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A Jesse Dele Series : Unveiling the Good in the Bad

In life we have both the Good and the Bad. However taking Positives from the Negative goes a long way .



While in Kisumu Boys High School, I played for the school’s football team until the beginning of Form 3. By played I mean 2 matches, but that still counts! During my time, we chose between Geography and History. Our Geography teacher was a beast. He would whip us scathingly for not knowing the formation of a volcano daily. Everyone feared whenever it was his turn on the timetable. Too strict!

Mode (Teacher) wa Geography made us choose between sports and his subject as he would teach during ‘games time.’ This was to catch those still in sports. I gave up on my talent to chase the grade and although it hurts to this day, I wouldn’t have passed without doing so.

Often rap and hip hop are scrutinized for their negative promotion of senseless and petty violence, philistinism, substance abuse, and misuse of sex just to name a few. However, there are innumerable positives that our favourite artists tell us regardless. Romans 3:10-12 King James Version (KJV) as it is written,’ There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth.’ Why are we quick to judge?

Positive Ego

Churchill Mandela, better known by his stage name Scar Mkadinali from ‘Wakadinali’ had a great point during his interview on Switch TV in May of 2019. He was asked why hip-hop artists have to have an ego. His response was, “If I came here and was an agreeable person you would forget about me and no one would talk about me.”

Screengrab courtesy of Switch TV

This teaches us that confidence is key and knowing one’s worth will save you from disrespect, ‘low ball’ offers, and negative media coverage as this means being real, true to one’s word and having honor and accountability. My take from this is you can’t please everyone. No matter what you do others will envy, point, ridicule, judge and so on. Ambition and persistence while believing in one’s ways and sticking to them is commendable. We learn through Scar’s wise and indirect answers to 2 things. Nothing is ever as it seems as the question of “who do you listen to” by Sami Flinch during the interview tests whether Scar will give anyone any radio time. He doesn’t by saying he only listens to Domani Munga sitting next to him. Second, we can always bend the rules in our favour. Sami sensed tension and decided to de-escalate the pressure by promoting Scar’s #KovuChallenge. At the time his breakout hit ”Kovu” Was the talk of the town. We learn from Sami that sometimes it’s okay to back down.

Bad fun

Any elder you speak to will tell you life is short, and value friendships, little moments such as walking on the beach or laughing with your partner while being responsible and a good person in general. Also, our elders tell us of their fun days as youth. The mischief they got up to. They remind us to not be so serious! Most times I’m on public transportation the music is so deep, so sad. Other times it’s wild or happy. Sometimes introspection is good but in the words of James Edward alias, Babytron, “So many people make music for being sad, my music is meant to have fun.” He is known for his wordplay, unique 80s beat selection, punchlines and sharp lyricism. James has been known for fraud since he was in “grade school.” He raps, “ I been scamming since the iPhone 6” on the song “Area 51” which suggests he started scamming at 14 years of age. He has never caught a case of fraud but was booked for possession of a controlled substance on 8th February of 2023. Otherwise, his squeaky clean police record leaves fans questioning whether he lives his raps but I think he’s all facts.

Babytron -Photo Courtesy

In high school, he has numerous high-end fashion such as Burberry shirts, designer shoes, goyard bags, wads of cash in 100-dollar bills and so on. He was earning a lot more than the average high schooler. He dropped out of college and began seriously rapping and he already had a chain when he was signed. He brags about only ever eating 100$ dollars plus meals, wearing 10,000$ dollar fits, and throwing his air forces on the wire (as seen in hoods to represent a drug sale point) once they get creased and so on. His music is generally meant to brag, have fun and play around with new sounds such as stuttering while rapping which James calls “Stutter Flow.” His creativity, lingo, fashion sense and unique appearance make him stand out. He seems to not care about anything; sometimes we all feel like that and do need to tune out.

