Coast & Culture




Binti naji:

Is a mother to two lovely boys,has an 8 hour job, and a voracious reader turned into a writer by passion, the blog is literally about love, life and inspiration, we all wanna go out there and tell our stories and Bintinaji is one that finds solace in not only sharing her stories out there , but inspiring others who could be going through the same, Binti is more sentimental but tries to come to reality once in a while, “In our sad moments, we  become poets”-Anonymous , guess that is where it all started.

The  blog is as new as a few months old, is divided into poems, relationships section, parenting and general views or blog section.Go out there and show her some love now, will you? 😉




Salaam everyone! My name is Kadzo,and I am a lifestyle blogger from Mombasa currently residing in Nairobi, and my blog is basically an amalgamation of my experiences.It’s a place for me to express myself creatively whether it be through writing, photography, film or art. I can’t lie, i’m also such a style freak and i love to share my beauty,fashion and style favourites. Essentially,my blog is a channel for me to create and interact with other creative people in the world, and sometimes that means pouring my heart out in some very heart to heart types of posts.I know, i basically said a whole bunch of things on here but if i were to categorize what i do into a few words, those words would be Fashion, Faith and Lifestyle…and a whole bunch of awesomeness! I hope you check me out!

Shout out to Lubnah for being such an awesome sport and making this profile of awesome bloggers.Thank you!!!




Lalbiby Mansoor:



Fun. Quirky. Relatable!!!


As a writer, Lalbiby Mansoor lives in a crazy, magical world with outrageous expectations. She believes that paper will listen to you more than any human would. And for that, she started writing to open up her soul. She is an introvert, coffee addict, shoe freak and writes about anything that pops in her mind. She is very wordy and her blog is purely non professional!




Imran Abdallah:

Is a Computer Technology undergraduate studying somewhere in the wilderness of Central Kenya, who’s always either goofy or mature-ish depending on the mood you find him in.

After a  mysterious radiation accident, he discovered that he possessed an incredibly dangerous power that allowed him to string words together to form meaningful sentences and so he started his blog to test the limits of his new-found power.

He writes on just about any topic his mind wanders to and in any genre his heart takes to but his fascination with science means that you will occassionally find more than a few scientific quips thrown into his blog posts. Don’t hesitate to have a look!








A writer who enjoys reading. Motivated by challenges and experiences. He expresses himself through words on paper in poetic form.





Ibrahim Ochanda;


A -: Dreamer |Thinker |Ambitious |Cool |Blogger;  Ochanda, a full time comp. Scie. Student offers you access to the sanctuary of his mind. In his post you could read his mind through his thoughts, personal opinions and more than once his dreams. All of these captured beautifully in poems and well crafted articles ranging from social issues to political views.  The blog is more of a motivational forum through a unique way of writing.



There are many more writers, bloggers, artists, poets that are not mentioned here. Some are still carving their way to greatness while others already have their crowds. It’s just upon the readers to explore the Coast bloggers and see what goodies they have to offer!


I’ve been having the art vibes of late and i’ve been trying to showcase the artistic minds that we have around here. The below profiles are written by the writers themselves. Luring enough? I bet you are about to discover that right now. Simply click on their links or to access their blogs directly!

Let’s appreciate each others work. Let’s appreciate the mightiness of the pen together!




Farhaz Khan:

A Kenyan blogger based in the port city of Mombasa who has just been in the business for a year and shows great potential. Kenya Blog Awards Nominee for the year 2016 under best creative writing category and manages to pull off a runner up positions in a tight contest. Nonetheless, a creative writer whose style and choose of words is just unique and always inspiring. KHANFARHAZ describes blogging and writing in famous words of Anais Nin,“We write to taste life twice.” He is the brains behind this blog and has tried to touch on a variety of aspects affecting the society, contemporary issues and even creative writing. Mostly talking of day to day activities and his writings not only make sense to contemporary issues but also as a reader you live each moment with him as you read through this blog. He is and erudite blogger who is ready to showcase the current and actual situation as it is. A promising blogger indeed. Read his work at:



Abdulqadir Mahmoud:

What do you do when your phone is low on battery, or when your laptop is dying off, or when someone wants to pay you double…you Recharge. As superior as we are to all that, we often too ware out to a down low while trying to find our way in this maze called Life. Recharge is the kind of blog where life is mapped down to give direction to anyone who needs it. It is a place of connecting with your lost self and giving you back to you, because the only person who can save you, is you. When you fumble to stay strong and dearie life is showing you some tough love, Recharge is the place to be. In simple terms, you know that feeling when all you want to do is lay in bed and just comprehend the painful pangs pulsing out of your heart, burning, eating you slowly and making sure it lets you feel the agony of every bite before it takes another, and it never lets you do anything so that you suffer its anguish? Yep, you need a Recharge. So plug yourself in at and free yourself from this dearie sweet monster, called life.



Salma Abdulatif:

mostly referred to as Salummy or Salmun. She is the lady that will never sit back and wait for wonders to happen.

From the lands of the Seas and Camels, a writer was born. A writer that not only seeks to express, but also to impress. A writer that does not only speak through her pen but one that bleeds with the readers…opens wounds untouched, cries amidst the sunset and the sunrise with her pen because she was told by her very own Bic, that as a community, the Bics and HBs have surrendered their lives to her.

Salummy has in her the magic well-crafted that it has powers to transform dead communities and the living corpses. So on her site are 10 categories; Creative Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, African Contemporary Stories, Poetry, Fashion & Design, Airlines and Marine, Things you need to know, Guest posts, Religion & Interviews and Food& Drinks. Her site is like a small mall, all under one roof.

Do not forget to check for some of her amazing pieces…



Abdul-Rahman “Abu Amirah” Ndegwa:

Is a creative writer based in Mombasa. His main line of writing is flash fiction and short stories with most of his characters assuming Coastal personas once he gives them permission to have a home in his blog where they interact with the readers. His short story “The Swahilification of Mutembei” has been short listed for the Writivism 2016 Anthology to be published later in the year.

Abu Amirah also writes for, an ensemble of Coastal writers formed after a Kwani? Creative writing workshop in 2015 and also writes the weekly column “Swahilific: Diary of a campus girl” in, Coastal Kenya’s premier lifestyle magazine.

He is still a work in progress!



Jamila Hassan:

Is founder of Life in Mombasa, Life in Mombasa is a blog for those exploring Mombasa food, culture and architect. Her blog was awarded the ‘best County blog 2016’ by BAKE ( Bloggers Association of Kenya).

The aim of the blog is to change the face of Mombasa, to show the different types of culture through photography and personal blogs.  She holds a Bachelors degree in Arts emphasis on Interpersonal communication from Metropolitan State University in Minnesota (USA). You can view her blog at




Mohammed swabri karama:

Ukumbi huu wa

m ni ukumbi wa mashairi ya kiswahili. Tungo zina daraja. Mtu huanza kuwa mshairi apate cheo awe jimbi apate cheo awe shaha kisha awe shaha wa mashaha. Tungo ndizo zinazompa mswahili wasaa wa kueleza fikra zake na mawazo yake alioyonayo. Ukumbi huu ni katika kumbi chache kabisa ambazo zinajitahidi katika kuiboresha fani hii. Ijapokuwa ni fani nzito ila mwandishi anajitahidi kadri ya uwezo wake kutimiza masharti yote ili aweze kufikisha hidia zake kwa hadhira kwa uwazi kabisa na kugusia maswala ibuka katika jamii.




