Archive for April, 2012


Is he less of a man because he doesn’t dig football? Well, as opposed to popular and ignorant theory, the answer is no. A man shouldn’t only be judged by the kind of team he supports but also, the kind of stuff he’s made of. Ultimately, he’s still fake if he’s the biggest football fan but still a douche bag.

In the world of sports however, the masculinity of a man has been overly associated with soccer. Take for example the manly record-breaking Usain Bolt. He’s tall, strong, rich and complete with a signature move—on and off the tracks. His articulation is tight, no such lines like ‘kung’arisha fiatu’. But you’ll still find that Messi—a man of extraordinary goals yet endowed with just an ordinary stature and the occasional messy demeanour of most footballers is held up in higher esteem internationally. Ca veux dire–a man’s love for football is blind. Only a woman can come close to taking [its] place and most times second is her best position.

Just like scores of women; I hate soccer. I am not too sure whether it’s because 90 minutes is too long for me to keep staring at non-shirtless men running haphazardly across a field in the name of trying to attain a goal or that I am in envy of how like a demon, the game possesses a man (Heck, I want to possess a man like that). It’s the moment when he hears or sees no evil i.e everything and anything that’s not related to football. Quick tip ladies; this is the best time to drop any pending bomb shells because he won’t hear you. And when he brings it up in the future, you’ll just claim to have already told him anyway. When you think about it critically, there actually isn’t a single definitive thing for women equivalent to what football is to men.

While at my friends (all boys) house, recently, the usual chitchats that encompass the ‘just chilling’ mode were unceremoniously cut as soon as a football match came on-screen. ‘Now shut up!’ I was directed. I couldn’t beat three men so I decided to join in. I could only see Drogba’s annoyingly glossy hair. Shouldn’t he also be endorsing Hairglo? So I resorted to reading my book which also proved difficult to follow; as after every six minutes or so, the boys kept cheering and shrieking at the game’s highlights. Even more disturbing was that the sounds they made resounded like those emitted while having sex. ‘Uhhhhh, ahhhh… Nooooooooo! YES, YES!’

Could it be that to a man, football is like a ‘good’ woman—irreplaceable, and it’s highs and lows almost similar to those of sex?

On one boring Friday afternoon in the office I decided to spice things up by ambushing the guys around me with a quick kinky Q&A. Out of fifteen, nine guys revealed to Black Roses that if they had to choose between the other, they would actually prefer to watch football over being with a woman, sexually or otherwise. That was a shocker! I would rather plough a farm (no pun intended) other than watch a football match. But then again I am just a woman who happens to love bits of farm life. Provided all underlying factors remain constant, these comparisons still rely on the fame and skill of the playing team and the X-Factor of the woman a man rolls with.

From the gentlemen, I collected these five fascinating similarities between football and women:

1.Best choice

Like panties, general football enthusiasts drop their support for teams depending on how they are faring on in the current season. Similarly bachelors, and well, George Clooney, have the vagabond freedom of rolling with various women depending on who best suits them and when. A die-hard Gor Mahia (or any other team) fan is like a married man/one in a relationship. He already settled with his best choice. This man is down for his woman whether she strips or trips. Same way win or lose, no real fan turns his back on his team.

2. Time (A minimum of 90 minutes)

You need to set time aside for football. The game usually extends past 100 minutes, so patience, a cozy seat, maybe a beer or two at hand and crossing fingers is always a great prerequisite. You already heard that if it’s not a quickie no woman wants a ‘one minute man’, during a date or in bed. Patience, a cozy environment, wine or something smooth will make good accompaniments. 90 minutes should be good enough but if you opt for extra time, dude why not?

3. Satisfaction

A bad match (your team of preference losing) leaves you with a bad taste and a foul mood. It’s the same when a date, meet up or sex goes bad. On the flip side, your team kicking ass and some good loving from the mamacita will leave you celebrating for a long time, if not feeling brand new!

