July 2012

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July 2012
JULY 2012
JOURNAL 18 | AN
PUBLICATION
FREE COPY
Africa’s approaching changes
It’s salad spinner vs pillowcase
A pre-Olympics book review
Simple circle, killer workout
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Harper’s first
Facebook post
23 minutes after birth
content
editorial
Our daughter Harper was only 23 minutes old when
she had her first photo published on Facebook. She had
smooth dark hair and was wrapped in a teddy bearcovered Aga Khan blanket. And somehow she even
appeared to be smiling.
That’s what we look at in this month’s issue: What’s
next? But also: How are we doing with what we have?
Eoin Flinn looks at the state of manufacturing in
Africa. Eoin is in Kenya to promote a new, cleaner
burning cook stove that could help Kenyan families
improve their health and cut their costs. He argues that
Africa’s coming industrial revolution will be cleaner
and better than other continents’ industrial periods,
and I have no doubt it will be.
Uploading that photo was easy. After snipping her
umbilical cord and watching the nurses weigh her, I
pulled out my iPhone and snapped a pic as she was
being placed under a heat lamp. Then I opened my
iPhone’s Facebook app, selected the photo and added a
small caption: Harper Moulton Straziuso. 6.4 pounds.
Born 6:29 pm. Mom and kiddo both in good shape.
That post hit family and friends’ newsfeeds back in the
U.S. at 6:52 p.m. Not a bad turnaround time.
Harper was born into a world far different from the
one most of us were born into. I remember wrapping
my 6-year-old body in the long, coily cord attached
to the only landline phone we had in our house.
I remember my parents bringing home their first
microwave, a big, boxy appliance that took up half our
counter space.
I also remember the day my father brought an Atari
2600 video game console home. After playing Pong for
about 30 minutes, I asked my father if there were any
other games to play. I’m pretty sure he responded in
exasperation.
But that childhood question gets at the heart of today’s
technological turnover: What’s next? What else can we
do?
Creative Interiors
After 13 hours in our Aga Khan hospital room, I
updated my Facebook status with this: “Hour 13:
Inducement not inducing much. Kid and mom fine
but no labor yet. Just hanging around.” But it was
only shortly after that the action started. The Hour
16 update was a quote from my wife Katie: “Hon,
contractions suck.”
At Hour 19 I wrote: “Calm after (and before) the
storm.” A half hour later Katie’s legs began to shake
furiously, so of course I updated my status. One of our
friends responded: “This is the best use of Facebook
status updates ever.”
We also examine whether all this technology is for the
better. Caroline Knowles looks around the kitchen
and asks whether it’s better to spend money on a fancy
chopping gadget or just use a knife. (She chooses the
knife.) But the contest between a salad spinner and a
pillow case? You’ll have to read her story to find the
answer.
Amy Selbach shows how high-tech advances are
helping professional trainers tailor workout regimes for
individual needs. But we don’t have to go overboard.
Amy says the simple hula hoop offers a killer workout.
On the family front, Chichi Kerretts Wambua
wonders whether our personal relationships are being
improved or strained by technology, and she has a
suggestion on how to find that elusive middle.
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Hi-tech must
haves for Nairobi’s
fashion scene
My mother, who lives eight time zones away in Ohio,
would say technology is helping. It was just last week
that we held a family video Skype chat so she could
see Harper open some of her presents from her 1st
birthday. And of course thanks to my iPhone my mom
got a steady stream of updates in June 2011 as Harper
was being born.
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Nutrition on trial
By Hour 20 Harper was almost ready to come out, and
I turned sentimental: “Thinking about the millions
of women who give birth in africa far from medical
care. We’re fortunate to be surrounded by obgyn,
pediatrician, two nurses and a doula.”
It was the medical expertise and technology available
in Nairobi today that made everything go so smoothly
last June 6, 2011. But it was the new communication
tools that allowed our friends and family back in the
U.S. to join in our first-time-parents ride.
Technology has come a long way since that snaking,
corded 1970s phone I once wrapped myself in. And I’m
looking forward to what’s next.
Jason & Katie
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Making new baby
pics look old with
Instagram
Roof Windows
Convert your loft to
a livable space
Loft Ladders
Convenient foldable loft
ladders and accesss panels
Roof Underlay
Eurotop N:35
The ultimate roof
underlay
Light Tunnels
Introduce natural sunlight
to dark spaces at your
commercial/residential areas
4
adventure
My safari
vehicle?
A horse.
Why low-tech is better
in the great outdoors
by Nate Schaffran
When we saw the herd
of bull elephants in an
acacia thicket about
50 yards away, our
guide first checked
for the direction of
the wind. The horses
were unlikely to see
the elephants, most
of them still and halfhidden among the
trees.
But if we were downwind they might catch the
scent and spook. We were lucky with the wind
but, as we stood in the saddle to watch the animals
moving slowly through the brush, I kept a close eye
on the nearest male and a tight hold on the reins,
feeling for any signs of unease from my horse.
Our group stayed as still and silent as possible. I
could hear the elephants rubbing against trees and
pulling branches down. When we’d made enough
of our luck and it was time to move off, I let out
my breath and marveled at an experience that was
entirely new in five years and as many safaris in
Kenya.
What was a new experience to me -- a face-to-face
encounter with a wild animal -- was of course a
feature of life in this part of the world in the time
before fenced parks and commercial safaris. But my
encounter was no less meaningful for me no matter
how common it might be. That experience, or the
anticipation of it, form powerful recollections in
two of the greatest Kenyan memoirs: Wangari
Maathai opened her autobiography describing
how as a girl she anticipated meeting a leopard
at the river. Beryl Markham wrote with joyful
nostalgia of her childhood experiences joining
morans - Maasai warriors - to hunt boar and fight
off lions. If only subconsciously, stories like these
have shaped the imaginations of many expats (and
I expect a fair number of Kenyans as well) going on
safari.
But if a desire for that kind of personal, immediate
experience of nature drives many of us out into
Kenya’s open spaces, the modern safari is a long
way from providing it. In national parks you’ll
spend much of your time shut inside a safari
vehicle, listening to static on a guide’s radio and
rushing across terrain from one big “sighting” to
the next, an event that, typically, involves joining
a half dozen other Land Cruisers encircling a
disinterested lioness at a distance that should
inspire awe but does not. And while the car body
separates you from the land you’ve come to explore,
a digital camera generally becomes the major
medium of sensory experience. If you’ve ever found
yourself looking at a photo playback while the
actual animal pictured is standing only feet away,
you know what I mean.
Thankfully there are still a few places where
you can experience wilderness without those
interpositions. Mine came at Sosian conservancy
in Laikipia West, where I was invited recently by
a friend who’d visited once and had been longing
to get back. Sosian was purchased some years
ago by a group of Kenyan and expat investors as
a played-out cattle ranch that had been grazed
down to dust, with a farm house occupied only
by goats and cattle. The owners spent the first
five years restoring the house with careful labor,
and the rangeland by leaving it entirely alone.
Both achieved their desired effect, and while the
lodge is as cozy as you could ask, for me the joy of
the place lay in having 24,000 acres of brushland
and riverbank that I could explore on foot or
horseback.
On our first morning the lodge manager provided
us this warning: “There are animals out there, and
you’ll want to be a good enough rider to hang on
if your horse has to run from one of them.” Some
friends and I mounted a few of their very wellkept horses and headed out. We came across the
elephants only a few minutes after we began our
ride and even if our mounts had broken straight
back for the barn I’d have still counted it as one of
the more memorable sights I’ve seen in Kenya.
But we rode on from there, and as we did I was
impressed by subtler sights that I’d probably have
missed in a vehicle. After the best rains Kenya’s had
in years, Laikipia was covered with blue, yellow and
pink wildflowers in a variety and abundance that
reminded me of blooming deserts, like California’s
Mojave or South Africa’s Namaqualand. In a few
spots I wanted to dismount and kneel down to
study them better. We also come across stunning
birds, usually an afterthought on a tour focused on
ticking off the Big Five. Those included a LilacBreasted Roller, which could as easily have been
named for its bright blue, green or yellow parts,
and a Paradise Whydah with tail feathers so long it
struggled to hold up their weight in flight.
Before that trip I’d thought I was over the safari
scene. Now I think I had never really been on one.
