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Ciku Kimeria is a Kenyan author "Of goats and poisoned oranges" - (https://www.amazon.com/goats-poisoned-oranges-Ciku-Kimeria-ebook/dp/B00HBBWPI6), development consultant, adventurer and travel blogger (www.thekenyanexplorer.com). She writes both fiction and non-fiction focusing on African stories that need telling. She has worked on diverse pieces for various international and local publications including Quartz, Ozy, The East African etc. She has travelled to 45 countries – 16 of them in Africa. 153 countries to go and 63 territories!
"Of goats and poisoned oranges" has been extremely well received in Kenya and beyond. It tells the story of a Kenyan middle aged power couple and their complicated marriage. The novel explores issues of greed, revenge, betrayal and murder. It runs from the 1960s to 2013. It has been described as “Wicked, funny, poignant, wacky, human, a big ball of fun and danger”, “A unique and captivating book”, “Fun and intriguing”, “Impossible to put down once you start reading.”
She recently moved to Dakar, Senegal from Kenya to work on her second novel. She also works at as the Africa Communication Manager at a leading global strategy consulting firm.
She holds a B.S. in Management Science from MIT with minors in Urban Planning and International development studies.
As a writer, I have such a love for stories. The art of storytelling is changing on the continent, but still exists. I recall the childhood stories in primary school that started with the call "Hadithi! Hadithi!" Our response as children was "Hadithi njoo!" This Swahili phrases translate to "Story! Story!" The response is "Story come!" In Haitian creole, I learned that the equivalent is "Krik! Krak!" Stories have always been an important part of storytelling culture. Even though in this day and age, we might not be sitting around the fire, hearing stories from the older generation, the storytelling nature of Africans persist. Twitter threads, blogs and youtube channels are becoming our new fireplaces.
Stories are always open to interpretation and that's what makes them most beautiful. The same story can mean so much to different people. For me, this particular story from Zanzibar sounded like a feminist tale of a woman scorned who then gets her lady friends to help her get revenge. The ending though was not very in line with what I expected. The guests on the podcast brought interesting perspectives on the story with one mentioning that the tale was meant to reinforce societal expectations of women and marriage at the time. One particular guest was of the same opinion as I was—she would have changed the ending to have more of a girl-empowerment stance.
It is an interesting story: one that examines class, gender and racial issues in society. One can envision different stories in this day and age that would follow similar themes, universal themes. I quite enjoyed the storytelling, the narration, the different perspectives from the guests, the music and of course hearing one of my languages (Swahili) being spoken. The listener will also get to learn a bit about contemporary and ancient Zanzibar and for a moment feel as if they are sitting by a fireplace, maybe in Forodhani market in Stonetown, listening to the story.