4. Show off & bets

Men will always be boys. You don’t like how a friend keeps bragging about his winning team. So the two of you took it to the next level–daring bets. Money is cheap and lazy, now bets range from kissing the sole of your shoe to walking down Koinange street on a Friday night only dressed in boxer shorts. It’s the same case scenario when guys spot a fly honey. If she’s yours, you are proud so you brag about her. If she isn’t’ yours, then the chase and the bets start rolling.

5. Concentration.                                              

The replay of the pass, foul or goal doesn’t feel as electric from recycled tweets, print stories, word of mouth or even YouTube; to feel the magic of soccer, you must have seen it yourself, and in real-time. It’s the same way when it comes to stories and theories on women. Until you realize that it’s high time you focused on getting to know one, you’ll never really feel her magic.

Many women also watch soccer. While at my house, Wanjeri once jumped so high in celebration of a goal, she broke our chandelier. My sister then gave her a fine of washing our cat for a month. The cat ran off a few days later, even before the much-anticipated first wash. What am trying to say is; damn ungrateful cat! And that someone’s love for football can make chandeliers break, Twitter freeze and some people like me, even the more disinterested. But the fact remains that human beings will continue to have opposing preferences at their pleasure. The faster we all come to terms with this, the easier it will be for us all to co-habit respectfully and non- judgmentally, for football and women are the best at the feet of world’s offerings.

Contemporary R&B/soul fused in eclectic soft rock, best describes songs in Kameron Corvet’s new mixtape titled, “F_ck Love” (Released February 2012). With a falsetto comparable to The Dream’s and some of that raw Frank Ocean lyricism and inexplicable genius, Kameron shows love the finger while sitting on its proverbial fence. The EP is a confession of roller coaster love; from gooey heartbreak songs to egotistic flirtations and sexual show off, it really is a hot whirlwind–begging the question, what’s love?

Must you fall to be in love? Must you lose yourself in love? Wait, must you love? Is that warm fuzzy feeling love? ‘Fuck it, fuck love!’ You’ve probably said that once, twice or maybe never. But it’s highly likely that you’ve once had the secret dream to love or be loved.

2. Legends of the fall 03.32

Replay material. Great neo soul track. I loved how the guitars are laden by the hauntingly funky drums like the ones from The Gap Band’s, “Outstanding” or if you remember better, Soul For Real’s “Every Little Thing I Do”.  He’s spotted a hot girl whose spotted a hot man, him. But she won’t fall into his arms because she’s heard of his bad reputation. And now she won’t pick up his call. I love this one because being a fine brother isn’t reason enough for a girl to be with a man.

3. Good Habits 04.10

This one a very beautiful song. The acoustic rock guitar in it makes me imagine Joss Stone or Alex Pelzer doing its cover. The story is about a man in desperate need for his estranged lover–a bad habit turned good, a fixture he can’t live without. ‘Tell me the secret to your love’, he sings. This one is a show of his splendid song writing skills.

4. Sign Ur Name 04.08

Another replay material. Upbeat yet mellow, really love the guitars. Would you rather sign your name on the marriage certificate or across one’s heart? Oh the rhetoric. This is a song of a man distressed over the insecurity that his lady is cheating. He even sings in French (very sexy) that every other hour and minute, ‘Je pense a toi’. If Kameron marries me, I will sign his name, anywhere and everywhere, even across Nairobi city ;-)

5. Snap Out of It 03.27

This song is effortlessly soulful, and definitely one of my favourites. ‘Don’t you love the way I do you?’ The opening line with the undeniable Musiq Soulchild swag. It’s groovy sound and straight-up talk renders it a great R&B/quiet storm radio hit. He sings, ‘I can’t be the good guy and the bad guy at the same time, you’ve got to make up your mind.’ Relationships aren’t always a walk in the park, we all know that. One day it’s cold and another it’s hot. The wrong partner sometimes turns out to have been the right one and vice versa. Kameron’s one wish is for her to just, ‘Snap out of it’.

