Truly Jossi

Truly Jossi

30 April 2015 » Truly Jossi

It is likely Kenya’s fight against al Shabab, the ‘Somali’ terror group, is running in fits and jumps. For one; is al Shabab still a ‘Somali’ terror group? Media reports have it that the #GarissaAttack was led by a young Kenyan lawyer. That Kenyan component in the brutal attack that left 148 dead is disturbing. It means al Shabab has been recruiting locally and has gone as far as recruiting the best minds in Kenya. The Interior Ministry recently issued a ten day amnesty to all Kenyan youth who...

25 March 2015 » Truly Jossi

 Kigango or Mijikenda grave-post at the Malindi MuseumThe YearsThey are writing thingsIn my mindDrawing on my faceEtching shapeson my bodyThe years,are doing thingsto meChipping offmy innocenceThey are rubbingcynicisminto my thoughtsDopingmy crystal clear viewHm-mm,They have brought inall manner of peopleinto my lifeSome jolly, some gooeyThe years,are doing thingsTo meI have my hands fullWhat the years have done!

20 March 2015 » Truly Jossi

For weeks now Kenya has been abuzz with ‘news’ of corruption among members of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee. The buzz is some members received bribes to water down a report on graft in the Office of The President. The sums involved are mind-boggling to most Kenyans. Some 2.8 billion shillings are believed to have leaked out some time before and immediately after the General Elections in 2013. The committee investigating the scum is said to have received bribes to go easy on the...

18 February 2015 » Truly Jossi

The world was shocked by the beheading of Egyptian Copts in Libya last week. Rightly so, I must say. But the rise of Islamic extremism is not a strange thing. From the 1998 United States Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania there has been a steady rise in extremist attacks across the world. You would think that the 911 attacks in the US should have been the bang before the trend fizzled out. However, extremists have become bolder.In the aftermath, extremists have gone ahead to take over...

26 November 2014 » Truly Jossi

It was not until my teens that my sexuality became an issue. All along my best pal was Eddah. She played for our five-aside team. She could hit the ball just like any of us. We had been playing football together since we were eight or nine. She was the only girl in the group. It did not matter- she was our pal. The other boys accepted it.  When we played against boys from the other 'landhies' or blocks of houses, she played goalkeeper. They usually raised hell about a girl playing in-field. I...

05 November 2014 » Truly Jossi

A short storyI happened by in search of booze. There was a fire burning in the middle. A small crowd gathered around it. Periodically someone threw in a piece of wood to keep the fire going. They danced and  drunk as they chatted.  In the background, drums beat. A marimba accompanied the beat. Whispering kayambarattles joined a chorus of voices. The soloist rose high above the instruments. His words were clear and strong. A cacophony of voices joined where he paused. There were the deep voices...

11 October 2014 » Truly Jossi

I still go to Hairif Cafe at the Coast Bus junction of Mwembe Tayari in Mombasa. Back in the day it was Baba's favourite. It was actually his second choice. His favourite place at Raha Leo behind the old Mwembe Tayari Market was demolished. I never ate anything there. The place was teeming with flies. It used to be the Raha Leo Hotel but we just called it Hoteliya Mainzi or the ‘Flies’' Hotel. I believe the flies got good nourishment from the mounds of garbage left to rot in the street. There...

26 September 2014 » Truly Jossi

Much of the African economy is rural. The population is oriented towards the land with subsistence farming remaining the main source of production. As the seasons come and go so do the people move with the cycle. Nothing untowardly about that except the agricultural practices and animal husbandry techniques are pretty much what was in play a hundred years ago. Much of the seed has been kept from harvest to harvest. The common breeding technique is to bring in the neighbour’s bull once the heat...

12 September 2014 » Truly Jossi

The title ‘Doctor’ implies expert knowledge in medicine. I use the term imply because not all persons acknowledged as doctors are experts in medicine. I am not for a moment thinking of all those persons awarded graduate degrees. These are far removed from the reality of my focus. In the village dispensary anyone in uniform is politely referred to as ‘Doctor’. She could be a nurse or cleaner but the fact she works in hospital qualifies her to be a doctor. In the village proper, the cleaner with...

