Books Issues Non-Fiction publishing Reviews

You will need a handkerchief to read this book

TITLE:  Best Before ‘09

AUTHOR: Sharon Gwada


REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

AVAILIBITY: Nuria Bookstore

‘There are two endings in life…; the ending you want and the ending you get’

Grief is that thing people tell you to handle. That time will heal all wounds. Grief is that thing we all experience at some point and for some people it is just easier to not talk about it. Hoping that with time you will feel numb enough not to feel how painfully heart wrenching the pain was. Still is.

Sharon Gwada starts her story lightly. She is just a normal girl from a normal family. A happy family. Worrying about friends, homework, her siblings, stealing mangoes and trying to stay out of getting a lashing from her parents. You can feel how laughter dances in her walls. The dreams they have. The joy. The hopes. And then tragedy strikes.

The family learns about hospitals, kidney failures, complicated names for drugs, and mobilising family and friends to contribute to help medical bills. Through it all, you cannot help but keep your fingers crossed. Hoping against all hope that they get the ending they want. The ending you hope for them. When they get these unhappy endings, your heart breaks too.

Fiction gives readers a reprieve. You can console yourself that the story is just something an insane writer came up with. Not with Best before ’09. There is no such comfort. Someone once said that death feels painful when it is someone you know or love. When a stranger is carried away in a coffin, you feel nothing. You are just glad it is not someone you know.  But through this book, we know the brothers.  As we heave our way through the book, we are sad that they did not make it.

Research shows that one in three of all adults suffer from chronic conditions. This book is just a drop in the ocean of what families are going through. The love, the pain and the dedication of mothers and caregivers is felt in this book. You also cannot help but marvel at the strength it took the author to pen this story.

For readers looking for amazing Kenyan stories, this comes highly recommended. It is emotional but unputdownable. For criers, plenty of tissues will be recommended too. May those who left before us rest in peace. And may those who loved them breathe easier.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

Books Fiction Reviews

A timeless book that explores family dynamics

TITLE: Whispers from Vera

AUTHOR: Goretti Kyomuhendo

PUBLISHER: Africa Writers Trust

REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

AVAILABILITY: Nuria and Cheche Bookstores

Whispers from Vera is a well-crafted, breezy story, brilliantly told by Goretti Kyomuhendo. Told in your best friend, casual tone voice, the story tells the life of Vera, a 29-year-old woman trying to find love in Kampala.  The corporate type, Vera is intent on finding love and settling down. Meeting Eric seems like an answered prayer and she is ready to settle down and have a family.

However, all is not as it seems and Eric is hiding a secret that may end up being their undoing. With her bubble of a perfect marriage burst, Vera struggles with coping with this new information, raising a family and trying to climb up the corporate ladder.

The book explores the various challenges women go through in finding love, raising their families, and growing their careers. The book also explores family dynamics that are a huge part of our lives. Set in Uganda and with the enrichment of the local language, the book has this distinctive local feel. However, Goretti has also managed to give the book a modern and timeless feel that makes the book a classic. Set in the 2000s the book is significant now as it was then. Coupled with the high rise in the number of career women, you can say that the book is needed much more now.

The book has also managed to cover the perspectives of different characters although Vera is the main character. Through Vera’s perspective, we also get a view of how other families live and cope with their dysfunctions. I would say that Whispers from Vera is that book that every woman needs to read.

But I would be very wrong and biased. It is a book that everyone needs to read. Both men and women.

The book’s greatest strength lies in the ease through which the author tells the story. The chapters are short and the flow from one chapter to the next is smooth and exciting. For avid readers, this will be a fast read. For people with reading stumps or those struggling to read, the book is perfect for them too.

Additionally, the book can be found at the ekitabu audio app. Having read and also listened to it I can say that the reader did an excellent job in capturing the author’s voice. You can order the audio version of Whispers from Vera, here.

From the local dialect in pronunciation of the local words to the flow of the story. You feel as if Vera herself is telling you her story. The audio is perfect for those long solo trips and in less than four hours you can actually finish the whole book.

