumcised by village elders and your girlhood is in danger so you’re seeking asylum. Denied. DV lottery. Denied. You’re turning 24. DV lottery again. Denied. F1 student visa? For the last time? Denied. What do you do? Touris… Denied.

‘Hello ma’am! Do you work here? Periodically?’

Guards are this polite?

‘No. Just another visa interview.’

She searched through my bag, thinking.

‘I must admire your consistency. A friend of mine from Kisii did this seven times and he got it the seventh time.’

She was trying to tell me that perhaps eight times was way too unreasonable. She waved her electric wand through my curves, which peeped as though I was carrying a C4 military grade bomb. The wand always peeps whether or not you’re carrying the bomb, which makes me wonder how the hell it’s supposed to show that I am about to bomb the embassy.

As a parting shot, she let me into a little of her wisdom. ‘You should try dating a man from there.’

In the spirit of always settling for less, I found myself stuck with Hazel, who was not only not American, but also married with three kids back in Sweden.


When Hazel said, ‘We travel,’ I pictured Bali.

I saw the Balenese snake dancers prancing through our faces, teasing us with reptiles siring with venom and mischief. I saw the jungles of Samoa and us staying at a cabin built by that guy on Facebook who raised it from scratch in a fast time lapse. I wanted to ride Mongolian horses and swim at an aquarium with inedible fish in Australia.

Instead of having steamy sandy beach sex in the Caymans, we hiked and hiked through the mounts of forests in Congo, every time replenishing the mosquito repellant on our skin as we got deep and deep into the forest and the mosquitoes got bitter and bitter. Once, we got rained on, but the excitement in a white man beset us on a tragic trance, bewildered with the mundanity of Africa.

At least he was happy, so I pretended to be happy that he was. We should have been headed somewhere else. He was rich enough to own a jet ski that mistakenly came with a small boat, but somehow, he had no capitalist ambition to always want more.

Sometimes I doubted if he was indeed a genuine, rich white man. Genuine rich white men didn’t flush their fortune exclusively on exotic African escapades that could get them killed. He knew that white-man-eating, blood-thirsty beasts roamed these jungles at night yet he wanted us holed up in a small tent in the middle of nowhere, listening to his weird-ass music and making love-he called it. I called it cheating on his wife.

He loved it when I jested him. He would cave into me, obviously turned on by the fact that I was villainizing him. He’d smile and bite my shoulder, all the while entering and exiting with heaves of a mzungu hiker. Perhaps he was so much into schadenfreude that the thought of me, perfectly crafted like an erotic Italian sculpture, replacing his plus-size pale wife, exploded his innards with spates of want, desire, lust even.

His ambition in Africa was to live simply, he told me the first day he met me. He wanted to escape his royalty, or whatever you call a lifetime of wealth and wealth management that killed the soul out of a white man.

‘Why would you come to Africa if you want to keep it simple?’

‘Because I pay for convenience. And your convenience is just too affordable.’

Ouch! I liked it when he jested back, his Svedish accent cajoling the sound of a man speaking while food is in his mouth.

In our shared experience, we did buy convenience. Living in an apartment at the top of a skyscraper in the Wester parts of town was all the convenience we needed. Again, moving in with him, just to find that he had designed a creative studio and stacked all the supplies I needed for my artwork and tapestry was all the convenience I needed. Getting me bags and bags of Louis Vutton, and sandals and sandals, heels on heels, dresses and dresses and dresses, with jewels and trinkets was all too convenient.

He showered me with blessings like we sang during the days I attended Bible study, and more showers of surprises, experiences, bungee jumping(I almost died), and once in a while released me to go to Meru and reshower Ma with his second-hand blessings.

My inner black girl didn’t dislike this idea of showers—literal showers in the African jungles. She just waded through the monotony of what Hasselhoff found interesting and pictured another lifestyle. This black girl wanted the Cayman experience so bad that she nudged me one afternoon to speak to…


‘Yess?’ He stretched the ss like a real foreigner.

The doubt in me had long gone. Two years in and I had fully mastered the art of suppressing it. The anxiety that had once paralyzed my nerves and ability to ask questions calmed and the realization that Hazel was stuck with me and all the other black girls in the city weren’t as black as this melanin urged me further.

