The Plug…Part 1

In the final round of an interview,this lady who has befriended me * I didn’t initiate the conversation holds the door for me as we enter the main office…I smile and wait for her to get in once I am past the door…”That doesn’t count as a present Nancy,I still expect party favours kesho….”*Tomorrow is my birthday
She smiles, holds my arm and pulls me closer to her as we walk towards the HR’s office and whispers”My party favour will leave you begging for more…and if you play your cards right,more shall be given…”

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Guest Post: Economy of Heartbreaks posted by Anonymous

“I am strong and unaffected by anything.”

Most of us say this to ourselves and believe that we cannot be victims of this issue. I am talking about matters of the heart specifically heartbreaks.  I have learnt all too well that this is a false notion. The “hard” tend to fall the hardest.  Pun intended. We realize we are not as strong or as unaffected as we thought we were. We learn that we too can be vulnerable. We tend to hold onto the memories no matter how few they may be and hope that maybe things will go back to how they used to be. Change is part of life and we need to embrace it rather than oppose it. I guess we tend to take solace in what is familiar to us and that is why we hold on for too long even when we should not. That is why heartbreaks are very hard especially for one of the parties most of the times. This is especially when you see the other person has longed moved on and you are still where you are unable to move on. I have been thinking about this issue that we all face more than once in our life for most of us and I came up with a solution that might help. It is of course not full proof but I think it helps. The answer can be found in economics. I know you are all asking, “Economics??? How does that even relate to heartbreaks?”.

 I recently learnt about the concept of thinking marginally and thinking totally. These two ways of thinking result in different outcomes. Thinking marginally is all about thinking about one more while thinking totally is about thinking about the entire thing; more like do or die. You may ask how these two concepts relate to matters of the heart. I was in bed thinking and I had a eureka moment. When you think marginally you will be able to be positive about the whole heartbreak issue and get over it faster. The idea behind this way of thinking is that there will be another person out there for you.  To put it in economic terms there is one more person out there for you. This kind of thinking makes it easier to move on. On the other hand thinking totally makes it much harder to get over the heartbreak. You think that the person is only person in this world for you and thinking like this makes you hold on even more onto something that is already gone making it harder to move on.

So yes economics is very practical and yes it does apply to every situation in life. We just need to think beyond what we learn in class and relate it to our experiences in life. As my lecturer would say we need to start thinking marginally rather than thinking totally.

More Than A Game by Robert Ngunu

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Originally posted on Storymoja

“It is just a game.” This is a retort that usually signals the end of a fervent debate on football. But is the statement true or simply a fallacy? How do events featuring 22 people kicking the ball around cause so much grief and joy in equal measure? How can event taking place a continent away make someone take his or her own life? How can someone place his wife and car on the line due to the unflinching faith on 11 people who don’t even know you exist? These are all sane questions that belie the phenomena football is but the simple fact is football is not sane.

Football is more than a game. It’s like an eternal debate whereby there are 90 minute breaks for the moderator to provide another aspect of the topic of discussion. Footballers are gods who possess power to make or break the day for the fanatic. The skills and touch possessed by this super humans like Thor’s hammer strikes fear to the opponents like lightning. Fans dreams are their reality. The fandom could however turn their loyalty in an instant. A misplaced pass, a remark taken out of context could attract the wrath of the unforgiving crowd.

Football is simply life. It’s the teacher of what life is, the strength of the underdog, the injustice you will encounter. It embodies what life is, a series of disappointments punctuated by bursts of joy and happiness.  Football is the closest sport to realism. The lack of replays or TMO (television match officials) ensures the criminal goes unpunished and this arbitrary nature retains its authenticity.  And no true fan would call for such changes to be effected in football anyway because there is simply no replay in life. A whimsical action or inaction carries unprecedented consequences.

The loyalty that football breeds is pure. It’s not based on blood, financial gains or the promise of a better after life. It’s based on simple hope of a fulfilling journey, that even with the bumps the vehicle meets it will be strong enough to carry on to the next barrier. Football fandom is the unique and quintessential union fostered by an allegiance to a philosophy they aspire to. They stand united in time of grief and joy and therefore a brotherhood cemented in what always appears to be a bumpy journey. They learn to appreciate the wins in both life and football and always pick themselves up after failure just as they expect their idols.

The drama involved in football also offers priceless entertainment.  Aside from the footballing brilliance on exhibition, the players and coaches also tend to carry their crazy to the pitch. From Maradona’s hand of god in the 1986 World Cup enroute to winning the cup to Suarez biting shenanigans, football has always attracted players who are talented and crazy in equal measure.  Zidane’s head-butt on Materazzi is also an example of the human side that comes from the emotions that are usually running high.  . These players will pull out all the stops to win for their team and this makes them invaluable or dangerous depending on which side of the halfway line you are. Celebratory dances that have come from football have been numerous. Caught up in the euphoria of scoring a goal, players tend to bust a move as they show their talent is not limited to football.   

