Before we talk about my hair type,let me get this quote from Americanah out of the way,it sets the stage for what I consider is a travesty that has gone on for far too long but thankfully is almost obsolete as more women are now getting to fall in love with their hair,the way it is and without having to resort to having it relaxed .
“Relaxing your hair is like being in prison. You’re caged in. Your hair rules you. You didn’t go running with Curt today because you don’t want to sweat out this straightness. You’re always battling to make your hair do what it wasn’t meant to do.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
When I first decided to go natural and shave off my relaxed hair,I walked into a barber shop in Nakuru ,told the barber to chop of my shoulder length hair straight hair and I looked at him as he shook his head,he could not believe it and it felt like he was willing me to change my mind.
And also 8 years ago,not very many women were walking into barber shops….willingly.
He looked at me,asked if I knew what I was doing and of course I answered that I was very clear headed , that the only thing I had that morning was tea.
He walked me,almost in slow motion to his chair,draped a gown over my shoulders, took out his shaving machine and he proceeded to shave off more of my hair than I had asked him to.
That was almost 8 years ago and since then I have relaxed my hair once ,in a moment of pure madness which I regret to date,then shaved it again….. and now..I am happy with my type 4 hair and would not want it any other way.
In that 8 year period,I have seen more women embracing the natural hair look and beauty shops in Nairobi are now stocking more natural hair products than ever before.If you walk into Super cosmetics on Mama Ngina Street it is a natural hair haven with hair products your hair will love and over the years,natural hair products have been taking up more shelf space even in supermarkets.
One of the dangers that come with having natural hair though is that you run the risk of becoming a product junkie.You go to town to buy one hair product,just one, before you know it, you have 10 products in your shopping cart.And out of the 10,your hair will be in love with just one..1!
To avoid spending money on products you do not need,it is important to know you hair type.
Thanks to growth in the hair industry we now can tell our hair types,thanks to one man whom I will call The Man.
That man is Andre Walker.
Andre Walker is a hair stylist developed a hair typing system to help us understand our natural hair ,be able to identify our hair type so that we can better take care of it.You may have seen his work as a stylist on people like Oprah Winfrey and remember that pixie hair cut Halle Berry is famous for..Andre Walker is the man behind that look.
At the beginning of this post,I included a simple chart to help you identify your hair type,a simple rule of thumb to follow is that the more tightly curled your hair is,the more delicate it is (yes its true) my hair is type 4 and this type of hair needs a lot of moisture as it tends to dry out quickly.
Once you have identified your hair type , read as much as you can on how you can take care of it and do not follow everything you see on You Tube and use what you learned to identify the best type of products that would go well with your hair.
A lot of disappointment will accompany you once you start on your natural hair care journey and your hair does not behave as well as that of You Tubers. It does not have to. Hair like your finger print is unique and will be affected by things such as the humidity of the part of the world you live in,the kind of water you wash your hair with ( soft /hard),what you eat,do you smoke ,drink alcohol, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables ?
I also have to say that a particular hair product may give very different results depending on the hair type it is used on.
In addition ,something we cannot run away from are our genes,they play a big role on the kind of curls we carry on our heads.
Now about my type 4 hair which a lot of people find difficult to maintain but which i absolutely love.This hair type contrary to popular opinion is actually very fragile as its made up of very thin strands of fine hair ,densely packed together.When this hair type is not well moisturized it tends towards a coarse texture and will easily break.
One of the best ways I would recommend of knowing what works on your hair type,especially if you are type 4 is trying out one particular product at a time,that way you get to know what works and what does not.
With time I have come to learn what my hair likes and what it does not,below I will give a simple guide on what I would recommend if you are type 4 hair,it works for most hair types as well with simple variations for those whose curl patterns are not so tight.
Washing my hair daily has always been a great way to keep it full of shine as well as moisturized and when it’s not in braids I wash it daily and even with braids I make sure i wash it at least every 2 weeks.
Sometimes, but only rarely do I ever use hair gel as I have seen that it dries out my hair too much.
If you find that spritzing your hair with water is not doing much,it is because your hair products are sitting on your hair shaft clogging it and making it hard for moisture to get through.
