Friendships that Flicker and Japan’s Sex Problem.


Enter a capThe Artidote
Page Liked · January 23 · 
Question of the day: 
“Is it possible not to hurt others in the process of personal growth? Because too often the line between self-love and selfishness becomes blurry.” —Anonymous
artwork by Masato Tsuchiya

No human being should find themselves in a position of begging for friendships, but sometimes it happens when all you have got is possibly two close ones that would trigger a heart ache if they elevated or demoted themselves, however you would like to see it, to a class higher or lower to your proffered friendship.

I was watching sometime back on TED about a research that was conducted to figure out the determinant factor of how long you will live on this earth. Placing everything on the table, including but not limited to alcohol, sex, smoking, exercise, healthy eating, poverty, richness etc. The researchers were dumfounded to discover that the foremost and the most dominant factor for your longevity is social structure. The friends you have, people you talk to daily, and the number of times you meet to have fun.

Another poignant study concluded that loneliness kills thirteen times faster than smoking.

Pondering on this data, one thing comes to mind that everyone just wants to be loved. Simple and straightforward. It is then rather unfortunate that we sometimes hurt albeit unawares people that would love to be close to us.

How did the world get to this? A situation that now calls for a country like Britain to create a new Cabinet position and appoint a loneliness minister. Maybe, Britain was just brave enough to admit that something is not right. Far east In Japan, they now have a tricky situation at hand, they have high suicide rates and the experts suggest that it is due to life pressures, meanwhile news coming from that same conduit say that Japan has a sex problem. Young people are not having sex and as a result birth rates have declined, I think there is a correlation here. Mind you, the west has been known to have relatively low birth rates, but not occasioning from a sex problem like Japan, in the west it is more of a choice and at the end of it all Japan shall cite loneliness and in-ability to make new friendships that lead to romantic relationships as the cause of this social problem.

By the way African countries, or shit hole countries, or whatever we fancy calling ourselves are not devoid of loneliness. It is only that sometimes, between searching for bread and the ever-elusive money to survive, while at the same time stomaching corruption, we push issues such as loneliness and lack of social structures at the dragon’s tail. We are somehow lucky that Africa has a DNA of coming together as a people since the beginning. But at the rate we are changing as a society, friendships better begin to matter or else …

As I ponder on this mind-boggling data, I am reminded that late last year I lost a whopping mega amount of old friendships, a situation that arose from incompatibility, tastelessness, mutually exclusive life journeys and unsurmountable shenanigans and currently I am holding on a thread of only a few people who if they slipped through my fingers I might easily slump into depression or something closely related.

But how did it get into this. At the core of who we are, friendships are critical support structures that reach at the roots of our souls. Is it because friendships are least understood, or they are not respected enough by some parties within them or there is just too much judgement within and without.

Sometimes you try too desperately to love a friend and they work hard to frustrate you and maybe they just reach out when it suits them or other times we peg friendships on something material such as a car or something.

Friendships are meant to be easy, full of humour, awesome drama, disturbances such as raiding friends fridges, bags and make shift pantries just so because, hang outs, emotional support, pure genuine love, warmness, closeness, roasts and everything else that tickles a bone.

Over a glass of Juice, wine or whisky with friends, there you realise what it means to live.

This post is simply me pondering and if you would love to have a sit down with me over whisky as we talk more on what maketh a human being I’ll be glad, just drop a line.

What do you think of friendships yourself? Comment.  On the next article we shall explore further on this issue




Poverty Porn – A New Prison for African Writers

Oduor Oduku

A critic brings knowledge, taste, and meaningful judgement to a piece of work. The three elements imply that a critic cannot be neutral – to judge is to move away from the line of neutrality, and this is why critics are important. By consistently portraying the courage to have their judgments presented publicly, they become an authority, gatekeepers in a field. They are choosing ‘preferred literature’ to their audiences, and justifying their choice.

They are activists in a way, and done longer enough, a certain preference begins to emerge, a preference for a certain kind of book, a certain kind of literature, of art. Places that have few, major critics, the ‘superstar’ critics, risk having access to only a few approved choices. Since knowledge feeds on itself, and people tend to pursue few definable positions, a society needs many critics in order to have access to a diversity of approved…

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Dear Jessica : Remember Tomorrow


IMG_5427Portrait shot on the streets of Lamu – April 2017 

8th October 2017

Dear Jessica;

Some todays are like freshly baked buttery cinnamon rolls; pleasant to the senses. The orchestra of glazed crispy dough, melted cinnamon sugar and raisins as they swirl in your mouth is all so perfect. On those today’s; you bask in love and light; and you wish those todays would last forever.

Some todays are like Thorn Melon; cultivated in the depths of  Hades. You have no time to savor nor describe their taste and texture.  The faster they end, the better. My todays the past week were the latter. Long, stressful, tiring, unpleasant.