While I’m as disinterested in the Land Cruiserand-camera gig as the animals seem to be, there’s
still some wonder to be found in an up-close
experience in Kenya’s nature.
To organize your riding or walking safari, check
out Off beat Safaris at www.off beatsafaris.com/,
Safaris Unlimited www.safarisunlimited.com/, or
Ride Kenya www.greatplainsconservation.com/
rk/index.html
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artist’s journal
handmade with love
by Rosy Walsh
The life of a
fisherman is hard.
Entire families
depend on a little
boat without an
engine that sails
through an often
unforgiving ocean.
These fishermen are resourceful, creative and
perceptive. In the Lamu archipelago, a group of
fishermen use these gifts not only to fish, but to
portray their world to us through magical creations
and mindful messages.
How did they start?
It was 2008 and the fisherman, Ali Lamu,
approached an Italian artist living in Shela for a
job to help supplement his income and feed his
family. Daniela Bateleur did not have a job for
him but asked him to bring her an old tanga, the
weathered sail of a fishing boat.
“The color was just magnificent a brownish color
impossible to reproduce even if one tried hard, the
weather and years were the master of that piece of
art.”
The tanga had a hole in the middle of it that
Daniela identified as the hole she had in her heart
at that moment, a hole created by the strength and
pain of love. Ali came back with tins of red and
black paint and together they started to paint a big,
red heart around the hole. Then, Daniela dipped
her brush into the black paint and wrote: LOVE
AGAIN FOREVER WHATEVER...
After the first heart came the 2nd, the 3rd and the
4th and many torn hearts were sold worldwide - all
unique, all with the power of the wind, the ocean
and love. After torn hearts came flying hearts. Ali
and Daniela had the feeling that they were flying.
More and more fishermen came to the team and
the family strengthened.
What have they become?
Seeing their success many come and ask for work
and Daniela and Ali cannot turn them away. They
employ their unique talents; painting, sewing,
metal and wood work, so that now, the Ali Lamu
family produces a whole range of products from
bags, to pillows to bedspreads.
and cut, shells from the beach, rice sacks, coconuts,
all are worked and sewn onto tanga.
Ali and Daniela keep painting their messages for
all to believe and more fishermen have food on
their table and are able to send their children to
school.
Do they fit in a high-tech world?
While many artists now employ advanced
computer electronics, many collectors turn back to
hand crafted works. With Ali Lamu’s art, you not
only feel the creativity of a human hand, but also
the ingenuity of nature. Each artwork is exclusive.
Each piece “has been blessed by the sun, wind and
ocean miles. All products are hand and heart made,
100% Africa.”
In a world of mass manufacturing and in a digital
age of waste and consumerism it is also uplifting
to see materials recycled and put to a beautiful
use. Handmade designs are now so rare they are
perversely becoming cutting edge.
What is their dream?
Their goal is to relieve poverty, “to try to help the
poor to become less poor and then teach the less
poor to help the poor.”
The demand for these art works is now worldwide,
the magic is infectious. Work made by hand makes
it hard to expand. In order to increase production
and employ more fishermen they need more money
for their materials and growth.
They would like to build a cinema from sand-filled
plastic bottles for all the community to enjoy.
You can support them by buying their work or
sponsoring their community projects or even the
group as a whole.
The work is done by hand, the materials
are
treasures found from the land and the sea. Bottle
tops are beaten and burnt, tin roofs are battered
Where to find them?
Check out their website and blog www.alilamu.
com or visit their AliLamu shop in Shela
All general enquires: [email protected]
[email protected]
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feature story
With Quality Comes Class
LEADING EDGE, INNOVATIVE EUROPEAN ENGINEERED WORLD CLASS BRANDS
NOW AVAILABLE IN KENYA
A cleaner,
kinder
industrial
revolution
for Africa
UPVC SOLUTIONS
By Eoin Flinn
Europe, America and
Asia have already had
them. Now it’s time
for Africa’s industrial
revolution, one that
can learn from the
mistakes made by the
other continents.
There’s no need for massive pollution or child
labor to fuel Africa’s manufacturing revolution.
government initiatives in emerging markets. The
obvious choices were countries that offered tax
incentives (Ireland offered a 10-year corporate tax
holiday in the 1980s that led to a huge economic
boom), as well as good roads and ports to
transport raw materials in and finished products
out.
At first the exported operations were those with
the lowest skill requirements. Over time the
work force skill level increased and technological
capacity upscaled. “Made in Japan” once had a
negative connotation. Now we associate it with
intricate, high-tech, quality products.
Manufacturing is a critical link in development.
In the same way that the telecoms industry
leapfrogged landlines in much of Africa and
went straight to the newer mobile technology,
manufacturing in Africa can tap into smart
solutions that we know work but don’t get
implemented in other global industries and
societies whose inertia resists change.
Through the internet, 3D printing, enhanced
environmental awareness, and a myriad of other
factors, the raw talent of Africa’s human capital
could be harnessed to blow people’s minds and fill
in the missing link in the development chain.
I’m new to Kenya but excited to be arriving now to
play a small role in this revolution. My company,
Burn Manufacturing, makes efficient, cleanburning cookstoves that can save trees, money and
improve human health. It’s a high-tech solution to
the low-tech human need for heat.
In the 1970s American and to a lesser extent
European manufacturers began to ship work
overseas in search of cheap labour. At that
time the entire developing world, including my
home country of Ireland, was considered lowcost by Western standards. The destination of
this outsourced work depended largely upon
You can put resources into health and education
but if the only jobs for these people are in locally
based services or in the extraction of natural
resources, your economy foregoes the massive
opportunity to capture both a significant
portion of the immediate value added through
manufacturing and the knowledge and design
skill transfers that become the foundation for
subsequent development and entrepreneurship.
It’s my hope that Burn Manufacturing can
combine the efficiency and productivity of China,
the inventive spirit of America and the life energy
of Africa. Hot-rolled steel is now being produced
in Athi River and Mombasa. Roads are getting
better, and plans for improved docking and porttransit in Mombasa may materialize.
The raw talent of
Africa’s human
capital could be
harnessed to blow
people’s minds
and fill in the
missing link in
the development
chain.”
SILENT
SECURE
STYLISH
Aluminium & UPVC
Windows Doors Partitions Clading Ceilings
Burn Manufacturing plans to ship almost $1
million dollars’ worth of latest-technology
equipment to Kenya and employ up to 200 people.
And we’re small. Africa has the raw materials, the
information at its fingertips, and maybe even the
political will to achieve a new kind of development
and quality of human life. Nobody thinks it will
be easy, but just thinking about the potential, I’m
excited and inspired to be a part of it.
Eoin is an engineer, project manager and all-round scrappy
generalist that will lead manufacturing operations for BURN in
Kenya. Eoin spent 3 years working for US manufacturing giant
Molex in Chengdu, China and is an expert in lean manufacturing,
process engineering, systems, sourcing and logistics. He most
recently completed a clean cookstove project in Afghanistan for
UNEP, who subsequently selected him for a panel of experts to
promote education surrounding the cookstove industry.
[email protected] • www.burnmanufacturing.com
ARCHITECTURAL ALUMINIUM
SYSTEMS
Tel
Cell
Fax
Email
+254 20 652354, 2693625 (wireless)
+254 0733 786 058
+254 20 652355
[email protected]
39 Busia Rd, Off Enterprise Rd, Industrial Area - P O Box 4843 - 00506 Nairobi, Kenya
www.customsaluminium.com
NO RUST / PAINT
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feature story
My one culinary frustration in China was
in making a fresh, crisp salad. Every time, I
puzzled over how to dry the lettuce. I started
by patting each leaf dry with a paper towel. It
was just too much waste. Next, I tried laying
each leaf on the counter, hoping eventually
they would dry. No luck. After laying there for
hours, not only did the lettuce stay just as damp,
but it also became warm and limp.
Then I had a burst of genius. I loaded all the
greens into clean pillowcase and whirled it
lasso-style over my head. This did dry the leaves
a bit, but it also left a sizable spray of lettuce
water all over my walls and myself.
by Caroline Knowles
Take a peek around
our kitchen, and
you won’t find much
in the way of nifty
appliances. We have
no standing mixer,
no bread machine,
no food processor.
