‘Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all’ - Emily Dickinson Are you tired? I am. It is tiring living in Kenya. I don’t want to list the ways, because this piece is not about that. This piece is … Continue reading Where does it hurt?
They came for my grandfather one night He didn’t need to open his one milky eye to see them there Five men standing in a row over his bed He heard them call out to him Are you the son of Kassam Bhai Walji Jamani? Yes, he said, I am. I am Rajabali Kassam He … Continue reading They came for my grandfather
When a human being spends eleven years of their lives in the forest, braving the elements and using their bodies to physically fight for the freedom of a nation, you know that this person is a real badass. Especially when she is the only woman to have been given the title Field Marshall. So when … Continue reading Field Marshall Muthoni, the woman.
I stand at the window. The moon is hidden and my feet are bare. I reach up to my face. At the point where my hairline starts, is a zipper hidden in the coils of my curls. It is made of solid chunky brass, the kind you find on vintage leather jackets. But it’s no … Continue reading in my skin
September 1st 2017, sometime after 11am. The world spins around me ever so slightly. I seem to have hiccupped out of sync with the rotation of the earth. Beside me are a bottle of cold water and a cup of hot coffee. I attempt to pour balance back into my body. My mother turned 60 … Continue reading The feeling of possibility
This piece was written on August 20th, 12 days after the Kenyan Elections. It was commissioned to appear in the 'Reflections: Talking to the soul of a divided nation' series where it was first published on The Elephant. I have republished it here because Chanyado has become a (sometimes) personal commentary of the times we … Continue reading You are not us
On the night of August 11th, the silence of the Kenyan night was pierced. In some hoods, the screams were of joy. In some hoods, the screams were of anguish. In some hoods the ratatat was from gunfire. In some hoods, the ratatat was from fireworks. Less than a week later, all through the day … Continue reading Kenyans, 10 ways to **** better… #5 will BLOW your mind!
Side A One sweet day – Mariah Carey When somebody you once loved dies, a part of you also dies. You won’t realize it because that love was two decades ago, brewed in the 90s to the soundtrack of old school R&B. But it was your first love. Back when your heart delicately unfurled itself … Continue reading Love is a Mixtape
Dear Kenyan sisters and brothers, At last we are family. It’s been over a century of feeling like the unwanted bastard son that was dumped on your doorstep. Drenched and shivering from the storm, you allowed us to stay, but in many ways made it clear, we were not to overstep our mark with ambitious … Continue reading Letter from Kenya’s 44th Tribe
Tonight l want to sing. Melodies of pain. Harmonies of heartache. Songs of rage. For I don’t have the words to speak, so all I can do is sing. Come, my friend. Is your mouth dry from sighing? Are you as worn as I am? Does your soul ache? Are you afraid? Let’s sit here … Continue reading A Ghazal for Kenya