Books et al

3 Books That Changed My Perspective on Being A Woman

They say he who reads lives a thousand lives, and although I have not read a thousand books I can definitely appreciate the broadened mindset I’ve gained from reading.

So here is a trio that I believe are super important reads:

  1. ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott

The book by Louisa May Alcott is a classic. It was the first school-mandated text that I enjoyed, relished and continue to cherish to this day. Although the stories of the individuals are set in 17th Century America (hundreds of years before my time), I have found some comfort in the lives of the female characters championed in this book. It is written from a woman’s perspective and challenges societal norms in a way most classics hardly ever considered. For a feminist, or anyone interested in the pre-occupations of young girls, ‘Little Women’ gives a glimpse into the fixations of young women, the societal pressures they face and how every woman’s ideas of life are constantly evolving.

If you’re interested in also watching the characters come alive on-screen the 2019 remake is not too bad.

2. ‘Becoming’  by Michelle Obama

Prior to reading this book, I hardly knew anything about the first African American First Lady of The United States of America. I was pleasantly surprised to learn Michelle Obama was a pioneer well before becoming the President’s wife. The book is a page-turner revealing Mrs. Obama’s riveting backstory before her life under the glaring lens of the media. She had a life, long before she walked the hallowed corridors of the White House, and her life was full, challenging and significant.

The book offers an insider’s take on life in the White House, the ins and outs of Former President Obama’s exciting yet tedious presidential campaign race and the struggle every woman faces in achieving the so-called perfect work-life balance.

Mrs. Obama offers intimate details of her life; and draws great lessons from her life that any woman would appreciate.

3. ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Award winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a way with words. She shares the stories of African characters, refined with imagery and colorful culture. For an African millennial reader, her words come alive when met with the fast paced, intertwined well outlined character plotlines; the book ‘Americanah’ is a read that is worth re-reading again and again. For all those who value stories told from the African perspective, Adichie’s writing exposes the internal conflicts of African youth and unveils layers of truth, that are hardly addressed.

I have always been draw to the work of female authors, and the more I explore different work; the more apparent it is that women across the globe have and continue to face similar struggles. Nonetheless, it is riveting to read how we women manage to make the most out of what life throws at us, and it is exhilarating to see more stories told from a woman’s perspective.

‘We Should All Be Feminists’ author Chimamanda has a host of other award-winning books that are worth reading, and adding to your collection.

What female authors have you explored recently?

Decoding Love

Situationship Etiquette

His back were always one of the features that she loved most. She was convinced that he could see right through her, undress her, and even completely overlook her; all with his brown eyes. Sometimes their connection was magic, at other times it felt as though they had completely disassociated from each other, going through the motions.

As she gathered herself from the various waves of emotions that came with every win and upset of the relationship, she learnt a few basic elements to making it work.

Here are a few factors to consider when it comes to situation-ship etiquette 101 :

  1. What is fundamental?

A situation-ship is a uniquely undefined relationship where either or both individuals involved in the relationship are unwilling to take the next step to declare the status of the relationship. So whether you are not sure where the relationship is going, or the situation is complex, a situation-ship is a whole different ballgame compared to your average relationship.

The fundamentals, will always bring you back to square one. Back to the core of why you are in this awkward state, and maybe it could even fling open possibilities that none of you thought were possible. Always remember to be kind, to be courteous and to be respectful. Any relationship worth its salt, are founded on those pillars.

2.No Broken Telephone

A situation-ship comes with its own parameters. Some imagined, and others clearly demarcated for both individuals to take note of and hold in high esteem. However, to make any relationship work, communication is vital not only for the health of the relationship but also to provide peace of mind for the persons involved.

Communication requires that you to not only share what you think is of interest to your partner, but also speak up even when it involves uncomfortable topics, you would much rather sweep under the rag. Speak about what you hope to get out of the situation-ship, its term and your values. It is often said, “never allow someone to be your priority, while allowing yourself to become their option.” When the situation-ship no longer works for you, it is critical that you can communicate that without holding back.

