Nairobi, Kenya 16th November 2018…dusitD2 nairobi has launched its second annual Greek Festival which kicks off from the 16th -24th November 2018.
The SOKO Restaurant will be paying homage to the Greek culture once again by hosting the 2nd Greek Food Festival which is a signature event exclusive to dusitD2 Nairobi. The week long festival will feature an array of Greek dishes including shrimps saganaki, fava beans with caper leaves,traditional Greek salad, traditional ‘moussaka’, chicken stew with ‘tarhana’, traditional Greek ‘Galaktobouriko’, just to name a few.
The dishes will be specially prepared by two Executive Sous Chefs from Greece Chef Giorgios Papadopoulos and Chef George Dospras who have been flown in Courtesy of the Official Airline Sponsor, Qatar Airways.
Chef Giorgios Papadopoulos has extensive experience in the culinary field, having worked for over 25 years for brands such as Excelsior Hotel Thessaloniki, Semeli Mountain Resort, Sani Beach Hotel, Kempinski Hotel, Macedonia, Bristol Hotel, the Domotel brand where he was Executive chef for all seven hotels. He is currently the Executive Chef at the Five Star Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel in Greece.
He has been accompanied by his Assistant and Chef, George Dospras who has 16 years’ experience and has worked at hotels such as the Semeli Mountain Hotel, Lindian Village Resort, Excelsior Hotel, Chromata Up- Style Hotel, Katikies Hotel and is now working alongside Chef Papadopoulos at the Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel in Greece.
Greek wines will also be available at a discount courtesy of VIVA Global. To complete the experience, there will be live entertainment by Angelos Christopoulos, a bouzouki player from Greece.
Feast like a Greek for a week at the SOKO Restaurant at only KES 2,500 for a buffet dinner inclusive of a shot of ouzo from 6.30pm-10.30pm.
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.
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.
“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.
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 ?
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 righton the first few secondsof this course .Wontons arelittle 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:
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.
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 .
Konnichiwa (hello or good day in Japanese said with a deep bow from the waist)
Last year on May 16,2017 Kenya and Japan signed a cooperation agreement that would see Miniso a fashion brand from Japan make forays into the Kenyan market.Seven months later on December 22nd , Miniso would open its first retail store at the upmarket Village Market shopping complex and barely a month later they would open their second store at the Thika Road Mall .
The two Kenyan Miniso stores all located in Nairobi city join a growing list of the over 2,600 outlets it has globally with its presence in Africa being in South Africa,Morocco,Nigeria,Egypt and Madagascar.Kenyans love the brand already as the few times I have been there the aisles have been busy and the staff are always very courteous and helpful.
Whenever I think of Japan it is the vivid memories of cherry tree blossom season, the geta(the very fashionable wooden sandals) and kimonos that come to mind and sushi,how could i forget how the Japanese gave us Sushi!
Japanese culture intrigues me ,it is so prim and proper ,steeped in tradition yet as a country is so technologically advanced it is mind boggling. Tradition and technological advancement can co- exist we just have to find the balance and African countries are coming into themselves and we have seen an ever increasing appreciation of African culture globally over the last decade.
Miniso brand specializes in lifestyle products and the range of items in their stores range from play dough , nail polish to kitchen saucepan and mobile phone accessories .I found their products favorably priced and I would dare say they will disrupt the lifestyle retail sector with their high quality but well priced items.
As a brand Miniso gives the best of what we appreciate about the Japanese culture,their precision to detail,courtesy(we had an attendant follow us and bring a shopping cart) and a whole new way of doing business .
To be honest the first time I watched the video last year I had no idea who had done it .
A music video made up of entirely emoji’s..who does that?
Well Sauti Sol does.
The Kenyan music group remains one of my favorites and I have followed their music over the years .I like the boldness with which they bring to each of their music projects their Afro-pop sound and as they have become more daring over the years , won awards that no other Kenyan group has they continue to ruffle the very smooth moral feathers of Kenyan society or not.
