Lupita Nyong’o::

Lupita Nyong’o, daughter of Kenya’s former Minister for Medical Services, Hon. Anyang Nyong’o. Just take a close look again and you’ll see some resemblance (minus Nyongo’s rick ross look a like beard :D). With regard to her acting profession, I’ve got reason to be proud of this young woman and what she has done with her life so far. I’ll just list a few and I hope we will be on the same page.

So Lupita apparently  was born in Mexico, raised in Kenya and got educated in the united States.  Lupita’s Dad Anyang Nyong’o must be an adventurous man, having traveled the world himself in search for golden opportunities. Its no surprise the same pattern reflects in his daughter’s genes. Prof. Nyong’o completed his undergraduate studies at Uganda’s Makerere Univeristy attaining a 1st class honors degree in Political Science…then later proceeded for his graduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Chicago, USA where he attained his Masters Degree and PhD in Political Science by 1977. And with such an academic record, its no surprise that Prof. Nyong’o took teaching positions at the University of Nairobi where he was a Professor of Political Science. He was also a visiting professor in universities in Mexico and Addis Ababa where he served until 1987, before taking up the position of Head of Programs at the American Academy of Sciences. (Those accomplishments make me feel like an academic midget right now!) Anyway, it must have been in his teaching tour in Mexico that Prof. Nyong’o was hit hard with the idea of having a baby! And you know what…when paternal instincts kick…they kick hard!! It doesn’t matter where you are! And so with that, Lupita was brought into existence! :)

There’s little I could find on Lupita’s history about her being raised in Kenya. But I can testify that there’s no place better to being raised. With the diverse cultures, great hospitable people, beautiful weather all year round…the list of why I’m proud to be Kenyan goes from here to timbuktu!(It really does :D) So back to Lupita’s story. Even though most about her personal life is kept well hidden, I was happy with the much I could dig out, especially with regard to her acting career. So, lupita is apparently an alumnus of Yale School of Drama. This is one of the places she honed her stage acting skills. Some of her credits include: The Winter’s Tale, The Really Big Fat Show, Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Uncle Vanya, The Taming of the Shrew, the friendship of her thighs, and elijah.


(On the far right: Lupita in a scene of the play a Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare at the Yale repertory theatre, directed by Liz Diamond)

As a theatre enthusiast myself, I only marvel at such theatrical milage !  I couldn’t help notice the passion and the seriousness this young woman has for the arts. Apart from these, other stage credits include Romeo and Juliet (ThePhoenix Players), The Princess and the Golden Yam (Bantabaa Theatre), and Ruby Red (The Co-op at Dixon Place). Perhaps its her TV credits  as the lead role in MTV’s award-winning, hard-hitting drama series, Shuga, for which we are most familiar with Lupita. And I must say she did a lot of justice to her role, as many of us can testify! When Shuga part 2 came knocking, not only did she take lead role a second time,  she also served as supporting director. (She’s a go getter this one!) And talk of directing, in 2006, Lupita wrote, produced and directed her own documentary, a feature about the treatment of Kenya’s albino population titled In My Genes. She did the documentary as her final thesis project at Hampshire college, where she graduated in 2007. The documentary highlights the life of Agnes’ past, a woman with albinism who overcomes the torment of being born albino in a family, community and society that discriminates against the condition. It was officially launched in Nairobi on May 2009 and went ahead to be screened in three major film festivals in three continents including the New York African Film Festival and the Dockanema Documentary Film Festival in Mozambique. Lupita has also worked on the production teams of critically acclaimed films including The Constant Gardener (2005) directed by Fernando Mereilles and The Namesake (2006) directed by Mira Nair. 


(Lupita with some guests during the official launch of In My Genes the documentary)

The list of what Lupita has done over the years as a filmmaker and actress is long..we can barely cover enough ground with one blog post. But what has caused a stir in the recent past is the fact that Lupita has already made her debut in hollywood when she was cast in the film, 12 Years a Slave, which is set to premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The movie, which features hollywood greats like Chiwetel EjioforBenedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt, is based on a true story of a free black man kidnapped from New York and sold into brutal slavery in mid-1850s Louisiana, and the inspiring story of his desperate struggle to return home to his family. Lupita plays Patsey in the film and I can’t wait to check it out once its released! With a production budget of $20 million, filming began in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 27, 2012. It lasted for seven weeks, concluding on August 13, 2012. What a journey!


(Lupita of the film I2 years a slave alongside Sarah Paulson)

So, they say the fastest way to get to a man is through his stomach. This stereotype doesn’t apply to me. What easily grips my soul is when I see a passion in people who are relentlessly following after their own hopes and dreams. And Lupita’s life is a classic example of what life can truly turn out to be when we decide to go after own hearts desire with spirited zeal. I really don’t think Lupita’s way to hollywood came by chance, rather, her history of what she’s been doing over the years speaks clearly for itself. The challenge I’ve had even as I was compiling this article was: It doesn’t matter where you were born, what language you speak, what’s happened in the past, whether rich or poor..etc. What really matters is this: What will you do when the opportunity to be all you were created to be presents itself to you? Will you be ready? And I really don’t believe life gives you rare, golden opportunities which are hard to find. Rather, LIFE IS ONE BIG GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY ALL BY ITSELF! We should just quit complaining about what we don’t have…and be GRATEFUL for what God has given us and use that as a stepping stone to get closer to what we aspire to be. It definitely does take hard work, a sea of sweat and not forgetting God’s grace to elevate us to our life’s purpose. And while you are in the hang of doing that, remember not to lose the passion…just as Lupita has so well exhibited. God’s word says in Colossians 3:23 that “Whatever you do…DO IT HEARTILY as unto the lord…” All the best as you chase your hope and dreams. :)

The world is better off with one passionate person, than 40 interested individuals”

(So the Trailer of 12 Years a slave was released just a few weeks ago, and it was a joy getting to see Lupita in there doing her thing. Check it out here:)

Brenda Wairimu::

Brenda Wairimu needs no Introduction. She’s the drop-dead-gorgeous lass who has graced our television screens with her admirable persona. Having featured in some of the best television shows this side of the sahara, then we can conclude that her acting prowess is literally to die for. The last few years have seen Brenda’s star shine brighter and brighter…and I’m confident that the future holds much more shine. If I quote the words of her own Manager, Ruth Adallah, “…Brenda stands as one of the hottest new kids on the block to look out for. She has even gained international recognition with features in New York City magazines, websites and graces our local newspapers and sites….”(Including this blog :D) Apart from acting, Bren seems to have a lot up her sleeves…and its good to know there’s more to her than rehearsals, scripts and sets! Brenda is actually a brand ambassador for Computers for growth…an initiative that seeks to provide less fortunate schools with computers. As the world grows more digital, this cause couldn’t have come at a better time and I must commend her for this noble cause. Well, there’s lots to learn from this queen of the arts…and so without wasting any more time, lets dive into the interview and find out what she had to say about her life in a nutshell. Enjoy!!! :D



*So Brenda, give us a little description of you.
How can I?! To describe/ define, is to limit. :)

*And how was it growing up in Mombasa? Do you have any siblings?
It was amazing growing up in Mombasa, the weather was always amazing. I got to go to the beach so much that it puzzles me how people not from Mombasa are so into it hahaha. I grew up around a culture so different from my own and that gave me an open mind. Yes I have three older sisters and a little brother.

*Talking of family…a while back you lost your dad. Would you briefly tell us more about him? What do you miss about him most?
I miss everything about dad. I miss his voice and how he used to say  “hello” on the phone. I miss how he loved me…I miss him calling me each time he saw me on tv or in the papers…I miss being afraid when I knew I’d done something that would upset him…and I could go on and on. I’d give anything to have him back. :(

*To someone going through the same predicament of losing someone close…what would you tell them?
I still don’t know what I wanted to be told myself, so it’s difficult when you to try to find the right words, even after going through the same thing. We can only pray that time really does make it better, that’s what I keep hearing so I hope it’s true.

*Away from the sad moments, on 24th January, 2013…you posted on your fan
page “So, its just SIX days to the release of the #BBB project, a step towards the rest of my career. I can’t wait to share it with you guys!” So, What is this BBB project? Kindly take us through your philosophy of Believing…Beginning…and Becoming.

It’s actually as simple as it sounds. If you have your mind set on what you want to achieve, then you must first believe that it can be achieved, then you begin. Take that first leap….and with prayer, hard work, dedication, you shall most definitely become what you aspire to be.

(Check out Brenda’s video below titled Being Brenda, her release of the #BBB project, shot at Rolf’s place. I loved the production design of this video and I must commend the producer, Ruth Adallah and Joshua Werema who shot and edited it. Absolutely fabulous.)


*What inspired all this?
The hunger for success that I see in so many young people. We just need that little extra push from ourselves.

*Lets also talk about the causes you are currently behind. You are a brand ambassador for Computers for growth. Tell us more on this cause and what you have accomplished so far.
It’s an initiative where we aim to provide as many less fortunate schools as we can with computers and the appropriate training to be computer literate, to be able to compete on a level playing field with others students who have easy access to computers and training on the same. It’s an increasingly digital world, and we hope to give every Kenyan student that equal opportunity.


*Some of your friends and yourself are working on another project for disadvantaged girls. Tell us more about that…
One of the problems some young girls experience (and this I found out during Computers For Growth school visits) is the lack of sanitary towels. So they would rather miss school for the three-four days of the month than risk going to school and be laughed at. Cool 4 Skool hence aims to provide re-usable sanitary towels to students who can’t afford pads so that they don’t miss school at least. We aim to make school cool to go even when it’s that time of the month.☺

*By choosing to work for these causes, what would you say you have learnt so far?
That we sometimes complain too much. I wish I could personally focus on all the things I should be grateful for. There are people going through much worse situations than most of us and they still find reason to laugh and be thankful. If each of us would look outside ourselves to see what can be done for someone else every now and then, we really can change the world. Crazy as it sounds!

*What’s your long term vision for both of these causes?
Again, I don’t want to limit us. My vision for it is to grow as big as God will allow it…to reach as many people as we can!

*Now, critics would say…“What’s a celebrity without a cause? They would argue that charity is something all celebrities and public figures do…ways of making them look good to the society…and not necessarily something they do from their heart. Prove the critics wrong!
If I work so that I can prove critics wrong, it beats the whole purpose. If we end up looking good to society, then even better, because in that way we end up convincing more people to join in the cause.

*Lets switch gears to your acting career. How did your journey in acting all begin?
It started with many failed auditions and rejections. But it all took a turn when I finally landed a role in Changing times. All from a Facebook post about the auditions. I beat 800 other people to get the role :)

* You’ve charmed your way to the hearts of many Kenyans through Mali, Shuga, and Changing times. Now, what are you future ambitions with regard to your acting career?
I want to tell African stories. There’s so much culture, so many great stories to be told. I want to be a part of that…and to be a powerhouse that motivates and inspires others too!

