Friday, June 1, 2012 artist is amazing, he meticulously paint photo-realistic figures that are absolutely beautiful

Friday, February 17, 2012

Monday, September 12, 2011

Art world

I want to learn all that I need to know about opening an art gallery.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mobile Apps & Developer Conference

Mobile technology in Africa. Very inspiring...
here is a blurp from the site...

Pivot25 is an mlab initiative to bring focus on the Mobile developer and entrepreneur community in East Africa.
The Mlab is an incubator and testing facility for mobile application and services Companies.

This is neat!

Photoshop touch

Thursday, April 7, 2011

She built a School

One woman's dream to change her destiny and that of other young girls comes true.

PISTACHIOS - Kakenya from POCKO on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pumzi an amazing short film

Wanuri Kahiu uncovers the making of Pumzi

Wanuri Kahiu is a passionate woman; passionate about her craft, about storytelling and about this earth. Pumzi, her most recent film explores futuristic Africa after World War III - ‘The Water War.’

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I love this!

Macy's is helping struggling countries impacted by war and natural disasters, by selling handcrafted goods in their stores. You can buy this beautiful, colorful handcrafted baskets from Rwanda at Macy's. They also have art and crafts from Haiti I have not seen them in the stores, not sure if this is only online.

"The partnership between Macy's and the Rwanda Path To Peace Program since 2005 and was established to create a viable and sustainable business that provides economic stability, the Macy's Rwanda Path to Peace project promotes an environment of peace to positively impact the future of Rwanda's 8 million citizens. Focusing on trade, not aid, the export and sale of the beautiful hand-woven baskets made by has sustainable income directly into the hands of Rwandan women, most of who are heads of households and were previously living on less than $1.00 per day. This income has visibly changed the lives of the weavers in remarkable ways by providing food, shelter, medical care, education, and other necessities, while also imparting a great sense of pride and self esteem."
Kelly Parker.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I am so inpired

Emmy Kosgei

A gospel musician from humble beginings. I like her music, her style and most important her giving heart. Her singing sucess has enabled her to start a new school where she helps up to 32 children from poor families.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

seed favours

I saw this idea for a wedding favor that I absolutely love. A wedding favor that's good for the environment, this is from style me pretty.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

African Institute of Mathematical Sciences

Another African gem...

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) was founded in Cape Town, South Africa in 2003 as a pan-African center for post-graduate training and research providing advanced, broadly applicable mathematical skills to talented students recruited from all over Africa. Operating as a partnership between African and international universities, AIMS provides an innovative and relevant curriculum within an exceptional 24-hour learning environment. Outstanding international and African lecturers teach three week courses, leveraging the expertise and goodwill of the top academics from around the world.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Africa

After listening to most of the speakers at Ted, something stuck out like a sore thumb.
I realized most of the people who talked about Africa were in 2 camps. The outsiders going to Africa and looking at Africa as a sick ailing child in need of help. And the Africans who mostly left and studied abroad and are now trying to paint a different picture of Africa. Most of them are talking about developments e.t.c.

But the one thing that struck me the most is the young man who flipped the script.
Finally a refreshing, inspiring story about William Kamkwamba, author, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," and built a windmill. I am sure there are so many more of stories like these that we don't get to hear. This is what we need to hear more of.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inspiring stories

There are days when life just seems to so blah...
I feel like I need to do something different, I don't know what yet.
I went looking for inspiration and came across some inspiring stories...
some of them moved me to tears. One speaker said "when all your basic needs are met and you feel like..."contribute to a course that's larger than yourself".

Some movers and shaker at Ted

Jacqueline Novogratz on escaping poverty

Sheryl WuDunn: Our century's greatest injustice

Eleni Gabre-Madhin on Ethiopian economics

Majora Carter: Greening the ghetto

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Tony Porter: A call to men

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The art of draping

I am fascinated by draping... luckily I found this article.

draping is, for the West, part of a historical heritage, draped clothes are still worn daily by millions of people all around the world. For Peul, Indian, Yemeni, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, Polynesian, Somali people, among others, they express identity, social recognition…and sometimes, personal mood. Their colour, shape, fabric ornamentation, and details codify them, giving clues about ethnic origin, marital status or religion. These garments are usually long strips of un stitched cloth wrapped around the body (Indian sari, African Kanga or Kitenge) or worn as a kilt by men and skirt by women (Indian Dhoti or Indonesian Sarong).
Behind each draped garment, there are numerous cultural and economic activities: fibres are cultivated, sheep and silk worms are bred, and the raw material is processed according to various traditional weaving, dyeing, beading, knitting and pleating techniques, knowing that the simpler the shape, the richer the embellishment.
Antique, Art Deco and Ethnic: these three versions persist and are convincingly interpreted this season (Spring/Summer 2010) by designers like Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, Haider Ackermann or Dries Van Noten, proving that an age-old art can be re-explored infinitely.

Louise Kissa

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BHF magazine

I was surfing the web as usual and stumbled on this great site that I am soooo excited about. Good work! keep it up

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Inside Nairobi, the Next Palo Alto?

IN the republic of innovation, life is unfair. A relatively small number of places — all in wealthy countries or in China and India — create nearly every important technological advance.

Google has mapped Nairobi and wants to add similar detail for other African cities.

