Sunday, December 12, 2010


You want to read…
You want to read this
These words that don’t sit
Well enough together
To become sentences
Always uncomfortably shifting

You want to see…
You want to see where this leads
If it leads to meaning
By saying something
Or by almost saying nothing

Where does this go?
Where does this story go?
I want you to see this
I'm wondering who will
Have a look at this...
I want to write it

I want to write this
Because I want you to read it
I want to see if you will
Find some meaning
In all this.

This doesn’t mean anything
This doesn’t mean anything yet
Because I havn’t understood it
But maybe you will
That’s why I’m writing this
So that you may read.

James D. Adolwa - 12.12.2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Maneno Yafuatana

Maneno yanafuatana
Maana haija pangana
Ninaandika lakini ninajisimamisha
Nini kusudi ya maneno bila maana?

I'm writing but there is no pen in my hand
Trying to find meaning
On a scratch pad in my mind
I'm writing
But not understanding what's coming out

Ninaandika lakini sijaridhika
Ninajiuliza kama nimefika
Lakini inaonekana kwamba hata sijaanza
Kalamu karatasi lugha na maana

I have been writing
But I have not written much
Little scratches of an invisible pen
Writing numbers not words in my mind

Kujiita mwandishi ni mwito
Huwezi kuwa mwandishi bila kuandika
Huwezi kuwa mshairi bila kutunga

I've been looking at the scratch-pad in my mind
Looking at what I've churned out over time
Its time I took this ship on a different course
A course I haven't charted yet

Kupanga maneno nitapanga mpaka
Maana idhihirike na kusudi ijulikane
Nitaendelea kuandika basi
Hata iwe pasi na dhamiri

James Adolwa
4th August 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010


I needed to let go of some stress so I walked to Alliance Francaise in Nairobi; had a look at their notice board...saw an interesting poster for a concert this evening and attended...not knowing that it would be the most interesting and "enigmatic" concert I've ever attended. Great Poster translated to Great Concert and elaborate how many times do you get that lucky...below are posts I made on facebook concerning the concert. The last comment I made about Sophie Hungers music but it seems we have our own "Sophie Hunger" right here in Nairobi. It defines Melisa Asali's music perfectly.


Saw the poster at alliance...eishhh...creative stuff...never heard your music but had to get a ticket. Hope the music will be as creative as the poster (James Adolwa 18-06-2010 17:00 hours - Facebook)


Crazy performance...didn't understand a lot of it but enjoyed all of both your CD and listening to the CD ( with headphones so that I catch every word) and enjoying it even more. Left me with a lot of questions...especially enjoyed the last song where you were desperately looking for babas voice mpaka you were pulling your ears...painful...thought inspiring. Eishhhhhhhhh great music.

Controversial...who is baba?.....lots of questions...keep doing music... its what you are meant to do. Yes...and write poetry...publish a book or something.

p.s. wondering if it was a double CD coz I got a double CD case with only one CD inside...cannot just yet get enough of it (James Adolwa 18-06-2010 23:00 hours - Facebook)

Words that could mean nothing...words that could mean everything...listened to this twice over...more than just interesting lyrics...beautiful but music from some other place...well worth a listen. (James Adolwa Facebook- 30th May 2010)


The youtube video is in English but a lot of soul searching questions are written all over her swahili songs. Get her CD...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Its May - Masiku Yapita

It's May

I cannot believe its May
January and February and March
All gone and faded away
Its May it was yesterday
And tomorrow the month remains
I can't believe its May


J. Adolwa


Different Roles / Masiku Yapita

Masiku yapita
Misimu yabadilika
Marafiki waonana
Kisha waachana
Different Roles
Different Goals

Maisha yopata
Jawa na furaha
sina ila baraka
Different Roles
Different Goals

As we live our lives
Travelling on life's paths
It is good to know
that there are different roads
......for different souls

J. Adolwa - 2005



I'm not a musician
but the words had a tune
so I had to put a song together
as awful as it may be

Ukweli-different roles by ushairimamboleo

...and here is another that I'd like to get out of the way...the first thing I ever tried to record. Did this around 2003 whispering into a microphone...a lot of distortion and buzzing but again I didn't say I was a musician...

