Have you ever lived in denial like I have been doing for the last couple of months?
We all do .At least I know there might be at least one person reading this that will identify with living in denial about some aspect of their life.
For me it is the fact that I need to be taking better care of myself.
Am a fastidious eater and I exercise,though not much .When I started having stiffness in my joints especially when the cold season started I knew it was time to get out a yoga mat and engage in some exercise that would do my joints some good.
Yoga would also give me some me time,Nairobi is such a fast paced city and one can easily forget to take time out for themselves,which might explain why we are seeing a rise in the number of people having to deal with stress related conditions getting younger by the day.
I have tried yoga before and I like the fact that it is a low impact work out program that will be easy on my joints because I cannot run !
Yoga is a great option for me because as I said I cannot run and I did not want a work out program that would hurt my joints .
In the short time I have done the yoga workouts which take me about one and a quarter hour every morning,I have righted my posture,learned to listen to the cues my body is sending me and not push it too much.My knee joints feel much better already and I thought to myself why not organize a fun work out for a Saturday morning then follow it with lunch at a swanky upmarket in Nairobi ?
In the hope that some one else out there might be interested,I have space for just 20 people who would like to enjoy a low impact fun work out with some amazing people.
If you feel some time out for yourself on a Saturday morning feels like fun,then by all means sign up for the event.
When I walked into the Den at the DusitD2 which is the new location of the Pop Art Gallery I immediately knew it would be a treat,the exhibition had changed locations and anyone who drives into the cul de sac that is 14 River Side cannot miss it.,it is held every last Saturday of the month from 11am-6pm. During these 7 hours you get to meet some amazing Kenyan artists,see their work and hopefully I hope you can engage them on their work which is something I do every time.
The Den’s over head and natural lighting make it perfect for displaying art work and can accommodate more artists and art work.Immediately I walked in I was drawn to the far left side of the room by what I thought looked like photos..wait I thought this was an art exhibition…I would soon be pleasantly surprised when I met Lee Gitahi a hyper realist.
Lee Gitahi is a student at Kenyatta University he is exceptionally talented and the art form he has taken, hyper realism is extremely rare in Kenya and only goes to underline his talent.Hyper realism is defined as an art form that mimics high definition photography.
He started out doing pencil work and was really good at it till his lecturer took them out on a trip and challenged him to try painting and see how it would go.He did and 6 months later it is hard to tell that he has not been painting for longer than that.
Hyper realism is extremely painstaking , very detailed , involving and at first Lee faced disbelief when he put out his work ,no one believed that the work was his and not a very good digital copy.I also could not get over the fact that his paintings look surreal,I had to touch them and repeatedly I had to catch myself ,touch my fingers to the painting to confirm that indeed it was an oil painting on canvas.
My favorite work of his which unfortunately was sold already was of this elderly Maasai lady in some really swanky sunglasses.The detail in that work as well in another similar photo of an elderly man in his beaded earrings is simply stunning,he has captured all the lines of age and the stories their faces tell exceptionally well.
Hyper realists are extremely rare and a piece could take anywhere from 2 or 3 months to complete which makes pieces by artist like Lee carry a high price tag . If you are an art collector ,pieces like these are worth every cent you spend and once you have them up on your wall they will from great conversation pieces at your dinner parties.
The mix of artist at the exhibition was eclectic and among them was Otto Gohole who was exhibiting for the first time , from his work you can see his obsession with the palette knife,lines,structure and vehicles.He was exhibiting for the first time and is a student as well in his second year at the University.He uses a palette knife for all of his work and I was taken in by his Beach scene painting that used just blue and red which I thought was a very clever use of complementary colors.
It is interesting to see the revolution taking place in the Kenyan art space and it is quite intriguing as well to see the fascination as well as the increase by artists in not just painting wildlife but in people as well as in life around them.
Lee Gitahi’s detailed work of the elderly Maasai man and woman which I would dare say are exceptional pieces of work I hope will open doors for artists to see the richness and diversity of our culture and to use them as sources of inspiration for their work.
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, Americanah
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.
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?
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.
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 .
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.