#RespectTheUrge

Greetings humans!

I know we need to have a conversation about the relationship  I have with this blog but that is another story for another day. (someone keep tabs on these things.)
How have you been doing the past few months? If you’re in Nairobi, you have survived a brutal couple of months of heavy cloud cover and barely any sunshine. I apologize on nature’s behalf (not really. lol) for your sufferation. I absolutely loved it. However, the sunshine is back and you can thrive in it. 🙂

I’m constantly being made aware of my need to leave Nairobi. More often than not, at switch up of every season; summer (Njaaanuary, HELLO!) to the long rains, paralyzing cold to sweltering heat. Or when it becomes my favorite part of the year, the mixture of it all’ sunshine all morning, raindrops in the afternoon and evening and cold all night from an inky black sky. As the winds began changing in Nairobi I escaped to the place that stole my heart last year. The land so rich in people, food, air, water, knowledge, spirituality, memories. The Republic of Uganda for the NyegeNyege Festival 2016.
Now, before I go on, I must tell you of this amazing festival that changed my life. It is a short story so we only have to travel back in time a few years.
In 2014, the agenda was to begin the process of getting introduced to festival life goodness through the Rift Valley Festival. Unfortunately that year, that ship sailed and left me at the shore with my white handkerchief. I wasn’t worried. “RVF is an annual festival. It’ll be back next year.” I told myself. It wasn’t. The last edition occurred that year and I missed it.
I sulked all year. Kicking crunchy leaves instead of crunching them (i know, i know.), trying to sell my organs to somehow end up with enough money to have my own RVF. No one wants my diaphragm, so that ended badly. It was until Daniel and Ore(eternally grateful btw!) told Lindsay and I about NyegeNyege Festival in October that I stopped trying to give away body parts, packed up and literally escaped to Jinja for the first edition of NyegeNyege International Music Festival. 
I was blown away.
The festival occurs at an abandoned hotel which is a huge maze like thing that gets you lost but not really. I mean it. The hotel is completely covered in plant life of all kinds that it possible for you to loose your sense of direction and finding it again, till it becomes home. Bonus, it’s located right at the source of the Nile! \0/  I was sold at this point already.dsc_9540 The stage set up, camp sites, food stands all seemingly had positions so perfect on location. It was amazing to just see. When the people began to flow in, NyegeNyege reached perfection in its vibration. People from ALL OVER AFRICA and the world arrived. Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Congo, South Africa, France, Britain, Canada. It was a global scenario.

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Lindsay and I at NyegeNyege 2015. (Photo courtesy of Awuor Onyango)

2016 was BIGGER.
The funniest thing is that the whole year, we (Lindsay and I) were waiting for the festival dates to be announced. There’d be times we would be kicking it together and then all of a sudden we enter a moment of just pure nostalgia and sit in it for an hour. we did this over and over again. Then NyegeNyege sent  word out for its people. We entered some sort of a frenzy and began counting down the days to the return to the magic. I knew the twenty or so Kenyans who went last year, wherever they were with knowledge of the festival, were going through the exact same thing. The footage began to come out from last years festival. Pictures, promo videos and a WAKALIWOOD PRODUCTION that the whole festival was a part of! It was slowly forming into a tangible reality. “This years festival is going to be so delicious!” I would constantly say. At this point I let myself dream of a rollex. It’s dangerous because once you do, every time you think of one its going to be all you want. All. You. Want.
Nairobi caught NyegeNyege fever immediately. Early bird tickets came out, party buses were organised and constantly being booked. Some of Nairobi’s amazing artists were performing; Tetu Shani, Labdi, EA Wave, Cosmic Homies, Yellow Light Machine, Prisca Ojwang’, Kaya Collective, DJ Lasta, Jinku, Nu Fvnk and of course, Mr Blinky Bill, who killed us u.pon the dance floor last year was returning to the stage. The energy was moving in everyone. Unfortunately, those who couldn’t go were already experiencing severe F.O.M.O (Fear Of Missing Out). Nairobi, was prepared for this festival.