‘Do you often wonder what the rest of the world looks like?’ I asked, then realized that my folly had ignored the fact that he came from the rest of the world. But he was a smart man. He knew what I was talking about.

He paused, but his right fore finger kept circling the tiny black hills surrounding my left nipple.

‘You know, there are six continents. Perhaps we should try the Amazon rainforest, or the wild beaches of Barbados. No?’

I cocked eyes with him. He evaded real quick.

Gosh. I felt like poor Daenarys begging the great Khal Drogo to take the iron throne for her.

Throne? A king does not need a chair to sit on. Only a horse. Drogo had said then.

‘Baby, this is the best place on earth. Where I am with the best woman on earth.’ He motioned, smiling.

I smiled back, concealing the floricks of disappointment that my demure witticism had attracted.

‘Don’t you want to see other cultures?’ I straddled him.

‘And maybe live in them too?’ On top now.


In my ‘living wild’ days, I had learned that it took little to convince a man, let alone a white man full of lust, to do something for you. And so, if all a king needed was a horse, he was the horse I needed to get to where I wanted.

‘I mean…’ Inaudible, he started to tweak. My horse trick was working.



‘Yes Ma.’

‘What do you mean you’re getting married?’ Ma was sipping her water, trying to cool down the pain I was causing deep inside her nose that was nearly sending her mad with screams.

It was a bad idea to let Ma into my plan. I need to shut my mouth about my plans.

‘Ma, I love him.’

I almost didn’t believe myself. Did I love that man? Was I riding on the Ashawo promise? Was I full-proof in the emotional side of me? Had years and years of seeing someone, casually coursing through life without sweet-words and the standing on business with life made me acute to love? We were deserving of each other’s love?

Nkirote mbona unaniletea mzungu kwa nyumba?’ She demanded, pretending that I hadn’t been in a relationship with this white man for over three years now.

Love was a complicated thing. It was the cradle for many things. For Hazel and I, I don’t think we had fully explored all the facets to it. Admitting that to Ma would be catastrophic because that would sum up all the reasons not to marry him. Among other reasons, of course, was the major one that Ma was fighting: that he was a white man.

Nkirote umetafuta bwana hii Nairobi yaani ukaona mzungu ndio wa kuniletea kwa hii nyumba?’ She was clearly troubled and worried about my future.

I was not only bringing a white man into the house, I was bringing a rich Scandinavian white man into this poor house.

I wanted to tell Ma he was married but ‘He is rich,’ spewed out.

She stared at me, her face taking after a blank page, asking to be dressed with emotion.

‘He runs a covert charity project spanning Africa and he is looking to expand to the rest of the world.’

‘What about you, Nkirote? You trained to be a lawyer.’

Yes, Ma. And now I can’t get employed because I didn’t get into KSL and firms are looking for professionally trained secretaries and Otieno & Associates wanted sex for a job and I can’t even finish CPA and Ma we’re broke and my bankrupt shop in Kamukunji can’t help us and Ma the economy is so hard right now Ma.

‘This is what I want to do, Ma. My sole ambition in this world is to help the needy. There are so many people around Africa and the world suffering worse than us, Ma. Now that I didn’t have support for doing that, I think that it has been a blessing that I have found support in the person that I love. Hasselhoff is God-sent, Ma’

What a sermon! Ma was impressed, I know, but she couldn't just smile, yet.

‘What did you say his name was? Hassle?’ Mama ignored all that I told her and stuck with the rich part. She struggled with his name, the Ameru having little hang of it.

‘Just call him Hazel.’


‘No. Hazel.’

Ma’s potency dissipated now. Her novelty for young love requited her respite for her failed one. If she really had a say, she kept it to herself. Had she been good at love, maybe even Pa would be around. We both didn’t miss that deadbeat drunk, but we both knew that he left because of Ma.

That thought boiling in our heads, we jolted the conversation into a new plane altogether, implicitly acknowledging that neither of us was warranted to question the novice nature with which I made such a big decision in my life. If there ever was going to be an unforeseen and unmentioned storm in my future married life, I would be better equipped to turn a shade of silence on Ma and on it, for I knew I would be dealing with that storm from a sunny beach.

6 Years Later.

KikTalker’s Reel Talk

Tuesday 7th March 

Girl, be as selfish as you want to be. Don’t let anyone, even your husband or mubaba put you in your place. Some of these wababas and husbands don’t even have a sense of direction when you are absent in their lives. Be the centre of it. Extract everything to your centre. You are the core of their lives, and make it known that you are.

