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Moi’s signature tune and making of a choir

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The first time I heard of the children’s mass choir was in 1984, as a Standard Three pupil at State House Primary School — next to the State House.

One afternoon our music teacher, Ms Kamau, walked in with music sheets. We were informed that those who joined the school choir would sing for then President Daniel arap Moi at the next national day celebrations.

I joined the choir… not because I believed in the Nyayo philosophy, but because it was an opportunity to spend three days away from school — doing something I considered more interesting than sitting in a classroom — learning how to divide and multiply.

There were three or so songs but the masterpiece was the very catchy and danceable Tawala Kenya Tawala.

The song was written by Thomas Wasonga, a Coast-based music teacher and member of Mombasa Teachers’ Mass Choir. It was a technical wonder.

Written in the tradition of Afro-Catholic choral, it starts off with four repeated stanzas clearly expressing the citizenry’s love and support for Moi.

And then it segues into a climax: Amidst lots of single-finger waving (the Kanu salute), the song describes Moi’s achievements: “Tangu uliposhika uongozi Kenya umoja umeongezeka, eeeh Baba tawala! (We have become more united since you became our leader, eeh father, rule!)” and “Juhudi zako za kuleta amani dunia yote yapongeza, eeh Baba tawala! (The world has seen and praises your efforts to bring us peace, eeh father, rule!)”

My parents — a journalist and a social commentator — (and both critical thinkers) must have rolled their eyes in disbelief whenever I went home humming my lines.

Finally, the third movement of the song: An exhortation to Moi to continue apace because all of Kenya was behind him.

This was surely untrue. Part of the reason why these mass choirs became so popular with government functionaries in the early 80s (even though it was Mzee Jomo Kenyatta who started them) was because of the 1982 coup and Moi’s fears of growing dissent.

The songs were a means to subliminally enforce loyalty and affection for a man many were starting to consider a brutal dictator.

Mr Wasonga was transferred to Nairobi to be a senior education officer in charge of entertainment for presidential functions — and that is when he came into my life, via a proxy, Ms Kamau.

Whenever a national function was due — say, Jamhuri Day or Madaraka Day — the Ministry of Education would send him a list of teachers from selected schools who would then spend the next few weeks in intensive training, learning the songs from him. The teachers would go back to train their students.

Three days before the national event, the trained children from selected schools would gather at Nyayo Stadium for a musical ‘boot camp’. There were hundreds of us, maybe even 1,000-plus pupils.

Singing practice started at 8am. We’d be grouped according to voice type: Sopranos, altos, the tenors and the bass. Woe unto you if you were a tenor and your best friend a bass.

We had to sing for our lunch — literally. If you fainted; if you stopped singing; if you sat down when you should have been dancing, a supervising teacher would mark you and you would be removed from the list of children receiving lunch that day. Lunch was a loaf of bread and soda.

Practice was all day; we learnt how to sing in perfect harmony in our hundreds, and there were no breaks. We would practice in the hot sun on empty stomachs till around 3pm, which was our lunch hour. I remember a mini-rebellion one time when a group of frustrated pupils refused to sing unless we ate. For once, lunch was served before 2pm.

Those three days were brutal. It was the first time I experienced this thing called sun burn and hunger pangs. The big day was almost always an anticlimax. We arrived at Nyayo Stadium very early. We stood around. We were summoned. We sang. We went home.

But I’ll never forget the aches in my feet, the peeling skin, the extreme hunger. I suppose that’s the price an eight-year-old pays for seeking approved truancy from school.

by nation.co.ke


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Health

Comedian Flaqo opens up on rare condition he has been battling

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Popular Kenyan comedian, Flaqo born Erastus Ayieko Otieno has for the first time spoken about a rare condition that he has been struggling with for some time.

Turns out that despite the funny man the Kenyan audience and beyond has grown to know as Flaqo Raz, he has his fair share of battles behind the cameras.

Flaqo opens up

The Internet sensation shared a photo showing red, itchy welts like a form of skin reaction on certain parts of his body.

Depending on the reactions, the welts appear and fade repeatedly and vary in size.

