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Kenyan Super Moms

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I’m not a mother and will never be but if I know anything about motherhood; it’s that it’s difficult. Avril recently did an interview on the YouTube show Reke Ciume Na Ene, where she talked about motherhood among other things. And from her, I got a crude sense of what being a mother is. She said that it gives you 100 times more purpose and that it’s the most fulfilling experience. She also implied that at the same time, it can be a nightmare, what with postpartum depression and the disappearance of the independence that every adult cherishes. The boss of your life becomes a little creature that can’t talk. On a less gloomy note, Avril also said that motherhood is the only way to experience the beauty of selfless love. Notably, the power that a baby has over its mother doesn’t stop when it begins to talk or when it gets an ID.

Happy Mother’s day to all mums from Super Mom Akothee

Motherhood seems to be burdensome and magical in equal degree. And it is with this in mind that I’ve decided to compile a list of the most amazing mothers in Kenya according to me. The mothers in this list have up to five children and yet lead the most accomplished lives. Some of them are single mothers, as if motherhood with a full support system is not difficult enough. Some of them were thrust into the demanding world of motherhood when they were barely adults themselves. That, in a society which, at least subconsciously, believes that getting a child while young will ruin you. If girls like Victoria Rubadiri and Kate Actress were destroyed by motherhood, then they rose majestically from those ashes to become the women of power that we know them to be today. Their stories are sufficient proof that it is possible for young mothers to lead happy and professionally fulfilled lives.

Happy mother’s day from another fabulous mom, Tanasha Donna

And in it’s own way, each name given below is proof that motherhood doesn’t have to be limiting. I often hear that to succeed professionally, you have to give up being a mother or that to enjoy motherhood, you have to trade in your personal dreams. Why don’t you ask Akothee what she has to say about that. It’s difficult yes and we may not understand how they do it, but if these mothers can live their lives fully, then so can anybody else.

For the record, every mom is a super human. We celebrate you.

1. Akothee

The self proclaimed president of single mothers, is one of the most insipring mums around. She has five children with three baby daddies and has managed to juggle the demands of motherhood with entrepreneurship and music. As a musician, she is the queen of high profile collaborations, having released wildly popular songs with Diamond and Nigerian star Flavour. Her numerous accolades include an AFRIMMA award for Best Female Star in East Africa and being the only Luo artist to release a hit song in the Kamba language – Mwiitu Asa.

She is also one of the most followed personalities in Kenya and East Africa, with a staggering 2.7M followers on Ig and 1M+ likes on her Facebook page. Business-wise, Akothee is the founder and CEO of Akothee Safaris, a premier tour and travel company. In addition, true to the spirit of African motherhood, through the Akothee foundation, she has improved the lives of thousands of Kenyans affected by poverty and drought, especially in Turkana. The foundation has donated more than 2M sanitary towels to Kenyan girls in need. This is one Kenyan mom seriously kicking ass, and an inspiration to all of us.

2. Julie Gichuru

Giving a snapshot of Julie’s achievements is a daunting task because she has done so much. Perhaps a good place to start would be her Martin Luther King “Salute To Greatness” award. She was the first African woman to receive the award, as a result of her advocacy for peace after the 2008 election violence. As a young person who grew up enjoying The Great Debaters Contest show on Citizen, I was elated to learn that I have Julie to thank for the program. She started it to show young people that, even amid disagreement, violence can be avoided.

She was recognized as one of the top 100 influential women in Africa by Avance Media. She sits on multiple boards and was recently appointed to the Brand Kenya board by the President. She is the founder and CEO of Arimus Holdings, a media production company and Mimi Holdings, a fashion retail company. She revolutionized local media. She was the first to launch an investigative Kenyan TV series, The Inside Story. She also transformed news anchoring with her groundbreaking Sunday Live With Julie Gichuru show on Citizen. Additionally, she is the head of Public Affairs and Communication at the Mastercard Foundation.

Oh, and she is the mother of 4 children, a role which fits perfectly with her efforts to drive positive change through her professional career. She has been quoted saying, “Above all we have a responsibility to nurture and grow the younger generation and our primary role is vested in the family unit.”

Honestly, how does she do it?

3. Diana Marua

Diana has 2 children with Bahati. She is also the mother of an adopted kid and a kid from one of Bahati’s former relationships, making her a mother of 4. I’ve always known Bahati from when he did his first songs. But the first time I learnt about Diana was on twitter. Diana and Bahati have been the subject of one of the most cruel trolling campaigns on social media. Every aspect of Diana’s life from her past to her age was weaponized against her. And Bahati was mercilessly attacked for associating with her.

Diana with her husband Bahati and their children

I used to find the trolling entertaining when Diana was just a name. But then I met her virtually and associated the name to a real person with feelings. She won me over and what I found most remarkable about her was the way she handled the mud that Kenyans relentlessly threw at her. Most human beings, including the ones who enjoyed throwing the mud, would have been destroyed beyond repair by such an onslaught. But she stood strong.

Diana and her daughter Heaven Bahati

Married to a celebrity, Diana will always be under the public limelight, which comes with overwhelming pressure to be perfect. She has found a way to be her real self and has amassed a massive audience that loves her and accepts her as a human being with flaws and strengths. She has turned the public interest around her into an asset, becoming one of Kenya’s elite digital content creators. With an impressive 400,000 subscribers on YouTube and 1.6M followers on Instagram, she is one of the most followed people countrywide. Additionally, she manages the social media profiles of her children, ensuring that they will get quite the kick-start to life. Her 3 year old daughter, Heaven Bahati, has 530k followers on Instagram.

4. Kate Actress

We know Kate mostly from her role as Celina in the popular Mother in Law television show on Citizen. She went on to be the lead in a Swahili sitcom on ShowMax, “Sue na Jonnie.” For her role as Sue, she got the “Best Lead Actress in a TV drama” award at the Kalasha Awards 2017. Recently, she has been on the news because of her entry into the music industry. She was featured in a song by Mr Seed, which has been doing really well. Kenyans have given her a warm reception, with some even going as far as to state that she is the Kenyan Christina Shusho.

What strikes me most about Kate is the unusual timing in her life and the fact that she is not limited by it. She is getting into the music industry at 34 and seems like she’ll do well. There are many musicians who are in the industry for years before they can achieve what Kate has achieved with her song, “Ndoa.” In 2007, she went to Kampala for a degree but had to cut her education short because she got pregnant. And despite the disruption that this caused, she went on to have a successful acting career. This is a reminder to young people that contrary to what the pressure makes you think, your early twenties are really just the beginning of life. That said, Kate, through her “Queens must wait” initiative, is passionate about encouraging young girls to wait before deciding to be mothers.

5. Lulu Hassan

Lulu Hassan is one of the most beloved public figures in Kenya. She and her husband, Rashid Abdalla, grace the television sets of millions of Kenyans during prime time. They put on matching clothes, laugh at each other on set and we can’t get enough of them. The couple has been married for more than a decade now and have three children, two boys and a baby girl.

Though they work in the same organization and present the news together, they are not always together, contrary to what some think. They have different schedules and at times work on different projects. However, they also do a lot together. They jointly own a production company called Jiffy pictures and are the architects of the popular show, Maria, in addition to other shows such as Pete, Maza and Sarafu. Her work as a producer on the Maria Show saw Lulu bag an accolade for Best Producer in the second edition of the Women in Film Awards.