Happy reading.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

Books Fiction Issues Reviews

A bloodless revolution is possible

TITLE: Inheritance

AUTHOR: Daid Mulwa

PUBLISHER: Longhorn Publishers

REVIEWER: Thomas King Oloo

African countries have experienced a protracted period of foreign dominance even when it is evident that they can rely on themselves. Many a wise man has said that we were better off with colonisers controlling us than we are with self-rule.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Inheritance is based in Kutula colony in its earliest years; particularly during the dying years of colonisation. King Kutula prides himself in the fact that Africa may be poor but it is a happy kingdom that knows nothing like suffering. Suffering, the king postulates; is a foreign idea that is finding relevance in Kutula. The text has a direct relevance with Kenya of the 1950s. The Kenya of Sir Evelyne Barring as Governor and the likes of Jomo Kenyatta, Oginga Odinga, Martin Shikuku et al, striving to gain control over the country.

Drama begins to take shape when Lacuna Kasoo takes over as leader of the people. The colonisers settle on Lacuna after studying him and it is laughable how he is equated to Nero and Calligula all wrapped into one.

Education has been weaponised to control the mind of the native. The native is to be lost in the libraries, buried deep trying to find knowledge that has evaded even the best minds. So is the western religion that bends the mind of the native to accommodate a lot of the atrocities perpetrated by the white men.

The text harnesses creativity, tapping into the rich background of a people, so deeply moved by issues of leadership, to a point where any gathering must always be guided by conversations of leadership-good or bad. Lacuna Kasoo ascends the throne at a time his people crave for a leadership fashioned in the manner his father envisioned. However, he becomes the very serpent the people never imagined. Mulwa molds the image of an African Nero, the very choice of the White man; a leader so engrossed in amassing wealth so much so that he is lost in it the same way he is drunk with power.

Lulu, Tamima’s daughter is at pain, she has to drop out of school since education has become so expensive in Kutula. Education ought to be what every learner gets in the most painless way yet here, it is a commodity far too expensive.

Throughout the text, satire has taken center-stage in opening the window through which we see the institution of leadership, responsible adulthood, poverty, elections, corruption among many issues in the society.

Bengo lives in constant fear, his brother has to constantly check if the leader’s men are following him. It becomes a great concern when one Robert Rollerstone expresses shock that the leader wants ammunition to maim and kill his people. The text examines premise for business with Africans, the imbalanced nature of the business environment and the sad reality that Africa has not a single thing to offer the rest of the world.

The closing pages of the book give a beautiful summation that is to a greater extent a resolution for the problems that have gored the mind of the reader down the journey of Inheritance. It is the young, through Sangoi, that give the country a sensible solution. It is the academicians, in the person of Sangoi, that give the people hope. It is women, through the substantive example of Sangoi, that lead the people to a meaningful solution. The money advanced to the leaders and not used beyond the walls of the leaders’ palaces will be repaid by the leaders themselves. The writer lends Sangoi his opinion on the issues at hand causing her to make elaborate proposals on foreign debts among African countries, culture and even Neo-colonisation.

Mulwa teaches us that we can have a revolution that is completely devoid of bloodshed. We can correct our mistakes as a people without feuding. It is through Sangoi’s call for peace that we read logic; the fact that it is a woman that gives it the weight that twenty first century ideologies ought to fashion themselves along.

Thomas Babs Oloo is an instructor in literature in English working with young boys and girls.

Books Featured Non-Fiction Personalities Reviews

Criminals eventually ‘see with their mouths’

TITLE: My Life in Prison

AUTHOR: John Kiriamiti

PUBLISHER: East African Educational Publishers

REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

Following the sensation that was My Life in Crime, My Life in Prison tells the horror that was prison life for Jack Zollo, the writer of the two books.

Fortunately, prison life is the kind of life most people will be fortunate enough not to experience. Through this book, we get a feel of how prison life is… or rather was during the time the author was imprisoned.

Serving 20 years in jail with 48 strokes of the cane, Jack Zollo (Kiriamiti) lands in Kamiti Maximum Prison unceremoniously. He does not adapt well to prison life and it takes being beaten into unconsciousness and a friend simply referred to as GG to help him come to terms with his sentence. However, he does not settle into prison life without attempting an escape. 

He is later transferred to Naivasha Maximum Prison, where he serves the rest of his prison term under inhumane conditions.

It is difficult for someone who has never been in prison to grasp the concept of lack of freedom. Zollo’s time in prison is made worse by the conditions they are subjected to, which include the 1972 prison massacre.