The majority of
the cooking we
do comes from
regular pots and
pans, spoons and
spatulas, and a great
set of knives.
Price
Low-tech alternative
Salad SpinnerKsh 4,100
Clean pillowcase
Winner!
Salad Spinner no wet pillowcases!
Master Chopper
Ksh 3,600 Sharp knife and
cutting board
Enter the salad spinner. Far from a high-tech
invention, the salad spinner is arguably the most
valued tool in our kitchen. Just rinse the leaves,
pop them into a basket that nests itself inside
a plastic bowl, and snap on the lid. Then pull a
self-retracting cord on the top and in seconds
you have crisp, dry greens that will stay fresh for
up to a week.
Silicone Pie Weights
Ksh 2,500 Poke holes in crust before Alternatives still result
baking or 2 cups dried in bubbled crust
beans
No doubt the salad spinner has been a major
upgrade from my pillowcase strateg y. The
longer I’ve been in Nairobi, the more I’ve
enjoyed adding to our kitchen utensils and
gadgets. The key is to buy smart and to focus
on items that will save time and energ y. For
instance, purchasing an electric kettle was our
great kitchen discovery of 2012.
Who knew you could boil water in 90 seconds
rather than staring at a pot on the stove for 10
minutes?
Thanks to our hand mixer, I will never go
back to trying to beat egg whites into f luffy
meringue with a whisk again. For our next
purchase, I’m thinking silicone pie weights.
When I need to pre-bake a crust, they inevitably
bubble up, despite all my best efforts to keep
them f lat. Those weights could very well change
everything.
I learned how to roast, broil and bake just about
anything I could imagine. What I lacked in
storage space I made up for in creativity and
extra effort. Who needs an electric mixer when
a strong wooden spoon and a little elbow grease
will do the trick, right?
High-tech kitchen
Ultimately, I could never truly satiate my
craving for a good salad while living in China.
I determined this would not be my story in
Kenya.
Another great salad-themed find is a salad
dressing bottle with recipes printed directly on
the glass. This transformed our salad making.
Precise ingredient levels for oil and vinegar are
right there on the bottle, and there are several
recipes from which to choose.
Keeping it simple was required while I lived in a
small apartment in Beijing. I could stand in the
middle of my kitchen and touch every wall by
simply stretching out my arms. But it was also
in this tiny kitchen that I learned to cook.
13
I do still hope to keep our kitchen relatively
simple. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be convinced
that a silicon egg poacher or a compact herb
chopper are essential kitchen components. But
an authentic bamboo steamer so homemade
dumplings don’t get sogg y? Now you’re talking.
Bamboo Steamer
Ksh 3,100
Good luck
*Bamboo steamer - A stackable steamer made of woven bamboo,
traditionally used for steaming dim sum but can also be used for
vegetables or meat. A really healthy alternative to frying or boiling.
Sharp Knife - sharper
blade, one fewer gadget
to store
Steamer - only because
I’m a dumpling snob.*
Pastry Blender
Ksh 1,750
Fork or 2 butter knives
Utensils - you get the
same result using a fork
Electric Kettle
Ksh 1,300
Tea pot or stock pot
Kettle - water boils in no
time, provided you have
electricity!
Handheld Electric Mixer Ksh 2,000 Strong wooden spoon or whisk and a lot of elbow
grease
both - spoon is best for
cookies, but nothing
beats a mixer when
making meringue
14
15
miles away
A
Sankara Nairobi - “An experience to love.”
4H
rd
by Ami Shah
ef
r iv
r om
L
Or email: mailto:[email protected] [email protected]
com
t
h
ig
or
e from Na irob
v
i
r
d
i
r
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Never mind all the official accolades.
Sankara has earned itself a reputation for
being the go to place for businessmen,
politicians, socialites and fashionistas. What
makes it very special is the immaculate
attention to detail from walls filled with
modern local art to the perfection of the
Henley cocktail at Sarabi, arguably Nairobi’s
hippest rooftop bar.
r
f
l
Per person, per night, double occupancy, residents’
rates: 9,500-25,000 Ksh,
depending on the season
Nearest airstrip: Loisaba
More information:
www.loisaba.com
The hotel boasts 2 restaurants – Artisan &
Muhibbah. Expect modern dining at its best
with the majority of ingredients sourced
from Kenyan farmers and producers. The
first floor Gallery Wine Bar is also worth a
note, with personally selected and imported
wines - it’s quite likely that you’ll have an
opportunity to try vintages that you won’t
get anywhere else in Kenya.
1H
Va
r
For an extreme display of
high-tech - if you consider
four-wheel drive vehicles
high-tech - the only place to
go is the Rhino Charge.
modified vehicles with bigger
tyres, stronger winches and
more formidable engines.
Proceeds from the event go
to Rhino Ark, a charitable
organisation that aims to protect
An annual off-road competition,
the endangered rhino. Its first
Rhino Charge forces drivers to pit
their driving skills, mechanical skills, project was the fencing of the
Aberdare National Park, and it is
navigational skills and sheer daring
now expanding its projects into
against each other. Competitors are
required to check in at 13 checkpoints all the mountain ecosystems of
Kenya.
over a period of 10 hours, in a course
that traverses cliffs and gorges, rivers
WHAT IT TAKES
and peaks, rocks and the infamous
For information about the Rhino
black cotton mud.
Each team is informed of the location Charge, call +254 20 2136010;
of the 13 checkpoints, and determines +254 20 2136011; +254 733
632460; +254 724 604233
its own route between them. The
winning team is the one that registers
at the most checkpoints while
covering the shortest distance.
The event takes place in a different
location every year, and each year
attracts entries from more audaciously
WHAT IT TAKES
Make a booking on +254 62 31070-2; +254 705 202375
Pinewood Village offers
an exhilarating variety of
machines on the sea.
ia
bl
e
o
ns
o
ti
a
c
bi A fleet of Honda TRX 250 4-wheel drive quad bikes are
available for hire by the hour, for game drives or for bush
breakfasts. Mountain bikes offer a unique way to explore
Loisaba’s varied terrain, and to toil up the escarpment or
hurtle down it. Fishing with either traditional or modern
equipment is available for use in rivers and dams. And those
itching for a thrill can try river rafting on the Ewaso Ngiro
and Ng’are Narok Rivers. No motors here - it’s paddle
power.
The wealth of mammals, birds and plants can be seen
from open-sided vehicles, from the backs of horses or
camels or on foot. Loisaba also boasts a swimming
pool, tennis court, croquet lawn, bocce court and
fully equipped spa.
Loisaba has an equally varied selection
of places to stay. Loisaba Lodge, with
seven rooms, is perched high on the
escarpment. Loisaba House, with two rooms, has a clifftop swimming pool. Loisaba Cottage, with four rooms,
offers the ultimate privacy. And the legendary Star Beds
enable visitors to slide their beds onto a raised platform and
sleep under the stars.
ro
Na i
Loisaba is a ranch that is bigger
than some of the world’s smaller
countries, and thus lends itself perfectly
to adventures both low- and high-tech.
The Sanskrit meaning of Sankara is ‘blissmaker’ and therefore an apt choice of name
for the Westlands hotel that bears the same
name. It is indeed a very special place and
has been lauded in international circles as
such, having won a spot on the coveted
Conde Nast Hot List in 2011 and also won
a Wine Spectator Award for Excellence in
2011. All this just a year after it opened.
Or email mailto:[email protected]
rhinocharge.co.ke
More information: http://www.
rhinocharge.co.ke/ or http://www.
rhinoark.org/www.rhinoark.org
Both motorised and unmotorised water sports
are available in abundance at its Aqualand Water
Sports Centre. Glass-bottomed boats provide
visitors the chance to cruise over the reef. Deep sea
fishing gives the hardy the chance to fight the big
fish. Kite surfing gives both beginners and experts
the opportunity to harness the winds.
Snorkling trips provide the opportunity to glide
over the coral. Scuba diving courses afford the
feeling of weightlessness beneath the waves,
while windsurfing gives the sensation of
skimming over them. Sea excursions and
safaris of all durations can be arranged.
Within the resort, the Amani Gym,
tennis, table tennis, squash and
swimming are all on offer. On
the beach,
camel riding and beach games are
available.
Pinewood Village has standard
rooms, suites, deluxe rooms and
executive rooms, sea-facing or
garden-facing, as well as an array of
restaurants and bars to suit a ll tastes.
