Last updated on March 13th, 2018 at 01:44 pm
2010 was a good year! Our year. The year of the tiger. International year of biodiversity. Of youth. Yes, youth. Oh, to be young and in love. What we are all about wouldn’t be complete without this love story set in 2010. MMX was the year that marked the beginning of a journey that we fortunate that you joined us on. We started off as Moran in The City, a mixed platter, doodle-like blog hosted on blogger.
What’s in a name?
as we rose to the challenge, 21st century warriors of sorts, amidst all the “African Rising” narrative. Obama had already been president. South Africa was preparing to host the FIFA World Cup. Africa had given the world mobile money transfer! Surely, it was Ke`nako and we weren’t to be left behind.
because we faced a new wilderness in a new brave world. A rapidly morphing concrete jungle that threatened to swallow us. Globalization was at our door knocking. And it did not come alone. In tow, was a brother from another mother: information. We both Wikileaks and Facebook exploded.
We knew we had to cut through the noise and be as crisp as possible without losing the bigger picture. What was needed was a manual to hack the 21st century.
Moreover, we felt pressed by the 21st Century that was now picking pace—-little did we know that such exponential pace were the first signs of the 4th industrial revolution—- But we chose to speak rather than cower in silence. We knew there was a tale to be told and the time was now. KeNako.
Maybe, the infectious “let’s do this” attitude going around had something to do this. With Kenya’s economy growing at 8.4% annualized rate – in the last quarter of 2010, Nairobi reported 12+ % economic growth rate – who’s to blame for young black male feeling all-conquering ? Can you believe that? twelve percent! In testament to this, Nairobi’s skyline was changing fast.
2010 – The Evolution of Nairobi’s Skyline
Upper Hill was leading the way and it wasn’t too dreamy to picture the next Burj Khalifa in Nairobi. At the time, Nairobi’s tallest building 163M high,UAP/Old Mutual towers, was still in the proposal phase.
The fun part was that I came to learn of such proposed developments thanks to an online forum of city architecture enthusiasts that I stumbled upon online (today I can’t find the website for all I have). Thanks to this online community, I spent many evenings in 2010 walking in the then hybrid neighborhood of Nairobi’s Upper Hill.
The walking sure did my health a lot of good. What was marvelous about all this was the fact that I had found communion with strangers online. This was something in an age when My Space was still The social media site.
Man! We could do with more of this 21st century life. What was awakening though were the unusual sights of a high-rise skyscraper rising next to a family home. Upper Hill’s roads remained narrow and winding as they were built to serve households in suburbia. 2010 had these sleepy, Jacaranda tree-lined streets patronized by tipper and pre-mixed cement trucks.
You’d imagine it to be chaotic, but it wasn’t. It was more of a willing transformation as one by one, the old British style homes that dotted Upper Hill, gave way to skyscrapers. This unbalanced-ness of it all, would give any observer that tingly “go- getter ” feeling.
In 2010, everything Blossomed from architecture to music
I tell you nothing beat the feeling of walking by one evening to find the foundation of an upcoming building that the guys over the skyscraper forum had been talking about as soon to be commissioned.
The seductiveness of it all had something to do with the power that comes with knowledge. That insatiable drive that comes with knowing. The confidence and clarity. It is this feeling that we sought to capture in our early forays with Moran In The City : delivering a crisp take on 21st century entertainment, science and lifestyle.
We desired (still do) that our readers get to ‘live in the 21st century‘. Live, not by stand on what promises to be humanity’s most prosperous period ever. As with any worthy undertaking in life, a sound track is needed to power the main characters on.
In this regard, 2010 didn’t disappoint. The music was Bruno Mars just the way you are good. As badass as Jay Z and Alicia Keys’s Empire State Of Mind . Owl City Fire Flies amazing. In 2010, hip hop was positive. As the first decade of the new millennium came to a close, we were at the bend of the knee, of the exponential explosion of dance music in the 21st century.
We danced to Enrique Iglesias’s Tonight. Sang along to Katty Perry’s Firework. Got high to the hard bass of David Guetta and Rihanna’s Who’s That Chick. For Kenyan music, 2010 was Juliani’s , Dj Khaleed-esque: ” I’m the best”, year.
Even with the music, it was that as humanity closed the first decade of the 21st century, in the manner of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist , 2010 was the year the universe conspired to be something great.
Here Comes the Plunge
I had just finished my undergraduate degree and the world was an oyster. But it hadn’t been easy. The last year of my studies were the toughest. I had to struggle not to drop out in a tried-to-be-like-Steve-Jobs-but-failed style. Nonetheless straight after, broke and fueled by nothing but optimism and ambition, I took a sabbatical to do nothing but take in 21st century Nairobi’s culture.
My peers were queuing up looking for jobs. There I was in my bedsitter in Nairobi’s Umoja’s estate some 21 days to my next rent. My possessions? My PC and a plan………..
Here’s the deal: In 2009, Kenya had been connected to fiber optic internet. Here is what the then President Mwai Kibaki had to say:
Our BPO Roots
Oh boy! And didn’t we take on the 21st century with gusto! We were young and we knew our way around the internet enough to pay for the needs of a mid twenties young lad in Nairobi. You see, some of my close friends had dropped out of college to run mini BPO’s in their bedrooms.
Thanks to their trailblazing exploits, by the end of 2009, I had practiced my writing enough to do some freelance work working for them. In 2010, I break off to do my own gig. In MMX, I too was a boss!
It was fun while it lasted. It sure felt like being 21 all over again. But the story within refused to die — As you will come to see, so many times after, this dream has faced the same fate—
What kept this dream alive?
Some feelings stick with us for life once experienced. Like the feeling of the open road ahead on a Sunday afternoon. Or brush in hand, standing over a blank canvas mounted on a stand over looking a generous window in April. Or with only stale coffee for company, the blinking of the word typing cursor on your computer screen at 1.30 am in the morning.