Clearly, this list could have been longer but we’re not able to celebrate every outstanding celebrity mum in Kenya, let alone every mom in Kenya. Let the above be adequate representation.

I’m a writer not a journalist. Subjectivity is bae. Follow me on social media @mbigatimothy and follow DekuTrends on all socials to stay up to date with our content.

We’re Not Perfect But We Have This: 10 Reasons Why Kenyans Love Kenya

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There are times when Kenyans seem like they hate their country. At such times, it feels as if we are here only because we do not have a choice. To be honest, when the president says that 2 Billion shillings is lost to corruption daily or when Kenyan police kill a baby, it sucks to be a Kenyan citizen.

However, there are times when Kenyans overflow with pride and patriotism. Listed below are some of the top reasons why Kenyans love Kenya:

1. Continental Rankings

In a village of poor people, some of the happiest families will be those who are convinced that they have more than their neighbors. Kenya is particularly good at this game. Knowing that the Britam Tower in Nairobi is the 4th highest skyscraper in all of Africa helps us sleep better at night. I won’t lie; it does feel good that expatriates recently ranked Nairobi the best African city to work in, and that Kenyans are the second most fluent English speakers in Africa, only after South Africa – which was colonized for centuries and whose citizens are 10% white.

While it is true that we are better off than most of our African counterparts, we shouldn’t let it distract us from being the best that we can be. That said, let credit be given where it is due. With a GDP of 9.9 trillion shillings, Kenya’s economy is ranked 6th in Africa. We are also the only African country with a seat on the 15 member UN security council. I would also be failing if I did not childishly point out that if a loaf of bread in Uganda costs 100 Ugandan shillings, with 10 Kenyan shillings (330 Ugandan shillings), you could buy 3 loaves of bread and have some change.

This is Britam Tower, Skyscraper no. 4 in Africa

2. Matatu Culture

First of all, it turns out that it’s illegal to tint public vehicles or to use the loud exhaust pipes that our much beloved Nganyas use. It is also unlawful for police to take sh 50 bribes on the road and steal from liquor shops during curfew hours but here we are. So, putting the law aside; our nganyas, with their unique art, are a source of immense pride for Kenyans, especially Nairobians.

Matatu culture at its best

It’s not only about the graffiti or other forms of pimping, it’s about a way of doing things that is unique to us. For example, videos of new nganyas undergoing exciting initiation ceremonies on the streets of Nairobi are popular on YouTube. The Matwana Culture has even attracted fans from abroad, among them Cardi B. She gave us a shout out after seeing photos of some matatus with graffiti images of her face. Against the law or not, Nganyas are undoubtedly one of the coolest aspects of Kenyan urban culture.

Keep an eye out for this year’s Nganya Awards. Yeah, that’s a thing

3. Kenyan Food

Which Kenyan doesn’t love Mutura? Or as my younger sister would put it, if you are a Kenyan who doesn’t love Mutura, you must be a witch… or something. The amount of diarrhea that Kenyans have endured as a result of this street delicacy that is best served when darkness falls is enough testament to our “till death do us part” love for Mutura. I don’t think you can find Mutura in any other country.

Other street delicacies that Kenya should consider copyrighting are mahindi choma, chips mwitu, chapo smokie, mayai kachumbari etc. We also love our more mainstream cuisine, including nyama choma, Ugali fish and chapati.

I am willing to bet a whole 1,000 Ugandan shillings that the major regret of Kenyans in the diaspora is that they can’t have Mutura. Because let’s face it, if you are seen making that stuff in a foreign country, you will be deported for witchcraft. And that is the only reason why you will always find me at my bedsitter in Kawangware, instead of at my London townhouse, regardless of what my enemies are saying out there.

4. Two Rivers

Immediately Two Rivers is mentioned, a good Kenyan should find themselves saying, or at least thinking, “Do you know that it is the second largest mall in Africa?” I am ashamed that to date, I have not visited the mall. It doesn’t matter that I would most likely find it very painful to buy anything there. What hurts me is that I haven’t had the chance to take a photo at the mall and post it to my 200 Ig followers with the caption, “Chilling at Africa’s second largest mall.” Better still, I should buy some cheap food and take it with me to the mall so that people can see that I eat at Two Rivers and that I am therefore not to be joked with.

The Two Rivers Mall. It’s a marvel

Kidding aside, bloggers from other African countries like Nigeria have visited and documented the Two Rivers phenomenon. Also, the fact that such a huge project was viable and has proved sustainable in our country says something really positive about our economy. I probably shouldn’t be putting some of these things on public record but I have never been on a Ferris wheel, which is one more reason I should visit Two Rivers. And I will visit, just as soon as the sh 100 I regularly send to a local radio station turns into sh 300,000.

The Two Rivers Mall Ferris Wheel, looking just like the ones in movies

5. Lupita Nyong’o

Getting a job in Kenya and making a decent livelihood is not easy, no matter who you ask. Making a livelihood as an artist is even more difficult. It is not uncommon to find once famous artists in Kenya struggling financially. The recent story of Omosh from Tahidi High having to be bailed out in a sort of harambee comes to mind. We have also heard of comedians who have made a name for themselves on the Churchill Show getting into depression from financial trouble.

But Lupita Nyong’o came from such an environment and went on to win a freaking Oscar. She is a much needed beacon of hope for other Kenyan actors and it is no wonder that Kenyans are universally proud of her. This is despite claims by Najib Balala (Tourism CS) that Lupita was unavailable for the role of Kenya’s Tourism Ambassador. Ouch. The position was instead given to Naomi Campbell, who was not only available but also willing to do it for free. In Lupita’s defense though, can we really vouch for what our government says?

6. MPesa

I know most of you haven’t had the chance to go abroad so let me tell you how it is out there. Despite my aversion to Mutura-free London, I usually find myself giving in to my girlfriend’s nagging and flying to the UK at least once a year. We do it during summer because winter in England is just sad. When we go, we buy a lot of Kericho Gold tea at Naivas and take it with us. Our foreign friends love Kenyan tea. One time, a woman kissed me when I gave her two 25-sachet boxes. My girlfriend made a big deal about it. Thank God not many young Kenyan men own a London townhouse.

Since its launch in 2007, what MPesa has done for Kenya is magic

Anyway, when we visit our friends or go to events and the conversation turns to Kenya, I love bringing up M-Pesa. I love saying how it has lifted 194,000+ households out of extreme poverty by facilitating transition from subsistence farming to small business. I also always mention how M-Pesa has created 200,000+ jobs through its agency system and how it has increased the percentage of Kenyans with access to modern financial services from 30% to around 70%. When my ‘friends’ realize what we have achieved with significantly less infrastructure than they have, they usually change the subject. And I’m usually left with a Stivo Simple Boy smile on my face.

The Mpesa Foundation Academy fully sponsors financially challenged but gifted students and is committed to nurturing Kenya’s next generation of leaders

7. Local Entertainment

Not so long ago, most of us simply didn’t care if local entertainment existed. PSquare, Chris Brown and Diamond Platinumz were the entertainment stars that we cared about. We watched Nigerian and Tanzanian movies in which people were made to fit inside lamps by witches, along with furniture like beds and tables. When I was in class 4, a traveling film group came to our school, collected 20 bob from each of us, and introduced us to the thrilling world of Mr. Bones – a South African film.

