I’ve lost my physical bible so having a digital one is a great fallback. I’m still going to need a physical one though! There’s something about turning the pages of a physical bible.
What I use it for– Making home video aesthetics.
I use this app mostly for videos on my instastories. It transforms it into a really pretty home-video (with the date and time at the bottom left of the screen). If you follow me on Instagram, you know how cute it looks!
What I use it for– Scanning documents when I’m not near a scanner.
I use this app to scan documents on my phone. It’s particularly useful when I’m not in the office and need to scan something quickly.
What I use it for– Tracking my period.
My sister, Tebby introduced me to this app a while ago. It helps you track your period, fertile window and PMS days. You’re supposed to help make the app more accurate by putting information about your cycle e.g. sleep patterns, emotions, bleeding, energy etc. It’s great!
What I use it for– Games night
If you’re with friends or family at a gathering, ‘Heads Up‘ is a really fun and competitive game to play!
What I use it for– Moving around Nairobi.
Although I have both Uber and Taxify on my phone, I mostly use Taxify because it’s cheaper. I’ve heard some people complain about it, but my experience has been pretty good so far.
What apps do you use? I’d love some recommendations, please share.
It’s always interesting to see how people interpret the world around them through photos. Visual stories inspire and challenge the lens through which I see life. Most of the content on my Instagram feed is: architecture, design, fashion, food and travel.
It’s been a few months since my last #faves post, so I thought I’d share the content creators/platforms I love on Instagram.
Blitz the Ambassador is a Ghanaian-American hip-hop and visual artist- but most importantly, my current Twitter crush. His timeline consists of beautifully curated photos, references to black/African history and regular pep-tweets.
Well, the fumes from the DVDs might be toxic and I've still got your money, so by all means borrow my lighter. pic.twitter.com/kVoi8VGEoK
There’s nothing like a good podcast to listen to while on your commute to school or work. These are some of my favourites.
Dear Sugar Radio is a US-based podcast hosted by authors Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. They use their platform to share ‘radically empathetic’ advice- a contemporary take on the classic agony aunt. They tackle universally relatable topics such as male-female friendships, family politics and jealously in relationships.
Why I love it– Gentle, great advice, provokes deep thought and empathy towards ourselves and others
Recommended Episode– “How Do I Find The Courage To Be My Own Guide?”
Podcast Published on iTunes, Stitcher and their website.
Nairobi-based Nomusa and Adedana host this exciting new podcast, Afracanah. Much like the book ‘Americanah‘ they use a diaspora lens to explore dating, work life and development across the continent.
Why I love it– Great banter, very well produced, nice segments
Recommended Episode– Episode 3: “I’m Mufasa Baby” for their interesting discussion with Nanjira Sambuli, who is all kinds of excellent.
Podcast published on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.
Africa Today is a BBC-published podcast focusing on news from across the continent.
Why I love it– Wide-ranging content, interesting news, good for staying informed on current affairs.
I’m on YouTube in the morning as I have my breakfast, at noon when I’m enjoying my lunch and in the evening for the 20 minutes that I’m doing my bantu knots before bed.
YouTube is a great platform for storytelling and I’ve found it such a delight to see a growth in video content creators from across the continent. About a month and a half ago I posted this on my Facebook:
“We need to be careful about the ‘African narrative’ being told exclusively through a Nigerian lens.”
This sentiment comes from an observation that many of the stories told about and/or on the continent in the media originate or have a clear association with Nigeria. This is not at all a bad thing as there are some incredible and inspiring stories coming from Nigeria and West Africa as a region. It becomes problematic, however, when it is the dominant or only narrative of the entire continent. This hegemony not only speaks to Nigeria’s economic positioning on the continent, but also to a history that through the transatlantic slave trade, allowed West African culture to be exported to the US and subsequently the world. My friend Benja explains it perfectly,
“I think the whole African narrative is very West African driven, and to narrow it further, I’d say it’s very Ghanaian and Nigerian driven. I think it comes from a historical narrative of West Africa being on the map due to slavery and its consequences in modern time. Think about entertainment, clothing and food. Even in sports! How many East African artist or sports persons can you name on a global scale?… The export of African culture into mainstream culture (read Euro-centric) is generally delivered by West Africans, due to circumstances I’d say. The historical narrative has created a contact between West Africa and the ‘global North’ since at least the 15th century, and consequently when we look at the display of African culture in the world, it reconnects right back to West Africa.”
With that said, unsurprisingly, a significant portion of my YouTube #faves are in fact produced in Nigeria! But I’d like to think that my interest in their content is driven more by the resonance of their content rather than their ‘Nigerianness’ per se.