In a simple yet intriguing manner, John Kiriamiti tells his story leaving the reader enthralled from the beginning to the end. Throughout the book he shows us how crime can lead to unbearable punishments.

Additionally, I love how most of the questions raised in his first book, My Life in Crime are answered. Kiriamiti’s first book left readers with plenty of questions and this book gives the reader closure. A painful, necessary, raw ending.

My Life in Prison is a necessary book especially for young people who are tempted to use shortcuts to get rich quickly. As Jack Zollo says, when the law catches up with them, they will see with their mouth.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

Books Non-Fiction Personalities publishing Releases Reviews

Rehema Kiteto’s journey of daring

TITLE: Daring

AUTHOR: Rehema Malemba Kiteto

GENRE: Memoir

PUBLISHER: The Writers Guild-Kenya

REVIEWER: Kelvin Jaluo Shachile

Coming of age novels must be among the best books we recommend to teenagers and young adults. My assumption for this has always been that coming of age novels are books and stories that allow these young people to look at their lives at the same time reflect on the stories and characters they read about. But then that is fiction, it might be a great reflection of their lives but there is a thin line between those stories and the realities they encounter in their lives.

I have thought for days since I first read Rehema Kiteto’s new memoir titled “Daring” and I have settled to declare it a coming of age story in full realness.

Kenyan author and administrator, Rehema Kiteto made news some years back after her appointment as the youngest administrator in the country at just the age of 24. Having known her for years since I worked with her on our first book “Hell in the Backyard and Other stories” published by Queenex Publishers in 2019, I celebrated this milestone for her.

Days later, as news spread even wider and curiosity in the country spread in wonder of who this mysterious girl was, I started receiving calls and emails from people to get a comment about her. That scared not only me but others close to her.

Some people had theories of how she might have got the job while others remained in awe of her life for they knew her somehow. Daring is a story the country has been waiting for. She writes about her life from childhood to the government administrator she is today. Personalised enough that we get to learn about her encounters with people, love, expectations, disappointments, her blossoming and becoming.

She answers the questions the public had for her since her appointment while situating her story to remind us that it was not an accident she got here. It is actually something that was long overdue. With the right qualifications, experience and values, Rehema’s arrival into the public scene was not an overnight success, it is as she writes, a journey of daring.

She however clarifies that what people said about her did not concern her and the misinterpretations are not something to address. She wrote Daring to dare others to journey on with strength and resilience.

She writes that “My concern was for the young people who might read those online blogs, believe them and throw away their tools of hard work.”  Daring is not only a promising book for teenagers and young adults, it is great for general readership with a promise to resurrect hope in readers who might have in anyway been threatened by the quality of Kenyan self-published books in this recent while. The most exceptional coming of age memoir I have read so far.

The 197 pages long memoir is among the best self-published books I have ever read from any Kenyan. The skillful craft and the way the publisher upheld the integrity and standards of the industry warmed my heart as a book lover. Launched on 25th May of 2024, this new book within a very short time has found itself in the hands of very many people and in places I had never seen memoirs being celebrated, even the Senate of Kenya. I dare say, a well-received memoir from a young person in Kenya threatening to become a national bestseller.

Kelvin Shachile is a writer and curator. He co-authored Hell in the Backyard and other stories (Queenex Publishers, 2019). His writing has appeared in; The Armageddon and Other Stories anthology, A Country of Broken Boys anthology and The Best New African Poets 2018 anthology. Shachile has been featured and published by some of Africa’s finest literary platforms including Agbowo’, Writers Space Africa, Kalahari Review, Akewi’ and elsewhere. Long listed for African Writers Awards and Shortlisted for the Wakini Kuria Prize in 2019. He has worked for Lolwe and briefly for Agbowo’. He is well known for his pamphlet the Game of Writing published and distributed by African Writers Development Trust in 2019, which was reviewed as ‘a bible for new African writers.’ He currently serves on the editorial board of Fiery Scribe Review.

Books Culture Issues Non-Fiction Personalities Releases Reviews

Long walk to citizenship: the Nubi story in Uganda

TITLE: The Odyssey of the Nubi: From soldiers of the British Empire to Full Citizens in Uganda

AUTHOR: Moses Ali

PUBLISHER: Jescho Publishing House

REVIEWER: Mbugua Ngunjiri

AVAILABILITY: Nuria Bookstores

Uganda, as a country, has had a chequered history marked by leadership struggles informed by much bloodletting. For Kenyans, the much they know about the journey of Uganda to what it is today, is limited to the personalities that have been occupied leadership positions and to an extent, the communities they came from.