This is when you pre poo it and give it a good wash preferably with a clarifying shampoo.
After the hair wash,you need to keep that moisture locked in and a good way to do this is to use a hair butter or a natural oil like olive oil.I did a post on how to know if the olive oil you are buying is the real thing.
Using an oil on your hair which is part of the L.O.C method for natural hair helps to seal in moisture thus preventing moisture loss which leads to dry brittle hair.
You can follow up the oil with a hair cream that locks in the moisture in your hair and I can vouch for the Dax Roots Olive Cream ,my hair loves it.
The cream acts a sealant to the moisture you introduced in steps 1 and sealed in step 2 with oil.
Because my hair is a type 4,the above method works out very well and will also do for most hair types.If you hair is more loosely curled read on The Natural Hair Rules blog about the L.O.C.O method which works out pretty well for these other hair types.
This is where you use a Liquid.Light oil.Cream then a heavy oil like coconut or olive oil as a sealant.It would be great to confirm if any of you with finer hair have used this method and what the results were.
Back to the conversation about type 4 hair..I have found out that with hair you just need to know what works and does not work for it,for me as stated earlier,hair gels my hair does not like,it dries out , breaks and on the occassion that I have to use it, I make sure it is washed out by evening.
My hair type loves moisture and the daily wash is a must after which I apply olive or coconut oil and sometimes a cream.
I also try to avoid any heat treatments like having it blow dried and combing it out and only finger comb it during a wash or when I am applying oil to it which reduces on the breakage.This approach has helped it retain its curl pattern which when people ask what I use on my hair to be able to retain the curl pattern,I simply say I hardly ever use a comb on it.
At the moment I am in Nyasuba Locs which I had done by Onea on Hair ,what I love about them them is that they are light and that there was no need to have my hair straightened in order to have them done which is a win win for my hair and my scalp as well.I am maintaining the locs and my hair by using olive oil on my scalp every other day .I have had the locs for about 2 weeks now and I am doing a wash next week.
Do you have type 4 hair? what is your hair care regimen like ?
Would love to hear from you as well as hear on your experience with hair products.
If we go and watch Black Panther only because it is a story about an African nation ,with a African super hero and because finally we get to watch people that look like us starring in what has to be one of the most phenomenally successful movies of our times,we miss what I think is the whole point of the movie.
Black Panther is predominantly a movie about redemption.
My feelings about the movie Black Panther are similar to the feelings I got after reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book Americanah or Ijeoma Umebinyuo’s book Questions for Ada.
It is a feeling and a state of being I cannot describe because those two books and this movie took me back to a place, a place that as a woman of African origin I had long forgotten.A place of power.A place of hope.A place of new beginnings about how I am going to look at and understood myself from now on.
To be honest,I do not think that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee,who were among the 3 co-creators of the Marvel comics series which enjoyed phenomenal success from the late 1950’s to 1970 . These two men both with Jewish roots I bet had no idea what they started when they first published the first Black Panther comic book,issue #52 in July of 1966.
They had no idea that with the birth of Black Panther,millions of Africans and people of African heritage would be proudly flocking to movie theaters to see people who looked like them starring in one of the most highly acclaimed action movies of our times.
It is safe to guess that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee whose parents were immigrants to the US both had an idea of what it felt like to belong to a place which was home but not really home. Ijeoma Umebinyuo in her book Questions for Ada writes:
“So, here you are
too foreign for home
too foreign for here.
Never enough for both.”
Both of them may have listened to the stories their parents told of their lives ,how difficult and hard it was when they first stepped onto the shores of the United States to make a new life for themselves(America is not kind to immigrants).These stories of fighting the odds to be a success must have inspired these series that the two men created where super heroes fight to ensure “good” wins against “evil”.
At a time when there was no black super hero to speak of,they introduced an African super hero to a readership of Marvel Comics that was 100 % white at a period in time when the the superhero genre of comic books was enjoying commercial success.
Years later, Wesley Snipes would make valiant efforts to bring Black Panther to life many times , his vision and goal in trying to bring Wakanda to life which he stated in an interview with Slate magazine was because it he felt it was ,”a fantastic way to help address some of the stereo types about Africa and the Africans glory,the African history,the African people of the day and of the time.”
