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PawaSalonXXXII on Fashion and Entrepreneurship with Riri Jewellery

In this edition of #PawaSalon, Njuhi Chege founder of ririjewellery.com will talk about, The only three things you have to do to build a successful fashion brand in Kenya.

PAWASalon XXXII with Riri Jewelry(3)

In Njuhi’s words,

“Starting and running your own fashion business can sometimes feel like planning a trip to the moon. For those who haven’t imagined about planning trips to outer space, what I mean is, it can be quite overwhelming. Raising capital, researching, sourcing materials, devising social media strategies, courting customers, selling, balancing your books, writing business plans…so much to do, so little time!”

Based on her trips around the world, and experience promoting local brands in Kenya and internationally while working with Festival for African Fashion and Arts (FAFA), she will, in this forum, show budding entrepreneurs the three main things to focus on to get any biashara going.
Take a look at Njuhi’s interview with Mukha.co HERE.

When? 6th November, 2014 from 5pm -8.00pm

Where? Mageuzi Space, Pawa254.

Entry FREE.

PAWAFilmForum Vol XV: ‘Beautiful Tree, Severed Roots’ Screening and Discussion

PAWAFilmForum is committed to showcasing independently produced, often non- commercial work that has little opportunity of reaching the general public; highlighting social, political, cultural and historical realities. By featuring the voices and visions of truly independent media artists from Kenya and beyond, we aim to expose diverse audiences to a range of artistic expressions, cultural perspectives and critical inquiries.

For our 15th edition of PAWA Film Forum we are very happy to announce the screening of the documentary ‘BEAUTIFUL TREE, SEVERED ROOTS – Seventy Years in Kenya. One Family, Seven Stories’, a film by Kenny Mann. The screening will be followed by a discussion which will be facilitated by Film Kenya Magazine.




Kenny Mann’s parents were Polish and Romanian secular Jews and Socialists who fled Europe to settle in Kenya as refugees in 1942. Born and raised there, Mann examines how their Jewish Socialist values enabled them to fully adapt to and profoundly identify with Africa and Africans. While British settlers claimed land and exploited African people, her parents fully engaged with Africa and the African identity, devoting their lives to fighting hunger, disease and poverty and becoming politically influential.

Set against the backdrop of their lives between the Mau Mau uprising of the 1950s and Independence in 1963, the author examines her own identity as a “British” girl in an Eastern European family, as a white in an African country and as an anti-colonialist in a colony. She also explores her siblings’ identities as they search for meaning through African tribal and spiritual rituals, presenting a fascinating examination of Jewish-Kenyan identity and an exposition of Kenya’s colonial history from a unique point of view. Rare archival footage helps to integrate the family’s lives in Kenya with major political events, such as the assassinations of the young Tom Mboya and Bruce McKenzie, both close family friends.

Shot in Kenya, Poland and Romania, the unconventional format of six chapters utilizes live and archival footage, a variety of visual elements, Mann’s parents’ voices culled from 30 years of cassette tape correspondence, music, and the filmmaker’s own narration.


BEAUTIFUL TREE, SEVERED ROOTS has evolved out of about 30 years of thinking, writing, gathering documents, interviews and information and struggling to tell this story in a way that is both personal and has universal resonance. It began as a book called RIDING THE EQUATOR, which was never published and which forms the backbone of my film. It is for this reason that I’ve structured BEAUTIFUL TREE in actual chapters, just like the book, and while I did that initially as an experiment, I am very happy with the freedom this format allows me.


“Your doc is fascinating, explores a complex theme with poetic compassion, and enlightens us about a loaded period of Kenyan history. We are staggered by the pluck & commitment of your parents, intrigued by the spiritual quest of your brother and sister…”
Gail Pellett, Writer/Producer/Director

Public Forum on Palestinian Self-Determination

This Sunday ,26 October from 2-6pm join the Kenya Na Palestine movement for the launch of the Kenyan Palestine Campaign at Pawa254

The program for the solidarity event will include:
Introduction to the Kenya Palestine Solidarity Movement
A short film clip: Introduction to the Palestinian Struggle
A full feature 90 minute documentary: ‘Roadmap to Apartheid’ by Ana Nogueira and Eron Davidson

Panel Discussion and open forum. Panelists: Mohamed Khaled, Mwandawiro Mghanga, Wangui Kimari

Entrance is FREE but attendees are requested to:
Bring a solidarity bite (crisps, mandazis, cakes, samosas etc) that all can share and partake.