28 August 2014 » Truly Jossi

It is not mere coincidence that there is an Ebola epidemic in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Actually, there are many other crises ravaging those countries. I am dead certain before there was Ebola there was insufficient hygiene. It is nearly certain there were inadequate healthcare services. Worse of all there was a public waiting for disasters of all types to attack but without the least skills and orientation to handle them.In my part of the world, and no doubt in much of Africa, the...

02 August 2014 » Truly Jossi

And so for two months my mind went on vacation. There were the goings and comings at the office, the happenings in Brazil, some disturbance at home and general restlessness. I should mention it started with the breaking down of my computer of four years. The little netbook has been a part of me. Those familiar with my movements will recall the black bag I always carry with me. It is so much a part of me that I become light-footed when it is not strapped on my back. Therein hide all my work-...

19 May 2014 » Truly Jossi

My favourite tipple disappeared from the shelves briefly then came back in a new strip. Probably I am just paranoid. That new Guinness is suspect. It could well be Milk Stout in a Guinness scarf. Or someone got busy at the cooking. It does not look right either. They might have wanted more of the ladies on the Guinness tipple with that foil but the bottle top got in the way. It tears badly on opening leaving scraps of foil threatening to jump into the mug. There is no drinking straight from the...

23 April 2014 » Truly Jossi

It is a rapidly disappearing truth but there are demons. The demons afflicting my native Mijikenda often have names. A seer knowledgeable in these matters typically identifies the offending demon. Of interest will be the way the spirit manifests itself. The ‘Mdoe’ spirit wickedly hides in a healthy mother only to wreak havoc on her infant child. The poor child will be a sickly on account of an evil spirit lodged in her mother.  A simple dance can exorcise a spirit- here it is for waterThe poor...

09 April 2014 » Truly Jossi

 I was seduced into loving Arsenal Football Club by my elder sister. Back in the day they were the only English Club that played a fluid passing game. It was not about winning, my sister said; but entertainment, tenacity and skill. The Gunners had it all. I loved the entertainment but drew much comfort from the presence of Lee Dixon and Tony Adams in defence. I have had it said that together with Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn these two made Arsenal’s ‘Back Four’ impregnable. For me it was...

18 March 2014 » Truly Jossi

I rate myself among the old-fashioned. The best I can do is run around the beach in boxer shorts. I would never try briefs, no matter how cool. That means I am not the best person to advice on fashion. I will likely keep the hemline low. I will keep the bust covered and give some room for air around strategic areas. I don’t mind one size bigger but out of sensitivity to the ladies I will let them wear if it fits. Of course I will frown inside but still declare it gorgeous for diplomatic reasons...

12 March 2014 » Truly Jossi

It was just a fling. Only it went on and on and on. The first time there was no asking. There was no talking. It was written in her eyes. I had to walk her home. Something told me it was not a wise thing to do. Anyway, I had to. She’d stayed late at our place. I am not sure it was not deliberate. They were great friends, you know. But there was that mischievous look lurking in her eye. She never said anything. It is the things she did that let me in on her intentions. Maybe I should say the...

22 February 2014 » Truly Jossi

In his last days he was flippant. I don’t know if it came from the knowledge that death was imminent. I know he was on second-line antiretrovirals. Those drugs induce hallucinations in some people. In fact it was difficult to conduct a coherent conversation with him for long. Yet he always found reason to chat. For years we had been buddies. He was always stoic about his affliction. Not once did he mention it to me. When his ailing wife died we all knew from the whisperings what had killed her...

12 February 2014 » Truly Jossi

I remember Kibom. He was the classroom rogue. In a week he probably came twice or thrice. If he turned up at all, he was nearly always late. His hair was always uncombed. Many times he never bothered to wash his face. You could see the sticky deposits on his eyes. He often came in dirty with crumbled uniform. He was the butt of secret jokes in the class. No one dared mock him to his face. He was a ferocious fighter. Chilldren having trash weighed in a garbage-collection competition at a typical...

