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Dear Eric Omondi Please Read This



Comedian Eric Omondi

Hawayuu Eric Omondi, long-time since we last talked, scrap that, since this letter is all about honesty I won’t even lie coz I’ve never met you at least since you burst into fame. You might not know me or maybe you’ve heard about me but that’s not really important for now. Growing up in Kisumu, you were my neighbor, we stayed at Robert Ouko Junior and you senior, we weren’t boys like that so we were never a clique as I was with likes of Funkiss you know him. I’m saying this to tell you that I’ve watched you grow in this industry.

I’ve watched you grow from a tiny built comedian who positioned himself in the industry and placed himself top in the list, you started off with Churchill and being an ambitious man, you even went ahead to start your own show was it called Hawayuni? Whatever the name. Though it would, later on, die a natural death, it showed your character, you dared to dream and lived it. An idea that remains just that is a wastage of intellectualism, I’m not saying you’re one, I’m just saying you took your chances.

I’ve watched you grow from a mere comedian on weekly gigs with Churchill to a big brand that corporates line up to book. You’ve inspired a generation and made many cash in on their talents. Eric, I’ve seen you grow from a funny man to a plainly boring comedian. It is normal in any industry, we have our high and low points, I’m telling you things your friends won’t coz they’re leeching off you so they’ll clap on your cough saying it’s funny.

I’ve watched you grow from a top funny comedian to a top ranking mediocre comic. Like many other of Kenyan comedians, you’ve refused to diversify your content, you’re still stuck in the same tribal jokes, mimics and a list of stale jokes we’ve been getting for over a decade, our tongues became numb, we can’t feel them anymore.

I’ve seen you shift from television comedy to being one of the most viewed and most popular digital content creators, from Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter you name it, you’ve been a master and most sought after by brands. You know there’s there’s popular African saying that before the gods destroy you they first make you mad. You might not see it yet, your friends might not tell you even if they’re seeing it but man you’re losing it.

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One thing I have to give it to you is your mastery of courting attention, you somehow find ways to have people talking about you, that’s why the other day you stuffed your pants with giant pawpaw to show how big your balls are, unsuspecting, we all talked about your big balls only to, later on, realize you were advertising Bonfire Adventures, that was a good one. You even ‘bought’ your girlfriend a Mercedes on Valentine’s eish omera,pesa otas, you made many men in this town who couldn’t afford gifts in this town in this economy get weird looks from their women. Again we talked in envy only to be slapped with the reality that you were merely advertising for a Car yard. Remember when you welcomed your girlfriend back home with a billboard of her erected along Mombasa only to realize later it was a Startimes advert? Man, you’re smart when it comes to viral marketing undoubtedly.

Too much of something is dangerous, this isn’t just a by the way saying. I know that the more buzz you create, the greater your chances of success on pitching ideas to brands, you’re the man running the show, you’re the publicity master, you’re the man with the views everywhere, a turn on to brands seeking bigger reach. The latest stint that you’ve pulled is a perfect example of attention seeking gone wrong, if your jokes have been dry, you’ve now found a flooded river to swim in.

I know for a fact that these clips of you swimming naked with young boys in Turkana weren’t leaked but you released them yourselves for attention and attention you got, so much that now a good number of brands are holding crisis meetings to review on their contracts with you. NGOs concerned with children rights are also looking into how they can milk dry this opportune scandal. Your haters are celebrating some even threw a party of the year last night reading from harsh criticism online. I know you’re also seeking the publicity to maximum for your 60,000 Kasarani solo show,careful man, a small mistake and not even 6 people will show up other than production crew.

You see I understand where you come from, in the village, bathing naked in the river with other men and boys is something normal in fact its still happening but given culture diversity, other people couldn’t see it that’s why you’ve even heard of paedophilia allegations yet we grew doing these things without such suspicions. Civilizations have killed a lot of traditions but this is not an anthropology or social science class so I’ll leave it at that. Most of us Nilotes weren’t really offended by the video our the only problem is you filmed and subjected the kids to indecent exposure but others who don’t relate to the culture were justified to set fire on you. It’s a wake-up call that you have a multicultural audience and therefore must factor in both.

You’ve made enough money in this industry and probably won’t be getting broke anytime soon, nothing is really permanent. We’ve had comedians come and go what really matters is the legacy that you leave. What do you want to be remembered for, the artist who did the most ratchet stuff in town for brand deals and just that? I was talking about comedians utilizing their stages for social good.

There’s more to this life than just making money that’s why I recommended for Kenyan comedian to watch and learn from American comedians who’ve turned comedy into a social activism platform. Watch Dave Chapelle, Chris Rock, Katt Williams just but a few of them who’re relatable. In their skits, they inform and empower. They don’t just make people laugh, they use the opportunity address social injustices like extrajudicial killings of the black community, racism. In Kenya we have corruption, unemployment amongst many other problems, you have the stage, get creative, start being politically conscious. It’s not just you Eric, all comedians need to wake up from mediocrity.