(Brenda with some Mali cast: Daniel Peter, Mkamzee Mwatela and Mumbi Maina)

*Modesty aside, do you think you have what it takes to catch the eye of a Hollywood director? And what genre of film would you like to feature in?
Modesty aside, I do. Foreign films, in this case African stories. Trust me, it will happen!

*Have you ever done any stage acting? If no, would you take up the challenge if the opportunity comes up?
I tried it once, for like a week in secondary school. I’m actually going to do a stage play once I’m done with the project I’m attached to now, or maybe even a musical!

*Name for me some actors and actresses, both locally and international, who greatly inspire you.
Nini Wacera, you can never forget her as Susan in ‘wingu la moto’. When you can’t forget a character, it shows you how good they are. Also Raymond ofula, Lucky to be working with both of them on this new show. It’s like a dream come true ☺ I still get star-stuck. 
Anthony Hopkins…he was brilliant as Hannibal…Merryl Streep…the list is endless.

(From Left: Nini Wacera, Meryl Streep, Raymond Ofula and Anthony Hopkins)

*Of all the roles you have played…which one do you fancy the most?
I loved playing Dallah on MTV Shuga. I had to convince the audience in a short series that I was in love, on how sometimes we don’t really think straight when we think we are in love. It sent a strong message of Love, Sex &Money especially among the youth and I’m happy I was given the chance to pass the message and was I able to bring that out.


(Part of the Shuga 2 cast. From Left: Nancy Wanjiku, Nick Ndeda, Brenda Wairimu, Avril, Antoneo-soul and Nick Mutuma)

*What are your strongest traits as an actress?
I can switch from one emotion to the next easily. One of the benefits of being a woman I guess?? hahaha. I’d like to think I also have a strong screen presence.

*What are some of the greatest lessons that you have learn from your directors and fellow actors?
They are numerous and invaluable. I learn new methods of acting every day…before I didn’t even know there were methods! Even away from acting, they teach me how to be in the industry-the dos and don’ts…advice on scripts etc. I can’t thank them enough. :)

*What areas would you like to improve as an Actress?
I still have so much to learn, I want to improve my whole art as a whole. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning.

*A word of advice to upcoming actresses who would like to be where you are…
The very cliche ‘don’t give up’, If it’s in your heart, you never know when your breakthrough will come through.

*The Kenyan film industry is gradually picking up and becoming of age. According to you, where do you see this industry in the next ten years or so?
We young thespians in the industry have so much to be thankful for, especially to those who paved the way for us. In ten years I hope, we will have paved way for new budding talent!

*Lets turn to your other close passion, which is modeling. Is this something you do on the side or is it something that you plan taking on seriously?
For now, it takes the second seat to acting. However, I use my modeling pictures to sell myself as an actress, to sell my brand.

(Some of Brenda’s fashion photos)

*Talking things fashion, Alcott Kenya approached you on being their brand ambassador. What kind of exposure did you get working for them?
It was such an honor to be among the Alcott Kenya brand ambassadors, it reinforced my brand, added to my portfolio….

*Are there any local fashionistas who inspire you?
My sister Sylvia has always been my fashion inspiration :)

*Lets say you became one of the most influential women in the world. How would you change the world using that kind of influence?
How would I not!!!! They say its not possible to have world peace, but I know I’d sure try!

QUICK SIX
*Now, there’s no question about you dating Juliani. Question is…how did it all begin? (Do tell) :)
We were introduced by a mutual friend, at first he didn’t know it was me, or who I was (actress)even. He thought I was another Brenda! LOL! :D

(Juliani and Brenda)

*Do you foresee the BIG question coming soon? Ahem! ^_^
Lol! Next question!

*What’s the hardest part of being a celebrity?
I’d have to say its having to be ‘on’ all the time. You have to be the brand they see and read about regardless of the kind of day (or days!) your having.

*It goes without saying that celebrities like your self get prowled with stalkers. Is there an extreme case you’d like to talk about?
Hahaha, not so much really. But this one time a school bus followed me around town topped them all!

*What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Just one???? Gosh! Lemme pick three. The sound of music, Pulp fiction and The Hannibal series.

*On 17th January 2013, You posted “My day has started off with me almost being carried away inside those excLOOsive mobile loos, heh, and me shouting “kuna mtu ndani jamani!!!”, LOL, maybe all this is coz I’m the shi*t?!?! Hehehe, siku njema!” Does this hold the cup as your most embarrassing moment? Kindly share another! *_*
Hahahahahahaha, gosh and you know, no one would have ever found out about that! But I just had to post it online..serves me right, ha? Another, is when I fell at the Kalasha red carpet, but it was at the end of the event, I hope nobody saw me! I got up so fast !!!!

***END***

Thats the much we could peep into Brenda’s life for now. Hopefully part 2 may come later…especially if she’ll be gracing the corridors of hollywood and migling with A-Class celebrities! I’ve had so much fun compiling this and I’m hoping you have enjoyed reading it. Catch up with Brenda by clicking on her social links below…and while you are at it, remember to put to heart the resounding words of beginningbelieving and becoming. My work here is done! Cheers! :D

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS::
>Thanks Bren fro allowing me to work with you on this! I’m honored! :D
>Ruth Adallah. I think Bren is privileged to having you as her manager. Thank you for everything! (when I become famous, will you allow me to hire you? :D)
>Some of the photos I’ve used are courtesy of Ben Kiruthi, definitely one of the best Wedding photographers we have in Kenya. Check him out here: http://www.benkiruthi.com
>I’ve used one photo courtesy of http://www.niaje.com, voted the best Kenyan Blog of the Year at the BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards gala night 2013. Asanteni sana.
*****



Darshani Haria::

I met Darshani some years back at Braeburn theatre. We had auditioned for Lionel Bart’s musical, Oliver Twist, under the directorship of the late James Ward…and days later, I was ecstatic to know that I was shortlisted to be part of the cast. (I bet young Darshani must have been excited as well.) While I took the role of a book seller in the musical, Darshani doubled as one of the workhouse children and was also part of Fagin’s gang. Yes! She was one heck of a terrorist in the streets of london, picking pockets alongside Dodger and the rest of the naughty boys! (For all those who have read the book or watched the movie, you know what I mean). After a successful staging of Oliver Twist, we all went our separate ways. However, a couple of years later, I met Darshani again…and this time she was doing yet another musical, James Falkland’s Changing generations at the phoenix theaters. This time I was part of the audience…and it was so refreshing to see Darshani all grown up! (considering she was a tiny cute kid with looong hair back then) She now looked all mature and curvy, still sporting her trademark looong hair…and on that day she wore a killer black dress that almost knocked me off my seat! Talk of an extreme makeover! I kid you not…I was tempted to howl like a confused wolf…smash glass and throw some leaves in the air! Ahem! (Did I just say that?) Okay, moving on swiftly, I hope that short history puts us on the same page on how I got to know Darshani. Now, apart from Darshani’s love for theatre, I recently noticed how passionate she is about wildlife. A huge portion of her tweeting time is dedicated to raising her fists against poachers, continuous rants on conservation, pointing fingers at KWS…etc. Such kind of passion is like a woman with a bad hairdo wearing a polka dress…you can see it 5 miles away! And so it didn’t take long before I asked Darshani to share more about her life…with special attention focused on her love for wildlife. So…what did miss Haria have to say? Well, keep reading! :D


*So Darshani, tell us a little about yourself…where did you grow up and how was your childhood life like?
Okay..so you obviously know my name…I’m 23 now, turning 24 in June (eeeek!) By the way, all presents are definitely welcome! :)…and  I’ve grown up in kenya my whole life! Actually I was born in the UK but my parents brought me here when I was only 16 days old!! (yeah I was one of those good babies). My childhood was great..I’m an only child, and no, I didn’t get spoiled rotten, but I did make a ton of friends and have always been super social!! If I had to describe my childhood in a word I think it would be FUN!! :)

*And it’s sad to note that you also lost your dad a while back. When was this? What do you miss about him most?
Yes I lost my dad when I was 5. It’s always hard growing up without your dad but I did have my step-dad around so he had filled in many of the gaps for me. I think what I miss the most is just that I didn’t get to know him very well. I have alot of memories of him..but as a person…I didn’t know much about what he liked or did and that is sad. I was always a daddy’s girl according to my mum so I think he would have played a big role in my life if he was around… although my mum does say that I take after him in a lot of ways (especially all my socializing)…so maybe he’s still around here somewhere!!!

*You schooled at Hillcrest Academy. How did schooling here shape you to be the person you are today?
Hillcrest was amazing! A really great school with people from every culture…so really cosmopolitan. I think that is what allows me to make friends with people from all walks of life…doesnt matter where you’re from! I made some really great friends there…friends that I still have today. I think it also increased my confidence-taking classes like LAMDA and Drama there…and that has obviously helped my acting career!

*Then you got admitted to Cardiff University in the UK. What did you study for? And how was your stay there?
Ah Cardiff! I think university was definitely one of the best times of my life so far! I studied Business Management and Accounting (super boring) but it did give me lots of time to party …and trust me…I partied like crazy!! It helped that I made one of my best friends there who coincidentally is also from Kenya (I didnt know her before!) and the two of us took Cardiff by storm I reckon! However, as much fun that was, I knew I had to come back to Kenya…nothing beats home of course!

*Now you are back to Kenya and you are working for African Alliance. What exactly are your duties? Do you love your job?
I’m currently a trader at African Alliance – a stockbroker if you will. I trade in stocks and shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. I also organize a huge investor conference every year that brings together foreign fund managers and the local companies they invest in, benefitting both sides greatly. My job is extremely interesting, but definitely hard work. There are parts of it I love and parts I hate – but I think that happens with every job :)

*Now lets shift gears and move on to your passion for wildlife. Where did all this come from?? Its very rare finding people who are passionate about wildlife you know!
I don’t think it was anything in particular that stirred my interest in wildlife. Living in Kenya and growing up around all that we have here…I think alot of people take it for granted that we have all these wonderful creatures within such easy access. In other countries they have to go to zoos to see these animals behind bars! For us we can see them in their natural environment…and I honestly think that’s amazing! We are such lucky people…and the problem is that most of us don’t realize that! That’s why if we don’t look after what we have…it will soon be gone! I grew up being able to see all these animals…and if my children don’t get to grow up being able to see lions, elephants and rhinos then that’s a SERIOUS problem!