Patence Ozokwor – a Nigerian legend who is famous in Kenya

Fast forward to 2021 and the local entertainment scene has never been more vibrant. The Kenyan creative industry’s ability to entertain us has grown considerably. In addition, Kenyans are increasingly satisfied by local content. In comedy, NTV’s Churchill Show has produced an army of comedians, among them Njugush, Eric Omondi and MCA Tricky who consistently make us laugh. The internet has also paved the way for the likes of Desagu, Flaqo and Elsa Majimbo. Thanks to these people, we don’t import our laughter. In fact, we have gotten to the point of exporting, thanks to the likes of Elsa Majimbo and Eric Omondi.

I think it’s safe to say that Yasmeen Saiedi (of Citizen Tv’s Maria) has taken Patience’s place as Kenya’s most famous tv star

Our music industry is also undergoing a rebirth. Our leading musicians – the likes of Khaligraph, Sauti Sol and Nyashinski – have created brands that go beyond our borders. A younger but nonetheless successful crop of musicians is following in the footsteps of the OGs, among them Nadia Mukami, Otile Brown, Willy Paul and his nemesis Bahati; and Bensoul of Sol Generation. Otile Brown’s Dusuma music video has 26 million views on YouTube after just 10 months, a record breaking achievement. Then of course we have the Gengeton movement that has swept through our youth like a more contagious version of Covid. We have the likes of Ethic, Sailors, Mbogi Genje and Ochungulo to thank for the renewed interest of Kenyan youth in Kenyan music.

Mejja, with his signature tumbler, is a living legend who has made it his business to overwhelm us with hits

Regarding film, thanks to the internet, we have jumped straight over the traditional model of huge budget films into the advertising driven model of short, entertaining clips on social media. Numerous content creators are making a living from platforms such as YouTube, Likee and Tiktok. If you ask me, this is the beginning of a golden age for Kenyan entertainers. Even the President thinks so.

Jayden onaing Selina

8. The Trio Mio Generation

When Nikita Kering was 17, she won two Afrima awards at the 6th edition of the continental awards show. She was voted “Best Female Artist in East Africa” and “Revelation of the African Continent.” Wow!! Right? Now she’s 19 and making international grade music, the kind that will one day win a Grammy. Azziad Nasenya, who is 20, is the most followed individual on Tiktok in East Africa. The media refers to her as a “Tiktok sensation” or as we ordinary Kenyans like to put it, “Ule dem wa Tiktok.” Additionally, she has 1 million+ followers on Instagram and is one of the most influential people in Kenya.

17 year old Nikita Kering holding Africa in her hands and unable to contain her joy

Another 20 year old by the name of Shakilla, who is best described as a socialite, has gotten more attention in the past one year than most politicians. Elsa Majimbo, also 20, is friends with a whole host of international celebrities including Rihanna, Beyonce and Usain Bolt. She makes them, and a huge part of the world, laugh. The youngest on this list is 16 year old Trio Mio whose music video has 6 million views within just 4 months of being up on YouTube. Consequently, when Kenyans hear the phrase “Cheza kama wewe,” they think of him. Yes, he was a mono just the other day and hasn’t covered reproduction in Form 3 biology. Rounding up our list is Prudence Tonui, aka “King” Kalala, who is a 22 year old presenter at NRG radio. She’s yet to graduate from Juja Boys.

“Cheza Kama Wewe” hit maker Trio Mio and his mother, who’s also his manager

These are not isolated incidents of teenagers blowing up. They signify the increased power that the youth have, a disruption caused largely by the internet. As the youth grow in influence, we can expect them to be more involved in policy making and bring energy and a fresh outlook to the nation building process. Traditionally, old people have been hogging all the money and the power – not anymore. In short, in case you didn’t get the memo, THE YOUTH NOW MATTER. If you stand in our way, we will run you over. Just create seats for us at the table and we will all be better for it.

With beauty, brains and a disregard for rules, you’d be a fool to bet against Prudence Tonui in a world where the youth matter

9. Safaricom, Equity & co

Safaricom is the most profitable company in East Africa. They recorded a profit of 63.4 billion shillings in 2019. There I go, comparing myself to my neighbors to feel better. Forgive me, I’m Kenyan; it would be strange if I didn’t. Now, we know how Safaricom have gotten their billions: by bleeding us dry in exchange for the internet. And by positively transforming our lives through M-Pesa. I personally use Airtel for my data and calls, but I’m still very proud of Safaricom. To be fair, they’ve done a lot for Kenya. And I’m even more proud because Safaricom could soon launch operations in Ethiopia.

Under Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom is transitioning into a customer obsessed company and preparing to get into the education, agriculture and health industries to increase returns

I really hope their bid for Ethiopia’s telco license is successful because if it is, they will be bleeding other people dry and bringing home the profits – which is what big economies like America do. Thankfully, James Mwangi at Equity Group has already made major progress in this direction. Equity has operations in Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Congo. In recognition of Equity’s stellar performance, our president himself went to officially preside over a function in Congo. Equity Bank Congo is the second largest bank there, with more than 70 branches. Other publicly traded companies like Britam are following suit, not to mention private ones like Brookside. That is something to be proud of, eh?

Jayden in Congo, where he gave an inspiring speech about the vision of One Africa being fast-tracked by the continental expansion of companies like Equity

10. Michelle Ntalami

At first glance, my decision to include Michelle Ntalami in this list may seem subjective. I want to assure you that it is, and unapologetically so. Humans are attracted to beauty and success and in no Kenyan woman do I find this combination more magnificently embodied than in Michelle. First of all, have you seen her and listened to her speak? Secondly, do you know about Marini Naturals?

Michelle Ntalami – isn’t she stunning?

In 2014, Michelle’s dad succumbed to cancer. While battling the disease, he had lost his hair and her loving daughter had shaved off hers in solidarity. The monster that is cancer became real to Michelle and, as she grew her hair back, she resolved to keep off the chemical hair treatments that were normal for Kenyans back then. That was the first step in her journey to founding Marini Naturals, a company that now sells 50,000+ bottles and tubs across 12 countries, including France and Turkey. In response to the growing demand for its natural products, Marini Naturals is in the process of expanding into the rest of Europe and the US.

Michelle Ntalami and her partner at Marini Naturals, Niyati Patel

Nothing says “Kenyan women can” more than Michelle’s story. And it’s difficult not to have a crush on an exotically beautiful, self made Kenyan millionaire. Other millionaires in Kenya are content to make their money through that shameless and undying culture of government tenderpreneurship. When you can see how a millionaire has made her money – through the blood and sweat method that the Kenyan rich seem to consider a taboo – how do you not stop and stare in reverence? May the Michelle Ntalami spirit be found in more Kenyans.

I am a writer, not a journalist. Subjectivity is bae. You can follow me on social media @mbigatimothy. Follow DekuTrends on all social media @trends_deku to stay updated on our posts. Feel free to leave your subjective comments in the comment section below. All for Kenya.

WHAT ARE WE?

