5mins38secs In Love with a Stranger

Some years ago. Maybe 10, maybe more, I fell in love with a stranger.

In D.C. One of those nights out with the girls. I wasn’t looking.

All I wanted to do was dance.

2am. I think it was a Memorial Day Weekend, a stranger drew me to the dance floor. He lifted my hand and gently guided me. For 5mins and 38secs, I fell in love.

2 afternoons ago, sitting in traffic, I remembered the stranger. The one who held me tenderly and we stepped together in the name of love.

I didn’t get his name, I didn’t need to. He didn’t ask me mine. He didn’t need to. When the song ended, he went back to his table and me to my table with my girls.

All I remember is that we were so perfectly instep and for 5mins and 38secs we were one – not speaking, not hoping for more.

Pure love. Pure happiness.

Just 2 strangers dancing to this:

Terence Ranger (1929 – January 2015) #RIPTerenceRanger

TROne of the most pivotal pieces of academic writing I came across while doing research on African history, was a book edited by Prof. Ranger – The Invention of Tradition.

I argued against the book and then gradually understood and argued for the book. It will be the subject of an upcoming art exhibition.

I never thought that the author, at the time, what I would describe as a dusty  Oxford lecturer, would become a friend.

One evening, following a lecture where I had vehemently argued against the speaker over a topic that I thought she had misunderstood, Prof. Ranger made his way to me, stuck out his hand and introduced himself as “Terry.”

I was ofcourse taken aback and slightly tongue tied. THE Terence Ranger. Right there. In velvet slippers, wispy hair and a very, very red nose. Saying hello to me.

He told me he liked me. I was feisty and maybe that is what Oxford needed. He quickly became a friend.

I visited him a couple of times to talk about life at Oxford and the research I was undertaking. Each time I left even more inspired.

His youthful fight became my push to continue and at my lowest point, he offered great support.

On my last visit to Oxford I contemplated visiting him. Choosing instead not to. I would have been heartbroken to see him sick.

Rest in Peace, Terry. You will not be forgotten.

History will be kind to you for you have written it.

Thank you. Thank you.

I Want a Willow Smith Child

One of the hardest things about raising a daughter is getting her to be ok with who she is in a world that will try to dictate how she should look and behave. This thought is one with the definition of what a “good girl” is.

Perceptions on what is pretty are so ingrained in what being a girl is all about. Good girls are meant to look tame. Good girls are supposed to fit the model of what a girl looks like.

In looking for ways to explain to my daughters that an afro with a clip is a “good” as long blonde hair that falls tamed behind one’s shoulders, I came across, yes, my favorite – Sesame Street. The creator of this song, has an adopted daughter from Ethiopia and he noticed that she, like my two daughters wanted “good” hair.

Which led me to Willow Smith. This video inspired this video by this not considered “good” girl:

Now I am not saying that everything this girl does would not give me nightmares if my own did the same; what I am saying is, in light of the choices that my little girls have to make, I will take a Willow Smith Child.

I don’t want “good daughters.” I want badly behaved girls who make the world spin, because society will not be the measure for what is “good.”

Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“Good girls seldom make history.”

All About That Bass

Maybe now, we can get back onto that course of sanity over women’s body sizes (DOWN with thigh gaps and all that nonsense that will imprison my daughter into thinking she is not enough). *wiggles my bass*

The Too Official Past of the Mau Mau – Remembering Prof. Ali Mazrui

All but the most dogmatic of “students” of Kenya’s recent history are going to revise their views to a certain extent. They are going to do so partly because the assessment of ‘Mau Mau’ they had until recently was a little too “official.” But they are going to do so also because, all around them, the ostensible ends for which ‘Mau Mau’ fought are increasingly regarded as historically more enduring than the means to which they resorted in pursuing them.[1]

[1] Mazrui, Ali. “On Heroes and Uhuru-Worship.” Transition (1963): 23.

RIP Prof. Ali Mazrui (1933 – 2014)

Updike on Happiness

There is no such thing as static happiness. Happiness is a mixed thing, a thing compounded of sacrifices, and losses, and betrayals. – John Updike


A Beautiful Delivery – NTV Interview on the Pumwani Art Project #ArtPumwani

The Importance of Public Art in Kenya