These individuals include, Edward Mutesa, Milton Obote, Idi Amin and current president Yoweri Museveni. While the communities where these leaders hail from are known, there is, however, one Ugandan community that has largely escaped the attention of Kenyans, probably due to the fact that none of them has ever scaled to top leadership position in that country.

The Nubi community has however played a larger-than-life role in the history of Uganda, even preceding the advent of colonialism. For the right or wrong reasons, the Nubi community in Uganda have featured centrally in shaping the history of the East African Nation.

The history of the Nubi in Uganda is as colourful and as chequered as that of the country. Above all else, theirs has been a story full of trials, tribulation and betrayal. It is not until Museveni came into power through a protracted bush war, that the Nubi found peace and recognition.

Moses Ali, a retired general in the Ugandan army, has put together a book that traces the roots of the Nubi, from Sudan, during the pre-colonial times, their role in midwifing the both the colonial and post-colonial Uganda sates, to the present.

The Odyssey of the Nubi: From soldiers of the British Empire to Full Citizens in Uganda, is a recommended read for anyone keen on knowing the other side of the Uganda away from the mutesas, obotes, Amins and Musevenis.

General Ali’s book gives a different – one might argue, refreshing – perspective of Uganda. When Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe famously said that ‘until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter’, he must have had the unsung contribution of the Nubi in the making of Uganda, in mind.

One story that has been told over and over again is the contribution of Rwandan refugees, who joined Museveni in liberating Uganda from the chokehold of Obote II and Tito Okello and their murderous band of soldiers. The story of the Rwandan refugees would have remained in the footnotes of history, had those soldiers not fought their way into power in Rwanda.

The story of the Rwandan refugees, mainly Tutsis, led by Paul Kagame, would not be as celebrated as it is today, had they not brought down the genocidal regime of Juvenal Habyarimana. Similarly, the story of the Nubi’s contribution to Museveni’s liberation of Uganda, would not be known had Gen Ali elected not to write this book.

It is therefore safe to say that the Nubi, through Gen Ali, are the proverbial lions that learnt to write and therefore managed to celebrate their contribution in shaping modern Uganda into what it is today.

When Obote, propped up by Tanzania’s president, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, came back for a second stint as Ugandan president, he embarked on a negative campaign that sought to exterminate the Nubi, whose soldiers he blamed for backing up Idi Amin, when he ousted him (Obote) in a military coup in 1972.

Many Nubi’s lost their lives, while others fled to exile, in the hands of Obote’s troops, after he came back to power, via an election in 1980, which Gen Ali dismisses as a sham in his book. The author, who at one time was a finance minister in Amin’s regime, fled into exile in Sudan when Obote came back to power.

He writes that Amin sacked him and had sent assassins to finish him off

When Obote took his revenge campaign to West Nile, the homeland of the Nubi in Uganda, Gen Ali and others, who had served in Amin’s army, decided to push back when they formed UNRF (Uganda National Rescue Front), thereby creating a safe haven for their kinsmen in the region.

Museveni was at the same time, also waging war against Obote. Much later, Museveni and his National Resistance Army formed a pact with UNRF, which ushered them into power. The book explains that the Nubi in UNRF, courtesy of having career soldiers within its ranks, had the potential to capture state power in Uganda, only that it was hindered by internal wrangles.

General Ali currently occupies the office of second deputy prime minister as well as deputy leader of government in Uganda.

As book’s title suggests, the Nubi have struggled with the issue of citizenship in subsequent Ugandan governments. They finally achieved their citizenship dream with the enactment of the 1995 constitution.

When the book was launched in Kenya on Friday May 11, the Alliance Française library was filled with members of the Nubi community based in Kenya. The deliberations, inevitably, touched on the citizen status of the Nubi in Kenya.

Like their Ugandan counterparts, the Nubi of Kenya arrived as soldiers with the British imperialists, helping them establish the Kenyan colony. As a way of appreciation, the colonialists allocated the Nubi about 4,000 acres in present day Kibra. Out of the original 4,000 acres, the Kenyan government gave them title deed to 288 acres only, following years of agitation.

