Africa Nouveau

I got to be a part of a pioneer event earlier this month: Africa Nouveau. It was a lot of work and my first time doing a music based festival with so many elements to it, not to mention that it was a 2 day event. It was a challenge and an amazing learning experience. So if you don’t know diddly about this event, keep reading.

Africa Nouveau honors creativity, authentic expression, collaboration, identity and sustainability. It is an expression of individuality and an exercise  geared at re-imagining our identity as creative’s and Africans. It is an event committed to showcasing the most progressive crop of creative Africans leveraging indigenous knowledge and materials and innovating around the same to create groundbreaking works that are both African and uniquely global. Africa Nouveau is  here for the most progressive, trend-setting, ahead of their time, out of the box, interesting, imaginative, opinionated, passionate, international Africans, who think globally and act locally.




The event was divided into sections creating a broader experience for attendees:

Music Dome: The Main music arena was set under a dome and showcased performances from the premier hipsters of African music from Kenya, Central African Republic, Angola, South Africa and Ghana.


DJ Stage aka Solar Garden/Twilight Zone: We re-purposed a shipping container into a stage for DJs in a space that we called the solar garden/Twilight zone as it was fully powered on Solar energy.

Culi’n’ Art: is an experimental collaboration between food and art. There was one designated food area called the Culi’n’ Art where a series of insta-chefs/foodies were hosted. Each insta-chef prepared a signature meal which was available at the Culi’n’ Art space allowing attendees to enjoy creative meals. Personal favorite was Neeral Shah’s Gelato (I’ll share details later).


Fashion Installations: Because fashion is art, we had fashion designers to present their works in the most creative and artistic manner that allowed the Fashion exhibition to be experienced as ART.

Art Installations: We worked with a number of art and creative studios from Nairobi to develop artistic expressions of our core ideas. There were three key installations:

  • A letter Box installation
  • A bicycle wheel installation representing Africa Nouveau
  • ‘The Revolution is Live’ using old transistor radios and TVs


SunnyMoney charging point: In contributing to a more sustainable world, SunnyMoney created a point where people could plug in their phones to solar-powered lamps.


Africa Nouveau was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Blankets & Wine, CEFA-Kenya and Action 2015.

Keep an eye open for details on when the next edition will be and be sure not to miss out on the fun.

You can check out pictures of the event on


A Wedding…

Last weekend was my brother’s wedding, still having trouble thinking of him as married. You can imagine how the parents are all looking at the rest of us with that “so, when is your wedding going to be?” *cringe*.

The wedding was simple and beautiful. True there were a few hiccoughs here and there, like there usually are with each event, but the final look and feel came together. It was an outdoor wedding with the reception and ceremony being at the same venue. The colors where white with a touch of gold, with chiavari chairs, beautiful flowers and a classy clear roofed hexagon tent. The ceremony had a beautiful mandup with flowers for the couple to sit under, petals lined the aisle and sunshine brought the colors to life.

A jazz band played in the background, creating the perfect ambiance. 

The couple looked amazing. Muthoni’s dress was beautiful and she seemed to be glowing, Ben looked dashing…never really seen him look that dapper. You could tell how happy they were, and how perfectly they fit.

To top it all off, the wedding was featured in The Star. I’m not sure how the rest of us will follow this one. Eloping may be an option (just kidding…maybe).

It really was a beautiful day. It was simple, tasteful and one to remember. Here are a couple of pictures:

USIU Wazee vs. Vijana Rugby… In Pictures


By Anthony Okoth

The annual Wazee Vijana games were held at the USIU campus grounds on the 12th of July, 2014. This was a break from the normal venue of the RFUEA grounds along Ngong Road, Nairobi, but it was a welcome one. It afforded alumni a chance to walk on the grounds that were once their stomping grounds and see the various improvements the university is making.

There was hockey, basketball, football and rugby on display, with alumni & students pitting their wits and skills against each other. The alumni showed that they are no slouches, beating the students comprehensively in Rugby (which I went for. Sorry, basketball 🙂 ) Afterward, there was a short networking session, with alumni sharing wisdom of the working world with the students.

If you didn’t happen to be there, here are some pictures from the rugby game. If you did, look out for…

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My first Itaara

igba book coverHow much do you know about your traditional ceremonies? I, myself know close to nothing as I recently discovered.

My older brother is getting married, and the families decided to do all the traditional ceremonies as close to the letter as possible. So it’s been interesting, and I fear he’s gone and set quite a bar for the rest of us.