Other places must be content with technologies made by others. Yet people in these areas are dreaming of more.

Consider Wilfred Mworia, a 22-year-old engineering student and freelance code writer in Nairobi, Kenya. In the four weeks leading up to Apple’s much-anticipated release of a new iPhone on July 11, Mr. Mworia created an application for the phone that shows where events in Nairobi are happening and allows people to add details about them.

Mr. Mworia’s desire to develop an application for the iPhone is not unusual: many designers around the world are writing programs for the device. But his location posed some daunting obstacles: the iPhone doesn’t work in Nairobi, and Mr. Mworia doesn’t even own one. He wrote his program on an iPhone simulator.

“Even if I don’t have an iPhone,” Mr. Mworia says defiantly, “I can still have a world market for my work.”

Nairobi’s challenges are many. Internet use is relatively expensive and slow. Power failures are common. The city also lacks a world-class technical university. Mr. Mworia’s professors don’t offer lessons in the latest computer languages; he must learn them on his own.

Political instability can be a problem, too. Earlier this year, Kenya suffered widespread violence after its disputed national election. For weeks, work in Nairobi came to a halt.

“If you have a bright idea in Nairobi, you can’t just turn it around,” says Laura Frederick, an American working on an online payment system in the city.

Still, Nairobi is home to a digital brew that invites optimism about its chances for creating unusual innovations. The city has relatively few wired phone lines or networked personal computers, so mobile phones are the essential digital tool. Four times as many people have them as have bank accounts. Text messages are far more popular than e-mail. Safaricom, the dominant mobile provider, offers a service called M-pesa that lets customers send money with text messages. Nokia sells brand-new phones here for as little as $33.

While engineers in the United States lavish attention on expensive phones that boast laptoplike features, in Kenya there are 10 million low-end phones. Millions more are used elsewhere in Africa. Enhancements to such basic phones can be experimented with cheaply in Nairobi, and because designers are weaned on narrow bandwidth, they are comfortable writing compact programs suited to puny devices.

“Applications are heavy in America,” says Michael Wakahe, a Nairobi code writer. “Here we have to make them light,” because simpler hardware requires smaller programs. These can have advantages in wireless systems.

The distinctive digital experience in Nairobi inspires confidence in its youthful community of programmers, bloggers and Web enthusiasts. Over the past year, about 600 people in Nairobi — most under 25 — have coalesced into a group called Skunk Works, sharing ideas and encouraging new businesses. In June, it held an all-day workshop that included sessions on using the Android phone operating system from Google, developing applications for digital maps and creating content for mobile phones.

“Possibilities are opening up for us,” says Josiah Mugambi, one of the group’s organizers.

The prospect of marrying low-end mobile phones with the Internet is earning Nairobi notice from outsiders, who wonder whether the city might emerge as a test-bed for tomorrow’s technologies. One intriguing possibility is broadcasting local television programs on mobile phones.

In Nairobi’s highest-profile validation, Google opened a development office here last September. “Africa is a huge long-term market for us,” Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said by e-mail. “We have to start by helping people get online, and the creativity of the people will take care of the rest.”

Google hired seven recent university graduates, who digitally mapped the streets and structures of Nairobi for Google Maps. The company is now doing the same for other African cities. A leading Nairobi television broadcaster, NTV, has made a deal to present whole episodes of its programs on YouTube, a Google property.

Google plans to hire more people in Nairobi and is recruiting staff in half a dozen other African cities. In Nairobi, Google chose a veteran of the city’s Internet-access industry to lead its office. The company assigned two Americans here; like the presidential candidate Barack Obama, each is the child of a Kenyan and an American.

The company’s presence has raised ambitions. “When I interview people for jobs in this office,” explains Chris Kiagiri, a Google technology officer in Nairobi, “I ask them, ‘What would you like to see Google do in this market that it has not attempted anywhere else in the world?’”

“A lot of people assume Google is trying to replicate in Africa what it has done elsewhere,” adds Mr. Kiagiri, who transferred last year from Google’s head office in California. “Sure, we want to bring existing products into this market. But we also want to organize information locally in a way we haven’t done elsewhere.”

To be truly creative in a technological backwater is to defeat geography. Even as powerful a technological force as Google might not succeed. But dreaming of greatness, Kenyans are pushing Google to expand into completely new areas.

One local programmer, Timothy Mbugua, wants Google to enhance its communication backbone so he can use it to build a money-transfer business that would charge lower rates than existing services. While it sounds daunting, Mr. Mbugua explains, “I’m only saying to Google, ‘This is what I need from you in order to execute my idea.’”

G. Pascal Zachary teaches journalism at Stanford and writes about technology and economic development. E-mail:

Does this sound familiar?

I read this and had to post it. I can identify with everything he says. The conclusion however is debatable.