The Nubi of Kenya have made a petition to President William Ruto, who promised to look into the issue of getting them recognised as an ethnic community in Kenya. They are now awaiting a positive presidential announcement on December 12, during Jamhuri Day celebrations.

Books Fiction Personalities Reviews

70-year-old medic pens archaeological thriller

When Dan Kairo says he is a Mau Mau detainee it is somewhat difficult to believe his assertion. For one, he was born in June 1954, while the State of Emergency, that ushered in mass detentions of Kikuyus, had been declared a year before.

“I was two months old, still on my mother’s back, when my parents were detained,” he explains. “My mother and I went to a detention facility in Limuru, while my father was hauled to the Athi River Detention Camp.”

As a result of his one-year stint as a Mau Mau baby detainee, Kairo is a paid up member of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association and has receipts to prove it.

At the time of their detention, Kairo’s father was a headmaster at a school ran by the Karing’a movement, which had defied colonialists and Christian missionaries by establishing independent churches and schools that incorporated Gikuyu culture in their teachings. When the State of Emergency was declared, these schools were shut down by the colonial authorities.

Kairo’s father was deemed guilty by association.

While Kairo and his mother were released from their incarceration after one year, his father came out of detention in 1960. “When my father came out of detention, I was in Standard One; I could not believe it when I was told that he was my father,” he recounts. “This was due to the fact that we had been told that he had died in detention.”

By virtue of being a headmaster before detention, Kairo’s father was a man of means and had a number of pieces of land to his name in his home area of Nyathuna. He lost all that since land consolidation was done when he was still in detention.

That setback in his early life did not prevent Kairo from making it in life. He is a trained medical doctor, who later veered in the world of pharmaceuticals, before settling into real estate. That is not all, Kairo, who is turning 70 in June, recently opened a new chapter into his colourful life, by becoming a published author.

At an age when his peers are in semi-retirement, Kairo took pen and paper and wrote an engrossing archaeological thriller, whose publication he funded. He worked with Mystery Publishers, who offered him editorial, design and printing services.

His book Sibiloi, is a fictional story of a group of scientists, who set up camp among the Amalek, a community found in Northern Kenya, where they make a discovery that has the potential of shocking the whole world.

This discovery, once unveiled, will turn, on its head, the story of creation as the world knows it.

It all starts when a sacred belt, stolen from the Amalek, finds its way to a pawn shop in London and acquired by a collector, who is also an archaeologist.

The collector soon discovers that this is not an ordinary belt. So explosive is the mystery held by the ancient belt that some people are willing to kill to ensure it is not unveiled to the world.

The sacred belt, the Amalek elders explain, is part of what their ancestor’s gods bequeathed them, and the complete information is stored in caves on the edges of Sibiloi National Park.

The scientists and the Amalek elders hammer out a deal; the scientists get access to the secret caves for research purposes, in return to handing sacred belt back to the community.

One thing leads to another and the book comes to an explosive end, literally. You would have to read the book know what transpired. The book is truly edge-of-the-seat stuff. 

Back to the Mau Mau detention story: “While in detention, my father took up teaching fellow detainees, a job that paid him one shilling a day. At the time of his release, he had had saved up sh2,700,” explains Kairu. “He used the money to buy a seven-acre piece of land adjacent to the school he used to teach.”

It is ironical that despite having worked as a teacher, while in detention, by colonial authorities, the same colonial government refused to give him a teaching job after he was freed from detention. By this time, the school had been taken over by the government and renamed Kahuho DEB Primary School.

Two years after Kenya gained independence, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president visited Kahuho and expressed desire to upgrade the school into a secondary school. “For it to be upgraded to Kahuho Uhuru High School, the institution required additional land, and that is how my father moved to Nyandarua, where he bought a larger piece of land and settled his family,” explains Kairo.

When his family relocated to Nyandarua, Kairo was in Standard Seven, so he was left behind with his grandmother, as he completed his education. “I later joined Dagoretti High School, which was quite a distance from my grandmother’s place. Being a day scholar, I ended up staying with a relative, who operated a food joint in Uthiru,” says Kairo. “It was a two-roomed affair and we would sleep on the ground in the other room, which also served as the store for things like charcoal.”

