By Rehema Zuberi
On 3rd November, 2018 we came in large numbers to witness the union of two people, a man and a woman. They were declared husband and wife amidst our cheers. We danced in a line presenting gifts and kissing them on both cheeks with the hopes of a camera clicking when our faces touched.
A year later, like the human beings we are, we expected something from the marriage. We sat through the entire 2019 thinking, lakini si we attended their wedding, we honoured their invitation, we wore our best clothes and smiled. We smiled until they drove off. That is our investment bwana!
Like the cultured people, the couple is, a poster started doing the rounds on social media. Courtesy of the forum, Mbogi ya Mawriters hosted by the Alliance Francaise, they were welcoming us to share a portion of their love. Na sisi ni nani? We readied our outfits and freed our schedules.
History is made when there are new beginnings. The room was packed to its capacity. It is not every day an open invitation bearing the title: Couple Book Launch comes your way. Naturally, we made our way to the venue to witness what the couple had for us.
Moderated by the very able and tall Eric Opon, the session kicked off by involving the audience. Brief bios were read as on the backs of the couple’s books: husband Gabriel Dinda and his significant, Vera Omwocha-Dinda.
The line of the day, drawn from Vera’s bio, became the tagline of introducing the couple; she lives in Nairobi with her husband.
Events involving Writers Guild Kenya are not wholesome without the sound of poetry. Opening the floor was Griffins Ndhine (The Beast) with his powerful set of lungs armed with a passion proven unmatched in the land of poems.
Samantha Navuri, the youngster, followed his teacher and true to the saying, the student became the master, we were mesmerized by the power of words oozing from the 8-year old. Her iconic line: I use my brain to think, genitals cannot think, at least mine cannot on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which drew applause from the convened.
Echoing the same message as the poets before her, Miss Nina was loud on femininity. Everyone agreed the protection of females was as important as that of the males. Women bring forth life and without them, we might not have seen the light of day.
It was interesting to note the tribe congregated consisted of a concoction of authors of different genres, budding writers, friends, well-wishers, and even passers-by. This was pure evidence of the interactions and networks Vera and Gabriel have managed to stir as well as build.
For the lovey-dovey humans, apart just for them was lined up. The newly-weds (1 year in is still new, yes?) read love affirmations to each other. Gabriel from his Questions of My Youth and Vera from Diary of The Miaha. We were briefly transported to the Mexican soap operas crowding our screens. Uniquely, this was real-time! We don’t need Alejandros! We have our own Marias too!
Is your lover a writer? Have they written you any sweet words in the recent past? What are they doing to keep the fire burning? You as a writer, are you wooing your partner using words or you keep using writing as an excuse for isolation instead of showing them love? For the fee of attention, we received nibbles of their love story and marriage. Books playing a major role in enhancing the couple’s enmeshment.
I must mention the cake. Instead of having two, each representing their respective titles, the couple once again chose to surprise us. I choose to interpret it as their oneness. On one side of the cake, a picture of Diary of the Miaha while the other, Questions of My Youth.
In cutting it after a word of prayer from the father of writers, Gabriel Dinda himself, the launch was officiated, releasing the twins into the world of readers and book lovers.
For the special price of Ksh 1,000, one walked away with the two babies birthed right as we watched. It was hard not to. The babies looked fantastic and having had a taste, it was a crime not to tie them on your back as you headed home. Besides, the two were leaving their signatures! Even in growing up, wherever they would go, they will know their birth parents.
Typical of Writers Guild members, the cocktail period was utilized to catch up. It was a beautiful picture to watch. Drinks in one hand bites on the other, eyes focusing on a fellow, mouth alternating between chewing and speaking. Someone must have been inspired. Another book launch is right here in 2020!
Who knew books would bring people together in this manner? Who knew that the love for books and celebration of life would enhance unity in the family. When I joined Writers Guild and I was told that this is a true family of writers, I didn’t know what it meant. Now, I am starting to see. I am certain we are yet to see more of this couple. And we hope to see many couples write together. Who knows… I may just join the list. Till then, let’s keep writing.