When your flag is flying so high, it is easy to dismiss criticism as jealousy but again the gap is thin but here’s the thing, everything happens for a reason and I think this latest fuckup was meant to be your comeback. Well, they say all publicity is good publicity but not this time bro. You went too far and touched a sensitive nerve, women and children are so sensitive they can destroy you. Has it happened to you that people will never look at you in the same way again? Has it occurred to you that some parents will be uncomfortable having you around their kids with assumptions of paedophilia? Do you know how however how well dressed you’re we can still picture your bare black buttocks? Consequences of indecent exposure that you’ve adopted as your market strategy might as well be your undoing.

Pray to your God that this publicity doesn’t translate to you losing deals and brands running away for the sake of their reputation. Talking of which, reputation is everything in this town, don’t get over excited with traffic that you and up losing yourself and damaging your brand that you’ve struggled to make. Look at Hollywood, sexual scandals have had many respected and big producers lose everything, doesn’t this scare you or you think you’re immune? The audience is the king, pay attention. You could easily wake up next day a man with empty hands. Keyword, reputation, guard it! Look around, we had people like Joe Muchiri who thought they were untouchable, he touched women and he got touched back, fired from Capital  (after bragging that they won’t). Look at Dr Ofweneke, a fellow comedian who turned his wife into a punching bag, they parted and it cost him deals. Reputation is everything bro.

I’ve said much but I think it’s merely out of concern as a young man seeing another one of his own go wrong, I believe in giving people second chances and I think Eric has learned the hard way and this should be a turning point for him to know there’s a red line. Dust off. If this was an initiation, then it’s time you stopped being a boy to being a man.

Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram

Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Send me tips to [[email protected]]

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Arts & Culture

Why Lupita Nyongo’s Brother Junior Is In A Dress And Wearing A Thong



Junior Nyong’o

Creativity is the beauty of art, for the past week nude photos of Kisumu Governor’ Son Junior in a red dress posing in a thong has been doing rounds on Kenyan media pages creating much controversies and rumors with some saying he’s gay, some alluded he was getting initiated into the Illuminati world to join Hollywood, there have been even more ridiculous ones.

However, turns out Junior who’s also a model was working with one of Kenya’s most talented photographers  Lyra Aoko on a project ‘what if Adam was Eve’ with a theme of femininity is not weakness.

She simply reversed the traditional story of the Bible that God made men first and created woman out of his rib while the man was in deep sleep. In her concept, Lyra visualizes a scenario where the woman is created first, the man who eats the forbidden fruit.

Explaining her objective of the project, Lyra say it was aimed at creating visuals challenging the
stereotypes related to gendered clothing. “This is the most powerful force perpetuating the fashion divide; the fact that we have all been trained from anearly age to regard some clothes asstrictly for men, and other clothes asstrictly for women. And anyone who refuses to follow this code is seen as
making a huge statement.”

Not only in Africa, worldwide, femininity has been seen as weakness so by visualizing a man in the exact shoes, she says, “The most telling part about all this is what it says about the value we attach to
masculinity and femininity. When a man wears pants and trousers most people will think little of it. The rules arehowever very different for men wearing clothes that are deemed to be for women.”

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“Underlying these reactions is a profound disrespect for women and all that we associate with femininity. In the end, the “rules” around gendered clothes aren’t about fashion, or taste. They’re about how we mark difference, enforcing and reiterating restrictive ideas about what it is to be a girl or a boy,
a man or a woman. Perhaps this is the real issue; that to challenge the rules of fashion is to challenge our settled ideas about gender roles.” She summarizes.

Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram
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Arts & Culture

Dennis Itumbi Writes Jacque Maribe’s Son A Touching Letter



Emotional Maribe when Itumbi surprised her live on air to wish her a happy birthday

To Zahari,

This is a letter addressed to you in future,

I know one day the Internet will show you what has been said and written about Mum, Jacque Maribe.

As the search returns the results, may you also find this message.

Mum has friends, who stood by her because they know, she is the true definition of Love.

When she loved she gave her soul and heart as it should be. She loves with all she got. Pure and true.

As a friend, she was always available, even for smaller functions where friends do not have to turn up, she always showed up. Friendship is not an after-thought for her, it is a lifestyle.

That is why despite all the defence she has, she choose to say the only reason she wants Bail was because she wanted to be with you – Her love. – that is Mum for you.

To her friends Loyalty, to those she loves, wholesome sacrifice and endless affection.

Importantly, despite all that is written, we believe she is innocent.

By the time you read this in the future, she will be free, will have written a great book and all that negativity about her will have been replaced by the reality that Mum is a lovely human being.

We pray for Justice for all involved. It has been established by final verdicts in courts that Prosecutors and investigators are not always right.

We stretch a hand of friendship and sincere prayers to and for Mum.

She was not alone, through what Google may return as results, she lived well with people, in turn, her frirnds stood with her

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I am not a perfect friend, but like all her friends, we all aim for perfection, just like her.

God strengthen Mum.

via Itumbi

Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram
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Arts & Culture

NSFW: Kenya’s New Age Culture Of Transactional Sex Revealed On A BBC Documentary



Vera Sidika, Kenyan socialite flaunting her body on Instagram for her fan base.

