THIS MAN, BONIFACE MWANGI

<bonnieThe greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows. Those are not my words but those of Richelle Mead which best describes a fearless young man, Boniface Mwangi. This is not your ordinary youth, he is passionate in issues to do with good governance, accountability and zero tolerance on corruption. Ironically he joined Bible School and secured a diploma in bible studies. To show how patriotic and serious he was to make his vision come true, he left his lucrative jobs to create awareness to the public on the importance to hold our leaders accountable. For four years he worked for Standard Group in a staff photography position taking on various assignments in different countries. He also worked as a freelancer for Bloomberg, AFP, Reuters, Boston Globe and several other media outlets beside working for Safaricom in various projects. He has won twice CNN Multichoice Africa Photojournalist of the year together with an avalanche of other local and international awards. One of the biggest highlights of his career was coverage of post election violence whereby he took thousands of photos. Boniface Mwangi also founded the first ever street exhibition in Kenya which showcased post election violence photographs to audience outside Kenya.

To quench his vision for a country with a slimmer rich-poor margin, without double standards, where you can get a job without knowing certain influential people in power. He started quietly, we all recall the murals and graffiti on some of Nairobi buildings last year with paintings depicting the caliber of our politicians. This raised a lot of discomfort from people in power but this was only the beginning of the self made social activist in the murky world of fighting for wanjiku. He would later heckle COTU Secretary General Mr. Francis Atwoli for supporting MPs agitation for higher salaries. This led to a scuffle with police which has led him being in and out of court every now and then. This served as an impetus to mobilise Kenyans in social media to pour in the streets in what was dubbed #OccupyParliament. Members of parliament were trying to use uncouth ways to increase their salaries when the poor Kenyan lived from hand to mouth. In as much as it was controversial when animal enthusiasts raised a storm when demonstrators used piglets, it will go down in history as one of the boldest moves to make politicians appreciate that Kenyans are no longer complacent.

I did watch one of his many T.V interviews which inspired me. He rebuked the modern society for having parents who breaded a cowardice generation that would rather hide in the sand than raise an eyebrow. We have over the time embraced complacency and mediocrity by ‘accepting’ our bosses to oppress us, let touts harass us and more sadly voted in ‘our people’ who would later betray us. He wondered why we still let selfish, incompetent, greedy people who steal to bribe electorates and later steal again through dubious scandals manage our national issues. He believes in creating awareness to the people to hold our leaders accountable and to make them understand that we are the masters, them the servants and not the other way round.

I have a reason to celebrate Boniface Mwangi before extra judicial forces eliminate him. Thomas Jefferson said, “occassionally the tree of liberty must be watered with blood of patriots and tyrants.”

MICROWAVE GENERATION

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Welcome to a generation that shows resentment for patience, it is no longer a virtue, call them the microwave people. Young girls being the most affected want to get ‘rich’ as quickly as possible. They have no time for confused and broke campus dudes. They date the big shots in blue chip companies, politicians and wealthy foreigners. They rarely ride in matatus nor reside in students’ hostels, on the contrary, they roll in newest car models in the market, live in palatial apartments in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi  and own several ‘investments’. They never date men below 40 years as apparently they do not have brains, maturity nor money to match their social and financial demands. That perhaps answers the question why upmarket estates have become breeding grounds for modern day high class brothels. nax vegas.3A majority of these ladies have no marriage plans, they would rather have the men they are dating father their babies and cater for upkeep while they maintain their ‘independence’ as single ladies.

Enter campus ladies in that whole complexion, a good number of them will do anything to trade sex for grades from their lecturers, party every weekend in high end joints around the city, attend exclusive house parties and do shopping in the likes of Mr.Price and Woolworths. Only recently a female campus student was suspended for 1000 academic days for trying to sexually lure her lecturer. A reliable research done recently established, ladies who come from upcountry having come to Nairobi for studies are the most vulnerable. They get introduced to the ‘good’ life and get a sudden change of lifestyle. To finance their more than large life, do anything to maintain the so called image, get to all lewd behaviours  from prostitution to robbery with violence. A kidnapping case that happened in USIU last year revealed extremes students go through just to live large while in school. The culprits who have since been charged with murder were fellow students who were demanding for sh.100,000 ransom. On the other hand young men are soliciting sugar mummies to satisfy their financial needs in exchange of sex, its a mutual benefit scenario. The flip side is, they do all this to impress their would girlfriends. 

Relationships in campus end as fast they start, sex is normally casual and they do it the unprotected way. A study carried out by Family Healthy International two years ago in Maseno University established that students do not consistently use condoms. Only 15.8% of the 500 sexually active students sampled used condom every time they had sex. 22% reported to have never used condoms and around 77% said they had used it one time or another. We know of ‘alert letters’ whereby a HIV infected student will go on vengeance mission to sleep with as many students as possible only to release a list on the schools’ notice board . The universities hold future intellectuals of this country, my worry is that we are eroding enormous human resource.

The usual guilt of doing something wrong is fast fading. A perfect example is what goes down in outdoor sport activities. Am sure you have had of, What goes on in Nax Vegas remains in Nax Vegasnax vegas.2. Take a look at the young rich women with bold titles at their workplaces who nowadays are passing out barely 11pm with total strangers. What happens to the sharply dressed, eloquent, seemingly focused miss independent during weekends is a total mystery.When did smoking weed or ‘shisha’ or dancing half naked or worse still waking up to a total stranger’s house become cool? Statistics have it that about 50% of school going pupils take drugs and 45% are sexually active. Call it Generation Microwave.

FROM ANDREW TO AUDREY!

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For starters, transgender is basically a state where the mind is in conflict with the body, better put as body hormones not matching with the assigned sex, so to speak. It is more of a disorder than a disease.

Meet  Audrey Mbugua a transsexual  who has struggled with depression all her  lifetime trying to convince a very conservative society that she is a woman and not a man. Being  referred to as a gay or bewitched or mentally ill or worse still, possessed with evil spirits is not easy to stomach for 29 years. She grew up like any other typical village boy, a dad’s favourite, naturally intelligent with ostensibly a bright future. From the talking, laughing, walking style and general mannerism, depict attributes of a lady. Some fascinating facts about Audrey is that, she would drive at 13 years of age, she does not believe in existence of God, she is more attracted to women as opposed to men and at one time she used to repair computers to earn a living.

Attending over 18 interviews and having the same response, that of a stunned panel  who  seemingly confused, are unable to comprehend and reconcile the impressive c.v with  the said woman standing in front of them. Tired of being trapped in a world that no one else knew of, fighting stereotypes, humiliation, controversy and misconception  for 19 years, dared to break the silence and confront the ignorant, insensitive and intolerant society. She was simply tired of being called Andrew, it was a hard reality she refused to accept.

This consequently and over the years culminated to a case she has filed in court to sue the Attorney General and Kenya National Examination Council for failing to recognize her plight. KNEC is reluctant to change her name because she has not undergone full sex change, meaning she is still a ‘man’. She at one time, however came close to undergoing a surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital only for the minister of Medical Services by then Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o ordering the hospital not to carry out the operation. Not withstanding the very many challenges she has endured over the years, went ahead to score an A- in her KCSE  making her eligible to study Law in University of Nairobi. It’s a prestigious course by any Kenya standards, which she declined to undertake and settling for Biochemist in the not so popular Maseno University. She graduated with an upper second class honours degree, which is not a mean achievement factoring the stigmatisation she has gone through.

The thick skinned young lady oozes courage, is passionate about her instincts, articulate on issues affecting transgenders in Kenya and simply unbowed. It’s a delicate topic which needs as sober mind, we can only wish her luck.