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Hair Stories – Part 1

Some people asked me why I cut off my hair. Here is one reason, and many others will follow with time.

20 years ago, at a time like now, I moved to Nairobi City, straight from the village, the cold hills of Mbooni. I came here to study Technology, English, and Literature, after a failed attempt at running a barbershop and being a village DJ.

I found a city full of people and opportunities. It was the first time I touched a computer. In high school, I wasn’t allowed to touch one because I wasn’t a computer student. I was doing those soft often non-serious things of drama, music, dance and some sort of journalism.

When I got to the city, I stayed at a place called Kahawa Matopeni, where the rent for a single room at the time was 700/= a month ($7). I found the internet. I set up my first email. I started college education – learning how Information fuses with Technology, learning how English Language and Literature have shaped the world.

I was set on a path to become a high school teacher, but that’s a story got another day. In the meantime, I started doing odd jobs to survive, including buying and selling VCD machines from downtown Nairobi and burning CDS, DVDs, , basically pirating movies and music, to keep going by. That was the popular side hustle of the time and many other short stories that will come by with time.

Fast forward to today. Exactly 2 decades after, I woke up and could barely recognise myself. A man of many tails. I can barely define who and what I became. I had hair that carried memories of 14 years of exploration, losing innocence and gaining a new worldview. Its been nothing but exploration, hard work, constant disruption and evolution.

As 2022 started, I felt it was time to reset and reflect on what that journey was about. Cutting hair was a first step towards refreshing my thinking, by going back to what I looked like when I arrived here.

It’s finally time to write a book. The first chapter could be, “when the hair fell”.


What do you think?

Written by Gregg Tendwa

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