Danish S Khatri

A screeching yell ripped through the house that Wednesday evening, "Ahhhhh, we're being invaded!". My mother rushed into the living room. I pointed to the flickering television screen. "Look," I whispered in disbelief. A few seconds of silence followed. There they were, the words I never thought would appear on our 29 inch Sony screen: "Sizzlin' Hot Country". The appearance of American country music on the Kenyan airwaves was the latest sign that American culture had penetrated the borders of my country. The airing of Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton on the local television station is not the only evidence of the rapid spread of American culture in Kenya. One look at a large portion of its youth and this cultural invasion will become apparent. Baggy pants, Nike, pop music and malls, symbols of American youth culture can now be associated with the Kenyan teenagers. The Nike phenomenon hit Kenya several years ago. My classmates in primary school were obsessed with the American brand name that had rocked the global shoe industry. Their school desks had the Nike name and logo painted on in every color imaginable. Not being able to afford some of the merchandise, many resorted to drawing the logo on bags, clothes, shoes and other visible possessions. Turning up to a class party with the trademark tick appearing on one's footwear simply made one the center of attention. My favorite pair of shoes, I have to admit, were a pair of black Nikes which raised many brows and turned just as many heads.

Secondary school had its fair share of examples of the cultural invasion. In most schools in Kenya, students dress in uniforms. For example, in my school it was compulsory to wear a white shirt, gray pants, black leather shoes, a green tie and green sweater. The American influence was still evident despite this homogenous look. Pete was an example of a victim of the culture invasion. He would often be seen with his pants held precariously at his hips only by a belt. Sagging soon caught on with many students and yet again, I admit, with me. Sagging probably had its origins in the popular American hip hop that appears on many local channels. While walking around in school, I would find students mimicking the popular '2 Pac' and 'Dr. Dre', with a "Wesssaaid" sounding in the air occasionally. A friend was also nicknamed Krayzie Bone, after a member of the Bone Thugs- N- Harmony group. Baggy jeans that could have fit two people at a time were also the order of the day at many parties and get-togethers. Donning DKNY, Karlkani, CK and Adidas attire made one hip. Jeans had become such a popular article that during our school's annual Cultural Day, the only day when one could or would show off one's cultural attire, they were banned.

School dances and parties rarely featured traditional songs. Instead, American icons like Aaliyah, Dr Dre and Britney Spears dominated the playlists. Roaming the grounds of my secondary school, I would find a girl singing out "What a girl wants, what a girl..." in a desperate attempt to mimic pop idol Christina Aguilera. For some reason, emulating American youth was trendy. Rakim, another one of my friends, was popular for putting on an American accent when talking with girls. This act of putting on a fake American accent was so popular that the term "twanging" was coined for it. The American sport of basketball has also become popular among the Kenyan youth. I remember posters of Michael Jordan and Grant Hill hung on the classroom walls. The world famous Kenyan runners Moses Tanui and Wilson Kipketer had no place on our walls, however!

The mall has become a popular hangout among Kenyan teenagers. Like our American counterparts in television shows, we would frequently visit the mall to have a meal, watch a movie and 'chill'. Fast food is just as popular. Nandos, Steers and Southern Fried Chicken, all MacDonalds clones, are popular dining locations for teens in Kenya.

This cultural invasion has taken place in the main cities. The rural areas are not shielded from it, however. While visiting a remote location in Kenya, I once came across a 'matatu' (passenger mini van) boldly bearing the name Monica Lewinsky. 'Matatus', a popular means of transport in the country usually attract the youth with blaring western music. Many 'matatus' are characterized by themes. These themes are highly indicative of the American culture storm that has hit the country. American musicians, brand names, and basketball teams often serve as themes.

America has undoubtedly extended its image abroad. American films, television shows, and music make up a large portion of the Kenyan television and radio broadcasts. American products and culture are not blatantly advertised on local television, however. Instead, they are intricately incorporated into the various shows aired. Via a show like Beverly Hills 90210, the Kenyan teen is subconsciously informed about the latest trends in fashion. American music videos also contribute to this subconscious cultural invasion. Hip hop is the most popular genre of music aired. Many local artists have risen to popularity through rap. The popularity of hip hop and rap, in my opinion, is in part due to the common racial roots of African Americans and Kenyans. These genres are popular among the indigenous Kenyan youth.

A wide consequence of this invasion is the snubbing of local culture and traditions. As a youngster, I would often watch Indian movies and programs with my parents. However, on growing up, I abandoned these for American shows. Another example of the effect of the cultural invasion is the adoption of a street language by Kenyan youth. Although the slang has no American 'ghetto' language incorporated, its introduction was, in my opinion, most likely influenced by the presence of the American version. The language is a mixture of various languages. The youth's preference of this slang to the national language could result in the demise of Kiswahili. Why are countries like Kenya so vulnerable to American influence? Why is the American culture adopted so readily while the Japanese culture, for example, is not? The United States, being the only superpower, plays a significant role (desirable or not) in many world affairs. It is regarded in many ways as an ideal nation and is thus held in high regard in many countries. America is associated with success. Few countries can boast such prosperity. Hip hop, MacDonalds, Nike and even baggy pants serve as symbols of American culture and hence by association as symbols of success.

While hip hop and baggy pants may not epitomize American success, Kenyan youth adopt this aspect of American culture perhaps because of the common roots and racial background the majority share with African Americans. Wearing Nike shoes or sagging one's pants may seem to be meaningless gestures. However, wearing shoes that many popular, rich American sporting icons don or sagging pants like the famous hip hop artists makes one different from the rest. It allows one to adopt an American identity, one defined by success and importance.

