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Kenyan boy caught in online storm over “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle Monkey” label

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

A Kenyan woman who goes by the name of Terry Mango has claimed that she is the  mother of a black boy at the centre of a racism storm involving Swedish-headquartered  multinational clothing retail company, H&M, which has branches all over the world, including the United States.

In a photo which has gone viral, the boy, who is modelling for American fashion powerhouse, wears a green hoodie with the message “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”

The image has been condemned across the board, with some calling it “blatant insult to the black race.”

What is even more disturbing is that two white boys pictured with the black boy do not have any derogatory label on their clothing.

On Wednesday, H&M sent out an email to all its customers apologising over the racial slur.

However, the mother shocked internet users when, in a series of social media posts, said categorically that there was nothing wrong with the message on “My son’s hoodie.”

The woman says she is a Kenyan who works in Sweden.

“I am the mum and this is one of the hundreds of outfits my son has modelled. Stop crying wolf all the time … Get over it. If I bought the jumper and put it on him and posted it on my pages would that make me racist? I get people’s opinions but they are not mine,” wrote Ms Mango.

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APOLOGY

In its apology, H&M said it had taken down the image. It further stated the hoodie has also been removed from its product offering.

“We would like to put on record our position in relation to the controversial image of our hoodie. Our position is simple, we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry,” read part of the statement.

The social media went wild over the use of the black boy in the ad. Many posted messages accusing the clothing brand of racism for using a black child to convey the message written on the hoodie.

Many artistes took to Twitter to protest saying they had cancelled any kind of partnership with H&M.

Celebrated NBA player Lebron James wrote: “[H&M] u got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up! Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo.”

EMBARRASSED

“Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…” tweeted one musician.

There were also reports that American rapper, P Diddy, has offered the boy a modelling contract worth Sh103 million ($1 million) to work with his clothing line, Sean John.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kalonzo shocks Raila after saying Uhuru should rule for two and a half years

Elsewhere, Manchester United player Romelu Lukaku also posted an altered version of the advertisement with “black is beautiful” inscribed on the hoodie.

Lukaku wrote: “You’re a prince, soon to be a king. Don’t let anybody tell you different #blackexcellence.”

Below is the full apology from H&M:

H&M STORE.

H&M ISSUES UNEQUIVOCAL APOLOGY FOR POORLY JUDGED PRODUCT AND IMAGE

To all customers, staff, media, stakeholders, partners, suppliers, friends and critics. We would like to put on record our position in relation to the image and promotion of a children’s sweater, and the ensuing response and criticism. Our position is simple and unequivocal – we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.

9 JAN, 2018

H &M is fully committed to playing its part in addressing society’s issues and problems, whether it’s diversity, working conditions or environmental protection – and many others. Our standards are high and we feel that we have made real progress over the years in playing our part in promoting diversity and inclusion. But we clearly haven’t come far enough.

We agree with all the criticism that this has generated – we have got this wrong and we agree that, even if unintentional, passive or casual racism needs to be eradicated wherever it exists. We appreciate the support of those who have seen that our product and promotion were not intended to cause offence but, as a global brand, we have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities – and we have not lived up to this responsibility this time.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: The day Biwott left Uhuru and Ruto in stitches

This incident is accidental in nature, but this doesn’t mean we don’t take it extremely seriously or understand the upset and discomfort it has caused.

We have taken down the image and we have removed the garment in question from sale. It will be recycled.

We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in future.

Racism and bias in any shape or form, conscious or unconscious, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable and need to be eradicated from society. In this instance we have not been sensitive enough to this agenda.

Please accept our humble apologies.

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Business

Why I switched to organic farming

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Sylvia Miloyo started faming as soon as she completed her undergraduate studies in community development.

This is because farming was her first love. But there was a problem.

Like many farmers, she used pesticides and fertilisers which were chemical-based and readily available in the market.

Four years into the venture, she had read so much about  the negative effects of the use of chemical-based farming inputs that she vowed to get a solution for it.

This prompted her into becoming an organic farmer.

She transformed her farm into an organic farming set-up using her savings.

“As of acquiring skills, I just practiced, did a lot of reading and attended short trainings at Real IPM in Thika,” said Sylvia who also holds a Diploma in Business Management.

In this type o farming, she had to include a variety of crops, mainly vegetables.

“In organic farming, you never really mono crop. I have never practiced mono cropping but prefer to grow at least 15 to 20 types of vegetables at every one point,” she said.

According to Ms Miloyo, organic food is healthy for humans and animals . She practices farming in her two farms in Limuru (five acres) and Mai Mahiu (10 acres).

Since adopting organic farming, she says she has attracted clients who she says “are about what they eat and want to only consume safe products.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: The day Biwott left Uhuru and Ruto in stitches

According to the White Paper Report on Pesticide use in Kenya, Pesticides are widely distributed in the environment (like air, soil, water and plants) and as a result, water and soil quality are decreasing and there is an increase in chronic health effects that are suggested to be related to pesticide exposure.

“Many pesticides are either acutely toxic, have long-term toxic effects, are endocrine disrupters (acting on the hormone system), are toxic to different wildlife species or are known to cause a high incidence of severe or irreversible adverse effects,” reads part of the survey.

Ms Miloyo sells her produce mainly through home delivery based on requests.

“Many of our clients are middle class working people and our pricing is very similar with conventional farming, so we basically sell to everyone.”

She noted that takes at least three to years to convert from conventional farming to organic farming.

This also comes with the challenge of battling with pests and diseases in the beginning before you create a micro climate and have a natural balance, where you no longer have too many pests to deal with.

“Market can be an issue for organic suppliers because the populace are not well educated on the benefits of organic farming.”

In order to meet the demands of all her clients, she has an outlet in Nairobi, from where she sells her produce.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kalonzo shocks Raila after saying Uhuru should rule for two and a half years

She has established dams to collect rain water as well as a borehole for irrigation.

By Nation.co.ke

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Health

Former NMG journalist laid to rest

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Former Nation Media Group journalist Timothy Kipngetich Kemei was laid to rest on Tuesday.

During the burial event, Kimei was eulogised as a young hard working journalist and a role model to many.

Local leaders including Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno, Kericho County Assembly Speaker Dominic Rono, Leader of Majority Hezron Ngetich and Kapsoit MCA Paul Chirchir attended the ceremony in Tulwab Moi village.

Until his death, Kimei was Kericho County government’s chief public relations officer.

He died late last month while undergoing first aid at Siloam Hospital after an asthma attack.

He was rushed to hospital by his wife and a colleague at around midday, but passed away while doctors attempted to resuscitate him.

He got the first attack at 3 am on Sunday and was rushed to hospital where he was stabilised and discharged.

He developed a second attack at around midday and did not recover from it.

He is survived by his wife Mercy and a two-year-old son

By Nation.co.ke

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: New comer Muthiora Kariara shines as others stay away
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Lifestyle

Garissa man drowns while shooting YouTube video

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The body of a 20-year-old Garissa resident has been retrieved from River Tana today, County Red Cross Manager Mohammed Dubow has confirmed.

Mr Abdullahi Mukhtar is said to have drowned in the river three days ago after he slipped while shooting a video.

“We have been searching for his body since the first day with no success, but today we managed to retrieve his body and it is now with the family,” said Mr Dubow, who was in charge of the search.

Mr Mukhtar is said to have been in the company of his brother and sister before he slipped and drowned.

The siblings were shooting a YouTube video when the incident happened.

His family declined to comment on the matter.

By nation.co.ke

READ ALSO:   Israel PM Netanyahu to attend Kenyatta's inauguration
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