PLATTE-LAND 005: SCHOOL MAGAZINE

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Sly was the head of the Journalism Club in Matiba University of Science & Technology (MUST) in as much as she was studying Computer Science together with Njagi. Her parents made her not follow her writing journey as they imagined journalism was not a well-paying job. Beyond that, they presumed it would have been tough for their daughter to get a job and plus it didn’t appear so much of a white-collar career, according to them. I wish they realized how much formidable the writing industry has grown. From the demand in the editorial departments in the sprouting media houses and the international market that has a lot of online jobs for outsourced writers, to the improved reading culture across the globe, writing jobs have never been this lucrative. Nevertheless, Sly was running her blog and still making money from ads running on her site while still keeping her parents happy with her school course. You could call it killing two birds with one stone.

The school didn’t have a school magazine and that bothered her so much. She always visualized that idea in her mind until one day she grew enough guts to go pitch it to the Dean of Students. She consulted Njagi on the same and he equally upheld it and in fact accompanied her to the dean. She secured an audience with Mr. Ngamau the dean of students on a hot and lazy Friday afternoon. Mr. Ngamau was a short man by any standards and seemingly, a well-functioning alcoholic. He had this patched forest of beards all over his face that seemed to lack nutrients to grow steadily, evenly and not appear neglected. That notwithstanding, he was a very brilliant guy and way passionate on students’ welfare. He was a man who’d listen keenly when you conversed with him and not rudely interject while admiring his fat, flowery tie like some people in high offices do.

Hi Sly, what’s your friend’s name.

He is Njagi.

Ooh great. So, you told me you have something you want us to discuss. Makes himself comfortable slanting his chair at an angle he’d give 100% attention.

Yea Mwalimu. It’s about the school magazine.

His face lights up.

I was proposing, with your support we can have the journalism club kick-start a school magazine and be running it while the management helps us with finances as start-up capital until the business breaks even.

Now Sly, how will the school gain from a students magazine?

You see Mr. Ngamau, this is an identity thing. It will boost the enthusiasm the students have with the school besides being the reference point for all matters school events. It will spot talents and expose them to a bigger audience for nurturing purpose. The revenue will sustain the journalism club and give them firsthand experience before they move on to the job market in addition to enabling the institution have a platform to market its products. More importantly, the magazine will go along way in fostering a cultured heritage for the school apart from enriching the bond between the management and the student fraternity.

Sly would listen to her convincing tone in the background and ride on the soft spot Mr.Ngamau has no her and cross her fingers.

Mr.Ngamau promises to forward the idea to the school management board and revert in a month’s time or so.

Meanwhile, an optimistic Sly mobilizes her team even before an approval by the school management is arrived at on publishing and running the magazine.

A month later…

The decision is upheld and the management sets aside some funds to launch Sly’s brainchild.

On receiving the news, she convenes a special meeting whereby the members resolve to have a division of roles as follows;

One team headed by Sue would market the school magazine idea to most if not all students by preparing brochures and distributing them across all the public outlets be it the hostels, dining area, canteen, school library, indoor sports hall, social hall, gym training area, lecture halls and virtually anywhere where one could find students holed.

It was a very rigorous idea but Sue was up to it. She was heading a very big team of about 50, mopping the entire campus with leaflets highlighting in brief, the school mag idea and requesting interested persons to volunteer items they would wish featured in the magazine from poetry, creative writing, photography, cartoonist, relationship stuff, motivational articles and upcoming events. There were directions on all collection centers and formalities of application.

Sue was chosen since she had and an easy and likable character. She was also a hands-on person apart from being super efficient in her tasks. Better put, she was the club’s stalwart. Her dressing code was a tomboy look – long basketball vests, sweatpants, fancy caps and headphones. Plus she was such a rubber shoe fanatic while her barber brought out his A game in making her short haircut, appear edgy.

Jay was the chair of the main collection center which was at the journalism club office donated by the school dean. Here, he’d oversee the collection of all items the students would propose to be featured, evaluate them, come up with ways of improving the potential ones, drop the not so promising and have the best embraced by his team. Depending on how thorough his team evaluated items proposed and polished them, would determine the fate of the magazine.

Abigail would co-chair the Editorial department together with Sly. They would hold the last word on what would be published and what wouldn’t. Additionally, they would scrutinize accuracy and authenticity of all items in the mag including ensuring matters ethics were adhered to. The magazine would be published in less than a fortnight and consequently run monthly.

