Art for 21 Years

by Monicah Wangari
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Still on that Nolstagia vibe, chasing away January blues and helping you plan for that next trip. Fantasize a little shall we?

Want to understand this better, go read these first;


wild waters

zoo the series

If you already did, here goes another encounter at the Kenyan Coast

50 50

While just chilling at the Xanadu Beach Villas, we would sometimes play games; poker card game and The 50-50 Kenyan board game. It’s a game that was introduced when Kenya turned 50. Nie reke gwire (Let me tell you) it is so good that you might want to buy it even before you are done reading this. See the way you always carry earphones or a book to keep you busy when waiting or just chilling, this is it, requires a team too.

We would sit under the thatched roof bordering the ocean and the swimming pool sometimes, other times at the dining area inside our villa.

Image source; here

The 50-50 Kenyan board game is entertaining, competitive and nostalgic. Its a game that involves your brain, your intelligence about our country Kenya and a few outside questions. It also requires you to be good at description, its a charade kinda game. Often we would play and end up cracking in laughter because people can get so creative when time is running out. There’s an hour glass to time each players turn.

See, there are two sided cards – one side black, the other red – both sides with several different names. A player rolls the dice then depending where it gets him/her on the board they can pick a card to play or not get to play. When a player picks a card, they are required to explain as many words as possible from just one side. The more the player explains to the team and the more the team gets the names right, the more points the team gets.

Tour Mombasa Day

Every time we were going out, I’d get so excited and dress up, making sure to put sunscreen on exposed parts.

This day was tour Mombasa Town day, and where else to start but Fort Jesus. The day being 12th Dec – Jamhuri Day, the place was packed. Local tourists and foreigners (are Ugandans foreigners in this case because they were quite a number, with all young school girls having shaved – Is it a thing for girls in Uganda to shave?)

We pay at the entrance, our tickets are stamped and up the train of history we go.

Well there’s a lot of history of past war and a lot which I hardly recall. But just so you know, Fort Jesus was built as a military base by the Portuguese in 1593.

George Karanja

Outside the Fort, I couldn’t help but fancy some art and the guy behind them. The locks on his hair were particularly something to look at; totally uneven locks – one big, one small, covered by a captain’s hat.

George Karanja

George, the guy with the fancy locks grew up in Nairobi Eastlands Bahati area. He attended Uthiru High School then moved to Lamu 21years ago. To practice art. His love for art grew in high school, his teacher was that good, he tells me. He opened an art shop in Lamu, called it Culture Studio. Printing t shirts, postcards, sign writing, doing paintings, basically all things painty. Due to terrorism in Lamu and business including tourism going down, he had to look for greener pastures.

George Karanja

Through a friendly contact from his home area Bahati, he moved his art station to an outdoor location just outside Fort Jesus. All the art he has, he has created. If you want to get in touch, catch him on +254 717 470223. Oh and if you happen to pass by there anytime, pass my regards.

Forodhani Restaurant

From here we headed onto Forodhani Restaurant, a walking distance from Fort Jesus.

gracing the streets

It is one of those restaurants that you and I see in movies.

the entrance

With a view of the ocean, several ships and beautiful breeze.

ocean view


ocean view

I got their fish fingers and chips, this one had everyone at the table laugh at me. I mean, they are countable – something like 8 fish finger pieces and 12 chips, that is no meal for an African, is more of starter. A few pieces but somehow, I was satisfied.


While in Mombasa, make sure to drink tamarind/ukwaju juice and try the shawarma too.

Ukwaju. Image source; here


Shawarma. Image source; here


As usual, keep winging it.

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Bennah. January 22, 2019 - 6:12 am

Hi am sure when i will go to FORT JESUS i will say hi to GEORGE does he know you by your name?

Monicah Wangari January 22, 2019 - 6:36 am

yes he does, cheers!

Backpacking to a Wedding - February 18, 2019 - 7:05 am

[…] there I went to fort Jesus to chill with George Karanja, you remember him from my post Art for 21 Years. We drunk madafu as we caught up. He now has an Instagram page culture studio, good stuff […]

Backpacking to a Wedding - August 23, 2019 - 4:04 pm

[…] there I went to fort Jesus to chill with George Karanja, you remember him from my post Art for 21 Years. We drunk madafu as we caught up. He now has an Instagram page culture studio, good stuff […]


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