Shift to New Site

Good morning everyone,

I would like to thank you for following this blog and for your contribution to my posts. You really are the best! ūüôā

It is because of this contribution that I felt the need to further organize my posts on a better platform.

I would therefore like to inform you that this blog has now moved to mwikali.com. I take this opportunity to invite you to subscribe and read my posts there.

Thank you once again and I look forward to interacting with you on mwikali.com

This will be the last blog post on this site.

Love,

Mwikali.

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Wanna Hide Something From a Kenyan? Hide it in a Book!

By now, we’ve all heard that Kenya’s reading culture is lacking. The debate on the reasons why we don’t read has been going on in restaurant corners, literary cocktails, events and the like. I believe the situation is improving because women like Carol Kimari of Grab A Book encourage children to read, therefore playing a huge role in solving a chunk of the problem. I have also met lovely people on social media like Wanja Kibuki, who enjoy reading and have made it part of their routine.

An article on the Goethe Institut Kenia website titled¬†“Reading Culture in Kenya: a situation to worry about?” ¬†suggests that most Kenyans believe literacy is only about being able to read and write. ¬†That might have been true a few years ago. However, Kenyans are now beginning to take reading more seriously and a generation of leisure readers is emerging. I believe I am one of those people.

So, how do you know you’ve got a book obsession?

  1. When you’d rather read a book than go out to an event.
  2. When you have a little reading corner in your house where half-read books are roaming free (piled on the desk, on the chair and under the table).
  3. When you get worried about lending out your books; you can never be sure they’ll return in mint condition. Also, some people in our country can read one book a whole year….not cool.
  4. When you’d rather own a bookshelf than a television.
  5. When you repeatedly dream about being the lead character in your favorite book.
  6. When you spend hours in the book section of your local supermarket (even when you don’t have money to buy any titles).11146280_1729967647229793_3046459231366544871_n
  7. When you make countless efforts to attend Kenyan book releases but you don’t buy any because the publisher did such a crappy job on the book cover.
  8. When you watch the movie based on the book and you’re disappointed for weeks.
  9. When you begin wishing you were born during the second world war and then you change your mind because it wasn’t a great time for Africans.
  10. When your cat is named after “Chronicles of Narnia”.10498112_1757254171167807_8307755357071745310_o

What crazy reader habits define you? Let me know in the comments section.

Rosenthal and The Social Circle

According to the Rosenthal effect, also called the Pygmalion effect, greater expectation placed upon people results in better performance. Having attended the Canon Kenya Photography Awards 2015, I agree that pressure sometimes leads to some kind of genius, be it creative or scientific.

When we arrived at the event which was convened yesterday at KICC, the first thing I realized was that I was left out of the memo which stated that the event would be black tie. I can’t say I was dressed terribly, but my clothes had definitely drifted away from the theme, like palm tree debris pulled into the ocean by an evening tide.That was blunder number one.

Blunder number two happened when I walked away from my best friend to the cocktail section. I scanned the room looking for a familiar face but eventually it dawned that most of the people I knew were not guests; they were working the event. ¬†Spotting some girls I had met during the struggle to find the ladies room earlier on, I went to their table and requested that I stand there while I waited for my friends. Unfortunately, no “friends” came so I hurriedly finished my cocktail and walked awkwardly ¬†to the picture display section. I am definitely sure those girls laughed behind my back.

The pressure was escalating and anytime now the lava of my worries would escape the tiny craters of my goosebumpy skin in form of cold sweat. I had to find something interesting and useful to do before anyone noticed how out-of-place I felt. After speaking with Caroline on an upcoming project and seeking her wise counsel on the same, it became clear that moments like these were rare and as such, I needed to capture them.

The nuts, bolts and wheels of my brain went to work and before I knew it, I was taking selfies with the stars.  Yes, selfies. This might seem a bit odd owing to the fact that I was in a sophisticated gathering of people who had better things to do than take pictures. I decided to have a whack at it even though a little voice warned that this venture may backfire in my face at any moment. So off I went, pulling out my Huawei in front of every dignitary I could find.

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Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice of Kenya

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Jacques Pitteloud, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya

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Boniface Mwangi, Social Political Activist and Founder Pawa 254

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Alice Oldenburg, Canon Photographer of the Year 2015

   

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Mutua Matheka, Award Winning Creative Photographer

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Sylvia Gichia, Director Kuona Trust

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Peter Ndung’u Kamau, People’s Choice Award Winner

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Samwel Soko, Production Director at Lightbox Africa

The Rosenthal effect was clearly at work, igniting and propelling increased social interactions between little old introverted me and the mavericks, simply because there was an aura of pressure; the pressure to be remembered by the great.

On Bearing and Direction

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“Your looks will not remain with you for life. But your bearing will go with you to the grave¬†Elizabeth.”- Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim.

Truth be told, “bearing” is not so adored today. You’re literally considered a fossil in this century if you happen to be proper, kind and well-covered up. Especially when television is soaked in countless Mileys running around naked with their tongues hanging out and the like.

Pop culture is shaping our generation is ways our predecessors would never have imagined. The internet¬†isn’t helping much either. The result: a money minded society without regard for values and spirituality. We have become robots, building an appealing physical image that blinds from the filth we hide inside.

I had years like that too, always depending on peers and trends to guide my personality. But I’m trying to stop that and to focus on what really counts and that’s who I am inside. That said,¬†Elizabeth’s mom deserves shiny confetti thrown over her head for enlightening her daughter on the power of bearing.

The ripple effect is that I don’t have to worry about what I’ll say to my daughter when she goes off to campus. “Bearing darling, bearing. That’s all you need to make your dreams come true.”