Lovers of coffee and books can indulge their passions at the recently launched Bookcafe at the Pointzero Coffee Shop located in the Nairobi Gallery.
Seats were full and overflowing at the first session in January, where an audience had gathered for readings of the book Dust by Yvonne Owuor of Kenya.
Dust tells the story of a family trying to make sense of death, love and the past. The family drama intersects with the history of Kenya.
At the Bookcafe, Owuor explained that her novel was an exploration of Kenya’s post-election violence of 2008, and trying to understand why fellow countrymen would turn on each other.
Stage readings with animation were done by Aghan Odero Agan, Mueni Lundi, Mshai Mwangola and Matthew Ondiege.
The first reading was taken from the book’s prologue, which describes a fatal scene of mob justice.
Yvonne told of how she has personally witnessed mob justice meted on a young man suspected of theft. She recalled the shouting by onlookers, a man next to her holding stones and getting ready to throw them at the victim, and of the suspect running towards her with the face of someone who knows he is about to die.
The second reading revolved around a business deal gone sour because of collusion between government officials and private enterprise.
A third excerpt was about the death of Tom Mboya, a national hero whose an assassination in 1969 shocked the country.
Wandia Njoya, the head of Daystar University’s Department of Language and Performing Arts, led a question and answer session with the author.
Mshai got the audience actively engaged in reviewing the book, with questions for the audience to discuss among themselves and share with each other. Interspersed with the readings were musical performances of original pieces by Wandia Musyimi.
The readings were preceded by a coffee-tasting session curated by Pointzero Café. The aim of the sampling was to broaden customers’ coffee drinking experience. Gourmet blends from three continents were tasted.
Every two months a different book will be selected for the Bookcafe based on a list compiled by the audience.