Last week, Nyeri Jubilee party nominees made a damning attack on independent candidates who abandoned the party after losing the nominations. The smug nominees called a press conference and crowded behind their spokesman, wearing stern faces and announced in one voice that anyone who ditched the mother party was a rebel and would be considered a friend of the opposition. How things have changed? In the old days, the rebel tag was a compliment.
Kush Asher is a Jamaican storyteller and perpetual student of the film inspired by the Most High. He is based in Kingston, Jamaica but he has traveled around Africa telling stories and spent six months in Kenya making movies. He has done music videos for Grammy winners Sean Paul, Damian Marley, and Reggae legends Big Youth and the Mystic Revealers. His television work includes a fashion reality show, Mission Catwalk, and a business reality show, NCB Capital Quest (Produced by the LAB International; based in Kingston). Kush has also made a series of films with Spielworks Media, an independent film, and production company based in Kenya. His most recent project is a feature film called 50 Days in Afrika. These are the books that influenced his life and work as a storyteller.
Chinua Achebe’s critically acclaimed memoir, “There was a country”, is a personal reflection on the Nigeria-Biafra war. The father of African literature begins with the popular idiom drawn from an Igbo proverb, “a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body”.
Every seasoned Kenyan social commentator has at least used the phrase once, “When did the rains start beating us?” as a fitting African embodiment for lament over a broken country. Half a century after her independence, Kenya in many respects, resembles the shattered dream of a prosperous Nigeria that Achebe mourns in his powerful memoirs. “There was a country but it is a country no longer”. Kenya’s most basic staple food, ugali is now an overpriced commodity. The price of maize flour has risen to unprecedented levels. It is the talk everywhere I go these days even at funerals.
Meet some members of the drinking club with a running problem
I first heard about the hash about four years ago from one mouthy character in a pub, and assumed that it was his own invention. He portrayed the group as a pack of seemingly demented men and women who regularly jog through the neighbourhoods of Nairobi. About a year ago I learned that the hash was for real, and it wasn’t long before I got very interested in what was once described as the fastest-growing ‘club’ of the 1980s.
The big news from last week, besides the acrimonious party primaries and its trail of sore losers, was SportsPesa’s mega jackpot. Ksh 221, 301,602 Million! Sweet Jesus! The build up to the announcement of the lucky winner was on rotation on TV, radio, social media and the newspapers. You could not have missed it if you tried. Before I am accused (to switch to Kenyanese) “of catching feelings”, I have no issues admitting that 221 M is a serious payout for a man of my modest means. I can think of several personal problems that kind of cash injection can solve in my life.
The lucky SportsPesa mega jackpot winner was Samuel Abisai. Overnight the whole country knew his name and face. Abisai became the mascot of Get-Rich-Quick schemes and the best promotion sports gambling could have hoped for. A regular Joe had changed his fortunes with a little investment of Kshs 200. Here was a legit way out of poverty that did not involve the back-breaking and time-consuming labor.