But Snipes dream was not to be,it was not the right time .That was until Marvel which is owned by Disney studios started releasing action block busters like CaptainAmerica:Civil War and Chadwick Boseman made his first appearance as Black Panther in 2016.
The rest became history because when Ryan Coogler(writer/director) and Joe Robert Vole (screen writer) were paired up and together they have made Black Panther into an action packed adventure worth the one hundred and thirty five minutes you spend on your seat.On the way to grossing over $1Billion this weekend, the pair who are both African Americans have turned what was previously an overlooked classic into a “relatable and relevant movie” of the times we are living in.
Through out the more than two hours of action that has only just one rude gesture, we are living in a fantasy world that oddly is rooted in a real world that is in turmoil and Wakanda nation as a nation is trying to evolve as a country as it goes through a transition in leadership and a leader of a new generation takes up the title of the Black Panther .
African countries are struggling in a similar manner,some more than others to try and find a seat at the global table and not just lean in into the conversation on global trade but become active players in a world that has had trade and economic policies skewed more in the favour of Western countries.Some of the turmoil that we are seeing in African countries is as a result of this generational struggle of an identity and the result has been often times tragic.
In Black Panther,Wakanda is not a single tribe but a group of tribes that together form the kingdom of Wakanda ,one of the worlds most technologically advanced countries of whom the Black Panther is a hereditary title.In the film we see the struggle that transition brings when the King T’Chaka is tragically killed in a United Nations bombing and his son T’Challa has to fight many enemies to be worthy of this title .T’Challa has to struggle to define himself as a King and in one of the scenes we have Nakia played by our very beautiful Lupita Nyong’o say ,“You cant let your father’s mistakes define who you are.You get to decide what kind of King you are going to be.”
Many African countries are living through the consequences of mistakes that were done by previous presidents/kings/prime ministers and for some countries ,they seem stuck in a time warp that they think they cannot get out of.
Black panther is a reminder that there is always opportunity for rebirth or redemption at any point in time ,that is what life is,life is change.To be stuck in the same place,with the same mindsets is death.
We are living in a world that is constantly testing how we see ourselves and our place in the world as Africans.We cannot keep hiding behind the fact that we have always been the recipients of aid or that we were once colonized and have suffered through bad leadership.
Why,despite the many natural resources we have,do Africa countries expect bail outs from foreign donors ?
Why,despite the fact that we have some of the brightest minds on the continent at this moment in time do we keep making bad political choices when it comes to our leaders ?
Is it not time that we looked at ourselves anew ?
Is this not the time that we are reminded,thanks to the interest in African literature and increasing acclaim and commercial success of African writers and culture that we see this as our time of redemption ?
It is my hope that as many head of states from Africa see these film for what it is and hopefully pricks their consciences and that they decide to do better for their countries and the people who they lead.
The movie is a timely reminder to Africans and people of African origin or with African roots that there is everything to be proud about who we are,everything from our hair,art,fashion and culture was on display on Black panther.
Let us celebrate who we are without forgetting where we have come from or where we are going for at one point in time #WeWereKings ,we still are we just have to remind ourselves of the these things we have forgotten.
Let us take the responsibility of making the world a better place, “we have the tools to liberate ourselves and the people in the world that look like us.We cannot turn our backs on the truth our fore fathers were too afraid to face,the truth they hid.We cannot turn our backs on that truth,we must right their wrongs.”
Our redemption as Africans ,as people with a role and a place in the world begins when we start looking at ourselves anew and using the tools(natural and human resources) we have to redeem ourselves .
And the best part about Black Panther,definitely the women because characters had depth and they were given an opportunity to give a bad-ass performance.This very simple fact of allowing women to be themselves has made women who would not ordinarily walk into a movie theater to watch a high action movie flocking to buy tickets to watch Black Panther.
Three of my girl friends and I went to watch this movie and could not stop talking about it afterwards,I have talked to a lot of other women who went to watch it too who would not ordinarily watch an action movie and they loved it as well.
