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Mundia Mundia on Storymoja

Good people,

I received this thought provoking piece from Mundia Mundia and I thought I would share.

Leave your comments down there.

Hi, May you kindly permit me to break into the residence of the ‘Nyama Choma Siesta’ with a few reflections on the ‘Story Moja Nyama Choma Fiesta’. First, Muthoni Garland, the stewardess of this ‘eatery’ venture deserves a warm part on the back for a job well done. The ‘Reading is Fun’, that was the thyme of the recently held event certainly would help promote social interaction with love for the book as the main course. On the flip side though does the recipe for pages and the Nyama Choma flavor equals summer, dumber and slumber? For it seems that reading a book certainly should thus leave behind a meaty, but memorable, taste now that the combined delicacy appears popular. But does the seemingly harmless fever appear imperceptible and surely infecting all, including children?
When I think of food I think of, ‘Comfort Me With Apples by Riechl; Chocolat and Five Quarters of The Orange, by Joanne Harris; Eat, Cheat and Melt the Fat, by Suzanne Somers and Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser ( Houghton Mifflin).

My friend, Perminder Suri, informed me that he could not attend the fiesta for he is a strict vegetarian though he is a religious reader of novels. He could not allow his wife, who is obese and has secondary medical complications to join other readers. He is also worried that his children, Inaara and Khaliq Singh, may be exposed to a ‘strange’ economic class and socio-cultural orientations though he is keen to witness the ‘end product’ of the fiesta. This then led us to a lengthy verbal discourse on differentiation, association, the Pavlov effect and other related habits. He wonders how Nyama Choma can readily be associated with reading. He says that his friend, Musau, always talks of ‘having a siesta after a Nyama Choma spree’ (may be due to him taking alcohol). On the other hand he recognizes the impact of the ‘crowd puller’ merger. I asked him if that wasn’t deceit but he literally swallowed his answer but this time round not with chapatti.I later joked that my taking Nyama Choma may literally overtake my reading habit due to the former’s  readily and easy-to-take palatable and ingesting flavor.As I contemplated taking the fleshy pieces a bout of gout and overweight caught my mind.There is no doubt that, ‘one can safely assume that the Kenyan literary landscape is slowly coming to life’, as Joseph Ngunjiri (SN, Aug. 17, 2008) put it.The same writer also confirms that Story Moja is ‘causing ripples in the literary world, if only through their unorthodox way of doing things’. Thus, Story Moja has helped promote social interaction at the same time reading.
But is Nyama Choma a recipe and the menu on the elusive literary pages?

Mundia Mundia Jnr.

11 replies on “Mundia Mundia on Storymoja”

First,to put the point clear. Readers and fans should take not that I’m not ‘mundiah dominique’ neither am I related to him…the bullet is that I do not know him. I urge readers to be keen on those who use similar look-alike names and articles published by others for self gain and without my permission.

On August 20th, 2008 at 11:57, ‘mundiah dominique’ said: ‘the article was a great work’ on his blog. (

I heartily urge him to cease ‘affiliating himself on my stuff’ and he should concentrate writing his artcles and banking that on his website.

His Discription:
Name: mundiah dominique
Gender: Male
Industry: Student
Occupation: student
Location: kenya : metropolitant city : Kenya

Thanks readers.

How would we live without the negative thought? Truth is marketers would organise music in some reading event, or take books in a mall so that readers dont get bored. So don’t ask why story moja bothered to bring nyama choma in the library?
The thought is we have lots of fun styles and ways, lots of chances and programmes for relaxing, lots of schedules taking all our 24hrs so we only read, well as occasioned by our bad infrastracture, in the traffic jams or wait till young grade two son comes home with that sum u have forgotten.
You know why i would go all KUDOS to Muthoni Garland and team is coz she knows kenyans take time to slice their nyama choma and kenyans need fun in those endeavours that come with rich literatures, to motivate the already being cursed region of low esteem when it comes to reading culture.
So nyama choma is just the right spice on the literal delicacy.
KUDOS again Garland

My friend Mulongo ,may you read the following:

Some Extract from Granta Africa issue:

“The European mind is willing to acknowledge its limitations, accept its limitations. It is a skeptical mind. The spirit of criticism does not exist in other cultures”.