 

Needless to say, it was worth it. Took the trip to Jinja this year with the family, Yellow Light Machine. The thing about travelling is that before you get to the destination, it bound to get ugly at some point. Never before have I gone on a completely perfect trip from the point of departure to return. This wasn’t any different.We were late to get to the bus, I traveled in shoes with laces, we got to Uganda at 5:00am and chilled, literally, for a hot minute. It was draining really. We got to see the sunrise though. The sky changed from its deep blueness and hundreds of stars to having shades of purple, pink, orange. Clouds that looked like the lightest stroke of a paint brush covered the sky occasionally disappearing. Cotton like clouds on the way formed in the distance and sat out together, barely moving. Every morning I saw the sky in Uganda, it looked exactly like this. A story.

By midday on that day, the people of NyegeNyege had began to arrive in numbers. Food stands were going up, the stage was being set up, the camp site was filling, people were exploring and meeting each other again and for the first time. In no time the festival was in full swing. It then became a movement from one stage to the other then to get a rolex, possibly a beer as well, then back to a stage of your choice. Most live performances were set up during the day and so you could kick it in the sweltering sun or by the river and still get to jam featuring artists like Body of Brian, Winnie Lado (who I immediately fell in love with), Undercover Brothers, Young Cardamon and HAB, Tetu Shani, Cosmic Homies.dsc_9493dsc_9601dsc_9631 One of the best things about this festival is the amount of music you get to listen to, passively and actively. It’s from everywhere and it comes with the wind. Within the maze of the abandoned hotel, you hear it. It calls you and you answer.

 

“You never leave the dance floor alone. That breaks its deep bass heart.”

Walking, running almost, towards the dance floor so you can dance and release. I remember the sun having just set and I had run to get mosquito repellent to save a bunch of us from vicious attack (because those little guys bite you and you’re itching for three days) and on my way back I heard the LIVE.ST lingala set happening at the Eternal Disco stage which was next to the river. I had to get everyone from the other stage to deliver justice to the music that was being played.There was also a percussion circle that kept popping up all over the hotel. anyone and everyone could drum or dance. Both if you bad ass like that. As the day turned into night the music got heavier and so did the vibe. Schlachthofbronx, Ibaaku, Tom Blip, Max Le Daron, Blinky Bill, Jinku, Nu Funk, Heartikal, Ea Wave, Ska Face threw it down!dsc_9325dsc_9304
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Akwaaba Sound System played from 3:00AM to around 5:00AM on Sunday morning. I have a special reserve of energy and deep love for this set because I will always be left weak. WEAK. The same set occurred in 2015 at the same time and I kid you not, there was a point at which my brain could no longer be awake but my body couldn’t stop moving. BBrave didn’t even go easy on us this year, serving us a back-to-back set with Max LeDaron they played even more fire music that sings to your soul, makes your feet move, burns inside you  Except, this year, we were more prepared.

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Max LeDaron.

Then there was afternoons when the sun was really hot and it was time to lazy around by the tent with a cold drink and just talk about the most random things with the people around you and let the hours bleed into each other. Laugh for hours, take a nap in the hammock cause the tent will have you peeling of your skin (Yoh. At some point, it got really hot). Walk down to the lake and dip your feet in the water, or your whole body. Y’know, which ever you prefer. Let the water of the Nile wash you. If your not careful, so will the current. Maybe get on a boat if your not feeling like touching the water. It was in these times that the friendships I have got stronger. It’s amazing when your in another country with people you see often at home and a blessing to spend time with those you don’t see often at home. A collision of both is able to transform everyone involved. As an artist, this space to be with people was refreshing. You’re able to share the reason for you art, the force behind it, truth behind it and live it. In a society that has a bittersweet, love hate relationship with the arts the island of NyegeNyege is where we can go to energize, re-calibrate, redirect and return to the same society and CREATE.dsc_9616dsc_9557dsc_9250

Time ceased to be a factor to govern the weekend by. It had no meaning. Time stretched and snapped back together. Moments bled into each other, slumber was optional, music was continuous, food was sustenance, dancing was inevitable, humans were vibrating higher. Which is why it feels like the next NyegeNyege is light years away and the one that just passed is close enough to take two steps back into. Nyegestalgia. (lol)

My words, I hope, fill in the blank spaces that the pictures leave out. Hopeful that it makes the festival a reality, world, planet, on its own that once you enter, you can only leave if you promise to return. The best part about that is that you will be more than happy to return.

