THE HEADMASTER AND HIS SUNFLOWER (A Short Story)

Story by: Jones Wafula Lukorito Even though it was only 10 am, the sun shone so vigorously that the prison van was Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace. At the driver’s compartment sat two corporals who had introduced themselves to the jail-birds as Tiriongo and Kamande. Smoke from the cigarettes that they puffed like chimneys wafted in grey wisps…

HOW TO BE BEAUTIFUL IN THE DIGITAL AGE

With all its advances in technology and especially social media, the 21st century is perhaps the toughest era in which to be a young adult. This is because everything is so superficial nowadays you hardly encounter authenticity. Take beauty for example; do we still have what one can refer to as authentic beauty? What is…

THE POLEMICS OF DREADLOCKS

The lengthened electioneering period in Kenya has caused jitters among the citizens and anti-poll protests have become the order of the day in Nairobi. During one of such picketing sessions, a group that called themselves ‘Nairobi Business Community’ organized a parallel to counter the anti-poll protests and later on gave a press conference. Pictures from…

WE ARE AFROPHOBIC, YES, BUT WE ARE NOT SHITHOLES.

From Cairo to Cape Town, we are still struggling to pick our jaws from the floor after Donald’s Trump’s unsavory description of African countries alongside Haiti and El Salvador. We had cut Mr. Trump some slack when he had earlier insinuated that all Nigerians live in huts, but our outrage reached a boiling point when…

DOES AN AFRICAN ROSE BY AN EUROPEAN NAME STILL SMELL AS SWEET?

I am informed that it was raining cats and dogs the night I came into this world more than two decades ago. After lengthy deliberations, my elderly kin decided that I shall be called Wafula, a name that was commonly given to children born during the rainy season in my community. Lukorito, a name that…

TRACING OUR KENYAN ROOTS IN ART

“Why are foreigners the ones collecting most of your paintings?” I asked the above question to Kinuthia Mbugua, a Kenyan impressionist based at Nairobi’s Maasai Mbili Art Gallery. The response he gave me also provided an answer to what was going to be my next question, “Why do many Kenyan artists appear to achieve recognition…

CRIME OF PASSION (Short story)

You’ve heard the saying “Out of the frying pan into the real fire,” which was coined back in 1985 inside Justice Erastus Wepekhulu’s courtroom. My skin recoiled as the judge, whose scarlet red gown reminded me  of the blood drenched airstrip during ‘the assignment’, condemned me to three decades in a maximum security prison. “After…

RUN, DOREEN, RUN! SURVIVOR OF GARISSA MASSACRE IS LUCKY TO BE ALIVE

As narrated to: Lukorito Jones jowal@jowaljones.com www.jowaljones.com My name is Doreen Bruno Karugi. I am 22 years old. On Thursday, 2nd April 2015, gunmen stormed our university from 5am. Official reports at the end of the day indicated that 148 people had been killed. The attack, it was said, was the deadliest in Kenya since…

WANTED: A NEW BRAND OF STUDENT LEADERSHIP

Amidst the usual smut and common-place party videos that would make Kenya Film Classification Board Chairman, Ezekiel Mutua, throw up his lunch, a more disturbing clip was shared widely by my comrades early this week. The video was surreal, strange and made my head my head spin. It (allegedly) captures a long-serving student leader physically…

NOW HELB PLANS TO FINANCE STUDENTS WITH GAMBLING MONEY

My old man, Grandpa Richard, has always questioned the viability of student loans disbursed by the government. While he is all up for helping my comrades pay for their tuition, he is concerned that a huge chunk of that money usually ends up in their pockets instead. “This facilitates them with free taxpayers’ cash to…

WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD WORSE PARTIES THAN PROJECT X

My old man, Grandpa Richard, is a prophet who rarely gets appreciated at home. While we should be composing songs in his honour and naming our children (both boys and girls) after him, we instead often choose to ignore the erudite greybeard and his sagacious advice. For exactly two years now, he has dispensed his overflowing…

SORRY COMRADES, WE’RE ALL HALF-BAKED

My old man, Grandpa Richard, has always held the view that our higher education system is shambolic, topsy-turvy and—gets this—cursed with an evil eye. When he first made these claims, comrades flooded my mailbox and twitter timeline with all forms of contemptuous epithets, crying baloney and saying that his opinions were nothing but sinister lies.…

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR ASININE END-YEAR JAMBOREES {MERRY CHRISTMAS COMRADES}

Arise and shine comrades. My old man, Grandpa Richard, has asked me to wish you a merry Christmas from the bottom of his humongous heart. He has also asked me to clarify to you that Christmas is a holiday whereby Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. Not a day set aside for sleeping in, eating…

CLIMATE CHANGE? BLAME THE HEAT ON MY COMRADES

After years of pillaging and plundering Mother Nature with reckless abandon, the heat has finally caught up with humankind—literally. Worried that we might be one match-stick strike away from burning into crisp, the entire world converged at Paris where our leaders held heated (pardon the pun) discussions to prevent the Earth from frying us all. We…