The last part makes my day (but not on a racial capacity). Very few Africans, including few Kenyan; accept CRITICISMS and DIFFERENCES in opinion. Many misjudge CRITICISM to mean….Pessimism, negative minded, jealousy, hatred, e.t.c; (thinking hard than smart).

I agree with Mulongo entirely.

The Kenyan Literary scene is aflame! In the past, there was serious lack of fora for writers to display their works and readers to appreciate them. While we acknowledge the efforts the Nairobi Book Fair towards creating interest in the publishing world, we must note that the Book Fair has remained a largely formal gathering. However, thanks to the efforts of Kwani? and Storymoja, we are seeing more and more lively events dotting our literary calendar.

Clearly, to turn around the reading culture we need to be more creative in the way we organise literary events. What Storymoja conceived is outstanding. Why not make story readings more fun and action filled. The Storymoja event is the talk of town.

I cannot wait for the next event on the calendar!

Interesting. I have no qualms about what Mundia Jnr raises, that other avenues have to be opened to avail readership to all sectors of society.
My problem is the tone.
There is something uniquely Kenyan about offering prescriptions by forcing down viewpoints into people’s throats regardless of your ailment, perceived or real.
While I appreciate that it’s good to target all peoples, it’s humanely impossible in a multicultural 30 million plus populated country like Kenya. I too had problems when my Moslem friends couldn’t accompany me to Kengeles pub when Kwani moved their readings from Cafe Cream, but they were reasonable enough to attend other kwani readings and buy the books.
I noticed a couple of Indian friends at the Storymoja fiesta, though they avoided the meat grill and concentrated on the books. Isn’t that what tolerance is about?

I find it audiciously ironic that one can call for difference in opinion and yet hammer a nail in the head of Story Moja’s nyama choma opinion. These excuses are always arising in any event-oh, they hold readings in rich peoples pubs,oh,that one is for kibera residents only,oh, that one had only KU graduates, oh, this, oh that.

Why has no one complained that Nakumatt has a meatery and thus making Asians refuse to shop there lest they accumulate bad manners like staring at the meat?

Let us enjoy the freedom to have differences. Let books be read everywhere and anywhere. We might not always agree on the ways and means, but let us agree on the dream we have for the literary scene and appreciate what each one of us is doing in the little ways we can to add a brick to the castle of our dreams.

Muthoni might think of starting a vegetarian only Fiesta, good if she does. The point is, you cant dismiss such a noble idea as taking books to the people citing vegetarianism, gout, meaty allures Vs books and call it Criticism. That’s sacrilage, and no amount of quotes dragged in from Granta or the latest issue of Obama’s quotes can prop it up as Criticism./difference in opinion.

Ha! Ha! I like that,Simiyu,I like your candid urgument. Anyway, I still don’t bite the bullet…Why? First,we cannot compare the Stroty Moja quest with Nakummat. A supermarket is much ‘wholistic’ and caters for all…it is a matter of choosing and leaving.We DO NOT SHARE what we buy or pick with other customers.For Story Moja, there is lots of ‘SHARING’…the issue on Story Moja is still discriminatory. It comes in when we bring some ‘sectarian Identity(ies)’ to suit everyone…isn’t there a neutral ‘tool or incentive’ that would have been used..Simiyu,I need to know one thing…WHY NYAMA CHOMA? This amounts to PARTISANSHIP…that is why in our Kenyan culture we identify ourselves along partisan and tribal identities that later bring REAL CONFLICT….Being Luo,Luhya,Kelanjin,Gikuyu….and NEVER KENYAN without the tribal TAG….in fact our country Kenya does not have a unifying identity due to such limitations..that have exacerbated corruption,cronyism,nepotism and even Religious conflicts…what if Kenya had different FLAGS to suit each sectarian groups….I still yearn to understand why we miss to have a neutral amalgamating ‘means’ and tool,that would not bring any,including ‘personal conflict’…especially for Story Moja…ANY CLUES?????