KNP will provide tea and soft-drinks
Contribute towards the solidarity fund.

We look forward to your attendance and solidarity with the people of Palestine



Pawa Preview: This Week at Pawa

Rain or Shine we at Pawa254 always have something planned.  This is what we have lined up this week at Pawa254. #ArtRising

  • Tuesday 21st  5.30-8pm: #OffTheRecord Debate and Discussion


Every week at #OffTheRecord  we address various social issues and how they affect our lives. strictly off the record.

Why do I attend off the record and why do I think is it important? Well, because I get to learn ideas from people and see their worldviews “ this has the effect of opening mine up. If you only see the world from your own eyes you’ll become narrow-minded. I think off the record is important because I get to know how Kenya is being governed and I attend it to get to know realities of this country I otherwise wouldn’t have known. (Anonymous, weekly attendee)

  • Wednesday 22nd 5.30- 7.30pm: Perfect Pics Wine and Snacks event

001 Perfect Pics , Photographers Association of Kenya and Pawa254  are inviting professional photographers to meet and talk shop. Come and share trade tips with other photographers. Be sure to get your ticket HERE.

Connect with Perfect Pics on the website HERE, Like their Facebook Page and Follow on twitter @_Perfectpics


Connect with Photographers Association of Kenya. Join the Facebook Group and Follow on Twitter @PPAK_Ke

  • Thursday 23rd: Frida : Screening and Discussion


This Thursday ,under the theme ‘Artists and Life’ we will be screening the film ‘Frida’.

Frida is a 2002 Miramax/Ventanarosa biopic which depicts the professional and private life of the surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. It stars Salma Hayek in her Academy Award-nominated portrayal as Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her husband, Diego Rivera. For more details see the event blog post here and RSVP on our Facebook event page.

  • Saturday 25th 3-6pm: #AarbanCypher

Come experience a showcase of Nairobi’s lyrical talent this Saturday.

To learn more about Aarban Cypher visit the Facebook Page.

  • Saturday 25th 5-8pm: #FatumasVoice

Love, Lust and Marriage(1)This weekend on Fatumas Voice we explore Love,Lust and Marriage.

Fatuma’s Voice is a collaborative effort between Pawa254 and the Kenyan Poets Lounge that offers social commentary through poetry,music and spoken word. Learn more about Fatumas Voice on the Website and Facebook Page.

  • Sunday 26th 8am to 1pm: #TheSwitch

Tune in to K24 on Sunday morning and catch The Switch live from the Pawa254 rooftop.



