The fountain is off. We used to meet at the fountain, sit too close to each other at the fountain, say jalebi and smile for the camera in front of the fountain. Now, roses strain through the red electrical tape hurriedly wrapped around the fountain, and the wooden benches are free. A masked volunteer takes … More (for now)
(a meditation on grief and the things that keep me up at night) I don’t remember much from my first funeral. We stood in line waiting to view the body. When it was my turn, I observed how the body was ashy, its arms arranged stiffly by the hips, nostrils oozing with cotton wool. I … More Sabr and Shukr
(It is only fitting that after such a long period of quiet, the first piece on here is one that comes from a place of such deep love. It is an honour to host this tribute by a daughter for her father. Thank you Maureen for bringing flowers, wisdom and such vivid beauty to the … More Love is Eternal
‘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 … More 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 … More 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 … More 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 … More 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 … More 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 … More 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 … More Kenyans, 10 ways to **** better… #5 will BLOW your mind!