7. F_ck Love 05.05

The deep lyricism and acoustic lead guitar is eargasm! For the EP title track, Kameron did a lot of justice to this song. ‘I can be honest, I don’t know where I am going. At this point I hardly know where I’ve been’.  You can feel his emotions of a conflicted relationship. An assertion that love can be evil, but a necessary one at that. I enjoyed the song’s verses melody better than the chorus and hook.

You won’t find a lot of Kameron Corvet’s info on Google, and for that reason, I am highly rating this singer/songwriter and producer. Having gone by the stage name Jonz in his earlier career, he’s to date released two albums: Sayingthings and Korporate Rockstar. I think I like him better as Corvet. Well, despite love lost or meager lust, F_ck Love’s 7 songs will leave you with a lasting good feeling; for somewhere in this big bad world lies some good love, for you, and me too :-)

Listen/ download the free EP check  www.kameroncorvet.com

BONUS: The video to F_uck Love

For decades, Leonard Mambo Mbotela has been hosting, “Je huu ni ungwana?”, Kenya’s most famous and longest running radio program relayed on KBC’s Radio Taifa. Among Kenyan personalities, Mambo is in a class of his own. He’s also a TV host, writer, newsreader, sports commentator and musician but only one thing stands out. “Radio paired with my voice is my God-given talent,” he says as soon as I signal the start of what was intended to be a minor interview, but turned out to be bigger than I thought.

Despite his busy schedule, Mambo excitedly gave me an instant “Yes!” when I called for a chance to interview him. I asked him to provide me with some of his old photos, but he couldn’t get hold of any. That’s when I said to him, “Nitakupiga basi na camera yangu.” His reply,“Jameni ukinipiga si utaniumiza!” That warm sense humour isn’t the only thing natural about this man. “Broadcasting runs in my blood”, says the pied piper whose distinct husky voice, wit and eloquence in Swahili, has made fans across the country follow and adore him for years.

It’s a hot Friday, around midday, an hour to a recording of his TV show at the Norfolk hotel. We are right across the road seated at KBC’s restaurant having cold fruit cocktails. He literally shook hands with everyone as we walked down the corridors leading to the restaurant. Undoubtedly a man of the people, his viewpoint on age clashes with the ubiquitous mass celebration of it being “just a number!”

“When you’re young at heart, age is simply nothing. So I don’t talk about my age, “he says with a sneaky gleam. Smartly clad in a lesso-print shirt and perfectly ironed black trousers, he looks good too. As I ask questions, he seems very keen. Indeed, all his answers are straight forward.

Road to Radio

Born in Mombasa’s old Frere town, Mambo studied in Buxton Primary and Kitui High School. After which he immediately started working as a trainee at the East African Standard newspaper. However, his prowess in news reading is self-taught. “In high school, I would cut newspaper clippings, compile news and read them out to my classmates,” he recalls. Among his mentors were veteran broadcasters Steven Kikumu and Job Isaac Mwanto (I am probably too young to have heard of such people, he tells me–true and shameful).

Fuelled by a dream to be the voice behind the mic, Mambo approached the late Simeone Ndesanjo, who was head of radio at KBC (then Voice of Kenya, (VOK)), for a chance to be employed. As Simeone advised Mambo to start off as an announcer, he also made an observation that would later come into full circle, “I can see you have the potential of making a great broadcaster.” That was 1964. The same year Mambo started working at VOK as a freelance reporter.

In a short span of time he gained many fans, prompting VOK to offer him a permanent post as a program assistant. “I was so excited by the promotion. I couldn’t believe it. I even left my job without giving a resignation! Eventually, VOK had to compensate The East African Standard by means of payment for stealing me like that”, says Mambo with a reminiscent flash of that fateful day.

I hadn’t seen him this fired up since the start of the interview.

He then began hosting interactive radio programs, “Salamu za vijana”, “Uhalifu haulipi chochote” and “Nini maoni yako”. Through the shows he highlighted various societal issues while giving listeners a chance to air their grievances as well as share experiences. This would later turn out to be the foundation of a long-lasting “polygamous” marriage between three entities– Mambo, his fans and radio.

No etiquette & embarrassment creates ‘Je huu ni ungwana?’

