Today is Friday the 31st. This year began on Friday, the 13th of March, the day after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed on our shores. In time, no one will remember what happened in the first two months of the year. Those first 10 hopeful weeks of 2020 will be as surreal as a pleasant dream before dawn, before one comes fully awake to a long 18-hour day, full of hard labour. Which makes this Friday the real half-way point of 2020.
Let’s examine 10 things and celebrities that have changed irreversibly in these last five months of Covid-19, beyond bars not being allowed to serve alcohol (that’s like petrol stations not selling fuel), social distancing (in a country where once blood had to be shed to stop matatus carrying passengers nose-to-bum-to bumper), quick funerals (where Luhyas squeezed final farewells for a week full of festivities), masks (which you only saw when watching Asia Business News on BBC, featuring Honk Kong), hand-washing and sanitising (in a country where men would pee then come join a throng for goat-eating with unwashed paws) and where if Raila and Uhuru had delayed their ‘merger’ by exactly two years, we would now be talking of the ‘Fist Bump’ (that did in Ruto) as opposed to ‘The Handshake.’
Tiktok, The Murayas and Club Covid
This half-year has seen TikTok become the biggest thing in the social tech world.
Perhaps because of the sedentary work from home/long homestay lifestyle that the pandemic enforced on the world, once that Pandora’s Box was unlocked in Wuhan, a simple app that shows human movement or funny little tricks was the panacea to human idleness. The confined, but colourful spaces of TikTok also ticked off the corresponding claustrophobia of the real world, and made the Andy Warhol saying that ‘in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 seconds’ come true- as in the case of Azziad, now charging tens to a few hundred thousand for ‘sharing’ her social media spaces.
Then beginning with Xtian Della’s ‘Club Covid’, our computer screens became the new dance and concert halls. Of course, there will still be some old school nuisances like ‘Dine with Murayas,’ barging into our closeted Covid lives with their TMI ‘complaints’ about her nagging him (DJ Mo) and sijui Size 7/8 complaining about her sex life not being enough (for ratings in the age of clout).
The Evolve-Lution of Babu Wino, MP
Babu Wino has been a loud, and often violent presence as a campus politician then celebrity MP over the last decade. But just before we entered the Corona era, he allegedly got into a scuffle with a DJ called Evolve, at dawn, while partying... And there the story might have rested/died, since the DJ is alive, especially as Covid-19 took over our attention. But some great journalism from a local TV crew put the story back in the public eye, as people saw his mother struggle with her paralysed DJ son, even as Babu went about his life, posing online as a lecturer, then mocking folks for ‘making him trend’ as Kenyans called for justice for Evolve.
Eventually, Babu has resorted to stories about how growing up around chang’aa made him violent- but so did comedian Otoyo, and he is one of the gentlest people we know. So? With the captive and hostile audience Babu has in this static time, will he fall and mark the end of the ‘bling and bang’ politicians, many youthful, who dominated the decade?
When ‘boys club’ changed meaning
A year ago, following the demise of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, a Boys’ Club became a good thing, with all its implications of a whiskey-drinking network of men who share ideas on ‘maendeleo.’ With the click of a button, that showed citizenry and sundry lots of ‘sex-capades’ (by Felix ‘Jalas’ Odiwuor and his Circle of Pals), E. Obare, gossiper extraordinaire, changed that perception. With social distancing, and the earlier inter-county lockdowns of towns, even beer and football boys’ clubs, let alone those Boys of Out of Town trips (BYOB – Bring Your Own Babe) – have become victims of Covid-19; and now none want to meet just to eat meat and drink Tarino, now that booze has been banned (except at Wines & Spirits establishments).
The end of the TV girl era?