WHAT IT TAKES
Make a booking on +254 40
3300045; +254 40 3300038; +254
734 699723; +254 723 957080
Or email mail to:
[email protected]
Per person, per night, double
occupancy, residents’ rates: from
5000 Ksh
Nearest airstrip: Ukunda
More information:
http://www.pinewood-beach.com
Tamara Britten has a MA in Creative Writing from the University
of East Anglia, UK. She lives in Nairobi, travels avidly and is the
author of Accommodation Guide, Kenya, which is to be launched
in 2012.
WIN 2 nights at Sankara Nairobi
For more details visit SleepOut.com
There are little pockets in every corner that
offer the perfect preludes for being social or
relaxed and ultimately unwound. Expect
unrivalled indulgence at the Angasana Spa
(part of the world famous Banyan Tree
Group).
While Sankara has earned itself a reputation
for being a top-notch business hotel, it is
also perfect for a weekend getaway. Relaxed
luxury and escapism, without having to
travel too far from home! Sankara is representative of the new and emerging Africa
that feeds a thirst for African pride with a
global flavour.
16
fashion revolution
17
Nancy also uses Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube
to disseminate her ideas and she gets vast feedback
from viewers on Twitter, feedback which is very
important for her blogging credibility.
Nancie says the beauty about the internet is that
once you upload, the information will always be
there, and you can review content at your own
pace and time. It surpasses exposure on TV and
paper print for durability.
But how do local trends start?
Local brands don’t run high-exposure marketing
campaigns and the print media doesn’t
authoritatively push style direction.
Some trends are obviously straight off the
catwalk, such as the Kapotea feather ear-rings
craze on model and stylist earlobes, but fashion
shows are few and far between, so I feel the
traditional forms of inspiration aren’t the only
source.
It appears that for lack of available platforms,
trends seem to be circulating by subtle and more
high-tech means, exclusive to those in the know
and to those networked onto the virtual fashion
pulse.
If you missed the TRIBAL CHIC show, catch
it on YouTube! (All web links are found below.)
If you can’t find a designers contact, Facebook
or Google the brand! Do you want a summary
of what’s the latest and upcoming? Check out a
Fashion BLOG.
Nancie Mwai and Franklin Saiyalel are Nairobi’s
two most prominent Fashion bloggers. Found at
every fashion and society event, these two young
dynamic Kenyans upload real-time on to their
blogs and set the pace for the trend sprint.
The “Fashion notebook” was started by Nancie
Mwai in April 2010, and recently won the best
Fashion blog award at the BAKE AWARDS
(Bloggers Association of Kenya). The blog has
over 7,500 Facebook fans, over 3,000 followers
on Twitter and gets over 170,000 views monthly
with over 15,000 unique visitors per month.
“Kenyan stylista’ by Franklin Saiyalel had 128
visits on the day I logged on.
That’s an impressive outreach and it is directly to
those who have a passion for fashion. No wonder
Google ads and designers are paying to advertise
on these blogs.
Both Nancie and Franklin started their respective
blogs because they felt that the local fashion
publications don’t provide an adequate platform
to inspire and to share knowledge. Print media
coverage isn’t timely and outreach is limited.
Blogs serve both a diverse audience and the
designers trying to get exposure.
Armed with just a cell phone and a laptop, Nancie
Mwai can be at a fashion show and upload real
time, giving people information as it happens.
Says Nancy Mwai: “I do believe I’m a miniinf luencer. Everything takes time, especially in
blogging. You have to gain people’s trust and only
over time they will trust what you say and what
you do.”
Nancy is modest about her level of inf luence. She
does have the power to make designer sales and
raise profiles. Nancy has worked with Wambui
Mukenyi for the past year now and the brands
first collection that featured on fashion notebook
sold out in two weeks.
Kiko Romeo benefited from a two-page spread in
the magazine with an outfit modeled on Debra
Sanaipei, Former Miss Tourism Kenya.
Kiko Romeo is one of the most visible and
accessible Kenyan fashion brands, and designer
Ann McCreath is a big fan of social media. She
finds Facebook is great for easy uploading of new
collections via albums, and Twitter is best for a
snap shot of a single outfit that Kiko Romeo may
want to push.
Ann also finds that Twitter is great for creating
hype.
“I am lucky to have some major Tweeters
following me and if they see something I am
organizing or saying and re-Tweet it, I reach
a huge number of people immediately (Up to
100,000).”
Twitter, however, is not for the faint hearted,
Ann McCreath rightfully says.
So real-time posting is a major tool for breaking
trends. No wonder blogs are also used by big time
fashion editors.
The recent fashion4development visit to Kenya
by Franca Sozzani, editor of L’UOMO VOUGE,
was a sourcing trip to discover new talent in the
African fashion and art world, and to bring the
future products created by these local designers to
the European and world markets. Franca posted
daily on her Vogue editor blog after meeting local
designers and that information was circulating
before the May Vogue l”uomo issue came out.
the outreach and exposure on social media is also
vital for direct communication.
Festival of Arts and Fashion (FAFA) and Swahili
Fashion Week (SWFW) both have Facebook
group pages with over 3,500 member each.
Mustafa Hassanali has been using the SWFW
group pages to reach out especially to upcoming
designers all across Africa. SWFW will be
showcasing for the first time in Nairobi in
August.
This year Trendz Kenya Fashion Festival 2012,
which showcases emerging and established
designers, will be streamed live to a worldwide
audience via Capital FM Digital Platform &
TKFF TV Live stream interface.
Sonu Sharma from Just Like That promotes
Trendz on the social digital platform because
Twitter and Facebook tend to attract a wide
demographic.
“These sites attract millions of users every day.
They’re really easy to use, and they can add
another dimension to your business marketing
plan, no matter what the size of your business.
Social digital platforms make it easier to reach
out to the world.”
Photograp hy: Barbara Minishi
When the latest
fashion garment or
accessory pops up
on the local scene, it
is almost impossible
to trace where it’s
from and how to get
it, but then somehow,
inexplicably, the
whole of Nairobi is
toting the “exclusive”
item and a trend is
about!
So are bloggers aware how much they inf luence
trends?
ki
Mo de l: Em ily Njo
rba ra Min ish i •
Ph oto gra phy: Ba
by Wambui Njogu
Franklin has extended his coverage to West
Africa and the Diaspora and consequently he is
attracting a following in West Africa.
I do believe I’m a mini-influencer. Everything
takes time, especially in blogging. You have to
gain people’s trust and only over time they will
trust what you say and what you do.”
“Understand that whereas traditionally people
will gossip behind your back, here you see all
the gossip and you can get derailed by negative
comments. However as it is a forum, others
usually leap to your defense. Twitter basically
generates debate & interaction.”
Nancie Mwai has similar challenges.
“As for Twitter comments, if you put yourself out
there, not everyone will like you. You have to have
thick skin to get through the rude comments.”
For the region’s most prominent fashion weeks,
Photography: Barbara Minishi
Twitter,
Facebook
and YouTube
are high-tech
musts for Nairobi’s
fashion scene
Blogging information is therefore also a
responsibility. Franklin says having a blog has
given him many opportunities to work with the
best in the industry and when people see his posts
they believe him and take his comments seriously,
therefore he does research before posting.
Sounds like designers and their followers can’t
afford to ignore social media.
After all, in this industry, you are either with it or
you aren’t. You have to be IN fashion and fashion
is a lot about hype!
References: fashion4 development
www.vogue.it/en/magazine/fashion4development
www.vogue.it/en/uomo-vogue/people/2012/05/kiko-romeo
www.kapoetadesigns.com
www.wambuimukenyi.com
Tribal Chic fashion show:
http://bit.ly/KJ9zun
Blogs:
www.nanciemwai.com
kenyanstylista.tumblr.com
Wambui Njogu is an experienced professional fashion designer
known for her pattern cutting skills and her passion for leather.
She likes to promote the Kenya fashion industry, in which she sees
unrealized potential. Wambui is the founder and designer of the
Moo Cow brand, which can be be found at the Moo Cow boutique in
Silver Springs Hotel, Hurlingham. +25422519676. [email protected]
yahoo.com.
events in July:
Trendz Kenya Fashion
Festival, July 14.