23 January 2014 » Truly Jossi

One thing- Whoever stitches shoes over in China is always fidgeting. If it is a machine, it must be running on vibra-mode. No two pairs of shoes are the same. Even worse- every season they change the design and the designer. If I should acquire a new pair, I have to rejig my walking style to fit the new whim. Otherwise I have to stay put in my old shoes!In my shoesIf there is anything I cannot put away easily; it is my old pair of shoes. I wear my shoes until they become a second skin. Then,...

20 December 2013 » Truly Jossi

Some things will always be the same- as long as there is Christmas. Come December I seem to slowly give way to the spirit of Christmas. It has been that way for the 45 years it has taken to make me. I seem to want the same things for Christmas year-in year-out.It is not Christmas until I arrive in Rabai. For me the village is wired into the Christmas spirit. Well, not quite- home is where Christmas is. Over the years wherever I have called home is where I have been for Christmas. In my student...

04 November 2013 » Truly Jossi

Just when I thought I had everything set- you choose to let me down. You know how it is to keep up appearances. I have put my faith in things at great risk to my reputation. Imagine how slippery it is to walk into a doctor’s surgery with only the shillings in your pocket. Doctors, my dear Phone, are not fond of advertising charges. The mystery of what ails you is nothing compared to the mystery of a doctor’s fees. A doctor’s fee is conjured up in the throes of your misery. 'Open Sesame! No, no...

23 October 2013 » Truly Jossi

By Jossi Tinga A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.Margaret Mead (American scientist 1901-78)I will go ethnic and dig into the Mijikenda of the Kenya coast. I happen to be of Mijikenda stock and probably know a thing or two about them. Two things distinguish the Mijikenda elites from those of other Kenyan communities; they are lone-rangers and degree-for-degree, shilling-for-shilling; have little influence on government and their...

07 October 2013 » Truly Jossi

I promised not to add one more word to the debate on the Westgate Mall attack. It was heinous alright and many things went wrong with the response. As I have mentioned before the capacity of local police forces against that sort of attack is wanting(http://trulyjossi.blogspot.com/2013/08/its-long-way-to-reformed-police-force.html).  See also http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/africa/kenyas-shambolic-response-westgate-siege. However, it is the terror reporting that unwittingly aids terrorism. Here...

27 September 2013 » Truly Jossi

Like the end is nighI will hound the night out of town Hop from stop to pub with no care to mind I will toss the money around Make merry with the girls I will throw care to the wind Before the night is gone I will dine, drink and sinLike the end is nigh Just thinking,Sunday, 23 September 2013 

16 September 2013 » Truly Jossi

                     The trials of the Kenyan suspects opened at the International Criminal Court. Indications are witnesses are growing cold feet. The weight of taking the stage against your President and his Deputy is probably too much for anyone. It is especially so if the witness is a humble peasant.  The Kenyan flag: A symbol of state, not national union (Image courtesy of Google Images) Of course queries will arise over how a simple peasant can have evidence implicating a president. It...

13 September 2013 » Truly Jossi

By Jossi TingaWhen the American with a Kenyan-sounding name was elected President of the United States, Kenya went wild. It was giddy days. For a few days Kenya was celebrating more than the Democratic Party. There was a rush to associate with ‘Cousin Obama’. Not one but many boys born in his ancestral home of Nyanza earned the name Barack Obama. Not to be left behind, President Kibaki declared a public holiday. That’s the last time Kenya celebrated the ‘slender guy with a funny name’.There was...

27 August 2013 » Truly Jossi

For some reason all Kenyan Police stations have a similar layout. It cannot be as per the latest police science. The oldest police station I have visited is Mombasa’s Central Police Station built in the early 1900s. The newest to visit is the Iten Police station built in the 1980s. The entrance to the police station is usually via a heavy wooden door heading straight to a high wooden counter barricaded with wire mesh. The high counter is the report desk. The cells are either right behind the...

24 August 2013 » Truly Jossi

By Jossi Tinga Probably, I was too quick to write an obituary for Raila Odinga. The old warhorse has done a good job of staying afloat in the murky waters that is Kenyan politics. At sea, outgunned and outnumbered it seemed it was only moments before he sank.  There were moments in the aftermath of the March 2013 polls when he seemed lost. A belligerent look crossed his face whenever he talked of the elections. He was alone in this thing. All the other candidates rolled their mats and shipped...

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