PAUSE! I jump to get my notebook. Kiki is my favorite KikTalker. Running into one of her reels has become a thing that I am always looking forward to everyday. She enlightened my black girl lite feminist front by convincing me that all men are clueless. They have so much that needed to be managed by us, black girls.



Look babe, you aren't a prize, you are the prize. THE. T.H.E. Be that prize, take when you can, crave attention as much as possible.

PAUSE! This girl has taught me so much about money management. She said that while money is stable and is flowing into my account, I needed to reduce the tangible expenditure of it. If I wanted that Gucci bag, I could as well get Hazel to buy me. But getting my cash to buy it is kind of insulting to him. He claimed to be in charge of me. So I should let him be in charge.

The rest of my money (which I got from him anyway), I needed to plough into the index fund, to investments back in Meru and to the dummy account I created in Ma's name. How do I keep this inward cash flow? By being the center of it all. Craving attention and acting like the ‘baby’ Hazel calls me.

Notes! Notes!


Finally, for all my girlies finding it hard to face their inner fire. Gurl, you better acknowledge that you're just that. Don't fight it. Listen, there's a ruthless Ethiopian Queen in every black girl. The better and quicker you oil and tend to that Queen, the more that Queen becomes real. You're on your path to your greatness. With Love, Kiki, your favorite KikTalker. Bye!

PAUSE! Every turn of my marriage year marks a turn of a shade in me. I have become that virtual butch girl that goes to the club and gets grinded on like crazy. I hit the gym like never and Hazel falls in love with this femme-turned-butch, in a new way everyday. White people and their kinks!

He remains skinny and attractive though. He refuses to let his dad bod bend him down. He runs with my five-year-old athlete son for over six miles everyday. He hikes mountains when he travels North to see his other family. I know he keeps us a secret, but who cares?

Girl, as long as you are the center queen, you're the most powerful piece on the board.

Notes! Notes! Notes!


Girl, be as selfish as you want to be… You're on your path to greatness…Bye!


The origin of the name ‘shylock’ | Bevin Wasonga
The origin of the name ‘shylock’ | Bevin Wasonga

In modern society or today, the name shylock is used to refer to an informal money lender. You may have come across such a person in your local area. He lends money and may or may not charge interest on the sums lent and this mostly depends on your relations to them and how close you are. A large part of this transaction is based on trust since it falls within the informal sector. So, that you know who we are talking about : 

“What is the origin of the name Shylock?” 

At first, I thought the name originated from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. In this play, Shylock is from a small city in Venice, as a money lender. This comes out when Bassanio needs money. Bassanio and his friend Antonio visit Shylock and from this scene, we see Shylock's true character which is the same as a modern-day Shylock's. 

Shylock agrees to lend Bassanio 3000 ducats and takes Antonio's ships as collateral. He also warns that if the ships fail to return, he will cut a piece of Antonio’s flesh as collateral . Now we see the qualities of a money lender: interest charged, and consequences of loan defaulting. These parallel the qualities of a shylock although some may argue that Shylock here was extreme for asking for Antonio’s piece of flesh. However; Shylock from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice can be interpreted in many ways.

Now where does the name Shylock come from; It is a Hebrew name and was commonly used by the Hebrews who lived in England during the 16th century. The Hebrews used the name to mean 'white-haired'.