BBC have just released a digital series called’Sugar’ which looks at the rise of sugar daddy relationships in Kenya.

In Kenya and beyond, ‘sugar’ relationships have become mainstream. Transactional sex was once driven by poverty, but now, increasingly, it’s driven by vanity. More and more young women are using sugar daddies to fund a lifestyle worth posting on social media.

Older men have always used gifts, status, and influence to buy access to young women. The sugar daddy has probably been around, in every society, for as long as the prostitute. So you might ask: “Why even have a conversation about transactional sex in Africa?”

The answer is that in Kenya, and in some other African countries, “sugar” relationships seem to have become both more common and more visible: what once was hidden is now out in the open – on campuses, in bars, and all over Instagram.

Exactly when this happened is hard to say. It could’ve been in 2007 when Kim Kardashian’s infamous sex tape was leaked, or a little later when Facebook and Instagram took over the world, or perhaps when 3G internet hit Africa’s mobile phones.

But somehow, we have arrived at a point where having a “sponsor” or a “blesser” – the terms that millennials usually apply to their benefactors – has for many young people become an accepted, and even a glamorous lifestyle choice.

Until recently there was no data to indicate how many young Kenyan women are involved in sugar relationships. But this year the Busara Centre for Behavioural Economics conducted a study for BBC Africa in which they questioned 252 female university students between the ages of 18 and 24. They found that approximately 20% of the young women who participated in the research has or has had a “sponsor.”

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The sample size was small and the study was not fully randomised, so the results only give an indication of the possible numbers, they cannot be taken as definitive. Also, only a small percentage openly admitted to having a sugar daddy; the researchers were able to infer that a number were hiding the truth from answers they gave to other questions, using a technique called list randomisation.

Huddah, another Kenyan socialite flaunts her body on the popular network Instagram. These are the pioneers of the new age prostitution culture where young girls use such networks to sell their body.

But interestingly, when talking about others, not about themselves, the young women estimated on average that 24% of their peers had engaged in a transactional sexual relationship with an older man – a figure very close to that reached by the researchers.

Jane, a 20-year-old Kenyan undergraduate who readily admits to having two sponsors, sees nothing shameful in such relationships – they are just part of the everyday hustle that it takes to survive in Nairobi, she says.

She also insists that her relationships with Tom and Jeff, both married, involve friendship and intimacy as well as financial exchange.

“They help you sometimes, but it’s not always about sex. It’s like they just want company, they want someone to talk to,” she says.

She says that her religious parents brought her up with traditional values, but she has made her own choices. One of her motives, she says, is to be able to support her younger sisters, so they won’t need to rely on men for money. But she has also been inspired by Kenya’s celebrity “socialites” – women who have transformed sex appeal into wealth, becoming stars of social media.

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In the past, some of Kenya’s socialites have styled themselves as #SlayQueens, and have been quite upfront about the financial benefits that have come from dating tycoons. Having made it to the top, though, they often begin to cultivate a different image – presenting themselves as independent, self-made businesswomen and encouraging Kenyan girls to work hard and stay in school.

The millions of fans scrolling through their Instagram posts, though, are not blind. The sudden emphasis on entrepreneurship does not hide the fact that these women used their sex appeal to create opportunities in the first place. And many – quite understandably – are attempting to apply this methodology to their own lives.

These young women  have come of age in the last decade, bombarded since childhood with images of female status built on sex appeal. But according to Crystal Simeoni, an expert on gender and economic policy, Kenyan society encourages sugar relationships in other ways too.

If women have become more willing to profit financially from their youth and beauty, she says, it’s partly because of Kenya’s gross economic inequalities, lack of social mobility, and widespread corruption.

“The way things are constructed in this country makes it so much harder for a smaller person to make ends meet,” she argues. Hard work won’t get them anywhere. “They have to get a sponsor, rob a bank, or win a tender.”

Michael Soi, a well-known artist whose paintings satirise Kenya’s culture of transactional sex, takes a similar but more cynical view, attributing the phenomenon more to laziness and a get-rich-quick mentality than to structural injustice.

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The days of waking up early and working from morning to night are behind us, he says: “Right now the ass is the new brain, and this is what you use to get what you want.”

Dr Joyce Wamoyi from the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania says girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24 have consistently been at higher risk of HIV infection than any other section of the population in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sugar relationships, she says, are contributing to these risks because the women who engage in them do not have the power to insist on the use of condoms. “With sex work, men are more likely to use condoms because it’s more explicit that this is selling and buying.”

For many young Kenyans, the values espoused in families, schools, and churches simply do not align with the economic realities of the country, or cannot compete with the material temptations that, in the age of reality TV and social media, are everywhere visible.

Even within the family, most Kenyan girls have it drummed into them from an early age that they must marry a rich man, not a poor one. It’s taken for granted in these conversations that men will provide the money on which women will survive. So for some it’s only a small step to visualising the same transaction outside marriage.

“What is wrong about sex anyway?” asks Jane. “People just make it sound wrong. But sometimes, it ain’t wrong at all.”

Adopted from BBC

Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram
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