Till next time.
Love and blessings.

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People of Aethiopia. (I)

Hello! Hello!
Is any one out there?

I’m back to tell you more of this magical place that is just to our west. 14 hours drive, 10 at best. Really, its not too far and its not too different.
I met many people, and talked to many people and had many people talk to me and at me. INTERACTION! (inter.act) Woah.
Interaction is a constant aspect of life that happens. When you accidentally step on the back of that guy’s shoe in town, when you’re asked for your Nakumatt card when the person in front of you doesn’t have one and they are buying so much stuff. (\0/). Interaction is EVERYWHERE because it is an action shared between.

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location: cafe javas. 

There are some pretty cool people in Kampala who I was able to inter.act with. Alvin the Body Builder who indeed IS a professional body builder (he’s pretty good at it.) Jabu who immediately began throwing small Luganda phrases at me. I’m pretty good at it now from all that fumbling around that i did (i liee. . .) There was the boda guy who took us about 3 km in the wrong direction as we were trying to catch the remnants of the sunset. That failed. He then took us another possibly 2 km in the other wrong direction. When he took us back to where he got us, he was smiling really hard. (toast)

Its a cocktail, salad of personalities. When I set out to talk to these people, i wanted to find out about what they thought about Uganda as well as Kenya.

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Nuwa Wamala Nnyani.

I met Nuwa Wamala Nnyani who is a Visual Arts Practitioner/ Consultant when Lindsay and I were at the market next to the National Theater on the first and last day. The first time I met him, we had just arrived in UG and taken a boda to where we had thought the bus was going to drop us. It instead took us all the way to Old Kampala, across town. He was our reference for bark cloth. When I was ordering bark cloth, I didn’t know why I wanted it. I just really wanted it! The reason showed itself to me immediately after when Lindo and I went to the Museum and saw this FRESH PIECE OF CLOTHING!

 

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Bark cloth was used widely in the Buganda Kingdom, one of the strongest kingdom in Aethiopia. Richard Raid studied 19th Century Buganda in its economic and material context. He documents a Buganda dominated dynamic regional economy and argues that the kingdom grounded its regional commercial influence in a diversified productive base that the state enhanced via military might. Kabaka Junju took control over a place called Buddu for it BARK CLOTH production because there was large regional demand. Bark cloth was a big deal.

On the last day when I met Nuwa again when I went back to pick the bark cloth he had ordered for me, we got to talking a little. Since I am a little bit crazy about the UG accent I could immediately pick it but he spoke with the Kenyan accent (Kenyans say that we are an accentless nation bu we are able to identify the accentlessness when others talk but were completely unable to replicate it. WHAT IS THIS ACCENT THEY SPEAK OF?)
Nuwa began his journey as an artist in Uganda but developed and grew his art in Nairobi where he lived for 12 years. The Nairobi artist scene was his teacher. He had basically settled in Kenya with is wife and children. During the Moi regime, he left. He wanted his children to have some years of growth where he is from. Also, something about foreigners being chased from Kenya. Nuwa insists that Kenya isn’t very different from Uganda if you break it down to the people. A Ugandan can seamlessly transition to being a Kenyan in simply a matter of months and vice versa. After many years of living in both countries, he says that we look at each other in the same way. Ugandans believe that Kenyans are more than proud to be from Kenya while Kenyans feel the same about Uganda. What we believe about the other nation, we are.Tribalism, he added, is different but present across the countries. The tiring statement of “It is our time to eat” is thrown around in both countries just in different phrasing. Bottom line is that it is present. However, there is hope, with a small awakening of people realizing its ultimate pointlessness.

I met 20 year old Derrick Muwanga at Cafe Javas .

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Derrick Muwanga.

We had stopped at a Bata in the CBD to get a pair of ngoma’s (no trip is complete without a trusty pair of ngomas!) and decided to have breakfast. Derrick is really polite. absolutely charismatic and patient… really patient. (It took us a quite some time before we ordered anything.)