(Some of these pictures are courtesy of Mutua Matheka and Mwangi Kirubi)

*On to the one thing that threatens the existence of our wildlife…POACHING. Why has poaching proved to be such a menace even with government efforts to curb the vice?? Do you think there are loopholes that the government is overlooking?
Unfortunately I don’t think the government is doing enough to curb poaching. When people are caught with doctored ivory in their possession – as was the case with one man a few weeks ago – they are charged about 30,000 Kshs!! That’s nothing! That ivory would sell for hundreds of thousands of shillings…so to pay 30K as a fine is no problem at all! How would that prevent them from doing it again? It wouldnt! The government needs to up it’s efforts in 3 ways:

  1. Finding more ways to protect the animals, involving GPS tracking, cameras, DNA testing, etc.
  2. Making stricter punishments for both poachers and traffickers.
  3. Working with other governments in the far east, to bring down the demand for ivory and rhino horns! – this is the ONLY way we’re ever going to bring poaching down.

*Which are some of the animals in our parks that are most targeted by poachers?
Mainly elephants and rhinos. Elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns. Lions are also decreasing in number – and this was mainly due to conflict with the maasai when they eat their cattle. But I’ve also heard that in the far east they have started eating powdered lion bones as it has some sort of anti ageing effect!!!! It’s absolutely ridiculous!

*There have been creative innovations to protect our wildlife. But one innovation that has caught my eye is this one on the pink horn to save our rhinos. Tell me something about the pink horn. Does it really work?
I think the pink horn is one of the best ideas that has come about. What happens is…the rhinos horn is injected with a chemical that is poisonous in nature – not to the rhinos, only to anyone that then consumes the horn (demand for rhino horn is driven by the far east where they say consuming it is the cure for some diseases). This chemical also then changes the rhino horns colour to pink! This means any poachers who sees a pink horned rhino, knows that its horn cannot be consumed and is therefore useless, meaning it wont get poached!! Along with the chemical, 3 GPS microchips are also injected into the horn, meaning that rhino can be traced for any change in its movements – like if suddenly its seen racing across the savannah, trackers will know that is unusual and go and find it…and preferably shoot those poachers!

*Do you think KWS is doing enough to protect our precious wildlife??
KWS has been working hard yes. They’ve implemented things like lion lights and put alarm fences around smaller conservancies to set of alarms if they are tampered with by animal or poacher. However, I do think they need to do more. 78 elephants have been poached in our parks since the beginning of the year, and I just don’t think that’s acceptable!

*What do you think is our role as Kenyans in protecting our wildlife?? A lot of people feel there’s little they can do and leave everything to KWS!
As Kenyans I feel there’s a lot more we can do. The wildlife here is part of our culture and it is what makes Kenya unique from a lot of other countries. Kenyans need to start being more aware of the wildlife around them and the threats there are to them so that we can prevent those threats from destroying their existence. They can support causes designed to protect the wildlife such as the Nairobi Greenline and the Rhino Ark – both of which are putting all their donations to extremely good use! By the way, everyone reading this should support Rhino Charge Team No. 3 – the Hatarious Chargers!! (sorry that was a shameless plug). Basically Kenyans, read up on our wildlife and take action! Don’t sit idly by and wait for the KWS to do something, cos you can make a difference too!!

*Do you think the average Kenyan is concerned about our wildlife??
With the issues that most Kenyans face, no I don’t think the average Kenyan is concerned about wildlife. To be honest, I don’t blame them since their families and their homes should be their No. 1 priority. However, there are Kenyans that have more than the average, and those are the ones that need to do more for our wildlife.

*Any last thoughts on this wildlife subject?
Awareness really needs to be increased, especially on the plight of our elephants, rhinos and lions. It’s sad that we still have these land conflicts between man and wildlife when in reality, they were here first, not us. We took their land and they don’t have the ability to fight it with words and documents as we fight each other. Yes we need to progress as a country and development includes building a solid infrastructure and growing the city, however we need to ensure that we provide adequate and sufficient land for our wildlife to also survive and grow. We need to learn to live peacefully alongside our beautiful animals.

*Apart from your passion for wildlife…you are also an actress! When did you discover you had this acting gift?
Haha! Well I’m not sure if it’s really an acting “gift”… I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic! Maybe I’m just a drama queen!! I used to act in school plays throughout prep school, and I think the first big production I was in was when I was 6 – The King and I at the Braeburn Theatre!

*You have done plays at phoenix theatres like ‘Changing Generations’ and ‘Don’t misunderstand me! How has the experience been like for you there? Are there other plays you have done apart from these?
At the Phoenix I did those 2 plus “A Raisin in the Sun” which was sponsored by the American Embassy. Acting at Phoenix was an amazing experience!! I’ve been going there to watch plays since I was about 6 years old! So finally getting up onto the stage and being on the other side was awesome. I worked with some really great actors who I then saw on the screen when I watched Nairobi Half Life. I think we have some fantastic talent here in Kenya when it comes to the theatre and I wish more people were aware of it. Theatres like Phoenix need a lot more support if they’re going to continue to survive!

(Darshani Haria and Likarion Wainaina (a.k.a tha cinematographer) in a scene off the play ‘Don’t Misunderstand me’  at Phoenix Theaters.)

*Have you ever thought of doing on-screen acting, since now you have made a name for yourself in theatre?
Hahaha..I’m not sure if I’ve made a name for myself in the theatre quite as yet!! Not sure about on-screen acting, although maybe if something good came my way! (Hint hint, nudge nudge…all you directors out there :D)

*So, should we look forward to more of Darshani in our theatres?? Any current projects you are working on? Where do you see yourself in like 5 years with regard to your acting career?
I’m not working on anything at the moment with regards to acting!! I haven’t really had the time now that I have a full time job. Hopefully though I will get some time soon and be able to do another project. Acting is not my main focus at the moment…it’s more of a hobby for me!

*What do you think of the film in industry in Kenya? Are we growing or are we stuck in a rut? What can we do to move to the next level?
The film industry in Kenya is definitely growing!!! The last 2 films I watched – Nairobi Half Life and Something Necessary, were amazing!!! The production companies need to continue at this pace and produce more movies like those, they really had an impact and meant something which is more than I can say for most Hollywood movies nowadays!

*Are there any actors who greatly inspire you, both local and international??
Hmm no…I don’t think I have a favourite actor/actress – either locally or internationally! I like quite a few!

*As a Kenyan girl who aspires to be successful in life, who would you say is your number one role model?
That’s an easy one – my mum! My mum is my greatest inspiration and role model. Always has been and always will be! She has been through a lot in her life but has managed to make it through everything to bring me up on her own, get me a great education and provide me with a life that has left me wanting nothing! Not easy for a single parent… I’ve seen her work weekends and long hours and miss out on a lot of my life that I know she wanted to be there for, just to be able to do that for me, and I respect that immensely.

*Say you were the most influential girl in the planet…what would you do with that kind of influence?
Oh wow. That’s a tough question. There’s so many things you’d want to influence, like poverty and hunger around the world. Also my beloved wildlife of course, I’d want to stop the demand for ivory and rhino horn and stop us humans from making so many animals extinct…

QUICK SIX:
*Now Darshani, is there someone special in your life that has captured that heart of yours?
Yes there definitely is! My boyfriend!!

*And is it true that in Indian culture, it’s the girl who gets to pay the dowry? (In that case, marry me now! )
Hahaha, I’m not sure about that – in some cases I’ve heard of the man paying it and in others the woman! I think it depends on certain cases!!

*Is it true that you are a hopeless romantic?
That’s very very true!! I’m a completely hopeless romantic, I watch rom coms and turn into a slushy pile of goo!!!

*What’s your take on inter-racial dating/marriages…especially now that we have such a vibrant Asian community in Kenya?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with interracial dating/marriages! We’re all humans at the end of the day, doesn’t matter what colour your skin is. People should just be with whoever makes them happy!

*What in the world wouldn’t you live without?
My phone! I can’t live without it…

*So, what is your MOST embarrassing moment??
Hmm, I think it has to be when I was about 7, I went with this club in Prep School, the intrepid explorers club, to some forest on a hike. Somewhere along the way I must have stepped into a nest of ants!! Next thing I knew I had ants in my pants – I had to strip down infront of everyone to get them off!!! Hahaha…

I have had my fair share of drama with ants but I wont say if I had to remove my pants or not! LOL! Anyway, thats the much we could peep into Darshani’s life for now! I’ve had so much to learn from reading this…and I hope you’ve picked up something or two. I must confess..I really never gave much thought to wildlife until now. When you give this topic much thought, you will realise how important it is for us to do whatever it takes to protect what God has blessed us with. Its good for our econmy anyway. Did you know that in 2011, travel and tourism contributed 13.7 percent of Kenya’s GDP to Sh403.7 billion? World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) made a prediction that those figures would rise by 4.3%. Last year, Kenya’s Minister of Tourism Dan Mwazo expected to see 100 billion shillings ($1.2 billion) in revenue from the tourism sector. Needless to say, wildlife is directly responsible for this humongous figures. We cannot stress enough the importance of conserving and protecting this important resource. In our own little way, we can find something we could do. And come to think of it, many years ago when God planned to drown the world with a global flood…He did ask Noah to get the animals in the ark. That showed that he cared. We should care too! If these reasons dont  motivate us enough us to do something..I dont know what will! I million thanks to Darshani for sharing her story with us! Cheers! :D

The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. [Proverbs 12:10]

Camilo Herrera::

Lately I’ve been keenly looking into the world of film and video production…main reason being that I want to venture into it. Even though I pursued a non-related film course in uni (I actually did Actuarial Science)…my passion for film continues to throb in me like the first British locomotive! I’ve been doing everything to enrich myself with knowledge on film like watching tutorials on you-tube, reading books and getting first hand info from friends in this field. That’s why I thought it would be a fabulous idea to interview Camilo and have him give us insights on film-making. At the tender age of 19, Camilo has made short films and videos that have earned him more than half a million views on his you-tube channel. Its no wonder that after graduating from high school, he enrolled with the University Of North Carolina School of the arts [UNCSA] to pursue more on his childhood hobby. I conducted an online interview with Camilo, and this is what he had to say. Enjoy!


*So Camilo, let’s begin by asking you to give us a brief description of yourself…
My name is Juan Camilo Herrera but I go by Camilo. I’m 19 years old, I was born in Colombia, South America and I moved to the USA when I was 7 years old. I’m a second year student filmmaker at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. I have two older brothers and I’m also working at a quaint family restaurant as a server and host.

*And how was your childhood life like? Where did you grow up?
My childhood was very vibrant. I was loud, energetic, and obnoxious. Living in Colombia, I was oblivious to the political climates and I wasn’t aware of the violence that occurred. My childhood makes up a lot of who I am as a person now. I saw a lot of imagination as a child and I was open to every possibility. Now, to this day, I still battle the ability to keep myself imaginative while keeping the daily tasks and stresses from holding me down. I think back and I remember how open I was to everything and, to this day, I still remind myself to stay as humble and as open-minded as I can be.