Photo by Vignesh Moorthy on Unsplash

Ex and Why Axes | Menya Ngoje
Ex and Why Axes | Menya Ngoje


It was nothing remarkable, just a skillfully made piece of glass with a passable application of optics, a physics principle. Perhaps if I were to describe it in a slightly more animated and graceful way, it would be a shimmering, lifeless, brittle oasis that mirrored existence. It was nothing; it shouldn't have been anything. Therefore, it seemed completely pointless and absurd to me that I was standing in front of it like a nude artist, fixated on that location in my room's corner, gazing intently into it while attempting to make sense of the fact that I could see very little to none of my reflection. My anxiety was not assuaged by anything, not even the thick lenses of my chromatic glasses. I tried to take them off. Perhaps when you're sad and broken, you unlock the special abilities of Bartimaeus and see more clearly. In any case, it did not help much aside from introducing streams of tears down my face, rolling and falling freely without resistance—linear motion free-fall—another principle of physics that I was at least understanding. Its angle of inclination was fine. Its wall support was steady. The stacks of concrete and reinforced pillars holding my room together boasted sound structural integrity. The only thing falling apart here was me. The only structures breaking down were my emotions. Mirrors serve as reflections of the truths we wish to believe, but mine, ugly and unwanted as they were, stared back at me—not through my supposedly beautiful image, but through the realization that I was staring at heartbreak, pain, and bottomlessness. In this city, you encounter many of God's most magnificently crafted masculine creations. The dark as you do the light ones, the short as you do the tall ones, the mannered as you do the mannerless, and slowly but surely, those whose Cupid’s arrows land on not as the chosen ones but the marked ones, the ones with a red asterisk who will make you stare at the mirror but miss your reflection despite having sharp visual acuity, the ones who compel you to lay bare on your bedroom floor like a breathing cadaver. The ones who make you weep in your poorly lit room while the dark new moon slyly mocks you through the corner of your window curtains from above.


Seasons have cycled through; they invariably do. The other day, in the gentle beauty of autumn, a girl used the renewed canvas to splash paints of life back to her chakra. The previous day was summertime, and on a solitary date, a girl ventured to update her beauty blog while leaving her skin sun-kissed, making love with the earth's energy. Once the springtime zephyrs began to whistle, a girl sang peaceful tunes back into her life, completing an orchestra with the wind. Sometimes it is a girl facing the entire force of the universe, adorned with her favourite skincare products, lipsticks, and customized jewellery. On others, it is her alone time with the magic of her nurturing fingers pruning her vase flowers, parting the chapters of her current favourite novel, navigating through her knowledge of the right and left-hand grip rules to bloom her garden, or scribbling her most gut-wrenching poems. And on the days that a girl steps outside, it is the indispensable bonds of her platonic friendships with her other girls, if any, that soar her through the day, equivalent to an angel and its diurnal wings. That is the condemnation of a broken heart; the heartbreak is not your business, but you pay for the healing. The only currency you have is a set of recurrent, subrogating habits, predicated on curation, over and over again, until a girl finds the perfect combination to solve her own life's complicated Rubix cube.  

Today, in the bleak midwinter, a new season dawns, cloaked in winter's chill and quiet cascades. Today, miles away from her first broken mirror that exposed her first broken pieces, is a girl with her new mirror, a rematch. This time, I don't feel lost like a clueless pirate navigating the Caspian Sea for the first time without the guidance of a cartographer. Rather than merely staring at a blank space, this time I am seeing what I am looking at in the mirror. I am perusing the mirror from corner to corner, admiring the new sheen of my flawless skin. I am dissecting, pixel by pixel, the beautiful pictures of this mature girl that my eyes are currently feasting on. My pretty reflection highlights all the carefully curated and impeccable proportions of pixie dust beauty that paint scintillating joy on my face—yes, a girl messed around and learned how to do her makeup. She is smiling, she is happy again, and she is giving the mirror a lickback show that has been long overdue. This time, the moon at the corner of my window’s curtain is bright and is a salient crescent whose bow shape feels like it is smiling at me in approval, unlike the last time. It has turned the tide and overturned my life. A girl now wields the power to evoke and reverse the hidden emotions of the solar system. A girl has recovered. Her quartet is complete. What a difference four years can make! 


Art. Paper, canvas, palette, podium, film, instruments, cassette, pen, and paper again. Beyond forgery. devoid of deception. impervious to imitation. The very intangible and immaterial nature of it renders it exempt from physical possession or theft. The might of the hand that creates it is beyond finite quantification. Its very essence finds home in the thoughts it stimulates, the feelings it arouses, and the all-encompassing experience it produces. These elements are everlasting; they transcend physical borders and can only be analogous to energy. You can conceive it, maybe create it, but you cannot destroy it. With art, one can only pay homage to the owner by quoting their ideas. 

“I finished crying in the instant that you left.” 

“And I banished every memory of you and I had ever made.” 

“I just have to admit that it's all coming back to me.” 

“It's so hard to believe, but it's all coming back to me.” 

“It was dead long ago but it's all coming back to me.” 

“It's so hard to resist, and it's all coming back to me.” 