 

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He’s a part time waiter and a student of Information Technology at Makerere University. In the next 8 years he wants to open his own studio/gallery for photography. Working and studying in hard. “Finding that balance is the hardest part, really. I work in order to pay for my tuition fees and that keeps on increasing. Therefore, in order for me to keep paying my school fees, I have to keep working. In order for me to keep working, I have to miss some classes. The same classes I am working hard to attend.” He says. Some people are led to believe that Derrick is Kenyan. He learnt a lot from Kenyans. “Because of the metropolis that is Nairobi, Kenyans, even those not living in Nairobi, are very fast people. Efficient in their work and quick on their feet. I like to work like that and I deliberately learnt that from the Kenyans that I have spent time with.”
In the next 8 years in Uganda however, he wants to see a country that is achieving and producing transformative ideas and leaders. After so many years, there has barely been any change in Uganda. The economy isn’t on the rise but the inflation is. There now need to be effective and ample communication between their government and them. Uganda’s economy is based heavily on its agriculture. However, the farmers happen to be the least listened to people in this country. The place the economic voice is coming from is the wrong one. We need to fix it.
Derrick left immediately after that. I had forgotten that he was at work.

Something that came up with every one that I spoke to, is that they would never leave Uganda.

“If you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home.”
– Malala Yousafzai

 

1. Slave To My Mentality.

I’m a slave to my mentality.
It’s true and it has been true. I have been a slave to my own mentality. You see, somehow you seem to have made me absolutely different from everyone else. I’m not too sure when differences in people became a problem. Considering how much we have developed as a sect of nature, you would think that differences would have been something that we could have learnt to live with a long time ago. Yeah . . i thought so too, but I guess not.
With this difference around, its made it quite difficult for me to simply exist on earth without attacks from different sides of the society that I live in. From my neighbors, from my family, from myself. Some days are easier than others and others are just flat out painful to get through.
Oh. Who am I?

I AM AN AFRICAN.

That’s right. African.
It IS indeed hard for me to exist daily. Its so hard that I now believe that my difference is a bad thing. I no longer believe in me as a human being. In fact, I see myself as the ‘scum’ of society, at the bottom of the ‘food chain’.
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I know, I know. ITS CRAZY!! Can you blame me? Left right and center is something in society being glorified that usually has nothing to do with me. The limelight isn’t something I tend to see unless its the exposing of the problems that have been affiliated with me; war, dysfunctional governments, debt, hunger, the usual. (That’s all a story for the near future, I promise.)

“Emancipate yourself. . . “
You tore me down from the outside and worked your way in. At the depths of my heart, you settled and I was unable to see, think, FEEL, LIVE, clearly.

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That’s different now. Something has been bubbling on the inside and there’s change. I think its safe to say that once change is seen on the outside, the inside has undergone absolute transformation. You see, i’m no longer bound to what you have put up around me. Let me now tell you who i am, breaking down the superficial and slowly making my way to show you what is within. Then you might probably see that I am not just an African.
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“Emancipate yourself . . . “
I now walk around with the mentality that I am royalty. Why? That is what I know me to be in the very fiber of my being, from my soft, vibrant afro to kinky dreadlocks that hang down to my knees to the baldness on my crown that sits so perfectly. Sometimes I wrap it all up in beautifully colored fabric just to compliment my dark skin. I chose to see my hair as a crown adorning my simplistic beauty. It is no longer about how straight my hair can be or how much it can be blown by the wind. I now accept that my hair has its own identity. Don’t you dare strip that from me.
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“Emancipate yourself . . .”
You attack me because of the color of my skin, and its fine. Think of it as you please. Your thoughts will no longer affect me because my dark skin is something else entirely. I could be like cocoa butter: light, soft and cream or like dark chocolate; rich and deep in flavor just like the earth below me. I now cover this skin with brightly colored beads and materials of different heaviness that lightly dance on my me as the motherland’s wind moves with me.

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Yes, my skin is black like oil but don’t you see it leaves a mark on everything I touch. From the palms of my hands, to the soles of my feet, I now see this melanin as a natural robe covering me.

“Emancipate yourself . . .”
My hips, thighs, lips, wide nose, strong arms and eyes are all thick. I mean, what other body would possibly be able to hold this big personality. I come in all shapes and sizes, widths and depths. I’m no longer shrinking myself to hide the structure of my body. Sure, my outward look may be a little bit intimidating but how else will you know that you are walking in the midst of power, right next to unshakable authority? There is no longer a reason for me to be shy about it.
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“Emancipate yourself . . .”
You broke me down and told me that I was not beautiful. The color of my skin, density of my hair, shape of my nose was all different and therefore you called me ugly. That could have been a while ago but it stuck with me. Even worse, my children  seemed to have believed that they would never be seen as a symbol of beauty.  . . .
False.