Subsequently, Njagi and his team would take on graphics where he was a passionate pundit and clearly had the skills at his fingertips. He’d lead the team that would give the magazine life – a friendly demeanor, a youthful character, a trendy feel, bones to catwalk on everybody’s lips and dominate every chitchat, and give it wings to dart in every public space in the school. The task was daunting and the cover page hard to crack and decide on.

Jared would man the IT department ensuring all the records were safe and intact, the back up was well monitored, the computers were efficient, the internet was super-fast and the servers had enough firewalls and in good shape.

Kevoo would govern the Procurement Department especially on appointing the best printing service company in town and also mandated in scrutinizing the quality of the paper. It’s a mag remember.

There was a major event happening in two weeks time in the school, running an entire week. What a better coincidence than to launch the magazine then! The stage was set, anticipation was building and so was pressure to Sly and her team.

Would she deliver on her brainchild and offer justice to Mr. Ngamau and the management for all the monies pumped to her project? Only time would tell.

Previously on Platte-Land Series

 

Photo Credit: Campustechnology.com

 

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PLATTE-LAND 004: VERDICT

 

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Anastasia had been strictly raised in a Pentecostal church all her life. As a matter of fact, her dad had been a pastor for decades. Hence it was too shocking and agitating for the world of Kwa Nguku and neighboring villages to grapple with news of a pastor’s daughter allegedly getting raped during a night out while she was in a stupor state for apparently imbibing one too many. It was extremely difficult for the largely conservative society Anastasia was raised in, to assimilate and break down the texture of the news. Many were appalled by the naked reality of a society that hadn’t realized the rains had commenced beating them.

For starters sake, Anastasia for a very long time exuded attributes of a typical church girl from the dressing code to her character. She’d forever wear very long dresses that one couldn’t demystify the front from the rear. Her chest area was ever tucked up decently and her voice tone was always humbling and courteous. The hen came home to roost when she joined campus and got negatively influenced by her choice of friends, besides struggling with unmanageable freedom and dealing with her can of baggage that had bottled-up over the years subsequently spilling over in her early twenties. Speaking of freedom, due to the shrewd nature of her parents, she wasn’t expected to entertain any male friends let alone have a boyfriend even after high school. She was monitored round the clock and wasn’t expected to own a phone more so in campus.

But perhaps to expose the underbelly in Anastasia’s life – the current wife to Pastor Muchoki is her foster mum. Her biological mother passed on in the maternity ward, Anastasia lucky enough to survive after being saved by the medics when she was being delivered. Her dad would later on remarry and have two more kids who happen to be her step-brothers. As is the case with many foster families, relationships become very dicey and apparently what was transpiring in Anastasia’s life currently was a repulsive reality of what she had gone through over the years.

Through her campus pocket money she generously rewarded herself by buying stuff she had been denied over the years be it stretch-mini and maxi casual dresses that she envied her friends in, to revealing crop-tops and off-shoulder ones and all sort of trendy shoes and handbags. She also bought herself a phone against the wish of her foster mum who’d easily cause major tantrums for that. Additionally, she had tasted freedom too, sadly with a heavy price to pay. She was now expectant and with an alleged rape case in court to prove beyond reasonable doubt. The stigma she had gone through for the last two months was tremendously shocking since she had always carried the pastor’s daughter tag round her neck, which mother nature had now decided to unsettle.

Shed’ recall when her foster mum beat her until she bled for being spotted with a boy soon after completing her high school studies. Her mum would instruct the neighbors to monitor her and brief her (foster Mum) on her daily moves. She was the only female in her family with no social life or excitement that comes with teenage-hood.

Courtroom

Mr.Okoth – Anastasia’s lawyer

My Lord, rape in Kenya is not only an offense but a criminal act that curtails an individual’s social development, robs one body integrity and grossly violates a victim’s basic humans rights especially against sexual violation.

On the night of 29th December my client was taken advantage of, by 10 men due to her stupor state. She was drunk, unconscious and not in control of her conscience and body. A gentleman by the name Ezekiel Kiarie alias Mongoose and his accomplices conspired and succeeded in hoodwinking my client Anastasia from the dancing arena of Magomano Bar & Grill and led her to the parking lot which was poorly lit and sexually assaulted her in turns and droves.

