The Kenyan Bikozulu
Am late! Tf! Who gets to Biko’s masterclass this late!
I had been waiting for this day like a woman in labor for delivery.
I committed to sign up for his masterclass back in September. Reason being a need to further and improve my skills and who else to learn from than the best. Reason two being to meet Steve Biko, the writer behind bikozulu.co.ke in person. I mean, he is too anonymous, you can’t know his face from social media or the entire world wide web. He chooses to keep it that way. Biko turns down selfie requests from fans my people.
5th Dec 2018, the first day of three days of my masterclass, I am late.! The guts! Dressed like a hippie during winter. I get to the venue, ask reception where to go and take in two huge breathes to easen up. On the white door is a masterclass poster. I push it in, several ladies and two gentlemen sit comfortably in a semi circular arrangement with one of the men seated infront of the rest. They all have a sprinkle of official outfits on them. Name tags are placed on the white table and I have to scan for mine and a kind lady points to my seat.
As I settle in, I try hard to relate the image I had in my head of Biko (the ICEA LION AD on his site, that’s him) and the guy who now sits across me. “Whoever is on that ad does not in any way resemble the now younger looking, polished man seated across me,” my mind spirals. Biko is bald. He has a beard, a long one but not like an Arab’s. The beard has a sprinkle of white hair. He is 41, but looks 32. He has a chocolate complexion, is tall, a little over 6 foot and no, he does not have a kitambi. He has this aura of confidence, self knowledge and satisfaction that you want to switch your life for his anytime. I am brought back to the present as one of the ladies tells us about her, exposing her vulnerability. The introduction includes such, expectations of the masterclass and current read. They are mostly older women who have passed the fear of exposing their fears stage, and can openly speak about their marriage, separation and how even with families, want to continue in pursuit of what their hearts wants. In this context, it is writing.
My turn comes, “first, my apologies for being late,” I don’t know who am apologising to but I know it’s important. “Part of my expectations was to meet Biko, ” looks like I just warmed up to the class because everyone laughs. People love a vulnerable person. “I just finished reading Trevoh Noah’s Born A Crime”, a few ladies throw some comments here, there, good ones. See, we are friends already and they’ve probably now accepted my apology for being late.
On one of the days, he tells us his routine, his beast mode. How he is able to produce great content, do big interviews, be consistent, and not be a starving artist. I’d always wondered just like you, so here am all ears (I was still all ears the rest of the time Biko)
Biko narrates it, “I wake up around 4:50am. From 5am, I read a book or go jogging. Writing or simply general performance in anything involves the mind, body and soul. Then am at the office by 8am. I am a morning person so am most productive till 1pm. That’s when I write. The rest of the afternoon, I read. By 9pm, am asleep. When I have an interview to conduct, I do it in the morning.” He arrives to his interviews 15 minutes ahead of the set time and doesn’t understand people who are always late. Arriving in advance allows him to settle in and own the space including selecting the most suitable seating position.
He is not restricted to this schedule though because as you can tell from his social media posts, he travels often. His tools include a MacBook that’s light as a feather and he can work from anywhere really.
He has family time too, you’ll see from his posts about Tamms and Kim, his two babies. Biko has a wife incase you are wondering.
Writers like Biko who write for many publications usually give themselves a holiday by submitting articles for the next say, 3 weeks, for them to go on a 3 week holiday.
He too has bad days like everyone else but he still shows up, folds up his sleeves and creates content. Oh and btw, before he married writing, he took Biochemistry in campus, in case you need a lab technician.
Did you know he is an author. On request, he personally signs an autographs and writes something Biko-ish on it. So incase you are wondering what gift to get that special someone, this should be on your list. His site – bikozulu – has all that info.
Last day of 2018. I saw myself change, grow and its really just the beginning.
From me to you, see you twenty nineteen.