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By Beardy Ed

Image credits: Dreamstime.com

It is a warm breezy afternoon. Her hair gets blown back lightly revealing her bright hazel eyes. Your heart flutters a little. Goddamn she is pretty. Her perfume lingers in the air every time she gestures with her slim beautiful arms. You cherish each second of your short walk from church to your hostels. Each Sunday is magical whenever she is around. Her voice entrances you as she weaves in from one event to another relating her week to you. Adjectives cannot fully describe her countenance. “If I could get her the moon!” You believe you must be special since she seeks you out every time so that you can walk her back to her hostels. Sadly, your thought train is cut short by her goodbye as you part ways to your different residences. Damn it! Does the distance get chewed up short on Sundays? As you walk off to your room, a tiny smile flutters on your lips. Happiness, joy and longing well up in you.

Contact 0759982355 to book your shot in DeKUT

“What is love?” The question has been on your mind for the past six months. Should I also mention that coincidentally it is also the same period of time that Amy and you have been having this sort of ritual walk? Sure you have been to a number of events together but nothing beats the perfect afternoon weather with Amy walking beside you. You can tell you feel something for her but cannot pinpoint it.

I would like to confidently state I do not know the answer to the above question. Love is a complicated emotion that has baffled many. Trying to describe it is akin to subjecting a toddler to complex calculus principles. She/he is spellbound by the concepts but cannot grasp an inkling of whatever is being taught. Many have tried to define love but can only do so from a given perspective that does not encompass the true and complete definition. In today’s world, the term love is most commonly taken to mean the erotic/romantic kind. It is not my wish to discuss this over-hyped and overrated form. There are numerous books, articles, journals, writings, radio programs and TV shows on it. As such, I would like to tackle a type of love that has been in the shadows for far too long.

Platonic love is defined as an emotion that leads to a close non-sexual relationship between heterosexual individuals. Simply put, it is the mutual feeling of connection between heterosexual friends. The Aegean philosopher Plato first described it in ‘The theory of Eros (love)’. We all express this love towards our friends whether male or female. Bromance is a great example of this. However, the society of today has it all mixed up. This is especially true in male-female friendships. Stereotypes have led to the transmission of ideas that lead to dating and casual sex causing sentimental confusion. A lot of guys mistake platonic love for erotic love thus bringing about an awkward situation once they get to realize they feel different. However, this does not mean that platonic love does not evolve and morph into erotic love. It does but not all the time.

Image credits: Pinterest

Some of the important pointers that indicate your emotions towards someone are platonic include:

  • You love being around them more than with anyone else.
  • You try your best to make time for them.
  • You feel they understand you the most and best. They can literally read you like a book.
  • You are happy whenever conversing on the phone with them.
  • You keep pictures and souvenirs of them.
  • You try to include them in your plans such as hikes, events, camping etc.
  • You cannot picture a life without them.
  • You feel comfortable around them. Fights are more common and take longer to resolve between romantic lovers than between friends in a platonic relationship.
  • You are interested in their lives e.g. their joys, pet peeves.
  • You have a lot in common e.g. your love for football, your shared dislike for a certain innocent individual.
  • You can both have endless conversations where you share your deepest thoughts and desires punctuated with numerous light-hearted moments. The awkward silence never occurs.
  • They are the first recipients of news about your life and hot juicy gossip. Their opinion is very important to you.
  • People often mistake you as a couple.
  • You avoid flirting and intimacy. You do not feel guilty when flirting with other people nor jealous if they do so. Sexual feelings do not crop up whenever you are together and alone.
Located opposite the DeKUT main gate on your way to Catholic Hostel

How can we deepen these relationships? First, express your love. You can get them gifts that clearly communicate your intentions. Make them a friendship necklace or buy them a yellow rose on Valentine’s Day. Second, spend time together to strengthen the relationship. You can go out on a friendly date, try new activities together or just take a walk together. In addition, always try to support them in what they do no matter how menial. Lastly, in order to avoid any confusion, always define the relationship. Many might tag you in some nasty memes about being in the friend zone. It is not a cardinal sin to strictly be a best friend but it is disastrous to be in a sort of limbo in the ‘what are we?’ stage after a romping session. 

Love is not about wanting the other person to be yours, it is about wanting the other person to be happy – Vadim Kotelnikov.

More articles by Beardy Ed:

  1. Cyber Security
  2. Toxic Masculinity

Of Dildo, Masturbation, Jason, and Death-2

By | Alan Shadowrine, Alan Shadowrine, Blog | No Comments

Continue from part 1

 Jason was the last explosive missile that had finally blown apart my hardened heart. Or we could say I was the reason that Jason would be falling apart in less than a year, not able to swallow the ocean of form around his sore mouth, his great smile fading across his sunken cheeks. To him, I would be the time-bomb waiting to explode on his face. And the last seconds of the time-out was at the abyss as soon as his call would off in the middle of this night.

In a flash of a second, I reviewed hell a lot of stuff that had brought us here.

I remember how it all happened, like it is all fixed at the tips of my fingers. My friendship with Jason began at the basketball pitch in the August of 2016, a time of the year when the cold weather across the country was unforgiving. I was a finalist, studying a course my parents had conspired I would pursue long before I was even conceived, while he was a third-year, pursuing an engineering course that he said he loved like Jesus loved the church.

Jason was the bright guy with the longest pair of shorts with green stripes and a pair of black and white baseball shoes, almost every day. He was unusually talkative, essentially outgoing, and almost always, cutely smiling. He smiled to the orange basketball, to the opposite team, to the rude and as dark as my grandmother’s pot coach, and even to space. His smile was the kind that found me uneasy, freely smiling back without authorization from my hard-to-get ego. The type of smile that is bright enough to light up the darkest souls. He was fast, a little skinny compared to other players, with a light skin complexion that made the smile more irresistible.

He did not style his hair like other campus dudes did. Nor did he show off his growing muscles through the sleeves of an unbuttoned shirt. He did not argue with the captain even when he was blamed for missing the score. When I asked him why he never justified himself, he said that while his team was learning how to shoot without missing, he learned how to fly without perching.

I never understood what exactly he meant by that phrase. But there was no way I would admit that I had no idea of what he meant. I would wait for the right time to ask the connection between a shooter and a flier. As the old saying goes, when the moon is shining, the cripple becomes hungry for a walk.

My cute Jason was composed, a little funny, and, as I would find out, very intelligent. He never missed practice both on weekdays and on weekends. Even though he missed many matches because the coach thought he was short and not as strong, he never missed practice. And as long as I can remember, I never missed practice too. Only that I never touched the basketball with my hands or let my shoes pet the concrete of the pitch.

I only sat on the side bench, cheering and shouting Jason’s name like a shot hornbill. And true to that, I would later become Jason’s hornbill, only that this time I would not be making loud noises into his tender ears or buzzing into his face like a hornet. I would be staring at him die, listening to him whiz the last gulp of his life, unable to curl his delicate flesh underneath my weakling wings. Poor Jason.

We fell in a sporadic kind of love that knows not knocking of doors or ringing of bells. I baked him cakes on his birthdays, and as bad as I was at baking, he always enjoyed them. He would wait for me outside the bathroom, playing Motor Combat or Need for Speed, oblivious of the need to live. I would go over to his place, and he would come to my place. Sometimes, he would come for a sleepover to my place as I stayed alone only to leave a week later. He was my mantra; I recited him every day.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that the call was almost ending. I led out a forced-relaxing breathe, my heart beating thunderously like a Yamaha motorbike, my mind racing like an Aston Martin. I swiped across the phone screen to receive the call. And like a mechanical machine that had not seen a lubricant for ages, I dragged the phone to my ears, the pulse on my arms too loud to ignore, the race in my mind so endearing, the blood in my veins too heavy to lift.