Whether you think their music videos raunchy or simply great works of art,music for them as a form of art offers a reflection of society as it is.
The Friendzone music video was a first in terms of emoji use, as you might expect …has a raunchy subtext.But it did say something about how we have moved from text to visual messaging and how we have adopted them as a fun way to express our thoughts and ideas.
An Emoji sentiment analysis done between 2015 and 2017 among 6 billion users show emoji use is higher among women.
The analysis ran by Brandwatch also analysed some of the most popular emojis among men and women .
Last year Facebook adopted use of emoji reactions where users who were previously limited to “liking” posts now have multiple options to choose from that range from “love”,”sad”,”angry”,”wow” or ‘haha.”
Emojis are changing the way we express ourselves which must say something about how we communicate with each other.In a world where we are more connected than we have ever been in human history,why have we resorted to use of emojis?
Have we exchanged real conversations for over reliance on technology and do emojis muddy the waters of communication or make them clearer ?
What does this say about how we will communicate with each other in a few years and what does that mean for relationships today and in the future ?
It will be interesting to see where we are headed and how things change but just incase you want to keep up with all things emoji related,then use this resource tool for all things emoji related- Emojipedia .
“Fashion tells a story about us and the world around us and what is happening to us,do not ignore it.
Santina Nyagah-Chief Editor at Maridadi Living
The Big 4 fashion capitals of the Fashion world are London,Milan,New York and Paris.
Why I watch the trends coming off the runway from the Fashion weeks set in these fashion capitals is because the designers at these events have their fingers on the pulse of what is driving the world around us.
Having watched what is coming off the runway in the past few months,you quickly realize that the world is becoming a much more integrated place and fashion is reflecting this by fusing different cultural elements together.
African print is making its presence felt on the runway felt,the vibrant colors that are a hall mark of the continent are increasingly finding their way on the runways in these fashion capitals.
Stella McCartney a British fashion designer last year used Ankara fabric in her Spring/Summer 2018 collection ,Ankara is a wax print whose origins can be traced to West Africa in her collection and is a fabric very popular across the continent.It can make everything from clothes for every day wear to show stoppers for formal functions.
Louis Vuitton in their Spring/Summer 2012 men’s wear collection featured hats,shirts and scarves made from fabric very similar to the Maasai shuka- a traditional chequered blanket available in a variety of colors popular among the Maasai communities of Kenya and Tanzania.
Last year designer Andrew GN in his 2017 Fall collection had the models on his show have their hair braided in a manner that mimics the way African women wear their hair.A closer look at the colors and prints through out his collection, with its animal print,earthy colors and chunky accessories was a celebration of the fusion of cultures and a celebration of globalization.
That we can have the fashion industry celebrating cultures from all the 4 corners of the world,where designers are influenced by cultures not their own , is indeed a testament to how far we have come and to how far we still have to go.We still need more African models on the runways sporting African designs and we need more designers from Africa celebrating the continents diverse cultures and talents.
2018 will be an interesting year in the fashion industry,watching 2017 shows,we are seeing a modesty and simplicity slipping through to the runway,a love for pastels and influence from different cultures is clearly being recognized and celebrated.Models are also becoming more diverse and there are more African ,Asian faces than before ,and more cities are getting noticed as they seek to join the Big 4 of the fashion industry. We have Dubai becoming a place to watch as it hosts the Arab Fashion Week in late April ,with its ready to wear apparel heavily influenced by Arab culture it has quickly become a favorite among fashion houses that are looking further than Europe,Asia and America for business.
If you want to keep abreast with what is coming off the runway you may want to see the dates of the fashion weeks in the Big 4 capitals of fashion London,Milan,New York and Paris ,use this calendar.
A good reason to watch what happens in fashion is because we do not just wear clothes,our clothes express who we are,our aspirations,values and by watching what comes off the runway you will have a pretty good idea about the things that are driving the world around us.Through the clothes you see on the runway,those are stories being told,by designers,about us and the world around us.