In the past, trophy girls were picked up from the television screen by the Rich and Powerful. But now with social media, the lass with the prettiest face and figure that can shatter an hourglass can showcase and advertise her ‘wears’, like a mannequin at a classy window dresser’s. Natalie Tewa is a prime example of a recent high flier, who has never graced a TV screen – but has some influential folk eating out the palm of her hand (that is not a typo, by the way). Meanwhile, as in the case of two Akamba TV girls, after a decade of running men amok, they have been relegated like Watford and Bournemouth to running their mouths as ‘relationship’ experts to ladies in their 20s (no doubt based on their many serial monogamy matches).
Media as we know it
From Ken Mijingu to Kyallo Betty to Kibe Alex to Kapienga Shix (kwani Ks in media are accursed in corona times), big and small names have fallen like ninepins in media, thanks to not just Covid-19, but also high tech and a continuous shift in patterns of media consumption. Even after Covid-19, only the media animals that can adapt, or build brands (following), or operate at various multi-media platforms, or come in with their own advertising, will be able to thrive in a post-Corona world where many others will be struggling just to survive. Darwinism.
Comedy is no longer a laughing matter
With no crowds to entertain, and no coin coming in, comedians were the first entertainers to stop laughing all the way to the bank with the arrival of corona. Finding themselves in a tight corner, stories of depression (like Njoro’s) and suicides like Kasee and Njenga Mswahili became rife – followed by a blistering attack by comedienne Zeddy on the ‘corrupt and discouraging’ ways of managers like Churchill Show’s Victor Ber- which he vigorously defended, by the way. Let’s see, by 2021, whether the industry will leave us in stitches (or will need stitches itself).
Gospel in Kenya is truly dead
Let’s see! Willy Poze officially backslid, saying he has too many enemies in the gospel industry to continue there, which is probably true (though when ye act like a lil devil in gospel, expect to be rebuked). Bahati has been trending for all the wrong reasons in this Corona Chronicles, including for disharmony with Harmonize (as well as dressing in his wife Diana Marua’s little red dresses, leading some to question his sexuality). Meanwhile, Betty Bayo, who dumped bad boy Kanyari, has said her love for a young man led her into bleaching.
‘I was left looking like a confused chameleon,’ she tweeted. ‘Yellowface, black legs, blue hands’.
One Funeral and A Wedding
Tecra Muigai, one of the heiresses to the Keroche Brewing Empire, eloped with a bearded 50-something-year-old beach boy last year and was found dead at the bottom of a Lamu staircase.
Barely a month after she’s buried, her sister Anerlisa Muigai gets married to her musician BF Ben ‘Ten’ Pol in a lavish private wedding. Talk of live white weddings and tragically dead black sheep, in the time of Covid-19 – complete with a movie title to it all ‘One Funeral and a Wedding.’
One of the saddest things about Covid-19 is that, as in the words of the Alice Cooper classic of yore/gore, ‘school’s out for summer/school’s out forever...’
With nothing to keep too many youths with raging hormones busy, and with many in close living proximity, stats show teenage pregnancies have shot up dramatically this strange year. Worse still, like in my ancestral home of Ogembo (where four girls and 34 teenage boys) were busted in a drunken orgy, too many sexual activities (and in groups) has become rampant.
Is the era of the so-called ‘socialites’ finally over in the time of Corona?
As the decade drew to a close, the two most popular slang words for males with money who like young missuses and for saucy lasses who chase after these guys were Sponsor & Slay Queen. Throughout, ‘socialites,’ who first came into vogue around 2013, kept folks mesmerized with IG pics, talking of having wigs in the five figures, cars that cost millions and globe-trotting lifestyles.
But with leading socialite Vera Sidika being pictured in very common mtaas recently (looking worse for wear) and Huddah Monroe vids surfacing of her ‘entertaining’ gentlemen, questions have to be asked if this ‘socialite’ business hasn’t been as hard hit as the most ancient profession in the world. Perhaps it is time to bring out that quartet of Dancing Pallbearers, and call an end to the Huddah-Sidika era with that tune of theirs of ‘turururu-ru-tu.’