I am going somewhere with this. Afer high school, I rather fancied myself a poet, and begun to attend Open Mics, spoken word thingies, and read Kwanis in a bid to prove my artistic know-how. People think I cut my hair because I'm an artsy artist/modern-day hippie (you don't wear underwear ONE TIME and they brand you. As in?), but really, it's just that I don't like hair. (I could wax lyrical here, but I've done that before, here, so I won't again) So I performed at a coupe of thingies, and then decided I don't like how I perform, and that my poetry is waaaay better read than said. And that was the end of that.
So, along the line, I realized that not only do I not like how I perform poetry, I don't like how other people perform it either. Really, I think it sucks. I hate how they force rhymes, and try and be all deep and Black American and Def Jam and shii (may I never fall into the abyss of such pretentiousness, and if I ever do, may I at least make it look good), and think that EVERY DAMN THING needs to be a poem (it really doesn't. It's not blogging. HA!), and...ugh. There are very few Kenyan poet recitals I enjoy. Kennet B is good. I like Manjoro. Wanjiku Mwaurah...Geneiva Arunga...anyway. The point is. I think its a badly constructed farce to help Kenyans believe they're more cultured than they think they are (much like Blankets and Wine, as Biko would say).
Don't even get me started about Kwani. That book. *shivers* It throws me into a frenzy of denial and simultaneous shock about how much I did not like any of those books. I thought they were cliche, in the terrible way that African writers can be when attempting to depict the DARK CONTINENT (can you see the sarcasm dripping from those words? I hope you can. I can. Because I wrote them.) as a bunch of poor, unfortunate souls (The Little Mermaid, again) living in a vapid wasteland of poverty, disease, and death, then throw in how savagely sexual we are...it's a convoluted mess. @Abbakidenda offers a tutorial on said subject on her facebook, from Binyavanga Wainaina's book:
How to Write About Africa
#1. Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Drum’, ‘Sun’ or ‘Bygone’. Also useful are words such as ‘Guerrillas’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Primordial’ and ‘Tribal’. Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans.
You might want to read this as well.
Kwani irritated me to no end. I could not even finish one. Or the other ones I subsequently made a valiant effort to read.
On to the point of this post.
I was at a dinner party (I sound SO VERY COOL to me) and someone says to me "Well, tSN, you're a writer (how I LOVE it when people start sentences like that. VALIDATION! I AM WORTH SOMETHING! LOL),...have you read Kwani?" My instantaneous and immediate - nearly involuntary, really - reaction is to roll my eyes. They asked, "What do you think of it?" So I go on and on and on and ON about how presumptuous and cliche and classless and beneath me it is (basically everything in this post). She lets me finish, and then turns to another guy there who was listening to the conversation and goes, "K, which story in Kwani was it that you wrote again?"