There will be fashion shows in the afternoon
and evening, a bazaar for the shopaholics with
exhibition stalls followed by TKFF After
Party. www.trendzkenyafashionfestival.org
The SOURCE
Awards 2012
The awards are now open for applications.
Deadline is July 31. The awards recognize
excellence in fashion and winners benefit
from widespread promotion and recognition.
The prize includes promotion on SOURCE
Intelligence, through SOURCE Bulletins, on
SOURCE Network, and directly to buyers,
partner promotional platforms and press,
online, and through events
INNOVATION
Award winner 2011
Lalesso
http://source.ethicalfashionforum.com/article/
about-the-awards
http://source.ethicalfashionforum.com/article/
apply-now
18
live to eat
Real food vs supplements.
Is there a winner?
Amy Selbach explores the high-tech and low-tech options
for good health. Should we consume our vitamins the old
fashion way - through healthy meals? Or is it better to take
daily supplemental vitamins?
Should we get our
vitamins from fruits
and vegetables or
a daily pill? The
question continues
to confound the
public as studies and
opinions contradict
one another.
While anecdotal evidence abounds on both
sides, data from clinical research is scant. And
the answer may not be either-or. Both the health
and medical community have seen miraculous
cures using a combination of healthy food
and supplemental vitamins, although medical
professionals are far more reluctant to admit it.
Interestingly, China’s State Food and Drug
Administration (SFDA) apparently requires very
strict testing and treats supplement approval like
pharmaceuticals.
Synthetic supplements most often contain,
vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino
acids. They are made by mixing chemicals to
replicate naturally occurring vitamins. To create
a supplement from a naturally occurring form,
vitamins or minerals are dehydrated, isolated and
contained in a capsule with fillers such as artificial
coloring, coal tar derivatives, preservatives, sugars
and starches. Vitamin A can even be sourced from
petroleum. Yum. Yeah I’ll have some “coal tar” on
the side please.
Researchers like Dr. Donna F. Smith argue that
your body manufactures the rest of what you need
based on giving it just a small amount in natural
“complex” form. In another recent study, eating
lentils was shown to be more easily absorbed
and utilized source of Iron than a supplement.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements, on the other
hand, have had very good success in preventing
bone loss according to findings published in The
American Journal of Epidemiology.
Many health professionals argue that only
pregnant women and the elderly are candidates
for supplementation outside of what can be
derived from a balanced diet. I’m not so sure. I
would extend that definition to vegetarians and
vegans who are often deficient in Iron, B complex
vitamins, vitamin D (for those in cloudy climates)
amino acids and essential fatty acids which are
primarily found in animal products.
The supplement industry is a $28 billion industry,
so a lot is at stake in this debate. It is also an
industry with controversial regulatory oversight. In
the U.S. the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
does not truly “regulate” the industry. It merely
requests that the key ingredient be approved as
safe, and not in any particular quantity. That’s not
terribly comforting since new research has actually
linked excess antioxidants, such as vitamins A
and E, to cancer in certain profiles. For the FDA,
effectiveness is not a criterion, nor is the safety of
dosage or purity of the product as a whole.
The EU’s Food Supplements Directive of 2002
requires that supplements be demonstrated to
be safe in dosages and in purity. That’s one step
ahead of the U.S, but it was met with vehement
opposition from supplement manufactures
in Europe who said the regulation violated
consumers’ free choice.
synthetic supplements and even those derived
from natural foods. The argument says that our
bodies are not designed to utilize isolated, highly
concentrated forms of vitamins and minerals
outside of their natural carrier. We are meant
to eat the apple containing 1.5 mg of vitamin C
complex, not the 1000 mg of isolated vitamin C
being supplemented to your system.
Absorption and bioavailability are central to this
debate. These terms relate to your body’s ability to
actually process and utilize the nutrients taken in.
Arguments are made both for supplements and real
food.
Most independent researchers and health
professionals argue that so far there is very little
scientific evidence backing the effectiveness of
There’s no doubt that good food is good medicine
but the best way to absorb and utilize it is still
in question. After scouring through countless
unconvincing research studies I tend to agree with
Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition science
and policy at Tufts University Friedman School of
Nutrition.
“Nature is probably better than manufacturers,”
she says.
Amy Selbach is a certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor and
barre instructor from California. She teaches in Westlands and
Runda and has introduced Kenya to the newest workout sweeping
the globe, barre technique. She also consults clients in holistic
health and nutrition. Email her at [email protected]
19
20
Climate, soil,
human care:
thelefty / Shutterstock.com
book review
Ancient ingredients
needed for good wine
by Jebet Chemng’orem-Ahluwalia
15
wine
notes
In both the modern and the
traditional approaches, the craft
of wine-making remains an art
because of the extensive amount
of watching, waiting, monitoring
and passion needed to bring
forth some of the finest taste
experiences.
Modern wine-making involves steel vats and huge
cooling systems, while the traditional approach
involves oak barrels and delicately turning a
bottle by hand -- perhaps only a quarter turn a
day. For both approaches, the terroir (climate, soil
structure) are of utmost importance to the final
product.
Rather than a comparison, I will share with you
a little walk through a typical chateau and its
vineyard.
Wine is the product of a farm, where the
climate, the soil, the vineyard are part of the big
orchestration. The viticulturalist is the farmer who
watches the fruit, right down to managing what he
calls the micro-climate of each grape. He observes.
Too many vine leaves? Too much humidity? Too
much sunlight? He is charged with protecting each
grape on each vine. If he succeeds, phrases like
“1998 Chappelle de la Trinite was a good year,” are
exclaimed by wine lovers and connoisseurs. Great
years are a result of a marriage of perfect weather
and an attentive viticulturalist. A wine harvest is
known world of wine as the vintage.
Winemaking remains
an art of a science,
an elegant weave of
human effort and
nature designed to
stir the simplest of
our senses – taste,
smell and even spirit
In the vintage (the climax of a wine-maker’s
year), grapes are selectively picked. The farmer
watches out for little boys and girls, birds and
prays for sunshine. From the vineyard, the grapes
are de-stalked in an elaborate style referred to as
fouloir egrappoir. The grapes take different routes
depending on whether the wine being made is
white, red or rose. Since this a small space, I will
save this detail for another time.
So in this small chateau, somewhere in France, the
winemaker sends his de-stalked grapes into the
fermentation vat allowing nature to do its work, as
he carefully watches out for too much of anything
like excessive heat. His wine-making style comes
into play here, allowing him to establish various
outcomes by blends of grape varieties and timings.
Meanwhile, in the hot afternoon of the midday’s
sun, pot-au-feu (a beef stew) is cooked to be served
with bread and red wine for the pickers. At this
time, a broker (negociant), the guy responsible
for getting wine into wine stores and all over the
world, arrives at the chateau to get first impressions
of the vintage in preparation of his sale more than
two years forward from his visit. Every chateau
carries its own more specific calendar of events;
another addition to the complex recipe that lands
on your tongue.
From the fermentation vat, known as the cuvier,
the wine is pumped out to another vat where
fermentation is slower and even more careful and
deliberate. In its final stage, it is moved to the
barrels, which imbue flavour, aroma and body
to the wine. The wine-making styles apply here
too, with decisions on whether to use American
Oak or French Oak for the barrels, or even
alternate between both. During this course, the
viniculturalist keeps tasting the wine and observes
whether the maturation is as he forecasted at the
beginning.
Most chateau wines reside here for an additional
two years before being released to a negociant who
may bottle the wine for himself or buy it already
bottled on location. In Bordeaux, no good wine is
drank before two years in the bottle and depending
on the wine level, it could be aged further inside
the bottle or in the barrels comfortably up to 50
years. Bringing us to the end and beginning of
another season of fruit and labour. Winemaking
remains an art of a science, an elegant weave of
human effort and nature designed to stir the
simplest of our senses – taste, smell and even spirit.
Visit The Nairobi Wine Gallery on General Mathenge Road, off
Peponi Road within Le Rustique restaurant, Westlands
email - [email protected]
by Katie Moulton
What makes Kenyans such
good runners? That’s what
Adharanand Finn sets out
to discover the secret in
his book Running with the
Kenyans.
