Celebrating East African Writing!

Voices – Introducing Finish the Story Friday East Africa

Storymoja and the #BlackWomenBeLikeSeries are pleased to present Finish the Story Friday – a series of the stories between the lines of stereotypes about black African women.

On the second Friday of each month, a new story by a writer from a country in an African region the #BlackWomenBeLikeSeries is celebrating will be posted on the Storymoja blog.

The second Friday after that, another writer from a different country in the same region will complete the story written by the previous writer, by adding 750-1000 words to that story. Extra bonus points for introducing a new lead character, connected to the previous story’s one!

Since November we have been celebrating Southern Africa. See the In Front of the Camera series. [Part One, Two, Three, Four]

It is now East Africa’s turn!


Voices – Part One [By Shiro Gaitho]

Suck it in. Smile, don’t grimace, smile. Try to look like you’re breathing, without actually breathing. Did you say you feel a bit fat? Well you should have thought about that while you were eating that chocolate and drinking wine by the bottle. I told you that if you wanted to avoid looking like a beached whale, you should have had the skinny girl cocktail: vodka can do no wrong. Actions have consequences. And since you refuse to go to the gym, don’t be looking at me like I’m the source of your misery. Okay, I might be but it’s your fault I’m this way.

Are you sure you’re sucking it in? It seems like you pushed it out. You should be pushing out your ass instead. Suck in and push out. How hard could that be? And while you’re at it, could you do a quick suck-pull-and-swallow? I think there’s something between your teeth. Here he comes again so GODDAMIT, SUCK IT IN AND PUT DOWN THAT COCKTAIL SANDWICH! Can’t have us looking like we come to weddings hungry.

Look at him, walking like he owns the damn place. And who’s that he’s with? Are you really going to try to pretend you don’t want me to give her the once-over? I promise to be discreet. You know we need to know. Okay, you don’t want to look? I will.

Weeeeellll, not to be rude or anything but her hair is umm, unique. Yeah, let’s go with unique. Why unique? Si you told me not to be rude? Okay, you want me to be honest? Sawa. She has a serious mbalazz situation going on her head. I think they got her hair from a horse with hypertrichosis, because all that cannot be from one horse. Or maybe there was BOGOF* that day. But we’re not hating right? We’re just saying.

He’s looking good though. I don’t remember his hairline seeming closer to the nape of his neck than to his forehead, but maybe my eyesight deceives me. Must be the glare of the sun. Seems like he’s been working out. He needed to. Those arms can carry me now. I can just imagine him lifting me onto the counter and…oh hell we’re not going there. Jesus, be the fence between me and all that 50 Shades of Grey imagery going on right now. Who cares about him though? I’m almost 30 but I’m still fab right? Trying to keep it tight. Ok, I kind of don’t have an option because my clothes do feel a bit snug, but because it’s a new year and we’re embracing positivity, I choose to see myself as fuller: the bigger the better, the tighter the sweater – or dress – the more the boys will look at you.

So why aren’t they looking then? Weddings are honestly no fun when the only people you know or care to talk to are the bride and groom. Amani assured me that there’d be lots of single guys here but it’s been an hour and to be honest, I think she played me. Selfish cow. I’ll tell her she looked fat in her dress. And she should’ve told me that Mwas was coming with his latest babe. I’d have made sure I brought a date. Can’t have the ex seeing me standing alone, nibbling on sandwiches and drinking box wine. It’s sad. And I don’t do sad. What I should have done though, is make my hair. My locks are not at their best today. I should’ve at least had them in an updo to make me look more “polished.” Oh well, too late.

This boredom is stifling. Even Barry’s best man is taken. There should be a rule about the unavailable to eligible men ratio at weddings: for every taken man there should be at least three fine singles. And nobody to compete against me. This thing about competition being healthy is overrated. The only competition I want to see is men tripping over their expensive Italian leather shoes, trying to cater to my every whim. And they need to be legit Italian leather shoes. Too many people wearing knock-offs. It’s the Chinese I swear. This globalization is getting scary. Those guys are everywhere!

The other day one of them bumped into me in the bathroom at some club and when she turned to say sorry, she couldn’t stop staring at my hair. I tried to stare her down – I have a famously unnerving cold stare – but she just stood there, all Asian cat-eyed and weirdly amused and reaching up to touch my hair. The stare wasn’t working and my left eye was starting to twitch from trying too hard to look mean, but dammit I wasn’t going to let her touch my hair!

Nobody touches my hair. And if one more person asks me what I do to make my hair so “authentically African” I’m going to…

My gaad that feels good! Oh, whoever you are, you are hitting the spot! Let me just tilt my head a little further in so your big, gifted hand can keep doing what it’s doing, running those powerful fingers over my scalp like they were made for exactly that…blessed Buddha don’t let me make that sound I’m about to make. Only one person can do this to me and he’s supposed to be standing right next to his new wi…

Wait a minute. Barry?

Shiro Gaitho


Shiro Gaitho (Kenya) is a wannabe creative writer, with a penchant for long sentences and slight irreverence towards straight-laced institutions and anything that demands structure. While not agonising over how much she’s eaten or tweeting her mind, she occasionally updates her blog and thinks about taking over the world with her words and wit. She’s worked as a business news reporter on TV and had the potential to become a minor celebrity, but chose to give up that very promising opportunity in the hopes of becoming an award-winning writer – only to end up in PR.

But she hasn’t given up on that dream so watch out for her work. Follow her on Twitter (@shirogaitho) or email her for a writing job on 




This entry was posted on January 16, 2015 by in #BlackWomenBeLike.
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