Category Archives: Greats

Highlights 2014 (Celebrating Kenyan Women)

(This list is not in any particular order and neither is it exhaustive…just 10 (-ish) moments that came to mind today)

1. Lupita Nyong’o’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar win…
Lupita Nyong'o Win

…and her acceptance speech…

…and her recent speech at the Massachusetts Conference for Women…

…and the numerous times she owned the red carpet, the pavement, the airport entrance/exit and social media.

2. Okwiri Oduor’s Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story “My Father’s Head,” and her interview with Arise News.

Okwiri Oduor has also written a novella “The Dream Chasers,” that was highly commended by the Commonwealth Book Prize in 2012. She is currently working on her debut novel…I’m over here waiting for it with a cup of chai masala!

Side note: Two other Kenyans have won the Caine Prize. Binyavanga Wainaina in 2002 for “Discovering Home,” and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor in 2003 for “Weight of Whispers.” Oh, book recommendations alert -> Binyavanga Wainaina’s One Day I Will Write About This Place and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s Dust.


my dress my choice

#MyDressMyChoice was started as a response to the stripping of women in the name of “decency.” Active and passive perpetrators of this form of violence against women claimed that stripping women teaches us not to be “indecent” and to dress “respectfully” while upholding our “African values.” Seriously!? How much stupidity does one’s brain have to be cloaked in in order to even think like this!? Please, we all know violence against women is about power, control and intimidation, among others. Enough is enough. It’s time to put an end to violence against women.  Salute to all the women who organized and participated in the protest against these heinous acts.

4. Diana Opoti celebrating 100 Days of African Fashion was amazing. She showed all of us just how fabulous African fashion is and the phenomenal level of talent designers across the continent have.
Follow her on Instagram @dianaopoti for pictures of her different outfits as well as designer details, you know, in case you decide to rock out 2015 in statement-making African fashion.

Side note: This was my favorite outfit, not that anyone asked…ha!

5. Captain Irene Koki Mutungi became the first African woman Dreamliner Captain. She was also the first female pilot at Kenya Airways. Inspiration is her, for sure.


6. This picture of an all-women Kenya Airways flight crew. Definitely using Kenya Airways next time. Well, if I am guaranteed that I will be on their flight…ha ha ha ha #disclaimer.


7. Tegla Loroupe wins the 2014 Billie Jean King Contribution Award. Like many, I heard the name Tegla Loroupe before I fully grasped exactly what running a marathon and breaking records entails. She is not only a marathon legend but also an advocate for peace, women’s rights and education. Not to keep all her winnings to herself, she started the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation.

8. Evelyn Watta won the Sport Reporting Award in the 2014 CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards. She won for her story “Inside Senegal’s Mythical Wrestling Heritage.” Hmmm…to think that there are people out there who are constantly coming up with ways to pigeonhole women. Meanwhile women are out here broadening your world with their words and award-winning stories.

9. The Wangari Maathai Peace Park is now under construction! Yes, it will be open to the public and according to the Green Belt Movement, they hope to have a library in it one day. I hope this is the start of many more parks with libraries throughout the country.
Also, I love the Google doodle of Wangari Maathai, below. It’s from 2013 but it’s timelessness landed it here.

wangari maathai

10. All the Kenyan warrior women who are constantly fighting/advocating for our rights. You are the reason we will have a better Kenya for women. You are an inspiration to many of us. You are everything and then some!


Greatness from Kenya

I have been thinking about the positive in Kenya of late. There seems to be a lot going wrong (or not going anywhere at all) in our beloved country. For the past few days I have been telling myself that at least once a week I should highlight some of Kenya’s positive happenings. The universe heard me and decided to hold me to my word. In the past few hours a friend linked me up with two news articles of what I call greatness from Kenya.

The first one is Pumzi – a short SciFi  film written and directed by award-winning Wanuri Kahiu that was screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Yes, I know, it’s 2014 and I just heard about the film…better late than never! Pumzi imagines a post-WWIII (The Water War) Africa where there is no water and people live locked away in contained communities.  Watch Pumzi below.

Here is an interview that Wanuri Kahiu gave on “Africa and Science Fiction.” Listen carefully for it is full of gems.

CNN also did a feature on Wanuri Kahiu where she talks about her filmmaking journey. Read it here. She has worked on other projects including From a Whisper, Ger: To Be Seperate, Just A Band and State House, among others. 

The second one is news of Captain Irene Koki Mutungi becoming the first black female Boeing 787 captain in the world. Here’s to attaining her sky dreams in a Dreamliner! Captain Mutungi was also the first female pilot at Kenya Airways. Talk about showing all Kenyan girls who desire to be pilots that their dreams are valid.  She has truly opened many a doors not only for them but also for those of us who aspire to work in fields that have traditionally been male-dominated.

Below is an image of Captain Mutungi and here is a feature on her.


Today we celebrate Wanuri Kahiu and Irene Koki Mutungi, two phenomenal women who are lighting the path for the rest of us. They have and continue to show that it can be done. We are the authors of our own stories and the captains of our own lives.


Mandela Day

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela! Madiba turns 95 today, talk about a life well-lived! I salute you sir for all the sacrifices that you made that benefited not only South Africa but the rest of the world . I wish you well on this day. (I am hoping that this message will get to him through six degrees of separation…ambitious I know)

Mandela Day is more than a celebration of the man, his life and legacy. It is a day of service to humanity. A call to people to take action and positively change the world. It doesn’t have to be in a grand way, it could also be in the small ways, for example, organizing a beach cleanup, reading books to children, and helping someone edit their resume, among others.

The beauty of Mandela Day is that it inspires people to give as they wish and in whatever capacity they can. I think that we could all benefit from letting the spirit of Mandela Day overflow into the rest of the year. Madiba gave 67 years to service and on Mandela Day people pledge 67 minutes of their day to improving the world. What if we made that 67 days of service to humanity? They say it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. By the 67th day your positive actions will have morphed into a way of life. I think that that would go a long way in creating the kind of accepting and compassionate communities that we would all love to be a part of.

Speaking of taking action…I believe that reading is powerful. There is a lot of knowledge to be gained between the front and back cover of a book. Also, as they say, sharing is caring. Here are two books that I have read on Mandela that provide a lot of insight on him…Long Walk to Freedom and Conversations With Myself. I recommend them to all of you. (Hey, if you’re going to celebrate the man you might as well know more about him…right!?)  Also, a film titled Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is set to be released in November, starring…wait for it…wait for it…Idris Elba. I know, curious choice but it’s Idris Elba people! But I digress.

Back to Madiba. Here are some videos that I thought you might enjoy…

The time Madiba got on stage and asked the audience to join him in dancing .
Well, it is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world and at peace with myself.”

Then there was this Madiba poem by Botlhale Boikanyo. I can’t even express how this made me and I am sure many other people feel.
Freedom is an ideal I want to live for but if need be freedom is an ideal I am prepared to die for.”

And finally, some of my favorite quotes from Madiba…

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”

“A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Enjoy your Mandela Day!

Celebrate Mandela with a dance!