*So, at what stage in your life did you realize you had a passion for film?
Shortly after moving to the United States, I was exposed to the rich film industry. I saw films and I was exposed to these moving images that I never knew a whole lot about. When I lived in Colombia, I only have recollections of watching portions of Disney movies and short cuts of them because we never really owned many movies. (Not that I can recall) Never the less, my interest and my attention for film wasn’t captured until I moved here. I can pin-point the moment when I started looking into directors when I watched the trailer for Steve Spielberg’s ‘War of the Worlds.’ The teaser trailer captured my attention so intensely that I had to look into who made it – especially after my cousin commented on how good of a director Steven Spielberg is. That’s when I began looking into this who new world of narrative storytelling.

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*Then after graduating from high school, you got admitted to University Of North Carolina School of the arts [UNCSA]. I’m assuming you are doing a film related course? How is college life for you so far?
Yes. My career path is incredibly immersed in the film studies. My college experience so far I feel is not like many other college universities. I sometimes feel like I’ve been admitted into Hogwarts. It’s an incredibly magical place where people are unbelievably talented and yet it feels as though it’s extremely exclusive. After all, you have to be asked to come back for the following year. The school is remarkably small, so within a week’s time that I began my first year, I had pretty much already made eye contact with 90% of the film students. My time is literally consumed by a black hole of lectures, movie making, and movie-watching that people, outside of the school, sometimes don’t fully grasp how busy me and my peers get – not even my parents! On weekdays, we’re in class from 8am to, sometimes, 11pm. On Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays (if we don’t have class/screenings) we are working on upper classmen’s films with 12-hour crewing shifts per day. It gets time consuming, energy consuming and very busy. I’m not even including typical class homework and assignments. We meet with fellow classmates for films constantly and it can sometimes get very difficult to keep up with deadlines, meetings, and screenings – among many things. It’s incredibly hard to put into words how hectic our schedule can get.

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*Now, let’s talk about the short film you did ‘The Vision’ Where did you get the inspiration to do it and what was your major role in this project?
The inspiration from ‘The Vision’ came from a time in my life when I was feeling very detached and cut away from many aspects and even people in my life. I like to explore the human condition as much as I can, so through the characters that I write, I explore these emotions and states of mind. After writing the film, I not only starred in it but also directed it. I can’t help but feel very selfish and almost conceited typing this out, but this was before I was admitted into my university, so I had very little resources and had little motivation to really go above and beyond due to my insecurities as a well-defined filmmaker. This film serves as a good turning point in my learning about the film process.

*Who else did you work with and what are some of the challenges that you encountered?
I worked with a very close friend of mine (who also attends UNCSA with me), Tyler Harmon-Townsend. He was the Director of Photography, aka Cinematographer, and he helped me put together the visual aspect of the film. Working with Tyler, I quickly learned how vital the relationship between the director and the cinematography had to be in any production. My biggest struggle was learning to communicate my vision with him and trying to get him on the same page as I was. Not only was it my input, but his input was greatly considered as well, seeing as he knew more about the logistics of making an image happen than I did.

Here’s is the Short-film Camilo did, The Vision, starring Ciara Arce, Elias Eldeberto Nunes and Sam Barnes. Tyler was the assistant Director and Lighting Technical Director.

*Now a lot of work is involved in doing a video production, be it a well done music video or a short film. From your own experience, would you take us through the different stages of the production process, right from generating an idea to the actual product?
Most, if not every production (even if it’s a music video or a mega budget Hollywood feature film), will be composed of three main phases; Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production.

PRE-PRODUCTION.
Includes everything from the moment the idea was inspired to the time it is just about to roll out and begin filming. Writers will write the idea or develop the concept and pitch it to a producer, who will invest on the idea by finding and providing the money to make the film. The producer will also hire the director, cinematographer, and any other key member of the production. Depending on the development of the project, sometimes the films must be pitched to companies in order for the company to ‘green light’ the production.

THE PRODUCTION::
This phase pretty much starts the first day they begin principle photography. It’s the complete process from when they shoot the first shot to the very last shot and they call ‘that’s a wrap.’ Huge blockbuster films can take up to 6 months to film (or more!) and short films can take up to a single weekend. Commercials and Music videos sometimes take one to two days.

POST-PRODUCTION::
This is pretty much the assembling of all the footage together that they shot. They hire editors to put together the film and depending on the projects, such as large films, they’ll score film for the picture and add additional sound. Film is a collaborative process. That’s the key to it all. It never rests on ONE person… its always a collective work effort.

*And talking of roles, what exactly are the roles of a producer and a director in video production? What are the limitations of each? And how does one ensure that a production team of many creative minds work together cohesively with minimal conflict?
The producer and the director are very different. One thing they have in common is that they share the same inspiration and motivation to make the film. The difference is that the Producer is in charge of getting the money and getting the resources to make it happen while the Director is in charge of artistically making the film unfold. When so many artists are brought together to paint on the film canvas, there has to be a tremendous amount of respect and patience for what the director wants. There are untold rules that everyone already knows from the get-go that we must abide by and it’s about knowing who is in charge of what aspect of the art – something you gain from experience. We never want to step on anyone’s toes. It’s not good for your reputation.

*We all know media is such an influential tool in today’s world. Say you were the most influential filmmaker on the planet, how would you use your influence to change the world around you?
You are right about it being the most influential tool in the world. If I were to have such a blessing as to influence the world with it, I would definitely use it to expose to the world what we as humans and as beings are capable of doing. Exploring our mind and our imagination to further inspire the way we think and the way we go about living out daily lives. To inspire to creatively solve problems for the beauty of it, not for its economic benefits. Because when we creatively change the world around us with imagination, we inspire others, and if we inspire others, we spark happiness in their soul.  I’m certain that would change the world tremendously. But for right now, I think I’ll just face that obstacle in my bedroom and in my workshops at school. Maybe one day I’ll have the amazing opportunity of doing it in the film industry professionally.

*Would I be correct to say that the film industry is saturated? If so, what does it take to stand out from the crowd?
It is absolutely saturated. More than I could put into words. More now than yesterday and the day before. Why? Because of the internet. The film industry is slowly not just the movie theater, but the monitor screen that you’re looking at right now. Our ability to see these wonderful images, that only our inner most flourished imagination could generate, at the tip of our fingers is something that makes our entertainment much more mobile. Its expanding exponentially the possibilities we could do with it. Now getting noticed is incredibly tricky. It’s really difficult but its not impossible. It’s no longer, ‘what does it take to get noticed?’ its more of ‘how long will it take?’ cause there’s so many different outlets that people turn to that its no longer just the movie theater… its now the TV, the internet, the iphones, and ipads and other technology that enables us to see these images. The only way to really get noticed, I’d say, is making something that is compatible with all of those things and that the material is compatible with its viewers; which is also more diverse!

*I have many friends right here in Kenya and some of their greatest aspirations as actors is to make it to Hollywood. So, how hard [or easy] is it to make it there and get recognized?
It’s all about being at the right place at the right time, honestly. As a filmmaker, I now can see what its like being on the other side of the auditioning table. With the eyes that know what they’re scoping for. Even for someone who lives right in Hollywood, might be just as tricky to get into the acting scene as someone elsewhere. Keep in mind everything is digital now, so anyone from another part of the world can be casted. Connections are extremely valuable! Trust me.

*Looking into the film industry, who inspires you? Anyone in particular who comes across as your favorite or someone you’d love to work with?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I’m not really sure. I love the work of many different directors and filmmakers for many different reasons. It’s an endless list. I would love to work with Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and maybe even Michael Bay. Just to get a perspective on things. They all work incredibly different but I’d give anything to see how they make such large pictures come to life seamlessly.

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*In your opinion, what makes a good movie and which are some of your all time favorites?
What makes a good movie? Hmm… let me answer this question with another question. What makes a good person? For me, films are like people, or people’s personalities. Each one has their flaw and their perfections and both make them the gem that they are. That’s the beauty of film as an art, and a beauty that many people, including critics, overlook. I feel like people see good films too much as something where a ‘good’ line is drawn on a scale that every movie is weighed into to figure out if it is or isn’t good. The ending product is beautiful for me no matter what – its what keeps my mind so open about films. But technically speaking, a good story, a good visual, and good characters is what makes a movie good for me. Especially story and characters; without those, you have nothing. A couple of films that pop to mind for me would be ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994), ‘Baraka’ (1992), ‘Rear Window’ (1954), ‘Brave’ (2011) ..its an endless list!

*Apart from the vision, is there anything else you have done that you are proud of? Any current projects you are working on?
Of course! I made a music video with my friend Tyler Harmon-Townsend, who also worked with me on ‘The Vision,’ for Owl City’s ‘Lonely Lullaby.’ I’d say that’s one of my more proud projects. At the moment, I’m working on my second year fall film, titled ‘TAXI’ which I will release very soon! It was a guerrilla project so it was all shot in one night with two actors and minimal crew but it was extremely fun. As soon as I’m finished editing that, I’m going to begin focusing on my Spring project (which is the film that represents my second year film) so it’s significantly larger than my fall film. I’m going be casting it soon and getting ready for rehearsals! I’m always working on projects, usually 2 or 3 at the same time! We’ll see if that stays the same after I graduate!

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*Would you briefly acquaint us with your hopes and dreams as a film-maker? Where do you see yourself in the next say 5 to 10 years?
I hope to one day be a feature film director. I also love to direct music videos and abstract projects so it’d be idea to be able to do both of those things. In the next 5 to 10 years, I still see myself working on films of all kinds, small and large productions. Meeting an abundance of people on an every day basis and working hard at what I love to do.

*Anything you’d love to tell aspiring filmmakers like yourself?
Have a story to tell. Know why you do what you do. Even if it’s something as small as, ‘I just like operating a camera.’ Remember what attracted you to that. The camera is stupid but film doesn’t lie.. so use it to your advantage, and tell a good story; an honest story that people will be entertained by and even grow themselves from. Inspire others.

THE QUICK FIVE::
*Now, all your life you’ve been capturing breathtaking moments using your camera. Let’s turn the tables. Who is this that captured your heart and took your breath away? Your facebook profile says ‘in a relationship’ you know… (*_*)
Haha, yes, I’m currently seeing someone in my personal life but I like to keep it personal.

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*The five people in the world you’d love to meet are…
Selena Gomez, Christopher Nolan, Oprah, Adam Young, and Tom Hardy

*A filmmaker’s favorite tool has to be…
The camera! Duhhh! :)

*Tell me something…anything…you know about my country Kenya…
Kenya. …admittedly and embarrassingly enough, I know very little about the outside world from inside these borders. Part of the engine that drives me to become a filmmaker. I want to learn about different places. I’d be better off asking you what is one of the greatest attributes about Kenya.