I’ve heard people rail and complain when people, not of Kenyan/African origin come to African countries and write stories that are based on local folklore and myth. There is a landscape we feel has been invaded when ‘outsiders’ come and borrow from our oral literature and god forbid, make financial gain from it. Except, in each and every such case, this rich history we are so quick to declare ‘exploited’ usually lies there ignored. For the most part, hardly any of us actively writes stories based on local traditions and histories. We sit and wait, complacent, until we are jolted out of our laziness by some brave entrepreneurial soul and then it is picket lines and indignation.
At a creative writing workshop that Oduor Jagero and I facilitated in Malindi, participants, mostly local journalists, were required to write a small piece of fiction and share it with everyone. A lady stood up to read her work; a Swahili story taken from Coastal lore and mythology. In her story, a Swahili peasant farmer harvesting cassava finds three snake heads instead of tubers on his only remaining plant. He takes them as he would the tubers and cooks a soup out of them for his pregnant wife. It was an enthralling tale.
I noticed however that as she read, the faces of all her fellow participants had darkened and they now bore expressions ranging from sneers, to frowns, to complete incredulity. One of them interrupted her;
“You’ve just reproduced a common local story and changed it a little,” he pointed out as all the rest nodded in approval.
She had committed some sort of grievous sin borrowing from local folklore according to them and they looked to Jagero and myself, expecting us to complete the censure.
Is there something despicable about writing fiction based on Kenyan folklore?
The point has been beaten almost to death already, about how our education system is still rooted in the colonial perspectives that originally created it. Subsequently, our education imparts to all those of us who pass through it, a firm and yet covert disdain for all systems of belief and history that existed before the white man came. Oral literature, despite surviving this invasion of colonial education, suffers the brunt of this disdain. Very few of the stories that formed the basis of the informal education upon which our societies were based in the past have been represented in modern texts and films. Our stories are dying.
Lwanda Magere might be as spectacular a supernatural character as Superman or Batman; the story of Nyamgondho and his lover from the lake might be as scintillating a tale as that of Sleeping Beauty; but it seems nobody would care. We have collectively turned away from them and turned up our noses at any mention of these tales. There aren’t enough books if any, written by Kenyans for Kenyan consumption, about these characters. No film blockbusters have been made. It seems, we are waiting for this rich cultural landscape to be discovered one day by yet another European explorer, then we will rail and complain about the audacity s/he has to plant his/her flag atop our culture.
The lack of local content in the market has given foreign stories and content a foothold in the local market that will not only prove hard to shake, but that if not shaken will transform local tastes and expectations in favour of foreign content and make it even more difficult for local content to gain the approval and acceptance of audiences. It is not because these stories are told better but because stories based on our own culture are simply unable to compete. Writers, filmmakers, publishers, and distributors will have to understand that local content needs help. Only a conscious and targeted effort to put these stories in the hands of local viewers will have any chance of success.
In the story from Malindi, the farmer’s wife eats the snake soup and subsequently gives birth to a baby who over the next few years, grows gradually into a three headed snake instead of a human child and brings untold riches to the homestead of the farmer. It is a story no more farfetched than ‘Jack and the Giant Beanstalk’ or ‘The Musicians of Bremen’ and even better, it is our own.
These are the stories we need to write. Even more importantly, these are the stories we need to read.
If we do not, someone we do not approve of will come here and do it for us.


Workshop facilitator and writer Alexander Ikawah  (Commonwealth Short-Story Prize nominee, Kwani? & Jalada contributing writer)

Workshop facilitator and writer Alexander Ikawah (Commonwealth Short-Story Prize nominee, Kwani? & Jalada contributing writer)

Frida: Screening and Discussion

Calling all filmies, artists and art lovers….
On Thursday, the 23rd of October from 4.30pm, under the theme ‘Artists and Life’ we will be screening the film ‘Frida’.  
Frida is a 2002 Miramax/Ventanarosa biopic which depicts the professional and private life of the surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. It stars Salma Hayek in her Academy Award-nominated portrayal as Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her husband, Diego Rivera.

The movie was adapted by Clancy Sigal, Diane Lake, Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas from the book Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera. It was directed by Julie Taymor. It won two Academy Awards for Best Makeup and Best Original Score.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A which will be facilitated by film director Sam Soko, and journalist Clarissa Maracci.

Call Me Crazy movie screening



October 10th is World Mental Health Day and my mind my funk will be hosting the screening on the movie, Call me crazy,in line with their #31daysofmentalhealth campaign.

The movie directed by former Friends actress, Jennifer Aniston follows through the daily lives of people living with mental health conditions, among the actors include Jennifer Hudson.

Read more about it on Sitawa Wafula’s blog http://sitawa.blogspot.com/2014/06/why-i-think-everyone-should-watch-call.html

Moi Day Jam

JANGWA CITY presents:


A three hour performance showcasing underground Kenyan talent including a live band, DJ set, a showcase of contemporary Kenyan literature, graffiti and the highlight, the iconic Hip- Hop act, KALAMASHAKA. Tickets will be availed at the venue at only Yes 500.

Moi Day Jam

JANGWA CITY presents:


A three hour performance showcasing underground Kenyan talent including a live band, DJ set, a showcase of contemporary Kenyan literature, graffiti and the highlight, the iconic Hip- Hop act, KALAMASHAKA. Tickets will be availed at the venue at only Yes 500.