“Hello Jason,” I stammered.

“Hello Coll,” said the voice on the other side.

“How is it?” I enquired, pushing the dildo away.

“Good, they are taking me in to the buzzing machine in a few,” Jason struggled.

“Are you like, scared?” I asked. He never sounded afraid, not even a single day.

“Naah, but I have something to tell you,” he punched my heart, like I anticipated, clearly struggling to say it between two loud coughs. You could feel the pain in them, the pain of a human soul slipping out of the human flesh.

“What is it? Jason,” I sat down on the edge of the bed, my shoulders collapsing to myself momentarily.

“Sometimes, distance is the only way to heal and find peace. I hope we get enough of it to heal our wounds.”

“What do you mean?” I said to the hanged up call, the beeping sound of an ended need blaring to my ears.

What is your body count? Yes, you am asking you.

CYBER-BULLYING

By | Fashion | One Comment

By Beardy Ed 

Photo credits: Memepesa 

I can tell you either laughed, giggled, chuckled, smiled or whatever the heck you do when amused. There is a lot of ‘teasing’ on social media most of which revolves around the physical appearance of ladies. Foreheads, flat bottoms, skinny frames, not-so-blessed busts and the list goes on. Notably, this is not only restricted to ladies but some gents also face the same treatment 

(I feel you light skinned men). 

What can be considered to be just harmless joking and where does the line lie? Are we going  overboard and leaning more towards cyber bullying? This is an emerging issue in today’s society. UNICEF defines cyber bullying as bullying with the use of technologies. It can take place on social media platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phone messaging apps. It is  repeated behavior aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted. 

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Tweeps can actually attest to the occurrence of this phenomenon daily on the bird app (Twitter for the lesser). Not a day goes by without the use of harsh and hurtful words towards other app  users by unapologetic bullies. KOT is a proud lot of gossips, keyboard warriors and clueless individuals all who have a single mission; to expose and make fun of others for clout.  

I was recently treated to a horror show in one of the WhatsApp groups I am part of. A young  fellow decided to celebrate a man he considers to be one of his heroes and role models. Mind you this was on Facebook. The man being celebrated is considered to be a fraud by the rest of  the group members who has spent years in law school. The agents of doom never sleep a wink. 

A screenshot guru shared the post in question and all hell broke loose. The fellow was accorded  a front seat during his roasting session. Almost everyone delivered a sucker punch lowering the  fellow’s esteem. It still baffles me how he never left the group. 

Photo credits: Techweez 

How many times have we subjected others to such unwarranted treatment? Psychology tries to  explain the core reasons behind this uncouth behavior. Jealousy, obsession and a lack of  empathy tend to lead social media users down this dark path once in a while. Take a scenario  where a not-so-handsome sixteen-year-old boy comes out as gay online or a skinny nineteen year-old girl posts a photo of herself clad in a skimpy crochet top. What would your first reaction be? Jealousy at their brazen and maybe misguided confidence would burn through you. It is human to have negative emotions towards others but how we manage and let out these  emotions showcases our humanity. Frustration and underlying feelings of failure can also fuel bullying. Nerds and model students get the short end of the stick on this one. I can go on and on with a million examples but I hope you get what I am driving at. 

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We may want to join in on the ‘fun’ with the bullying pack since everyone is doing it why not  me. Cyberbullying tends to occur on a one-on-one basis but the more common way is in form of pack bullying. Stars like Mulamwah and Jimmy Gait have had very rough journeys due to  pack bullies. Some of us may have been part and parcel of such marauding bands. 

It would do us no harm to restrain from crossing the line when joking with friends or keep off  making smart, sarcastic or rude remarks towards strangers online. Kindness cost nothing. I get  it that we all have our own issues. Offloading the anger and pain on others only gives a  temporary high. Give appreciation where it is due. Making others smile actually gives a sense of fulfillment. Remember that one time you gave someone a tiny gift and they got really excited? Does it even compare to the evil satisfaction you get when someone cries because of an insult? Always remember the golden rule: Do unto others what you would want them to do  unto you. 

Photo credits: Dreamstime.com 

In conclusion, for the cyber bullying victims, seek out a therapist to try and heal from the trauma.  It would also be great to remember that some evil guys just spend their time hating on others  because they consider themselves to be failures. It has nothing to do with you most of the time.  Keep on being you and doing what you do best.  

Surely good deeds will erase bad deeds – Al Quran 11:114

A Case of Addiction

By | Blog | 2 Comments

*By Mo Kim*

The facilitator arrived half an hour earlier than the rest of the support group members so that he could prepare the room for the session. It was an alcoholics’ support group. He brewed a jug of coffee, arranged the chairs into an intimate circle then adjusted the lighting to a comfortable hue. He knew from experience and from the training he had received on how to conduct a support group, that such seemingly trivial matters foster intimacy, trust and an easy feeling, all which work wonderfully well for a support group. After his preparations, he took his seat and patiently waited for the members to come in. The only blemish to the amiable expression on his face was a scarcely noticeable frown, the cause of which was the arrival of a new member into the group, a member who was in her final year of study at a certain university. He secretly hoped Debra, the new member, would not upset the group dynamic, for he had gone to great lengths to instill a sense of trust into the group, and people are generally unwelcoming to change.

All members having arrived, he opened the meeting by welcoming them. The sweetly deep tone of his voice, the softly pleasant expression on his face, his gentle use of gestures and his amiable posture were all noted by the members, and it eased them into the group so that each experienced and appreciated a distinct sense of belonging. The facilitator then explained to them the rules of the group: that no member should call upon any other member to contribute, that only first names may be used and that even though they were going through similar problems, names of medicines and doctors should generally be avoided, as one man’s medicine may be another’s poison. He then opened the meeting to any member who felt ready to share, carefully avoiding looking at Debra who sat next to him, so as not to make her feel pressured to contribute, even though it was her first day.

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Mark went first. He shared that it was his first time to stay away from alcohol for three months straight, ever since his addiction to booze roughly three years ago. Debra noted that he took great pride in his achievement, and even greater pride in sharing it. The scars on the corners of his lips were almost healed and the slur on his speech was scarcely noticeable. Clearly he was determined to kick his addiction. When Mark said that he drew strength from the group and the various coping mechanisms his fellow members used, Debra knew that she was in the right place, for he said with such a steady voice that she couldn’t help but be moved. The facilitator was thus a little surprised when Debra offered to share next. 

“Hi. I’m Debra. I’m an alcoholic.”

“Hi Debra,” came the sweetly welcoming response. 

“I’ve been sober for five days now for the first time in one year, “went on Debra. “Before that, I was a teetotaler. I wouldn’t touch alcohol with a ten foot pole. Yet within a few months, I was chugging booze like my life depended on it. “ Here she let out a nervous chuckle. The facilitator saw through her disguised nervousness and, gently placing a hand on hers, told her she was doing great.