Here are my YouTube #faves, creating from the continent:
Yagazie Emezi – Yagazie’s channel is my most recent subscription and current favourite on the interwebs! She is so funny, so witty and incredibly articulate about a wide range of issues from dating in Lagos to women’s sexuality.
The Fifth Estate– I first came across Mutahi Ngunyi on YouTube when he used the ‘Tyranny of Numbers’ theory to predict that Jubilee would win the 2013 Kenyan election. This year, I found him on a new channel called ‘The Fifth Estate‘ alongside a brilliant group of scholars, where they offer stimulating scenario-based analyses on Kenyan politics.
NdaniTV– I was introduced to NdaniTV a couple of years ago by a friend. NdaniTV is home to a wide variety of themed content. There is content on finances, motorsports, celebrity interviews and a few web-series (Skinny Girl in Transit and Rumour Has It fans, hey!). Recently, they launched a very cool and informative travel show called ‘The New Africa‘, which documents travelling across Africa from a Nigerian perspective. As an aspiring traveller, I find the show very exciting to watch and maybe soon I’ll be inspired enough to actualize some of my travel plans!
Miss Mandi Throwdown– Miss Mandi started off on YouTube doing a show for another channel but this year she launched her own channel and it’s been nothing short of amazing. I don’t enjoy cooking but still find her videos entertaining and informative to watch. She’s found a way to diversify her content while remaining true to a culinary theme. Dope.
Nancie Mwai: Nancie was the pioneer of fashion blogging in Kenya and has the best resting-bitch-face I’ve ever seen. Her style is impeccable. I love that she’s developed great editing skills for YouTube. She’s not consistent but has some really cool videos when she is.
Muthoni Muchiri: Muthoni not only has a great range of lifestyle videos but she’s also got excellent editing skills! I love her authenticity and especially enjoy her foodie videos that showcase a little of Nairobi’s restaurant scene. Cool-ness.
Toke Makinwa: I had noticed Toke on YouTube for a while before finally getting around to watching her videos. Toke gives me cool Auntie vibes through and through! She feels like the kind of girlfriend you’d speak to until the wee hours of the morning. I enjoy her videos a lot.
Capital FM TV: Capital FM TV is one of the only digital media platforms in Kenya making a notable effort to highlight Nairobi’s buzzing arts and culture scene and I commend them for it!
Centonomy– I think a lot of local brands could learn from what Centonomy is doing using YouTube to create an understanding and appreciation for their brand.
With Facebook and Twitter embedding video on their platforms, I’m quite interested to understand how YouTube is staying competitive. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed compiling this list, please do recommend any YouTubers from across the continent for me to indulge in! Thank you, let me know your thoughts below.
Disclaimer- I started off this #faves post with the idea of sharing ‘African YouTubers’ but realised as I came to the end of the list that it’s more of a Kenyan and Nigerian list of YouTubers! Unintentional, of course. But I do think it affirms the issue I raised earlier in this article on dominant narratives. Do I not look widely enough on YouTube? Or are there truly a limited range of ‘African’ narratives on YouTube? This leads us to other offshoot questions such as what ‘African’ content really means, especially in a globalized world and what can be done to introduce a wider range of ‘African’ perspectives on major platforms such as YouTube that go beyond politics.
If you want raw, heartfelt writing, look no further than Hayet Rida’s blog. I love that she uses her blog as a space to uplift herself and others. She seems like the kind of friend who’d sit opposite me at a cafe chatting about life over copious amounts of tea, cake and laughter. She’s basically my spirit sister-friend. Her style and hair is also sooo swoon-worthy! Yum.
Chesca Leigh is remarkable. I came across her work earlier this year when I had just started making my own vlogs. Although I am not a comedian myself, her content inspires many of the topics I speak about. I love that she makes profound social and political commentary in an accessible and easily understood format.
photography & lifestyle// Cynosure by Lyra Aoko | lyraoko.com
photo via lyraoko.com
I love the clean aesthetic on Lyra Aoko’s blog. Her photography is beautiful and I can hear her authentic voice through her content. I also keenly follow her segment ‘Play Kenyan Music‘ which features new Kenyan music each month. Truly an all-rounded lifestyle blog!
I first came across Siyanda’s name and work on my Twitter timeline. The first line on her Twitter bio says “I don’t come here to be governable“- it was love at first follow! Her content is witty, smart and stimulating. She writes book reviews, speaks about black consciousness and has a dope vlog called ‘Africa This Week With Siyanda‘ featuring hot topics across the continent. Another spirit sister-friend!
p.s. Please support her as she raises money for her project ‘Africa this Week’. Details here.
