About “The Caged Bird Sings”

Stories speak! The words that form stories have colours through which they paint images – beautiful and ugly – but vivid images all the same. They have power; power to make, and power to break. We, at The Caged Bird Sings, hope the stories we tell, the images we paint, beautiful or ugly, make, rather…

Miguna Miguna’s Right to Return Home Should not be Confused with his Ability to Lead

A man as careless in speech as Miguna Miguna; one who has as little patience to listen to others as he demonstrated on multiple platforms including Jeff Koinange Live in 2016/17; one who does more to discredit competitors than he does to sell his policies as he did while campaigning to be the Governor of Nairobi; one who raises his voice in insult, especially to a woman; such a man is unfit to be a leader.

A Battle of and for the Soul: Science and Religion in Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom

In the abounding opioid epidemic in the United States, Transcendent Kingdom could not be timelier. Apart from being useful in the face of such a current calamity, the novel cements itself as timeless – Anyone interested in life’s ever-present complexities has much to benefit from this book. It is the ideal companion as one struggles to make sense of suffering when one is handed the bitter chalice.

The Drink of Death?

My mind flew to my car’s co-driver seat where four beastly creatures and a fifth monstrous one stared angrily at me. Growling, they looked ready to pounce as I opened the driver’s door.

A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa by Dominique Lapierre, A Review

With vivid descriptions and transitions that tie the numerous strands of the story neatly into one masterpiece, the author’s wealth of research is magnificently displayed bringing to life historical facts in an easy, fun to read manner. Feigning an irreproachable presumptuous Christianity, Lapierre quotes scripture in an apparently innocent manner that delivers punches of mockery to ignorant egocentric adherence to scripture. Anyone seeking to get a glimpse into apartheid—its origins, workings, and eventual collapse—should consider reading A Rainbow in the Night. The book is also good for history students, world leaders in general and African ones in particular, human rights activists as well as politicians.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, A Review

Tragic. This word seems inadequate to capture the immense suffering that Ishmael Beah and other Sierra Leonians go through during political upheavals in the country. At the tender age of twelve, Beah is separated with his close-knit family, witnesses the torching of homes, obliteration of people’s lives and livelihoods and the gruesome murder of human beings. He also comes to multiple close encounters with death as he flees the war and is eventually recruited as a boy soldier. Brainwashed and vengeful, the teen ends up killing and maiming multiple people before he is finally rehabilitated. In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Beah narrates his experience under the 1991-2001 civil war that left over 50,000 dead.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, A Review

Artistically written and peppered with epigraphs from the bible and classic texts, Redeeming Love is a work of art like no other. Among other literary devices, Francine Rivers’ use of dialogue makes the text come alive almost in conversation with the reader. Characters converse among themselves and within themselves. But they even go further. They hear both malevolent and benevolent forces urging them on or discouraging them from various actions in their dealing with each other and their conduct towards themselves. Even the great I AM’s still small voice is present in the characters’ everyday lives. Characters seek the voice of God and respond to the urgings of these forces both by word and deed.

City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence, A Review

The author’s meticulous interaction with refugees in Dadaab yields detailed accounts of the circumstances that brought them to the camp, the impact of their residence in the camp, and the kind of future each of them likely faces. We also get a rare insight into Kenya’s Northeastern region and national politics, the terror of Al Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia, regional intergovernmental relations especially among the nation-states of Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia, as well as a glimpse into the malady that tribalism is for Africa.

Other than giving the Dadaab refugees a voice and revealing with such intensity the multiple intricacies of their lives in the face of the numerous forces operating in their world, a major strength of this book is the author’s use of description. With his words, Rawlence paints vivid images of people, places, and situations, easily taking the reader with him into and around Dadaab, as well as through parts of Kenya and Somalia.

A Poem for Mothers’ Day

“Mother” isn’t a mere title
It is strength
It is tenacity
It is multitasking
It is the sustenance of a generation
And the continuation of humanity
The bridge between life before it begins
And life once it begins

Hence
To all mothers,
All would be mothers,
And all the mothers in waiting
The world tips off the hat today
Happy mothers’ day!

Matata Matatuni

“Ah! Bwana we! Unataka nikae vipi?” Nilimuuliza utingo aliyekuwa anajaribu kuweka mzigo fulani chini ya miguu yangu.

“Inua miguu, jamani,” alijibu huku akiishiwa na subira.

“Siinui ng’o!” Nilijibu kwa fadhaa.

“Aaah! Inua miguu bwana! Kwani unadhani wewe ndiye nani?”

“Sitainua. Utaninyima raha hadi lini wewe? Kwani sijalipia nafasi yangu kwenye matatu hii? Umenifinya vya kutosha kwa kujaza matatu kupindukia, na sasa unataka niinue miguu pia? Haiwezekani!”

“Acha ukorifi, jamaa. Hii ni matatu sio gari binafsi. Kama unataka starehe jinunulie gari.”

“Ni haki yangu kustarehe kwenye matatu nikichagua kusafiri kwa matatu. Kwani umenibeba bila malipo? Si nimelipia nafasi hii? Kama nimeilipia, nina haki ya kustarehe.”

“Eih! Inua miguu wewe! Kwani tutaishi hapa?” Abiria mmoja alibisha. Wengine pia walikuwa wameanza kunung’unika.

“Siwezi!” Nilijibu kwa ugombezi. “Watu kama nyinyi ndio mnasababisha tunakanyagwa kiasi hiki. Sasa ona tulivyofinyana. Matatu inafaa kubeba watu kumi na wanne lakini humu ndani tuko zaidi ya ishirini. Na nauli tumelipa, tena kiwango cha juu sana. Mnakubalije kutendewa hivi?”

Uhuru Will Leave Kenya on Her Knees

Uhuru’s efforts seem to have placated Raila and cooled his all-consuming fire. But they have gone beyond that. They have completely vanquished political opposition and effectively crowned Kenyatta king. It is therefore not surprising that while Raila’s i’s are hardly dotted and his t’s barely crossed, he has little to say about the reconstitution of a new electoral commission. Like one pacifies a barking dog with a bone, Raila and the opposition have been mollified with friendship and individual economic rewards while their faithful supporters languish under a ruthless regime. The son of Jomo is on a free reign and… Woe to democracy! Woe to Wanjiku!