African Twilight

The Vanishing Rituals and Ceremonies of the African Continent

Above: African Heritage House bathed in morning light. Copyright Maya Mangat

Published: The Star newspaper, Kenya – 2 March 2019

“It’s my dream to set up a pan-African centre where artists from all over Africa can come and see the creativity from all parts of Africa,” said Joseph Murumbi, Kenya’s first foreign minister and second vice president.

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African Twilight images – Courtesy Alan Donovan

He never lived to see his dream for his house that had one of the most extensive and valuable collections of all things African, was allowed to fall in ruin after he sold it to the government on condition that it would be turned into the Murumbi Institute of African Studies. Murumbi died shortly after that in 1990 when he saw his once cherished house and indigenous garden in Muthaiga, Nairobi bulldozed away. Continue reading “African Twilight”

A Trip to Takwa


Published 7 July 2018

Sun-burnished mangrove leaves float like skeins of gold thread on the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. We’re sailing from Lamu Stone Town on Lamu Island to Manda Island that lies across the channel. Our boatman points to the village settled by the Luo from the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya. The men quarry for coral on the island and chisel the hard rock into building blocks for construction. They are hardy men carrying up to five blocks on a shoulder to load the boats that carry them away. A statue of a quarry man with the bricks on his shoulder stands on the edge of the village that is called Jaluo after the people, so tells our Swahili boatman. Continue reading “A Trip to Takwa”

Jade & Silver

A walk with Kenyan artist Camille Wekesa on her current exhibition titled Jade & Silver

Above: Camille Wekesa at her art exhibition Jade & Silver with the Jade Sea (Lake Turkana) and the shades of the petrified forest by the lake.

Published in The East African Nation media 2 June-8 June 2018

Camille is sophistication personified and a walk with her around her current exhibition which was exhibited at Muthaiga Country Club this month (May), showcases two diverse Kenyan landscapes she’s painted using different media. Having studied art in Italy, she’s held several exhibitions around the world.

Continue reading “Jade & Silver”

Held in the Rain in Ngangao

On the magical mist mountains of Taita Hills

Above: The ancient crystalline rock face of Ngangao some 260 million years old in Taita Hills – during the time of the dinosaurs.
Copyright Rupi Mangat

Published: Saturday magazine, Nation newspaper, 19 May 2018

 

 

Taita Thrush in neighbouring Yale forest where there are 2 pairs - copyright Luca Borghesio
Taita Thrush in neighbouring Yale forest where there are 2 pairs in 2015 – copyright Luca Borghesio

“It’s the nest of Taita thrush,” whispers Handrison Mwameso, the guide from Dawida Biodiversity Conservation group (DABICO). We’re inside Ngangao forest on the high peaks of the magical Taita Hills in southeast Kenya. We’ve walked a few metres from our campsite into the forest entering though a narrow path shaded by a bunch of Phoenix reclinata, a common palm tree here.

Continue reading “Held in the Rain in Ngangao”

Time travelling through Olorgesailie

The fascinating metropolis of ancient ancestors

Above: Mt Olorgesailie decked in cloud and wild flowers – copyright Rupi Mangat 5 May 2018

Published: Saturday magazine Nation newspaper 5 May 2018

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Dry weather in November 2017 – Mt Esakut from Olorgesailie – copyright Rupi Mangat 5 May 2018

I’m alone walking between two ancient volcanoes on sands that have weathered the times and bleached white by the relentless sun with volcanic rubble strewn around. Tiny white flowers and petals of yellow on skeletal green stalks that otherwise are so brittle during the dry season carpet the ground.

I’m at Olorgesailie, home of our ancestors, the upright human or Homo erectus who walked out of Africa and into the bigger world a million years ago.

In my aloneness my mind begins to wander. Continue reading “Time travelling through Olorgesailie”