Life has a way of throwing stuff up that seems out-of-sync with the harmony expected of the universe yet at the same time proof that extreme events happen to show us the diversity of the universe.
A few days to International Women’s Day on March 8, a video of a distressing physical attack on a female driver by boda boda riders in a Nairobi suburb went viral, eliciting wide condemnation of gender violence and criminal operations of the riders.
Yet in the middle of all this ‘motorcycle misogyny,’ on the other side of town, another young woman, poet Eudiah Kamonjo, was hosting an International Women’s Day special erotica show dubbed the Indulgence Erotica Open Mic, at The Arbor 101.
Erotica is either amatory art or lubricious literature, salacious artworks or risqué literary works that are like an aphrodisiac to the senses.
The performance was also a reading for Kamonjo her upcoming collection, Black Coffee & Steamy Nights.
Kamonjoh has been organising and hosting the Indulgence Erotica Open Mic since 2018, to bring erotica works to the limelight.
So far, the event has been held in Nairobi, Malindi and Mombasa and the venues have been as diverse as the performers.
Some the artistes who have been on the stage over the years are Swiga, Daniel Fabri (Italy), Boneless the Dancer, Gathuru, Mwaniki Mageria, writer Alex Nderitu, sexologist Maurice Matheka, Trisha Grey, Divine Bandit (now Aime Ibakum), Murray Sheldermine (Scotland), Kanyali Ilako, belly dancer Fiffi Moto, Msingi Sasis, H3 and Halisi Band.
This year’s International Women’s Day edition featured Olivia Ambani, a brilliant musician whose freestyle skills would put many professionals to shame.
Other poets and writers who did a reading include the creative and former Miss Global Kenya 17 Tima Keilah with A Denizen Of Life, Alex Nderitu, author of The Moon is Made of Green Cheese and Jacob Oketch, Aphorisms & Poems of Light.
Amondi Onyango defiantly read lines from the Literary Gangstar?: The ladies of lesbian wiped their tongues clean/ and then asked for toothpicks from fat men.
But the most provocative was by a poet who wishes to remain anonymous:
Let’s not gloss over our glossary/ this Lent, you could sacrifice s*x; but s*x beads are also/ a kind of rosary! So let the Glossator, with his colossal glossal talents/ tell tall tales of the **clitoris/ the way Stella Nyanzi to our waist/wields her breast against the strong man of the sombrero ...
Kamonjoh also received feedback on upcoming book cover samples that were hanging on the wall.
Lucy Wanjiku Njenga spoke about sexuality and the various assumptions and taboos we experienced growing up.
Others shared what it was like growing up in Kenya, where the majority profess Christianity and attended Christian schools and how these were an obstacle to non-hypocritical open-mindedness for many women.
Listening to the readers and performers, sharing art and literature and music is an act of sensuality, says Kamonjo.
As the world marked International Women’s Day, Russia, where an angry food protest by women in Petrograd led to an all-out revolution that toppled Tsar Nicholas II and founded the celebration of March 8, this year 105 years later, was marked with Russia having invaded Ukraine killing women and children.
The universe is again at play showing us the ironies and extremes that exist. The country that gave us International Women’s Day is also causing grief to women by killing them and their families, not to mention the profound and choking effects on the world’s economies.
Being in a city as diverse and open as Nairobi means that Women’s Day ought to be every day. This is also an opportunity worth pursuing.