As I slip out of my shower robes and into a dazzling sleeveless dress, one that could tempt the devil again with its lack of concealment, I feel compelled to pay homage to Celine Dion's work. Her lyrics are the only lines of art echoing in my mind at this moment. Sometimes, I wish Hell had a phone because I miss the dead version of myself that is resurfacing in my consciousness, whispering that this idea is welcome. You see, among all the masculine creations of God that still exist in that city, you also come across those who offer you the most profound, unforgettable, irreversible, and unrepeatable love of your life. In the fabric of life, their love is the special string that connects warmth, passion, and softness into the tapestry of your existence. Their wholesome friendship is the eternal granule of molten lava in the earth's crust that burns desire and belief into your being. Granted, no matter how fast you try to escape ityou only seem to accelerate, much like the sensation of running in dreams—moving without moving.  Genuinely falling in love for the first time is akin to making a pact with the devil. I may have changed into a completely different woman over four years,  but for some reason, this dark, five-foot-eleven bug who used to have me completely smitten but now refuses to die always manages to find me. Even worse, it seems like the impedances I have chosen to provide resistance won't be effective on him anytime soon. Black pairs nicely with a nude shade of gray, so I retrieve my tote bag from the closet, stuff my pouch and book inside, sling it casually on my left shoulder then click my heels as I leave my room to rendezvous with him.  

“Mirror on the wall; here we are again. Through my highs and lows, you've been my only friend…” 

“Show me how to fight for now, and I'll tell you, baby, it was easy coming’ back here to you once I figured it out; you were right here all along. It's like you're my mirror, oh oh…“ 

Of all the lies, art is the most beautiful. So, I will conclude with art, just as I began. When a girl returns to her room after a night of confronting the days of future past, we will see if she pays homage to the artsy mirror of Justin Timberlake or Bruno Mars. 



The crisp air at my well-chosen coffee table transports me back to my heyday in high school literature classes. My sophisticated accent, the ideal fusion of English and Kenyan, has mostly resulted in hate mail for me. Most said I was being arrogant, that I was pretending, that I was being contemptuous, or something else entirely. Still, it never stopped me from analyzing literature, and I say this because I cannot help but think of Leo Tolstoy's portrayal of Pahóm as an overly ambitious, borderline greedy character who was constantly running to where the land was. In the end, he died in Bashkir, but really, how much land does man need? Pahóm ultimately needed only 6 feet underground, but what about me? 4,000 miles? 5,000? Maybe 6,000  miles; I don't know the exact distance from here to GMT+3, where Kenya is, but that is how far I am from everything now, especially from him. You could say that I am just travelling abroad to pursue my biochemist ambitions, but the thought of escaping his presence sounds like too coincidental an ethos to consider, and it is still too strong an excuse to give up. Whether my modus operandi is delusion or realism, that would be your call to make. He had called-all along. Perhaps trying to reconnect with me, or perhaps just trying to know where I currently was, or maybe both. I couldn't tell because I never picked up. I alternated between blocking calls and setting my iPhone to 'Do Not Disturb' at different times. I am aware that he was there for me on most days when I had fits of yapping, ranting, screaming, or complaining. I am aware that regardless of the time of day, the gravity of the circumstances, the environment, or the weight of my transgressions, he selflessly provided me with verbal cadence. Even though I was pretending to be sick, I know he followed my orders for breakfast—which were barked and almost demanding—to the letter and brought it to my room as soon as he noticed my missed call. I know he rarely failed to turn up to where I was, regardless of how short the notice sounded over the phone. I acknowledge that long voice notes of him being open and vulnerable have been lying around in my inbox for over a year, sadly collecting dust due to my ignorance. This is a flagrant betrayal and contempt for his innocent emotional intelligence. He seldom turned down my calls, as far as I know. I am aware that I am currently acting indulgently in the opposite way, which has made me infamous and incredibly ungrateful. I know it does not matter, but it is difficult to tell if I genuinely do not care or if I am just hiding behind my decadence and pretentious expertise from having studied patterns and probabilities. In any case, Jean Johnson's inventive comment, "I am the victim in today's story and will not delve in the hurt I have caused, but more so that which I have endured," seems to justify it in my opinion. Besides, voicing an incomplete good to a stray ear may act as a jinx to its finality. I can't tell him where I am, so it is easier to ignore his calls, put up a wall, and make him toil till he finds no oxygen in his resurging investigative flame—stories, more stories. God forbid that a girl falls in love with a forbidden boy and is consumed by him forever. 