Swaleh Arif:

Still ‘a very new newbie’ in blogging yet a promising blogger.

The third eye isn’t a blog meant for everyone. Only open-minded individuals with a desire to do good and change the world around them will benefit from it. With it’s insightful narratives and eye-opening arguments, the reader should expect to be awakened, but only if they choose to. Emphasis on quality over quantity is observed in this site so as to truly impart tools that will assist the reader in their journey to discover their true selves and open their inner eye.

Issues tackled are mainly racism, government, human rights and topics of similar scope. You can always read his articles at:




Rashid Shariff:

Could there,ever,be something serious in funny stuff and funny stuff in something serious?

Exploring different fields, ranging from neuroscience,marketing,economics to social psychology.Rashid Shariff(the guy in the pic) demystifies concepts in these fields using pop culture, and how you can apply them in your day to day life.For example,an article to be published on 2nd August 2016 will show the connection between Gangnam Style and Vilfredo Pareto’s 20/80 principle.








Interested?…find his articles at Shariffspeaks( or (




Zubeda Mohamed:

Swift Hands is a literal collection of life put in paper, they are not stories to read and just leave reading. Every part, each piece explains life. If the articles were colours, they would’ve been painted on walls to light everyone’s heart. Touches every vein and pierces the heart, positively!

You can read her amazing master pieces at:



Abdulmutwalib M. Saggaf:

He is a believer of pen is mighter than sword that is why he expresses his thoughts in his blog (


Saggaf is known to be a flexible and hardworking gentleman. As in this age where men are thought to hide their emotions and feelings ,instead he expresses it through his writing and fashion style. For example an  article that he wrote on this named as “Dress for Success” and  other articles like ” I should be working” which is one of his own favourite pieces among others. Saggaf is also a social media enthusiast well known as @saggaf93 in his social media platforms ,a vlogger,a keen model, a student, a friend, brother and uncle.

Over all he is just optimistic guy who is working hard through different channels of life to turn his possibilities into realities.





loves the written word and other than being passionate about branding and graphic design,he has a deep fascination for computer tech.

He jots down his thoughts about life in general, most especially about the society and he has been actively generating posts with the prefix “We live in a society….” Via his   page ‘Shamsudin Writes’.

He believes there is a lot to be done on society as regards social, economic,spiritual and political improvement.

His topics range from leadership,financial freedom, motivational and inspirational articles. He is more polished in public speaking than writing but firmly believes anything can be learned and acquired.

Once asked what he does during his free time,he said he enjoys reading books.

His favourite mantra is “Holding my pen to speak from my mind to yours so we can reason together.” You can read his work at:





Is a dedicated mother, wife, and community activist who has lived in three different continents. Born of a Kenyan mother (Mombasa origin) and an American father, she explores life’s many questions through a multi-cultural,Islamic, and feminist lens on her blog at

Besides her 9-5 job, she serves as the secretary to the popular community group based in Mombasa called Donge La Mombasa Welfare Group (www.dongelamombasa). She is also the founder and director of The Fatma and Khadija Memorial Library.

She lives in London with her husband, children, and beloved fish called Joho.



(Beyond Mombasa)




Is a blog by hibaaq osman


She may still be very new in the field but she has us drawn to her posts.

Some people write in hopes of finding a door out of their pain,and giving hope to the broken.

They just spill their hearts out,express whatever we are unable to say and someone somewhere relates to it.

They motivate and inspire us through their words.

This is what vintagediaries


is all about.



Ahmed Shayo:

His blog talks about the most intimate things that revolve our lives. He speaks of our darkest fears, shedding light to thoughts that linger in secret corners of our hearts. He talks of love, sadness, death and life in a holistic approach, and he does that with a poetic literature that beats your imagination. Epic poetry! Check out his art at:


These are definitely writers to check out and enjoy what they have to offer. More profiles to come up soon in shaa Allah!




IMG_20160320_143628 - Copy

Art is just another amazing world of it’s own. It takes us to places, it makes us feel. It makes us think outside the box and deep inside it. Art cannot even be described as it deserves to be. Art is just art ❤

I came across this very talented young lady who is venturing in this field; alone, independently and it just awe-inspires me when I see art anywhere. I couldn’t leave her stay unnoticed. She needs our support, she and many others need a platform for them to grow. This is what her journey is all about 😊


Full name: Mirfat Mahmoud Miyanji

Age: 20 years old

Current education level: High school graduate ’15 (Sheikh Khalifa Secondary)

Job: I freelance sell my canvas pieces.





Your art is just too amazing, where do you get the inspiration from?

 My inspiration comes from my surroundings and my emotions. I draw what I feel will portray a deeper understanding on all things beautiful. Not only beauty defined by standards but beauty seen by all.


Is your art a skill learnt or a talent that perhaps runs in your blood?

My art talent runs in the blood; hereditary from my mother. Though art is like any other skill without practice there’s no perfection.


When did you start drawing? (Tell us a bit about your journey)

Well I started drawing from a young age, I’ve always found it fascinating. I became serious with my interest in art in 2014 this is when I started exploring the world of pencil sketching, drawing simple images and calligraphy letters and from there I evolved to acrylic and oil canvas paintings through observation and determination.




When do you draw mostly? (When you are happy or sad or it is a hobby you do anytime)?

I mostly draw when I’m feeling the urge to draw it doesn’t matter if I’m sad or happy but it is as well as a hobby. It’s something I love to do. A passion.


Is there anyone who mentors you in this?

Unfortunately I don’t have a mentor for my art skill it is mostly self taught. Trial and error basis.



Which themes do you use mostly? (Sadness, joy, loneliness, darkness)?

The themes I use for my art vary, even though it is driven by the urge to draw, my emotions do play a significant part in my work. Some of my pieces consist of loneliness, some of joy and some are abstract or formed by my love for something or someone.


Who gives you the best support in your art journey?

I don’t have a specific person who gives me the best support; my family, friends, colleagues in the field of art, teachers, even acquaintances and social media followers are my biggest and best support. All their contribution on feedback as well as good will is major support and I appreciate it.


What are your future plans on developing your art skills?

Well my plans are on learning more mediums in which I can portray art. For art is not just in the form of a sketch but by different forms in sculptures, paintings, intricate details, glass paintings etc. Also teaching; the best way to perfect something is to teach it so I’d like to develop the skill of teaching art, so not just I and a few others can see it’s tenderness and beauty.


Which is your best drawing so far?

To be honest I don’t have a best drawing, each piece of my art is best in it’s own way since all carry different messages in them and the outcome of each is executed it’s own way.