*And finally, what’s your most embarrassing moment?
Most embarrassing moment that I can think of was the first time I went ice skating and I fell flat on my face. The pain was the icing on the cake to embarrassment until I realized I was only the first of dozens of face plants that day.

***END***

Its at this point that I send a BIG shout out to Camilo for taking his time off his busy schedule to respond to these set of questions. I know it has been a good read for you, hasn’t it? (I can see all film enthusiasts nodding in affirmation! :-D) I’ll end this with the words of Ingmar Bergman who said:

“No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.”

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Owl City – Lonely Lullaby Fan Music Video::

Directed by: Juan Camilo Herrera.
Filmed by: Tyler Harmon-Townsend and Juan Camilo Herrera.
Edited by: Juan Camilo Herrera.
Starring: Juan Camilo Herrera and Erica Clinard.
Lighting by: Grace Vicars.
Sound by: Evan Wagoner.
Crew: Josh Jimenez, Evan Wagoner, Katie Frey, Eric Barefoot, Tyler Harmon-Townsend.

Find Camilo on You-tube and make sure to subscribe!

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Georgie Ndirangu::

Love. Live.Dress. This is the tag line at Fashion 2die4 trends, a company that seeks to revolutionize the fashion industry in Kenya, and whose popularity grows at the wake of each new day. And the success of the company so far is attributed to its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Georgie Ndirangu, who has worked hard to elevate it to its current admirable status. [Of course not forgetting the team behind Georgie who have done their fair share of hard work]. On 29th September, Fashion 2die4 will be launching their new website, which will be a platform to interact with its ever growing fan base, not just in Kenya…but way beyond our borders. I caught up with the man himself…and this is how our conversation went down!



*So Georgie, we will start this by asking you to tell us a little about yourself…
Well, I’m 24 years old, high on life, married to my dreams, and pledge allegiance to God, family, Oreos and “2DIE4”.

*…And tell me something about your childhood life. Where did you grow up?
I was born in Mombasa..ndio maana matamshi hayanibabaishi mie! Hehe. We then came to Nairobi after about 8 years. I was too young to understand what was happening around me.

*…and where did you school…both primary and secondary?
I studied in Langata Primary, then moved to Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj school in Nairobi West, where my mom was teaching at the time. I then went to a school in Kirinyaga province, before finally coming back to Nairobi in class five to Thika Road Christian School, where I cleared my KCPE. I went to a high school in Nyeri and enrolled in Kagumo High and cleared in 2006.

*…then you got admitted to JKUAT to pursue BSc. Actuarial Science. You must be a genius. How was campus life for you??
Not really a genius…but if you insist! Hehe. I love math though..used to follow teachers all over the place in high school telling them to mark some extra work I had done. In JKUAT, it was a long 4 years. Made life-long friends, life-long business partners…it was probably the ‘realest’ 4 years in my life. Learned crucial lessons, made mistakes that were essential to me progressing in life, copied in one or two exams (I just ruined the ‘genius’ bit, didn’t I?)…I aced it all though. Got my honors and proceeded to work for the government at the Ministry of Housing and Housing Finance.

*Then almost out of the blue…you decided to come up with Fashion 2die4. How did this come about? Take us back to where you thought of the idea and how it evolved…

In all honesty, fashion is a way of life…a lifestyle. It all started as a joke…just something to pass time…but ended up being edged deep. I found myself researching and getting to the depth of everything. I figured fashion was so diverse, locally and world over…why wear a watch? Why wear a bow tie to a dinner and not a fat tie? Why wear cufflinks to a business meeting, but button shirts to casual Fridays? Why wear vertical stripes and not horizontal stripes? Why invest in cologne? How does looking good show respect? Then the interest grew when I began listing and noting down fashion houses and fashion lines here and world over. When I heard of John Kaveke, Ann McCreath  of Kikoromeo, and the likes in Kenya…I skimmed through for weeks and weeks on end…their past work…personalities they had worked with…future collections they envisioned…colors they mastered for their work…the type of models they used for each of their pieces, and such. When I heard of Kanye’s clothing line, I skimmed through…researching about the origin of his showcase theme…relation to music, and such. Interest just flowed. It went from watches, to shoes, to male and female fashion, to deeper-more fashion statements like Mr. Porter, and Moreschi. It juts really excited me.

When someone mentioned a fashion house I had not heard of, it disturbed me till I went back and researched and got to know more about it. That’s mostly WHY 2DIE4 came to be. That was the drive behind it. What favored me too is that most of Kenya’s personalities, singers, celebrities, and the like were coincidentally my friends…so they were really instrumental in creating that ‘ripple’ effect for ‘2die4’. A good number of people got to know it. Through my personal Facebook page, my blog, 2DIE4’s Facebook page, photo-shoots with personalities and events. 2DIE4 was placed on a pedestal I couldn’t go back on, and I haven’t regretted anything ever since. And of course I did all that, still going on with work as usual, for formality’s sake. And because I live in the real world where I can’t only rely on dreams and ambitions. Those have to be supported by hard work, connections and financial stability. I strived to have all that and more, still on that track. I do not have a studio and an official work setting for 2DIE4 yet. It has been a bit difficult settling down because of moving countries, moving jobs and all. But all in due time, I will get to settling down, hopefully in Kenya, and get things grounded. But for now, I’ll go ahead with the virtual workplace and make the best out of it.

*So, how would you describe the fashion industry in Kenya at the moment? Do you think we are more fashion conscious as a people now than we were back then?
EXTREMELY! For example, I have tweeted about fashion houses more than enough times and there’s always a response from Kenyans and East Africans on my friends list. People watch what they wear, which places they shop at, how the colors coordinate with their clothes, how their hair looks, tailor clothes for events,..it’s something that juts blew up! But hands down…Kenya in a few years will be a fashion capital to reckon with!!

*And we know the fashion industry has a lot of players. Would you kindly break it down for us on the different areas that make up the fashion industry and the kind of business opportunities that exist within this framework?
Well, we have designers (Blackbird Jeans, Kikoromeo, Achie Otigo, and more), stylists (Silvia Njoki, Malaika Zoe, and more), choreographers, make-up artists, photographers, concept directors, videographers, models, aesthetic directors, fashion advisors and consultants, bloggers, fashion enthusiasts, event planners, interior designers. There is always…always something to do within the fashion industry, and a lot of money involved too. The only trick is to ensure your style or work is edgy, and steps ahead of the rest.

*So back to Fashion 2die4, who else do you work with and what have you guys accomplished so far?
We have done photo-shoots all over Kenya, different provinces, different themes. Like the Safari Rally shoot in Nakuru where we got to do the shoot in the tune-up garage…underwater and beach photo-shoots in Mombasa…airport photo-shootsshoots at National Park which ended really abruptly after the snakes were brought out to the models, Lol.


2DIE4 has taken part in events too, of course the one most people might remember is “Bitter Sweet” with Nick Mutuma, Ian Mugoya, and Edd Tash. In 2DIE4, there’s a digital designer and creative guru in terms of the technological aspect of things, David Tito. The aesthetics director, Malaika Zoe, and top fashion stylist Hanako Takaishi. There is a web developer and application designer Solomon King who will be very instrumental when we get to that stage soon as our magazine and phone applications roll out. (Ooops, leaked secret)

*And how do you select your models? (Just in case there are those who would be interested to model for fashion 2die4?)
Models are selected depending on the project. For example, if the photo-shoot has to do with nature and forest shoots…the models will be required to have the full African face, full jaw, perfect cheek bones, and such. There are occasional posts on 2DIE4’s social networks, calling out models, and telling them to send in their pictures to be shortlisted for selection.

*And how do you select the photographers ? Would you give us a list of some of the photographers you have worked with?
Different photographers have different techniques. The photographer is selected according to the project, and his/her availability. We have worked with Ben Kiruthi, Isabella Gomes, Rowena Tirop, Mutua Matheka, Joe Makeni, Leon Muli, Leon Makori, and Kevin Kemama.

*Who do you admire in the fashion world…both locally and beyond?
Locally, Blackbird Jeans make me proud to be Kenyan. They have stepped over boundaries that are in normal instances, DIFFICULT to cross over. From making one or two pieces of trench coats for fashionistas in Nairobi, to showcasing in New York Fashion Week, they are definitely heading places. Internationally, it has to be Michael Kors, and Karl Lagerfeld. EPIC.

*And how does it feel to be elevated to celebrity status just by pursuing your hobby? Fashion 2die4 has already worked with local celebrities you know! Did you ever see yourself here like 5 years ago?
It is really really really humbling. Most of my friends ask me…. You’re not a musician, you’ve not been in movies, you’re not in local soaps, not in commercials and adverts (well, I was in a couple), not in all that, how do people know you??????So it is all really humbling. My blog too, an overflow of my thoughts, also got people wondering, “who’s this guy?” I definitely did not see myself here 5 years ago, but judging by what’s happened since then, you can only imagine how high I’ve set my sights now.

*What’s your personal style? And what does fashion mean to you?
Fashion means everything to me. It is a sign of respect when you show up to a meeting looking good and presentable. It shows your state of mind, it shows how organized or keen you are. It shows that you are edgy and can think outside the box, it is a C.V all by itself. My personal style: Trendy and Appropriate.

*Nice. Now, on September 29th, something great is in the offing. Tell us more about that…
2DIE4’S NEW SITE WILL BE LAUNCHED!! The number one fashion hub, and fashion directory, made in Kenya, from Africa, for the world. The saddest bit about it though is that I went back to doing my masters just 2 weeks ago, and work here in Rwanda is really hectic too. I had thought of doing the launch in Nairobi, but that deemed impossible. I guess I will have to wit till next year to launch the official magazine, and official ground base in Kenya. God speed!

*What do you hope to accomplish with the new fashion 2die4 website?
To place Kenya on a pedestal. To make it a fashion capital. To expose designers, photographers, fashion enthusiasts, bloggers, stylists, and everyone in the world of fashion to the world.

*So, what’s the future of Fashion 2die4? What should we look forward to?
Fashion website > Online fashion magazine > Print magazine > Fashion store > Fashion line > Fashion TV. God speed. ^_^

*What’s your advice for other equally passionate fashionistas like yourself who would love to venture into this industry?
In a world where only the best survive…you have to stand out to fit in.

*You are currently residing in Rwanda. What’s life there like and what are you really up to in that landlocked country? Is there something else you pursue on the side?
Yes, and might I point out, this is the cleanest country I have ever been in. There’s a lot going on here, I work 8.30 to 5 for a company called Tele 10presenting English news too on a Radio station called Radio 10. Very soon I’ll also get to read news on TV.[I’m just saying ^_^] I also do statistics and analysis for an NGO, do Forex and trades online for a few investment companies…logistics and thesis for Mount Kenya University here in Rwanda…and side businesses in Africa and two other countries elsewhere. That Bentley Continental GT and yacht won’t buy itself, you know!