I still feel Simiyu’s words.

“Let us enjoy the freedom to have differences. Let books be read everywhere and anywhere. We might not always agree on the ways and means, but let us agree on the dream we have for the literary scene and appreciate what each one of us is doing in the little ways we can to add a brick to the castle of our dreams”.

Many years ahead, when the poor reading culture in Kenya is a subject of history, Storymoja will stand tall to know they did something to turn things around.

The question is, where will be the rest of us be? Will we still be rubbishing other people’s efforts?

The Storymoja event got me asking – what can myself as Kombani do to get people reading?

Food for thought.

His children go to the only ‘Academy’ in the village. It’s not just the fundis who sing his praises. The village chief occasionally visits him, when he’s broke, for a soft loan now and then.
The construction boom has recently hit the village. There are several buildings coming up, beside those that have already been completed. Stable and pretty as the complete houses appear to be, credit goes to one man only, the village foreman.
The studious tall man, who always wears a cap, is simply known as “fomani.” Aging gracefully, he has seen better days and has loads of experience as a fundi himself. In fact, he never ceases to taunt the youthful fundis he supervises on the construction sites.
“These ones, there’s nothing they know,” he says pointing at his fundis. “The only thing they know is domo domo,” he adds.
The fundis like him a lot and enjoy working under his direction and supervision. Indeed, most youthful fundis consider it a privilege to work under him. He is truly their role model as they often say. Which among them wouldn’t want to have the many contracts that ‘fomani’ gets to construct beautiful palatial homes in the village?
Whom among them wouldn’t like to live in their own stone house; own a pick up; and a hardware store in the thriving village Centre? And the way the village’s rich folk talk and listen to him, anyone would do what it takes to have the attention of the village’s elite. Only ‘fomani’ makes it all appear to be so easy and almost effortless.
Highly knowledgeable on matters to do with the construction sector, ‘fomani’ is known to be shrewd when it comes to dealing with developers. He takes advantage of their ignorance to inflate the costs of building materials, labour and other implements. And when asked why he does so, he’s quick to interject, “If i don’t do that, what do you expect me to eat? Ballast?”
It’s hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the village foreman. It is said in low tones that he studied in the best polytechnic in the capital city. And this is a matter he doesn’t deny or confirm. Such perceptions work best for his larger-than-life image in the village. It’s also widely believed that he uses witchcraft to land all the construction deals in the village and beyond. This, he vehemently denies, saying that his haters are only out to tarnish his good reputation.
And the village foreman knows how to brag and play to the gallery.
“You see that house,” he says pointing at one of the recently completed palatial house of a city politician.
“The owner was so impressed by my work that he slaughtered a bull for me,” he quips with pride. He talks to everyone who cares to listen to him and offers tons of advice to the youth. He’s constantly urging them to work hard and forget being lazy if they hope to be rich, and he stresses, “like i am.” Not that he is very rich, no. But, by the village standards, his is a comfortable life that many would kill to have.
When evening comes, after a hard day’s work, the village foreman settles to one of the watering holes for his favourite beer.
“I don’t earn pigeons!” He shouts when he gets drunk. “Everyone can have a round on my account,” he proudly says drumming his chest. And as rounds are served, praises galore about his generosity fills the pub. Such are just some of the sideshows that work to boost his ego.
However, there are countless rumours about his womanizing antics in the village. It is rumoured that he has sired several children with widows and school girls. And this is something his wife defends about him. She doesn’t like the whispers and fingers that point at her each market day.
She has spied on her husband several times, but, has never caught him in any compromising situation. This is perhaps why she loves him so much and why she’s still married to him. She knows that the fact that she’s married to the only village foreman is something that many women are jealous about. Why else, she thinks, would they badmouth her and her successful husband?
Good and proficient in doing his work, the village ‘fomani’ knows no one can beat him at his trade. Silently, he prays for the economy to improve and for more villagers to have the financial muscle to build their dream homes.

Eric Gichira is an essayist, lyricist and freelance journalist. He is also a theatre researcher and a poet.

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