In 1966, a casual visit to the Panafric hotel turned awful when Mambo and his friends stayed too long without being attended to. One of his friends lost it and started yelling for a waiter. As Mambo narrates the story, he re-lives the experience by also yelling and hitting the table. The man sitting across us at the restaurant flashes across a ‘STFU’ look. “Did you see that reaction?” probes Mambo. “Nobody likes such embarrassing behavior and especially at a prestigious hotel like Panafric. My friend could have just asked politely if not practice patience,” he asks?

That experience marked the inaugural year of “Je huu ni ungwana” and also served as the show’s debut topic. In 2009, 43 years down the line and the show’s ever growing popularity led to a TV show being conceptualized from it—of course with Mambo as the host.

With now close to celebrating fifty years on the airwaves, Black Roses sought the show’s top three recurring cases of etiquette deficiency:

1. Table manners

If you love multi tasking, don’t be caught talking and chewing food at once. Mambo also says that, ignoring side-plates by dumping the remains of food and bones all over the table is an insult to a waiter/host.

2. Disregard for personal space

Mambo shuns men who use queuing at banks/public places as pretence for touching or rubbing against ladies derrières.

3. DTP

“Move bitch get out the way!” Ludacris and many others have fallen prey to disturbing the peace. Shouting haphazardly in public places is crude. “There could be six Marys on the street at any one point, so when you are yelling for Mary, you confuse the other five you’re not calling. If and when you see a friend, just run across to them or call their phones”, he says.

Mambo adds, “I had to teach myself humility because I am a celebrity and a public figure. Everywhere I go people want to shake my hand. I let everyone, especially kids, run to me. Little do people know that God blesses the humble.”

Here Mambo’s thought process seems interrupted.

“Something very important, did you know that I was caught right in the middle of Kenya’s attempted coup?”

This is getting even more interesting.

While Tabuley played, my life nearly came to a stop.

After the coup, law and order was restored but Leonard still had to appear before court to outline his supposed involvement with the masterminds of the rebellion. He was acquitted. He still insists, “I had no prior knowledge of a plan to overthrow the government.”

The year was 1982, the day, August 1st. On returning home from seeing off his sister at the airport, Mambo heard gunshots at around 4.45 a.m.

He narrates the ordeal to Black Roses …

“At the time, I was head of Swahili/vernacular services at VOK. So, when I heard someone knock my bedroom window I thought it was a colleague who needed the station opened earlier than usual. On stepping out of the house I was met by rebels who asked me if I was ‘Mambo’. I obliged to everything they wanted.”

“They took me with them to VOK and we got there at 5 a.m. The station had been invaded by other rebels and some unruly students from the University of Nairobi. Amidst the chaos, the morning presenter had fled and left the studio unmanned. One of the rebels jotted a message on a piece of paper and then put a gun to my head asking me to read it out to Kenyans on National radio. It said, ‘From today, the government of Kenya has been overthrown. All prisoners are now free and all police officers are civilians…’ and it went on.”

“After that, followed more disorder that saw the rebels leave me in the studio alone. I decided to run as I felt a sinking feeling in my gut. But not before putting Tabuley’s album on replay, ‘Baby love me’ was the track playing when I fled to a different studio, where I hid under a table.”

“After several hours of praying, I leapt out from underneath the table. Walking along the corridors I had to jump over corpses. The Kenya Armed Forces led by General Mahmoud Mohammed, then deputy commander, had come to the rescue. My first instinct was to get back to the studio and on my way there I encountered an army officer who had a gun pointed at me.”

“He was nearly pulling the trigger, so I immediately raised my hands and shouted, ‘Don’t shoot, I am Mambo Mbotela!’ In shock, the officer quickly put down the gun. ‘I have never seen you in person Mambo. I would have killed my beloved radio personality without knowing. Please forgive me,’ he said.”