Robotic work rate

Kentrell Gaulden, alias Youngboy Never Broke Again released his first mixtape in 2015 after releasing singles on Soundcloud in 2011. Since then, his discography consists of 6 studio albums, 3 compilation albums, 26 mixtapes (including 6 collaborative mixtapes), 3 extended plays, and 102 singles (including 23 as a featured artist). He drops music every other week and puts out more music than anyone you can think of. With more than 30 billion total streams and 109 RIAA-certified releases including 3 platinum or double platinum albums, NBA YoungBoy is one of the most listened-to artists in the world.

Youngboy Never Broke Again(YNBA) -Photo Courtesy

He says his grandfather told him to work hard and save his money, which we can all relate to. He has done this under much pressure. His father got life in prison for a home invasion turned first-degree murder charge while he was 8 years old. He began smoking cigarettes at 11. He has been in juvenile since 10. There are many pictures of him as a youngster with an ankle monitor on house arrest. He only knows the streets gang life and drug deals as is mostly reflected in his music. He was mostly caused by himself through his numerous encounters with the law. He was booked for an attempted murder in 2016 after his cousin was shot down in Baton Rouge. Before this, he was booked for robbery as a 15-year-old. In 2019 he was taken in on simple battery family charges. During 2020 he was taken in for drug and weapons charges as he was shooting a music video for ‘Chopper City’. He is currently on house arrest for both although he beat the drugs and is yet to go to federal court for the weapons. He started a Stop the Violence campaign in 2023 and is trying to clean up his image. Despite all this, he has risen to the top working in the studio every day and his robotic work rate has made him a self-made millionaire.


In essence, the journey through challenges, the positive messages in music, the importance of confidence, the joy of having fun, and the value of a strong work ethic collectively weave a narrative of resilience, optimism, and success emerging from adversity. We can learn different attributes from these 3 artists and how humans are diverse and can thrive in different environments and situations

Jesse Dele

This article is originally written by Jesse Dele


Is Your Vote Really That Important?



With everything going on in the country, there’s no better time to regret not having voted than right now. But don’t worry, mko wengi. But the question back then and perhaps right now is; Is your vote really that important? or maybe you had other reasons for not having voted?

Fair enough, maybe you were less than 18 years old, in which case, your time will come, be ready. Or maybe, you were in prison. In Kenya, prisoners can vote only in the presidential election, so perhaps that limited your participation. Or maybe, you were just too busy. But that still leaves a whopping number of eligible voters who chose not to vote. According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), out of 22,120,458 registered voters, only 14,466,779 turned up to vote. That means about 35% of registered voters didn’t participate. And that registered voters. Did you register to vote?

The media often call it “voter apathy,” but that term implies that non-voters are lazy people who would rather stay in bed than go to the polling station to queue in the scorching sun for an hour. The truth is more complex. A lot of people are informed, passionate, and knowledgeable, but have chosen, for their own reasons, not to participate. What legitimate, well-thought-out reasons could they possibly have? Share your reasons for not voting in the comment below.

Does One Vote Really Matter?

It’s fun to fantasize and imagine that your one vote could tip the balance and change the result of a general election. Realistically, of course, that never happens. Much more likely, you live in a constituency where it’s pretty obvious who’s going to win. Kenya has a ‘succession’ process for picking future politicians, and it can feel like it’s pointless because which tribe you come from and who endorses you matters. This is especially true if you prefer one of the smaller parties.

But here’s the thing: even if you can’t change who your MP is going to be, you can change their behaviour. How? The way parties behave in government is influenced by more than just the election results. It’s down to the election details. The morning after the General Election, all the stats of how many voters voted for whom and where are there for all to see, and party leaders are watching very carefully.

Every vote for a small party is a vote taken away from one of the big ones, and the big ones will do everything they can to try to win you back. Don’t believe me? Just look at some recent shifts in policy. When minor parties gain support, major parties often adjust their policies to win those votes back. So, every vote sends a message, even if it doesn’t elect your preferred candidate. Remember how much influence peak Opposition under Raila Odinga had on policymaking and the general direction of decision-making?