Have you ever participated in any exhibition?

Unfortunately I haven’t participated in any exhibitions yet.


What about competitions? Did you win?

I did participate in the Kiwi drawing competition in primary and won twice.


Have you ever drawn something then hated the outcome?

I have drawn a few things then hated the outcome especially when I’m trying a new concept in art but I never give up I keep trying until eventually I start to like the end product.


What would you tell other young artists who are sleeping on their talent?

What i could tell young artists who haven’t thought of pursuing their talents is that someone somewhere wishes they had a talent, any talent and it is such a waste that this God given gift has not been put to it’s purpose and used to it’s full potential by you. I urge you to pursue it and no matter how many times you fail, those are just lessons learned. The fruits of success are sweet and I guarantee that success follows hard work.


Where can we get your master pieces?

My art pieces are available at ‘NIVANNA INTERIORS’ City Mall Mombasa or you can contact me directly for custom pieces at 0708821194.





I believe you agree with me that her art is just beyond amazing. Next time you hear them say Mombasa has no talent, no zeal, no passion, talk to them about people like Mirfat. There are many more who just haven’t yet had their break through! May God bless the work of our hands, ameen! 😊









By: Imran Abdallah Said

Photo courtesy:


A word of caution for non-Swahili speakers, the Swahili-English translations used in this writing are as primitive as they could get, both for comic reasons and because Swahili is awesome. Learn it so I wont have to translate next time.






It’s supposed to be the wedding of the decade. The daughter of a chief marrying the son of a respected doctor. She’s an accountant and he’s a secondary school history teacher. She’s good with numbers, he’s good with dates and today’s is a date that’s been long time coming. She being a pedantic realist and he being a nostalgic dreamer means that they will complete the proverbial ying yang loop, form the perfect couple, and half the stars in the sky will go supernova and turn night into day. At the moment, however, heavy clouds crease the night sky which beams down with malcontent.


For the third time tonight it threatens to pour as the groom and his flock of minions walk into the mosque and make a beeline for the front, where the imam and the bride’s father await, the expressions on their faces radiating an unimpressed mien. Between him and his destination, a crazed sea of white and black and green and blue kanzus stretches the mosque’s capacity to its choking point. Kofia-donned heads literally turn as the man of the day passes by, dragging his wedding gear, from the over-size black robe laced with gold trimmings and the blunt ceremonial wooden sword tucked in his belt, to the massive turban on his head that precariously flirts with the physical principles of balance and gravity.


He deposits himself immediately opposite the imam and nods to his future father-in-law who is either too distracted by the groom’s excessive decorations or unhappy at his wanton disregard for punctuality, since he doesn’t nod back. The imam begins the ceremony with a short lecture about the highs and lows of marriage and quotes a few verses from the Quran.


Then he holds the groom’s right hand and asks him to repeat what seems, to the groom at least, like the recitation of a full twenty-page chapter of the Quran in a single breath. The groom’s heart does the tachycardia thing, a hamster racing a hamster wheel off its hinges. He mumbles and stutters. The imam sighs and repeats, enunciating each word carefully like a nursery school teacher. The groom does better this time, but only just.


“I…Matano bin Mashaka…accept…” a year-long pause, “…to marry…” a decade flits by, “…Zubeda.”

“Zulekha.” The imam corrects.


“Bint!” The imam corrects again.

“Bint…uh…” What was the father’s name again? He can’t for the love of everything lovable remember it and the fuming dragon that sits where future father-in-law was a minute ago doesn’t make matters easier either. A century has passed by, by the time the groom finishes his vow. The relieved imam does the Islamic rendition of the “By the powers vested in me…” bit and prays for everlasting blessings to be bestowed on the budding marriage. The father-in-law is now smiling broadly. It’s a smile that could mean anything, “I’ll kill you the next time you forget my name” or “Thank you for reducing the number of stubborn bubbleheads living in my house to fifteen. Now scram both of you, and don’t bring her back!”


Then its cheers all round as plates of halwa arrive. After that, the crowd of a thousand or so bludgeon the poor groom with affectionate embraces. His family is big. Half the city’s population is surely crammed within this tiny mosque and since his memory serves him well when recalling names of people who began revolutions or destroyed civilizations ages ago but fails him dramatically when trying the same with the people he called friends and family, the groom is meeting his extended relatives and friends for the first time all over again. Cousin Muhammad is actually cousin Mahmoud and uncle Ali is in fact uncle Alwi. In the end the groom resorts to the only nomenclature he’s always been comfortable with as he thanks Cousin 453 and his father, Uncle 78 as they smother him with musty-odor-sheathed bear hugs.




A motorcade outside whisks the groom and his entourage away to his bride’s home. They arrive to what can only be described as a razzle dazzle peacock fashion show. It’s almost dizzying how many different colors the bride’s relatives have managed to cram into their dresses individually. But now the groom faces a tougher challenge than acclimatizing his eyes to the bewildering scene.


The tradition at this point goes so: the bride, having recited her own vow earlier that night, is ‘locked away’ in a room somewhere within the house and one of her relatives stands guard. The groom is presented with two options. He and his lackeys can either try to force their way in, or if he is of a more diplomatic persuasion the groom can bride the guard.


Today’s is the case where the groom’s only option is surely diplomacy, for the simple reason that his entourage is locked outside and that the bride’s aunt who has taken up guard duty makes the room’s door look small in comparison. She grins widely as he slips two thousand-shilling notes into her welcoming hand. The deal is officially sealed. He is allowed admission.


Inside, the bride sits at the edge of the room’s only bed, white dress pouring out all around her, her face and arms buried under layers of make-up and hinna tattoos, but if you are to believe the groom’s account, she is actually “bathed in delicate radiant light that would shame the sun on any summer’s day and an ethereal fragrance that would push roses and carnations into fits of suicidal fantasies”. He whispers a dua to her as per the norm, their first intimate moment, and wishes they could jump out the window if only to escape the photo session that awaits them outside the door.




An hour or a day or a week later, they escape the incessant paparazzi and the motorcade whisks them away to the groom’s residence. It’s drizzling again outside. Well, no it’s actually pouring dreadfully now. Their driver, the groom’s older brother, focused on the now increasingly treacherous road, accountant and history teacher turn to each other. The groom had prepared a ton of poems for this moment, until the rose-shaming fragrance had wiped his memory clean, but twenty or so years of watching the occasional chick-flick movie have him covered…maybe. He blurts out, “I love you…sweet pump…kin”


She’s calm despite the excitement of the occasion as she stifles a laugh and replies in a cool voice, “Well, sweet potato, I love you more.”


The groom’s found his courage and confidence again but not the rehearsed poems, so he chides, “Really? How much more?”


Then the conversation picks up and they’re soon gone. They’re lost in their own world. The real world around them dissolves away and if the bus and truck ahead of them collided and burst into a million pieces in a shower of burning flames and human screams, they won’t be able to recount it to anyone tomorrow or ever. They’re so lost, they don’t even notice when the car finally pulls up to the groom’s home.