A unanimous conclusion from the women that have watched the movie is the admiration they expressed for both General Okoye,Nakia and Shuri.In an interview carried on Vanity Fair,Lupita Nyong’o says of the women in the cast ,“Women are allowed to realize their full potential and that’s what Ryan [Coogler] wanted to show and he committed to having that number of women around him.”
The women in Wakanda are not afraid to confront men when they make bad decisions or to challenge them either.
One of my most memorable scenes from the movie is when General Okoye head of Wakanda’s armed forces and Intel confronts W’Kabi who is Wakanda’s head of security and they have this exchange.
W’Kabi to Ooye : “Would you kill me, my love ?”
Okoye to W’Kabi: “For Wakanda ,without question!I would die protecting1”
That scene right there,shook me and I am still thinking about it.
Danai Gurira who plays General Okoye and whose home country happens to be Zimbabwe gives a sterling performance through out the movie and the car chase they have with Lupita Nyong’o while on a mission is among the most thrilling scenes in the whole movie.Seeing her in action together with the Dora Milajes you realize how we have undervalued ourselves as women and the contribution we can make to our communities and countries.
Women are the steady ,strong and powerful players of our societies,African culture recognized this and great honor was accorded to them. Wakanda is a better country because it values its women and we need to learn from the high cost we have had to pay of maintaining the lie that only men should and can lead.
Our redemption as a communities,as countries begins with this simple truth “that to redeem ourselves we have to go back to the beginning..to our ancestral plains and origins,to where we “lost” our home and find ourselves.Only then can we right the wrongs we have had to live with.”
What were your favourite parts of Black Panther ?We would love to hear from you.
A few years ago,there were only 3 brands of olive oil that were available on supermarket shelves in Nairobi, that was unless you knew about the Italian convenience store in Valley Arcade ,New ItalyCor , where there was more variety and not just of olive oil but a lot of Italian food products and wine.
At my last visit to a local chain of supermarkets I counted at least 8 different brands and was surprised to see a brand that is bottled locally.
There has been a rise in the demand for olive oil as people are becoming more aware of its benefits.
If you visit beauty stores and if you have been following the natural hair movement you will have noticed that a lot of people swear by olive oil for both their hair and skin as well.Olive oil forms part of a daily regimen that helps keep hair especially nappy hair moisturized and healthy as its chemical structure that makes it easier to get absorbed into our hair follicles.
When my son was younger and suffered from bouts of eczema,I got tired of the steroid cream we were using and resorted to using the extra virgin olive oil from my pantry.It worked beautifully as it easily blended and melted into his skin leaving a lovely and healthy glow .
Now along with this phenomenal popularity in the use of olive oil,there has emerged a counterfeit market where blends of olive oil are being sold as the real thing and it is going for astronomical prices.This counterfeit industry is not new and has gone on for years and it is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
Actually ,if you can, get this book Extra Viriginty:The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive oil .
Why the rise in counterfeit versions of olive oil?
Because olive oil has for millennia been known for its health benefits like ,you can read up on a previous article I wrote on why olive oil has been revered for millennia.
And because it is grown in very few countries,it has become hard to meet the demand and a few unscrupulous individuals have found a way of selling of blends of low quality olive oil or even vegetable oil and touting them as the real thing.
Some of the health benefits of olive oil that make it such a sought after commodity are :
1.It helps in lowering bad cholesterol because it is high in monounsaturated fats.
2.It has been known to improve digestion,metabolism and prevent aging.
3.Can help in weight loss because its high in monounsaturated fats .
Even with these health benefits,it is recommended not to consume more than 2 table spoons of olive oil because of by its nature being an oil,it is high in calories.
How can you tell real olive oil from fake olive oil?
1.When buying olive oil,be sure to check the label to know where the olive oil comes from.On some bottles you may find that the olive oil has been blended from oils from Italy and Spain.Some of it just says product of Italy.
The real olive oil however should state from what region of Italy it comes from.The more information provided on the bottle,the more likely it is that it is the real thing and the more expensive it will be.
2.Do not buy any olive oil in a plastic bottle.Olive oil is stored in dark colored glass bottles usually gree on brown to protect it from UV light which degrades it..
