Thursday, September 30, 2010

Free SMS from Gmail to Safaricom

Staying in touch with your girls is important
Did you know that you can now send free SMS to your friends on Safaricom directly from your Gmail account? Try Gmail SMS and start texting your friends from your computer.

You can send SMS messages to your contacts’ mobile phones using Gmail Chat. If your contact replies, the text message response will appear as a reply in Chat. These conversations are stored in your Chat history just like regular chats.

Sending and receiving a message from Gmail to any phone is free. When replying with an SMS from phone to Gmail, you will be charged a regular SMS rate by your mobile provider. Gmail SMS is currently available in Kenya with Safaricom.

Here's how to use Gmail SMS:


  1. Log into your Gmail account. In the Send SMS box above Chat, enter the phone number you want to send a SMS to.
  2. In the dialog box, enter Contact name of the SMS recipient and check that country and phone number are correct. Then, click Save.
  3. Type your message in the chat window and hit Enter.
  4. Your message will be sent to the phone number you entered.
Try it out! It seems to work fine.

SMALL UPDATE: In some cases, e.g. when you are logging in to your Gmail account from abroad, the Gmail SMS feature is not automatically activated (and you can't see the Send SMS box in Gmail). Here's a solution. Try going to Google Labs, select Gmail Labs and enable "SMS in Chat gadget" and "Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat". That should do the trick, like it did for @kenyanpundit.
@marvintumbo also confirmed he received a Gmail SMS from a friend in Sweden. Unfortunately, the friend is a dude and not the blonde Swedish hottie I had hoped for.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swazi Minister fired for screwing King Mswati's wife

Ndumiso Mamba hiding in the bed
Queen Nothando Dube
King Mswati III of Swaziland has fired his Minister of Justice, Ndumiso Mamba, after he was caught having an affair with one of the King’s most beautiful wives, 22-year-old Nothando Dube, who is a former Miss Teen Swaziland.

Photographs of a startled Ndumiso Mamba hiding in the base of a bed of Royal Villas Hotel emerged online.

According to reports, Queen Nothando Dube over the past few weeks dressed up like a soldier to get past security guards to sneak out of the palace and meet her lover.
Ndumiso Mamba was caught!

It is expected that Queen Nothando Dube will spend the rest of her life under 24-hour surveillance.

King Mswati III, who has at least 23 children and is Africa’s last absolute monarch, famously selects a new wife at a reed dance where up to 100,000 women are paraded in front of him. Our own Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has only one wife and her name is Lucy.

And, as Thekimutai was telling me on Twitter: if this was Kenya.... Kalonzo na Roocy. Ai!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nairobi Secrets

The red hot Sexy Siren Doll
Are you interested in the rapidly evolving Kenyan e-commerce scene? Then you may find this post interesting... NairobiSecrets is a new Nairobi based online retail lingerie shop which was launched this week.

The site uses Kenyan models Racheal, Boyo, Sonia and Vera. Models are selected for their interesting, outgoing, sexy and goofy personalities, as well as their academic and cultural backgrounds... Of course, other assets and a model’s face also help.

The site is organized in categories such as Sexy Lingerie, Sexy Swimwear, Sexy Gowns and Robes, and Sexy Indoor Wear (I am ignoring the category Floral). And then you have the sub-categories. Under Sexy Gowns and Robes for example, you will find Lingerie Gowns, and Baby Dolls and Chemises. Don't ask me what a Baby Doll is, but the red hot Sexy Siren Doll - which you can see on the picture - is one of them. It has just a trace of lace and a side slit, and comes with adjustable straps and a matching panty.

For online payments, the site accepts all major credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal. And taking advantage of the proliferation of mobile money transfer services in Kenya, the site also accepts payments through ZAP and M-PESA.

Delivery is only available in Nairobi. A standard delivery service is offered within the Nairobi Metropolis for a standard KSh 300/- and free for purchases over Ksh 6,000/-. All shipping is done through courier service to ensure safety and privacy.