“Well I love you a gazillion multiplied by a gatrillion times more.” The groom smirks, impressed by his own ability to remember a very big number, fake or not.


She replies with the same calm voice, “And I love you Mugabellion to the power of Musevenillion times more.” In other words, infinity to the power of immortal forever. She’s good with numbers. The groom is stumped and sulks for a second after losing his first contest with his wife.


“And I would love it if this awkward conversation continued another time.” Their driver, an unwilling passive third-party to the exchange interrupts.“We’re here.” He announces unceremoniously.


Outside stands the groom’s family’s home. Two massive tents on either side, one for the men, the other for the ladies. And people. People everywhere you turn. The couple notice them for the first time and feel dizzy. Hundreds, maybe thousands have come to the wedding, to marvel at and envy the newlyweds.


The bride is chauffeured away to a temporary wooden stage under the ladies’ tent, where a thousand phosphorent lights and garlands of flowers festoon across the face of the makeshift stage. Then the ululations pick up and morph into a wedding song as the groom’s mother and aunts serenade their newest family member. There’s a phrase around this part of the world, “Bibi harusi wetu.” Our bride. She’s married a family, not just a husband.


The forgotten groom is paraded into the house by his brother who shouts to no one in particular, “Someone feed this oaf, he needs his energy up to prepare for his big performance.” The older men and teenagers hanging around laugh like maniacs.


With the groom inside and the bride on the other pole of the house, calm falls on the men’s tent. The topics of conversations that follow dart from football and politics and at some point the death of the groom’s younger brother a few months ago comes up. It’s inherently taboo to talk about funerals at weddings but for these people today, having been shocked by the nature and timing of the groom’s brother’s death, talking about it here is almost therapeutic.


The teenagers in attendance joke about marriage and other weddings they’ve attended. One of them waxes nostalgic to the click around him about a different wedding he went to where state-of-the-art amplifiers and 20-feet high speakers blasted the music of Ali Kiba and Diamond into the night sky. “What a dump of a wedding this is.” He complains. That it had stopped drizzling minutes ago doesn’t seem to improve the teenager’s mood.


The saving grace of any Swahili wedding, however, no matter how dislikeable to those invited, is of course the feast, or feasts.Tonight’s feast even has a name, Kombe la Bwanaharusi, the groom’s cup or something like that. You know Swahili people love food when they give fancy names to feasts. When the sinias (big plates) arrive and the guests behold their contents, all inhibitions and doubts and ill-will simply melt away.


Tonight, the guests are treated to a surprise. Upon inspection of the plates, they discover they’ve been served six different types of foods, from viazi vya nazi (potatoes of coconut), samaki wa kupaka(painted fish), nyama ya kukaanga (fried meat…?),mahamri (I doubt there’s an English equivalent word), kaimati (some round pastry thingy coated in sugar), mitai (another pastry thingy coated in sugar) and tambi (sugary noodles). Seven types it turns out, not six! But wait, upon further inspection, the guests realize the plates come in pairs. There are seven other different types of food in the accompanying plates, mikate ya tambi(sugary-noodle bread), katlesi (cut-less with each bite), viazi vitamu (sweet potatoes!), sambusa(samosas), mkate wa mayai (bread of the egg),mkate wa sinia (bread of the plate) and viazi karai(fried potatoes) You could call it the centenary gladiator match of the calories, a cholesterol and sugars bloodbath. The Swahili people won’t heed you, they’ll continue calling it Kombe La Bwanaharusi.




It’s growing late, the tell-tale signs of the approaching morning begin to show. The groom is tired and sleepy and growing increasingly irritated. He chucks modesty down the drain, rushes up the makeshift stage while the songs and ululations crescendo to a climax, and before anyone can realize what’s happening scoops up the bride, who looks equal parts amused and relieved but not necessarily shocked, and takes off at a canter like a deranged kangaroo, the turban falling off his head. His mother finally jumps to her feet and gives chase shouting, ‘Bring our bride back,’ her singing partners flocking her sides and ululating without let-up.


“My bride, mine…” the groom shouts back, head growing giddy from his defiant shenanigans. He makes for one of the parked cars whose passenger door is thankfully held open by his brother, gently sets his wife down on the seat, jumps over the bonnet american-movie-cops-like, fishtails the car out of the parking spot and zooms off, executing a perfect drift around the corner that would send James Bond running for the bank. Cheers and whoops from the men’s side and ululations from women’s side and the groom’s mother’s child-like tantrum sing them off into the night.


“Wow,” the accountant laughs, “I didn’t know your family was so…”


“Clingy?” The history teacher says.


“Affectionate.” She finishes.


“They’re clingy. My family’s clingy. I should have warned you.” The dreamer reflects. There’s a long pause and then he adds, “We have might have to relocate to Russia or China or Antarctica where they can’t find us and shove chocolate cakes down your throat every morning and dress you up like Disney princesses every weekend.”


The realist wraps her arms around her husband’s free hand and rests her head on his shoulder as she thinks of the long tiring hours she spends at work every day.


“I don’t know,” she whispers with a broad smile, “I think am actually looking forward to being treated like a queen.”


For more of Imran’s articles log on to:

Photo courtesy:

Celebration season comes with a lot of merry but we will all agree that without children, our events just seem incomplete. It is always very interesting to see cute and sweet children everywhere with those banana smiles full of excitement.

Since time immemorial, children would always anticipate such an event, get excited over their new clothes for the occasion and would go to the extent of hiding the clothes till the D-day as if a thief would take it away from them. When the day finally comes, we would be the first ones to wake up without our mothers having to drag us out of the bed like on school days. We would be anxious to bathe quickly and be fully dressed before anyone else and start showing off how pretty we look. The most interesting part of all this affair though is going visiting relatives whereby the children are keen enough to ensure that they greeted every single relative in order to get ‘good cash.’ I remember during my childhood when my older siblings would get more cash and my mother would always console me that when I grew up things would get better. Only to realize that, the older you grew, the less you are given. This however has been changing in generations and the lucky, remained so. Before the end of the day, the children would all huddle together; the siblings, cousins, neighbours and each would start boasting of the money in their pockets and of the long lists of things they would buy. Trust me, children turn into very skillful accountants on this day!

The unique thing in our coast region though, is the gwaride that goes round different parts of old town and Mombasa with their musical instrument as they move from one household to another. The team is quite interesting and entertaining in their red and white uniforms, sometimes red, blue and black uniforms, some in ugly masks as the trumpets and drums calls for attention everywhere. You would never miss a group of children following behind and jumping up and down to the rhythm of the drums. My very young niece was there singing all time ‘mama nataka gwaride! Mama nataka gwaride!’ and could barely eat well at the anticipation of the gwaride.



What follows next after the gwaride is the ‘makadara’ chorus by the children whereby they would whine and whine until they get a volunteer to take them to the swings playground at makadara grounds. This has been an old tradition at the coast and for the children, eid is not eid without going to makadara. The playgrounds would stay for as long as a week so that everyone equally has a chance to enjoy their days in the playgrounds.