While some would argue that such a spread of American culture would be beneficial because it would, in a sense, create a global village, I think this cultural invasion creates more harm than good. It would result in the demise of local cultures and languages. And this is certainly not a good thing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sons of Lwala

Very Inspiring story of two brothers, who went to the U.S to study medicine while there they lost their parents to AIDS, they promised their villages they would come back and built a hospital.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Matatu Art

A video on matatu's Kenya's public transportation taxis. The owners find a way to make their taxis more popular with the crowds to attract customers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nairobits web design school for underpriviledged

This is just awesome!


1999-2009, Africa

A Digital Design School where young people from Nairobi`s slums are trained as webdesigners and cultural entrepreneurs.

Original concept: Butterfly Works

The adventure of Nairobits started as 1 year training in web design, resulting in an exhibition.

The tremendous success of the initiative prompted the continuation of the program that overtime developed in a extensive curriculum that is constantly updated and adapted.

NairoBits is now run independently by a team of Kenyan managers and teachers.

With nearly 100% employment rate for their graduates, Nairobits represents a unique opportunity of life change for the youth of the slums.

On the successful model of Nairobits, Zanzibits and Addisbits were also developed. Butterfly Works is now happily busy developing Mamabits, the mother of all Bit`s, a franchiseholder and support centre that will ensure training and assistance to all Bit`s projects.

Slumdog digital design

Mark Kamau, the general manager of Nairobits, a digital design school that provides education to young people living in Nairobi slums. Calling himself the ‘Slumdog Manager’, he gave an inspiring talk on his journey out of the slums of Kenya and the future of African aid.

He estimated that 80 per cent of his school friends were either in prison or dead – two had been covered in petrol and set alight, suffering the ‘instant justice’ of the slums after they had been caught stealing.

But his message was hopeful and he argued that the way in which he had been helped by the Nairobits program could serve as a template for Africa: he was respected, challenged, supported and given responsibility and Africa needs this sort of intelligent engagement over aid, he said.

His simple and powerful speech earned a standing ovation."

About Mark

Mark Kamau was born against a backdrop of crime and hardship in the slums of Nairobi in 1980. Mark’s dream of a better future finally became reality in 2000 when he registered at web design school NairoBits.

Although he had never touched a keyboard before, Mark began as one of the first web design students in East Africa studying design, technique and African culture.

Following graduation he moved from creating his first website for an international client, to becoming a trainer at NairoBits, he set up his own web company, then became manager of Kilimanjaro Film School in neighbouring Tanzania.

Now Mark is heading back to Nairobi to become the manager of NairoBits (now a hub of technological innovation) where his next step is inspiring the next generation of Nairobits students.

In 10 years, Mark (and many NairoBits students like him) has shown what talent and drive can achieve when given exposure and fertile ground. Mark is excited about the future.

Nairobits is a unique web-design school in Nairobi, founded in 2000 by the Dutch foundation Butterfly Works.

Monday, November 23, 2009

awesome potraits

President Obama potraits by Ben Heine

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Obama matatu

Impressive art on public transport in Kenya.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Kenyan behind Oprah’s school IT network

By Wallace Kantai (email the author)
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Posted Friday, August 28 2009 at 00:00

A friend leading by example.

Remember Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy? The school for girls in Johannesburg that was designed to be the showpiece for the education of underprivileged girls?

The South African version of our very own Starehe Boys’ Centre, but built with the millions and attention from the world’s richest black woman.

If you had gone for the school’s opening in January 2007, you would have been dazzled by the stars on display that day. From old stalwarts like Sidney Poitier and Quincy Jones, to newer luminaries such as Chris Rock and Mariah Carey, the gallery of entertainment and civil rights heavyweights present that night —to ‘sindikiza’, if you will, their fellow superstar—was quite amazing.

You would have been forgiven, then, to look past the slight woman circulating in the room, accepting quiet words of congratulations from those in the know. That woman was central to the success of the School, and those congratulating her recognised that fact.

Yes, she is Kenyan, and her name is Hazel Gachoka.

Ms. Gachoka is an executive at Cisco (her present title is Services Marketing Manager), whose career in the company has taken her on an itinerant journey within the United States and all the way to South Africa.

She was responsible for all the IT aspects of Oprah’s school. The system she was in charge of designing and implementing for the school was an enterprise-wide network, which handles all communications aspects for the school, including wireless communication, VoIP, firewalls, content management systems, video conferencing and multimedia. State-of-the-art may be a good way to describe the sort of network that was put together for the students at the academy.

Ms. Gachoka has some firsts to her name that will give you pause, and the most impressive among these is that she was the first Kenyan woman to be certified as a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (the alphabet soup of Cisco certifications is confusing to the layman, but these are among the most sought-after in the IT world, leading as they do to a rather lucrative career — the CCIE is the highest certification among these).

Years ending in nine have been red-letter years for Ms. Gachoka. She left Kenya in 1989, got certified as a CCIE in 1999, and began her green energy venture in Nairobi in 2009. Let’s take each of these in order, shall we?

Hazel is a product of the Loreto Convent/ St. Mary’s network (yes, yet another one) —Loreto Convent Msongari, with her high school education (Fifth and Sixth Form) at St. Mary’s.