3.Be on the look out for labels such as light olive oil,pure olive oil or just plain simple olive oil.When the oil is labelled extra virgin olive oil,it means it has come from the first pressing of the olives and color range of the oil is from yellow to deep green depending on the type of olives the oil was harvested from.
4.Check the dates for when the olive oil was produced.Ideally the best olive oil is one that has been newly harvested ,unlike wine olive oil does not get better with age and olive oil should not be stored for long.If your bottle as a harvest date then you can be sure you are getting the real deal ,as it is bottled without any preservatives,good olive oil should keep up to two years though the idea is to use it up as soon as you get it in order to make most use of the flavors.
Recipe ideas:Drizzling some olive oil over some toasted bread topped with cheese , tomatoes and a dash of black pepper … absolutely delish.
If you love sun dried tomatoes,soak them in olive oil and use them in your vegetable sandwiches,….our taste buds will be in heaven!
It is also great when added to a warm bowl of pasta or for your salad dressings.
If you are planning to buy olive oil for your hair or skin,both of these brands that I mentioned above are excellent choices .
At one point in their life,a woman will get her first yeast infection and she will go rushing to her doctor,scared , confused and itchy.
Yeast infections are fungal infections,pretty common among women and are caused by the organism Candida albicans and affect the skin and mucous membranes of a woman’s vagina ,they could also affect your oral cavity as well.If you are a mother and have breastfed your baby,you maybe familiar with oral thrush,these two conditions are caused by the same fungus.
Candida albicans is commonly found in our mouth,digestive tract,vagina , skin as well and is usually harmless.The reason for the harmless existence of this fungus is because good bacteria is also present and this ensures a perfect balance is maintained between the candida albicans and the good bacteria .
However some certain conditions do occur which affect this balance and the result is that there is overgrowth of the candida albicans which then results in a yeast infection.
The conditions that favour an increase of the candida albicans could be illness or if someone is on medication like antibiotics .
Antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria and the death of the good bacteria causes an increase in the amount of the candida albicans.
The main symptoms of a yeast infection are itching of the vulva and area around the vagina and there may also be discharge.
Left untreated it is possible for the infection to be passed on to her partner or it may end up in a woman’s blood stream which then makes it very difficult to treat.
Normal treatment for yeast infections is a topical cream or oral antifungal medication.
Something you might want to do to ward of yeast infections whether you are on medication or as part of living healthy is take natural yoghurt.
Natural yoghurt contains lactobacillus acidophilus, “a good bacteria ” which is present in your intestines as well as the mouth,vagina and helps provide the good bacteria your body needs to keep yeast infections at bay.
There is no set rule on the amount of yoghurt to take while on a dose of antibiotics but a serving or two a day of natural yoghurt while you are on medication is a good idea.
(A serving of yoghurt is a bout 175 grammes or 3/4 of a cup.)
There is a lot of anecdotal advice on how to treat yeast infections but it is always advisable to seek the advice of a medical professional first .
Being a premier online magazine that provides engaging and informative content for our audience,we would like to partner with advertisers and brands that are passionate about Africa .
We are experiencing dramatic changes across the continent,great inventions in technology are coming from Africa’s young people,we are making great strides in sports (look at the African teams that represented their countries at the Winter Olympics) ,African fashion trends are getting world attention and international investors now know an investment on the continent will definitely bring great returns.
We would like to be part of the great changes that are taking part in the continent and we are looking for global as well as well established brands on the continent that share our values , love for the continent and its people to advertise with us.
If you think your brand is bold,believes in Africa and seeks to make a difference ,talk to us,we would love to partner with you.
The Winter Olympics got off to a colorful start in Pyeongchang in Gangwon Province of South Korea.
This year marks the 94th year since the first Winter Olympic games in 1924 in Chamonix ,France.
The Winter Olympics are held the second year after the more popular Summer Olympic are held and attract a select group of countries whose weather conditions favour winter sports.Africa did not have any country representing the continent until 1960 when South Africa made its debut at the games with an all-white team, we have had at least one African country taking part in the games since then.
