ACHOLA ROSARIO MEETS OKANG’A OOKO TO DISCUSS HIS BOOKS
By Achola Rosario, Contributing Editor at www.ATCNews.org
(Posted 12th August 2021)
Misogyny is alive and well in the workplace, at least according to hot “new” writer Okang’a Ooko; and we all know that something is true when a man says it. That is the side subject of his latest book, Hunter and Gatherer, a tale about money, power, love and greed, all wrapped into one word, Politics, the greasy pole where Kenyan society goes to dance like flesh-sellers. But he was not referring to the women as such, rather the politicians themselves, established and aspiring.
His female characters are bold and brassy, ambitious and sensual but his descriptions have an annoying tendency of contradicting themselves. Not so much because of the sprinkling of ‘big words’ such as pulchritude on the first page, but rather a simultaneous reinforcement and attempt to break down stereotypes about the female office worker’s physical and emotional needs and motivations. Some of the office professionals stomp around in tight skirts and heels, thoughtfully chewing on long nails after distractedly typing one word and calling it a day at work before angrily throwing gentlemen callers out of their office; while others are voluptuous with light-skinned “mama-faces”, but were the sexy ones out of the group of “middle-aged” twenty somethings. I give Okang’a Ooko an A for bravery.
The main character, a statuesque “rare light-skinned Luo” named Salome, affectionately known as Sally, is short haired, or as described in the book as “she never wore make-up or stuck odds and sods of dead Indian women’s hairs to hers (the way today’s Nairobi women do them), or other bits and bobs; she had to manifest the loyalty she had over her Afro image, keeping her hair short and pomaded Nefertiti style. And the fact that she had the same gusto as a man- well that just made her a woman not to duel with. If she invited you alone for dinner, you would need more goading than a visit to a mean prostitute and would sup at your own risk. Mostly, though, men sought her favor to seek her brain’s advantage.” She is The Hunter in this case, being headhunted by The Gatherer, a suave young politician in the making named Rapundo, with lots of self-made and inherited ill-gotten wealth, who conversely was *actually* looking for a wife, so he could *actually* be considered a serious candidate by his family and constituents. The result is a fast paced ‘who is fooling who’ story, of which I am currently on page 105 out of 641. Fortunately, I am not the type of character who flips to the back of the book to see how it ends before going back to read the middle (who DOES THAT?!), and I am content to let the story flow amidst its many twists and turns.
Okang’a Ooko is not above looking at himself as a subject, with previous books “Benga Man” and the follow up “When you sing to the Fishes” being semi-autobiographical about his time as an aspiring musician in Kisumu and the perils of fame there-in, as well as his prodigal return to the stage of his demise so as to tie-up loose ends and reconnect with the damaged friends of his youth. But it is his first book, “A business-woman’s fault”, that I am most interested in getting my hands on next, if only to assuage my piqued Feminist curiosity. A collection of short stories about how women cope in a man’s world by in the words of Okang’a Ooko, “bending over to get ahead”, I believe within lies the key to understanding where the fear of a woman conquering the world comes from… when we finish the next chapter.
To purchase any or all of Okang’a Ooko’s books(buy all 4 books for a discounted price of Kshs5,600 ($56) instead of the full Kshs7000 ($70):
Or you can get a signed copy from the author himself:
+254 722 493 896
+254 733 826 811
To watch THE FOMO TRAVEL SHOW EP73 OKANG’A OOKO BOOKS:
Try not to throw anything across the room as you read, because that would mean you are hysterical.