After a short pause, Debra narrated how it all started. She said it still surprises her how what began as an innocent experiment turned into a full blown case of overuse and dependence. Her friends invited her to a party one Friday evening, saying that of course drinks would be served, but she need not drink if she didn’t want to. Yet even as they granted her that petty freedom, she detected undertones of charity in their voices, as if they were disappointed she never drank and were forcing themselves to make do with her queerness, as she felt they saw her abstinence from alcohol. Tired of being “queer” and of disappointing her friends, she turned up for the party and took her first sip. It tasted foul, like the devil’s pee. She wanted to spit it out and go back to drinking simple water and lemon tea. But, alas, her friends. They were all so excited with their new gal, so beaming with pride that she swallowed the bitter pill. Thus many Friday nights after, she accompanied them as they went out to have fun. By degrees, it became a thing.

Her boyfriend, however, was not thrilled by the new Debra, to say the least. The only pleasure he allowed himself was an occasional extra lump of sugar in his tea. Thus he saw Debra’s new ways as bordering unrestrained extravagance and spared no words in condemning them. He occasionally threatened walking out of the relationship if she did not change. Scared of being dumped, Debra tried to stop drinking, for he was devoted to her and, leaving aside his intolerance of her Friday nights out, he waited on her hand and foot. Yet even as she tried, she realized she could not succeed. The harder she tried the more entangled she got. For addiction is a dangerous thing and trying to quit cold turkey often makes things worse. Thus by degrees, her innocent Friday nights transformed to span the entire weekend and occasionally weekdays. 

She got behind in her studies (predictably) and was often attacked by terrible mood swings, which she counteracted by more drinking and deftly excused them by saying it was her time of the month. She often drank in secret to deal with terrible hangovers. The very friends who initiated her into the drinkers’ club were concerned about her drinking and bid her take it easy on the bottle. However, this annoyed her. She drank even more, so that in a short while she drank every morning to steady her nerves and every night to fall asleep. Her doting boyfriend could not endure her anymore: he actualized his threat and left her. She then realized that she had to do something about it all.

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One night she was so guilty about her addiction and troubled by an almost overpowering urge to drink, she could not fall asleep. Neither could she drink, for she was thoroughly ashamed and desperately wanted to quit. Thus she popped sleeping pills hoping the comfortable womb-land of sleep would offer her some escape. Yet she still tossed and turned, for sleep would not come no matter how hard she closed her eyes. With nothing left to do, she took a generous swig from the bottle she had hidden in her closet. Sleep came at last. And what sweet sleep it was!

Next thing she knew, she was on a hospital bed feeling terribly confused, groggy and unwell. Tubes were running into her nose and her arms and machines were beeping around her. Her boyfriend was seated beside her, and on seeing her awake, asked her what on earth she was thinking mixing sleeping pills and alcohol. Then it all came back to her. Her boyfriend said he had come to pick his things and seen an empty bottle lying on the floor and sleeping pills all over the bedside table. Knowing full well what had transpired, he rushed her to the hospital, just in time to have her stomach pumped and a detox procedure initiated. The doctor said that had he been a few minutes late, she would have suffered permanent brain damage, had she survived the pills in the first place.

There and then she quit. “I submitted to a month in rehab and here I am.”

She looked around to see that all about her were staring in rapt attention. She felt distinctly, almost inexplicably relieved after opening up in such fashion, for their gazes were not judgmental but sweetly encouraging and comforting. Indeed, tears formed in her eyes.

The facilitator spoke thus: “Thank you for sharing Debra. Your experience was no doubt harrowing and you’re strong to have gotten out of it. It will not be an easy journey, but we will be here for you whenever you need us. My experience was similar to yours. What worked for me was choosing my friends wisely, avoiding occasions that tempted me to drink, spending much time with people and little time alone, dedication to a wholesome activity and the integration of the spiritual into my life. Needless to add, this group has been a constant source of motivation and strength.”

The other members shared and the meeting was closed. Debra was more than happy she found such a group and realized for the first time in many, many months, she could not wait for the rest of her life. Full of joy and gratefulness, she called her boyfriend on her way home.

More articles by the author:

1. What Matters Most in Choosing a Career

2. The Sub-conscious power may have more power than you think

3. All work and no play leads to a miserable life

Of Dildo, Masturbation, Jason, and Death- 1

By | Alan Shadowrine, Alan Shadowrine | 6 Comments

!Readers Discretion is strictly advised. This article contains hard language and mature themes.!

I was about to masturbate for the second time when my cell phone went off in a maddening ringing. My underwear was halfway down, stretched between my succulent thighs and supple knees. Succulent like maple leaves and supple like pineapples, I tell you- among other flatters that had got my ears wobbling like a praying mantis on a mangrove leaf in autumn. White underwear written ‘Kiss Me’ in bright yellow.

It was hanging across my feet like a loop of stitching thread stuck in between the middle finger and the ring finger. I quickly pulled it up to the waist, letting the stretched elastic lining of the underwear retract on my skin like a catapult. I wiggled my dark hair behind my coconut head, like Arianna on stage, and buttoned my checked blouse to hide my nudity from whoever could be watching.

Before I dared to buy a pink dildo from Kims King boutique (it’s not on the Google maps, don’t even bother), a soapy detergent and a porn video were all I needed to induce an orgasm. There was the fun part of it, staring at the ceiling, legs wide apart, trying to relate to what I saw on the video, and having a vibrating plastic drill into my flesh. So addicted was I to masturbation that I scheduled it twice in the 24hrs daily program, before sleeping and after waking up. Like a mantra, masturbating was the first thing I did before the day began and the last thing I did before I fell asleep.

Yet, the satisfaction of it was not part of the bargain. I loved the thrill of losing myself for a few seconds. Those few seconds when I was far away from the madness of my small world was what really mattered to me; giving a smooth outcry, with a subtle moan, wow, and inaudible orgasm? And like any other soul on earth hungry for a pinch of sugar when burrowed underneath a heap of salt, I barely thought of the ethics of masturbation. Nor did I care about the judgment I would face when I die. Nor the angry flames of sulphuric fire that would consume my flesh if I went to hell.

Like you can guess, I was stuck in this dark hole, imprisoned by my inability to free myself from the addiction, all in the name of a five-letter word. A fucked up five-letter word that has changed lives, given life, and taken lives. After all, like Tokyo once said, love is a good reason for everything to fall apart.

Ten minutes before the call, I had just finished emailing my resume to the consulting firm I had visited earlier during the day. I made a call to my ailing mother assuring her that her daughter was fine, which was a blend of lies and pain. Although I felt hunted by a rage of guilt for not going to check on her, I never missed her at all. Not after she had turned in my father to the harsh police officers in a green Land cruiser when I was in the third form. When they took away my drunken dad in an old Toyota police car, I never saw or heard from him again. I tried to ask around, but in Kenya, you don’t go around asking for a typical drunkard empty-handed. The drunkard he was, I loved him. I loved his manly voice; I could hear him snore when he slept from my small bedroom. I loved his English when he had quenched his throat with liters of alcohol. I badly missed how we could call me his mother when I closed schools.

Anyway.

 I had already inserted the vibrator’s power cable to the three-holed socket, ready to dive my tired flesh into the drug of my choice, trust me, I was so good at this. I unbuttoned my blouse, my skirt flying across the ceiling. Then Crrring!- my phone went off in a ring.