I’m grateful to each one of these content creators and many others- for being a reminder of the power of stepping up to be seen and heard. Wishing you all much love and flourishing!
It was only when I came to study in the UK that I began to identify as ‘African‘. Before that, I was just Kenyan. I never saw myself in the context of the wider world and I guess that’s one of the benefits of studying abroad- you discover a lot of new things but also begin to see old things from new perspective(s).
I’ve watched myself become fiercely protective of African identity (if there is one at all). I recognise the difference between when an African speaks about Africa and when a non-African speaks about Africa. The former is usually from a place of understanding the many similarities between African nations while the latter is more often that not, bound with ignorance. I’m reminded of a time when someone asked me “Are you planning on going back to Africa?” Excuse me, but what do you mean?
Things are changing and there are people who are at the forefront of this process- undefining stereotypes and challenging global perceptions about Africa in small and big ways. For today’s #faves post, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite African changemakers. Here we go!
Africans are activists – Boniface Mwangi
(picture courtesy of bonifacemwangi.com)
Boniface Mwangi is a Kenyan activist and a photographer by profession. For me, he defines what it means to be a patriot. This past year working in student politics has taught me the importance of grassroots activism and community organising. When politicians misuse and manipulate systems to benefit themselves, the most powerful course of action is to take the streets and make our voices too loud to ignore. Boniface has pioneered and set the pace for other young Kenyans to take a stance and not let powerful politicians get away with setting our country back. His courage is inspiring!
Africans are creators– Sharon Mundia
(picture courtesy of thisisess.com)
Internet and connectivity is opening up opportunities for many to have a space of their own which they can use to express their creativity. Sharon Mundia’s ‘This is Ess’ is my favourite example of this. She’s created a brand from a simple idea, consistency and quality delivery. It’s a worldwide phenomenon but in Kenya and other African countries, there’s still a slow response to the huge platform that bloggers provide for brands. People like Sharon are changing this- one blog post at a time.
Africans are educators– Patrick Awuah
(picture courtesy of myafricanow.com)
Patrick Awuah left a career at Microsoft to set up Ashesi University– an independent, co-educational, public benefit education institution operating on a not-for-profit basis. I think it’s wonderful that there are some visionary leaders setting up educational institutions with a focus on how people can use their skills and knowledge to transform the continent. It’s so important that these universities exist to challenge the perception that one must get a Western education to succeed in life.
Africans are entrepreneurs– Tara Fela-Durotoye
(picture courtesy of globalblackhistory.com)
If you’re African you know the stigma that was once attached to careers that are not medicine, engineering or law. But things have changed and we have people like Tara Fela-Durotoye to thank for that! Tara is the Founder of House of Tara, a cosmetics company with a focus on make-up. It’s tough enough to be an entrepreneur, let alone in the untapped beauty industry. House of Tara is a reminder that Africans can succeed and pioneer, even in fields that are perceived ‘non-African’.
As a continent, we are nowhere near reaching our capacity. We are an awakening giant. Slowly but surely transforming our communities, our brands, our economies and our world.
I love you Africa!
Share some of your #fave African changemakers below!
There’s nothing that quite compares to watching a captivating, thought-provoking TED talk. For today’s #faves post, I’ve compiled a list of my most favourite episodes.
Brene Brown’s vulnerability
I watched this TED talk on recommendation from a good friend of mine. She knew I needed to watch it at that point in my life because I literally wept watching it. If you’re having difficulty grappling with emotion, this may be for you. Brene captures perfectly the concept of vulnerability which she derives from her own experience and research. Highly recommended!
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s feminism
This list would be deficient without a Chimamanda TED talk. I found this one most striking. For the first time, feminism was being framed in a context I understood. She drew on examples and situations that were familiar to me. Modern, african feminism. Chimamanda taught me. I’m also proud to say, I watched this TED talk before it became widely associated with Beyonce. Yes!
Fred Swaniker’s African leadership
Mama Tessy sent this to me towards the end of 2014. It’s a strategic and inspiring look at African leadership which Fred narrows down to two key areas for the next generation of African leaders to focus on. It’s so passionately and eloquently delivered, too. A must-watch.
Meg Jay’s twenties
This is definitely an eye-opening one for people in their 20s. The trouble is, you think you have time. Meg reminds us that our twenties are a formative period and we should strive to make the most of our youth. My kind of girl.
