DJ Bwakali

DJ Bwakali

The day that Kenya will decide to have its own version of Mt. Rushmore, Sagalla Hill in Taita Taveta County will provide the prime location for such an undertaking. For those of you who may not have heard of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, it is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore, a mountain that sits calmly in South Dakota, United States. The sculpture features the faces of four pre-eminent US Presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Kishuku!’ Rehema’s little seven-year-old sister cried excitedly as she raced from their reed-thatched houses towards the beach.

The thirty eight year old man had his arms outstretched as he danced after scoring his second goal in a 1990 world match against Colombia. Roger Milla’s two goals pushed Cameroon into the next round. Four years later at the age of 42, Roger Milla again did his famous dance at the corner flag after scoring against Russia.

With a crucifix dangling around her neck and a big smile on her chocolate face, the middle-aged lady from Abrha Weatsbha community in northern Ethiopia clasped a big green mango that she had just plucked from a mango tree in her farm. Her brown eyes gazed across her farm as she shook her head in disbelief.

Have you ever swum in a river? I have. And you should do so too if you haven’t. Unlike a swimming pool, a river is vibrant and alive. Unlike an ocean, it is intimate. If the river is relatively small like the one I used to swim in as a child, you will be able to swim leisurely across in less than thirty seconds. You will not want to swim too far along the river because the next bend always seems to flow into a rather dark section with roots and rocks jutting out towards the whistling waters as if eager for a dip.

I stared at the lobster in my hands as if it was an alien creature and not delicious seafood from the Indian Ocean. It was the tropical rock lobster, common on Africa’s East Coast. Its colourful outer exterior made it appear as if it was wearing one of those multi-colored coats that can be found in Nairobi’s vast Kikomba market, the paradise of second-hand clothes.

Lusaka’s (Not his real name) food was untouched as he told me about the high drama that took place in the 90s in a certain Forest Research Institute. At the time, he was a young man in his early twenties and was working at the Institute. More than thirty years later, he is now a seasoned expert at UNEP, the world’s premier Environmental Organization. Pardon this secrecy. The position he holds at his current employer doesn’t allow him to reveal his identity. But I swear he is real, not imagined.

Don. His name wasn’t typically Burundian. His father named him after Don King the renowned American boxing promoter. When Don King brought the great Mohamed Ali to Congo in 1974, Don’s father was in his mid teens. After Ali won the rumble in the jungle, Don’s father fell in love with boxing hopelessly So when his first son was born nearly ten years later, he remembered to call him Don.

The night was pitch dark and the road was chronically bumpy. Unlike me, my brother Msonobari is a fast driver and was hurtling down the murram road as if he was practicing for the Safari rally. I was leaning on the cold window, half-asleep. We had eaten lunch six hours earlier at Malindi and the roast chicken that I had gobbled was already gone, leaving in its trail hunger pangs that were keeping me from sleeping soundly.

Umshini wami mshini wami!’ My machine, my machine.

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