There is however a parallel humane side to footballers.  Self-proclaimed fascist Paolo di Canio shunned a clear cut goal scoring opportunity against Everton because the opposing goalkeeper was down injured on the edge of the box and this earned him the Fifa Fair Play Award. Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk midfielder Jaba Kankava after a collision with Oleh Husyev recognized the immediate danger his opponent was in and as the other players went on to contest the match he instead flipped the Husyev over, put his hand in his mouth and pulled Husyev’s tongue out as he had swallowed it and was blocking his airwaves. The examples of fair play and sportsmanship are infinite and are one of the things that make football beautiful.

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that” Former Liverpool coach Bill Shankly famously stated this sentiment which seems some fans have taken to heart.  Not many will understand that men (and women) will always act like children because of people kicking a ball on a pitch. That tears of joy and grief will be shed for an occasion whose outcome will not affect the path of one’s life. The reasons are as abstract as they come and no amount of words could really explain it. All in all this could be summarized by the words of St Thomas Aquinas (13th Century), to one who has faith, no explanation is necessary, to one without faith, no explanation is possible.
Do you have faith?

@Ngunu_

New Age African Celebrities- Super Heroes or Villains by Robert Ngunu

Originally posted on Storymoja

 

I have always been fascinated by fame and popularity. Not the people who hold them, but rather the effect it has over those it influences. People who hold fame could get away with anything, trivializing the most serious of incidents and making grave occurrences to be just an afterthought. Even as a child, I was too aware of such people who yielded so much power and wondered if this people even knew of the magnitude of their influence.

Back in preschool when I possessed the social skills of a monk, I had a best friend called Steve. Steve was two years older than the rest of the children in our age group and, thus, more experienced in the ways of the world. He was the popular kid on the playground due to his smart mouth and above average footballing skills. Conversely, till that time, my social contact had been limited to my extended family and this was perhaps the reason why our friendship worked. One day I confessed to him of the crush that I had on a lovely girl called Njeri. Njeri was not the most beautiful girl, but I really liked her. She was smart, kind and I even thought the gap between her front teeth was cute. Steve went ahead and did the unthinkable; he told her HE liked her. I felt betrayed, and as hard as I tried to argue my case to Njeri, the die had been cast. With that heartbreak in mind and the betrayal of my closest ally, I reverted back to my own cocoon and found solace in story books and novels. It was in this that I discovered the escapades of heroes and villains who used their super powers for good and evil, and I could not help put the two together. Steve was the real life version of a super villain, using his powers for evil.

In the past two decades, factors that have made people more specifically in Africa to be famous have evolved at a considerable rate, with the new media playing a massive role. Whilst in the 80s and 90s fame was a purview of politicians and musicians, the 21st century has created a new generation of celebrities whose fame has come about by accident rather than purpose. This new generation of celebrities has grown to wield so much power and influence that social scientists could not really explain. Their every move is recorded, people on the streets recognize them, people accept their views on social media as law and, once you cross their path, they will set their fans on you with hash tags and retweets. From concerts in pubs and restaurants to events in conference centers and stadiums, these celebrities have acquired a cult-like following in society and their followers are willing to part with a small fortune just to see their idols.

New age celebrities are emerging everyday across the continent mostly due to sensationalism and propaganda. The perfect example could be of my second favorite comedian from South Africa Julius ’Juju’ Malema. Malema has perfected the art of propaganda and is always on national television whenever a crisis arises in South Africa. His facetious way of addressing people and the media makes him lovable and he always speaks his mind knowing very well the people are behind him. African music has also enabled the fame and influence to cut across the borders with West African and South Africa being the most notable exporters of popular music. This people have developed a huge fan following such that their influence cuts across their field of expertise. Marketers and politicians are spending sleepless nights courting these people all in an effort to secure the huge fan base these people hold. Everywhere you look from the billboards to the TV ads you will see your favorite artists promoting a product and making a killing out of it.

During political campaigns you will see these people hand in hand with politicians while others have gone the extra mile and vied for political seats In Kenya we have seen the rise in prominence of bloggers such as @XtianDela and Robert Alai who command a huge following among the Twitterati. People all over the country readily pass on information to these people on the click of a button. Such information is passed on to their thousands of followers leaving traditional media houses playing catch up. These people are instantly transformed into opinion shapers and offer a voice for the voiceless. We also have artists like Juliani, who has been busy promoting the benefits of agriculture to the youth as a means of alternative source of income.