Perfect People by ushairimamboleo

And here is another one I dug up...done between 2003 and early 2006 will have to confirm this

Ukweli wa mambo by ushairimamboleo

Link to yahoo player


Sunday, April 18, 2010




It’s been more than a month since I’ve been here and I am very conscious of the fact that I haven’t posted anything to this blog in that time.

Too much has been going on, I’ve moved towns…no longer in Nairobi and I am now more than 700 kilometres away in a small town in Coast province.

There is no FM radio or terrestrial television here. No real hospital, no supermarket, but there are many donkeys and goats and cows and insects and frogs…and am told if you are not very careful at night you might just meet a hyena…laughing.

The place doesn’t rain much but it floods… the water is salty and the roads to and from the place are regularly washed away. .

Those who speak Kiswahili here speak it perfectly with proper pacing and intonation.. real Kiswahili…not the variety you find in Nairobi. And for those who don’t speak Kiswahili…well, they don’t speak it at all.

There are many bars here. I frequent them a lot but only for lunch or supper. They have a lot to offer; meals …bed…breakfast. Many long distance trucks stop-over.

There is more tap-water here than in Nairobi…but just yet none of it is good for drinking…maybe in a month or two I will be able to.

All these stories and I haven’t mentioned the most significant thing - the heat. Its difficult to wear anything…I get a full nights sleep without needing a blanket. Its hot and humid…

By the way did I mention that I got to see the ocean!!! Last time I saw it I was a little kid…it still looks the same…nothings changed…but it still felt good looking into the beyond where water meets sky and you get yourself to thinking that the limits of your mind go way beyond the limits of your sight

Well, I live here now, it may be difficult to adjust but people – and/or animals whichever came first – have been here for thousands maybe millions of years and they have lived and thrived and conquered this land, now its my turn to make something for myself in this place. Am wondering what kind of shape for my life I will create out of this space…well…lets find out…

James Adolwa

P.S –none of this is proper in terms of punctuation and grammar. Just random thoughts so just take them as they come…randomly

Monday, March 15, 2010

Great Tactician...Kenyan Politician

I voted for you
But I don’t want you to lead me
I wish I could walk into that big house
And kick you out
But the guards at the gates wouldn’t let me

You specialize in scandal
Act like a vandal
Sadly all you do is legal
Because you determine what’s lawful
It’s painful

Diversion your main tactic
The media you best tool
A story cut short before its done justice
A new headline to cover it all up
before justice is done

James Adolwa – 14.03.2010

Monday, February 22, 2010


Hello, people...just to let you know...I've had to introduce comment moderation on my blog. Had someone post some dodgy links (I have since deleted them) to my posts and now when you search google with the title of this blog some strange stuff comes up with the search i'll have to approve all comments from now on.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I was sitting before a panel of interviewers today for admission into a training course and one of the questions that was shot at me by the panel was, "What have you watched on television recently that has disturbed you?” Of course with the pressure of an interview my response was absolute rubbish. I went on to talk on how the format of a documentary on television could have been they should have personalized the presentation by using an they should have tried to engage the audience by focusing more on the people rather than plain impersonal video shots. Clearly I missed the point of the question and I have already taken myself through the process of feeling like an absolute idiot. So here are the answers I should have given with emphasis on one point that so completely irked me.

Here are a few stories recently carried on Kenyan television that have disturbed me:

• How our politicians divert attention from one scandal that is receiving media attention to resurrect another "dying" but yet to be resolved scandal. Case in point- the maize scandal brought up by one faction of the political class to divert attention from the free primary education scandal in which politicians their side of the coalition are implicated.

• How the prime-minister played down the findings by Price-Waterhouse-Coopers on the maize scandal by saying that the Anti-Corruption Commission had earlier carried out investigations and had found “no wrong doing” by those implicated and exonerated them. However on a positive note he has set-up a committee to reconcile the two contradictory positions.

• The most disturbing of all, is how we, after suffering a long devastating drought and yet to recover from its effects are now forced to pour out thousands of litres of milk because our milk factories are not able to process it. We are still suffering from severe food shortages in many parts of the country, yet we are not at this point able to handle our domestic dairy production. We should have had the capacity to process all this wasted protein.