*Your association with Ian Mugoya and Nick Mutuma? Is there something we should know about you three?
Those two guys were really instrumental in my growth. I love them. We grew up with Ian, so I’ve known him ever since. Edgy character, extremely fashionable, and a personality not so many can pull off. The only way you’d know what he is really about is if you got to hang out with him or do business with him in more than one instance. I met Nick almost 2 years ago, and his train of thought deserves a hats-off. Extremely passionate about everything he does. And edgy too. Fashionwise, acting, music, and always has a different perspective towards life. These two are definitely going places…and I must say they challenge me greatly!

THE QUICK SIX::
*So, considering the industry you are working in, the girls must be doing more of chasing you…than you chasing them. How has your dating life been like? Last time I checked…Hanako Takaishi was your most treasured prize….
Well, we fell off 8 months ago. She’s still in my life though. Probably one of my best friends too .There is someone in my life, but I vowed never to put private life on a public pedestal ever again. (SMILE!)

*Name for me at least one celebrity crush…or any other crush for that matter….
A tie between Lola Monroe and Sandra Bullock. I’d say Ellen DeGeneres too. Sense of humor is extremely sexy!

*Your take on inter-racial dating…
Oh, you know me! Inter-continental dating, inter-tribal, inter-everything. Lol. We do it for the sake of our babies and how they will look. I am kidding though. That aside, it’s much more than just the physical. Goal-oriented, realizes God is everything, and respects life and elements in it (people, money, etc)

*What would you rather live without… your boxer shorts or your blackberry?
MY BOXER SHORTS! Touch my Blackberry and die.

*The most expensive item you own is your…
A HORSE we bought with a friend from university, pieces of land in Kiambu, and my Macbook Pro. Omera yawa!

*And finally, your most embarrassing moment is….
Oh, damn. Police caught me and a friend making out in the back seat of a car outside ‘Club Undecided’ during my 1st year in Campus. They actually got into the car and said they would wait till we finished. We were so young and foolish back then. We should have locked those doors though. Lol. Sigh. *********

There goes…the much we could peep into Georgie’s life. [at least for now] More may come later though…so watch this space. Otherwise I hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have. Pursue your passions with equal measure…and while you are at it, remember to love. To Live..and To dress! [My work here is done] ^_^

VIDEO OF THE DAY::
The video of the day happens to be my assignment for all you blog stalkers. Try and locate Georgie in this video.  [Hints] He’s the guy masquerading as some fake photographer. He’s the guy doing some cheesy dance move..while chewing his jaw off…somewhere on a rooftop. And those hints should already get you going. #teamfindgeorgie


Tweli.G.Kaigwa::

Tweli G Kaigwa, born to the late Major Kaigwa and Bella Kaigwa grew up in Garden Estate, Nairobi Kenya. As a young boy, he was introduced to music by his brother, Mark Kaigwa, a well renowned Communications Consultant in New Media, Web and Mobile in Sub Saharan Africa. Tweli grew up attached to music and he continues to relentlessly pursue his childhood passion with undying zeal. Tweli is currently living in Osaka, Japan..studying hard to get a Civil Engineering degree. I caught up with him recently and conducted an online interview…and this is how it went down!



*Maybe you can begin by telling us a little bit about yourself  Tweli…
My name is Tweli Gichuhi Kaigwa, I am 21 years of age and I am a student/ producer/artist. I am currently living in Japan, studying civil engineering.

*And how was your child hood life like?
What can I say…it was pretty much just a normal childhood.. Born and raised in Nairobi, (representing Gardo, Garden Estate as always).. I went to Saint Mary’s Nairobi till class 6 then went to Serare School until Class 8…then finally ended up at  MKASS for high school.

*Let’s fast forward to 2009 where you landed in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology as a freshman. What course were you pursuing and how was campus life like for you as a first year…?
I was studying Telecommunications and Information Engineering. Life as a first year was pretty sweet actually. It was a great experience, making new friends as well as joining C.U…which I attribute to being one of the places I really grew as a christian and as a person.

*Then out of the blue…you landed a scholarship in Japan. Tell us more about that…
My Guka (grandpa) saw the ad in the paper and sent it to my mom who then showed it to me. So I was like cool, lets try it and see what happens.The process was really long. First if your KCSE marks meet the requirement, you then move on to take an exam, an interview and then get recommended to the Tokyo office for selection. Truth is that during that year, I just really felt like God was going to come through for me. Even some of my classmates were like ” You will pass!!”…so… here I am!

Osaka, Japan.

*Good for you! So, here you are in Japan…new country…new people…new culture…how was it for you adjusting to the new environment?
I live in Osaka right now. When I first came it was not really that much of a surprise for me since I had experienced living away from home on my own for some time at JKUAT, but it was good. The food was good, the people were good and extremely friendly, plus I had a lot of help from some of the guys who had come before under the same program.. they really helped in showing us the ropes.

*And its only last year where Japan was rocked hard by an earthquake. Shed more light on that experience. Were your folks worried by any chance that something had happened to you?
Umm, well not really because I live quite far away from any of the affected area. In fact I think I remember skyping with my mom and showing her the kids playing outside on that day so for me I was more concerned for my buddies in Tokyo but nobody was really affected. Japan is always having earthquakes so their disaster prevention technology is quite advanced.

*Enough of earthquakes…lets now switch gears to your love for music. When did you discover that you wanted to pursue music?
I would definitely have to say that it was my brother, Mark Kaigwa. He is actually the one who started making music on Garage band and then that sparked the interest in me as well.

* And what would you say your songs are about?
Well, over the years I have grown as an artist so I can say that, when I started out my songs were mostly about me, then it changed to having an expression of frustration with politicians and now about how awesome God is in my life and just some of the stuff I go through everyday.

*What genre do you think your music falls under?
Its hard to say since I love to fuse different genres but I guess since I rap for the most part, lets call it hip hop. I find defining genre for myself kinda puts me in a box per se’…so I always find this question hard to answer.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE TWELIG TRACKS. [Find more at the bottom of the post]



*You are associated with the name…‘One Trybe’ Tell me whats up up with that…
One Trybe started out as a clothing company started by none other than.. my brother, Mark, in which we made custom handpainted t-shirts. However,  as time passed by, it became my nickname in High school and after my brother got too busy to make the tees so I ended up a sole entrepreneur. Currently it is on the shelf because of lack of time but it will definitely be reborn. The name itself is a state of mind: It represents unity.

*Together with your buddies; Willie, Bg, Wajee, Kunyiha, Kagume…you guys formed Hive studios. Is Hive still alive and what have you guys accomplished so far…?
Hive Studios was a dream. We were not able to accomplish much at that time, but it is definitely the origin of a great deal in the lives of the members. As for now Hive Studios is in hibernation.

*Well, I’m hoping it will not be in hibernation for too long. Anyway, what do you hope to achieve with your music?Right now, the dream is to penetrate the Japanese industry with a Christian message, as well as provide a platform for christian artists to make good music here.

*and what role do you think artistes like yourself have in society?
Hmm tough… I think we have a responsibility to produce music that can change or influence the mindsets of listeners in a positive way.

*Which famous musicians do you admire, both in Kenya and beyond? Why?
Sauti Sol, Just A Band, Camp Mulla, Coola Gang, BMF, Juliani, B.O.B, Kanye, YONAS, Andy Mineo, Lacrea, Trip Lee, Foster the people, Wretch 32, Ed Sheeran, Labrinth among a list of many others. I would say the reason begin that their music styles inspire me. I listen to all types of music so its hard to have a favorite.

*How do you balance your music with other obligations – like school work?
I must say it is hard but whenever I have free time I try not to waste it. I believe if anyone really wants to do something they can make time, however little it may be.

*What are your immediate music career goals and where do you see yourself…perhaps in the next 3-4 years? Immediate: Penetrate the underground Japan scene.In 3-4 years, I’d love to Tour Japan with a live band and a group of like minded artists.

TWELI-G ON STAGE DOING THE SMILE SONG-LIVE!

*How would you define the word “success”? Musically speaking…
Producing the best music you can and having a platform to share it with people who can listen, relate to it and be influenced by it.

*Lets imagine for a short while you were the most influential musician globally…what would you do with that kind of influence?
Wow… Hmm.. Be myself. Do what I am doing now. I really cant think of anything else.

*Who would you vote as your number one role model and please tell me why…
My dad (RIP) and mom. I just have mad respect and admire them in so many ways.

THE QUICK FIVE::
*So, I also gat to ask…are you dating??…you know, maybe some Japanese chic digs you…or is it the other way round? (*_*) Yes I am. No details ( :P)

 *Moving on swiftly, the five people in the world you’d love to meet are…and why?
I have actually never thought of this question before but.. hmmm Labrinth and Kanye. I would just like to watch him work in the studio and get some tips. Also Lacrea, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo. Hard question… I don’t actually know…

* What gadget wouldn’t you do without?
Most definitely my Mac-book Pro.

*Your most favorite Movie of all time?
Don’t really have one but John Carter comes close.

*What is your most embarrassing moment?
When I cried because my friend beat me at soccer on PlayStation One back in the day.

(Well well Tweli, dozing off during this train ride must have been quite embarrassing if you ask me…mouth wide open and all!! (^_^)You must have drenched that seat with gallons of drool!! With that mouth opened like that, I bet you let out a tsunami of drool, almost drowning off that white dude seated next to ya! hehehe. This pic takes the cup if you ask me!!(*_*)

…and with that, I called it a wrap! A BIG thank you goes to Tweli for taking his time to let us know a lil something about his life. All I can say for now is to wish Tweli all the best as he continues pursuing his passion for what he loves best…music. The sky is the limit man. Be relentless and forge on to realize all your God-given dreams. I find it so refreshing doing stories like these because I end up being inspired to also take up the challenge to live out what God has graciously given me. Hope it the same thing for you as well, wherever you are reading this from.

Feel free to checkout what this musical genius has been up to. I have embedded a widget with some of Tweli’s Tracks that he has worked on so far. You can also click on the link below which will direct you to Tweli’s sound-cloud profile…where you’ll find more uploaded tracks for your listening pleasure. Until next time…peace!





TWELI-G::PROMO VIDEO

TWELI-G::THE BEAT CHRONICLES

The Special Day that is 15th May::

So this day is special. 15th May. The Question would be why? I’ll give you four:

ONE: HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY ISRAEL

I join my Jewish brothers to celebrate their 64th birthday as an independent nation. Ever since its independence on this day 64 years ago, its fierce Arabic neighbors have tried to exterminate the country. However, from the six day war in 1967 to the Yom Kippur War in 1972, Israel has managed to be a victor in all its battles. Today is a special day to celebrate their freedom and independence!