They also have an interesting Facebook page, where they answer any question you may have. Trini Totcy had a burning question, and it was promptly answered:
Trini Totcy may i ask ignorantly plz.the c-string how does it go like,cn it be worn when in a skirt? how about that?? how does it hold?? tell me more abt the c-string n hw to do it.Thank you You are welcome Trini. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Here's how it stays: C-String has a flexible internal frame that hugs and holds it to your body. At the front it looks like a normal sexy underwear and to the rear it has a thong-style strip.
This is the first time its being sold in Kenya but its common in the US, UK and Germany. To those we gave samples to, we got raving reviews.
Instead of having to deal with annoying underwear lines, this C-String provides coverage without the panty straps. The toughest effort to hide panty lines comes when one tries on an evening dress. This is a test the C-String excels at. With the CString nothing is visible, and the dress can do justice to your body curves.
Out and about: the C-String can be worn under all your favourite clothes: dresses, skirts, jeans...
Trini Totcy I see,..thanks a lot for the info. I do appreciate. Great stuff u got, all the best! You are welcome Trini
Yes, okay, I think I have learned something. Have you?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumzi: Kenya's first sci-fi movie

Pumzi, a Kenyan sci-fi movie
What? A Kenyan science fiction film? Yes! The film is named Pumzi and started as a joke, but resulted in a very interesting synopsis:
Nature is extinct. The outside is dead. Asha lives and works as a museum curator in one of the indoor communities set up by the Maitu Council. When she receives a box in the mail containing soil, she plants an old seed in it and the seed starts to germinate instantly. Asha appeals to the Council to grant her permission to investigate the possibility of life on the outside but the Council denies her exit visa. Asha breaks out of the inside community to go into the dead and derelict outside to plant the growing seedling and possibly find life on the outside.
Kudzani Moswela, hiding her assets
The lead character Asha is played by the beautiful actress Kudzani Moswela.
Kudzani Moswela

The film's writer and director Wanuri Kahiu, who has an interesting blogsees her high-tech filmmaking as a continuation of an ancient, tribal storytelling tradition. Her movie From a Whisper received a total of twelve nominations and earned five awards at the 5th African Movie Academy Awards in 2009.

The movie raises interesting questions, such as "Who owns water?"

Here's the stunning trailer:

Obama's remarks at the MDG Summit

Office of the Press Secretary
September 22, 2010
Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
Millennium Development Goals Summit

United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York

Wordle of Obama's MDG speech

Obama at the MDG Summit at UN Headquarters 
Good afternoon. Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

In the Charter of this United Nations, our countries pledged to work for “the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.” In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we recognized the inherent dignity and rights of every individual, including the right to a decent standard of living. And a decade ago, at the dawn of a new millennium, we set concrete goals to free our fellow men, women and children from the injustice of extreme poverty.

These are the standards we set. Today, we must ask—are we living up to our mutual responsibilities?

I suspect that some in wealthier countries may ask—with our economies struggling, so many people out of work, and so many families barely getting by, why a summit on development? The answer is simple. In our global economy, progress in even the poorest countries can advance the prosperity and security of people far beyond their borders, including my fellow Americans.

When a child dies from a preventable disease, it shocks our conscience. When a girl is deprived of an education or her mother is denied equal rights, it undermines the prosperity of their nation. When a young entrepreneur can’t start a new business, it stymies the creation of new jobs and markets—in his country and in ours. When millions of fathers cannot provide for their families, it feeds the despair that can fuel instability and violent extremism. When a disease goes unchecked, it can endanger the health of millions around the world.

So let’s put to rest the old myth that development is mere charity that does not serve our interests. And let’s reject the cynicism that says certain countries are condemned to perpetual poverty. For the past half century has witnessed more gains in human development than at any time in history. A disease that had ravaged the generations, smallpox, was eradicated. Health care has reached the far corners of the world, saving the lives of millions. From Latin America to Africa to Asia, developing nations have transformed into leaders in the global economy.

Nor can anyone deny the progress that has been made toward achieving certain Millennium Development Goals. The doors of education have been opened to tens of millions of children, boys and girls. New cases of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are down; access to clean drinking water is up. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted from extreme poverty.

Yet we must also face the fact that progress towards other goals has not come nearly fast enough. Not for the hundreds of thousands of women who lose their lives every year simply giving birth. Not for the millions of children who die from the agony of malnutrition. Not for the nearly one billion people who endure the misery of chronic hunger.

