Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obama's Kenyan choir signs deal

The choir were formed in Nairobi in 
1998 and count 40 members
An African youth choir has been signed by Universal Music after performing at President Barack Obama's inauguration celebrations in the US.

The Boys Choir of Kenya signed the deal in the transit lounge at London's Heathrow Airport as they returned home to Nairobi from Washington DC.

They were the only international choir to sing at the inauguration.

The choir, who are aged between 13 and 24, put on an impromptu performance for passengers before flying on to Kenya.

They have toured the US several times, and their performances have raised school fees for their members, as well as helping them take on several orphans.

Artistic director Joseph Muyale said: "We heard about the record deal about two days ago. I felt delighted on behalf of the boys.

"We began from humble beginnings and to be recognised by a large recording company is so humbling and quite an honour. We just thank God."

Universal Classics A&R representative Tom Lewis signed the contract at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 4.

He only saw the choir for the first time at the weekend, after a colleague advised him to watch a clip of them online.

Director Joseph Muyale Inzai signed 
the contract at Heathrow Airport

Lewis said: "It has been frantic. I didn't know how I was going to get to see the choir - they're not allowed to leave the airport because they're in transit.

"At one point, I even considered buying a ticket so I could join them. But we've been allowed into the departures lounge."

He added: "I went onto YouTube and I saw their CNN performance and I thought, 'Wow - I do not want anyone else working with them.'"

The Boys Choir was formed in Nairobi in 1998 but expanded to members from outside the Kenyan capital in 2004. They now have 40 singers.

They were asked to sing at several events surrounding the inauguration of President Obama, whose father came from Kenya - although he never managed to see them perform.

The choir's repertoire includes a wide-ranging number of pieces from traditional Masaai and Samburu chants to contemporary songs from around Africa. They will now share a label with the likes of Amy Winehouse, U2 and The Rolling Stones.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/01/23 16:29:00 GMT


Monday, January 19, 2009

Nyama choma party awaits Obama's big day

Ms Alice Mukabane at Safari DC, Halala partner enterprise.

Ms Alice Mukabane at Safari DC, the restaurant and disco in Washington that she co-owns with husband William Mukabane. She plans to serve Kenyan food on 20th. Photo/ KEVIN J KELLY

By KEVIN J KELLEY in Washington, DCPosted Monday, January 5 2009 at 20:57
Within two weeks, Alice Mukabane expects the mother of all parties — complete with nyama choma — to break out at the Kenyan restaurant she co-owns in Washington, DC.

The celebration of Barack Obama's inauguration that night of January 20 could prove even more joyous than the party that raged at Safari DC on November 4 following his victory in the US presidential election.

"This place completely erupted" on that occasion, recalls Frank Simu, one of the regulars at the restaurant and disco Ms Mukabane opened in 1998 along with her husband, William.

It was marvellous

"It was marvellous, amazing — something difficult to put into words," Mr Simu says. "It's still hard to believe that the president will be not only an African-American, but the son of a Kenyan."

Ms Mukabane plans to remain at Safari DC throughout Inauguration Day rather than travelling two miles downtown to watch the parade and Mr Obama's swearing-in ceremony.

"It's going to be too crazy," she says. "Millions of people are coming to town. I'll see it all on TV."

She will also be hard at work cooking and serving drinks to the hundreds of Kenyans and friends of Kenya who will turn up at Safari DC, which opens around noon on January 20 and closes, in compliance with local law, at 4am.

Anyone coming from Kenya for the inauguration will be "very welcome" at Safari DC, Ms Mukabane says. But she cautions that all hotel rooms in and around Washington were booked weeks ago.

"Not even Americans can find any place to stay that night," she notes.

Many of the Kenyans living in the Washington area eat, drink and dance at Safari DC even when one they've claimed as their own is not being inaugurated president of the United States. They have come to regard Safari DC as "a home away from home," William Mukabane says.

The couple established Safari DC in a two-story building they bought because 10 years ago, there was nowhere in Washington to find Kenyan food. It's still the only place of its kind in a metropolitan area with about 6 million residents and scores of Ethiopian restaurants.

"Those aren't the same," Alice points out. "Ethiopian food is very different from ours. Nothing is as precious as a mother's food.

The menu at Safari DC includes nyama choma, mbuzi choma, tilapia kadhalika and, of course, Tusker. Kenyans often share dishes with one another at the 20 or so tables or at the bar, which is decorated with Obama photos and posters.

