Category Archives: Africa

Keyara Organics, not just about skincare.

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Keyara Organics is growing!

We now have launched a new line of body butters, body balms and hair food and are quickly taking charge in the ‘Made in Kenya’ natural personal care corner, and loving every moment!

As the founder, I’m so excited about the prospects of a brand new year and the consequent energy.

Keyara Organics is now retailing in health stores and beauty shops around Nairobi, Naivasha, Malindi, and across borders in Lusaka, London, New York and currently looking to expand to new markets.

Keyara was born out of a need and a love for organic and natural skin care products, which for us, always come with the reassurance of ‘ancient wisdom’.

We hope to make a mark on the bright spot that is the globally growing natural products market. New Hope 360, on online portal for all things Natural shows that anti-aging products, essential oils and improved packaging were key trends in the US in 2015 and expect the natural care industry to keep on that explosive growth trajectory.

A recent NEXT Forecast on the economics of natural products highlights that the industry is claiming a larger piece of the overall consumer packaged goods pie. It estimates that in the U.S., consumer sales of natural, organic and healthy products were forecasted to expand 64 percent from $153B in 2013 to $252 billion by 2019. Unfortunately, We do not have a Kenyan report on the growth of natural beauty products.

We see a steady rise in demand for our natural products and continue to formulate using the purest and most premium oils, butters and scents from across the beautiful African continent, ranging from Shea butter harvested in Nothern Uganda, Cocoa Butter from Ghana, Coconut oil from Kenya, Marula oil from South Africa, Argan oil from Morocco among many other authentic African botanicals.

However, My journey with Keyara Organics isn’t just about skincare.

I believe that it is time the world begins to see the other side of Africa. Our new stories must be deliberately visible and tangible, and I want to be part of that story.

Some of the worlds most luxurious skincare brands source their premium oils from Africa, but we, Africans, are left to only export raw materials and very rarely benefit from the opportunities in Value addition.

WE export the raw materials, THEY manufacture, and THEY SELL it back to us.

What a paradox.

I believe and live as a proud child of Africa, and my hope is that Keyara among other quality African brands will play a key role in changing the negative African narrative, one brand at a time. I’d love to see made in Africa brands on commercials in New-York and London, just as we see French and other European brands lead on market share in our regions.

The largest challenge perhaps is quality of packaging and print work for local SME’s. For us to compete effectively, we must be able to locally access or afford quality packaging from China, the world’s largest plastics manufacturer. The minimum quantities of these packages are however restrictive to small businesses, while the quality of local packaging materials is still way below international standards, thereby meaning that SME’s looking for quality packaging will have to absorb extra costs of packaging and freight, hence lowering margins and slowing down brand growth.

Worse still, import duty rates (Kenya) on plastic tubes for packing cosmetics were in the last budget (2015-2016) were increased from 10% to 25% making it an even tighter race to the top for those keen on importing quality plastics, this knowing well that the government was moving to protect local plastic manufacturers.

I’d like to challenge African plastic manufacturers to catch up quick, if we must begin to compete in a bigger space.

My challenge to African entrepreneurs is to challenge the status quo and begin to create unapologetic African brands that will compete.

My challenge to African consumers is to believe in our own quality African products, because we do have some incredible ‘Made in Africa’ brands which are formulated using Africa’s best, and topped off with the pride and luxury of Africa.

I would also like to deeply celebrate our ‘ Naturals’ community from across the continent who have been the first to believe in local Natural skin and hair care brands, with so much gusto, that some local brands have grown based on the growth of beautiful Africans who are not afraid to make their Africa shine.

Buy African today!

Keyara Organics. Africa Reborn.

Of Lavish African loving.

“And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God.” — Les Miserable

I’m fascinated by writers. African writers specifically, even those with the charm of a corpse always manage to stir deep feelings of passion within me, anger or even regret, depending on what time in history they wrote. Because the African writers’ calendar dates back to when the colonialists came to Africa, perhaps, when Africans began to write in languages that foreigners could read ad understand.

I’m constantly peeved by the books written about Africa on my humble bookshelf, but my anger, unless countered by a new book written by me or other Africans that scoff at Englishmen of old or backpacking American journalists turned African experts, then I could as well tell it to the birds. It really is our fault that we do not have many African writers who can pen our own stories and help bring to life that now famous line, ‘The African narrative’ which in all fairness has evolved and transformed over time, and Africa, in many ways is rising. Numbers don’t lie, the economists say.

So, I’ve recently stumbled upon one Dunduzu Chisiza, he is described as a Nationalist and early agitator for independence in Nyasaland, now Malawi. Reading about him introduces you to an African that would not be stopped by class, colour or creed. His publications and style of writing literally tug at my heart.

He writes:
” In Africa, we believe in strong family relations. We have been urged by well meaning foreigners to break these ties for one reason or another. No advice could be more dangerous to the fabric of the society. charity begins at home. So does the love of fellow human being. By loving our parents, our brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces, and by regarding them as members of our families, we cultivate the habit of loving lavishly, of exuding human warmth and compassion, and of giving and helping. But I believe that once so conditioned, one behaves in this way not only to ones family, but also to the clan, the tribe, the nation and to humanity as a whole.”