This is the reality we must face—that if the international community just keeps doing the same things the same way, we will miss many development goals. That is the truth. With ten years down and just five years before our development targets come do, we must do better.

Now, I know that helping communities and countries realize a better future isn’t easy. I’ve seen it in my own life. I saw it in my mother, as she worked to lift up the rural poor, from Indonesia to Pakistan. And I saw it on the streets of Chicago, were I worked as a community organizer trying to build up underdeveloped neighborhoods. It’s hard. But I know progress is possible.

As President, I have made it clear that the United States will do our part. My national security strategy recognizes development as not only a moral imperative, but a strategic and economic imperative. Secretary of State Clinton is leading a review to strengthen and better coordinate our diplomacy and development efforts. We’ve reengaged with multilateral development institutions. And we’re rebuilding the United States Agency for International Development as the world’s premier development agency. In short, we’re making sure that the United States will be a global leader in international development in the 21st century.

We also recognize that the old ways will not suffice. That is why in Ghana last year I called for a new approach to development that unleashes transformational change and allows more people to take control of their own destiny. After all, no country wants to be dependent on another. No proud leader in this room wants to ask for aid. And no family wants to be beholden to the assistance of others.

To pursue this vision, my administration conducted a comprehensive review of America’s development programs. We listened to leaders in government, NGOs and
civil society, the private sector and philanthropy, Congress and our many international partners.

Today, I am announcing our new U.S. Global Development Policy—the first of its kind by an American administration. It’s rooted in America’s enduring commitment to the dignity and potential of every human being. And it outlines our new approach and the new thinking that will guide our overall development efforts, including the plan that I promised last year and that my administration has delivered to pursue the Millennium Development Goals.

Put simply, the United States is changing the way we do business.

First, we’re changing how we define development. For too long, we’ve measured our efforts by the dollars we spent and the food and medicines we delivered. But aid alone is not development. Development is helping nations to actually develop—moving from poverty to prosperity. And we need more than just aid to unleash that change. We need to harness all the tools at our disposal—from our diplomacy to our trade and investment policies.

Second, we’re changing how we view the ultimate goal of development. Our focus on assistance has saved lives in the short term, but it hasn’t always improved those societies over the long term. Consider the millions of people who have relied on food assistance for decades. That’s not development, that’s dependence, and it’s a cycle we need to break. Instead of just managing poverty, we have to offer nations and peoples a path out of poverty.

Let me be clear, the United States of America has been, and will remain, the global leader in providing assistance. We will not abandon those who depend on us for life-saving help. We keep our promises, and honor our commitments.

In fact, my administration has increased assistance to the least developed countries. We’re working with partners to finally eradicate polio. Building on the good efforts of my predecessor, we continue to increase funds to fight HIV/AIDS to record levels—and that includes strengthening our commitment to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. And we will lead in times of crisis, as we have done since the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan.

But the purpose of development—and what’s needed most right now—is creating the conditions where assistance is no longer needed. So we will seek partners who want to build their own capacity to provide for their people. We will seek development that is sustainable.

Building in part on the lessons of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which has helped countries like El Salvador build rural roads and raise the incomes of its people, we will invest in the capacity of countries that are proving their commitment to development.

Remembering the lesson of the Green Revolution, we’re expanding scientific collaboration with other countries and investing in game-changing science and technologies to help spark historic leaps in development.

For example, instead of just treating HIV/AIDS, we’ve invested in pioneering research to finally develop a way to help millions of women actually prevent themselves from being infected in the first place.

Instead of simply handing out food, our food security initiative is helping countries like Guatemala, Rwanda and Bangladesh develop their agriculture, improve crop yields and help farmers get their products to market.

Instead of simply delivering medicine, our Global Health Initiative is helping countries like Mali and Nepal build stronger health systems and deliver better care. And with financial and technical assistance, we’ll help developing countries embrace the clean energy technologies they need to adapt to climate change and pursue low-carbon growth.

In other words, we’re making it clear that we will partner with countries that are willing to take the lead. Because the days when your development was dictated in foreign capitals must come to an end.