 I groaned silently, more to myself than to the ringing phone, switching off the power at the socket. I reached out for my phone underneath the white pillow, wondering who the hell was calling me at such a time. I pressed the volume down on my phone, so the outburst of the ringing could ease on my ears. I blinked to the blinking lights on the screen, trying to read the caller ID. It was Jason like I had anticipated. Jason Mwaniki. My name is Colletta. And this is my story—a story of love, pain, drugs, more drugs, murder, and death.

What the fuck was Jason up to?

TOXIC MASCULINITY

By | Blog | One Comment

By Beardy Ed 

Photo credits: Kenyanlist 

We have all been treated to some ‘hilarious’ definitions and examples of who a real man is. This is not the first time this topic, as I would like call it, has cropped up in online circles. We  surely do remember the ‘gangsta’ points memes and the Future-inspired memes on toxic masculinity. It all seems funny as we tweet, retweet, like, share on our Instagram stories,  Facebook stories and WhatsApp statuses. However, there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, away from the clout-seeking and recognition as meme gurus. Toxic masculinity is defined by the American Psychological Association (A.P.A) as a set of  behavior and beliefs that include the following: 

∙ Suppressing emotions or masking distress. 

∙ Maintaining an appearance of hardiness. 

∙ Violence as an indicator of power. This is closely associated with misogyny.

Photo credits: Innovation Unit

A lot of young men are disoriented and have a very vague idea of what it means to be real man.  Boys are raised by fathers or father figures who entirely mislead them. Children learn mainly  through observation and copying. If the man in a boy’s life is one who is promiscuous, a drunk,  a loafer, a cheat or a violent baboon then it follows that the boy is highly likely to grow to exhibit similar traits or show signs of trauma from the above. In another scenario, the boy entirely lacks a father figure due to reasons I shall skirt around and he has only female figures around during  his formative years. Due to societal demands, the boy will have to ‘man up’ and it is not uncommon for him to gather knowledge on masculinity form already misguided peers. On the  other hand, the subject may tend to be feminine according to society’s definition and end up  being labelled as gay or be a subject of ridicule. 

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It is not news that a large proportion of men from the baby boomer and Generation X  generations have entirely let down the current crop of young men. We can sit here all day and night and rant online about how much boys and young men have been let down. Newsflash:  this solves nothing neither will a solution rain down from the heavens.  

How can we fight this growing monster that is slowly taking our young men away from us?  First, it is important to note that no one should define your identity as a man. Choose your own values and beliefs and stand by them firmly. Do not let society feed you some sickly-warped up definition of who you should be. Second, try to unlearn any negative traits picked over the  course of your short life and remodel yourself. This does not mean you should unlearn  everything. Some masculinity traits make men noble and dependable creatures such as chivalry. 

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Try to be open to feeling and expressing your emotions. It helps to create a bond with those  around you leading to long-lasting friendships and magical relationships. Lastly, ensure that  you pass all the good stuff and lessons from mistakes to others. It would be of no use to selfishly  watch your fellow men head down the wrong road. Keep the bro code alive. 

On a light note: A bro must not call another bro to chat. Mwanaume ni kutumia smoke signal.

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Campus Students Should Ignore Mental Health At Their Own Risk

By | Blog | One Comment

We’ve been hearing about mental health all over. I never go for long without hearing how men are depressed and how we are committing suicide more. It has gotten to a point where it’s exhausting. The moment I hear the words mental health, depression and suicide, I stop listening. And I think it’s the same for a lot of people. Discussions about mental health have been on the rise in an effort to increase awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. But this has become monotonous and has led to loss of interest in the discussion. Which means more or less, we end up where we were before the discussion started.

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In this article, I’ll be addressing the issue of mental health in campus and I’ll try to take a fresh approach. I’ll also be sharing the story of Peter Wainaina, a student from DeKUT who graduated last year. He took almost ten years to complete his course because of issues to do with mental health. This is despite the fact that he was an extremely bright engineering student who had been the envy of his classmates in first year. The good news is that he eventually conquered his situation and his story can inspire us to victory in dealing with our own mental health. His story also shows us the danger of ignoring mental health.

We chose to run this on 3rd Dec, which is the International Day of Persons with Disability and this begs the question: Is mental health a form of disability? I did some research and according to the WHO, depression is one of the main causes of disability worldwide. It is estimated that 264 million people are affected by depression. The WHO, and not the Mens’ Conference, also goes ahead to state that more women have been affected by depression. I mention that fact because of late, feminists have been enthusiastically advocating the narrative that men are more depressed because of the reality of what it takes to be a man in our culture. They have thus been urging us as men to handle our issues more like females so that we can be less depressed. Well, dear feminists, even with all your “efficiency” in handling mental and emotional issues, you are still leading in depression. Anyway, that is a debate that can last for a long time and since I don’t want to get into it now, I stop there. The takeaway is: Let’s separate gender inequality and depression. They are two different issues and should be dealt with as such. Mental health issues are a complicated enough problem without feminists using them as a tool to advance their agenda.

Mental disorders like anxiety disorders, depression and bipolar disorder are a major concern in campus. But campus students (and our society in general) are reluctant to face this issue and grab the bull by its horns. In my opinion, one reason behind this reluctance is the use of the word “disorder” and the notion that a mental disorder is a form of “disability.” Yes, by definition, mental disorders are a form of disability. But the problem is that as a society, we have agreed that disability is wrong and shameful. It is shunned. As long as we keep looking at mental health issues that way, we will never win the war. And as we will see in Peter’s story, dealing successfully with mental health issues is crucial if we are to lead a meaningful life.

Meet Peter Wainaina

Peter says, “I was a bright student and was admired by most of my peers. I enjoyed school and scored good grades during my first year. But, after three years at the university, things began to fall apart.” He went on to suffer severe insomnia. He also cut off contact with his friends and family. He would have extreme mood swings. At times, he would be jovial, talking and laughing with his friends. At other times, he would be in extremely low moods that would lead to suicidal thoughts. He says, “I attempted suicide three times. The third time, I tried to overdose on drugs. My friends found out and banged on my door.” Eventually, he would lock himself up in his room and would sometimes wear shoes on opposite feet. Being in this state greatly affected his studies. When the time came for him to work on his final year Engineering project, he took more time than he was supposed to. He had to watch as his classmates graduated and left him behind.

Later, after the school called home and told them what was happening, his relatives tricked Peter into visiting a mental health institution. They had asked for his assistance in taking a relative to hospital. It was only when they got there that Peter discovered their aim. At first, when they encouraged him to consult about his headaches and insomnia, he refused. He insisted that he wasn’t sick. Later, they convinced him to at least try the medication. The first night after he took it, he slept peacefully – something he hadn’t been able to do in a long time. After seeing that the medicine really was of help, he became open to the idea that he may have a problem and was more receptive to treatment.

He learnt about bi-polar disorder. He discovered that most of the symptoms he had been experiencing, which had been impossible to explain, were the symptoms of bi-polar disorder. He says, “At first, it was a shock to me. But after a few months of counseling, things went back to normal. My life changed drastically, I was able to finish school in less than a year and related well with my friends, family and lecturers.”

He did not experience the depression again and his life has gotten back on track.

Peter the Engineer

The problem with our society is that we disregard mental health. For a long time, the only aspect of health that we have cared about is the physical one. To be fair, it is really difficult to ignore a toothache or a bleeding nose. But when we get depression, experience excessive anxiety, mood swings or any other symptom of mental disorder, we ignore it. To us, visiting psychiatrists is either for “mad” men and women or a luxury. Even in an age where information is free, we cannot google about mental disorders. And such behavior is costing us. Many forms of mental disorder, even the most extreme ones such as schizophrenia, can be managed or at least mitigated by seeking professional help. But without help, even minor mental illnesses (just as is the case with normal diseases) can lead to major problems.