This approach is similar to the one witnessed in the West whereby the concept has really evolved. Artists have been heralded for the huge role they have played in the development and growth that has been witnessed in these countries. Celebrities such as Bono have been using their influence to advocate for social justice for many years. Such artists have also been anchored in the fight for human rights and equality and organizations such as the United Nations have adopted these people as ambassadors to great causes so as to capitalize on their influence. By the same token, there have been many artists who have always strived to serve their own selfish needs and sold negative sentiments to their fan base with the knowledge that people will subscribe to these ideals and will not care for the consequences. They sow the seeds of extremism for the purpose of a small fortune disregarding the knock-on effect it would carry.

There are people who have used their celebrity status to cause havoc and mayhem. From a war of words on social media to bar fights. During the election period, it is evident that the songs are laced with words meant to belittle and insult people of other communities or against some personalities. Some make the situation worse by the kind of lifestyle that they lead. As much as people will claim that they are leading their lives, if you are a public figure you hold a lot of responsibility and much more is expected of you. I now know that real life superheroes don’t exist but the truth of the matter is that celebrities are the closest we are going to get. And with all the influence they carry and their ability to convince people of a certain idea makes them Africa’s’ best hope for evolution. Going against the commonly propagated narrative may see some of these celebrities lose a tidy sum of money or even allies, but the effect they have on others is the best currency there is and their legacy will extend beyond their fields of talents and affect the coming African generations.

Nelson Mandela is an enigma, and calling him a celebrity would be an insult to the late president. However, here is someone who went against the popular choice back in his day and fought for the equality of both blacks and whites in South Africa. When he got into power, there was heightened pressure from his supporters to rid South Africa of the white folk but he ostensibly refused. He set the perfect example and went for the hard decision. To me, Mandela will always be my super hero.

It is no secret that Africa still carries the tag of the ’dark’ continent and no amount of help from the East or West will emancipate us from our problems. This is not a rallying cry for people to conform to what the society has set for us as the norm, but rather an appeal that we define for ourselves what is right and true. If these new age celebrities can be the main proponents of the right idealism, the easier it will be. Njeri will always remain the one that got away and Steven the villain of my childhood. The New Age Celebrities should make the right decisions so that future generations remember them for the right reasons.
Over to you.

@Ngunu_

My Lover’s Hand by Ngunu Raph

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I don’t know my lover’s hand

 

She has both but I don’t know of any

 

I always hold out mine but it’s left out cold hanging

 

Am I not doing this right?

 

 

 

She talks about us fondly to her friends

 

The dirty deeds of our pastime

 

My quirks and hearty laugh

 

But I never fondle her hand

 

Are my hands cold?

 

 

 

I invited her to a wedding in the summer

 

That maybe then we could walk hand in hand

 

And that I can make an acquaintance

 

She said she would think about it

 

Are my words not clear?

 

 

 

In my eyes, my lover is 9/10

9 because she is not Ariana Grande I tell her

 

Maybe in the next lifetime she tells me

 

Can I hold your hand in this lifetime?

 

That for me would be 10/10

 

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Guest Post :Of Men and their utter Cluelessness by @Ngunu_ and Anonymous

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We have all been there. You exchange glances. But you think to yourself you must be imagining it. This was an occurrence that happened recently to a friend of mine who I must say is really beautiful. She started raging on of how men are clueless as ladies try to give the men a hint they are interested. I tried to convince her that in this day and age it’s not always that the men will make the first move.

 

 

She sat there for almost a whole hour trying to justify her pride and I sat there wondering how many ladies live in such a conundrum. Pride could be a barrier to  true love and for one to reap the benefits pride should be set aside. Another school of thought is that probably one is simply not interested, I have been a victim of this more than I’d care to admit. Such experiences usually limit my social experience especially if there is a chance we might meet again. That is not to say that people should stop going for what their heart desires but rather people should an open mind when doing it.  One is always at risk of heartbreak but such trivialities should not limit the way we live. It is said that the most important decisions in our lives are either made out of love or in fear. We should always try to make more from the former in everything that we do not just love. What is the worst that could happen. The many times I have been turned down has led to many good friendships including the aforementioned girl. Anyway this is her story,what say you???

” For four weeks we worked in the same office. In the course of these four weeks we never really talked to each other. We would steal glances and occasionally smile at each other. Still no one made the first move. This is how our working relationship was for the four weeks. My first thoughts about him were that he was stuck up and too proud to say hi. I too was guilty of being proud; I did not see the need to initiate communication with someone who did not seem to care.

clueless

I guess we were both stubborn. This made me curious. He was also quite cute no doubt and his silence was a mystery to me. I made a point to find out his name at least while I was sure that he had no clue what my name was. He always seemed disinterested while I was curious and wanted to know more about him. I noticed everything about him; his eyes, his smile, his voice, his nails, the catholic ring he wore, his suits and ties. His voice was irresistible, one of those voices you could listen to all day long without getting tired or bored. The four weeks were coming to an end but we still had never really talked and he would leave without even knowing my name. His indifference towards me amazed me.