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I now approach myself with a different set of eyes. Its all about how I perceive myself, you see. The mentality that I continue to change which will finally embody the real me. And when i say me, i mean WE! I believe me is in the rest of my brothers and sisters of equally dark skin.
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POWER.
I am no longer a slave to my mentality that tore me down more than it could ever have uplifted me. I believed that the creator made me lesser than I was destined to be when there is so much more for me that you told me.
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“Emancipate yourself. . .”
It is a sense of pride that I move with. It is an identification of SELF that now cannot be taken from me. I now realize that I have a place and role in society. Call me whatever you may but I am now aware of exactly who I am. I accept your label as black because out of the deepest darkness rises, like the sun, the most beautiful phoenix.

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.”
-Marcus Garvey.

I AM AFRICAN.
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The Beginning of a Familiar Journey

Take a trip with me into something I like to call the unknown. For some of us it could be the hope of a future. . for some of us it could be a step into the past. For others, it could be the current reality.

x.x.x

Her:
He left a long time ago but he is back. He’s here. HERE! Alive . . .
I can’t believe that he is here.
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My love, I could only think of you wounded and bleeding but fighting on. I cried night by night waiting for you to come back to me. I cried until the tears became ice that numbed my heart. Before you left, I saw it in your eyes even your stride. You weren’t sure you would come back. Neither was I.

Him:
I never thought I would see her again. I never thought that we would be this happy again.
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I was gone for so long. She slowly became a distant memory as I wasted away. With every day in the battlefield, I could feel each part of my being wasting away. I became less and less of a man and more of a machine. My only reason to live was to survive. Day and night become of no significance to me because it was all war.
Then it all of a sudden it wasn’t. I was sent away from the only home I had known for three years, the unpredicatable, to come back to you. I was afraid. I was afraid that you would not be able to love the empty shell that I was.
Until I saw you.
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I saw you and I was filled. I was filled with what had been torn from me. It was like I was refilling and beginning to see life in a new way. My wounds seemed to be empty of their psychological pain and were now wells drinking from from her love. She was my light. She was the other half of me.

Her:
Its been three months since you appeared on the doorstep all shades of brown and depleted but I am still not sure its you. I am afraid that its all a dream that i am stuck in. I am afraid that I keep on creating a merely mental reality where nothing seems to be affected by your return. Even after years of seclusion and separation, i’m still able to speak your hearts language. Except it is a reality. My heart never forgot who you were.
Sometimes you can’t seem to grasp reality as well. You don’t realize that its all over, and that you are finally home. There’s a turbulent wave. I only hope my heart’s song can quieten the noise.Youth-5

Him:
I remember bodies, guns, blood and pain no matter how hard I try not to. I toss and turn each night trying to get away from the feel of it all. The memories come out when I am most still, most quiet, most alone, just like in the battlefield. My demons come out to haunt me, taunt me, control me. I drift off, hide, just so that I don’t let it get a hold of me, and eventually you.
I want nothing to happen to you.Youth-1
This . . . this is something i am unable to explain, unable to capture, unable to completely express. It goes way beyond the understanding that I may posses as a mere man. It goes beyond stars and skies. I can only experience the truth that it is. The truth that is love,

We’re now on a new journey. A new adventure awaits us. A journey that is taking us through familiar places. Tough places, Beautiful places. I will stand with you as we go through these places again but yet again begin. I will hold your hand as we rise beyond the trials that threaten to tear us apart and drive us away from each other. We shall lean on the voices of our souls and hold on to the wisdom of love.
Because we are together; King and His Queen.
Youth-8

x.x.x.

To all this, I owe Mr Joseph ‘Nabster’ Chege. Thank you 🙂

Bazuli Bemhlaba

Tonight, my camera could have been taken.