TWO: END TIME SIGN?

Ever since I started studying Bible Prophecy of the end times in 2006, I’ve had a growing interest in world affairs and closely watching out for signs that tell us of the times we are living in. Bible Prophecy scholars across the globe do agree that ever since the independence of Israel in May 15th 1948, we have progressively inched closer to the second coming of Christ unlike any other generation before us. This has been considered the BIGGEST sign of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Why? I’ll give a brief explanation.

For almost two thousand years, the nation of Israel was none existent. Since 70 A.D, when General Titus from Rome attacked Jerusalem, Jews were exiled from their land and settled in many parts of the world. That’s why you’ll constantly hear of Russian Jews, Mexican Jews and so forth. After this massive exit, that part of the world was renamed Palestine…and the reason for this was to totally dissociate the Jews with their rightly owned piece of real estate. Now, Bible prophecy predicts that in the last days, there will be a massive comeback of the Jews back to their original dwelling place and that began in the late 1800’s, under the banner, the Zionist movement. By 1948 on this day, Israel was declared a Nation and immediately recognized by the UN. Isaiah the Prophet foresaw this day and asked… “Or shall a nation be born at once?[Is 66:8] Thereafter, a law was put in place that allowed Jewish people to return back home. That has happened to this day. This is now where Jesus comes in and says “When [the fig tree’s] branch has already come tender and put forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-at the doors” [Mathew 24:32,33] Israel is that fig tree that died in 70 A.D when Titus attacked Jerusalem, but came back to life on this day 64 years ago. Need I say more?

So this day is special, for it reminds me that my Savior is soon to return…and God help me that I shall be ready when He’s finally here!

THREE: MY INTERVIEW WITH ERROL BARNETT

I’ll also remember this day because I had the rare opportunity of being interviewed by CNN’s Errol Barnett at the Westgate mall. Errol has been one of my favorite presenters at CNN. I love his energy on the tely. His voice, which tags along a pitch of sincerity, has this rare ability to keep me glued to the screen. His eloquence is unmatchable. And I would go on and on. Just recently, CNN inside Africa, the weekly program that highlights Africa’s current affairs, initiated a deep rooted journey across Africa, Bringing Errol on board as the Shows host. So far, they have toured Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Rwanda…and now they are in town, focusing their energy on telling a great story that is Kenya. He did mention yesterday on twitter that he would be hanging out at the art café at the Westgate mall…and made an invitation to willing fans to hang out with him there. Choosing to get myself down to Westgate to meet Errol today was effortless. I simply wouldn’t have allowed to let go of this rare opportunity to meet the guy. I was at the designated mall early…and I have to say that the art café is one of the classiest coffee joints in town. Its ambiance soothes the soul…and so does the smiling faces of its receptive patrons. I really didn’t know what I was to expect, my only wish was to rub shoulders with him. It later turned out to be an interview…and this happened right after they had set up the cameras on tripod stands ready to shoot. And my meeting with Errol began with a warm handshake. And what did we talk about you may ask? It was all about technology. I’ll spare the details here, you’ll watch the interview later. However, the interesting thing to me is that on this day, point two above reminds me about the end times…and so does this talk about technology. Where am I going with this? Here we go. Remember that I said that May 15th 1948 has been considered the BIGGEST sign of the second coming of Jesus Christ?

However, this is not the only sign. According to Bible Prophecy Scholar Grant Jeffery, there have been 38 major prophecies fulfilled since 1948. At the wake of every new day, the stage is setting itself up for the fulfillment of other coming prophesies as outlined in the word of God. It’s really interesting to see prophecies that were foretold thousands of years ago being fulfilled right before our own eyes. But did you know that there is a prophecy in the bible that touches on technology? Oh yes there is. In the book of Daniel, which was authored close to 3000 years ago,predicted that in the end times, there will be an upsurge in knowledge. Here’s the text.

 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the END; where many shall run to and fro and KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE!” [Daniel12:4]

 The above text is simple and I couldn’t make it easier for you to understand. It just says that in the end times, there will be an increase in knowledge that has never been experienced before in the world. To be more precise, you will notice that with regard to knowledge, nothing much seemed to happen in the world until the 20th Century, which was a game changer in the rapid growth of knowledge. Consider transport. From the Garden of Eden until the late 1800’s, people traveled on horses…or if you couldn’t afford one, an ass came in handy. In just 100 years, we have seen the evolution and growth of knowledge…and now they can make an aircraft that can travel faster than the speed of sound. Just recently, with a spirited effort to be eco friendly, they have developed a car that runs on electricity.

Consider Communication. From the times of Adam and Eve to the late 1800’s…they used smoke signs, or messengers sporting happy feet who just ran everywhere, or men who beat drums with an encoded message. But in the last 100 years, we have seen the evolution of communication that makes it possible for a man on the moon and the other on earth to talk to each other as if they were arms apart. This knowledge transcends to other faculties of daily living including health…where in 1918, people died of influenza…to this era where surgeons can do the most complex surgeries ever known…even using laser beams used for eye correction. Note. This evolution has just happened in the last 100 years of the 20th century. Of this knowledge explosion, Bible Prophecy Scholar John Hagee writes:

“We are the generation that’s had the information highway explosion that cannot be compared to any other time on earth”

I would write a book if I would continue justifying to you why we are that generation that has seen the tremendous growth of knowledge that the bible so well predicted. I have  this feeling that some of you reading this will probably think that I’m one of those prophets of doom trying to bring up a topic that has been continually discussed before…but I’m here to challenge you. Just do the research yourself. Study and find out. Then make your own conclusions.

 FOUR: BELATED MOTHERS DAY GIFT

Needless to say, Sunday was mother’s day. And its quite obvious that many of us rushed to stores to buy mama a special gift. My story is a little bit different. I won a gift on Capital Fm through Chao Tolle’s show, the lounge. Chao had asked listeners to share the biggest lesson they had learned from their mothers. I decided to try. And this is what I tweeted.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from mama is that you never stop loving people, even the unlovable ones. Enough said.

At the end of the show, I was elated to find out that the message above had won me a gift hamper for mama. I decided to pick up the gift at the capital FM offices situated on the 19th Floor of Lonrho House moments  after the interview with Errol. Almost an hour later…I finally got home…and before I could settle down to write this note…I handed the Gift to mama, accompanied with the Sunday message…

…and I sat by watching mum unwrap the gift like a nine year old..and if that’s not the sweetest thing, tell me what is! I have God to thank, for making 15th May 2012 a special. That said, do have a blessed, special day. My work here is done.

The connect experiment with CNN’s Errol Barnett at the Westgate mall. Enjoy!

Anyway-Mother Teresa::

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. [Galatians6:9]

Of Pink Roses and Granny Socks::

 LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT?

30th, November, 2010
It all began when I met her. Definitely one of the most defining moments of my life. And no…when I saw her the first time nothing around me froze, nor did I think she was some lost angel trying to find her way back to heaven. She was just a casual acquaintance who I happened to bump into in one of those social meetings in campus. However, a day came when a group of friends and I were traveling out of town. She was among us. No one in particular arranged our sitting positions as we drove away to our out-of-town destination…but as you have correctly guessed, we sat next to each other. Initially, it was the loud group conversation among us that took centre  stage. But that buzz of heated talk progressively shifted to low hushed tones…and eventually there was a peaceful silence…which lulled some of us to a peaceful nap. She sat next to the window. Her gaze fixed on the panoramic view of the wide majestic landscape. She seemed to be arrested by the beauty and serenity on the outside. I was too. And needless to say, it was magical. This perfect setting was the background of our conversation. And I loved the chat. For the most part, it was a string of those general questions you would naturally ask someone you are meeting for the first time. There were the silent awkward moments of course…and some giggles in between. A chat that I would simply describe as a cocktail of everything nice. Within moments time I noticed a striking resemblance between her soul and the majestic landscape outside. Serenity and infinite beauty. It showed through her crescent shaped eyes anyway. She was the incarnation of the bible phrase: ‘the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit’ and if I may add, remarkably adorable and beautiful as well. She still remains to be the same today. By the end of this day, I was already head over heels over this individual. I could hardly contain myself. And now…everything around me did start to freeze. And yes…I did think she was a lost angel trying to find her way back to heaven. At the end of this day I knew there are indeed a countless number of princesses hiding among us. It only takes a little bit of time spent with them to undo their camouflage.

6th, December, 2010
On this day, I was scheduled to have a meeting in our Westlands church offices…which promptly ended at around 7 in the evening. I began my journey back to campus in the company of a friend who was in the same meeting. As we drove away in his car, we passed through the Westlands roundabout, which happens to be one of the most favorite selling spots for flower vendors. Of course we were caught up in traffic…and the flower merchants dutifully carried a wide array of freshly cut bouquets, selling them off to impulse buyers. I never paid much attention to them, until one of them came to our car…straight to the window which I was sitting next to. To be truly honest, I was disinterested and my hand motions spoke the language better. He was unmoved though…and he relentlessly nudged me to make his day. That’s when a thought struck my mind like lightning and thunder. After a quick bargain, I did buy a bouquet of pink roses. And do I have to mention who they were for? And neither did my friend ask who they were for. This was the beginning of an emotional rollercoaster. I was anxious, yet very excited. I was nervous, yet hopeful. Hopeful that maybe the gesture would go along way in letting her know how I felt. The journey back to campus had its silent moments too. But I capitalized on them by mentally structuring how I would deliver the flowers and what I would say…just like in the movies.

 

THE PHONE CALL
It’s around 10 in the night. And I have flowers to deliver. And it was time for my creative genius to come to play. So I figured out it would be more pleasant to introduce the element of surprise in my execution. So I called her. The phone rang…and my breathing process was higher than usual…and I patiently waited for her to press the green button. She did. I made it sound like nothing out of the ordinary was about to happen. I wanted to know her exact location. I felt like a CIA agent on a crucial mission of national security. I gave her the impression that I was only calling to find out how she was doing. I certainly was successful in letting her know that I was to see her some time later the next day. She never suspected a thing. A playful smile curved my lips upwards. The first hurdle was crossed! Yess! So I knew her location…and that’s where I was headed. The bold moves of an African jungle cat. I felt like bond. James bond.

THE STILL SMALL VOICE
Probably this is the segment which means so much to me. As I briskly walked to her room, I couldn’t help notice the clear night which made the unfathomable patterns of the stars stand out like a sore thumb. It was simply beautifully epic. Well, except for the few curious stares I got from passers by, I did feel like I had an unseen audience from the heavens. Someone who carefully monitored my every move. It was while I was still walking…holding the bouquet of flowers with a written note stuck on the side…that I heard a still small voice in my heart…perhaps the greatest reason why I decided to write this note in the first place. The message was carefully engraved in my heart with His own handwriting. Could this night have gotten merrier?

