René Odanga

Read this first


You want to know why most of us are so confused these days? I will tell you what I think. Not because you asked, no one really ever asks, not even you (yes you who is reading this). So, I’m just going to tell you anyway. Congratulations.

It’s because we were convinced by Someone that we didn’t need walls anymore. Piece by piece, Someone came around and divested all the concrete we had spent time installing and hid it in a place that we do not know. Someone came over to our house at a random hour and did stuff no one ever did for us before. And no, I’m not talking about getting into our sheets and playing with our naked bodies in ways that made us feel things that can only be described by significant stretches of dictionaries in whatever language, (though I understand why that is where your brain would run to first); we all crave intimacy on a bedroom level and Someone outlawed

Continue reading →

The Dance of a Dying Hen

When the rest of the women generation were busy inheriting the symmetry, looks and hourglass figure of Eve, I happened to inherit her appetite for forbidden things. So, understand me when I tell you that anything forbidden in the great Koran of diet, towards that; my African feet gravitate. Even I can never seem the brakes to my appetite for junk food – and hot men. In fact, I sing all sorts of songs to welcome junk food into my stomach. I even assure it that hydrochloric acid has gone ahead to prepare a place for it in my stomach. That it should not be afraid of harming me, I got good genes after all so we won’t gain weight.

The last time I exercised properly was last year in my bed-sitter. I was trying squats, but it ended up being an experiment gone wrong. After that, exercise and I parted ways. It was peaceful break up; no words exchanged, no tears shed. We simply shook hands like

Continue reading →

Needs Must

I hate stairs. I just hate the little things. Those artefacts of architectural witchcraft just sitting idly all day on the rib of some unassuming building plotting the horrible and painfilled death of the human species with a menacing malice. I hate them. I hate stairs. I mean just look at the things and they look back at you challengingly, with their numbers a projection of their tyrannical power. They seem to just say, “Oh, you think you can take on us? Well, go ahead then. Try us. Walk on! One foot in front of the other, now that you think your destination is more important than your well-being. Try us you idiot! Go ahead and see if by the time you get to the third landing we will not visit upon every nerve and sinew in your hips and limbs a hurt and a pain so vicious and malicious it is only reserved by the gods for their most irreverent detractors.”

But above stairs, I hate

Continue reading →

The Sharing of Ghosts

We wield such wild, rogue ambition to ultimately be the worst versions of ourselves. Either that, or the alternating opposite, a reposit of both accounts are innately wired in our weary natures.

Maybe the most confusing thing about being human is the inexplicable content of having both attributes. The yin and yang; the virtuous versus the vice.

I don’t think one person ever deserves the merit to be one of only that duality. It’s disorienting, life, we deserve no one and no one can wield the eminence to break your spot of glory in this wicked sentence of life we’ve all commune to see through.

So dear friend:
As you read this epistle, be light on spirits. We all deserve a spark of light in our mortal bones to delight on shy things as those of allies. With them, comes the courage to manifest our purpose in this life and the next; meditate on those unique beings David and Jonathan were!

Continue reading →

Elegy to Living Dying Things

Somethings are immutable facts of life. Simply unshakeable. As immutable as the role of Subaru Imprezza in contemporary human mating rituals. Chief amongst them is this: anything that lives; dies. Unfortunately, this just happens without warning. Or sometimes, with plenty warning. Never matter.

Quite recently, I had the distinct displeasure of being blessed with a front row seat to watch a very beautiful friendship wither away and die. I know. Sad. Okay, tears aside, I noted a few things once I finished watching two people who at one point could not live without each other learn how to pretend the other did not exist. Let me share some wisdom that was forged in the chasms of constant stupidity.

Somethings are not your fault. My friend, sometimes the devil just decides to gaze lustily upon your future with Paul Muite’s eyes. There is really nothing you can do here. If you want to blame

Continue reading →

World (judge)Mental Health Day: *A treatise for those amongst us who aren’t “Okay” yet.*

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. Many people didn’t know that. I certainly didn’t know that. I mean, I knew that under the old constitutional dispensation in Kenya, October 10th was a public holiday dedicated to pontificating to an autocrat but that is beside the point. There is no way I’d watch this day pass me by without me writing a little titbit of sorts so here goes. DISCLAIMER: This post will be written free-hand and will not be edited or proofread. Any errors encountered can be overcome by contextualisation of the part in text where they appear.

I am happy that there is at least a day that is dedicated to discussing mental health issues. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what it portends for anyone in such a situation. In fact, the day itself kind of came out of nowhere and hit most of us out of the pink. I haven’t had anyone walk up to me and start conversation

Continue reading →

In Which I Shoot Our Own Foot

If you think that the title to this piece is wrong, go take a long walk off a short pier. There is a lithe possibility that I came up with it under the inebriating influence of onion and leek soup. Now, if we are done splitting hairs, I would like to get right to it.

I have a serious problem with people believing in me. About anything. Even the simple things like trusting me with making sure that the milk for the tea does not boil over and spill all over a freshly cleaned kitchen (I’m sorry Mum. I have no idea how many cows I have caused to be milked thin.) Whatever it be that you see and say I can do, believe me when I say this, “I Rene will find a way to screw it up.”

But I’m rather sure I’m not the only one with this chronic disease. I am that friend who will pose the worst for a group photo. My smile will be a bit disjointed and will make the entire group shot look like it was a

Continue reading →

I Want to Write Nonsense

Someone once asked me what I hoped to achieve with my writing. I found this question to be a bit annoying and superfluous. But I didn’t say so at the time because I wasn’t sure that that is how I felt about that question. So, I found an answer at that particular time and gave it to them. I don’t even remember what that answer was. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t lie. It’s just that I didn’t give the entire truth. And if something isn’t entirely itself, what’s the point in committing it to memory? There’s nothing remarkable about it. I have been thinking about that question. And here is the answer I have arrived at…for now.

If I was to be asked what I hoped to achieve by writing, my answer is simple. “I hope to write irrelevancies.” I hope to write things that will be so inconceivable, so unbelievable that whoever reads them will know outright that the occurrences are a figment of high

Continue reading →


At the risk of sounding excessively pedantic—as I usually do—I will get on with this tale immediately.

Had he not have been seated there; just far enough out of my reach—thinking his smug thoughts and looking his smug looks, had he not have been bigger and burlier than I could probably ever hope to be, had he not have been surrounded by people; around whom manoeuvring would have proven impossible, had I not have been held back by the confines of sanity; which I normally dispense with in all other situations, had the “powers that be” not have seen it fit to deny me the power of height and threatening presence and burly physique and punchy fists the size of barrels, had my professor not have been standing behind me—a man that I otherwise largely respect—thereby preventing any type of rash badmashi from me, had I not have been a Christian at that precise moment; a state that I take much

Continue reading →

Afterthought 1

A while back on this very blog I posted a piece called ‘Look…Here’s the Thing’. In it, I tried (albeit with little success) to address disparities in beliefs and belief systems between/among people. Somewhere in there, a line goes, “Look…here’s the thing…you cannot make anyone see things as you do.” I went on to say, “What’s abnormal…is you trying to defend something to someone who has no interest in you being right or wrong.”

Perhaps in writing like this, I made a mistake. Re-reading that post I realise that I over-used language and hid what I was trying to say. Let me try again and this time I’ll try not to miss the mark.

You see, the reason I’m back on this topic is simple:
A friend of mine is playing with fire. And he has been for quite a while now. And I do not believe in that stupid proverb that if a child asks for a razor you should give it to them. And if they hurt themselves

Continue reading →