The ceremony has 5 stages according to Ciiku, namely:

  1. The groom to be and his friends come to the bride to be’s home to state their intentions
  2. Then the groom to be and his family and friends come to discuss dowry
  3. Then they come yet again to eat together and do those other traditions which I don’t know how to explain in English – This is the ceremony commonly known as “ngurario” [the hiding under the lessos happens in this one] – At this point you are considered married.
  4. The final ceremony is when the brides family visits the grooms family to see where their girl is going. – This ceremony is called “Itaara“
  5. The soda ceremony – I think previously they used to bring porridge but these days, the in-laws are supposed to bring sodas. Don’t know why…. hmmm… I should ask.”

This past weekend, my brother invited Muthoni’s family to their family home, for stage four – the Itaara. Now traditionally this event is meant only for the women, but me were present. It started with sing-off at the gate, and I’m ashamed to admit that we were out sung. We welcomed our guests in and the singing continued until all were at their respective places.

Food, drinks and socializing started next, giving us a chance to speak to the ‘outlaws’. This was followed by introductions of the main families, prayers and then the main event.

Women from my family went to the house to prepare to receive Muthoni and the women of her family. They were invited in and welcomed with roses.

Back then, showing the ‘new wife’ her new home was done a little more practically. Things like going to collect firewood and water from the river and bringing it to the homestead was actually done; everything we did was ceremonial. Let me tell you, women who carry that much wood on their heads over long distances are amazing. My share of wood was super heavy!

Muthoni was shown to the store, shown how to use the cooker, where things were, then there was a part with a pot and mokimo that I didn’t quite understand. It was all emotional, and I think Muthoni feels truly welcomed to our family.

Now as one of the ladies later explained, this entire day was a test of whether my brother and his family could adequately take care of Muthoni and that she would be safe and happy. We passed!  The soon-to-be in-laws brought gifts of potatoes and so on which were added to the store, and after this exchange we ended the day with music, porridge and laughter.

I believe next is the soda ceremony but I’m not sure about that one.

One final note, I’m not sure what will happen when our children get married. My mother and aunties were talking about how much less their knowledge of tradition is, that they only get by with the fundamentals. Does that mean that the next 3-4 generations will have nothing left of our traditional wedding practices? Is it a big deal? Share what you think.

Kenya Kite Festival

kk6Ever heard of the  Kenya Kite Festival? No? Well let me give you an introduction.

Kiting is considered a high energy, family activity that originated from China, one of the greatest kiting destinations. The kiting culture is picking up in popularity in Kenya attracts kite enthusiasts for a weekend of kites.

This is the first event of its kind in East and Central Africa, a family – picnic style event, held every year with kite building workshops carried out in between festivals. Each festival, International kiters are brought in to put on a display with their 20 – 30ft kites…like the manta ray and whale kites. RC Pilots also put on a display with their remote control planes.

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Urban Live Entertainment is the mastermind behind this event, having held two other festivals before this and consequently promoting the kiting culture here. Their intention is to create a wholesome family event that allows the parents to relive their youth and the kids to learn something new and exciting as well as raise funds for local charities. Ultimately they also want to have Kenya Kite Festival is to have Kenya become internationally recognized as a kiting destination.

The Kite Festival Team (past and present) is made up of a group of dedicated, fun-loving women, namely; Melissa, Neriah, Violet, Wangari & Nadia. Each has a passion for flying kites and are striving to make the kiting culture as much a part of Kenya as it is in the rest of the world. Though both Nadia and Wangari have left officially but still support. There are also the ‘Friends of Kite Fest’ who always show their support in one way or another.

This year’s festival was held on the 23rd of this month, with kiters James and Jeff from USA putting on a great display. The change of venue to the Polo club and the new look and feel of the event went over well with regulars. The vendors were perfect for the event and Dj Stretch was fire on the decks. The charity supported this year was Akili Dada, a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change.

The Kenya Kite Festival is the ultimate kids event, from kite challenges (where anyone can win a prize),  bouncing castle, face painting, puppet shows, and sugary treats. The team is pro outdoor activities in an age when children spend their time glued to one screen or another. Kids run and play themselves tired while parents can join in or relax in the shade and enjoy a brew or two.

It really is an awesome way to spend a Sunday with family and friends.

For a glimpse of last weeks event, check out the Kenya Kite Festival page and a clip of last year’s event

There are a couple of other events in the works, so follow them on facebook and @kenyakitefest to stay in the loop.