I had always camped on the belief that it is virtually impossible to find healing in the same environment that tore you apart. So, even before I took to the air to a separate continent, I had already created infinitesimal separation from him while still at home. Though it did not feel entirely genuine, at least it was a step up from riding the illusion of progress. Still, I would always feel stuck in the same place, running circles around it whenever I saw the restaurant where we had dinner at midnight and then ran barefoot through the streets, or encountered one of our mutual acquaintances in the alleys, or passed by the same grass fields where we had jumped into the puddles while making out in the rain or experienced painful flashbacks every time I saw the bench where we had our first kiss. Every little nook, cranny, and secret place from the previous day was a terrifying thought for my mental health. I had to leave. I felt like a locus of a point from a fixed point. 

With that mathematical reference to the locus of a circle, I am quickly reminded of my zenith status in math classes. I have now, twice, flaunted my prowess as a performer in high school; perhaps the braggadocious allegations are ones that maybe, just maybe, might have carried substance, but not to him when we first met at the Bay Area during a math contest. He was unfazed, almost unapproachable, but with an inviting demeanour. Nothing—not my allegations, not my beauty, not my accent— deterred him from his game. As he straightened the collar of his sparkling white shirt, approached me, sat down, and locked his eyes with me, a fiery gaze in place, then smiled, showing off his flawless teeth, capped off by this raging aura of him flexing his vocal cords by talking to me alone. I smirked, a little embarrassed,  because I remembered that it was at that very moment that it all began - when my insides went awry, and I realized I had met my next best mistake - when my feet turned to jelly.  

Here I am at this moment. Scratch that, here we are, because as I sip my tea, I  watch him from a distance through the glass of the GoCoffee coffee shop logo. He arrived at the meeting on time, just as he always has and always will, you punctual, attractive bastard. Even though I have this hot coffee in my hand, why am I suddenly getting hotter? Why do you do this to me? Once more, there he goes, with his perfect frame and stride. Once again, he moves in that manner with deliberate strides. His burgundy leather shoes clink, creating a rhythmic echo that keeps me in a state of perfect balance, much like how he always knew when to be Superman and when to be Clark Kent.  

Oh, my dearest contriver, you have always had a smart engineering head above your shoulders and another promising one below your loin. I wonder if you have perfected your skills with the latter; you promised me something unforgettable once you overcame your virgin problems, remember? Please excuse my distracted thoughts, sir. I should be paying attention to your other head, the brilliant one that has always had a sharp mind between the ears. I wonder what smart ideas you conjured up this time that helped you locate me. Did you web-scan my status images and social media posts? You have been mostly moral and kind, so I would not convict you of that; that would be too intrusive of you. Did you decrypt my IP address? I am not certain. Your technocrat brain wouldn't be too far off of it, sir, and that's why I didn't pick up your calls, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt on this one. Did you manifest? Did you see me in your dreams? Did you summon the spirit guides? Who did you ask, you fearless man?  

Still, I am a little thrilled that you did, and it makes me feel good to see you again.  That's right, walk straight to your favourite girl in blue, for she has been waiting for you. When he finally arrives, he smiles as usual, and as if he had never been gentle enough, he pulls my chair, shakes my hand, and smooches my cheeks. I could not tell if it was because he was still wearing the House of Leather scent I had introduced him to or the fact that he was carrying a pack of cards, given how much our poker games had bonded us. Either way, I knew I was in trouble. All over again, my feet felt like jelly. 


But it does not take long for me to be reminded of his transgressions against the unwritten rule that you should not be drawn to someone’s light and then dim it, just as you should not eat cucumbers from a women's prison. And so I fetch my excitement from the highest ceiling of the highest cloud and bring it back down to earth. I have to prove that I have not been boiling beans with a candle, that I have enjoyed moving on without him, and that, having stepped down from the podium of my life, he now has to line up and take a seat with the others if he chooses to come back. I put all the acts that I spent hours honing in front of my mirror in preparation for this moment into full effect. You would think that this would interfere with his processing, but he seems to be anticipating everything. It is as if he retained all the lines from my script, updated or not. My goodness! I detest the fact that, strangely, he still understands me better than anyone else ever has. No, though—how could I forget? After all those years, how could I just... give him a pass?  