My client was subjected to an ordeal that was beyond her control without her consent. When she gained conscious and traced her memory, she realised all was not well. My lord, from the samples taken from the scene confirmed that my client bled.

Seshi rises to her feet on a point of order. She is denied an audience by Magistrate Opiyo Omugani.

“You can continue counsel Okoth.” The Magistrate quips, authoritatively.

My lord, thank you for protecting me. As I was saying, my client heavily bled. That’s a fact that can’t be disputed. Secondly, samples taken from the suspects matched with the findings collected from my client’s vagina.

An infuriated Lawyer Seshi shoots up again. Counsel Okoth ignores her and continue making his point.

“What is it my lady?” Magistrate Opiyo poses.

 Breathing heavily. My lord, we cannot allow my learned friend to persistently mislead this honourable court. Counsel Okoth just aimlessly alluded that all the suspects’ specimens matched the findings collected from his client. My lord, with your indulgence kindly allow me to get clarification from my learned senior.

“Go ahead.” (Magistrate)

Seshi turns to Okoth for clarification.

My lord, I erroneously missed out the word SOME in my presentation. I didn’t make these notes, my staff did. I beg your pardon.

The courtroom gives in to short laughters. Seshi sits down.

My lord, on my third very important point. My client’s pregnancy test taken immediately she came to report the assault, turned positive. She conceived on the night of the infamous event. Fourthly my lord, my client is seen from the cctv footage as if she was screaming. This tells you she was pleading for help.

With that my lord, I beg to sit. I hope as you retire to write your ruling, you’ll kindly consider all the information I have passed across for my client to get the justice she deserves.

Thank you.

Seshi has a tall order to cut into size and deconstruct her learned friend’s case, nevertheless, she seems determined and composed. 

Seshi – Njagi’s lawyer

My lord, when I watched the cctv footage I couldn’t believe the allegations that have been presented to this court and alluded against my clients. What I watched were two people having a good time. My lord, you could call it coitus. The 9 or so young men who have been subjected to a lot of anguish and stigma were not in that 30 minute or so footage. Only one out of the ten suspects is being used to blatantly blame and crucify the rest.

Adjusts her oversize black gown and sips some water with no urgency. The court waits for her to drain the sip down her alimentary canal as she prepares for her next point highlighted in her presentation notes.

My lord, the DNA results adduced before you on exhibit 1a, 1b, 1c all the way to 1j have no trace of my clients’ DNA similarities. The only positive test that came from the result solely match to one suspect’s DNA. I don’t wish to speak on behalf of the litigant I’m referring. They will have their time.

Draws a cunning smile on the edges of her mouth as she adjusts her specs.

My lord I can confirm to this court that the plaintiff to this case was a virgin before the night of the Magomano night out. My lord I can also confirm that the plaintiff lost her innocence at the parking lot to one man on the same night as proved by the cctv footage. She bled because it’s a natural and biological process that occurs when one is losing her virginity.

Lawyer Okoth rises on his feet and pleads to challenge the point being put across. He is denied a chance.

My lord, there is a clique of men and women in this country who are engaging in sexual exploitation by blackmailing their victims or innocent fellows unawares, with injury of their reputation on failing to meet their demands.

All along, the entire event, my clients did not come to any contact with the plaintiff as can be proved in depth by the cctv footage apart from one time when they are seen exchanging pleasantries at the start of the event. They neither danced, nor walked out in tandem. Moreover, no person has come out to testify in this court that they spotted my client with the plaintiff outside the hotel where the alleged act took place.

From the footage, the plaintiff was allegedly accosted at 0200 hours though the clip depicts like she was savoring and acting without coercion.

The court breaks into small laughters.

Magistrate Opiyo: Your time is up my lady.

Counsel Okoth has a word with his client and pleads to have her testify in 10 seconds.

Anastasia – The plaintiff

Your honours, I want to say the following; On the night of 29 December, I was neither raped nor subjected to any sexual assault. I only misled my parents who went ahead to get me a legal team because I was simply terrified and in denial of losing my virginity willingly. I made out with Ezekiel Kiarie alias Mongoose and none of the other guys fronted hear. I was at no one time consulted by my parents on how they got the names of the so-called suspects.

Anastasia’s parents and her legal team appear dumbfounded and speechless.

The court adjourns and resumes in a week’s time for the ruling.