I agree that professional psychiatrists could be out of our reach. But, there are options, such as visiting the school counselors or reaching out to peer counselors. I may not be able to get airlifted to Aga Khan when I have a problem, but I can go to the school medical center or visit a public hospital and get services.

The most important take away from this is:

Mental disorders are normal diseases. If you have the symptoms of Malaria, you go get checked out. And if you ignore them, then you suffer and potentially die. The same is true for mental illnesses. Ignore your mental health at your own peril.

Important Contacts for DeKUT students:
  1. Counseling Office/ University social worker: 0740506597.

2. Mary Immaculate Kiio – 0745081278 (Peer counselor at DeKUT)

3. Gift Masha – 0743553289 (DeKUT Peer counselor)

4. Dishan Otieno – 0706864222 (DeKUT Peer counselor)

5. Cornelius Muthomi – 0759899444 (DeKUT Peer counselor)

6. Yvonne Awuor Amenya – 0713938828 (DeKUT Peer counselor)

7. Muthua Joseph Karugu – 0748017909 (DeKUT Peer counselor)

8. Shibiriti Calvine – 0742055786 (DeKUT Peer counselor)

9.Moses Mugo – 0791537281 (DeKUT Peer Counselor)

10. Dancan Mumo – 0759822730 (DeKUT Peer Counselor)

The Race is Getting Too Hot in the CCA 2020 Awards

By | Awards | 16 Comments

We’re into the 4th day of the DeKUT Comrades Choice Awards 2020. The event, which is the first of its kind in our university, has met with massive success. By morning today, more than 3,100 unique comrades had cast their votes. The awards have been registering an impressive 1,000 votes per day. The competition is stiff. Several competitors who had taken an early lead have been overtaken. Meanwhile, some competitors continue to cement their lead. By the time the voting stops on Thursday, we will most definitely have been treated to a good show. The candidates that emerge victorious will really have fought for their spots. In future, knowing how stiff the competition of the CCA awards is, being a winner of a CCA award in any category will be quite prestigious. As we get into the final days of voting, more upsets are expected to happen and it promises to be an exciting race.

Rather than going for traditional awards like trophies that comrades are likely to find boring, the committee opted for a fresh new type of specially ordered custom made awards. A unique award has been made for each category. Here is what the Prof Kioni Tech Innovation of the Year Award looks like:

Here are the most competitive categories:

1. Shakem Foundation Queen of the Year Award with 1500+ responses. Love Mwendwa had taken an early lead in this category. However, Brilliant Ruto caused an upset and now has the lead with 275 votes (17.7%) compared to Love’s 259 votes (16.7%) Nancy Njeri is the closest to the top two, with 188 votes (12.1%) Purity Mwende and Janet Chepkirui follow with 163 votes (10.5%) and 148 votes (9.5%). This seems the most competitive category because the competitors have very little margins between them. It will be interesting to see who emerges victorious and whether the likes of Nancy Njeri, Purity Mwende and Janet Chepkirui will cause an upset and take the lead. If you were to place a bet, which of these potential queens do you think will not choma your bet? Tell us in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

2. The Baked Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award (1700 + responses)

Janja Crafts had taken an early lead in the category but Bai Dera steadily rose and now has the first spot with 323 votes (18.5%) compared to Janja Crafts’ 298 votes (17.1%) Sakau Daniel is hot on the heels of the top two, with 297 votes (17.1%) Harrison wa Mutura (Boma) is also on the rise, with 12.1% of the total votes. This is the category with the most responses and as we get into the final days of voting, it will be really interesting to see how things go. Who do you think will win? Tell us in the comments section.

3. The Isaac “Izaw” Ochieng’ Male Sports Personality (1600+ responses)

Cliff Gaucho had taken an early lead in this category, only for Lemerian Gideon to cause an upset and take the lead. Lemerian now has 493 votes (29.5%) compared to Cliff’s 433 votes. (26%) Swaleh Mabuka has been rising steadily and now has 350 votes (20.9%) Sutcliffe Usagi, who won the Hockey Mens’ Premier League of the Year award early this year, is in fourth place with 211 votes (12.7%) With three voting days to go, anything could happen. Do you think you can predict the results? If you do, comment at the bottom of this page.

4. Ask Designers Female Sports (1400+ responses)

Ruth Njoki has managed to maintain her lead in the category since the beginning. However, the margin between her and her competitors has been narrowing and today, she has been overtaken. She is in second place now with 400 votes (28.1%) Dorothy Orina (Dottie) is now in first place with 409 votes (28.8%) Lorraine Chepkemoi is not far behind with 340 votes (23.9%) and it will be interesting to see what happens as we get into the final stretch of voting. Who do you see winning?

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These guys seem to be having comfortable leads:

1. Love Mwendwa – Franklin Manyara Female Class Rep Award

Love is enjoying the most comfortable lead. It seems people love her as a class rep. No other contestant is leading with a higher margin than hers. She has 550+ votes (42%) The contestant closest to her is Jackie Tum with 240 votes (18.2%). But we still have 3 voting days and we will see what happens.

2. Ian Kiplimo SabulAllan Shadowrine King of the Year Award

Sabul has 403 votes (27% of total votes cast) His closest rival, Victor Karanja (MCA) has 232 votes (15.5%) It had appeared as if Sabul will be removed from the top spot but then he increased the margin of his lead. However, the results of this category are unpredictable since each of the competitors is highly influential. It wouldn’t be a surprise if any of the rest emerged the winner, even though it will be an uphill task for them.

3. Covid-19 ventilator – Prof Kioni Tech Innovation of the Year Award

The ventilator has 419 votes (31.4%) The closest contestant is Plant Signal with 253 votes (18.9%). Plant Signal may just clinch the lead by the end of Thursday. Who knows?

4. Joe M – DekuTrends Photographer of the year award

With 429 votes out of 1200+ (34.2%), Joe M is leading comfortably in his category. The closest contestant is Ruckuz Photography with 279 votes (22.3%) However, there is stiff competition between the rest of the competitors. Do you think Joe M can be kicked out of the number one spot? Comment down below

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5. Debbie Wambui – The Alex Njuguna Fresher of the Year Award

Debbie has 409 votes out of 1098 votes (37.2%) and is comfortably leading. Her closest competitor is however not that far behind. She has 255 votes (23.2%) and anything is possible especially at this stage of the competition and as we have seen before. Ambrose Wabwile with 192 votes at 17.5% also has a shot. Let’s wait and see.

6. Brilliant Ruto – The Sabul the Bull Comrade Servant of the Year

Brilliant Ruto has steadily cemented her lead in the category. She has 335 votes (24.1%) Her closest competitor, Kihonge Kagiri, has 196 votes (14.1%) Purity Mwende has also been steadily rising and now has 181 votes (13%)

7. Dekut CU – Magenta Solutions Club of the Year

DeKUT CU took an early lead in this category and maintained it. But as we get into the most volatile stage of the competition, the likes of Rotaract, Catholic Action and Dekirisa may cause an upset.

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