Telling stories is like being a cosmic architect, weaving words into constellations that construct entire universes within the minds of those who dare to listen. And in my head, I told all the stories, lessons, abominations, and the never-again that I had lectured myself. The time had come to prove that I had paid attention. How could I do myself such a rude disservice after spending so many hours? Had I suddenly forgotten how I usually went to bed with teary eyes and a heavy-laden heart, wondering if maybe I was the problem? If I was simply unlucky, If I was not enough, How dare I discard the foul reality that he always had the opportunity to permanently make me his, but when fate gave him the luxurious privilege to choose, I always fell behind the other girls? How could I push away the lustful thought that was taking over my head when I reasoned that maybe giving him the most soul-stirring copulation would make him want to be with me? How could I overlook the jealousy and psychotic tendencies that consumed me like a malignant tumour that I could not rid myself of? In my right mind, why would I forget his cruel words that sent me straight to the depths of suffering or his inconsistent behaviour that constantly sent my feelings on an unhealthful roller coaster? Why would it be in any way conceivable that I blind myself to the punishment I endured for simply falling in love? What effrontery! How certain was he, in his cute mzungu form, that I had not discovered the new boy I was fascinated by? Heck, what big balls had caused him to believe that I was not in a happy relationship by now?  

His eyes and perfect hair confuse me a little bit, but by the time we are both seated across from each other, I have managed to deliver this little speech to myself internally. Whether it is a moving delivery akin to the one by Malcolm X or an irrelevant one comparable to a phony goat addressing a pride of lions, we are about to find out. I just know that I am prepared to face him.  

“Hi ma'am,” says he. "I appreciate you agreeing to see me again. How are you?" 

I answer politely, obviously raising my guard to give him the impression that he would need to pull out more tricks from his bag this time rather than just adding a dash of elegant demeanour. This I say, even though hearing his voice again does unspeakable things to me. I never regretted not picking up his calls for 4 years like I did at that moment.  

He goes on, "You once asked me a question when we were chatting on Snapchat. You inquired as to whether I ever miss other people. I never had the chance to reply, but at this point, I can confirm that, contrary to what you may have suggested, my life is not a piece of wood. I miss people, and I have missed you every day of my life. To be honest, I have not always been the ideal person in your life, and our relationship has not always been that way either. I have come to terms with the fact that I have used up all of the opportunities God has given me to try my hand at true love—especially the opportunity to love and be with you completely—but I still hope to try my hand at true friendship. Although it took me a very long time to realize this, a series of events have led me to the conclusion that I have never had and probably never will, have a friend like you. I would be distraught if I permanently lost you or that friendship. It has been 4 years, and something tells me that for how time has reconstructed itself and allowed us to learn and grow separately, we can, if you will, start again on a clean slate like it should have always been when we first met at that contest. What say you?" 

I took another sip of my coffee to calm the butterflies in my stomach that had started to fly again. Not that the phony goat gave my speech, mind you, but following this, a girl had a duty to honour the mirror in her room, and it seemed more and more likely that she would be honouring Justin Timberlake. 

I clear my throat and deliver my verdict: “Hi, Boba…” 

Phantasia, I Spring Eternal | Ngare Watare
Phantasia, I Spring Eternal | Ngare Watare

I am as I have always been

Burgeoning in Siberian straits

Perhaps my generous yield perturbs you,

Merely Unsettled Loam...

Perhaps your particles shall permute

Ebb to the constant shifting of my root

Or perhaps the stalk of my person 

Shall bow in time

In search of your harsh bask

That dusks from dawn till dusk

Seemingly eternal

Either way, I am sprit*

And I am warm to your oblivion

My love is as it has always been 

Whilst it thrives forlorn

It thrives without thorn.


Be, as you are,

The laugh that discovered joy within me

Yet remain deaf to this song

Be, as you are,

The breath that awakened me to the living.

I set about in maelstrom 

Like a babe borne in turmoil

And blind as you are to my foolishness

You remain kind to me

Be as you are

Either way, I love.

Songs of a Recent Yet Amaranthine* Love

Ngare Watare


*Phantasia - A spring of fantasy that flows eternally

*I am sprit - I have sprouted

*Amaranthine - Undying