The president-elect hasn't actually visited Safari DC — "we're hoping he'll come soon," Alice says — but Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been there several times. Members of Parliament and other government officials also stop by when they are in town.

Although Kenyans predominate on most nights, the crowd typically includes African-Americans, Caribbean immigrants and white Washingtonians who have visited Kenya. "It's a pretty international place," Ms Mukabane says.

Potomac River

She helped start Safari DC in a mainly African-American neighbourhood with money saved from a catering business she and William ran across the Potomac River in the state of Virginia.

William Mukabane had worked as an executive chef at hotels and restaurants in the Washington area after getting a degree from the Culinary Institute of America.

He arrived in the United States in 1978 to attend the State University of New York at Buffalo, while Alice remained in Nairobi, working for a marketing firm, until 1996. The Mukabanes have two daughters — Maryam, a teacher in Western Province, and Caroline, who works as a waitress at Safari DC on weekend nights.

Alice still spends about 80 hours a week at the restaurant, preparing food and making her guests feel comfortable. She describes herself as "an incredibly hard worker" who is happy to be doing what she does. "You have to enjoy what you do in order to be successful at it," she says.

She also attributes her achievements to the sense of possibility that America offers immigrants. The United States "gives you the opportunity to be what you want to be," Ms Mukabane says.

By electing Mr Obama, the US has also shown the world "how to go beyond race," Mr Simu adds. "People in Africa think of Europe as more progressive; it's here that a black man will be president. I don't think that could happen there."

Ms Mukabane says she hopes Kenyans will learn a lesson from what has happened in the US. "Maybe Kenyans will look at this and say tribalism has to go."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Abamenya of Bukhayo are mourning the death of George Omoyi.