On days like those, I like to reflect on the tragedy that is life and its different todays.  I have lived through a lot of those todays. Todays that were batshit crazy and  you felt like calling it quits there and then…

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My friends say something is wrong with me.

I have this flaw that drives them up to the wall, infuriates them and it seems I am the only one who cannot seem to see it.

It was really a beautiful day before it all went down the gutters. Now, am knee deep in the murk of my mind trying to figure out what’s this thing that I have got that makes people so mad at me.

This ought to be my very first, 1000 words project and it had better be worthwhile and feel good.

Apparently, I do not get things. Shit is clear right in front of me and it just flows on by. Or maybe am on my menses and am just over-reacting, again.

I really have no idea what is happening around me right now. I wish people would just speak up and not expect me to…

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Troy Onyango

La shamba

The Transfiguration

I am thinking of how to tell my mother that she is a bad woman; that she did not raise me well. The woman with a bleached face and knuckles blacker than the tip of a quill told me so. “The matters of a husband and wife you leave to them. You don’t interfere. Didn’t your mother teach you that? Go tell her to raise you again. No wonder you behave like a woman. Mscheeeew!” She yelled from the window of her apartment which is right above mine. Apartment 4B. I had gone to save her from her husband’s daily beating. Despite all that pounding, the woman didn’t want me to intervene. You don’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved, mother used to say.

I sit, pen in hand. My palms are sweaty. As my trembling hand presses the pen against the paper, my life cascades…

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Time Travel

#Guest post | Author prefers anonymity but willing to show face over a beer or two.

The time. Twenty friggin’ future. Place. My cluttered mind of course. Muse. The girl on parliament road. My past. Life on its knees facing inevitable death from drowning in the murky sea of depression. My present. Perfect utopia only seen in the movies and at night with our eyes sealed shut by the weight of magic dust and some busy fairies.

Am peeking into the future through a spy glass.


I see Jo, tall in all his majesty, spinning his lover across the living room floor of their retirement home. He has that spark in his eyes when he is excited about something…or someone, in this case. Jo is my low-key best friend. An unspoken agreement between gentlemen to anger and infuriate each other whenever we can when people are looking. Secretly, Jo and I share mysteries of the world and all the knowledge bequeathed upon us and giggle at the vanity of others. We also judged them. Screw what you are thinking of us.

When Jo fell sick, however, I got scared. I lived up to the notion of its impossibility. Such absurdity. We’d all die and leave Jo behind. He was indestructible. Then Jo died. Death has been that lover who always fooled me and chose his other mistresses and I always came back to grovel at his feet. Squirm. Crave. But he never loved me back. He relished at seeing me suffer. Lived for the pain and agony that I went through each time. And when he took Jo that was the last straw. Something inside me relaxed and lessened its grip. Another thing contracted and chocked me.

I re-adjust the lenses and see something else.

I see love. I see the gap between the rich and the poor as non-existent. I see people content with what they have and nobody is out to get the other for what’s not theirs. I see love when religion is being used to ease indescribable pain and heartache and not as a mantra to vanquish a people for not sharing in your beliefs. I see freedom in love and love in freedom. I see a people not tied behind some social, political and economic construct but a love so overwhelming it makes your chest want to explode till there is no hate no more, but only love.

I see a love that doesn’t have to make any sense.

I see love in its grandest form. Free like the birds of the air and as powerful as the stormy gales. I see a love gentle like a sea breeze. Calm like the eye of the storm. I see love curved on the arch of my muse’s back when she succumbs to ecstasy. When she lets herself ride the waves of passion coursing through our bodies and screams my name. When she wakes up in the middle of the night to kiss my forehead and whisper her undying love to me and the great expanse of the sky.


“Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on. 
I hope you never have to think about anything as much as I think about you.”
–Jonathan Safran Foeraption .                              Picture courtesy of @berlinartparasites 

I see a love whereby I can be with the person who wants me as much as I want them and not having to wonder, ‘what if?’

Sadly, people are fighting people alongside diseases and alien attacks. When did we get to points like these where the sight of another person’s blood gushing and splashing all over you invokes a sense of pride? When did we relish the idea of causing immeasurable suffering upon others without even a shadow of remorse? When did we get so callous with humanity?

“Preacher don’t send me to a ghetto in the sky. Don’t promise me streets of gold and free milk…promise me families will be loyal and strangers will be kind. Promise me that or nothing at all.”

See, as I peered into the future, I saw everything that I crave for. Yearned for. I saw myself happy as we all deserve to be and never having to lie between our teeth and with tears in our souls that, ‘it is okay.’ I saw a piece of heaven here on earth.

But who am I kidding, ey?