As a result, young Kairo found himself with time to spare, time he used to frequent social joints, singing and dancing to Lingala music, which was the craze in town.

One of the patrons of those social joints worked as a driver at Kabete Vet Lab. “I knew the man since we used to pass through his farm, going to school,” recalls Kairo. “Every time he emerged from his drinking joint, he would see me hanging around and ask me to help him push his bicycle across Naivasha Road, as he was already drunk.”

One day, as Kairo was helping the man with his bike, he sought to know what a boy in school uniform was doing hanging around drinking joints. “I told him my story and he said that he wouldn’t wish to see me to ending up as a drunk, like him. When we got to his home, he told his wife that I would henceforth be staying at his home,” explains Kairo adding the man’s decision to accommodate him saved his education.

He kept touch with his benefactor’s family and would later take care of him when he was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital, where Kairo was working a medical intern. 

Kairo finished his ‘O’ Levels at Dagoretti and proceed to Kenyatta College, now Kenyatta University, for his ‘A’ Levels. He later joined the University of Nairobi’s School of Medicine. “I practiced as a medical doctor for a few years but left to join the pharmaceutical industry, where I worked for twenty years,” he explains, adding that he later shifted to real estate.

Sibiloi is available at Nuria Bookstore.

Books Issues Non-Fiction Reviews

Sometimes, life commands death to stay its hand

TITLE: Hop Skip and Jump

AUTHOR: Scholar V. Akinyi


AVAILABILITY: Nuria Bookstore and Cheche Bookshop

REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

Hop, Skip, and Jump is a story based on the 2007/8 Post-Election Violence (PEV) in Kenya. Told by three children, Bobo, John, and Vena, it explores the horror that happened after the elections and how it affected the children and their families. The children look forward to Christmas, they dance, they write letters to girls they like, they take care of their siblings, they watch TV.

Until they don’t. 

Suddenly, they are no longer safe. There is an enemy everywhere… the worst part is, they don’t know the face the enemy wears. It may be their neighbour, it may be the father or mother of the children they play and go to school with; it may be a stranger’s face. The violence they see on their television screens has spilled into their neighbourhood and the life they knew is no more. New and unfamiliar homes, running through unfamiliar burning streets with borrowed names, hospitals, pain and camps are the new norm.

The innocence, personal touch and rawness in emotion that Scholar weaves into her story, is its most interesting aspect. The PEV, to many people, was merely statistics: the losses (human and property), the displaced persons… This book, however, takes the reader back to the theatre, where it all happened, but now you experience it through the eyes of the children, who lived through it.

The ones everyone says will grow up and forget. The one no one cares to ask, what if they don’t remember to forget? What if they don’t know how to forget… what if they just don’t know how to forget.

The soft delivery in Scholar’s writing makes this an appropriate read for all ages. The violence bit is narrated ever so delicately; yet so powerfully, you can’t help but be impressed. Child soldiers, arson, violence, rape are some of the themes explored in this book. Perhaps the book’s greatest victory is how successfully and accurately it has managed to show the state of affairs in the aftermath of the elections and from an angle most people rarely look at. Children’s point of view.

In a country whose emotions flare up with politics, I hope this book serves as a reminder of what happens when things are taken too far. I hope it reminds us that we are all capable of violence and that so many things can go wrong when we alienate other people based on their political alignment and tribes. Above all, I hope we remember the children. That they may never be able to heal completely from the aftermath of the violence.

They may never be able to jump.

Highly recommended.  For everyone.  For those who seek to know, to remember, to be cautioned.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

Books Issues Non-Fiction Releases Reviews

These two books hold the key to your financial breakthrough

TITLES: Should I? and How Much

AUTHOR:  Florence Bett

REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

AVAILABILITY: Nuria Book Store

If you ask most people about money and investments, you will likely realise that they are clueless about what they are doing and what is going on. If you ask about inflation and investments, most people will fumble, trying to explain what they understand by that.

The only thing they know about investments is buying land. Because their fathers told them so. Because during their grandfather’s time, that type of advice worked well. More often than not, they are wrong, they are unsure and they need help. And that is where Florence Bett comes in with her books, Should I? and How Much

Explained in an easy to understand manner; in a question and answer format, you are likely to find many of your questions, on investment, in this book. Your eyes will be opened and you will see the light. You will, in effect, break free and as Florence says; “your money will start working for you.”