What If Everyone Thought the Same?

Could it be that you’re not voting because you think your vote doesn’t matter? Well, it seems really obvious, but what if everyone thought the same as you? Let’s say everyone in your constituency thought their MP was really safe and there was no need to vote, I mean we know they WILL win this right? It’s happened before in many places around the world. A supposed “safe seat” can be lost if too many supporters assume their vote isn’t needed. Your MP, no matter how popular, needs your vote to ensure they get the position.

There’s also a big difference between winning by miles and winning by a hair’s breadth. If your MP gets a thumping majority, they’ll be more confident about their convictions. On the other hand, if they just scrape in, they’ll be forced to compromise and pander to voters who never liked them in the first place. So you see? Succession politics is far from perfect, but there is no such thing as a wasted vote. That’s so important, I’ll say it again: there is no such thing as a wasted vote.

What If None of the Parties Speak to You?

For many people, after reading all the manifestos, watching all the party political broadcasts, and browsing all the party websites, they’ve decided that not a single one of the parties speaks to them. If this is you, rather than remove your voice completely, why not do something more productive and more fun? You can vote “None of the Above.”

In some countries, that’s actually a box you can tick, but in Kenya, you do this by spoiling your ballot. The rules of the ballot box are strict. You put an “X,” and nothing else, to make sure there’s no chance of error or fraud. If you put a tick, colour the box in, rank the candidates out of ten, or write something else, that’s called a “spoilt ballot,” and it won’t be valid. BUT IT WILL BE COUNTED.

Politicians will see the “None of the Above” votes, and they’re much more likely to try to win you over and much more likely to fix the system if you’ve bothered to go out and vote. Spoiling your ballot is an absolute worst-case scenario, a last resort, but it’s so much better than not voting at all.

It’s totally understandable why people think there’s no point in voting, but if you do go out and vote, there’s one thing that you’re absolutely guaranteed. When you and your friends are bitterly complaining that the country is being mishandled by a government you dislike, you can at least take solace in the ability to smugly shrug and say, “Well, it wasn’t our fault.”

So, is your vote really that important? Absolutely. Your vote matters more than you think, and your participation helps shape the future of Kenya. We are held accountable to governance by voting and who we give this power. Make sure your voice is heard, you affirm your citizenship and patriotism through involvement. This is how

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Honouring the Fallen and Charting a Path Forward



Recent protests across the country have left the nation grappling with tragedy and searching for a way forward. As we remember the 39 Kenyans who lost their lives during the #REJECTFINANCEBILL demonstrations, it’s crucial to understand the context of the unrest and carefully consider the next steps for the country inclusive of Gen Z.

The protests initially erupted over the rising cost of living and proposed tax hikes. Citizens, already struggling with economic hardships, took to the streets to voice their concerns about the government’s fiscal policies. A significant achievement of the demonstrations was the rejection of the controversial finance bill, which would have imposed additional financial burdens on Kenyans.

However, the cost of these protests has been high, with lives lost during clashes between demonstrators and the police. As we mourn these deaths, it’s essential to reflect on how we can honour their memory and work towards a more stable and prosperous Kenya avoiding more loss while consequently remaining steadfast in our ambitions and a just system.

One way to pay tribute to those who died is by maintaining political awareness and engaging in informed discussions about policy-making. By staying educated on political issues and participating in civic discourse, we help shape the future of the country and ensure that our concerns are heard. So don’t stop tweeting about political policies, don’t stop Instagram-sharing awareness posters to keep vigilance of those in power. Continually have conversations around governance, be involved, and be aware.

Continued accountability of leaders is another crucial aspect of honouring the fallen. We must remain vigilant and hold our elected officials responsible for their actions and decisions. This includes demanding transparency, questioning policies, and advocating for the needs of the people.