This brings me to the third pillar of our new approach. To unleash transformational change, we’re putting a new emphasis on the most powerful force the world has ever known for eradicating poverty and creating opportunity. It’s the force that turned South Korea from a recipient of aid to a donor of aid. It’s the force that has raised living standards from Brazil to India. And it’s the force that has allowed emerging African countries like Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique to defy the odds and make real progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, even as some of their neighbors—like Cote d’Ivoire—have lagged behind.

The force I’m speaking of is broad-based economic growth. Now, every nation will pursue its own path to prosperity. But decades of experience tell us that there are certain ingredients upon which sustainable growth and lasting development depends.

We know that countries are more likely to prosper when they encourage entrepreneurship; when they invest in their infrastructure; and when they expand trade and welcome investment. So we will partner with countries like Sierra Leone to create business environments that attract investment, not scare it away. We’ll work to break down barriers to regional trade and urge nations to open their markets to developing countries. And we’ll keep pushing for a Doha round that is ambitious and balanced—one that works not just for major emerging economies, but for all economies.

We know that countries are more likely to prosper when governments are accountable to their people. So we are leading a global effort to combat corruption—which in many places is the single greatest barrier to prosperity, and which is a profound violation of human rights. That’s why we now require oil, gas and mining companies that raise capital in the United States to disclose all payments they make to foreign governments. And it’s why I urged the G-20 to put corruption on its agenda and make it harder for corrupt officials to steal from their people and stifle their development.

The United States will focus our development efforts on countries like Tanzania that promote good governance and democracy; the rule of law and equal administration of justice; transparent institutions, with strong civil societies; and respect for human rights. Because over the long run, democracy and economic growth go hand in hand.

We will reach out to countries making the transition from authoritarianism to democracy, and from war to peace. The people of Liberia show that even after years of war, great progress can be achieved. And as others show the courage to put war behind them—including, we hope, in Sudan—the United States will stand with those who seek to build and sustain peace.

And we know that countries are more likely to prosper when they tap the talents of all their people. That’s why we’re investing in the health, education and rights of women, and working to empower the next generation of women entrepreneurs and leaders. Because when mothers and daughters have access to opportunity, economies grow and governance improves. And it’s why we’re partnering with young people, who in many developing countries are more than half the population. We’re expanding educational exchanges, like the one that brought my father to America from Kenya, and we’re helping young entrepreneurs succeed in a global economy.

As the final pillar of our new approach, we’ll insist on more responsibility—from ourselves and others. We’ll insist on mutual accountability.

For our part, we’ll work with Congress to better match our investments with the priorities of our partner countries. Guided by the evidence, we’ll invest in programs that work and end those that don’t. Because we need to be big-hearted and hard-headed.

To my fellow donor nations—let’s honor our respective commitments. Let’s resolve to put an end to hollow promises that are not kept. Let’s commit to the same transparency that we expect of others. And let’s move beyond the old, narrow debate over how much money we’re spending and let’s instead focus on results—whether we’re actually making improvements in people’s lives.

To developing countries, this must be your moment of responsibility as well. We want you to prosper and succeed—it’s in your interest, and it’s in our interest. We want to help you realize your aspirations. But there is no substitute for your leadership. Only you and your people can make the tough choices that will unleash the dynamism of your country. Only you can make the sustainable investments that improve the health and well-being of your people. Only you can deliver your nations to a more just and prosperous future.

Finally, let me say this. No one nation can do everything everywhere and still do it well. To meet our goals, we must be more selective and focus our efforts where we have the best partners and where we can have the greatest impact. And just as this work cannot be done by any one government, it cannot be the work of governments alone. Indeed, foundations, the private sector and NGOs are making historic commitments that have redefined what’s possible.

This gives us the opportunity to forge a new division of labor for development in the 21st century. It’s a division of labor where—instead of so much duplication and inefficiency—governments, multilaterals and NGOs all work together. We each do the piece we do best, as we are doing in support of Ghana’s food security plan, which will help more farmers get more goods to market and earn more money to support their families.

That’s the progress that’s possible. Together, we can collaborate in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. Together, we can realize the future that none of us can achieve alone. Together, we can deliver historic leaps in development. We can do this. But only if we move forward with the seriousness and sense of common purpose that this moment demands.