It was a Thursday of the fourth week, the week he was to leave. We were given some assignment to do and I was in charge of it. In the course of completing this assignment we finally got to actually talk. He finally learned my name after a whole four weeks. He was witty and one of his comments made me really blush. I am usually armed with a come-back to such comments but this time he caught me flat-footed, I was dumbfounded. I was so excited; we finally talked even though it was one day before he was to leave. Friday was the day he was to leave, maybe he would ask for my number fingers crossed or maybe I was too delusional and getting ahead of myself.

Um...yes we are

Um…yes we are

 

We finished our work and it was time to bid our goodbyes. He couldn’t leave without saying it could he? I decided to linger around for a while to make sure everything was in order. As I sat there I saw him pass by on his phone but I did not make much of it. He passed by again. I chose to ignore this and continue with what I was doing. He suddenly entered and asked if I was ready to go. He was supposedly waiting for me so that we could go together. I could not believe it, I was ecstatic. I ,of course, tried to hide my excitement and retain my composure. Then again my eyes usually betray me. Why was I so excited? Sounds stupid when I come to think of it but we cannot help how we feel. I finished up and left with him. We began talking as we headed to the bus stop and I realized how witty and mature he was. We continued talking as we boarded the bus to town about anything and everything. The journey should have been longer and once we alighted being the gentleman he is escorted me to where I was meeting up with a friend. He was very intellectual and many of the things he said made me ponder for a few minutes. That just made him more attractive. The conversation was getting more interesting and I finally arrived. We had to say goodbye.These are usually one of the awkward moments because you are not sure how to say it, a hug, handshake or just a casual goodbye especially with someone you are not too familiar with. Or maybe I just over think these things being as weird as I am. I decided a casual bye was enough being that I had not known him too well. I waited for him to ask for my number but he never did. We said our byes and parted ways. I kept thinking and asking myself why he never did ask for my number. He took all that effort to wait for me and escort me. I guess I will never know. Maybe I should have hinted that he takes my number. I guess I will just have to move on and wait to meet with him one of these days on the streets of Nairobi. After all the world is a small place especially Nairobi so we are bound to meet one of these days. Until then I should stalk him on social media, he should not be too hard to find . Though there is a very high possibility that the next time I meet him I will be over this crush and found another one as these things are part and parcel of life.

This happens to most of us everyday,what are you going to do about it….

Hit me on facebook to continue this discussion

Announcements: Storymoja Festival and World Cup

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As I write this post,residents of Mpeketoni village are still in shock in the aftermath of the attack by armed gunmen that has so far claimed 48 lives. Its truly a sad a fair and one can only hope the powers that be can put their s**t in order. The constant bickering,name calling and finger pointing by our leaders will not solve the serious security,or lack thereof, issues in the country. The brazen manner in which the attacks were carried out points to the inadequacy of our resources and the inefficacy of our intelligence devices. The fight is no longer physical but also mental. By attacking people in their homes and the police stations,the terrorists are trying to send a message to us,that we are no longer safe wherever we are. Ole Lenku and co. please convince us otherwise.

On a much happier note, A Thousand Words is happy to announce that it is officially a part of Storymoja Festival Bloggers team.  I am more than grateful for the opportunity to be part of the biggest literary event in the region. I have already met some very interesting and talented writers and I can only hope to learn from such like minded people. Join in the conversation by following @StorymojaFest on twitter and like  Storymoja Hay Festival on facebook. Frau Kamari has already written all you need to know about Storymoja here so give it a read.Ensure you also follow the lovely people and read their work. Monsieur Adam has set the ball rolling on the controversy riddled discussion on the rape blame game with his article on the Science of Rape .

Finally the world cup fever is at its peak. With an average of 3 goals per match and the attacking mindset of most teams, the snore fest that was the world cup 2010 is nothing but a distant memory. The under dogs are proving to be more than capable of fighting the big boys. The Flying Dutchmen may just have stylishly put the final nail on tiki taka’s coffin. A new breed of footballers are stepping up and claiming their place on footballing history. The old legs of Andrea Pirlo continue proving the longevity in class by outclassing the emerging stars in the England camp. Leo Messi may have scored but he still has to prove he can deliver for Argentina on the big stage.Goal line technology was finally put to good use and influenced the result. The abilities of legends are being questioned. The referees too have some questions to answer on some of their controversial decisions. And we are just four days in. Tonight Cristiano Ronaldo will be needed to step up as Portugal face Germany. Questions have been raised on how fit he is.But even a cracked Cristiano is still a threat to even the best defence.It promises to be a cracker!!

P.S I will be posting the first guest post soon,keep an eye out for it. The writer wishes to remain anonymous but the writing will speak for itself.