The Late George Omoyi Lukoba
Sunrise Feb 1937 Sunset 4 Jan 2009
George Omoyi Lukoba was born in 1937 at Ebuloma Village Nasira sub location Bukhayo in Busia District. He was the first child of late Mzee Ibrahim Lukoba Odulwa and Mama Monica Christine Auma Lukoba (Namani). 'Omoyi' was so named a Teso name after a loyal herdsman who was very helpful while he was being born. He spent his early childhood with his beloved Grandmother Munyakho (Nakhabi) who was very fond of him and taught the skills of life including how to grind flour using traditional stones (olukina), fetch firewood and water from the river. This gave him a strong foundation for his future activities. He joined Nambale Primary School in 1946 for his common entrance exam in1952 and then proceeded to Nambale Intermediate School in1953 where he did his Kenya African Preliminary Examination (KAPE) in 1956 and passed.
Having come from a humble home he decided to forego further education and opted for employment to assist his parents and siblings. The first opportunity that came his way in terms of his profession was Medical Training School at Kisumu in early 1957 but he later abandoned this course for Railway Training School at Jinja where he trained as station clerk. After six months training he was posted to Tororo Railway Station in mid 1957 where he worked for a short time before he was posted to Kampala Railway Station. He worked at this location until early 1959 when he was sent to Railway Training School (RTS) Nairobi where he trained as an Assistant Station Master for six months after which he was posted to Kiu Railway Station. He later worked at various stations including Fort Hall Murang'a, Simba, Lukenya, Sultan Hamud, Embakasi, and Dagorreti. He thereafter went back to RTS to train as a Station Master. He then proceeded to work at Eldoret Railway Station as Station Foreman in the late sixties until 1970 when he was transferred to Nairobi Railway Station as Yard Foreman before being promoted and posted to main station upper class booking office as in charge of reservations. He worked in this Office until he retired from Railways after 35 years of distinguished service in 1992.
George Omoyi met and married Faice Alice Mayabi (Namudu) who at present is a Lay Canon in church, on 9th March 1960 and later solemnized his marriage in the year 1979. He was blessed with five children, four sons and one daughter namely Geoffrey Omoyi, Vincent Omoyi both of New Jersey, Samuel Odhiambo, Samson Lukoba and Abigail Omoyi all based in Kenya. He is also survived by his grandchildren Ruth, Faith, John, Brigid, Elizabeth, Joy, Ashley, Imelda, Baby Joshua, Michelle and Aydan. Siblings Peter, Morris, Janet, Maximilla, Hannington, Naliaka, Adhiambo, Nabwire, Patrick, Wandera, Narotso, Nekesa, Khadudu, Thomas and Barasa and stepmother Nabwire. He was also brother to the late Maloba Lukoba and Henry Lukoba. He was also father in-law to Lydia Makhandia Omoyi and Alice Kariuki. Brother in-law to Lawrence Mugala Mugasiali and Florence Murema. Nephew to Lambert Barasa, Uncle to Kenneth Kaunda Odulwa, Julius Okuku, Arthur Lukoba and Charles Lukoba all of New Jersey And also he was a great uncle to Beatrice Maloba of New York. As well as cousin to Abigail Lunzalu and Olivia Kunguru of Texas
During his working life George invested his resources heavily in the welfare of his family including the education of his siblings and children, Land matters and subsequently income generating activities. After his retirement he concentrated on community development activities. He was the first Chairman of the Nambale Business Community, Member Board of Governors Kisoko Girls High School and Nambale Boys High School. He also served as Treasurer of Nambale Constituency Development Fund (CDF). He personally initiated the establishment of Nasira RC Secondary School and as the first Chairman of the BOG and subsequently served as a member. He spearheaded the construction of Nambale Bugeng'i road through Nasira Market and the electricity project from Tanga corner to Nasira. He was also on the forefront of requesting the creation of Busibwabo Location which was carved out of Suo Location. Until his death he was the first Chairman of Bukhayo Council of Elders Association. He initiated the creation of Busibwabo Dispensary. He was a respected senior mentor of his clan, the Bamenya of Bukhayo.
George Omoyi was devout Christian. He was a life member the Kenya Anglican Men's Association. (KAMA). He played a big role in the establishment and construction of St Johns Buloma Church and was Treasurer of this Church. He once served as a member of the Nambale Parish Council and until his untimely death served as Finance Chairman of the Parish. He always offered valuable ideas for the development of the church in general and contributed generously to its activities both in terms of resources and time.
God blessed George Omoyi with good health most of his life. In July 2007 he stated complaining of recurring headaches and treatment at Tanaka Nursing Home initially. He later traveled to for treatment at Nairobi where he was diagnosed with a brain tumour which necessitated urgent surgery. He underwent a successful operation on the 23rd August 2007 and the doctor advised for further treatment for radio and chemo therapy which was referred to Doctor Kannan of PJ Hinduja Hospital Mumbai in India between October and November 2007. He returned home to recuperate and continue with medication. Throughout his treatment the Doctors were helpful to the family and prepared us for any eventuality. George fought hard and was committed to his treatment never missing any appointment or his medication. While at his ancestral home in Busia District, on Friday 2nd January 2009 he ate all his meals and went to bed and slept peacefully and woke up on Saturday morning to bid goodbye to his daughter and grandchildren who were leaving for Nairobi, however he was not able to eat anything the whole day. He was taken to Tanaka Nursing Home for medical assistance where the Doctor attended to him and returned home that evening. However his condition got worse in the evening and continued to deteriorate throughout the night. He finally succumbed peacefully on Sunday the 4th January 2009 at 7.15 a.m. in the presence of his wife, brother Peter, son Samson and attendant Nicholas.
Only God know what a wonderful life you led
Only God knows what a loving husband you were
Only God knows what a caring father you were
Only God knows how you adored your siblings
Only God knows what a pain you suffered
Only God knows how you endured the pain without complaint
Only God knows what a man you were
Only God knows that your soul is at peace
"You Lived a Full Life, You Kept the Faith and May God Rest Your Soul in Eternal Peace, Amen!!!"


George Omoyi alizaliwa mwaka 1937 katika Kijiji cha Ebuloma, katika lokesheni ndogo ya Nasira, Bukhayo, Wilaya ya Busia.  Alikuwa mtoto wa kwanza wa marehemu Mzee Ibrahim Lukoba Odulwa na Mama Monica Christine Auma Lukoba (Namani).

‘Omoyi’ ndio jina alilopewa ya Kiteso kwa heshima ya mchunga wanyama mwaminifu kabisa aliye saidia wakati alipo kuwa akizaliwa. Akiwa mtoto, nyanyake marehemu mpendwa Munyakho (Nakhabi), alisaidia kumlea, nyanyake alimpenda sana marehemu na alimfunza mengi kumtayarisha kwa maisha ya mbeleni ikiwa ni pamoja na jinsi ya kusiaga unga akitumia mawe ya kienyeji (olukina), kutafuta kuni na kuchota maji mtoni. Mambo haya yalimpatia msingi imara kabisa kwa shughuli za maisha yake ya usoni.  

