Kwani 01 was an overwhelming
critical success. When Binyavanga left for England, I was left with
an immense responsibility, editing 02. Soon we were swamped with
submissions, writing of all sorts, Letters to the Editor that never
saw their way to print, stories, poems, deeply personal documents
that people gave us. Some of them handwritten in mouldy notebooks.
I was petrified. There started my long journey with 02.
It has been an exhilarating, exhausting, nerve racking but more
than anything else, an immeasurably rewarding experience. Kairo,
secretly known as the The One, June, Amunga and the rest of the
Kwani team have been living, eating Kwani with me and without them,
the spirit and body of Kwani? would have stayed unrealised.
This is a larger issue, and I hope a worthy follower of the first
edition. We have more poetry, more in-depth non fiction pieces,
some wicked fiction, and humour with an overbite. We introduce sixteen
pages of colour cartoons and a new comic strip. I would like to
thank all the contributors, thank you for trusting us with your
work. Not all the submissions made it to print, the sheer volume
of submissions received was overwhelming, but already we are starting
to sift through submissions for 03...!
STOP PRESS!!!! At the time of going to press, we learnt that one
of Kwani's submissions, Parsalelo Kantai's Comrade Lemma and the
Jerusalem Boys Band, to the Caine Prize for African Literature has
been short listed. Congratulations to Parsalelo, and naturally,
we are pleased silly with ourselves to have published Comrade Lemma.
We tried, honest, but we surrendered to the urge to brag when we
heard of two MORE East African shortlisted nominees from Uganda,
Monica Arac de Nyeko for 'Strange Fruit' and Doreen Baingana for
'Hunger'. A Kwani moment, an East African triumph. If that wasn't
enough to gloat about, another brilliant African writer is about
to go global. Big time. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. And with our usual
restraint, Binyavanga's muse and an old friend of Kwani, is now
officially the first ever African woman to be shortlisted for the
Orange Prize of Literature. She beat luminaries like Toni Morrison
and Jumpa Lahiri to the list. Not bad for a 27 year old first time
So many many people. First our trustees, Muthoni Wanyeki, Njeri
Karago, Tom Maliti, Malla Mummo and Ann Mcreath for being always
helpful, always there, and endlessly patient..ahem!
For their support we would like to thank the Rob Burnet, and the
Ford Foundation, Mundia Muchiri of Oakland Media, the Kenya Publishers
Association, the Nation Media Group, The British Council, The French
Cultural Centre, The Goethe Institute, Commercial Bank of Africa,
Capital Radio, Cafe Creme, Mr Njuguna of Java Coffee House, Mr.
Michael Joseph of Safaricom. Chand Bahal, Tom Randiki, Fatuma Hirsi
Mohammed, Mumbi Kaigwa, Mwalimu Mati, Julie Matiba-Wahome of Alliance
Hotels& Resorts, Irene Wanjiru, Ralph Johnstone, Parselelo Kantai,
Andia Kisia, Ali Zaidi, (Tina)Mama Kindondo, Ciru Githunguri, Patrica
Amira, Lind Holt, Eva Kiiru, Olivier Lechien., George Okello Abungu,
Eric Wainaina, Sheba Hirst, Abbi, Harri Kimani, Damans Agweyu, Firoze
Manji, Tony Mochama, Oyung Pala, KWAL, Lake Nakuru Lodge, PhatMag,
Fotoform, Transparency International, Judith Pyke of Booktelevision
and Richler Ink, Webtouch Cybercafe, Random access, Check One Creations,
Perry Alando, Steve Muturi, Mary Theru, Foz, Victor Ndula and Richard
A million thank yous to Chand Bahal (Bookstop, Yaya Centre), for
taking what we were trying to do seriously, for not thrusting our
books in back shelves, for being a valued friend, and for selling
far more Kwani's than all the other outlets.
Many thanks also to Text Book Centre, Jane
at Kiko Romeo, Prestige Bookshop, Bookpoint, Bookcorner, Total Shops(especially
Argwings Kodhek Road branch), Blue Rhino, Legacy Books, Havana,
Henrich Boll, Michelangelo, Le Rustique and Booksfirst. Thanks also
to Melvin of Booksfirst Ukay Centre for pushing for us.
Special thanks to the whole of the Kwani?
team lead by The One aka Kairo Kiarie, June Wanjiru, Lilly Kavwagi,
Sarah Mwihaki, Jean Wangeci and Amunga Eshuchi.
Bookshops: A million thank yous to Chand Bahal
(Bookstop Yaya Centre), for taking what we were trying to do seriously,
for not thrusting our books in back shelves, for being a valued
friend, and for selling far more Kwani's than all the other outlets.
Many thanks also to Text Book centre, Jane at Kiko Romeo, Prestige
bookshop, Bookpoint. Bookcorner, Total Shops, especially Argwings
Kodhek Road branch Blue Rhino, Legacy Books, Havana, Henrich Boll,
Michelangelo, Le Rustique and Booksfirst, Thanks Melvin of Booksfirst
Ukay Centrej.for pushing for us.
Special thanks to Ralph Johnstone and Muthony wa Gatimu for editing
sone of the stories. Thanks again.
I have surely forgotten some names, please know that I didnt do
it on purpose. Thank you for being a friend of Kwani..
And finally my personal thanks to Binyavanga Wainaina for letting
me share in his passion, Catherine Ngugi for ensuring that I 'pressed
on', Nahas Angula for his faith in oshetu shaamu, wherever it may
find itself and Oliver Lechien for everything.