She left for the United States at the end of the 1980s to pursue her university education, and enrolled at Jersey City State University to pursue a degree in business, with rather unintended consequences.

Virtual systems
“I intended to complete an undergraduate degree in Business and return home to help my parents run their business. That did not happen. Instead I graduated in Computer Science and right after that completed a Master’s in Computer Science,” she says.

She decided that one Master’s degree was not enough, and promptly enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology, this time for a Master’s in Telecommunications.

Part of the motivation for the second Master’s is that SIT is at a level to be often mentioned in the same breath as its more famous peers such as MIT and Caltech).

From this followed a career in Liz Claiborne— the luxury goods retailer, helping to design their data mining and warehousing system, as well as a system to help manage their sales system across the United States; MCI Worldcom (which was the big player in telecommunications at the turn of the century).

The Cisco certification in 1999 enabled her to make the leap into Cisco proper, joining the company at its Massachusetts office and then at headquarters in Silicon Valley.

The role involved designing and implementing systems for institutions ranging from JP MorganChase, to the Bank of Tokyo, the NASDAQ exchange, to Rutgers University and Foxwoods Casinos.

Cisco is perhaps the global pioneer in creating and deploying virtual teams, which cut across the company and geographical boundaries —where teams are constructed as and when competencies are required, and whose reporting structures stretch across the world. Being part of such a team is what led Ms. Gachoka to Johannesburg in 2005.

The sojourn in Johannesburg was perhaps the most interesting for her in terms of the assignments she handled.

In addition to leading the team deploying the network at the Oprah academy, she also led teams that designed and deployed remote learning systems for the Nepad e-schools project (part of an ambitious Nepad effort to outfit schools all over the continent with the means to get maths and science content delivered wireless).

She was also supposed to lead a team to help deploy an IT network that would monitor the pioneering elections in the DRC in 2006, but a dire security assessment led to the scrapping of that assignment.

Pricing models
Her digital photo albums from the time also feature photos of her at the pyramids in Giza and in Addis Ababa, as she helped Egypt Telecom and Ethiopia Telecom deploy new networks that would help them leapfrog from the antiquated systems that were then in use to new, world class systems.

Ms. Gachoka was redeployed back to San Jose at the end of 2007, to be leader of a team that’s responsible for, in her words, “service strategy, definition, development, implementation, management and metrics for services across the network lifecycle.”

The team, which needless to say is a virtual one, launches multi-million dollar systems for customers all over the world, and also develops global service pricing models for use throughout the company.

Ms. Gachoka hasn’t forgotten that she was supposed to come back soon after completing her degree, so as part of the effort in keeping in touch with home, she’s begun a company in Nairobi whose focus is to “deliver clean renewable energy.” Simply put, she hopes to get Kenyans hooked on solar, wind and geothermal energy as the solution to our perennial power crises.

The company has started out small, in the sense that it’s catering to the home and small business market, but her ambitions are much bigger —”renewable energy is where the world’s attention, and its future, lies, and PRCK Energy will be right at the centre of this for the African continent,” she says.

So, look at this page in 2019, when we may be celebrating Hazel Gachoka in the same breath as Oprah Winfrey.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Clinton tells Kenya to implement delayed reforms

Clinton tells Kenya to implement delayed reforms
Wed Aug 5, 2009 4:36pm GMT

By Sue Pleming

NAIROBI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Kenya's government on Wednesday it must quickly implement long-delayed reforms and that corruption, impunity and human rights abuses were holding the country back.

Carrying a personal message from U.S. President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, Clinton said she told President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga they must work harder to fully implement a power-sharing deal that ended bloodletting after a disputed December 2007 election.

Clinton is in Nairobi for a U.S. trade conference with sub-Saharan African countries, where she warned that investors would shun states on the continent that had weak leaders and economies riddled with corruption and crime.

At a press conference with Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula, she used unusually harsh language about the situation in Kenya.

"The absence of strong, effective democratic institutions has permitted ongoing corruption, impunity, politically motivated violence, human rights abuses and a lack of respect for the rule of law," Clinton said.

"These conditions helped fuel the post-election violence and they are continuing to hold Kenya back."

Wetangula said his government was doing everything it could and it was important for nations to talk to each other candidly.

"President Kibaki and his team assured the Secretary of State that reforms are on course and that the war against impunity in the country is on, that a war against corruption is on," he said at the joint news conference.

"All sanctuaries of corruption will be destroyed to make Kenya a cleaner and safer place to do business," he promised.

Last month, Kenya was ranked by Transparency International as east Africa's most graft-prone nation, with a bribe expected or solicited in nearly half of all transactions.


At the trade meeting, Clinton repeated a message given last month by U.S. President Barack Obama during a speech in Ghana.

"True economic progress in Africa ... also depends on responsible governments that reject corruption, enforce the rule of law and deliver results for their people. This is not just about good governance, this is about good business," she said.

"Investors will be attracted to states that do this. And they will not be attracted to states with failed or weak leadership, or crime and civil unrest, or corruption that taints every transaction and decision."

In a video message after Clinton spoke, Obama said that only Africans could unlock the continent's potential.

"Open markets alone are not enough. Development requires the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and an atmosphere that welcomes investment," he said.

Washington is looking at ways to boost trade with the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for little more than one percent of U.S. exports and only three percent of imports.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga told the meeting African goods could not compete against subsidised U.S. products.