Our dependence and insistence on large scale industry scares me. It seems that everything (even the simplest) needs to be done on a large scale. It’s about time that we were able as communities to handle our local production. What we produce should be sustainably produced and consumable. If it is not consumable at that point it should be preservable. Local dairy farmers should have capacity (at least in terms of knowledge) to produce cheese or butter or yoghurt or ghee. It was sad to see farmers who had put in so much effort after the drought watch their labour go down the drain. What if this farmer had a way to process this milk? What if the technology and the know-how to process this milk was accessible to him?

With these questions the old concept of cottage industries came to mind. In our rush to industrialize we have ignored this important stage in the process. If we are not making progress on the macro level, let us work on the micro level. Several countries have successfully ensured food security by focusing on small scale local production. On a policy level, our politicians have let us down. It’s time for us to shift focus to small scale manufacturing and production (and I am not talking about jua-kali) its time for industries run by two or tree or ten people scattered in every corner of this country to make a difference in this economy...lets stop thinking super or mega or giga and start working on the person with a cow, another with a micro-dairy, one with a maize shamba, another with a posho mill, one with a soap making project another with a fish farm...small sustainable communities working together…using what they produce and selling, saving, storing or preserving the excess.

However, you still cannot ignore the Macro-level. The government with the input of communities should implement a shift in policy and focus on building local capacity for communities to handle their own production. It is in the governments very own interest to ensure that its communities are knowledgeable enough and capable enough to handle their own economy -whatever the scale- right from production through processing, distribution and consumption. For a country that is yet to achieve food security and experiences such erratic weather patterns we cannot afford to waste such a rich source of protein as milk. Our government needs to be able to predict outcomes and support the efforts of its citizens.

James Adolwa
February 12, 2010

Originally posted on

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Sina mengi ya kusema
Ingawa kuna mengi yametendeka
Maneno hayawezi kupangika
Kutoa maana ya yanayofanyika
Nimejitahidi kuandika
Lakini kalamu yavunjika
Sina mengi ya kusema
Ingawa kuna mengi yametendeka

Maneno mengi ningesema
Lakini sitaki kujilazimisha
Afadhali ningetenda
Na kwa vitendo mgeona
Ni vizuri ninyamaze
Na kwa kimya niwaze
Maneno mengi nigesema
Lakini sitaki kujilazimisha

Maneno hayawezi toka mdomoni
Kabla ya kamilike akilini
Kuropokwa na kukosa maana
Si vile ningependa kujulikana
Wacha kwanza mawazo kupangana
Halafu ulimi kutangaza
Maneno hayawezi toka mdomoni
Kabla ya kamilike akilini

Kuna mengi ya kuelewa
Kuna mengi ya kufikiria
Na fikira zikikoma
Basi maneno yataisha
Sijaacha kufikiriria
Sijaacha kuongea
Ni tu maneno yangu naweka akiba
Nitayaseme yote pamoja na riba

James Adolwa

Thursday, January 14, 2010


They go forward and backward and then repeat
They are insistent and constant and habitual it seems
I'm afraid I might have let them sink their roots too deep

I want to leave them behind me
but behind me is not the best place for them to be
I want to start running
but running will only bring them closer to me
They surround me
And from inside me they seem to increase

These things are creeping me out
Because their faces look eerily like me
When I stamp my foot on them
the pain shoots right up to my knee

These little devils sprung up from me
Little soldiers I made to open up a path for me
And as an army they fought valialty
But now the mutant insurgents attack
And shackle my feet

These thoughts I think that make thinking incomplete
This way of seeing things that is now totally obsolete
These old patterns of cognition that crawl up to retard my increase
These methods of finding meaning that make meaning disappear in a mist

James Adolwa

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This is likely to be my shortest post yet - though I might have to look through my posts to confirm this. This is for the benefit of those who might find themselves viewing this blog and end up wondering what "Ushairi Mamboleo" is. So just the basic definitions

First things first....the two words are in Kiswahili /Swahili

Ushairi: poetry
Mamboleo: connotes or implies "modernity" (to be honest I need help on defining this)
Ushairi Mamboleo: modern poetry

Ok...time to be honest...I've not posted anything this I decided to get that barrier out of the way and get started on my blogposts for least its a start...said almost nothing with so many words.