So those are my favourite ‘ideas worth spreading’. I would love to know some of your #faves! Share below.
I got my first and only bible when I was about 14. It was a gift from my auntie. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it- was I supposed to read it like a story? I couldn’t quite figure it out but wanted to make an effort to read because I wanted to strengthen my knowledge and understanding of God.
To this day, I haven’t read the bible cover-to-cover. Many of the verses I know and love come from church service. I’m also really fond of the ‘Bible App’ (available on both iOS and Android) which I downloaded about a year ago. It notifies you of a daily verse, allows you to highlight your favourite verses and enables you to connect with your friends on it and see what they highlight. It’s a really cool way to grow your knowledge of the bible.
So courtesy of the bible app, here are 10 of my favourite verses.
I love this verse because it’s a reminder that He’s got a plan for each and every one of us- and it is a perfect plan. No mistakes.
A couple of Sundays ago, I sent this verse to my youngest sister Tania and she asked me what it means to be made fearfully. I actually never thought about it. It made me reflect and do some research- in the bible ‘fearfully‘ is used in the context of respect and reverence i.e. “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom“. My understanding is that this means we are created in the highest regard by our Maker.
When you are worried and fearful, this is the verse to remember. How comforting to know God walks with us even in the darkest moments.
Guidelines for love. I don’t think there’s much I can add to this that isn’t already said in the verse- perfection.
Discipline is never easy and but always worthwhile. This verse captures that accurately.
The strength of the Lord is in me. Powerful.
I love this verse because it is a reminder that even after preparing to face a challenge, it’s important to commit that challenge to God because ultimate victory rests with Him.
A wonderful reminder that no past mistakes or failure can cripple us.
Every situation we face in life leads us to fulfilling our potential.
Put your hope and faith in Him- he will not let you down!
Would love to hear some of your favourite bible verses! Share below in the comment box.
fave; a thing or person loved, preferred and adored
I’m introducing a new segment on this blog called #faves. I’ll be sharing some of my favourite things so if there’s anything you’d like me to do a #faves post on, let me know.
I like to think I’m an avid reader. I really do enjoy a good book. But I lack one thing- consistency. It could take me a whole year to finish a book. My sisters always make fun of me for this actually. They love to read and find it funny that when they see me 5 months later, I’m still reading the same book.
But when you do find me reading, I’m very particular about what I read and how I read. I don’t like to borrow books I prefer my own copy. Books are so personal and I like to highlight and be able to refer to it over and over again, and sharing books makes that difficult.
I’m not much of a fiction person. In fact, there’s only one fiction book I read that I truly loved- Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (obvs). She writes so vividly and deliberately. As much as I appreciated the historical and political importance of the context of the book, I reveled in the love journey of Richard and Kainene. I love that Richard seemed to never truly understand Kainene. He was always trying to figure her out yet that somehow made their relationship all the more mysterious and intense.
Another one of my favourite books is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I didn’t enjoy it for the first couple of chapters because it relied too much on examples I felt I couldn’t relate to. But after a while, I was hooked (my reading rate even became faster than usual). It had some really important lessons about patience with challenges, waking up early and the ten thousand hour rule.
He teaches about patience in the book through an example of a woman who was given a problem to work out that she had never learnt before. She tried and tried and after approx. 20 minutes she got the answer. The reason she was able to figure it out was because she took time with the problem. Many times in life we encounter problems and take a couple of minutes trying to find the solution and if we can’t find it instantly we throw our hands in the air and give up. This example taught me the importance of sticking it out when it gets tough.
Gladwell also uses Chinese farmers as an example of why we should endeavor to wake up early. He explains that due to the nature of farming, farmers needed to be awake early in the mornings to sow the seeds that would later allow them to reap a bountiful harvest. He uses a powerful quote to sum it up- “No-one who rises before dawn 360 days a year fails to make their family rich”. Literally, this would apply to few of us. But it’s an important lesson in various contexts. Waking up early can really transform your day and in the long run, your life.
My other favourite lesson in Outliers is the ten thousand hour rule. It’s simple- on average it takes ten thousand hours to become a master in a field. He gives examples of the long hours of practice people like The Beatles and Bill Gates put in to be where they are. It really puts ‘microwave success’ into perspective.
I don’t usually read Forbes magazine. But this month’s edition featured the indefeasible Tabitha Karanja, a woman I adore and admire. She is fearless and a pioneer. It’s always amazing to read about people so passionate about building Kenya and Africa. She’s definitely my kind of person.
Would love to hear if you’ve read any of the above! Or share any of your #faves below in the comment section.