Greetings Earth Dwellers,

A couple of nights ago we went on adventure.

x.x.x

Nairobi at night is an adventure.
My camera could be taken. Definitely not in line with my will. He took it cause he needed the money, He can’t bear to live on these streets anymore. The night is getting colder and so is his heart. He needs to run from the streets. His dream isn’t to run the streets. His only hope is that it never will be.

However, he isn’t bothering me tonight. His attention is at the end of the street more than it is with my camera.

My camera could be taken. By those people watching the car. I can’t see them, my subject can’t either. My sight is trapped in the studio of my mind as I try and compose my shot. “Move to the left?” Its not enough. “To the left again?” Damn. Now its too much. “Now to the right. STOP! That’s perfect” And its like I can finally breathe normally again. The wheels turn faster, The wind blows colder. We were five, now we are two. Where are the rest? Probably on the next street. I should have noticed. Of course the wind was warning me. I turn, Behind me there are two silhouettes. Dammit. I should run.

This man, is bothering me tonight. His attention isn’t wavered, it isn’t altered. He is coming straight for me.

They look relatively young. But old enough to be out at this time of the night. They have camera’s that look super fancy. But why at this time of the night? They can’t be. Can they? I think i have been seated in this car for too long. Those three are escaping. Let me get these two.

“Madam!”

I knew I should have run. But he doesn’t look dangerous. He is here anyway, lets face this speed bump. The questions begin. What am I doing here? What is my name? What do i do? What do i want with this building? What do i do again? Aargh! I’m tired of these questions. Get to the point. “We are policemen. This is wrong. What do yo mean why? Are you not Kenyan? Don’t take me for a fool. ” He is getting angry. I am tired of this session. He is being stubborn. My turn. “I’m sorry. I can show you what I shot. I can delete the ones you know are a threat to security. No, I do not take you for a fool. No, I am not being sarcastic. None are a threat? Oh! How lucky I am.” Totally being sarcastic. He is calm. Why was he angry before? His turn. “We are under attack. Everyone is watching everyone. You have to be careful. Anyone can be one of them. Its not safe. Take those pictures during the day, not at night. Its the same thing” The sun is on a black sky canvas with stars at night, changing the light OBVIOUSLY. Sure. Its the same thing. I agree. I walk away.

He is no longer bothering me tonight. He has a family to get to. It was a temporary mix of a world he had no idea of. He had to explore. Or maybe he was doing his duty? Who knows these days.

My camera could be taken. Its a new location, safest location as decided from our little discussion. We park. So much energy now. Nothing can stop us here. The road is abandoned but there is some music from somewhere. Nikons and Canons come out to play. A group of five turns into doubles and single streams of creations. My subject stands beneath the light. It makes a halo around her hair. Like a crown of fire. A security guard mumbles something loud enough to attract our attention. We walk towards him. I mean, who else could he be talking to? “Not you.” Clearly he enjoys his own company. Back to the light that burns. She wears her crown of fire again. Glorious.

“Excuse! Excuse Madam!” A security guard, a different one.

He is CLEARLY bothering me tonight. He shall do it with a purpose, without distraction and with calculation.
‘Who are you? What are you doing here? What are you? Oh Photographers? And who told you this place is for taking pictures?” Who told you the air around you is for breathing? Another scenario. I hope this on blows over quicker. “Let me see those pictures”  I show him. He sees them. He ignores them. “Who told you this place is for shooting?” He grabs my camera.

HOLD UP!

Give it back? Why? Cause its not yours. I take a step closer, then a step back. My guess is that be isn’t going to woo his girlfriend with the smell of his new cologne; alcohol. He dangles the camera. I’m getting angry. My voice is rising. He is mumbling a lot and dangling my camera. I get louder. I’m shaking. “Calm down.” CALM DOWN? I walk away. The other three come. Level headed. Settled. “Out of all the places in Nairobi, you decided to come take pictures here? What is so special about this place? You know it’s not right.” Give me a reason why its not right! No valid reason? I’m not surprised. Calm down? Look at the way he is holding the camera. He will damage it! I will not calm down. I feel five, The bully took my toy. I need it back, Is this where I am supposed to protect my property? He is shouting. The three who were level headed are now two. Now were both fuming. He says more words, I only catch a few. Money, Ego. Illegal. Afford. Another one down. Now we’re three fuming. We talk to his college. We explain. He is your boss? No wonder you can’t tell him to calm down. The two out of our quintet carry on. They are still calm, they are strong. A phone is produced, a number is dialed. “Hello Head Office. We have a problem with one of your people. What happened? What happened is that the level or reason-ability is not being reciprocated. Apology accepted. You are sending a team? Thank you” Superman is on the way. Rather, just his superiors. The two continue to reason with him, but his mind is scattering and his voice travelling. Shouting must be his talent.
The team arrives, Fear is in his eyes. I kind of smile. GIVE IT BACK! Give it back now! One of the two takes it. Their patience had just run out.