“Scared stiff and conflicted, I went back to the mic to revert my previous statement that the government had been overthrown. For Kenyans to believe me, I first had to reassure them that I was the same old Mambo. I am glad they heard my message and more so, trusted me. I stayed at VOK for three days, running the radio station solo. The GSU guards at KBC today were deployed following that incident.”

“The man who had put a gun to my head (to read the coup statement) was rebel leader Hezekiah Ochuka. He was later hanged for treason. I didn’t think I would survive through that day, radio saved my life.”

Contemporary Radio & Longevity

With a fresh and clean luster blind to present-day radio, “Jee huu ni ungwana’s” prolonged existence is one to reckon with. Its driving forces have been Mambo’s research and the bulk of feedback from listeners and viewers. “Modern-day radio is dominated by selfish individuals who only care for fame and money. This has made up personalities disinterested in making the society better,” he says.

“However, Caroline Mutoko is tough, outspoken and cares for edutainment. I like her a lot,” says Mambo who then asks, “How can a DJ from the disco be a radio presenter?”

 His advice on the way forward for contemporary radio is simply, training. Something he says he’s willing to offer to interested persons. “Contentment and arrogance are the main ingredients to cooking immature careers,” he says. So, what’s the secret to longevity? “Be humble and prolific. If you have a show or job, don’t be satisfied there. Start another one.”

Freedom & Heroism

Mambo’s outstanding contribution to the Kenyan broadcasting industry has impacted many lives. “Among my most memorable moments was meeting a fan who changed from being a batterer after he heard me on radio shaming men who beat their wives,” he says.

1984-1990 saw Mambo join the Presidential Press Service under Former President Moi’s regime, a tenure he says gave him the chance to practice journalism extensively in Kenya and the world over.

Among countless accolades, he’s been granted the 1987 Head of State commendation (HSC) and in 1992, the Order of Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW).

“During Kenyatta and Moi’s era, journalists had no freedom of expression. You must have heard of the torture chambers? You could never draw caricatures of the president like they do now. In terms of variety, for a long time Kenyans had no other choice apart from VOK. I am very happy with the new crop of media institutions and the current press freedom,” says Mambo.

In 2009, Mambo was among a handful of others named ‘Heroes’ by the Kenyan government. However, it is the same system that has left him feeling unappreciated because to him, just naming heroes is not enough.

“The government hasn’t honored me and many others like it should. We need land and jobs as most of us have the required expertise anyway. Joe Kadenge and James Siang’a are veteran footballers who made Kenyan football reach unimaginable heights yet they are now living in poverty. It must be greed on the government’s part. Otherwise, what’s the need of a Dedan Kimathi statue when his family is languishing in poverty?” he poses.

Road after Radio.

Mambo is married and blessed with three children, Jimmy, Aida and George Mbotela. “My kids are all grown up so I have more time and space to concentrate on my jobs,” he says. All work and no play makes Mambo a dull boy. Oh boy! I meant, man. Once every weekend, backed by a live band, he sings Kenyan oldies, better known as ‘Zilizopendwa’ at Vibro Club in Nairobi West area. “My lifestyle is not as tedious as it seems. I’ve been doing this a long time, so every part of it, is me,” he says.

Retirement is unlikely for such a young-spirited and gifted man. In fact, he’s currently planning to start a new show and authoring a new book, both on championing Kiswahili language. His inspiration for both ventures came from the modern disregard for grammatically correct Swahili. “Sheng’ is all over radio!” he exclaims.

It’s enthralling to hear him say that he’s been watching Grapevine (an entertainment show I host), without me asking. I am yet to coerce him into liking and reading my stuff. “You’re good. Soar higher but just don’t compromise yourself for anything, not even favors,” he advices me.

It was an honor to have a candid chat with the icon. I am thankful for that, and my long-finished-cocktail which he paid for. “I would want to start an institute of broadcast training and in my hometown Mombasa even a radio station, Inshallah. When I am gone, I want that to be my legacy,” says Mambo.

Mambo’s self authored book, “Je huu ni ungwana” is available in leading book stores. The radio/ TV show airs Saturdays at 12.45 pm and Wednesdays at 6.30pm respectively.

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