31 October 2012

Sunday morning at One Off Gallery

A few weeks ago, I took a visiting friend to Carol Lees's One Off Gallery. That's always lovely: Not only is Carol very good at what she does, and passionate about it, but there'll also be cake and coffee and wine. This was a Sunday morning, so coffee and Carol looking serious:

Lots of space on the ground floor to look at some painings.

This was the current exhibition when we visited - quite day-glo:

Richard Kimathi - empty eyes? Or what's in the space behind them?


Chameleon on the floor:

And the dogs are helping explain and sell art. I think.

Here's the link to One Off's Facebook page.

16 October 2012

Njema Helena launch: All the pretty dresses

I love African fabrics. And pretty dresses. And pockets in skirts and dresses. So, unsurprisingly, I loved the Njema Helena launch collection. Here's design director Cecilia in one of her dresses. A peplum dress - and I'm slowly beginning to make friends with peplums.

Did I mention pretty dresses?

I also really liked the belts - in particular this little bow one:

These are made from fish leather. It looks like soft, slightly fluffy snake skin - sorta:

More belts plus a skirt. I think this skirt had pockets. I approve of skirts with pockets!

These little jackets are what Coco Chanel would have made if she had shopped for fabrics in Africa. Very cute with jeans - trust me, I tried! You will be mine, preshusssssss!

Njema Helena don't have a permanent outlet yet, but will be back for the Xmas Box market next month. Check out their Facebook page for updates.

12 October 2012

Bridge International Academies FTW!

Amazing news: Bridge International Academies here in Nairobi are runner up for the Outstanding Small and Growing Business Award in the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship, given out by the Africa Leadership Network (ALN).

From the press release: 'Bridge International Academies was the runner-up for the Outstanding Small and Growing Business Award, also a prize of USD50,000, and a commendation from the African Leadership Network. In 2007 the company developed a strategy that would allow it to launch a large-scale network of high-quality, ultra low-cost, for-profit private schools. The concept 'school-in-a-box' has enabled children to receive high-quality education for USD4 per child per month and has the biggest chain of low-cost private schools in Africa that run 80 academies in Kenya with over 25,000 students.'

I've met and interviewed Shannon May - who founded and runs Bridge together with her husband and a third partner - a few times and she's utterly impressive, frighteningly well informed, and also very very lovely to boot. It's an amazing company: quality education for a fee that's roughly equal to what parents pay in 'desk fees', 'motivation fees' etc in the so-called free primary education. It's a for-profit model (albeit initially funded with some patient capital), which means that its growth is not dependent on donations. And it's probably one of the fastest-growing companies in Kenya: they went from a handful employees to 1,200 in three years.


11 October 2012

To heal importance

It is as ever my recommendation that you have someone proofread your copy. Someone who has a thorough grasp of the language you intend to publish it in, and just as thorough attention to detail. Or you may end up with crap. Intense crap even:

Natural Power advertised on p. 10 in today's Star:

For men, they promise to 'resolve importance', including penile organ size. But better still, for women, they will help with 'Women libido, intense excrement and desire'. They also offer a 'sliming cream.' And 'wild growth hair oil for fuller and larger hair (USA)'.

Although crappy copy has been done before: Airtel promised to put a smile on the faeces of their customers.

08 October 2012

Four Twenty South and Emporio Kumar

I brought Alison, and Alison brought Elizabeth, and then I talked Carol into coming, and she brought Adele, and we all drove Hilary and Jane at Four Twenty South nuts with the cottage bookings because we arrived and left on different days. But when we were not arriving and departing, we were horizontal. Here's what paradise looks like:
This is the view from one of the cottages a bit further in the back:
Billy came to the cottage to give us a yoga lesson every day. Don't be fooled. He just looks harmless. The pain eased on day four, just when I had to leave.
Pre-yoga coffee with cat friend (insert pussy joke here):
Madafu after yoga, and brunch being prepared by the talented Michael. Can this get any better?
Yes, it can! Because we discovered Emporio Kumar, a fashion house so exclusive, they close over lunch!
It is my firm belief that Mrs Kumar has elves in her workshop. I may have bought all wrap skirts, but they will have new ones ready the next day and Mrs Kumar will helpfully direct her staff to show them to me. She knows a sucker when she sees one! Mrs Kumar raided our accounts. We raided Emporio Kumar. Here's my loot:
Four Twenty South is one of my favouritest places. Find them on Facebook here.

22 April 2012

Party Shopping and Delusion: What's New?

Turns out, not much. Today in the Standard: Musalia Mudavadi, who has made ominous announcements of ‘announcements’ for, what, weeks now? 'When you leave here, I want you to be sure that I will not go back.' Passive-aggressive drama queen. Get on with it already.

Kalonzo Musyoka still hasn’t brought an original thought or a shred of personality to the table, and doesn’t seem to intend to: In the Nation, he emphasises again that he ‘is best suited to continue with President Kibaki’s policies since he had understudied the Head of State.’ Understudied the head of state in running around trying to undermine the ICC? Also, wobbly reasoning: ‘Being an election year we don’t want a repeat of what happened in 2007. We want to be peaceful.’ (Nation) Quite. That was the election organised under Kibaki’s presidency.

Musyoka's superior suitability is also not a position shared by Prof. Saitoti, who may be a little too optimistic about his own ability to prove opinion polls wrong. Saitoti in the Standard: ‘Kenyans know who I’m, what I stand for, and what I have done. There is no doubt that they would elect me to succeed President Kibaki when he retires. … Pollsters will be surprised when I become president.’ But he’s clearly a man with a national, not a tribal outlook: ‘Saitoti said the position of Education PS which was held James ole Kiyiapi and NEMA chairman headed by Francis ole Kaparo “should be given back to the Maasai community”. (Star)

This is comforting as it’s ever so predictable a script: ‘The fight for control of the United Republican Party (URP) by politicians close to Eldoret North MP William Ruto has threatened to tear the nascent party apart. What has clearly emerged is the fight has to do with nominations for party positions and who will have the final say.’(Standard) Pole, Mr Ruto – wasn’t this exactly the same problem he had with UDM?

And I swear I heard my small dog say ‘urp’ this morning when he stretched.

Uhuru Kenyatta also still seems to be floating around without a party home after having been shoved out of KANU. Again, pole. I am sure he will fix this shortly. ‘Shopping for a party’, no doubt.

Just as a reminder: This is what the latest Infotrack Harris polls predict, according to Capital FM: Raila Odinga 42%, Uhuru Kenyatta 22%, Kalonzo Musyoka 9%, Martha Karua 5%, William Ruto 5% and Musalia Mudavadi 5%. Saitoti: not mentioned in the article.

07 February 2012

BM Security: Insecurity Company?

Few things make me feel quite as stabby as 'overlapping'.

This was on Tuesday, 2 Feb, around 7.30pm on Kanjata Road leading to James Gichuru. Traffic was flowing - slowly, but flowing -, until idiots like the BM Security driver started using the wrong side of the road and created a giant, entirely predictable clusterfuck.

I emailed BM Security yesterday, but no response yet. So off to Twitter with this.