With all that, eid would not be all that interesting without all these pretty children everywhere. If we imagine a scenario without them, then the adults would probably just visit the elders and just after having their lunch, they would probably go back to their beds for a nap. So cheers to all the cute children who just make our days!


Photos Courtesy:,,

There is a reason why people from all over the world keep saying, ‘Mombasa Raha’. Of course the statement is not over-rated, if anything, Mombasa can be the best place to take a break. And by Mombasa I am referring to the larger Mombasa of the old times that extends to Lamu, Malindi and Mambrui on the North and to Likoni on the South. We just have too many blessings to ignore. Here is why:

1. Mombasa has the most hospitable people: Oh yes! This is the place where you need direction and the person drops everything they have in hand to escort you to your destination. This is the place where people can welcome a total stranger who needs a bed into their homes. We have seen since ages ago, our grandparents allowing exchange students and tourists to live amongst us and within our premises and most of the times free of charge. Well maybe security issues have disadvantaged this tradition to go on as before but still, in some places in the Coast it still happens. This is the place you can comfortably talk to a stranger in a public vehicle and chat like you’ve known them forever. This is the place you greet anyone and they reply even when you don’t know each other. I mean, go to Nairobi and try saying hi to someone on the street and see how they will freak out like you are the psychopath who has been stalking them in forever. Especially if you have a beard! man you are doomed 😀 But we’ve been doing it here in forever. We have neighbours living close together as one family and sharing both the good and bad moments together. Well this may have changed with time but it still happens in some places especially during the month of Ramadhan where neighbours, friends and relatives take plates of food to one another which is commonly known as bembe and sometimes even eat together. The place just becomes too comforting and the unity makes your heart bloom with joy.

We also have people assisting you with fare in a public vehicle when you have lost your own. People defending you when you are being mistreated or taken for granted. I remember an incident where two young high school boys were boarding a matatu but unfortunately, the driver took off just after one had boarded; leaving the other one behind. So the one who had boarded told the conductor he needs to alight because he cant go without his mate. The young boy really looked confused and agitated. It seemed like he was going to boarding school which may be far and perhaps had his own reasons why he wanted his mate to be with him. But the stubborn conductor wouldn’t let him alight with the saying, ‘si atakufata nyuma tu’. The boy kept insisting as he helplessly stood near the vehicle door. The more the boy pleaded, the more the passengers got agitated as well. So they started telling off the conductor, ‘wewe acha mtoto ashuke bwana’ and they really seemed irritated by how the conductor was ‘bullying’ the boy by not allowing him to alight. So it went on until some ladies in the car said, ‘usipomshukisha basi sisi sote pia twashuka.’ When the conductor saw that the pressure was rising, he decided to let him alight. If you were in the car, you’d think all those people knew that young boy by the way they were complaining. So yes, definitely this is the place you will find the kindest and most hospitable people. They can sacrifice their own dinner or their savings to let you, the visitor eat very good food, be comfortable and to your full.

2. Food? Is that even a question? The best of recipes and foods come from here. From the delicious breakfast of mahamri and mbaazi, with tea or coffee commonly known as kahawa to the heavy lunch of wali wa nazi, samaki wa kupaka and fresh juice and ending it with dinner that could be anything really. The varieties of food are uncountable; giving you the utmost satisfaction by eating whatever you love most. Could be mishkaki, shawarma, biriani, pilau etc etc. The desserts are not any less mouth watering! To make things even more interesting for a visitor, there are cafes and ladies beside streets selling palatable food and bites at every corner in Mombasa and you may end up getting confused where and what exactly to eat. You can always ask those who travel out of Mombasa what they miss most, our Coastal food is always mentioned! Oh our mothers and ladies are just blessed with that kind of hand that can mix up anything and end up making a new invention; a superb recipe haha.

3. The Coastal beaches, hotels, historical sites and wild life parks
are just a wonderful place to relax your mind and have the peace of mind that you just need. The breezy Coastal beaches are filled with coconut trees that make it such a wonderful scene and some magnificent hotels are positioned right at the shore. What more would you need? You can always wake up early to watch the sunrise at the beach or the sunset.
The places to visit are many and it’s your choice to just make up your mind on which shore to explore on your sunny Sunday and yes, you can get an exciting ride on camels, donkeys and horses as well. Historical sites such as Fort Jesus and Jumba La Mtwana have so much meaning to the residents of Mombasa and they display the deep culture that has for long been an attraction for tourists.

4. The deep culture and beautiful people
in Mombasa make it an interesting place to be in. We have all sorts of tribes inter-marrying and associating with one another. As such, we have inherited so many cultural traditions all at once. The Swahili, Arabs, Bajunis, Indians, Mijikenda, Barawas, Somalis amongst many others have been able to adapt each others traditions and live peacefully together despite a few differences here and there. There are several festivals such as Lamu Cultural Festival, Lamu Food Festival, Shela Dhow Race among others. Don’t hesitate to join the festivity!

5. The outstanding evenings- In Mombasa, the afternoon is usually the nap time for many who are free and the evening comes with such merry. You will find men just after their evening prayer seating with their mates, drinking kahawa chungu sometimes with haluwa or tende as they play backgammon. As for the ladies, an evening in Mombasa is not complete without the delicious viazi karai, bajia with chatini and ukwaju, sambusa, vitumbua amongst many other bites or sometimes it would simply be eating of the famous mabuyu, achari and sunflower as they sit watching TV, listen to taarab or most commonly chat with fellow women in their lesos and deras in their homes. The mabuyu and achari from Mombasa are used as gifts internationally so I guess this is where we make them best I guess? As for the children, you wouldn’t miss seeing them jump and run about playing with their age mates. You won’t miss to see boys and young men playing football in different grounds. They would go to buy barafu or babu kachri (It consists of a thick tangy potato gravy, sprinkled with crushed potato crisps and khara sev (a fried crispy snack made from chickpea flour and spices and topped with a spicy chutney) to spice up their evenings too. Well, what is life without food anyway? Sometimes they go for outings and walks in places like light house, buy kachri (crips), sit by the beach or go for ice cream. To top it up, there is no annoying jam to slow down your day. Here, people are always in the celebrating mood. Any day any time is the time for an outing. Where else do people have such spectacular evenings filled with joy, merry and children’s laughter?

6. Among the best of house wives come from the Coast. Ladies are taught from a very young age how to cook, how to handle a home and children such that when they get married, they are experts in being exemplary house wives. Being a house wife is really underestimated yet the work the ladies do to ensure their homes are up to date can’t be ignored. They beautify themselves with piko and henna for their husbands, use vikuba which have different flowers like vilua, mawardi (roses), Asmini (Jasmine) sown together to perfume their hair and the most commonly known Udi to perfume their clothes, bodies and their rooms. They wouldn’t miss a couple of lesos in their wardrobes from the famous Abdallah Leso with powerful messages and sometimes with mafumbo and methali.

