Reminiscing Hometretch 1, East Africa Literature meet for meat extravaganza

Wilfred Ombiro takes on stage with Obokano, entertainig Homestretch 1 participants in Emali, Makueni County. PHOTO/Bonface Otieno, Scholar Media Africa.
  • This was an event that turned out to be a testament to its assignment.
  • Approximately a hundred guests sprinkled their faith and goodwill to Mwanyani Stretch, Kibwana’s profound homestead that became a banquet for two days. 
  • There is Hometretch 2 eyeing sometime in June of 2024.

A breathtaking experience clouded hearts in the verdant embrace of Emali, Makueni County in Kenya, as a literary spectacle unfolded on December 8 and 9, 2023. 

This was all about the luminous aura of Homestretch 1: East Africa Arts Meet for Meat Literature Extravaganza that graced the landscape. 

Amidst the December festivities, a profound synergy emerged—one that seamlessly intertwined the realms of literature and environmental stewardship, an embodiment of cultural preservation and harmony.

This was an event that turned out to be a testament to its assignment.

The lead committee, championed by Dr. Zipporah Mutea, the high-spirited chairperson, Bonface Otieno, the strategic mobilizer as the Secretary General, Benard Osoro as the Organising Secretary, and finally, a dedicated and selfless Dr. Edna Moraa, the Coordinator, Email Homestretch grew from a mere abstract ideology to bomb blast reality. 

Thanks to Kelvin Nyamache, who came in handy as a rapporteur.  

Whispers had it from the shocked lips of passersby that strange guests had been spotted flowering at Sky Hotel in numbers exceeding the Mango trees Makueni hosts.  

That would only mean more mango trees to be planted in the vast of Emali. I will leave that debate to gradually unfold its wings in due course.

Approximately a hundred guests sprinkled their faith and goodwill to Mwanyani Stretch, Kibwana’s profound homestead that became a banquet for two days. 

There Nazi Kivutha exercised the role of mother Africa to her children, kith and kin.

A preparation of the delicacies. PHOTO/Bonface Otieno, Scholar Media Africa.

Underneath the sprawling branches of purpose, Prof. Augustine Agwuele and Dr. Moraa, distinguished emissaries hailing from the literary realms of Texas and Germany, converged to plant seeds of wisdom and foliage alike. 

In this arboreal ballet, trees became living metaphors, rooting literature not only in the soil but also in the collective consciousness of a community striving for unity.

As the sun cast its golden tendrils upon the gathering, symbolism blossomed like petals unfurling in a delicate dance. 

The act of tree planting metamorphosed into a profound allegory—a testament to literature’s capacity to take root in the soil of cultural heritage, fostering growth that extends beyond the written word.

Within this metaphorical sylvan tapestry, the esteemed Prof. Kivutha Kibwana and the gracious Mama Nazi Kivutha emerged as custodians of hospitality, orchestrating an opulent symphony of camaraderie. 

Their benevolent embrace exemplified the harmonious coexistence of literature and community, portraying them not merely as hosts but as cultivators of an intellectual haven where ideas flourished like the leaves of resilient banana trees in their homestead, or even mangoes.

Homestretch 1 illuminated the path where literature becomes not just a repository of tales but a dynamic force capable of weaving disparate threads into a tapestry of understanding. 

Within these whispers of rustling leaves and the written verses of shared experiences, the event transcended its temporal confines, echoing the enduring resonance of literature as a guardian of culture, an architect of peace, and a unifying force that binds humanity in its shared narrative.

Let me ardently mention that rich is African culture in the specs of music, curated with the ambiance of fireside. 

Wilfred Ombiro orchestrated the mantra of the evening’s magical bliss with his “Obokano”, the eight-stringed Kisii music device I would only equate to “Nyatiti” of the Luo.  

This formed the backbone of songs and dances that permeated that evening’s aura.  

Of course, I can’t fail to recognize Bosco Mulwa, a native one-man guitar with a national status quo. 

Bosco Mulwa presents during the night of the event. PHOTO/Bonface Otieno, Scholar Media Africa.

He made it his responsibility to bring the international and local music mixture that seasoned the taste of all guests’ musical appetite.  

It’s a long list, I have to admit, but of what use would it be to have this writing without letting you know who told tales and songs in the spirit of ubuntu and literature rebirth?

Maximillia Muninzwa is a gracious scribe; her poetry “When I Die”, became a reminder of the reality of existence and the end of a life well spent. 

Dr. Mutea, it still sinks in me as I recall the song of the dove “Kukuku” and we sang and we could tell it was an ancient tale reincarnate, thank you.

Bonface Otieno, the story on “Anyam Nyothoche” in its lyrics mesmerized the world. 