LAS Mombasa Welcomes #TeamPawa by Oduor Jagero

In this city,more than often,a motorcade of sleek German-made black cars zoom past, gliding after high-powered, high-speeding BMW motorcycles. It’s a sign of power; it’s the big guy’s time all the time. All cars are pulled over. You can feel bad but you should understand that the big guy always has the right of way.
This past weekend,Jambojet gave #TeamPawa the feel of the President. We were picked from the Mombasa-Moi International Airport by the County government police chase car. It was a treat of a lifetime, a treat you only get when your great great grandfather smiles in his grave.
Before I lose you, let me recap on why we were picked from the KICC, Nairobi, chauffeured to the JKIA Airport, lead to the plane like Saudi Arabia sheiks, served with Absolut premier drinks by hostesses with chiseled hips, high eyebrows, and flat stomachs, and then lavished with haven smelling sandwiches by the NAS chef.
Jambojet, a budget airline shuttling three cities, Mombasa, Nairobi, and Kisumu, organised a competition called #OccupyJambojet. To win, you come up with your team (a hundred of them), transform yourself into a tweeting army, and tweet until your device keyboard falls off in protest and your thumbs blister.
Captain James Quest, as he was later known after winning, roped in Boniface Mwangi, a Twitter powerhouse, who then roped the entire Pawa254 Team, an organization (the only one of its kind in the Nairobi) that hosts an array of professionals. There are marketers, social media gurus, photographers, writers, film makers, drawers, graphic designers, painters, philanthropists, social workers, journalists, accountants,lawyers, actors, political activists exsetera.

Well, think of Pawa254 as a jack of all trades and a master of all. I am often disappointed that we don’t have socialites over there or do we? You never know.
As I was saying…
Captain James Quest, without the captain title, sounds very white. I often thought he was an expatriate photographer from Scotland or from Colorado USA – until I saw him. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed. No. I was simply pleasantly surprised. He’s first a photographer, then a web developer, a biker, and a consultant fixer in photo and video production. A shrewd and soft spoken man, he can pull any string and get the sound of a violin.
Shrewd people win always. James Quest won. Jambojet sent a congratulatory note written congratulations #TeamPawa and plans to fly away into the humid, finger-licking, Kenyan only Las Vegas (Las Mombasa) began in earnest. Everybody was thrilled. Ask Facebook for the posts. Tweeter choked.
You may not agree, but flying is a big deal. Flying free on the other hand is a thriller. Add free meals and free drinks (Absolut Vodka included) at a four-star hotel is on-turning – literally. And if you have not flown – we had a couple of people who had not seen the earth from the air – it’s a feeling I have not forgotten ten years down the line.

The night before my first fight, I had dreamed that I had missed the flight. Then I dreamed that the plane, after take-off kept spinning it’s tail endlessly. I had woken up exhausted already, my heart in my stomach, my kidney in my head.
On Saturday morning, the sun refused to slip out under the heavy, moody clouds. Chilliness colluded with heavy nimbus in an attempt to deny us our anticipated brightness. But we rebelled. Despite the fact that ladies have never complimented my legs, I dusted my only short. Jambojet had given a bizarre dress code. It suited the ladies but which man has fuchsia, pink, and magenta shirts and trousers? It turned out I was the one without the same except for my pink socks, magenta underwear, and fuchsia mosquito net.
I kept the three items in my bag just in case. Nothing was standing between me and the free ride. I had told myself that if push came to shove and we had to be in their colours, I would take off my shoes and spot my pink socks. Then take off my short and approach the check-in counter in my magenta underwear showing under my dress – mosquito net.
Girls were ready for Las Mombasa. There were hot pink pants, hot magenta off the shoulder crochet dresses, and fuchsia button beach-through playsuits. The men, I suspect, were all feeling the heat before we even took off from JKIA. May be am wrong. Ask a man called Jura. Don’t forget to get Man Njora’s opinion.
Nairobi – or is it safe to say Cosmopolitan city ladies? – amaze me. There is a lot of flesh to watch. May be they don’t know the effect of abundant flesh to our eyes. We had creamy cleavages, extra Nivea-polished thighs, bare backs, and bare navels. To speak for myself, I was bewitched already.
At the airport, Mr. Willem, the Jambojet CEO and his team are here to receive us. Captain James Quest is now in his captain cap. JKIA, now looking more or less like Heathrow or Armsterdam, after the upgrade knows that we’re here. A hundred excited souls in screaming colours are now making their way to domestic the departures. Other passengers are alarmed by the bright Jambojet signature colours,and the rising broken voices attract security.
Finally we’re passed the annoying airport procedures. We’re showing our boarding passes to the last lady between us and Las Mombasa. There is a breeze in the hangar, a soft kissing wisp of wind on our faces.Smiling air hostesses carrying colour-laden marketing placards usher us in.
Finally we’re aboard our flight. Faces are bright, smiles are broad, adrenaline is numbing limbs – we’re on the verge of take-off. And then the sound of the Captain… a petite lady and dark man of average height takes us through security procedure in case the plane’s tail begin to spin and smoke suddenly billows from the cockpit.