He bothered me tonight. He bothered me and five others tonight. He bothered us tonight. And whats more, My camera could have been taken.

Nairobi at night is indeed an adventure. And i guess these pictures are not a matter of national security. Go figure.
Bazuli Bemhlaba.

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C H I K I T I K I

Greetings Earth Dwellers,

Nairobi happens to be filled with a vast selection of artists who can feed your every desire. Whether it is photographers who focus on Nairobi’s beautiful skyline, poets who tell stories of their childhood and dark nights of their adolescence, musicians who sing of love, butterflies, joy and all things sunshine or fashion bloggers who continue to inspire your every day wear, Nairobi has it all.

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William “Nyeks” Kanyeki.

Meet William Kanyeki, artist, founder, designer and all that jazz of Nyeks Apparel which is dedicated to well designed stuff with a dose of creativity, they are made for the young, old, fun, serious, geeks and artists who want a change.

It happens to be much more than that.  Anyone who has seen this design has been attracted to its authenticity and uniqueness in the designs; Chikitiki and the Nyekitiki

So, we took a trip, one hour out of Nairobi armed with a random pair of heels. Lindsay, Quentin ( the Live Props 🙂 ) and Nikola to capture the ChikiTiki on film? memory card. 🙂

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Now, Machakos.

It is a beautiful place and is greener than what most people perceive about it. Its made up of flat land that extends to the horizon and just before it gets there, its captures by a hill that is reaching for the heavens. The sun (thank heavens) wasn’t too hot and there was the occasional perfect breeze that reminded us of what season we were in.

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Nikola :) Our impromptu but amazing shoot director.

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Even though it is only one hour away, Machakos was beyond amazing and temporarily satisfied our wanderlust.

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Bazuli Bemhlaba

T H A N A B S T E R

Greetings earth dwellers,

Today we feature one of our favorite photographers, Canon Kenya Photography Award nominee and King of Tones, Joseph Mbugua Chege – A.K.A Thanabster.

Joseph is an extremely talented and passionate photographer whose consistency and drive acts as a cannon that propels him closer and closer to his destination.

“Before every great reward, comes the footprints of persistence, consistency … courage, faith and patience.”
Edmond Mbiaka

Below are a few of his photographs, enjoy.

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1526752_10203566224371933_7832871780187041637_nCheck out more of his work by clicking on this link ~ https://instagram.com/thanabster .

ALSO, as we mentioned earlier, he is a Canon Kenya photography Award nominee and we would appreciate it if you took a minute to vote for him by clicking on this link ~ http://www.photoawards.co.ke/vote-online

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Bazuli Bemhlaba

E X P R E S S

Greetings Earth Dwellers.

Deep inside us lie emotions we sometimes can’t express. No facial expression, music, poetry or dance is able to rip those feelings out from the vessels in our body. So, they flow like the water. They continue to inhabit every living cell that we have, waiting to be felt and expressed as we purposefully ignore them and hide them under a facade that we sometimes believe to be true but most times, we are aware are lies. We go with the motions until we become the motion that is moved with, we become the song that is danced to and the paint that colors the world. Except we are not complete. Our minds are unable to fully connect with the current time because we left a part of us unfinished, not felt, and hidden. So, we let the emotions that we wrapped around in a block of us linger under the sun and we watch. We stay still. We stay still as the spirit, like the sun, melts away the cold hard shell that encapsulated what was part of our being and as we lay still, we remember, where we were and what we have conquered.

I acknowledge the privilege of being alive in a human body at this moment, endowed with senses, memories, emotions, thoughts, and the space of mind in its wisdom aspect.

Alex Grey

Bazuli Bemhlaba

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