BEHIND FACEBOOK LOVE LURK VICIOUS SEX PREDATORS

My old man, Grandpa Richard, will never get to wrap his head around some of the things  Generation X do. We cannot fault him, though, for old dogs seldom learn new tricks. Take dating, for example. Grandpa still holds firm his belief that cupid deserted the youngsters ages ago, leaving behind a generation devoid of…

MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO

After US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Kenya, my old man, Grandpa Richard, was a jolly man. However, his hopes of leaving behind a better Kenya for his grandchildren have been dashed over the past few days. His moods have nosedived from the tower of optimism to the basement of trepidation for the future…

A GUIDE TO BECOMING A STUDENT LEADER

Student leadership has gone rogue, according to my old man, Grandpa Richard. To him, the current leadership style portrayed by student leaders is simply a cancer that has metastasised from mainstream political leaders and needs to be excised urgently. “During my time, student leaders demonstrated visionary headship that inspired not only students, but the country…

IN MY COMRADES, I SEE NO ATHLETES

Very few occasions have managed to make my old man, Grandpa Richard, as happy as he was while watching television on Tuesday morning. It was the grand homecoming of Kenyan athletes who had taken no prisoners while representing us at the IAAF championships in Beijing, China. Team Kenya had bestrode the Bird’s Nest like a…

OBAMA VISIT UNLOCKS COMRADES’ PRIMITIVE ENERGY

You couldn’t have been more wrong if you thought that the chaps locked up in that asylum along Thika Road are Kenya’s mentally challenged. The real mentally profane are actually found in our institutions of higher learning; those at Mathari have simply been misread. My old man, Grandpa Richard, is yet to pick his jaw…

WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BOOZE!

We, the comrades from Kenya’s institutions of higher learning, stand united today in condemnation of the recent directive issued by the President against alcohol manufacturers and consumers. The directive, which has seen both legitimate and comrade-friendly illegitimate beer destroyed in the past few days, has plunged us into a state of deranged, grief-stricken despondency. Being…

THE SHAME OF COMRADES IN SHABAAB’S PAYROLL

The previous week has seen my comrades’ moral fibre come under heavy scrutiny from a number of sources.  Instead of opening books and spreading knowledge, my comrades of the fairer sex have run the gauntlet of social media for allegedly opening legs and spreading syphilis, once again. The campus diva narrative has experienced a plot…

WHAT I WISH KENYAN STUDENTS KNEW ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY

There’s nothing in the world that beats the feeling of having to share a meal with my old man, Grandpa Richard. I always look forward to such rare occasions as he recounts stories from the halcyon days when night-runners didn’t arm-twist the government to recognize them and Instagram was yet to be invented. This particular…

THE BLUEBAND GENERATION NEEDS TO TOUGHEN UP

A week ago, popular columnist Njoki Chege shook the blogosphere with a piece that claimed today’s cohort of young men has increasingly become spineless, lazy and ambitionless. She referred to the ill-fated generation as Blueband boys, which I assume was an inference to what they were fed for breakfast while growing up. My old man,…

HILARIOUS LIES MY COMRADES TELL TO GET LAID

Giving credit where it’s due, I must say my comrades are very creative fellows. However, they all seem to apply this creativity in asinine ways such as innovating habits of cheating in exams and inventing new methods of ingesting marijuana.(Read: They're higher than Kites; these comrades of mine). Until last week, I thought I had…

GRAFFITI IS NOT ART

My comrades usually invent the most ludicrous ways in which to “express themselves.” When they’re not being opprobrious to motorists by throwing stones across major highways, you will find them mutilating their skins with anchors and dragon tattoos which they will have the temerity to call art. “Back in the halcyon days, the youth used…

LISTEN TO SAUTI SOL AND SHUN ABORTION

Nerea. That’s the title of a song about an eponymous girl, Nerea, who is being urged by her partner not abort his baby. In the beautiful tune by music maestros Sauti Sol featuring Amos and Josh, the partner argues that perhaps the unborn child might end up changing the course of history like some of…

FORGET OKOA KENYA; IT’S MY COMRADES THAT NEED SAVING

Last week, CORD launched the Okoa Kenya drive, an initiative that they promise will deliver the country from insecurity, devolution and corruption woos. While welcoming this latest gimmick in Kenya’s political circus, my old man, Grandpa Richard, is of the opinion that politicians are barking up the wrong tree. “If anyone really has the intentions…

PERHAPS COMRADES SHOULD STEP ASIDE TOO

Last week, President Kenyatta delivered a severe kick in teeth to crooked public officials by ordering them to step aside for sixty days in a corruption purge that will see them pave way for investigations. While my old man lauds the move by Mr. Kenyatta, Grandpa strongly feels that the president’s dossier should be expanded…

7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE COMRADES

My old man, Grandpa Richard, has been heavily criticised by my comrades for allegedly being a sadist. In his defence, Grandpa Richard states that he has indeed scoured my comrades with a fine-toothed comb in an effort to find positivity, but the results yielded were nothing to write home about. He however holds steadfast that…