 THE GRAND MOMENT

And finally the moment came. As I inched closer to the destined room…I got even more pleasant glances from envious female species. Green faced female fans. I felt like the King of the male species…at least for a while I did. I had no control of my nerves…maybe because I didn’t know what to expect. Hey…I have seen countless number of men being hit on the head with the flowers they lovingly delivered. Not in real life of course. So the last moves of this jungle cat had come to an end…well calculated moves guided with precision…which finally led me to the door. I was facing the door. Behind that door was the one. Bear in mind it was past curfew time…and just before the hostel matron could whisk me off the premises, I knocked. I jerked the door open and squeezed my head into the narrow opening…a peep to confirm that she was there. And indeed she was. She lay there on her bed, skimming through some book. And I let myself in. The element of surprise had worked perfectly well. If it hadn’t…she wouldn’t have been wearing a tired looking night dress and a pair of granny pulled up socks. But she looked great! Yes, without a layer of make up or a smear of lip gloss. Yes, without those aesthetic add-ons that women are so excessively obsessed with. It was a rare encounter with raw beauty. There definitely was something uniquely beautiful about the way she looked. Even if Ralph Lauren would dress her today…that’s the best I saw. At least for now. Now, back to the story. Was she really surprised? Of course she was…and her envious roommates were equally taken aback…as evidenced with their blank stares as I shook hands with each of them. Yet another set of green faced fans. I didn’t say much…I let the note stuck on the side say everything. What remains unforgettable to me till this day is the granny socks, the pink roses…and the smile. I won’t say killer smile even though I’m tempted to. Maybe a heart warming smile will do for now. I left the room eventually, thanking God for a flawless execution.

7 MONTHS LATER
Almost seven months later after this day, a good friend of mine, Popo, invited me to a high school mission. Since he knew how badly I loved talking about the second coming of Christ, that’s exactly what he invited me to do. We were in the company of some American missioners…Rachel, Amy and Ashley. So we set off to Limuru Girls High School, a national school conveniently surrounded by vast tea plantations. We headed to their social hall and I still recall the awesomeness of listening to hundreds of girls singing in unified soprano. Wow. Again I say…WOW! Our mission task was to keep the girls company during their Sunday service…and it began with highly energized dance performances with the youth team I was with, a motivational talk done by Rachel…and I was to end with a word or two on the second coming Christ. My turn finally came. It was nerve wrecking to stand before a hall full of high school girls…but I pulled through anyway. To be plainly honest, I didn’t  have a well structured sermon that I was to teach…and to make matters worse…none of those girls seemed to be interested with all those bible prophecy jargon on the second coming. That’s when out of nowhere, without notice…the SSV that I had received 7 months earlier came to me. I didn’t plan for it…but it came. A quick flashback of what God had spoken to me on that glorious day rushed back to my conscious mind. It was there that everything changed. I began narrating every detail of the story like I have with this note. The rowdy high school girls were now quiet…every single one of them swallowing every word of what I had to say…and waiting for the unfolding of the story in great anticipation-including their C.U patron. The best experience for any teacher is to solicit the full attention of students…and somehow this true story did. And finally I came to the point of the story. This was the SSV I heard, summarized in points. As I walked to her place on that starry night, I felt God say…

“That just the same way you are on a spirited quest to deliver flowers to someone you care about…it’s definitely the same thing I did when I gave my son to the world. So in this Illustration…the pink roses mirror the image of My Son Jesus. I am the giver. YOU are the recipient.

So, I guess it’s quite obvious that you wouldn’t be delivering flowers to this angel if you really didn’t care for her…would you??” God said. “But the fact that you did is testament enough that you truly do. And I do too! I LOVE and CARE about you more than you can imagine. That’s why my love book says…

“Cast your cares before me…because I CARE for you! And also remember that I love the world so much, that I gave my only begotten Son…that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life! [1st Peter5:7] [John 3:16]                                                    

 It did cost you a few shillings to buy the flowers just to prove a point, right?…but it cost me More when I watched my son die in the hands of ruthless men…to prove one thing. My love for you. And that was really costly. That’s why my love book says:

 “I never redeemed you with corruptible things like silver or Gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your Fathers…but I redeemed you with the precious blood of My Son Jesus Christ…as of a lamb without blemish or spot” [1st Peter 1: 18, 19]

The lady in discussion would have rejected your gift…hit you back with the flowers…or accept them as an expression of what you felt, right? In this same way, you have a choice. To accept or receive the gift of My Son as I delivered Him to you 2000 years ago. Choosing to accept or not to accept is simply your choice. Bottom line…I love you and my sincere wish is that you accept my gift. It’s the only way to me…It’s the only way to eternal life! That’s why my love book says…

“For the wages of sin is death…but My GIFT is eternal Life in My Son Jesus Christ” [Romans 6:23]

Did you ask for a refund for the cost of flowers? If you did, it ceases to be a gift…but a placed order. You don’t have to pay me with your good works to solicit my attention, love and care. I love you the way you are. My gift is enough. My Son is enough. That’s why my love book says:

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in My Son Jesus Christ” [Galatians 2: 16]

And with that, I concluded my message. I figured out later that God was using that simple illustration to communicate the gospel to hundreds of precious high school girls. It’s amazing that through a true experience, He was preparing me 7 months in advance. It may not sound like it’s the grandest thing that would happen to someone…but it does to me. So, many months later, the pink flowers may have already faded…but the memory of this whole experience still throbs with living color and this day not only reminds me of this angel…It’s also a  reminder of how much I’m loved unconditionally by my Father in Heaven. Need I say more?              

  And finally, the note stuck on the pink roses…                                                                

  Its my honorary duty to let you know you are SPECIAL

…and regardless of what you think about yourself…you do have a SPECIAL place in God’s heart that no one can take. Enough said.

Arce Ciara::


This is Arce Ciara..the girl with a  fun and outgoing personality, blended well with a little seriousness to life.  Ciara, who lives in North carolina, has a passion for film and theatre. I immediately loved her chemistry with the camera after watching a short-film, The Vision. She’s a natural I must admit…her acting prowess is flawless. Its no wonder Juan Camilo, the Director and write of the Vision, shortlisted her for the lead role.  Just recently, I conducted an online interview with Ciara, where she gets to talk about herself in a nutshell. The interview went something like this…

Tell me something about yourself….

Well for one, I’m a HUGE procrastinator and I’m totally sorry about that! Another thing is I’m just totally crazy. I love running, hanging out with my friends, drinking tea, rummaging at Goodwill’s and all those other things that we teenagers like to do minus the bad things though. I’m a good kid. I don’t like the thought of getting in trouble, I hate it. Haha I’m that girl who likes to be known anywhere I go, so I guess you can say I’m very outgoing! Meeting new people is like one of my favorite things ever. I get a real joy out of it! But then again there’s a lot of things I get a joy out of! I recently picked up playing video games, and so I’m pretty much a newbie at that but I love it. I also hope that I don’t make myself sound retarded after this. :)

Congratulations on recently graduating…what do you plan doing in college??
Oh, Thank you so very much! It feels so great to finally be out of high school! Right now, I’m attending a community college close by, taking some main courses that way after a couple of years I can transfer to UT, university of TN, to then major in accounting! WOOHO! The college life is probably the coolest thing ever. haha

How did you get involved in acting??
Oh gosh, let’s see. I think ever since I first watched Disney channel, I would say when I was about 10, I told myself that’s what I want to do. I remember my first play in Middle school, it was some Christmas play but it was so much fun, although I didn’t do that good. Haha I was very nervous, but I loved it.

How many plays have you done so far??
eh, I’ve only done a few plays in my school career but if I wasn’t in them, I always made sure I’d help out with them. Whether it was with tech, or setting up the sets, or even giving impute about the play to the director.

Are you working on any current projects??
I am currently not working on any projects :( :( but I definitely do hope to find time for a side project for me to do.

Which has been your most favorite character that you have played so far??
To be honest, my favorite character was the one that I played in The vision. Something about that character that I just fell in love with. As soon as my friend Juan Camilo told me about it, I was totally in! I think it cause with that I think anyone can really relate to just having any type of problem.


Ciara on set with actor and Director, Juan Camillo.

Who’s your favorite actress/actor??
My favorite actor of all time is Zach Galifianakis. He is just so funny. Like if I had to choose one person I wish I could work with it would be him. I absolutely love him in “The Hangover.” He actually is from North Carolina too which I think is awesome! haha :)

Your facebook profile says ‘married’…hmmm…
Haha, well about that… I’m not married, shocker right? But I am in a relationship with my best guy friend. His name is Cory and we have been together for about a year and it honestly couldn’t be any better or I mean I guess it could but you get what im saying. He really is awesome and everyday with him is like a new journey.

Ciara with Cory Niko Sabol

Who’s your best friend and tell me what you like about him/her…
Okay so besides Cory, cause I date him, I would have to say my girl friend Jourdan Gallman! She is like my sister/other half. The weird thing is she is like the total opposite but somehow we just get each other! She brings out the country in me! Haha I love that girl, we have been through ups and downs, pretty much everything. Shes my bestfriend!

If you could sing any song it would be…..
Any song sung by Adele because I absolutely love her voice! If I had a voice like her, I would sing everything! Haha

If you would travel the world, the first place you’d think of going would be…
Anywhere in Europe!!

Just in case you landed to hollywood…what in the world would you change using your influence?
Cyber-bullying, because it is so depressing to hear those stories about kids taking their life over a person who bullied them.

Tell me one thing…anything…you know about Kenya…
I know that it is in Africa! And I know that I would love to visit it one day!!

What is your most embarrassing moment (hahaha…I’m waiting for this one)
My whole life is embarrassing; I don’t think I go a day without embarrassing myself. Haha I’m a bit of a blonde.

Name five people in the world you’d love to meet..

  1. Demi Lovato-because she has inspired me to not let anything bring me down and to sing.
  2. Zach Galifianakis-because he’s just hilarious
  3. J.K Rowling-because I love the harry potter series 
  4. Lady gaga- she’s crazy!
  5. And lastly YOU! Kabue James!

What was the last book you read??
Frankenstein‘, I was surprised on how good it was too. I never really knew the whole story about Frankenstein and so it was really cool reading it.

Dogs or cats…
BOTHH! I’m a sucker when it comes to animals! I love them all!

**end**

Here’s the short film featuring Arce Ciara.
Directed and Written by: Juan Camillo.
Assistant Director and Lighting Technical Director: Tyler Harmon-Townsend.

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© 2011 UniStellar Pictures
© 2011 DigitalLaugh

Mr. Kabue James

Loving Life, Celebrating People.

Black ame-frican

Sweetie, I can't offer you no HD.

Living in Him and For Him

In him i live, move, and have my being

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