The high-altitude town of Iten is a mecca for long
distance runners. Sitting at 2,400 meters (8,000
feet), the 4,000-person town boasts training camps
for the elite. Boston and New York marathon
winners and Olympic medalists spend their days
running the endless Rift Valley dirt tracks.
A contributor to Runner’s World and an editor at
the Guardian, Finn runs among Kenya’s giants
in hopes of improving his pace. In Running with
the Kenyans, Finn doesn’t just showcase Kenyan
achievements, he examines the factors for why they
succeed. He moves his family from England to Iten
to join in the regime. He eats the local food, sleeps
in the training camps and runs the dusty roads.
“A dusty road stretches into the distance like a
pencil line across the arid landscape. Lions, rhino,
and buffalo roam the plains on either side. But I
haven’t come to Kenya to spot wildlife. I’ve come
to run,” he writes.
Finn doesn’t find just one secret to Kenyan
running dominance. He finds many. And
after countless runs alongside Kenyan harriers,
culminating with an entry in the Lewa Marathon,
Finn discovers the runner within himself.
Part travelogue, part memoir, part instruction,
Running with the Kenyans will inspire you to get
up at dawn and lace up your shoes. It may also get
you to take a closer look at the banners hanging
from Westgate Mall and the sides of Nairobi roads.
The Kenyans pictured are legends. Read Finn’s
book now and you’ll cheer even harder this month
for Kenya’s 2012 Olympic contenders.
Ballantine Books
http://www.ballantinebooks.com/www.ballantinebooks.com
Copyright 2012
21
22
22
23
High-Tech and
Higher Cost:
fitness
Hoodiebuddy:
Heart rate monitor:
Heart rate monitors have been
around for so long I am not
sure they are still considered
high-tech, but a new version with better
accuracy and functionality complete with
corresponding apps to analyze the data is now
on the market called BodyMedia FIT.
Many of my clients with lower back issues are
now able to activate and strengthen hard-toreach muscle groups without needing to get in
compromising and painful positions.
Thera Band:
Old and new ways to
ramp up your routine
by Amy Selbach
Technology has
long been blamed
for our increasingly
sedentary lifestyle,
however in recent
years it has been
redeeming itself
with a range of
options that can
improve exercise
performance,
insight and
experience.
The blissful merger of high-tech and fitness
is finally paying dividends for beginners and
athletes alike. The same damaging effects of
having everything at the push of a button can
also work to our advantage.
The excuse of not having a g ym, a treadmill
or enough space is no longer valid. Now an
entourage of personal trainers or a cache of
workout moves, calorie counters, and sleep
monitors is literally at your fingertips, housed
within your phone or iPad and accessible at
any moment. But cutting edge technolog y is
not limited to your phone. It’s also in clothing,
equipment and video games. Even basic tricks
of the trade, like hand weights and jump ropes,
have received high-tech makeovers.
For trainers, the greatest part about technolog y
is being able to crack the code of the individual
you are working with. The old benchmark of
perceived exertion is actually a deeply f lawed
barometer. I have clients that think they are
dying and we look at their heart rate and it
reads at 120 bpm (usually indicating nothing
more that a brisk walk). Now they realize,
“This is my mind telling me I can’t continue
or don’t like this exercise -- not a biological
impediment.”
This “toy” was first introduced in the 1950s
but has recently made a comeback in the fitness
world for its core, glute and thigh toning
benefits. It is also a great workout for arms!
Fitness professionals have been able to
eliminate much of the guesswork involved in
working with their clients. Now we can track
with certainty how many calories a workout
is burning and how many calories are being
consumed. Certain exercises can bring one
individual to the fat burning zone and not
another. Now with new high-tech measurement
tools that are increasingly accurate we can know
for sure how to give our clients the best workout
for them.
Low-tech tools still play a prominent role in
fitness and still offer some of the best ways to
strengthen, tone and stretch at minimal cost.
Some of these tools are so simple it hurts!
Literally. Try sitting in a squat position and
squeezing a playground ball between your
knees 20 times or try getting in plank with a
ball between your legs and gliding your hand
out one at a time.These low-tech tricks may
be old school but their efficacy will never be
outmoded.
Low Tech and
Low Cost:
Hula Hoop:
What would we look like if we
had never lost our first hula
hoop? Slim, trim and toned .
OK, my favorite part of this
product is its maker … 90-yearold Golden Girl Betty White.
Hilarious, yet it makes so much sense. These
hoodies come with built-in earphones that
attach to the classic hoodie strings and a chord
in the pocket where your iPod or MP3 player
connects. Forget about tangled earphone chords
that get fuzzy after over-use, or worrying about
annoying wires hanging in front of you. Only
one question Betty: What happens if I get too
hot? If your design team needs some help, call
me. I think these things through.
www.hoodiebuddie.com
JumpSnap “Jump Rope”:
These are excellent for travel.
This is a long rubber band that
varies in resistance.
The entire core is activated during this exercise,
making this one of the most underrated
workouts out there. It is very difficult to add
cardio to a core workout, but hooping will also
leave you breathless (a sign that you are burning
fat).
Playground Ball:
This no-tech tool is the most
versatile piece of fitness
equipment there is.
It can serve as an awesome lower back support
for a range of abdominal work or as a strengthtraining tool. This small wonder can help
activate inner thighs, lower abs and hamstrings
when used in sit-ups, planks, squats and more.
Also a larger ball can replace a Pilates ring and
be used to help alignment.
It can simulate Pilates reformer work and it
can be used for both strength training and
stretching. In my barre class, we use them to
work the seat and legs, abs and arms. They can
also replace a yoga strap for stretching and aid
in holding certain yoga poses.
Jumping rope burns more
calories than almost any
exercise out there, but
coordination is an obstacle for
many.
It’s an on-body monitoring system that consists
of an armband monitor, online Activity
Manager, and a free app that tracks calories
and monitors the quality of your sleep (sleep is
one of the most underrated factors in weight
management). The best part is that the entire
device fits around your arm. No annoying chest
straps, which make any exercise lying on your
back uncomfortable.
www.bodymedia.com
Tap and Track:
After downloading about 10
calorie counting and/or food
journaling apps, I can say hands
down this is the best one I have
tried. Its database is really comprehensive so
it is easy to calculate the calories in each meal.
It also allows you to enter your own calorie
count if food you are eating is not found in their
database.
With this new electronic ropeless version of the
jump rope that counts calories, number of rope
swings and takes a user profile, anyone can now
jump rope regardless of how coordinated you
are.
Gliding Discs:
These discs are one of the
few products marketed in an
infomercial that actually work
and are great for travel.
They are simply fabric discs with a band that
attaches to your feet or hands. They also help
to work hard to reach muscle groups such as the
inner and outer thigh. They can also help with
core work when used on your hands.
The journal is exportable to an Excel
spreadsheet, so if you are working with a heath
coach or trainer you can easily email them your
progress. It also tracks your activity and calories
burned.
www.tapandtrack.com
No more whipping yourself in the back and
tripping. I’m in.
www.jumpsnap.com
Amy Selbach is a certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor and
barre instructor from California. She teaches in Westlands and
Runda and has introduced Kenya to the newest workout sweeping
the globe, barre technique. She also consults clients in holistic
health and nutrition. Email her at [email protected]
24
music review
Cassette tapes, yes!
Auto-Tune, no!
by Sharon N’ deritu
There’s something
comforting about
the old, labour
intensive, less
“instant” things in
life. Like a favourite
cotton shirt, now
faded and shapeless.
It’s not something
you would wear in
company, but when
you’re all alone
and just need to be
yourself it comes out
of hiding.
Such is my relationship with music. But it’s
not just the songs, it’s the way I listen to
them -- on cassette tapes. I have a collection
of mixed tapes with my favourite songs. I
love that I can’t just press repeat or shuff le. I
have to patiently wait for the song to end and
then the next one to start. It is like cooking
a good stew. There’s an order and procedure
and everything needs to be given its time to
release its goodness and f lavor.
I have a definite partiality for the things in
life that lean towards the lower technical
spectrum. Not that I do not appreciate the
gadgets and gizmos that Apples, Crackberry,
Samsong and such are churning out every
minute. I’m a big fan of my iPod whenever I’m
out for a long walk. But I will happily take
vinyl records and cassette tapes over MP3s.
The storage may be a pain and I have cartons
of mixed tapes under my bed to prove it, but
I refuse to get rid of any one of them. They
are my babies.