This year is special as there will be 13 African athletes flying their countries flags , most of the athletes participating in the Winter Olympic games have been born or trained outside the continent .A major reason for the small number of African athletes at the Winter Games is the fact that the tropical climate on the continent does not provide the conditions that would make conducive training grounds for the type of sports at the Winter Olympics.
The African countries taking part in the Winter Olympics are Kenya,Nigeria,Eritrea,Morocco,Ghana,Madagascar,Togo and South Africa.
Sabrina Wanjiku Simader, is representing Kenya and she is the first alpine skier to ever represent the country and her debut at the Winter Olympics is an exciting opportunity for her as well as for the country.The 19 year old whose father is Austrian was all smiles as she carried the Kenyan flag high during the opening ceremony .
A team you will also want to keep your eyes on as they are also making their debut is Nigeria,which has a bob sled team and a skeleton athlete as well as being all-female.The team’s journey to Pyeongchang started last year in February when they launched a Gofundme campaign to raise funds for what would be Nigeria’s maiden debut at the Winter Olympics.The bob sled team is made up of athletes Akuoma Omeoga, Ngozi Onwumere and Seun Adigun and the skeleton athlete Simidele Adeagbo.
Hopefully after whis year,we will see an even higher number of African athletes at the Winter Olympics in Beijing,China 2022 and that African governments will see to it that they support these athletes.
Watch the teams on the Ellen DeGeneres show ,the games are available on satellite Television provider DSTV on SS12,13 and 14 and on Kwese TV the games are live on Olympics HD channel 306.
At Maridadi Lifestyle we would like to send the African athletes the best of wishes as they represent the continent.
“Media is personal.It is a series of blood scores .The media in its often collective mind decides who is going to rise and who is going to fall,who lives and who dies.If you stay around long enough in the media eye,your fate,like that of a banana republic despot ,is often an unkind one -a law Hilary Clinton was not able to circumvent.The media has the last word.”
This post should have been a book review.
When I started reading this book it was to get insight into the Trump Presidency and to get all the juicy details about exactly what could be happening on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,Washington DC,like everyone else I was curious to get into the inner sanctums of the Trump White House.Midway through the book I realized the book was not about that,it was a book about what American politics had become,the politics of self interest.Michael Wolff indeed had given us a peek into the Trump White House ,yet if he had changed the characters and location of this story ,it could be any Presidency somewhere in the world.
It was a revelation of the world political stage as it is right now, the role of the media and our role ,
the not so helpless and hapless minions of a system we have been caught up in-a zero sum political game of thrones.
In all the discussions I watched on CNN of what was termed as an explosive book ,the role of the media was never discussed or talked about.The power of media and how it makes us believe we are making choices when in fact the choices have already been made for us is something no one touched.Yet,we know media in the USA and in my country has played a role,a big one in the way the politics in these two countries has panned out.
The months before the American elections , if you watched international news channels,especially CNN,President Donald Trump received a lot of coverage not all of it favorable,actually most of it negative formed a recurring narrative on most news channels and discussion panels.There was enough time and information to be able to make the choice between President Trump , Hilary or Bernie Sanders,they chose a former TV Reality Show star (there is nothing wrong with reality TV stars).
Michael Wolff for all the backlash he has received over the book,did say something that pretty much describes how President Trump would like to run the white house when he wrote,“Curiously for a man who seemed to have led a movement based in anger and retribution,Trump was very much(or he believed he was very much a politician of the old stripe-a lets -work-it out-guy.You scratch my back,I’ll scratch yours .He was in his mind,the ultimate tactician,always knowing what the other guy wanted.”
That knowing what the other guy wants is how he was able to get the GOP nomination and beat Hilary at the polls.He knew and was speaking a language the average American understood,Americans wanted someone who was going to save them,their country and the values they thought their country stood for.Trump’s supporters wanted someone who could make America great again and Trump was speaking a language they were familiar with and could relate to.
He was the ultimate salesman.