The YouTuber shared his condition with fans in the hope that maybe one or two can relate to what he has been going through and maybe work out a solution on the same.

“Anyone with this condition, how do you go about it?” he posed.

Comedian Flaqo rare skin condition

“Sometimes I have to postpone my shoots because they are unbearable. Zangu zilipotea for 6 months straight. Now they are back…” he replied to a fan who shared a similar experience.

Funny enough, soon as he had put up the post, he got so much feedback, with so many individuals able to relate to his skin condition, to his amazement.

“So far: try staying in the sun for a bit, bathe with warm water after taking antihistamines. To understand your condition better, make a point of seeing a dermatologist,” Flaqo shared with fans battling a similar condition, after gathering responses from his fan base.

Wrapping up urging fellow victims to take plenty of water, work out more often and avoid proteins since hives get triggered by things like particular foods, medication and stress.

By Ghafla.com


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News

REVEALED: How three teenage sisters were impregnated by a shamba boy – police

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Police in Tana River county in Kenya are looking for a shamba boy  (gardener) who fled after allegedly  impregnating all three of his employer’s underage daughters at around the same period.

The girls said the man would often lure them to their farm where he would sexually defile them. One of the sisters confessed to sneaking into the gardener’s room at night.

“I did not know he was having affair with my sisters as well because we didn’t share that part of our lives with each other, as we didn’t trust each other with secrets,” one of the teenagers told Daily Nation.

The further divulged that the man would entice them with gifts such as money and clothes.

“He used to give me pocket money and would sometimes buy me clothes. He was so nice to me. I did not know he was doing the same to my sisters,” another girl said.

Each of the three sisters gave birth to a set of twins at a Garissa hospital on Saturday through a Cesarean Section.

All the three are Class Eight learners and are expected to sit for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination in March next year.

On her part, the girls’ mother said she noticed her daughters had new sets of underpants but she did not suspect something was going on between them and the gardener.

“I noticed some funny set of underwear which caught my attention. But my last-born daughter kept saying she had bought them with her pocket money,” the mother explained.

“What I did not understand was why she chose that funny type of underwear,” she said.

She learned of the gardener’s affair with her daughters after she stumbled upon a message on one of the girls’ phone informing the man of the pregnancy.

She then discovered the two were planning to get rid of the pregnancy, prompting her to ambush all her daughters with a pregnancy test the following morning. Two of the girls admitted they were pregnant before the tests.

The shamba boy is said to have fled after learning that the three sisters were all pregnant with his children. Police are still looking for him.

The first-born daughter was expecting triplets but she could only deliver two children safely and without complications.

“They all had slim chances of survival, and that is why we looked for a specialist. But for the girl with the triplets to come out alive, we had to agree with the mother to choose between her daughter and the third infant,” a doctor said.

The three were discharged from the hospital following the operations and are recuperating at home.

 


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Lifestyle

Ciru Muriuki in mourning again, just months after losing her dad

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The loss of a loved one is a feeling one can never put into words. But losing another person so close to your heart, becomes a tall order.

July 2020, BBC journalist, Angela Wanjiru wa Muriuki alias Ciru Muriuki lost her dad to COVID-19. A man she dearly honored, loved and cherished.

A man she still misses more than words can say; a man who would have turned 72 years on October 10, were he still alive.

Pain and agony that she wonders how long it will last.

Amid COVID-19 and strict health measures put in place, her dads send-off left a different mark in her life.

“Heh. Losing a father. Nothing prepares you for the pain. Nothing. I wonder if I’ll feel this agony forever. My father’s funeral was the worst experience of our lives.”

Remember, Ciru also contracted the virus and had to mourn her late dad in almost complete solitude.

I cannot think of anything worse,” she tweeted.

Another loss

It has been barely 4 months that the celebrated media personality was allowed to mourn her loss, and death has stricken once more.

Taking to her Twitter, the broadcast journalist mourned the loss of a beloved mother, a grand mum and an aunt – her fathers sister.

Messages of condolences continue to flow in from fellow personalities, friends and fans as they comfort a dear Ciru, having to bear 2 consecutive losses amid a pandemic.

May their souls rest in eternal peace!

By Ghafla.com


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