Alijiunga na Shule ya Msingi ya Nambale mwaka 1946 na kufanya mtihani wa ‘common entrance’ mwaka 1952 na akaendelea Shule ya Nambale Intermediate hapo mwaka 1953 alikofanya mtuhani wa Kenya African Preliminary Examination (KAPE) mwaka 1956 na akapita vyema. Kwa kuwa alitoka familia isiyokuwa na uwezo mkubwa, aliona hafadhali asiendelee na elimu ya juu na akatafuta riziki ili aweze kuwasaidia wazazi na ndugu zake. Nafasi ya kwanza aliyopata kuhusiana na utaalamu wake ilikuwa ni MedicalTraining School ya Kisumu mapema mwaka 1957, lakini baadaye aliwacha mafunzo hapo na kujiunga na Railway Training School huko Jinja alikopata mafunzo ya ukarani (clerk). Baada ya mafunzo ya miezi sita alipewa kazi huko Tororo Railway Station katikati ya mwaka 1957 ambako alifanya kazi kwa mda mfupi kabla kupelekwa kufanya kazi Kampala Railway Station. Alifanya kazi hapo hadi mapema mwaka 1959 alipopelekwa Railway Training School (RTS) Nairobi alipopata mafunzo ya Naibu wa Mkuu wa Stesheni (Assistant Station Master) kwa miezi sita na baadaye alipelekwa Kiu Railway Station. Baada ya hapo alifanya kazi katika stesheni mbalimbali ikiwa ni pamoja na Fort Hall Murang’a, Simba, Lukenya, Sultan Hamud, Embakasi, na Dagorreti. Baada ya hapo alirudi RTS akapate mafunzo zaidi awe Mkuu wa Stesheni (Station Master). Halafu akaendelea na kufanya kazi Eldoret Railway Station kama Msimamizi wa Stesheni (Station Foreman) katika mwisho wa miaka ya sitini hadi 1970 alipohamishwa na kwenda Nairobi Railway Station kama Yard Foreman kabla ya kuongezwa mamlaka na kupelekwa ofisi ya tikiti za upper class katika stesheni kuu (main station upper class booking office) kama msimamizi wa tikiti za reservations. Alifanya kazi katika ofisi hii hadi alipostaafu Shirika la Reli hapo 1992 baada ya miaka 35 ya kazi imara kabisa.

George Omoyi alikutana na kumuoa Faice Alice Mayabi (Namudu) ambaye kwa sasa ni ‘Mshemasi’ (Lay Canon) kanisani, hapo Machi 9, 1960 na baadaye akahalalisha ndoa yake mwaka 1979.  Alibarikiwa kupata watoto watano, mmoja wa kike na wane wa kiume, wanaoitwa, Abigail, Samuel, Geoffrey, Vincent na Samson. Amewacha wajuku wake Ruth, Faith, John, Brigid, Elizabeth, Joy, Ashley, Imelda, Baby Joshua, Michelle na Aydan. Ndugu zake Peter, Morris, Janet, Maximilla, Hannington, Naliaka, Adhiambo, Nabwire, Patrick, Wandera, Narotso, Nekesa, Khadudu, Thomas na Barasa na mama wa kambo Nabwire. Alikuwa pia kakake marehemu Maloba Lukoba na Henry Lukoba. Alikuwa mkwe wa Lydia Makhandia Omoyi, Alice Kariuki, Lawrence Mugala Mugasiali, Florence Murema. Alikuwa mpwa wa Lambert Barasa, Ni babake mkubw Kenneth Kaunda Odulwa, Julius Okuku, Arthur Lukoba and Charles Lukoba wote wakazi New Jersey Na pia alikuwa mjomba wa Beatrice Maloba mkazi wa New York. Alikuwa binamu wa Abigail Lunzalu and Olivia Kunguru wakazi wa Texas.

Wakati wote alipokuwa akifanya kazi, George alituimia rasilimali zake kwa wingi sanakatika kuimarisha hali ya familia yake ikiwa ni pamoja na kuwaelimisha ndugu zake na watoto, maswala ya ardhi na pia baadaye katika miradi yakuchuma pesa. Baada ya kustaafu alikazana sana na shughuli za maendeleo ya jumuiya. Alikuwa Mwenyekiti wa kwanza wa Nambale Business Community, Mwanachama wa Baraza la Magavana (Board of Governors) wa Kisoko Girls High School na Nambale Boys High School. Pia, alikuwa Mweka Hazina wa Nambale Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Kwa juhudi zake mwenywe, aliongoza kuanzishwa kwa Nasira RC Secondary School na akiwa Mwenyekiti wa kwanza wa BOG na baadaye akahudumu kama memba. Aliongoza ujenzi wa barabara ya Nambale Bugeng’i kupitia Soko ya Nasira, pamoja na mradi wa umeme kutoka kona ya Tanga hadi Nasira. Alikuwa pia katika msitari wa mbele katika kuomba kubuniwa kwa Lokesheni ya Busibwabo iliyoundwa kutoka kwa Lokesheni ya Suo. Hadi alipoaga dunia, alikuwa Mwenyekiti wa kwanza wa Baraza la Wazee wa Bukhayo (Bukhayo Council of Elders Association). Alianzisha ujenzi wa Hazanati ya Busibwabo. Alikuwa kiongozi mkuu (senior mentor) aliyehishimiwa sana na ukoo wake wabamenya wa Bukhayo.