Voter registration is a powerful tool for making voices heard. By encouraging more Kenyans especially us Gen Z to register and participate in elections, the country can ensure that its leadership truly represents the will of the people. This democratic process is essential for long-term stability and progress. The best way to be heard as a citizen, and the best way to express your patriotism is to vote. Be heard.

In the wake of these tragic events, President William Ruto has called for dialogue. This presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together and address the underlying issues that led to the unrest. Both parties have to be willing to sit and be heard. Open and honest communication between the government and its citizens is vital for healing wounds and finding common ground.

As Kenya moves forward, it’s important to remember that change often comes at a cost. The lives lost during these protests should not be in vain. Instead, they should serve as a catalyst for meaningful reform and a reminder of the power of collective action. By continuing to engage in civic duties, holding leaders accountable, and participating in the democratic process, we honour the memory of those who died while working towards a brighter future for their nation.

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The Real Stars of The Show: The Overlooked Value of Performers in the Nairobi Live Music Scene



Nairobi’s restaurant and cafe scene is flourishing, kila mahali all you hear is Hidden Gems this and that. Amidst this boom, there’s a common cultural thread tying many of these vibrant spots together: live music. As restaurants and cafes across Nairobi promote local artists you can’t help but ask is it the venues promoting the artists, or are the artists in fact the ones enhancing the venues?

While venues promote themselves as supporters of local talent, the reality showcases a more reciprocal relationship. Artists aren’t just background music because otherwise, they could just play prerecorded playlists; but would it really be the same? The unique ambience created by live performances transforms a regular dining experience into something special, becoming a primary reason customers choose one cafe over another. Despite this, at the end of the night, these artists might walk away with as little as 5,000 KES—a sum that hardly equates to the value they provide.

The Artist IS the Attraction

Artists bring a unique vibe to a venue, creating an ambience that can’t be replicated by a Spotify playlist or radio. Whether it’s the soulful strumming of a guitar or the soft notes of a jazz saxophone, live music adds a layer of authenticity and enjoyment to the dining experience that draws crowds. Regular patrons often turn into loyal customers, coming back not just for the food and drinks, but for the music that originally pulled them in.

The draw of live music is undeniable as more local artists emerge in Nairobi Live Music scene. On nights with scheduled performances, foot traffic in these establishments can spike significantly. This isn’t just about increased numbers; the diversity of the clientele also expands. Music lovers, friends of performers, and even passersby lured by the sound filtering through the doors help expand the usual customer base.

Beyond the immediate business that live music brings, there’s a further broader cultural contribution that these artists offer. They help define the character of a bistro or cafe, distinguishing it from competitors. Venues known for supporting local artists often gain a reputation as cultural centres, enhancing their brand and embedding them more deeply into the community fabric.

In discussing the dynamic between artists and venues during a recent interview with VibeYetu, JT Bulinda, an artist in the local music scene, shared his insights: “The assumption generally is that venues are doing a favour to the artists by letting them play, and while there is some truth in recognizing the platform they provide, that’s barely all there is to it.” His statement highlights a crucial point: the relationship is mutually beneficial. Venues gain a competitive edge and increase patronage through the distinctive cultural experience offered by artists, while artists receive exposure and a platform to showcase their talent.

Despite their significant contributions, our artists often face challenges. The compensation, if offered, can be minimal, and the acknowledgement of their role in attracting customers can be underappreciated. There is a growing conversation among the artist community about the need for fair treatment and better recognition of their contributions to the hospitality industry. At the end of the day as an artist, you need to earn however little you can and even more importantly, you have to keep singing and playing the instrument; so they end up being taken advantage of.

As Nairobi’s culinary scene continues to grow, recognizing the mutual benefits of this relationship could lead to more sustainable support for local artists and richer, more engaging experiences for patrons. In the thriving heartbeat of Nairobi’s eateries, perhaps the artists are the real promoters after all, deserving of fair compensation and recognition for the cultural vibrancy they bring to the table.

Let’s talk about it:

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