You do not know how much you love a song
until you spend the better part of your
morning painstakingly fixing a kink in a
chewed cassette tape. Yes, I could download
the same music in less time. Don’t judge me;
it’s just not the same.
But it’s not just the storage of music, it’s the
production of it as well. There’s something to
be said for the raw and live performance over
the synthesized and Auto-Tuned*. Have you
had a chance to watch the gumboot dance up
close? The energ y and sound that comes from
a set of sturdy feet, boots and a bin cover
are like nothing I’ve heard that has come
out of a studio recording. While researching
for another article a couple of weeks ago, I
spent my afternoon watching the traditional
dancers and musicians at Bomas of Kenya
winding down and jamming after the
*Auto-Tune uses software to alter the pitch
in vocal and instrumental recordings and
performances. It was originally intended to
disguise or correct off-key inaccuracies and
to allow vocal tracks to be perfectly tuned
despite originally being slightly off-key.
Music industry insiders say many of the
world’s top starts use Auto-Tune, though
some singers proudly refuse to use it.
afternoon shows that are put on mostly for
giggly student groups and tourists. There
was something unrefined and riveting about
the impromptu jam session.
You do not
know how much
you love a song
until you spend
the morning
painstakingly
fixing a kink
in a chewed
cassette tape.
The un-rehearsed, whimsical, made-up
songs reminded me why it is that I love the
simple, unsynthesized sound of obokanos,
the thud of the hand-beaten drum, the
rattle-shake-shake of the kayamba and jiggle
of the leg shakers. But it is not limited to
Africana music. Listen to the vibrance and
energ y of the brass, wind and percussions
found in Mariachi music or the Indian
sitars, tabla and tambura. Sure, the insk,
insk, insk, duff, duff, duff have their place
in music but I’ll take the rough, raw and
charming any day.
Shazz (Sharon N’deritu) – interior designer by day, singer for
Good Luck Jonathan jazz band by night, Shazz would walk over hot
coals to save her music collection… if she could just find it. Born
a little too late to have been one of the Wailers, she is often found
staring into her chai lattes plotting her debut as a video dancer
in the one musical genre that loves their fuller-figured dancers;
Lingala.
25
25
26
finding himself in the arms of the curvaceous
pickpocket Olive (Terry Pheto). True to film
noir, Jack is irresistibly drawn to trouble and
accepts Twala’s offer, only to find out the
mark is Twala’s crooked father ( John Kani).
Drama inevitably ensues.
african film review
how to steal
2 Million
by Wangari Muikia
Noir is the apt
description for this
film. Dark, gritty
scenes full of angst,
with the promise of
danger around each
corner. Hookers,
hoodlums, addicts
and crooked cops
inhabit this world,
adding to the
melancholic drift
that sets us on the
plot’s journey.
Thus the hook – one last burglary to get us
all out of this mess. All these elements and
more can be found in Charile Vundla’s How
to Steal 2 Million.
Jack (Menzi Ngubane), jailed for five long
years for a burglary gone wrong, finally
comes out with one goal. Going straight.
But the road to honesty turns out to be
treacherous. How else could it be when
Twala (Rapulana Seiphemo), his partner in
the crime that put him in jail in the first
place comes back with a tempting proposal:
one last crime to propel Jack well into his
original plan to go straight by setting up a
construction company. But there are demons
haunting Jack.
In his absence, Jack’s girlfriend Kim ended
up married to Twala (awkward!) and is a shell
of her former self. But Jack bounces back,
27
movie review
apps to live by
Tahir Karmali
reviews
How to steal 2 million makes the most of
its limited resources to put forth a fantastic
film showing us another side of the still
unfamiliar Johannesburg. The storytelling
is gratifying and the final scene has both the
vindication and inevitable disappointment
that are the hallmarks of film noir. All
the good guys win, but not in the way the
audience expects. Menzi Ngubane does a
good job of bringing the brooding man
back to film, making Jack a mysterious and
dogged but likeable character. Terry Pheto’s
performance is also convincing and makes
the plot twist all the more shocking. A stellar
performance by the cast overall.
In April this year, How to Steal 2 Million
won Best Film and Best Achievement in
Editing at the Africa Movie Academy Awards
(AMAA). Terry Pheto received the award for
Best Supporting Actress for her role. With
four awards, How to Steal 2 Million was the
most feted film of the night. This is a great
film to catch with a group of friends. Fans
of gangster movies will definitely appreciate
this one.
Screen on the Green will be screening this
film at Kuona Trust Center for Visual
Arts. Tickets are available athttp://www.
ticketsasa.com/www.ticketsasa.com. Check
their website, http://www.sotgfilms.com/
www.sotgfilms.com, for the dates and other
details.
Wangari Muikia is an avid traveler, economist, foodie, and film
enthusiast always up to try anything at least once. Tweet her at
@screenonthgreen
Mombasa Road, Behind Subaru Kenya,
PO Box 11040-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
Phones: +254 20 3579 270/1, +254 20 261 2488,
+254 736 840 084 , +254 728 275 523
Email: [email protected]
Executive Furniture,
Open Plan Cable Managed Furniture,
One can gauge from the number of
sitcoms and cult TV dramas finding
their way onto the big screen that we’re
not going to see the last of TV remakes
anytime soon. Some fare better than others. This
month’s movie review - “The Three Stooges” - fares a
little like Marmite: You either love it or you hate it.
making new baby pics
look old with Instagram
Julia isn’t yet 1, but her
pictures already have
that worn, faded look
you might find in a
family picture album
buried deep in the
closet.
“Instagram is extremely simple to use and allows
you to add a bit of artistic flare to an ordinary
picture,” Nick says.
Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share photos
taken with the ever-present camera most of us now
carry: the mobile phone. The free app allows you
to apply a filter to transform the image, giving it an
old-time feel like an old Polaroid image. The pics
can then be uploaded onto multiple sharing sites.
They also like the Instagram effect, the one that
makes Julia’s first year photos look like they’re
from the 1970s.
“The Three Stooges” is no different. The Farrelly
brothers apply their box office-winning formula to a
classic vaudeville comedy act, and in all honesty, it fits
their type of humor. Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe),
Sean Hayes (Larry) and Will Sasso (Curly) bring the
modern-day trio to life with an opening vignette landing
them at the front door of an orphanage.
The storyline has a mission in mind for them - raising
$800,000 to save a bankrupt orphanage (Blues Brothers,
anyone?). Predictably, the stooges land themselves in
knee-deep trouble thanks to the villainous schemes of
Lydia (Sofia Vargara). Lydia offers to pay the three what
they need in return for offing her nerdy husband, who
not-so-coincidentally was once an orphan.
That’s the Instagram effect
Julia’s father, Nick Handler, is the director of
Kenyan operations for One Acre Fund, an NGO
that helps small-scale farmers. Nick and his wife
Lyndsay like to use Instagram because the app
allows you to instantly share with friends who are
interested in your photos. As Nick says, it’s more
targeted and more low-key than a Facebook post.
The Farrelly brothers wrote and directed this comedy,
and I suspect part of the box office success of the film is
owed to their reputation for creativity. Their typically
hilarious end result cuts between the uncomfortably
ridiculous and politically incorrect. Think “There’s
Something About Mary” and “Shallow Hal.”
Instagram works on the iPhone,
iPad, iPod Touch and Android
camera phones running 2.2.
Facebook recently made an offer
to aquire Instagram, which
has only 13 employees, for $1
billion. The purchase awaits U.S.
government approval.
The plot aside, the film aims to resurrect the idiotic
slapstick style and humor that the classic Three Stooges
were famous for. Kids are likely to love the film, but
movie-goers in search of nostalgia are likely to be
disappointed. Here’s a hint as to why: A cameo from the
cast of low-brow reality show Jersey Shore.
The interpretation of the original characters by
Diamantopoulos, Hayes and Sasso is the movie’s saving
grace. The nyuk-nyuks, pokes and deliberate clumsiness
are well timed. But what I found is that when childish
pranks are the only glue holding a movie together, you
don’t want to watch very long.
For more information on film times and what to watch
log on to flix.co.ke
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28
29
the other room
Artlife Kitchen
Artlife Lounge
Artlife Lounge
Absolut
Dawa
by Chichi Kerretts Wambua
Ingredients
• 2 large measures of Absolut vodka.