As Bosire Osoro took the mantle of guiding the ceremony as MC, we couldn’t help but maze his unique skills, oh and he turned out a great driver that the hilly Māātha bent low in honor, blessings.  

Rachael Waweru God bless your generation, Joshua Araka, AKA Nyagenke Things, we heard of the story of a young Nyagenkian at least for the first time by the storyteller. 

Look at how Irene Musau (Margo), as we danced to Obokano, oiled the dance with a Dusky dance of mysterious winks, Benard Ogalo zilizopendwa and “for us” went well. 

Boniface Nyamweya, Florence Mwaita thank you the Enlightenment about the “battle with the bottle”, Naomi Kimonye nailed it. 

As we ate the goat she taught us of “hitting the goat, the lessons will take us a long way.

I cannot fail to boldly mention Phelix Mutunga, Felix Omoro, Namango Wesa Sitati, Simon Mwangi, Sylvester Juma , Gregory Kiio , Mike Kariuki , Felix Jomo Mogire, Dr Jane Wangari , Victoria Mukulu whose articulation of poetry matched her cham and creativity, Chris Okemwa what color went well the dialogue of globalization.   

Wanja Kangangi, Muthoni Garland, Dr. Edna Moraa, Prof. Austine Aguele, Esther Mbithi, Dr. Marren Akong’o, Patrick Lavince, Dr. Wanjohi wa Makokha, Anne Eboi, Wesa Sitati, Prof. Speranza Ndege, Ronald Kipyegon, Kelvin Nyamache, Sarah Thumbi, Gregg Mwendwa, Kingwa Kamenchu, Domnic Mutiya Mulei, Phelix Omoro, Ruth Koech, Hashim Tukur Bin Ali, Esther Diana Ndombi, all of whom tremendously invested their time, ingenuity and scholarly gist to make the event a bliss.  

Guests take a photo led by the host Prof. Kivutha Kibwana. PHOTO/Bonface Otieno, Scholar Media Africa.

I say grace to all who came and sat and gave an audience.  

The labyrinth of literary orchestration that culminated in the transcendent spectacle of Homestretch 1: East Africa Arts Meet for Meat, two preeminent literary organizations, the Bleeding Ink Global Writers Society and the Kenya Literature Association, emerged as virtuosos in the symphony of meticulous planning and execution.

In the indigo corridors of Bleeding Ink, where quills dance with the resonance of global narratives, leaders par excellence orchestrated a cosmic ballet of literary convergence. 

Bonface Otieno, Irene Musau, and the indefatigable Edna Moraa, luminaries in their own right, wielded the pen as a sceptre, steering Bleeding Ink with finesse and foresight. 

Their commitment to nurturing embryonic talents across varied artistic realms bore witness to a kaleidoscopic unity of expression.

Simultaneously, the Kenya Literature Association, under the sagacious stewardship of Dr. Nyandoro George and Wanjohi wa Makokha, etched its mark on the canvas of cultural preservation and scholarly excellence.

Nyandoro George, a paragon of literary wisdom, and Wanjohi wa Makokha, an architect of scholarly sanctums, combined their intellectual acumen to weave a tapestry that seamlessly merged erudition with artistic exuberance.

The collaboration of these literary luminaries was akin to a celestial alignment, where Bleeding Ink’s commitment to global inclusivity harmonized with the Kenya Literature Association’s dedication to scholarly profundity. 

Together, they sculpted the blueprint for Homestretch 1—a testament to the transcendental power of collaboration in the realm of letters.

As we stand amidst the echoes of a literary crescendo, gratitude unfurls like parchment, acknowledging the indomitable spirit of Nyando George, Wanjohi wa Makokha, Bonface Otieno, Irene Musau, and Edna Moraa.

Their roles as leaders and coordinators transformed a vision into a reality, a symphony orchestrated by pens rather than batons.

In the aftermath of this literary bacchanal, a pledge resonates—a promise to continue championing the cause of literature, to nurture burgeoning talents, and to perpetuate the legacy of cultural heritage and scholarly dissemination. 

The ink may dry on the pages, but the indelible impression of Homestretch 1 endures, etched in the annals of collaborative literary brilliance.

My ink has bled enough of these; I would write on and on, but for the sake of so much to say and to my limited space.

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There is Hometretch 2 eyeing sometime in June of 2024. If that pulls, I doubt if a literati, music and arts enthusiast would ignore the pleasure that comes with it. 

See you all there.  

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Mr. Otieno is a Literature enthusiast, an English/Literature teacher, a writer, poet, playwright, and novelist. He is the President of the Bleeding Ink Global Writers Society, a detail-oriented columnist, and a literary critic. His contact:


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