Development that offers a path out of poverty for that child who deserves better. Development that builds the capacity of countries to deliver the health care and education that their people need. Development that unleashes broader prosperity and builds the next generation of entrepreneurs and emerging economies. Development rooted in shared responsibility, mutual accountability and, most of all, concrete results that pull communities and countries from poverty to prosperity.

These are the elements of America’s new approach. This is the work we can do together. And this can be our plan—not simply for meeting our Millennium Development Goals, but for exceeding them, and then sustaining them for generations to come.

Thank you very much.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kenya: the most advanced tech environment in the world

Sarah Lacy
Mocality is Africa's largest business directory in the making. Mocality has been streamlined for both web and mobile and can be viewed on almost all phones. Over 60,000 businesses have been listed already and plenty of traffic is now heading their way. Mocality is now available in Nairobi and is coming soon to other local cities.

As a business owner, you get free SMS, a contact list, a free mobile website and a free mobile business card.

But the good news is that you can actually become a Mocality agent and earn money! Their current payment structure is as follows:
a. For adding a business: Ksh 5/- (read: top-up card)
b. When your business gets verified: Ksh 25/- (read: soda)
c. When you verify another business: Ksh 30/- (read: matatu fare)
d. When you add a photo of the business to a listing or verification: Ksh 50/- (read: tea and mandazi)

Sarah Lacy - who is currently obsessed with Kenya and by extension in love with Rafiki Kenya - and Paul Carr recently interviewed Mocality's CEO Stefan Magdalinski for TechCrunchTV about the Kenyan and African tech scene. Among other things Stef says "Kenya is in a lot of ways the most advanced mobile phone and tech environment I have come across in the world". Do you agree? Is Kenya the place to be in terms of tech and mobile? Here's the interview:

And in other good news: Sarah is planning a trip to Kenya! I would be happy to be her guide of course.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kenya Census: There are 20 camels in Nairobi

Camels having sex. One hump or two humps?
The results of Kenya's 2009 census were finally released this week. There were 38,610,097 people in Kenya, according to the official 2009 population census figures. We are now more than 39 million and counting, since two Kenyan children are born every minute.

Interestingly, the census also revealed there are 20 camels in Nairobi. What are these camels doing in Nairobi? My best guess is that there may be a few at Mamba Village or at Splash Waterworld; as well as some 'roaming' ones which can be hired for birthday and other parties.

Camels can be used for multiple purposes
There are about 3 million camels in Kenya, which shows the importance of the animal to Kenyans. In Nairobi's Eistleigh estate, business is brisk in camel meat and milk. Vital Camel Milk in Nanyuki is the world's first dairy plant which processes camel milk and value added products as health food. Regular camel milk consumption contributes to an optimum diabetes management. Camel milk has positive effects in controlling high blood pressure and helps in the management of arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis. Camel milk contains potent anti-bacterial and anti-viral factors. Recovery from infectious desease (e.g. tuberculosis) is significantly faster in patients consuming camel milk regularly.

Camels are also being used as solar-powered mobile health clinicsmobile libraries and mobile schools. In those parts of Kenya worst affected by persistent droughts, the next generation of pastoralists is growing up with a greater understanding of the camel's role. Efforts to introduce school children to camel-keeping are going well. With camels on the curriculum, and kept within the school grounds, pupils learn camel care and how best to hygienically collect, process and market the milk. And yes, nowadays you can even go on a camel safari.

A textbook cameltoe
And have you ever heard about the term cameltoe?

Cameltoe is a slang term that refers to the outline of a human female's labia majora seen through tight clothes.

Rihanna's cameltoe
The causes of cameltoe are not always obvious. Cameltoe commonly occurs as a result of wearing tight fitting clothes, such as jeans, shorts, hotpants, or swim wear. Due to a combination of anatomical factors, the snugness of the fabric in the region surrounding the cleft of venus may result in the area of the crotch taking on the appearance of the forefoot of a camel or other even-toed ungulate. However, some fashion analysts have also identified clothing design as a cause, rather than its size. Cameltoe may thus be exacerbated by jeans or other garments with a tight central seam that serves to divide the labia majora.

And last but not least, here's the presentation of the census results, including all the figures on camels:
Kenyan Population and Housing Census