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Open Mic with Marion Vionna
Winner, kwani's Poetry Slam

1 August 2006

Marion Vionna

Another first Tuesday of the month. The Kwani people are too bright. They have basically taken the weirdest day of the month and made it cool. This month’s Open Mic was in honour of Marion Vionna a poetess of some talent who participated in the Poetry Slam two months ago. I checked in with a large contingent from Hooters Parliament (Spielburg, Jack M, Myself) and we settled down to what promised to be an evening of excellence poetrywise.

Open Mic was a bit weird for me this month. I have been seeing poets every month for only two months in a row and I seem to be suffering from poet fatigue. The poets tonight were just as enthusiastic as in previous months. Grandmaster Masese was there from last month giving his all and doing a great job. As was Winyo the singer. Today he seemed to have lost his guitar and was doing poetry in his strangely beautiful high pitched voice that would give Mariah Carey a run for her money.

Several poets also gave their all but they were not too memorable – neither dazzlingly excellent or abysmally horrible. Except perhaps Neema who was giving Kasuku Kicheko a run for his money as she shrieked, "dreams of ugali and sukuma wiki!" Kasuku kicheko for the uninitated is the blind comedian who does an excellent job imitating everything from car sounds to a realistic rendition of local politians and others.

Tony a local scribe acted as MC and the man did an excellent job. Getting Tony as an MC is too smart. Its like was one of those BOGOF (buy one get one free) deals. You hire an MC and get a free poet. Not a bad deal by anyone's reckoning. Last month I had claimed he now lacked the anger now that he was an employee. Tony had a response to my claim and was waiting for me. He had penned a whole poem called "raw anger" dedicated to the bandit. Well all I can say was that I was flattered by his response to my ribbing. At least he spit superior rhymes at me and did not stones at a brother (as I probably would have). My response to him is coming. Be afraid Tony, be very afraid!

The highlight for the evening for me was Marion Vionna. I spent some time talking to her after one of her pieces "humiliation". The lass has a sweet, disarming quality to her you don't see every day in the mean streets of this city. Her poetry is very experiential. Her poetry seems to be speaking to your soul.

I had to ask the question. She has excellent poetry but in Nairobi like many parts of the world, it is very difficult to make a living from this talent. Show me the money I asked. Marion is a wedding planner. She organises the whole ceremony for you. I once heard that the average cost of a wedding in Nairobi is about 300K. And with the great number of weddings happening especially in the tail end of the year, I guess she can’t have picked the worst revenue stream. She also does personalised woven products for you or your company. If you are getting married or need any products please drop Marion a line at

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:: Pattni poem
:: The smasher
:: Fragile
:: Afrikan Kween

© Kwani Trust 2006 P. O. Box 2895, Nairobi 00100