7. The traditional Coastal weddings are just another thing!! The setting, the food, the pretty ladies!! During weddings, ladies wear crowns, necklaces (shada la pesa) or any other designs made of money and sometimes gift it to the newly weds or their relatives. I previously wrote an entire article about Swahili weddings, you can always check it out!

8. Religious Upbringing:
As much as the Coast has different religions, the majority are the Muslims. Children are encouraged to go to madrasa at very young age, to participate in religious challenges as well as memorization of the holy book. We have Christians as well who have their own schedules for the young people and gladly, we have been able to inter-mingle with other religions without any problems. Such upbringing is to instill upright behaviour and humbleness in the children.

Mombasa and the Coast at large has been on the edge in the past few years. Things have changed, situations have changed and the people keep changing. With the coming of technology, many of the traditions, values and morals have been going downhill too. Nonetheless, today, let us just forget all the ills of Mombasa and appreciate the good and the multiple blessings we have. These are but a few, there are many more. I am not saying the above mentioned doesn’t happen elsewhere, I’m just saying this is ‘home sweet home’.

Video Courtesy: Hannan Barre

Special Dedication: Class of ‘011, 4Vee

Checking out this video, I smell nostalgia, can you feel it too? Khalifans’ style of celebrating has always been entertaining, thrilling, amusing yet still amazing! In fact the earlier years’ celebrations were even merrier. It used to be just a crazy scenario; girls shouting at the top of their voices, jumping up and down, singing all kind of songs including nursery rhymes like ‘ukuti ukuti wa mnazi wa mnazi’, ‘masomo bila mahewa haidandii bila mahewa’, ‘wako wapi mahasidi waione khalifa kiboko yao’ and some other song going like ‘santiago chile’ that I can no longer even remember, amongst other crazy songs being sang at the top of their voices 😀 But I must say; I definitely used to enjoy every moment of it especially being more of the observer. It always got me all emotional; finding my way through the crowd to hug the friends who performed.

It’s both hilarious and exciting even remembering all this now. Like in form one, our class was the one with windows directly facing the gate and the fish pond. As the candidates who had received their results were storming in the next class (which was form four V) were now all screams and dances. Being new, we didn’t understand what was going on until the other classes came out including the boys too. Mr Yunus (for the old Khalifans, you know him) was in class then and he was teaching us how to read the log books. Apparently we needed to be so attentive to understand that but we were all so curious; looking out of the windows and getting excited to join the chaotic celebrations. It was not his best day because with our agitation, we made him almost throw a chair at us. To make it worse, a form four girl fell into the huge dustbin right outside our class in the process of jumping. We were all laughing and it being a math class, of course we’d do anything to go out. And yes, we did succeed in that and poor, humble Mr Yunus had to leave the class 😀 And that is how we were introduced to the Khalifan jovial style of celebrating…yet amusingly, during all this chaos, the smart and bright students used to stay in class with the claim, ‘we don’t want to waste time’ lool. However when the noise used to escalate they’d come out and peep ‘what’s going on?’. But let’s get real, how does anyone read let alone write notes in such excitement? Not unless you are in form four…where that fear creeps in, ‘I could be out there screaming like the rest but what happens next year when I don’t perform and people will only remember me as a cheerleader and not a performer?’
Then comes the resolution, ‘Let me make use of this time now so that next year, they can also celebrate my performance too’ which is quite okay 😀 Other than that, I hope the bookworms have learnt that all work without play makes Jack a dull boy 😀

I remember another incident, a time like this during the results season, we were in our Chemistry class and our teacher was busy scribbling moles on the board when the noise started from other classes and we knew; it’s time for celebration! We always knew the noise symbolized yet another victory and as they say, ‘it’s party time!’ So whenever the noise escalated outside, we would all start making choruses of ‘siiirrrrr…let us gooo!’ If someone heard us, they would think our adrenaline was being poked. The rhythmic rise and fall of the noise always went on for a while; when the cheers escalated we would thump on the desks like crazy gorillas demanding for food and when it subsided we would keep quiet too. If you are from Sheikh Khalifa then you probably know Mr Ngao, and the glare he can give you. Whenever our voices went up, he would turn from the board and glare at us with his head lowered and his eyes raised, We would immediately shush up and continue scribbling our notes. When he realized we were getting out of control, he once again turned from the board, smiled in a way to show he has surrendered and finally, walked out of the class. It was times like these that you’d just stare and say ‘oh boy, people do have energy I tell you!’

The boys too wouldn’t be left behind. They would demand to go out of the gates while some would decide not to wait for the gates to be opened and just jump over. Meanwhile other boys would push their friends in the fish pond and apparently this is the only day you can do that and not be punished for it; the only day all hell breaks loose and students get away with it 😀 Everyone would scramble into the buses as each individual wanted to be part of the screaming and singing of ‘paka shume huyooo’ to Allidina and Aga Khan students on the roads lol.

Looking back at all these memories I really miss those days especially coming from a class that had quite extraordinary cheerleaders. And then even as I was watching all this happening I kept saying to myself, ‘why not?’ Our efforts and our duas, Our dedication and hard work does deserve all this joy and merry. Why not show the world how Muslim brains can work? How lady jilbabies are not any less intelligent to challenge the world? How being principled and disciplined is the only way to success? And this is what my high school has proved to the world since time immemorial; this is precisely why I am proud being a product of such an institution. And yes! yesterday, we did it once again! Alhamdulilah we had the best results ever from Sheikh Khalifa with:

A 27
A- 85
B+ 38
B 18
B- 8
C+ 2
C 1

Once again we have been able to outshine others alhamdulilah and all we can say to all our haters out there who are dying to know what our secret has always been, then here it is: ‘Allah is always with us,’ and that it is this firm faith in Allah that makes us at the top of the map always.

Congratulations to all those who got their results yesterday and hey, welcome to the adult world! May God easen it for you out there and get you to your goals in shaa Allah 🙂

Finally, I guess you came up with the same conclusion as mine: We are definitely the best, not only in results, in celebrating too!! 😀

#Proudly Khalifan 🙂

P.S. If you like my art then please vote for me at at creative writing category..and don’t forget to ‘submit’at the end of the page please 😉
Thanks in advance 😊

Photo Courtesy: Lalbiby Mansoor

Anyone who hears me talk about my high school; Sheikh Khalifa, one would think that I never had a single difficulty in the school and thus the high level of loyalty. Ironically, I had my share of high school teen drama; doing punishments such as slashing, washing the loos, being caned, kneeling down in front of the staff room and even had my one trip to Mrs. Feiruz’s office (the then deputy principal) which was then considered a dreadful thing especially when you were not paying her a rather pleasant visit. Okay okay, I know how this statement is too shocking but most of the times it was collective punishments for the whole class. Apparently I am lucky I never had to kneel down at the fish pond when my mates were asked to do so. Yet thinking about Sheikh Khalifa and my experiences in university, I honestly consider high school as heaven. It is the place I wouldn’t mind going back to and starting form one all over again but please without the math and the sciences hahaha. It is the place I consider highest for spiritual and personal growth. Anyway, those remain to be memories never to be forgotten for I was able to grow and learn from my mistakes, experiences and friendships. Now back to me being the Khalifan paparazzi that I’ve always been and to the main aim of this article.