Magistrate Opiyo

Based on the evidence submitted by the plaintiff’s legal team headed by Senior counsel Okoth on the case of Anastasia vs Mongoose, the court is not satisfied that a rape act took place on the night of 29th December at Magomano Bar & Grill. I find the young men not guilty of the offence of rape as highlighted above and are therefore acquitted all charges adduced against them expect for Ezekiel Kiarie. The court directs that Ezekiel Kiarie alias Mongoose takes full responsibility of impregnating Anastasia and therefore ensures the mother and the baby are fully provided for financially and otherwise until the child reaches an age where he/she can self provide for him/herself.

Failure to that, the plaintiff (Anastasia) is free to come to this court to press charges against Ezekiel Kiarie for any form of neglect or abuse. Subsequently, the court will give specific directions on the upkeep, custody and safety of the baby and the mother.

With that, the court is dispersed.

Previously on Plate-Land Series

WHO WILL MENTOR THE MEN IN US?

mentormen

 

When my Research lecturer gave us an assignment on writing a proposal, my mind juggled with so many topics for some days. Ultimately, my Proposal heading read; A STUDY ON THE PLIGHT OF THE BOY CHILD IN KENYA. It is no coincidence that I’m passionate about the male gender threats and prospects in this country. At times I will sound harsh to them (I included)with criticism, sometimes supplying sympathy and reassurance all in search of mentoring avenues for this incredible human species. It is also not a coincidence too, that this is the umpteenth time I’m writing an open letter to dear men.

I start by affirming the riddle; You never throw stones when you live in a glass house. My perennial criticism however, is not baseless but out of anger, shock and disappointment  on how low we have lowered the bar of qualifying to be a gentleman. That said I can confirm the following;

A majority of fathers have miserably failed to be good role models. A good number of us have also welcomed the idea that it is humanly normal to have several sidekicks, not even one at your disposal! That man is the greatest loser from the upsurge of single parenting is not being emphasized either. Alcoholism has shattered our dreams, emasculated everything will hold dear and disenfranchised our families. These four facts have costed us immense reputation and track record. They have weakened our enviable history we bequeathed from our grand fathers. Furthermore, they have peeled every tasty flesh in man’s legacy and reduced us to mere scavengers with no heritage to hold on; left us bare, feeling vulnerable and battling with exposed flaws.

Enough of that.

Fellow men, I confirm to have partaken in dealing with the burden of unprecedented pressure, contemporary man is grappling with day in day out. If it’s not to have a loyal wife, then it has to be a decent car then expectations evolve to an imposing piece of land, then a mansion worth inviting humans to attend for the official opening. That done, they call for a million dollar wedding and before that you save for a commercialised dowry occasion. From there you will be required to steer and show direction to a family set up that is bleeding from over empowerment. You will be expected to hold this same family in one piece dealing on the sidelines with a mother in law who is briefed daily on the metamorphosis of your behaviors and bank balance. You will also deal with mother in laws who will dare you to stress their too educated but fragile daughters. You will grapple with village men who expect something small every time you visit up country. You will either deal with it willingly or from their manipulative skills. Your kids will be expected to go to schools that cost an arm and a length. A lot will be expected from you in ensuring you give them decent upbringing. Dear men, I know the weight of expectations from close family members. Out of circumstances you will be compelled to be ambitious and opportunistic. In the end you will be worshipped for being wealthy regardless of where you amassed it from. The quicker your bribe your way to riches the sooner the celebrations will start otherwise the reverse is also true.

However, there is more that matters to man. To achieve all the above we need to cultivate a strong foundation. We need to bank and invest on mentors. But who will mentor us, really? To prove how tough it is for a man to celebrate his 35th birthday sober, spiritual, and full of life; here’s some of the challenges.

Not so long ago  a couple of my classmates and I gathered to catch up after we found out one of the day’s unit had been cancelled. A spontaneous convergence had taken place whereas the rest had hurriedly left on learning the news of cancellation of the class. Within no time, a heated conversation was growing and soon enough we were basking in laughter and tears of joy. The cost of leaving this elusive gathering was too high. I savoured every minute of this encounter since it’s not an often thing. You know how evening or weekend classes always have students in a rush even when it is unnecessary. If it is not hurrying to get to class on time then it could be to head home before the rains pound or before it gets too late to prepare supper or it could be to catch up for a big game with the boys. These students are always on adrenaline. Every single announcement of cancellation of class brings along its fair share of impromptu events and activities that must be honoured. In fact, these students live for the cancellation of a class!

