Celebrating East African Writing!


Written by Esther Maundu

My name is Alice Chepkorir Kosgei. I am 19 years old. I was born on the second of December 1992. As the Asista (sun) rose up to greet the morning, l was emerging out of my mother’s womb, screaming and wiggling. My mama (mother) said that she immediately knew that l would grow up to dancan (dance). I would sing beautiful mutyos (songs), making graceful movements. My keldo (feet) would forever grace the floor never satisfied to just sit and be. My voice would uplift the spirits of people. Even the ancestors would awaken with the sound of my voice and be mesmerized by my soulful movements.

From the moment l could crawl, she would dance and encourage me to follow. She told me my first word was dancan (dance) and years later l would repeat the story, over and over again, with pride. My destiny had been written even before l was born. I joined the local primary school but got reprimanded over and over again because l could not sit still. I wanted to dance and sing. The teachers said that l was indisciplined and naughty and would cane me over and over again. I would go home in tears, sit in a corner and tell my mama that l would never dance again neither would l sing. I would be like the other good girls in class who sat still and wanted to be teachers and nurses when they grew up. My mother would laugh and tell me, my child no matter how many times they cane you, they can never remove the sing in your heart and in your feet. You were born to dancan (dance) my child and nobody and nothing can ever take that away form you. In high school l was able to join the drama club. I was so excited. Not only could l sing but l could dance and instead of being reprimanded by the teachers, we were encouraged to preserve, to do better, to become better. And we did. I danced and sang and danced some more. We performed and performed and we did it well. We even got a chance to perform for the president. Imagine me, simple Alice Chepkorir Kosgei, Dancing for the president of Kenya.

I sat for my form four examinations last year and l did well. I got a B+. When l got the letter to join the university, l was ecstatic. I had applied to study cultural arts with a minor in song and dance, and l had been accepted. I did not sleep for a whole week. I travelled all over the villages informing anyone and everyone of the fact that l, Alice Chepkorir Kosgei had been accepted into university. Not only had l been accepted for the performing arts degree but l had gotten a fully paid scholarship. I packed my bag and headed to the city. The city in the sun. Nairobi. I looked at the trees and the lights on the road as they passed by us. I was so excited. I could not wait to get to Nairobi. I wanted to get there and sing the song in my heart. I wanted to dance to my heartbeats.

I wanted the driver to go faster and so did a few of the other passengers but he laughed and pointed to a sticker below the rearview mirror. It read,



Mama, I never saw the other vehicle that hit us but l felt the impact. Mama, am sure you felt the tremor. It flowed to the earth’s center and its ripples spread to all corners of the earth.

Mama, is this also my destiny?  From when l was born, you sang to me, you held me in your arms and danced with me. You said my destiny was to be a great dancer and singer.  People would be healed by my voice, nations would declare peace when l sung, l would dance among mighty people and peasants and both would stand still, mesmerized by my grace, my passion, my soul. Mama did you lie?

All my life, l have believed in a mighty God. The God who sketched out my destiny, the God who would bless me behold my wildest dreams. Mama, you told me that this God was a powerful God. He would carry me on his shoulders and on His wings l would attain my destiny. Mama did you  lie ? Mama, am dying. Tell me mama, was this my destiny?

© Esther Maundu 2013


This Photograph was taken by photographer and author Aernout Zevenbergen at the 2012 Storymoja Hay Festival  at the National Museums of Kenya during a performance of Shungwaya by The Theatre Company.

This Photograph was taken by photographer and author Aernout Zevenbergen at the 2012 Storymoja Hay Festival at the National Museums of Kenya during a performance of Shungwaya by The Theatre Company.

Word: Yellow: Trigger: The child seated in the front row with yellow shoes. One shoe was off like she wanted to join the performers.


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