"We need partnership and not patronage," Odinga said.

The U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is due to expire in 2015. Some African countries would like that extended as the deadline causes uncertainty among potential investors.

Clinton said Africa had an opportunity to create its own "Green Revolution" thanks to new technology and innovation that would let countries bypass the "dirty" stages of development.

"Right now, Africa suffers from a severe shortage of electric power and too many countries rely on oil as virtually their only source of revenue. But the capacity for producing renewable and clean energy is far and wide," she said.

Clinton said empowering women in Africa would be a valuable step to boosting development, and respecting their rights was a moral and economic imperative.

"The social, political and economic marginalisation of women across Africa has left a void in this continent that undermines progress and prosperity every day," she said.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai gets the image NAACP award for her commitment in protecting the enviroment. Nobel Peace Prize

She also won the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, December 2004.

So inspiring!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh my Gosh

History unfolds Obama is president! We look forward to a bright future.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

destination weddings in Africa

I am researching wedding venues in Africa...

Depending on the couples wishes I have stumbled upon quite a few destinations

For the romantic idyllic tourist you have a choice between national parks, beach or
theme garden weddings in the city.

National parks include...Aberdare, Amboselli, mount Kenya, Maralal, Meru, lake Naivasha, Shimba Hills, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo, Lake turkana, Samburi, Masai Mara.

Mombasa wedding by the Indian ocean...choose from a a variety of beach hotel...
Severin, White sands, Diani, Masai Mara leopard beach resort...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kenya: Competition Stiff As Wedding Industry Booms

Kenya: Competition Stiff As Wedding Industry Booms

Wanjiru Waithaka

12 March 2008

Meeting Hope Mwinzi, soon after she launched her bridal magazine - Raspberry Weddings - the question that instantly came to mind was: Do we really need yet another bridal magazine or Expo in Kenya? Can there be that many people getting married to justify all the people falling over themselves to serve this niche?

The answer is a resounding 'Yes!' Ten thousand marriages were registered two years ago and the figure has grown since. Although guest lists are getting smaller, with an average of 150 to 300 people compared to over 500 a few years ago, the amount spent per weddings is increasing as brides try to outdo friends by having the most exclusive and unique wedding.

"In 2002, I started a wedding planning business, but soon closed it down because people were using committees to organise their weddings.

"Nowadays I get clients who say they want what they saw on a TV show or international magazine and they are willing to pay for it," says Ms Mwinzi.

Ms Esther Njuguna, a wedding planner, says she's booked solid till December - with an average of four weddings a week. In less than a decade, the wedding industry has grown from nothing to mainstream and couples have a wide variety of suppliers to choose from, be it wedding planners, florists, caterers, providers of tents, limousine services, venues, even hotels which now have special wedding packages.

Supermarkets have joined the bandwagon with wedding lists where couples can choose which gifts they want to receive from guests.

But like many older industries, which experienced rapid growth in a short period of time, the wedding industry in Kenya is experiencing growing pains as competition stiffens.

Lack of regulation has resulted in some fraudsters riding on the good name of established brands to fleece clients. "The biggest issue is standards because many people are entering the industry jua kali style, with no training and money is their first priority, not good service," says Sue Muriuki of Divine Weddings.

This has become the biggest headache for established brands because most suppliers get new clients from referrals and a company's reputation is its best asset. "People are taking advantage of brides by passing off as well known suppliers and taking money then failing to supply services on the material day," says Ms Catherine Masitsa, founder of Samantha Bridal magazine.

Greedy managers of wedding venues are known to overbook their premises so that couples promised an exclusive venue get a shock when they arrive for their reception only to find two or three other weddings also taking place, constraining parking space for their guests not to mention the nuisance of noise spilling over from the other celebrations.

To tackle these challenges, 100 players in the industry have come together and formed the Wedding Service Providers Association to strategise on how to regulate the industry.

A bride

Among the actions being considered is registering members who meet a certain minimum level of standards and providing them with a logo to distinguish them from other industry players. It would also be a central place where clients can forward complains to if they get bad service, with the association playing the role of arbitrator.

"Members will be bound by a code of conduct and will know someone is watching them. But more than that, it will help to protect brides from unscrupulous companies because if you're messed up on your wedding day you can never get that day back," says Ms Masitsa, the chairperson of the association.

Ms Muriuki, on the other hand, is on a mission to certify wedding planners in East and Central Africa after they undergo a six-month course. She is a member of Weddings and Beautiful, a 52-year-old American wedding training company.

As the industry grows, segmentation is also becoming more visible in the prices charged by industry players. At the low end are wedding planners who charge Sh25,000 to Sh30,000 while at the top end are planners who charge Sh100,000 and over.

While some players base their fees on a percentage of the total costs of the wedding - anywhere from five to 20 per cent - others base their fees on the amount of work involved in planning an event. "If someone asks for black roses that are very hard to get we charge more for this. It also depends on the number of events we'll have to co-ordinate, for instance, some people have more than one cocktail," says Ms Mwinzi.

The huge disparity in the amount couples are spending on weddings also presents opportunities for new entrants as they can tailor their products and services to serve people with different pocket depths.