Anyway, we laughed and sympathised with each other on life’s experiences. The dominant topic of discussion was about the plight of men in this day and age. Why this arose was because a lady who was scantily dressed made a mistake of passing next to us. Yes she was badly dressed. She had a kikoi to cover her exposed thighs given that she would sit down at some point in the day with her waistline-long dress. I never get the drift but I leave it there. That dressing was a game changer to our conversations. Thanks to her, it resulted to us sharing the most fundamental aspects of life. We came clean and unashamed of our past mistakes. For once, there was no judgment or eye -rolling.

A lady in the group spoke of how one of her male colleagues who by that time was a bachelor had been trapped in a love web with a lady that used to clean his clothes over the weekends. The banker dude had fallen for a Mama Fua. It all began when the said lady started by leaving some of her items in the bachelor’s digs every time she came for her kibarua(hustle), deliberately. This dude didn’t decode the signals right on time until she left her undergarments. They guy still unperturbed remained mum. The following weekend, Mama Fua came late and so her task ended in the late hours as well. She said she was worried to go home in the night. It was risky for her. The guy suggested to escort her but his suggestion was outwitted skillfully by Mama Fua. Mama Fua spent the night in his house and ……..one thing led to another. Whatever magic that lady used worked soundly.`

Since then, the poor guy fell for this damn woman with all his naive heart and soul, wealth, time, inheritance and with any other resource he owned. Oblivious to him, Mama Fua was a single mother. Daring enough, she brought her kid to live with the new dad. It became impossible for this man to cut links with her. Friends and colleagues tried in vain. When word reached the dad, his result to anger and condemnation bore no fruit. The only thing that worked was to literally pack the belongings of his son, uproot him and leave Mama Fua with the house all for her. He had to also influence a transfer of his son to another station in a different town. It worked.

We moved on to this bloke who confessed to have been enfeebled by this female colleague with unrelenting and disturbing theatrics to woo him. Clearly, this guy had been pulling uninterested looks to this chic who in turn seemed not to be in short supply of tricks to lure him persistently. He got trapped to this female colleague type of play. He naively chose to play in her court. By not admonishing her and telling her he was not comfortable with her moves, he made the lady assume silence meant affirming her motives. Not once, did this ingenuous guy find his coat sneaked in some scribbled notes confessing her love to him.

At another end, a guy broke to us how he dated a lady who was few weeks pregnant by the time he started hitting on her. Oblivious of what was to shock him, they warmed for a relationship with the lady throwing all the signals that she wanted to be laid as soon as possible. Were it not for Jesus who did a miracle to this lad, making him be patient enough, by now he would be paying school fees to a son or daughter he didn’t father but having been convinced it was his.

From my assessment, the society has negated its role of mentoring and looking after young men with the presumption that having gone through campus/college life, they are mature enough to make sound decisions and steer a life independently. On the other hand, too much concern is put to ladies which at some point means living with their relatives even with they get jobs. They are monitored constantly and every decision they make questioned by their parents. They truth of the matter is, young men soon after getting employed and living away from the watchful close relatives, fall into the gaping holes of naivety. They are never advised beforehand, that living in far a town away from family comes with a lot of trust and responsibility. Lest they will be swallowed by conniving eyes and tricks of swindlers who come armed with the so called love. The most regrettable mistakes men make don’t happen when in High school, not even in Campus or thereafter but during their formative years of employment. Evil has undying love for new money.

Guys with promising career prospects are getting duped so cheaply for lack of solid foundations and principles. They are dating and divorcing interchangeably. They are marrying the wrong spouses out of peer and societal pressure, raising kids they didn’t sire unknowingly, get battered and humiliated by their so called wives and scamper for help in bars when they meet female barmaids, who devour on whatever else that is left. In the end, we bury these promising young men, in their miserable state having been drowned by alcohol, HIV, depression, senseless society pressure and anything in between.

What young men are pleading for, is the society to churn out enough good role models who can advise them from childhood to even when they attend parents’ day meetings (before they are abolished by Matiang’i) and beyond then. Men need to be monitored, held accountable and reassured that there are people out there who cherish them and hold them highly. Parents should also cease from imagining that since their sons have landed fancy jobs after campus, that their parenting concludes then. In fact real parenting commences from this stage.

A very Happy Birthday to one Joseph Wairia a huge fan of this blog back in TZ….Bro, may you live to be a great daddy.

 

 

 

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