The book is not just about Trump’s White House,it is a story about what is happening the world over,politically,it is a battle between “good’ and “evil” .Wolff provides what I consider a perfect description of politics today when he writes,“Politics had seemed to become,even well before the age of Trump,a mortal affair.It was now zero-sum:When one side profited,another lost.One side’s victory was another’s death.The old notion that politics was a traders game,an understanding that somebody else had something you wanted-a vote,goodwill,old-fashioned patronage-and that in the end the only issue was cost,had gone out of fashion.Now,it was a battle between good and evil.”
That up there describes politics today,zero-sum.
And that is why America ,my country Kenya and many others the world over are in the mess they are today.
When politics becomes a zero sum game no one wins.Absolutely no one will ever win if we continue playing politics the way we are doing right now where our wins are pegged on another person’s or groups loss.We fell into the zero sum trap when we started creating societies where everyone was placed into a particular social,ethnic,tribal or racial group and we aligned our political interests along those groups.
Read this fantastic article in the Washington post by llya Somin on Identity politics and the dangers of Zero-Sum Thinking.
This book is about that kind of politics, it reveals ,to borrow Wolff’s words that politics has become “a discrete business of insular,inbred,incestuous interests.”
Something will have to give if we go on like this and it will not be pretty.
Read the book.
It is some minutes to 7 pm on Thursday and I am walking towards Soi Restaurant at dusitD2 Nairobi, excited for what I am sure will be a thrilling and fun evening .It is the launch of their dining in the dark experience,part of the #dusitD2moments.
The first dining in the dark experience was held in Paris,France in 1997 and over the years the idea has been taken up by many other restaurants around the world in order to deliver a novel and multi sensory experience to their diners.
The French call it “dans le noir” which in English translates to in the dark.
As the hostess at Soi was walking me to my table ,the questions swirling in my mind were :
What do I expect from my first dining in the dark experience ?
What really happens at a dining in the dark experience ?
What happens when you cannot see what is on your plate , does it really heighten your enjoyment of food ?
Seated with me at Soi the Thai Restaurant are other food bloggers like Susan Wong Editor at Capital Lifestyle,Kaluhi of Kaluhi’s Kitchen,Katy Fentress of Yummy Magazine and Ravneet Sehmi of The Asian Weekly ,we are on our second course , and we are trying to guess what it is on our plates and sharing it with Karim the F & B Director.
We are clearly getting something right guessing from the encouraging response we get from him who though he does not tell us exactly what is on our plates is keenly following the progress of our meal and making sure we are comfortable,that we know exactly where our plates are placed,ensuring we have our drinks and his cheerful banter keep us engaged and relaxed throughout the course of the meal.
Karim has such a delightful and engaging personality , has worked in a number of countries and has a genuine love for great food an interview with him is something I am looking forward to doing.
On our second course I am chewing on something really delicious – a vegetable wrap with a filling of what tastes like pork or is it chicken I cannot tell as clearly I am in the dark (pun intended).
Later after the plates for this course have been cleared, we find out that it was a salad of spicy grilled pork with Tom Yum paste made by the chef whom Karim introduces as Supa Chai .
All food at dining in the dark experiences is served in bite sized pieces ,has no bones and you can use your hands (we got hot towels before this course) . I used my fingers to finish my prawns and egg fried rice with a thick red curry and relished every bite of it.
This course was pretty hilarious because around me I kept hearing prawns being mentioned , I had not yet started on mine and I kept thinking..what are these guys talking about…where are my prawns?!
The dining in the dark experience at dusitD2 will be happening on the 1st Thursday of every month, officially it begins with the first dining in the dark experience on the 8th of this month (be sure to make your reservations early).
We had a connoisseur of Asian food on our table and she got the third course which was chicken wonton soup right on the first few seconds of this course .Wontons are little squares of dough and can be filled with chicken ,pork,shrimp or vegetables the edges are brushed with some water and crimped to seal in the fillings ,they are boiled and served with soup.This course was delightfully delicious and got rave reviews from everyone at the table and I remember getting surprised then disappointed when I started scraping the bottom of the bowl with the soup spoon and finding that the delightfully delicious soup was over!
Wontons can also be served deep-fried or baked with a sauce.
Would I do it again ?
