How terrorism stole the magic of a woman’s handbag


Quotation mark copyA woman’s handbag is a mysterious dungeon. It’s the key to her real self; the prosaic answer to many poetic conceptions. A magician does not want to explain his tricks. There is an aura of taboo about a closed handbag. Every woman has an uneasy look if somebody glances into its sacred privacy,” reads a passage in an article titled ‘The Inside Story of a Handbag’ by Anita Daniel in The New York Times of January 21, 1945.

There was once a time, even in this country, long before terrorists roamed the earth, when a woman’s handbag was cloaked in mystery. Those days are long gone, and baring all to strangers during security checks has become the norm. Continue reading

Tribe, ethnic group, diversity, Kenya!

I wrote this post  in 2008, just after the post-election violence – my first attempts at making sense of ethnicity and what we’re always on about in this country. Reading through it now, I feel we’re on a treadmill – running, running, running, and not moving an inch. Plus I never knew the phrase ‘people from a certain community’ could have such a negative connotation! Continue reading

Running for our money

How many times have I had to explain sheepishly that even though I’m Kenyan, I don’t run marathons with the ease of those gold and silver and bronze medal winning men and women who have carried our flag high for so many decades, and whose image is now getting tarnished by that phrase ‘performance enhancing drugs?’ Continue reading

Disgraceful goodbyes

I saw a girl today, she reminded me of someone I used to know. Crossing the town bridge, her right hand held tightly by an old woman – her mother, sister or aunt perhaps – and the right swinging a small colourful hand bag. It was the walk that first stopped me in my tracks. When I came close enough to see her face, I was thrown by the similarity of features: The pert nose, high forehead and pointed chin. But most of all, it was the eyes that sent a thrill of emotion through my heart. She had the same puppy eyes that looked large and sad and drooped at the edges. Those were Nakhumicha’s eyes. But had Nakhumicha lived, she would have been eighteen today, not eight. The little girl on the bridge transported me a decade back into time. I remembered it all. Continue reading