AFRICA’S ENDANGERED LANGUAGES (CONVERSATION WITH AUMA)

The other day in campus during a journalism club meeting, I was asked to lead the group in a traditional Luhya song to kill the monotony of a humdrum evening. I was the only Luhya in the crowd, and my friends in attendance looked up to me with alacrity eager to learn a song from…

IT’S TIME FOR COMRADES TO THINK OUTSIDE THE X-BOX

My old Man, Grandpa Richard, has been reading distressing news from his crystal ball once again. He has foreseen a future whereby comrades have been completely zombied out and their brains wasted. With a terrible visual acuity and disfigured thumbs from playing too many video games, these androids will roam the streets stealing cars, shooting…

JACKS OF ALL TRADES; MY COMRADES SPEAK TOO MUCH

The problem with my comrades, according to Grandpa Richard, is that they pretend to have an opinion of everything under the sun. They act as if they are masters in every discipline available, wherein they grossly misconstrue facts and they are darn wrong. It would be nice if they limited the ostentatious flaunting of knowledge…

BEHOLD, COMRADES OF A DIGITAL ERROR

The digital era is finally here with us. In its wake however, the migration debacle has wrecked havoc within Kenya’s soul, as opposed to the legion benefits we’d anticipated. It has violated every sacred principle about the right to information that the likes of Dedan Kimathi died for. Watching the pantomime unfold, my old man,…

MY FILTHY COMRADES MAKE ME FURIOUS!

I recall sometime back when hokum was being peddled around that dirt is good. A sizeable section of my comrades swallowed the malarkey hook, line and sinker. Heck, they even digested the tripe such that it became their DNA to be slovenly and generally walk around looking like a sack of communal compost manure. It…

THE FOLLY OF VALENTINE’S DAY; WHY CUPID RHYMES WITH STUPID

Tomorrow the world comes to a standstill. It is a day that is bound to bring forth both disappointments and goodness in equal measure. On this day, smiles will be enhanced and migraines will be induced. Promises will be affirmed and many will be broken. Dreams will be relived and shattered in equal measure. Love…

RIP INTEGRITY; TWAS AN AWFUL MURDER

My old man, Grandpa Richard, started the month on a very poignant note. So cheerless was the old man that if his moods sunk any lower, they’d have struck oil. Grandpa was mourning the death of a beloved childhood friend and companion. So special was the pal that they all went wherever he led; he…

SELFIES, THE END OF MORDERN CIVILISATION

The other day my old man, Grandpa Richard, summoned me and asked to be briefed on a dim trend he had witnessed while experimenting with social media. “Don’t your comrades have any friends to take photos of them?” He quizzed. “Let me tell you about the selfie- generation Grandpa,” I replied. “You might want to…

PURUKUSHANI YA MAMA NZIGHE

Kama ilivyo kawaida kila Jumapili jioni, sote wajukuu tulijumuika chini ya mvule na kumngojea babu awasili ili atuhadithie visa vilivyotukia wakati alipokua barobaro. Hadithi za babu zilituburudisha na kutumakinisha vilivyo, hata kuliko elimu tuliyopewa ya darasani kwenye daftari. Mzee huyu mwenye mvi nyeupi pepepe alikua maktaba ya uhalisia.  Nyingi ya hadithi za babu zilikolea ukweli…

FEMINISM: CHAUVINISM IN SKIRTS?

I recently attended the Story Moja Hay Festival, and perhaps the most scintillating session was a forum titled “The Future of Kenyan Men,” moderated by renowned columnist and retrosexual Oyunga Pala. Meant for men, the forum was however hijacked by a coterie of ladies who took every available opportunity to shoot down any opinion expressed…

School’s out so my comrades are on the loose

School’s out so my comrades are on the loose My comrades have just been paroled from the schooling system and like the proverbial chicken, they’re all jostling for tickets at “Machakos Airport”, heading to their respective villages to roost. With the festive season here, Grandpa Richard is dreading the unfolding of mindless vandalism and unbridled…

EBOLA AT THE WHITE HOUSE Pt 1 (SHORT STORY)

“Dear,” She said after I had picked up the phone. “I think we might have contracted Ebola.” My skin recoiled the moment I heard those words from my wife. I was always worried that this might happen; one day we might fry ourselves in our own oil. But nay, this was not possible. If Ebola…

They’re financially illiterate, these comrades of mine

The problem with my comrades is that they are financially illiterate. The concepts of working for their own money, saving and re-investing seem to be alien notions completely foreign to the comrades. Mix this witch’s brew with their economic warts such as gambling boisterously and spending in a slapdash fashion  and what you get is…

ARE YOU SPENDING TOO MUCH ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

A friend of mine, Okaka (not his real name), approached me for advice on his relationship the other day. When it comes to love, Okaka and Njeri are your quintessential Alehandro and Camilla straight from a Mexican soap opera. I was a bit surprised to hear that the two doyens of love were amorously challenged,…