A definite yes , the dusitD2 will be offering a new menu for each dining in the dark experience in the coming months and with 2 new chefs ,diners will be getting some really great things on the menu.
My suggestion when you are making your reservations would be to go for the experience as a group ,either as a family,a group of friends or with your colleagues from work ,that way you get to share your experience through out the course of the meal.
Overall ,it was a great experience and I would definitely go back.
It had me paying more attention to my food,I remember trying to use my sense of smell to try to guess what was on my plate every time we got a new course and deliberately taking longer to chew my food and getting thrilled with the burst of flavors on my palate through out and I realized how powerful our senses are and how little use we make of our other senses when enjoying food.
“Art when used well is a powerful , creative force that can change how we see ourselves,the world around us and how we respond to the challenges life throws at us.”
Art has been with us for millenia,for as long as we have had human beings on earth ,we have had art and an appreciation of art is a skill that is as a result of exposure.
The art scene in Nairobi has become very vibrant and this activity is what is attracting global attention to the city’s art scene.This vibrancy has been fuelled by a burgeoning and educated middle class as well as the high number of expatriates who live in the city who have beome very appreciative of the talent that resides in the city and its environs.
With no distinct home-grown art event ,the pop up trend has created an opportunity for artists to showcase their work to an appreciative local and international audience .
dusitD2 has filled this lack of a home-grown art event with the pop art gallery exhibition held at its upmarket location on 14,Riverside Drive.
The art exhibition held every last Saturday of the month has a children’s corner which runs concurrently with the exhibition and is a partnership with Capital Kids club and offers an opportunity for children to get art lessons while parents enjoy the art work from very talented artists.
Kenyans are not avid consumers of art and through this collaboration with Google Kenya ,dusitD2 is offering Kenyan artists the space to exhibit and sell their art as well as promoting an appreciation of art which offers an opportuity for artists to earn a living through the sale of their work.
On this particular Saturday the artists whose works were on display were:
- Ssegujja Godfrey
- Victor Binge
- Katanu Kay
- Ronnie Tindi
- Jak Katarikawe
- Sam Githui
- Louis Chvetsova
I was very taken by the work of Katanu Kay which incorporated Kitenge fabric ,of particular interest to me was her work Euphoria 2 . We stood in front of that painting talking about art , what inspires her and in that half hour I forgot she was just 1 month shy of her 20th birthday and that she had been exhibiting for just 2 years and a month . Thanks to the exhibition,which attended last year for the first time, her work had found its way to art collectors in South Arica,Nigeria,the US and Australia.
Euphoria 2 is as a result of a meeting with a lady who after seeing her work on Euphoria 1 asked for an exact copy of that particular piece.Katanu ,however does not do replicas of her work and asked if she could do something different ,the client agreed and the result is Euphoria 2.The two pieces ,Euphoria 1 & 2 are inspired by the same thing ,a celebration of Katana’s African heritage and culture. It is her desire that through her work people take every opportunity to embrace being African and to celebrate it.
She is a graduate of the BTEC Art and Design program at Brook House school and is headed to SCAD where she will be pursuing her studies in Fine Art & Interior Design which she wants to pursue up to PhD level.
Art for Katanu is a channel that she uses to express herself , her ideas and it is a platform to share these ideas with the world.She would love that through her art people are able to ask questions,explore ideas and think outside the box of what society terms as the norm and that through this we develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other.
It is why she took the very unusual route of incorporating African fabric in her art work – which I thought was such a great conversation starter on her work and what inspires her.
When it was time for me to leave ,I found myself on the terrace of the Soko restaurant thinking about what an amazing point in time it was to be alive,to hear artists like Katana talk about her hope to have her work exhibited at the New York Art Gallery .
Thanks to dusitD2, this is not the last we have heard of this young lady and all the other equally talented artists who have found a space to exhibit their art work as well given an opportunity for Nairobi residents to enjoy local art.Before leaving,I made a quick trip back to the exhibition to have one last look and some pieces had already been marked as sold and set aside which only goes to emphasise the quality of the work on display.
Look out for the next edition of the Pop Art Gallery on the last Saturday of this coming month of February and get ready to sample great art and food .
See you there!