Author: Magunga Williams

As if being an early teenager is not complicated enough, you just had to be different. You deal with the normal confusions of what it means to grow into yourself – hairs where none used to be and attention to parts of your body that didn’t exist before – but also wade in the anxiety of not being like other people. For the longest time, you had noticed that you did not like boys the way other girls do, and soap operas did not quite feel like they were made for the kind of romance that you longed for. On…

Arafa Hamadi via @theMagunga
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Towards the end of the turbulent forties, men came back from the great war slinging more than just gun. They came with guitars too. They came with music. They were African soldiers who had been drafted from their homes to go fight in a war they barely understood. But then you see, wartime is not always about death and destruction round the clock. And these men were not necessarily on the frontlines of the fight. On some nights, there was entertainment. They accompanied the British troops on their campaigns across the world, and somewhere in between establishing a new world…

The disciples of Benga via @theMagunga
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When you start approaching 30, it feels like everything is closing in on you. Life develops a certain urgency to it. Wherever you look, people start talking about what you should or should not do. What you need to have achieved by now. On social media, they tease endlessly. Every day you are reminded to take your supplements and multivitamins before your bedtime…at 8pm! Then there is your family looking at you funny because you owe them an offspring. With just four months to turning 30, my mother is now on my neck about doing things my fellow adults have…

Finding Home via @theMagunga
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Often, history is told by the people leading the conversation. The problem with the history of Mombasa, however, is that there have been so many people who have had something to say about how this island became a city. Perhaps it does not also help that Mombasa is a city as old as memory. But if you are looking for something to thank for the remembrance of Mombasa’s ancient moments, then you should direct your gratitude to art. Art in its simplest, truest form; poetry.  When a famous Swahili poet, Bwana Munyaka bin Mwinyi, sat down in the early 19th…

A city of war via @theMagunga
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The call came in when I was at my cousin’s place. It was during those early days of the pandemic when tissue paper was more valuable than common sense, curfew was at 7pm, and the roads were clearer than a glass of twenty-twenty vision. We were having a small get together, and as it happens these days, I was the designated bartender for the evening. Problem with being the bartender at parties is that you miss out on the juice of the evening; always in the kitchen fixing the next person’s drink instead of listening in on conversations. You laugh…

Unpacking via @theMagunga
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“I know his brother, Magunga, is seeing what Deo is doing and is now challenged to also perform better this term.” That is what Mr. Odipo, the head of Careers Department (and also my mother’s cousin) said when he called out my brother to receive his second badge. He had already received Best in Biology, and now he was being given the Best in Geography badge. It used to happen that way every beginning of the term. The best performers in each class would be given a yellow badge in honour of the subjects they excelled in the previous term. Other than bragging…

You will always have bread via @theMagunga
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There are those people who went to one primary school from Class One to Class Eight. Then the same high school from Form One to Form Four. The same with university. Those ones will not understand what I am talking about today. But if you ever switched schools, then you remember what it was like to be the new kid in school; you do not know what the hell happens in this strange new place. You do not want to offend anyone, even though you do not know the rules yet. You will apologize even for stepping on someone’s shadow.…

Plot No. 10 via @theMagunga
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