For instance, one couple can spend Sh300,000 for their entire wedding while another spends the same amount on flowers alone. High end weddings, with all the trimmings, have been known to cost upwards of Sh3 million.

In one such wedding the bride's dress cost Sh400,000, purchased from a top designer in the United Kingdom. This excluded the cost of travelling to the UK for three to four fittings. "Such spending seems irrational when you consider that we have bridal wear suppliers locally, but it's the perceived value that counts for such brides," says Ms Masitsa.

The need to have a unique wedding that rivals anything their friends have had is driving more brides to hire wedding planners and has put a premium on creativity, with brides ready to pay more for good ideas that will help their weddings stand out.

Competition is quite high and you need to be quite creative to succeed. This means keeping up with the latest wedding trends," says Ms Njuguna who recently started a bridal magazine, which is now in its fourth issue. Last month she also launched a bridal expo (Harusi Yetu) to join the three others already in the market.

Copyright © 2008 Business Daily. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Friday, November 21, 2008

I am back

Took a short break but I am back, let the blogging begin!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New York Talk Exchange

and another one from

Project Description:
New York Talk Exchange illustrates the global exchange of information in real time by visualizing volumes of long distance telephone and IP data flowing between New York and cities around the world.

In an information age, telecommunications such as the Internet and the telephone bind people across space by eviscerating the constraints of distance. To reveal the relationships that New Yorkers have with the rest of the world, New York Talk Exchange asks: How does the city of New York connect to other cities? With which cities does New York have the strongest ties and how do these relationships shift with time? How does the rest of the world reach into the neighborhoods of New York? The size of the glow on a particular city location corresponds to the amount of IP traffic flowing between that place and New York City. A greater glow implies a greater IP flow.

The NYTE project has been on display at MoMA The Museum of Modern Art, part of the Design and Elastic Mind exhibition, and the real time data is being provided by AT&T.

Visual Complexity

Then I found more amazing visualizations of data

Project Description: was born in order to measure and evaluate transportation network complexity. As the author explains: "After having read the amazing A. L. Barabasi's Linked, I decided to develop some new approaches towards networks dynamics. How Ordered are they? How Small are they? How Robust are they?".

According to Fabio Lamanna, during the last years many physicians have been interested in transportation network analysis, laying the theoretical basis for extending complex network knowledge to real dynamical systems. tries to apply and verify physical theories on real systems, using timetable data of real moving entities under fixed constraints.

The main subject of study for the project has been the Berlin urban network, consisting of U-Bahn, S-Bahn and Regional Bahn lines; strongly interconnected with Bus, Strabenbahn and Metrotram vehicles. The complex network approach requires a simple tool to analyse the dynamics of different transportation modes on real infrastructures. The image shown here represents the distribution of travel times and betweenness centrality of the entire Berlin transportation network.

mapping data

I have always been very interested in finding interesting ways to visualize data.
I stumbled upon this very fascinating project.

more from the artist


Email became an integral part of my life in 1998. Like many people, I have archived all of my email with the hope of someday revisiting my past. I am interested in revealing the innumerable relationships between me, my schoolmates, work-mates, friends and family. This could not readily be accomplished by reading each of my 60,000 emails one-by-one. Instead, I created My Map, a relational map and alternative self portrait. My Map is a piece of custom designed software capable of rendering the relationships between myself and individuals in my address book by examining the TO:, FROM:, and CC: fields of every email in my email archive. The intensity of the relationship is determined by the intensity of the line. My Map allows me to explore different relational groupings and periods of time, revealing the temporal ebbs and flows in various relationships. In this way, My Map is a veritable self-portrait, a reflection of my associations and a way to locate myself.

My Map can be viewed as a large scale static print (40″x40″ archival inkjet) or as an up-to-date dynamic visualization (see Quicktime video above). The interactive program is written in Java and uses the Processsing libraries, MySQL and various other libraries. The software includes a custom IMAP email client and a VCF address book parser that parses contact information and their images. This particular visualization strategy was influenced by similar cicular relational structures such as CAIDA, SCHEMABALL, GNOM, etc. Much of my initial email visualization research was influenced and inspired by the work of Judith Donath’s Sociable Media Group at MIT — particularly the work of Fernanda Viegas.

Africa--Flow and ingenuity

Every once in a while i ran into a great article about Africa.Copied from its about getting inspiration from different places.

Kampala Uganda

History. The city grew as the capital of the Buganda kingdom, from which several buildings survive, including the Kasubi Tombs (built in 1881), the Buganda Parliament, the Buganda Court of Justice and the Naggalabi Buddo Coronation Site. If you saw the movie “The Last King of Scotland”, you know everything worst about Uganda. Well, the good news is, that was thirty years ago. Since then Uganda has rebounded to become one of the more stable and progressive regions of East Africa. The economy is healthy, the people are lovely and interesting and the equatorial climate is gorgeous! Careful getting around though, the highest cause of death here is automobile accidents!

Getting there. Getting to the capital of Uganda is tricky. First, there are no direct flights in the U.S. Instead, one must fly through a connecting in Europe, Dubai or another part of Africa and then continue to Entebbe International Airport in Entebbe, Uganda. From there the ride to Kampala is only about thirty minutes via hired taxi. Altogether the entire process can take anywhere from 20 to 48 hours.