In Should I?, Bett teaches about budgeting, how to avoid being broke before your next pay day, where to start your investment journey, how to handle love, sex and money. She also addresses the topic of Saccos; what they are and how they work. Also addressed in the book, is the question on why you should consider saving in a money market fund instead of a bank.

Other areas include whether or not you should buy a car, what you need to know about bonds, what you need to know about starting a side hustle, among many other issues.  She breaks it down into palatable portions and when you finally put the book down, the cobwebs will be removed from yours.  The beauty about her style of writing is in the way you can put yourself into the scenarios she describes and the simplicity of the steps she encourages the reader to take.

In her second book, How Much, the reader can reap from her experience as a personal finance columnist, a business owner, a certified accountant and former financial auditor. In this book, she explores the murky waters of money and marriage, managing family finances and current issues with regards to making money, such as social media, agriculture, pyramid schemes, and recovering from loss. There is a high probability that if you have wondered about any nagging financial issue, Florence Bett has probably written about it. 

The humour in her tone also makes it easy to go through the books, thus making this an interesting if not fun experience.

The books are highly recommended for young people fresh out of school and who don’t know where and how to start managing their finances. It also comes in handy for for employed people, who live pay check to pay check, as well as for people wondering on whether to start their business, to parents trying to educate and take care of their children

Above all, these are books for anyone who is seeking financial freedom.

The books are relatable, educative and beautifully written.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

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Introducing the Soma Nami Press short story submission

Do you have that story that not only captivates but also resonates with the diverse voices and perspectives that collectively contribute to the kaleidoscope of Kenyan culture? This call is for you.

Soma Nami Press is a newly established publishing house based in Nairobi Kenya. Soma Nami Press exists to share outstanding East African stories with the world and to bring compelling Pan-African stories to East Africa.

The publishing house is currently looking for short stories that will make up their very first Kenyan anthology. At this time, they are looking for fiction that celebrates, unpacks, questions and critiques the essence, beauty and peculiarity of Kenyaness. For this inaugural anthology, they are interested in submissions that are playful, enjoyable and offer a delightful reading experience. Writing that is boundless and daring while still being communicative and accessible. Submissions are not restricted to any genre as long as they recognizably speak to the subject matter.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Submission is taken as an acceptance of these submission rules.
  2. Submit your short story between January 10th 2024 and March 15th 2024 (11:59pm, Kenyan time). Stories submitted after the entry date will not be accepted. 
  3. All entries must be made through this online form.
  4. Your short story should be 2000-5000 words long (including the title, your name, and contact details).
  5. Please do not submit work that does not speak to the subject matter
  6. Submission Format: Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced, and submitted in .doc or .docx format.
  7. Submissions will only be accepted from Kenyan citizens, and you will need to provide proof of citizenship if your work is accepted.
  8. Submit an author bio and links to any previously published works
  9. All entrants must be age 18 years and above
  10. All submissions must be in English although they may include other languages in them.
  11. We will accept original works ONLY that have not been published before. Stories selected for the anthology will undergo editing, copywriting, and proof reading as necessary and you can expect to undergo several rewrites.
  12. Multiple Submissions: Authors may submit up to two stories, but not more than one may be accepted per author.
  13. Only submit work that is exclusively your own work. Plagiarism is not acceptable.
  14. There is no submission fee

Submission Deadline: Submissions will be accepted until March 15, 2024.

How to Submit:

Include your story as an attachment and a brief cover letter that includes your name, contact information, and a short bio.

Follow this link to submit

Selection Process:

All submissions will be reviewed by our editorial team. We will notify selected authors by April 30, 2024. Due to the volume of submissions, we regretfully cannot provide individual feedback on each entry.

Accepted submissions will receive a one-time and final compensation based on the final word count. Compensation will be paid up upto Kes. 10,000

Important Note: 

  1. By submitting your work, you agree to grant us first worldwide publication rights should your story be accepted for the anthology. 
  2. World rights of the anthology will remain with Soma Nami Press. Soma Nami Press will hold non-exclusive publishing rights to your story in perpetuity.
  3. Excerpts of stories published in the anthology will be used for promotional purposes online.
  4. Writers whose work appears in the anthology will be expected to take part in publicity activities, including online.