So finally, the awaited library of the school plus the labs are ready for use. For the ex-students, this can be really thrilling yet envy-provoking news. I mean, remember how we had to squeeze up in the labs and sometimes, the very wet labs to do practicals? What about the small and cute library that we had whereby sometimes you walk in and you find an entire class inside and your appetite to read just disappears immediately? Oh yeah? Well right now when you pay a visit to the school you would wish to sleep inside the big and spacious library. As for the labs, they seem so appealing that right now the students are going to the place even after class hours including the form ones and I wonder what do they even go do there?! I bet as from this year, we will have many more students taking full sciences due to the awesome labs. In fact just before the event started, we made a tour to one of the labs where form ones were having a biology class with Mrs Twaliba and we were able to capture them as the class went on. They seemed pretty much happy about the labs too. I don’t know if I saw it right, but later on perusing through the pics with the one and only Amina Khamis, there looked something like a kikoto on the desk lol; Mrs Twaliba making sure the A’s come down like rain? I guess so!

Yesterday, 18/2/16, was the official opening of the two architectural masterpieces; the biggest library in Mombasa and one of the biggest in Kenya as well and the science labs that look just too magnificent. The two buildings have hanging walls and without forgetting that the labs have an alternate circulation of air which makes it an awesome ventilation for the classes. Over 140 million was used for this huge project and part of it, 2.5 million was donated by the C.E.O of National bank Mr. Munir Ahmed for the lab apparatus. The labs are now 8; 4 are the new ones. As for the library, the rooms will be 12 for both boys and girls. But that’s not the climax of the story yet. The climax is that the library is going to have an audio visual room with an interactive smart board for presentations. There will also be 24 new computers with internet for the student to research on but there will be restrictions on which sites the students will visit. Who else is biting their finger right now wishing they could still be at SK?! Mashallah for this great blessing and hopefully we keep seeing greater changes in the school in shaa Allah.

The official opening event took place at the fish pond area whereby two representatives of Sheikh Khalifa foundation attended. The guest of honour was Sultan Al-Khafaily and his mate was Ahmed Khoury together with other guests including Board of Trustees members including Mr Rajab Sumba and Board of Governors including Mr Sayyid Hemed. From the visitors was also Mr Mohammad Islam of Maize Millers among’st others. The occasion began with the wonderful recitation of the Qur’an thereafter followed by the scouts. I couldn’t help but hear my friend who joined me into the event, Lalbiby Mansoor, as she slowly whispered the Khalifan anthem along the scouts. I joined too and it felt such a patriotic moment, proudly Khalifan right?! The hilarious moment was when the scout leader was commanding his mates and he was using words like ‘nyamalato nyamalato’ lol I hear that is Zulu language? Then came the wonderfully spoken Arabic speech by Abdulrahman Hassan but the girl who made the day was Salma H. Amin who gave a spectacular speech with a spectacular American accent. Her last quote is still stuck in my mind as she mentioned what Johann Schiller said ‘Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will get the ability to do difficult things easily.’ Two other students came next and recited a nasheed as their awesome voices echoed the compound. Our guest of honour spoke as expected; with an Arabic accent followed by a speech by the principal whereby he brought forward the fact that, ‘if we were to build it ourselves it would have costed each student at least ksh. 160,000.
So the Khalifa Foundation having done it for us is such blessing and we can’t thank the foundation and president of U.A.E enough … All we have is prayers for them.’

Next was the cutting of the library ribbon by the guest of honour together with the girl prefects. We had a short tour inside the library as the girl prefects got excited; stepping inside the building for the first time. I couldn’t help but notice one prefect who kept asking Mrs Fatma (the now deputy principal), ‘Madam, does this mean we can come here at any time?’
As if it still didn’t sink in she repeated the question, ‘Madam ANY TIME?!’ Lol, I bet we will now be having students who never used to step in the library before, now spending their entire time in the library.

Lalbiby and I had our laugh as we checked the number of switches for the fans and lights in the library; 24?!! Hahah I can imagine a student using almost 10 minutes trying to know which is the switch to the fan where they are seated and most probably end up giving up, just sit down and ‘vumilia kuwa Mkenya’ or should it be ‘vumilia kuwa Mombasan?’ with all this heat?! Nonetheless, the calligraphy of Qur’anic texts in the library are just masterpieces worth the praise MashaaAllah!

Then came the tour to the science labs together with the boys prefects and the visitors were shown the different labs including a new computer lab.

At the end of it i’m sure all the guests were really impressed with the achievements. Even though I am not there anymore, I am grateful for what the honourable Sheikh Khalifa and his foundation plus all the well wishers are doing to the school. I am very glad I attended the event, especially that Mr Rishard made sure Lalbiby and I sat in the V.I.P section with the guests :p It was awesome alhamdulilah and before I end, I would like to appreciate Lalbiby’s efforts to capture best pictures without forgetting that we were literally following every step that the hired photographer was taking. Hehe we got photography tips from the guy you can bet! I hope he didn’t notice we were copying his moves though lol.

To end this hearty article, if you are ex-Khalifan be proud that you were once part of this great school irregardless of its flaws. As for you who is still Khalifan, make best use of the chances there because once you get to university, you will realise that we had the best kind of mentorship in the school. Alhamdulilah for everything and I salute you all Khalifans by saying, ‘I am proudly Khalifan…kulluna Khalifa!!

For more of my articles please keep visiting this site. Thank you in advance!

Photo Courtesy:

I was once interviewing one of the prominent and active Mombasa women who has led to development in her area and there was something she told me that I will never forget. ‘The problem with us (people of Mombasa) is that we have the PHD’s (Pull Her Down) certificate holders. People will try to bring you down at any cost. They never like the idea of anyone being more successful than them.’ We all laughed at this amusing yet very true statement. I know the PHD’s are obviously in all places in Kenya and in the whole world as well but unfortunately, Mombasa has greatly been characterized with this shameful behaviour.

I have never really understood why this is the case. Is it just a bad trend that eventually became part of the culture? It’s funny that in situations where you expect your own people to be happy that you are climbing up the ladder, their dark hearts will ache; ‘I was the one supposed to be owning that car or that house’ or ‘she doesn’t deserve her husband; he should have married me instead.’ It’s like something my father was telling me the other day, ‘why can’t people just share the happiness and joy of others even when it’s not personally their success?