Natural inspiration. Africa is the home to many wonders of the natural world and this is no different in the country of Uganda. Safaris, wildlife, camping with chimps, gorilla tracking, skiing (yes you can ski in Africa), whitewater rafting and the incredibly friendly people make it one of the most inviting destinations in the whole continent.

Why it will inspire? Flow and ingenuity. You have never found flow like you’ll find it in Africa. Local farmers get completely immersed in creating things out of limited resources, exemplifying two of the fundamental aspects of good design (focus and resourcefulness).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my favourite companies/website

I am going to compile a list of my favourite companies and what they do.
First and foremost.

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Non-political and non-sectarian, we operate each year in more than 65 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, reaching more than 50 million people in poor communities.

CARE helps tackle underlying causes of poverty so that people can become self-sufficient. CARE is often one of the first to deliver emergency aid to survivors of natural disasters and war and, once the immediate crisis is over, we help people rebuild their lives. While CARE is a large international organisation with more than 14,500 employees worldwide, we have a strong local presence: more than 90 % of our staff are nationals of the countries where our programmes are run.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Adobe adds flash to Acrobat

Hmmm flash in pdfs, interesting. see article from...
Monday, June 02, 2008 10:20 AM PDT

Adobe on Monday is set to unveil the next version of its Adobe Acrobat software, which adds support for the company's Flash multimedia technology. The company also plans to launch a new Web site offering users free hosted services for document creation, sharing and storage.

The move positions Adobe competitively against Microsoft, Google and other companies offering similar services online and signals Adobe's first major move into the hosted-services arena for business documents.

Combined, the two announcements support Adobe's broader strategy to offer rich-media capabilities through Flash and other technologies for both online and offline documents.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Currently looking for Taita boy names. Someone needs to post baby names, very hard to find those on the internet. For those interested in the taita culture from Kenya. This should be a fun project.
check out and

thanks dor posting this destiny.
Taita boy names? Most of the names have a pre-fix "MWA" then the meaningful part of the name. Eg a Taita boy can be called Mwakio, Dime=day, hence Mwadime, Chia=path, hence Mwachia, or Mwachyia, others do not have prefixes like " Isuwirio"=Hope, Kitatu, Lewella, Maghanga=medicines, Kishau, Lago or Lagho, Mcharo=one born away from home eg during a safari to some place, or the same child Mwachia could be called Msafari, which means the same. Other boy's names include Ndau, Mbela (rhino), Mshimba, shimba=lion, Mwachovu, chovu=elephant, Mshila, Msagha, Righa, Kasera, Kalela, Nyange, Maseghe,

June 9, 2009 12:25 PM

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I have no tribe---I am Kenyan

Yes we are tired of leaders using our tribes to separate us.
we declare ourselves tribeless.

Daima mimi mkenya.

I found this poem at

Though i have no tribe,
i do have roots
My roots are deep and wide
I have a Luhyia Father and a Kisii Mother
I speak Luo, kikuyu and Luhyia
I have a kalenjin sister
daughter of my father
I have a kikuyu brother
Son of my mother.
I practice Luo customs,
Indeed iam a true Kenyan
I find it hard that people want to categorise me,
For in their pleasure my parents gave me a rich heritage
its a heritage i am proud of,
though some my recoil at it.
I am a kenyan
Yes i am a true Kenyan
I know no tribe
and that is the truth not a cliche
for in our house there are all tribes.
I love my mother and father and siblings
for giving me such a true heritage.
I am a Kenyan
I have no tribe

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Africa on my mind

I found this very inspiring article on

Despite what is going on in Africa, we have to keep going. We need to focus on being
problem solvers, thats the only way we will overcome. We cannot dwell on the past.

Here is bits of the Moraa Gitaa , Mshale Correspondent

Fundamental Principles of Wealth Creation

To create wealth is to use one’s own thoughts or imagination to work in order to bring something unique into this world.
The following is the recipe for wealth creation.

To Create Wealth, One Must:

i. Solve somebody’s problem.
ii. Provide solutions that people are ready to pay you for.
iii. Solve problems of as many people as possible.

His other statement was that there is an abundance of problems in this world and that we need to look for these problems and solve them, and that will be wealth creation.

We thus need to:

1) Identify our unique talent:
Talent is a recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied.
Talent is not an action first and foremost, but a way of thinking.
Our uniqueness is our strength. Nobody can ignore you if you are unique.
It is that difference that makes you strong.
2) Acquire relevant Knowledge:
Relevant to your unique talents (Get all the facts and lessons that can be learnt)
3) Develop Skill:
Doctor Otabil defined skill as ‘Formalized steps of an activity. Consistency’
Skill helps you to predict and repeat success.

His conclusion on skill was that once you have it, you can maneuver success under any circumstance.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

We declare peace in Kenya

some blogs on whats going on in in Kenya. Everyone has their own views. very detailed linked to numerous blogs

At the end of the day, we just want peace. PEACE IN KENYA!



Thursday, December 20, 2007

African influence in the west

Roberto Cavalli’s Spring/Summer 2008 collection called “La Ma Africa” in Milan.

Looks like designers are borrowing from African prints whereas before it was only about the Safari suit and animal prints looks like they are going deeper.