Monday, March 05, 2012


When I was a kid (And no this isn't a story from last week), we could tell the time based on what time tv started. I just saw the younger generation pass out from confusion about the very notion that tv had an 'end' and a 'beginning'. Back in those days we actually used to play outside because video games and social media hadn't been invented. In a way, neither had tv. Then 4 o'clock would come around and KBC would start up and the entertainment would last till midnight. On weekends, the fun started at noon. The national anthem signaled both the beginning and end.

The best shows from our childhood were things like Derrick, The Littlest Hobo, Due South and Star Trek. Back then wrestling was a family affair. Tuesday night. When guys were Rowdy Rowdy Piper & Hacksaw Jim Dugan (sp?) ruled the ring. That was before we knew it was all choreographed so everything was just madly real. The undertaker would give us sleepless nights while some in my family would wonder why we were watching this saitan.

 Remember Nguata Francis posting the weather at the end of every news cast? The weather forecast was awesome. The little symbols would fall off and he would have to pick them up and stick them back to the Kenyan map.That really had me confused for so many reasons. First Kisumu always had the same weather. It was always 'vipindi vya jua' in the morning and 'ngurumo za radi' in the afternoon. Secondly, it was the picha ya satellite. To a young kid, it made absolutely no sense. It resembled one of those fuzzy sonogram images where you can't tell if you are looking at the kid's eye or big toe. To make things worse, I grew up in Riruta Satellite so I was pretty sure as a kid that every hood had it own picha hence:

"Tukiangalia picha ya Buru/Kangemi/Kile tunaona mawingu yakicome na pyche."

We'd sit together and watch the weekly news all wrapped up into a little show called Dunia Wiki Hii and then sing along to that catchy jingle. Come on. You remember it. Hum along. And who can forget how every single news bulletin would begin with "Mtukufu Daniel Torotich arap Moi leo......." and then they would run through some random story about how 'Baba na mama' helped some farmer build a gabbion or how he karate chopped a freaking ninja. Yes. These things used to happen.

The same movies were played over and over. We escaped from Sobibor countless times. Back then the biggest action heroes included some chic called Cynthia Rothrock.(And she was blonde. Not about that?) Mzee Ojwang and Mama Kayai were still married and Masanduku had us in stitches on Ploti 10. Those were simple days. Doctor Quinn was a medicine woman and Pingu was like the best cartoon (?) ever.

I intended to write some hilarious piece about the manner in which the current crisis is playing out. How nothing has changed despite the fact that the workers at Broadcasting House have downed their tools. But they have. In the city we tend to forget how many people still depend on that voice to bring them news, entertainment and information. It is a part of many lives in the same way it was part of our history. I won't go into the politics of it but the long and short of it is change is necessary. And while there might be debate on how that change will show up, we need to preserve the image of this treasure trove of memories. Why you might ask? Because Kenya's watching.


  1. wanjiru gathogo5 March 2012 at 21:46

    You left out space ghost and wonder woman, Saturday afternoon TV at its best!  Hang on, sorry, I think that was VoK, my bad!  Thank you sir, this was just the right dose of nostalgia we needed.

  2. And what of Ramayan, sundays no miss, for whatever reason.

  3. there was a comedy called suburban bliss. it sucked coz i understood no English, leave alone Zulu-Afrikaana-English