Kenya’s League of Extravagant Grannies
This is the story of Kenya’s League of Extravagant Grannies who were once corporate and government leaders in the 1970’s, but are now retired. They now live the retired high life travelling to exotic and remote areas within Africa to explore, party and enjoy in exclusivity. We managed to catch up with 3 of them in Somalia soon after they landed. Little was known about them until today…..
On a continent where ordinary travellers, much less jet setters do not exist in any significant numbers, it was absolutely refreshing to see the images above. I mean, honestly, Hollywood couldn’t dream this up if they tried. Three well heeled African grannies dashing around Africa to sample its delights in their twilight years? These aren’t just any grannies either, are they? They have shattered every glass ceiling in pursuit of excellence, in fact, never mind glass! They have used every superman-like (or is it Superwoman-like?) energy to break through every Dangote concrete to reach the highest echelons of their professions. All this I guess, whilst looking after their 10 children (and that’s each by the way) and their numerous grandchildren. No philandering or non-cooking husband could detract them from their respective destinies.
On the way, even though they are as Afrocentric as any other African who detests colonisation and its effects to the hilt, they have on their travels, discarded any hint of knowing what African fabrics are and embraced the white man’s dress code. I mean, the aristocrats in England don’t even wear braces and neither do they carry vintage briefcases anymore, but our grannies don’t care, do they?
They not only travel in style, but posses a style that is so laced with non-conformity that the most notorious khat chewing and spitting pirates in Somalia give way, out of sheer respect when they land in Somalia. All sense of danger disappears and who knows, war lords call for a ceasefire on their account. Yep! Kenya’s League of Extravagant Grannies are indeed in Mogadishu on holiday!
The hairstyles are post-modern. No braids, weave, “Brazilian” or “Peruvian” in sight. Their’s is more Grace Jones than Beyonce. The mode of transportation will put any self-respecting African dictator to shame. How many of them are able to freely con their electorates into looking the other way whilst they get themselves a couple of private jets under the pretext of going abroad to beg for loans these days? The fear of God, sorry I mean the fear of the Hague, is too deep in their consciousness now to take such chances, but not Kenya’s League of Extravagant Grannies. They have earned not only the right, but the money to afford to travel in planes so little and yet so private that I thought only Colombian business men needed them to elude Uncle Sam or to drop off shipments.
I wonder what they’ve done to their husbands. Have they divorced their philandering whatnots out of the way? Have decades of heavy Ugali and beer made their knees too weak to carry their large tummies on travels? My guess is, their wives’ fortunes have rubbed off on them and they have all become bed ridden with the white man’s disease (or the curse for eating too much red meat) – gout!
Oh how I wish this were all reality, if only for a brief moment. This is pure fiction, but one that I love because it messes with my sense of normality and gives me a chance to meditate on what must be. Like a true art work, you and I can interpret the images to fit our realities. It is a great piece of fictional photo essay from the Kenyan digital artist and photographer, Osborne Macharia, that elevates the African granny to heights that perhaps i’ll never see in my life time. The use of humour, irony and exageration should serve as a trigger to question the way in which we see our African grannies. They are not just there to parent grandchildren, you know!
H/T: African Digital Art