Dunduzu goes ahead and talks about insubordination of national loyalties to international loyalties, referring to foreigners as Individualists who cannot foster internationalism.’

For me, Kenya is at the point where cynicism is the the order of the day. The days of women laughing heartily and young men and women celebrating each other has tapered down to wanton criticism, gossip, negative ethnicity and a uniquely high breed of hatred. We hate everything and anyone that’s Kenyan. The National Football team, The Rugby players, Public personalities, Kenyan firms. Everthing and everyone that’s Kenyan is constantly on the chopping board, it is everything that constructive criticism is not about.

Does this, after reading Dunduzu say something about our social fabric? Is there any more lavish loving that seeps beyond our nuclear family units and into the family next door? Have we tightened the rope too tough to allow cultures that are individualistic in Nature to wear out the African fabric that’s laced with respect and universal love. Deep lavish love.

For many, this may appear simplistic, but I’m student of this assertion, that Maybe, it is all about love.

AFRICA IN LABOUR

Africa is in labour
summon the village elders
to make a prayer for the royal birth
the brain child of heavenly matrimony
as the fields turn golden
ripe…with harvest
let the celebrations begin,
the ululations of the African woman,
pour libation to the ancestors with pride
for Africa is in labour

The anxious mother writhes in pain
her eyes shut as the memories of yester years fill her mind
years of slavery, exploitation, poverty,
the aftermath of racism and war
burns like acid rain
The beautiful pain of childbirth

Africa’s children lay scattered in the dust
torn apart by untold calamities
that rock the womb of black heritage
she prepares her already full breasts for the coming child
as tears stain her milky bosom

Africa is in labour
the naming ceremony is just about
the royal cockerel is at the shrine
it crows…several times
if it crows 3 times, it is a girl,4 times, a boy
6 times it crows, a child..just a child

Africa bursts into celebration
A child is born
A black child is born
and sound of the African drum fills the air
Africa rises with every beat
Grandpa, blow your kudu horn,
uncle, play your marimba
mama, pluck your nyatiti
let the horn of Africa, down to the cape
burst forth for this celebration of colour

The women ululate in awe
the children break into dance
the men sit around a bonfire, warming their liquor
celebration
For a child is born
Africa is its name
Africa, my Africa…

come see the re-birth of black culture
As Africa rises from the dust
to soar into the heights
of black liberation.

The chief holds the baby up in the air
‘Africa will open her eyes, and bury her songs of old
she will recover her unrivalled beauty
and heal from her wounds of affliction
shades of black will be her crown
time surely has told
and Africa, will rise again’

come,
join me celebrate
the rebirth of Black Africa

Growing up a lady

I grew up in the countryside
And was raised just like any other child in the village
I remember being woken up very early every morning,
Even if we had nothing to do
Children were not to be lazy
So we had to find things to do
Run in the dewy grasses; play with any of the farm animals that had now become pets
Many times we went to the shamba boys hut
He always lit a fire that we would gather around
He had the sweetest stories
ARNEST was his name…later I learnt in English it pronounced Ernest
He was from Uganda
He told us stories of the cannibals of Uganda
He said never to eat meat in a Ugandan house
And he swore he wasn’t one of them
For these stories, I would pay be young again..
I have a little girl
Nine months and her whole life ahead of her
If I lived in a farm now
Would I let her go for fireplace stories?
In this country at this time
I cannot answer that question
How about hide and seek, up in the trees, and deep in the Napier grass
Together with boys and girls her age
I cannot answer that question
I cannot carry her with me in a sling bag until she is 18
I cannot build a wall around her
I cannot let her be an island
But it scares me to death to let her grow
How do I let her grow?
In this age, this time, these horrors,
But I grew up in the countryside
No TV, no computer games, no movies
Just sheep, goats, maize, rabbits…
And what did they teach us? . Love, just love and more love
That one question I can answer

By Terryanne Chebet

Colour of War

What is the colour of war,
pray tell me…

In Rwanda, it is green
April, the month of abundance
Green April, green genocide
green, the wealth of the country
the reflection of heartless bastards
Green, envy, Green, war…

In Congo
Its black,
its diamond, Its Gold, the wealth of nature
earth, black,
the colour of nature,
black, death…black, war

In Iraq,
it is gold;

liquid, heavy, deep down in the earth
corroding the very essence of life
killing the breath that is life,
brown, oily, gold, hell…gold, war

In the Sudan, Sierra Leone,
the colour wheel spins
black, red, green
the colors of war,
Pray let me know
So when one day when I cannot speak
and I hold a crayon in my hand, paint
when I will tell stories in colour
then I will freely call it black, or gold, or green….

The colour of war
is not red
Red is the colour of the pain that is war

Pray, tell me then…
What is the colour of war

Terryanne Chebet