The sad yet hilarious reality of Mombasa is like that one whereby in a small area where there has never been a graduate and some day there emerges one, the news will spread like fire. But these kind of news don’t always come with the jolly and merry as expected. You will hear women speaking in whispers as one cooks her mahamri and others wait to give their orders. They will talk of all kind of bizarre things; you will be amazed. They will talk of how the mother to the graduate went to a witch to make his son graduate, or of the loan they had to take from a bank so as he could complete his studies or of how her daughter allegedly slept around with her lecturers to get her the A’s. They will talk of everything and anything connected to the success but never about the success itself. Or in another scenario is of the men who will sit in the baraza busy chewing miraa, discussing this same graduate; ‘Ah yule hana mpango! I asked him to find me ways to get a scholarship like he did but he didn’t bother.’ And even interestingly, the rest will join in even when they know nothing much about the young man, ‘ah bro achana naye, ana maringo kama mwanamke!’ At this point you will hear all kind of insults, old stories, his/her past will all be undug from the earth at this stage. Just so as to prove one thing; he/she doesn’t deserve the blessings he/she is in.

I am assuming that this is mostly brought about by the high levels of idleness but on second thought, until when are we going to blame idleness for all our selfish, evil and dark souls? If we have nothing to do does it justify our envy and malice for others really? So now it’s all like a competition; today I wore a buibui from Dubai while you wore one from Markiti, My daughter is studying medicine while yours is sewing clothes. There’s that unsaid; unspoken competition going on. All this goes to the extent that when a person has a problem let’s say with their fridge, and the next door neighbour can repair it, she’d rather call someone else from very far to come over, do the work and pay him for it. The mentality is often, ‘my son here is jobless, why then should I give it to him?

This drama gets to the peak when it is in office whereby you have to rub shoulders with people Yes they will try to bring you down They will bring up all kind of drama and misunderstandings just to prove one thing; you don’t deserve the job or probably you don’t deserve the post that the boss is about to give you.

Oh, it’s so amusing how people think. It always gets me thinking like ‘really?!’ Is it really worth your energy, words, sweat, saliva, time and sometimes even money to try putting someone else down?! Why can’t we just for once be genuinely, whole-heartedly, purely feel happy when someone is able to achieve something that we haven’t? I actually feel like laughing at this; laughing not because it is a good thing but because it is hilarious how people are.

Please if you’ve never tried feeling happy for someone else then please do give it a try sooner than soon. I promise you it’s going to be an awesome feeling that you’ll never regret. Try doing so and see how your own doors will open up for you by God’s will for shunning away all that envy and malice.

As for you my dear friend, as you keep struggling your way to the top, do know that you will meet several people who have graduated with the PHD’s. Some will show it to you right on your face, some will act as your friends yet they are your biggest enemies in disguise while some will just whisper around all kind of bizarre things to break you to pieces. When you do meet them, I hope you neither give up nor lose hope. I hope you are able to hold your head high and fight your way through to the very top. I hope you succeed. Ameen to that 🙂


By Lubnah Abdulhalim

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

The first thing any parent would ask you when you go ask for their daughter’s hand is, ‘what do you do for a living?’ of course it is their right to ask that. All parents want the best for their children and when you mention that your job is carrying cement, the first instinct would be that you wont be able to provide for their daughter and the children to come. Well maybe it would be your duty to prove them wrong by elaborating how you have a plan for the future. Parents easily get impressed when they see someone had previously arranged for their future; say, you have a saving account that was just for your wife-to-be and children and so on. of course it will be tough to convince them that carrying cement can make you sustain a family so maybe it is up to you to put in the effort to prove them wrong. But the question one should ask themselves is, ‘is it really worth it?’ Sometimes you may do all you can to show the parents of the girl that you can take up full responsibility, they will still put up walls to prevent you from marrying their daughter. But that is where we are always advised to marry/get married from people with same backgrounds as us because there will always be a time whereby the issue of class will be an issue between the two families. If you are hustling and you go approach a family whereby their daughter wakes up to find breakfast on her bed, then they will obviously not want any less than that. If their daughter is always in a prado, they will expect you to drive her in nothing less than a prado let alone make her board a matatu. As much as this is a wrong way of living and thinking but this is the reality. For you, providing ugali for both lunch and dinner may be what you consider as enough to sustain a family while for someone else, sustaining a family means being able to provide for their daughter a full meal from starters to the dessert. And this is how most people end up being rejected in families. I will repeat, it is not the right way of thinking or even living because this is definitely not what our prophet p.b.u.h taught us but nonetheless, sadly, not everyone is ready to follow his example. But still, we are taught to believe in qadar; which is our destiny, and if Allah has already planned that you marry this girl from a higher social class than you, you will still marry her by God’s will, even if the whole world is against the marriage.

So parents always have this notion of, ‘ah what will I be telling people when they ask what my son-in-law or even son is doing?! How can I say he is does a bodaboda business/sells vegetables in the market or that he is a carpenter?!’ Why? because to them this is not cool; not classy. And this is even why you rarely see Mombasa youth driving bodabodas or selling vegetables in the market; because they have always heard it from their parents criticizing such jobs, so they too grow up with the notion that it is not their standard to have such jobs. They would rather stay jobless and keep complaining about leaders who haven’t accomplished the promise of providing proper jobs. Truth be said here, we have jobs like the matatu industry, these people earn a very good amount of cash per day than quite some people working in offices. But there is also this perception of matatu workers being miraa chewers and drunkards and so on and the parents therefore wouldn’t really accept a matatu worker to join their family. We can’t really blame them for such a perception because this bad image exists but nonetheless, you won’t miss some of the matatu workers who are clean from any kind of drugs and may be all they have to do is prove it…but again, only when it is worth it and when you know your efforts can bring out a good result of being accepted in the family.

As much as we will blame the youth for only seeking what is cool in their eyes, the bigger blame goes to the parents. When they see that their sons can’t get an office job, then they would rather send them to Dubai or Suudiya or Qatar so they work there. Funny thing is, the jobs that they are given over there can still be done here but their hilarious notion is ‘I’d rather that my son sweeps the streets of Dubai rather than Kenya or Mombasa.’ Why? because to them it is really cool to say ‘my son works in an Arab country or abroad’ irregardless of what they are doing there. And the people being told this rarely ask ‘what kind of a job is he doing in Dubai?’ all that matters is that he is not here and he is there. Some would give the excuse that doing the local jobs in the Arab countries will be earn them more but hey, how do we forget to account for the lifestyle there? The high and expensive lifestyle there will end up draining the money just like the way the struggles of our country would have costed. And if there is any difference, we have to admit, it’s not really that big not unless we are talking of professional jobs.

Sometimes, working out there becomes the easy ticket of being accepted as a son-in-law. This is a stupid way of thinking honestly because it is just like those people who do business just so that they are recognised as business men even when they are not benefiting from it. As in kiswahili we commonly say, ‘yani bora wao wajulikane wana biashara tu! ata kama haileti faida!’ They’d rather drive a prado bought from lent money rather than own a bicycle bought from their own sweat.

Sadly, we have let our egos take over us and now all that matters is our outside image; how our neighbours will see us, our class and our standards, be seen driving a mercedes even when the petrol was bought from lent or even stolen money, even when in reality inside our homes we are dying from hunger. Just because it is cool? That is sooo NOT cool!