3.Board The Ship

Based on your experience in the situation-ship one can tell if the bond created could turn into more. So, what happens if you realize that you enjoy spending more time with the other individual? What if you begin to develop an emotional connection? It might be time to address the elephant in the room. You might just board the ship, and make it official.

When the booty calls turn into date nights, it might be time to reconsider your positions as individuals and look closely of what lies beneath the surface. You might just surprise yourselves!


Rona Made Me Do It

Allow me to rant.

You would hardly find a situation where one person bears the role of judge, jury and executioner. But today I am all three. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, that all would be equal irrespective of the color of their skin. However in Africa, the dream of the civil rights activist takes on new nuances as tribal allegiances and socio-economic strata pull back the progress of a new, equal-opportunity Africa.

In Kenya we say “Myonge hana haki” and there is nothing like disaster to make this even more evident. Unaccounted for, unforeseen the Coronavirus Pandemic came and swept the globe into a frenzy, forcing billions to retreat into their homes, avoiding  gatherings and practicing good hygiene.  This is all easily said and done if you live in a first world nation, when working from home is a viable option, where government services still function despite government restrictions. In my beloved nation, these times have only served to expose the incompetence of the men and women we call leaders. I has shown them to be insensitive, and lacking in humanity, forcing citizens from their homes, and doing little for those impacted by floods. It has shown their selfish nature, their “me-first” mentality and the major gaps in government that leaves a nation utterly unprepared on the brink of chaos.

Where is our pride? When will we stop begging for assistance from international organizations? We continue to play into their narratives, like soldiers following their commanders. Whether or not the pandemic is real, its effects are felt and the outcome is expected to be deadly. The leaders we elected put their needs above those who elected them, never giving a moment to consider what the people have eaten, how children attend school or the effect of the lockdown on thousands of businesses is.

Instead their focus lies in publicity stunts to pacify the angry masses and senseless grandiose gestures whose only purpose is to keep them in the news. “ You might be hungry, your business might be flatlining but here is a new road for your trouble.” Mheshimiwa, what sort of logic is that? Instead of equipping teachers to teach from home, enabling doctors to fight the pandemic, restructuring the financial sector for e-commerce to flourish, National Assembly members would rather be out in the wee hours of the night flouting COVID-19 restrictions; enjoying a nightcap or taking part in the viral Jerusalema challenge oblivious to the troubles of its people. This was an opportunity to improve electrical and internet connectivity, to ensure all are equally equipped. It was a chance to re-ignite the spirit of the ‘Nyumba-Kumi’ initiative, to improve communal safety, health and prosperity. The season offered a  chance to re-evaluate the efficacy of health sector initiatives such as the  Beyond Zero initiative and work towards improving their capacity, bringing healthcare services to the grassroots.

There is hardly any compassion, in this nation that was known for ubuntu where we once proudly chanted ‘Harambee’ indeed it seems that our foundation was built on falsehoods, as the leaders pulled the wool over our eyes and continue to do so. The nation’s people are blind, so desperate we are clutching at straws hoping for a chance to find our way out of this quagmire.

One would think that this pandemic has only affected the poor, but the reality is the middle and upper class also cry behind the doors of their glass houses. With families forced to stay indoors, there is an increase in domestic violence cases, suicide and many more report struggling with their mental health at this time. In a society that shies away from such serious concerns, it seems that the pandemic has challenged every aspect of our social structure. It has made us question who we think we are, the essence of the nation.

But today as self-appointed judge, jury and executioner I ask the Kenyan leadership to leave their posts, never to return to governance ever again. Their mentality “it is our time to eat” overrode the concerns of the masses, showing they are selfish to the core, lacking in any traits of true leadership.

Nonetheless, the nation is resilient and strong, I know its people will rise again…they continue to do so daily. The Mama Mboga always has something to offer, college students have decided to innovate new machines to help manage the pandemic, and more individuals have found their voice through business.

Though this unfortunate event has taken away lives, in a sense new life has sprung and the can-do spirit carries us all through to another day.