We’re now airborne.

Las Mombasa’s heat has a hate-love-relationship with people from chilly weathers. The humidity handshakes your skin, knocks at your veins and resultant feeling is blissful baking of the whole body.
As we disembark from the plane, we see a red carpet snaking all the way to the terminal. Sounds of Agiriama drums marries with the sounds of other exotic instruments and makes a matrimony of tunes. We’re then served with Madafu before the kicker unfolds before our eyes.
Jambojet Team have been busy. The County Government knows that #TeamPawa has landed. Traffic police have been mobilised along our route to the luxurious Voyager. The hotel’s owner is at the airport. He’s leading his team, all in a dazzling uniform of a all-white cruise uniforms; they’re snuggled in Epaulet short sleeved shirts, matching trousers, and complete with officer’s hat with deluxe visors. Their shoulders are glittering with four stripes of anchor insignia.

We’re his passengers in this virgin (maiden if you like) ship. Just before we leave, a searing siren cuts into the airport’s silence. We’re leaving through the humid-laden streets. The sleek tour vans, six of them or thereabouts, glide after the county police car. Other motorists humbly take to the sidewalks as we gallop by. Heads turn, necks twist, and mouths part as our motorcade cuts a corner, zoom past a cleared roundabout, and squeezes between cars of the chaotic Tuk Tuk-choking city.
It takes about half an our before the police car, now in a lush neighbourhood, takes the last corner. Made of Makuti and high pillars, then souped up with low rafters, the Voyager Beach Resort is a perfect mix of both luxury and class. The stunning location gives a picturesque view of the blue beach water waves and the glittering silt sand.

But the show is far from over. It was only starting. Two lines of what looked like coast guards, in full uniforms lined the entrance on both sides, their guns (made of wood) cocked. Now we’re allowed kingly (and queenly for that matter) entry into bosom of serenity. Waiting by the pool is a stretching table with with glasses, drinks, and scores of waitresses.
Then the lunch. We’re ushered into a menu with varieties. Fish, mshikakis, lamb, barbecued chicken, and of course other dishes I have had no desire look up their identity. We dance and drink. For a moment, we forget the boring, routine Nairobi life and walk the sandy beaches, enjoy selfies, and dance to Hart-The-Band’s Uliza Kiatu and shout our lungs out to Sarabi’s Sheria.
In the end,the sun drunkenly walks towards the horizon, throwing kisses of rays our way, pestering us to remain in Las Mombasa until he wakes up in the east twelve hours later. But free is limited and that’s why you must enjoy while it lasts. Jambojet team held to their part of the bargain and offered fun and luxury. #TeamPawa exploited the opportunity to the maximum.
Salute to Captain Quest, his co-captain Boniface Mwangi, and #TeamPawa for the stellar performance.
I sign off.


note: you can see more pictures from this epic trip on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/72740345@N03/sets/72157648076192516/