George Omoyi alikuwa Mkristo wa dhati. Alikuwa mwanachama wa maisha wa Kenya Anglican Men’s Association. (KAMA). Alishughulika sana katika uanzilishaji na ujenzi wa kanisa la St Johns Buloma Church na alikuwa Mweka Hazina wa kanisa hilo. Wakati mmoja alihudumu kama mwanachama wa Baraza la Nambale Parokia na hata alipotuaga ghafla, alikuwa Mwenyekiti wa Fedha za Parokia hiyo. Daima alikuwa akipeana mawazo na maoni ya maana kuhusu maendeleo ya kanisa kwa jumla na alichangia kwa roho mkunjufu katika shughuli zake kwa kupeana rasilimali na hata wakati wake.

Mwenyenzi Mungu alimbariki George Omoyi na afya nzuri kwa mda mrefu maishani mwake. Julai 2007 alianza kulalamika kuwa kicha kilikuwa kinamuuma mara kwa mara na mbeleni alipata matibabu hapo Tanaka Nursing Home. Baadaye akasafiri hadiNairobi kwa matibabu zaidi ambako aligundulika kuwa na utomvu wa bongo (brain tumour) na ikabidi afanyiwe upasuaji wa haraka. Hapo Augusti 23, 2007, alifanyiwa upasuaji uliofanikiwa vyema an daktari alishauri apate matibabu zaidi kupitia radiotherapy na chemotherapy ambazo zilipendekezwa na kwa Daktari Kannan wa PJ Hinduja Hospital Mumbai huko India kati ya Oktoba na Novemba 2007. Alirudi nyumbani kuendelea kupata nafuu na kuendelea na matibabu. Wakati wote alipokuwa akipata matibabu, madaktari walikuwa wanasaidia sana familia na wakatutayarisha vyema kwa hali yoyote ile ingeweza kutokea. George alikazana sawasawa na akaendelea na matibabu yake bila kuchoka na hata hakukosa mara moja kufika kwa daktari na kupata madawa yake. Alipokuwa nyumbani kwao walikotoka wazazi wake huko Wilaya ya Busia hapo Ijumaa Januari 2, 2009 alimaliza chakula chake na akaelekea kupumzika kitandani na akalala makini kabisa hadi alipoamka asubuhi ya jumapili ndio ampe kwaheri mtoto wa kike na wajukuu wake waliokuwa wanaodoka kwa safiri ya kurudiNairobi, lakini hakuweza kula chochote siku nzima. Alipelekwa Tanaka Nursing Home apate usaidizi wa madktari na daktari alimshughulikia na akarudi nyumbani jioni. Lakini, hali yake iliharibika na ikaendelea kuzorota usiku wote. Mwishowe alituaga kwa amani hapo saa moja na dakika kumi na tano asubuhi siku ya Jumapili Januari 4, 2009. Kando yako walikuwa Mke wake, kakake Peter, mtoto wake Samson, na muuguzi wake Nicholas.


Mwenyenzi Mungu Pekee anajua vile uliishi maisha bora

Mwenyenzi Mungu Pekee anajua vile ulivyokuwa mme mwenye mapenzi

Mwenyenzi Mungu Pekee anajua vile ulivyokuwa baba mwenye kujali wanawe

Mwenyenzi Mungu Pekee anajua vile ulivyopenda ndugu zako

Mwenyenzi Mungu Pekee anajua vile ulivyoumia kwa maumivu

Mwenyenzi Mungu Pekee anajua vile ulivumilia maumivu bila kulalamika

Mwenyenzi Mungu Pekee anajua vile ulivyo mume shujaa

Mwenyenzi Mungu Pekee anajua vile ulivyo tulizwa roho na usalama


“Uliishi Maisha Kamilifu, Ulidumisha Imani na Mwenyenzi Mungu, na Mungu aiweke roho yako mahala pema peponi, Ameni!!!”