• Crushed or cubed ice.
apple and rhubarb crumble
• 1 whole lime, in quarters with skin on.
Ingredients:
Preparation:
Directions:
• 1 bunch (425g) rhubarb, cut into 2cm
• Preheat oven to 180°C. Put
•
Put lime and 2-3 tablespoons of honey
rhubarb, apple, sugar, orange
into a whisky tumbler.
• 3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
rind and juice into a rectangular
•
Crush limes and honey, add ice and
• 2 tablespoons caster sugar
ovenproof dish (26cm x 16cm).
pour in the vodka.
• Finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange
Stir until well-combined.
•
Stir or shake well and serve
pieces
• 3/4 cup self-raising flour, sifted
• 1 dawa stick, twisted in creamed (thick)
honey.
• Combine flour and muesli in a
large bowl. Add butter. Using
• 100g butter, chilled, cubed
your fingertips, rub butter into
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
flour and muesli mixture. Stir
• 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly
in sugar and hazelnuts. Sprinkle
Enjoy this simple cold-weather
treat, while you relax in front
of your warm fireplace.
over rhubarb and apple mixture.
Roasted Marshmallows
• Bake for 45 minutes or until
crumble is golden brown. Serve
immediately.
• Skewer marshmallows with
wooden sticks
• Place in fire until they turn golden
brown and serve
Submit your thoughts and comments on [email protected]
assume no responsibility in effects risen therefrom. Material is
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without
submitted at the sender’s risk and the publishers & compilers
written permission of the editor is strictly prohibited.
of the magazine cannot accept responsibility for accidental
TO ADVERTISE
Email [email protected] or call 0739 522100
While the greatest care has been taken in compiling this
loss or damage.
publication, the publishers and compilers of this magazine
For further information call (0)20 4451887 www.greyowl.co.ke
Printing by Blackrain
is created and published by GreyOwl &
Managing Editors
Katie Moulton
Jason Straziuso
I have my own, shorter definition: Technology is
an advancement that improves life by making it
simpler.
I imagine the grievous mistake many parents may
have made when they sacrificially saved to purchase
their children a much coveted iPhone, PlayStation
or tablet, only to discover that meaningful
conversations become a rarity. Parents can be left
reminiscing the days when they would hang out
with their children and laugh the time away as
interactions with plugged-in children become
increasingly scarce.
What happened to that feeling you got when
posting a letter to your lover and waiting in
anticipation for their response? What happened
to the excitement of meeting an old friend in your
neighborhood restaurant without the buzzing
interruptions? Many of us now find ourselves on
Skype, Gchat, Facebook and Twitter at all hours.
t
Editor in Chief
Jebet Chemng’orem - Ahluwalia
Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling life
has overtaken you? The Twitter feed cruises by,
work emails pile high, and everyone always knows
where you are thanks to that iPhone or BlackBerry
in your pocket.
What is technology? The dictionary says it’s the
branch of knowledge that deals with the creation
and use of technical means and their interrelation
with life and society.
• 3/4 cup Muesli
chopped
Is technology making
life simpler or more
complicated? For me, it’s
a bit of both.
There’s another area of life where speed is going
up and quality is going down: Fast food. To-go
chicken and hamburgers may not have caught up
with you yet, but they will in the coming years.
The time to cook a meal and sit down with family
is dwindling. Instead we are being bombarded with
gadgets that claim to make life easier and save time,
yet they seem to be stealing our time and health
away.
I imagine that many people may not remember
when they last sat down with their entire family
and shared a meal. It’s at dinner time that the
husband may be too engaged with the latest
political fight on TV , the child may be surfing
away on the internet and the wife may be trying to
engage with an old friend over Skype while their
daylight hours line up.
I am for technology. As I said before, it does
improve life. But it’s time to find the right balance.
By balance I mean spending the time to reconnect
with one’s self and the important people around
us rather than spending more time on the shiny
screen.
fantastic vacation with her Skype friends abroad!
Can you too use technology to not only improve
your lives but also your loves? My advice to you:
Do both. Make life simpler and your relationships
richer.
Even the tech whizzes
at Apple know that
the iPhone needs to be
switched off sometimes.
When Apple released the iPhone’s
latest operating system last month, they
included a new feature to help beat back
information overload: Do Not Disturb.
I recall when my friend went on holiday but forgot
to leave his iPad behind. He was too busy out in
the bush trying to firefight office drama instead of
dancing to the fireflies in the night sky. The new
gadget seemed to get the best of his time.
When on leave I turn off my phone. I don’t think
my business will come to a grinding halt without
me being there. Is it possible for you to just get
away and read a great book outdoors without
having that jittery feeling that you haven’t read
your Facebook feed since morning? Can we say
no to the reality TV show, breaking news and
steady stream of text messages? Is it possible to be
“present” in your relationships? Or are we evolving
to become technological junkies?
My view: Let’s embrace technology and its
advances, yet at the same time maintain a needed
balance. Have the internet-addicted daughter
use her new iPhone to surf for recipes mom and
daughter can make together. The husband could
meet friends in person to catch up on the political
scene over a drink. The wife could save for a
When Do Not Disturb is activated,
the iPhone won’t ring during a call
or vibrate during a text message. The
phone’s owner will be notified of
incoming calls and texts after the Do
Not Disturb function is disengaged.
It’s the perfect feature to engage at
the movie theater, important business
meetings or a night in with that family.
Chichi Kerretts Wambua is passionate about developing and
inspiring people to exude in their talents. She consults, coaches
and trains individuals to be motivated within their personal and
organization roles, starting with creating an attitude shift towards
experiences and relationships.
30
31
my Nairobi
Art
Nairobi is a spectacular mishmash of old and new. Sparkling
luxury hotels and Titanic-sized Hummers share space with
handcarts, on-their-last-leg matutus and the occasional Maasai
tribesman with walking stick in hand. Join photographer Louis
Majanja for a high-tech/low-tech visual tour of Nairobi.
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The Chronic Library Exhibit ion:
Goethe- Institut, July 2nd- 27th, 1pm-6p m,
020 222 4640. An installat ion of posters,
books, journals , music and films, curated
and presented by Kwani Trust, that trace the
researc h and evolutio n of the South African
newspa per Chimure nga Chronic .
Kenya Visual Artists Networ k Exhibit ion:
Nairobi Gallery, until July 22nd, 020 216566.
Creating a vital voice for artists to influenc e
good governa nce.
Power of Unity Art Exhibit ion:
Nairobi Gallery, until July 22nd, 020 3741424,
0721 308485, 0733 296142. By the Kenya
Visual Artists Network with the aim of creating
a vital voice for artists to influenc e good
governa nce.
Look and Buy; an arts and craft market.
Happen ing on Saturday 7th July 2012 from
10 - 5p at Sarakas i Dome. Free entry...lo ts of
Kenyan jewelry, fashion and craft, music and
food.
:
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Mukseic
e XXXV
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ts & W in
b a V il la g
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C o c k ta il
N it e
En joy o u
r a m a zin
g co
li s te n in g
to D J Z a la c k ta il m e n u w h il e
le
Tu e s d ay
fr o m 8:3 0 m b e ats , eve ry
ti ll late.
S a ls a N it
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Da n c e th
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7p m w it h
T h u rs d ay
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Ar tcaffe
Jazz Nite
Liste n to the smo oth
soun ds of jazz with the
Fou r Win ds band ever y
Wed nesd ay even ing at
Artc affe, Wes tgate and
ever y Sun day even ing at
Artc affe, Villa ge Mar ket
Theatre
Kumsaka Kofia Nyekundu Performance:
Narumoro Disabled Children’s Home,
July 1st, free, [email protected] space.org.
Celebrating 30 years since the home was
founded, the children will be the main
performers.
Utengano & Enemy of the People:
Kenya National Theatre, until July 14th,
9am-1pm, sh180, 0722 782215, 0724 040777,
0721 288716, 0733 782215. Brought to you
by Fanaka Arts Theatre and Jicho Four
Productions.
To view more of Louis Majanja’s amazing photography of
Nairobi City visit his blog: dailystruggle.tumblr.com
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Quality health plans & benefits
Healthier living
Financial well-being
Intelligent solutions

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