3 things about Blankets & Wine XLIV

the fake bourgeois
That fake. It started at Uchumi supermarket, the one off Lang’ata Road. At the liquor store to be precise. I met a handful of them as we stood in the queue at this liquor store that seemed to get smaller the louder they spoke and the more they spilled in. I snorted as I paid for my ‘wine’. Then we – me and my kid sister – made our way to Carnivore. It is three minutes drive away from Uchumi.

Blankets and wine is a picnic styled music festival designed to showcase genres of Afrocentric music. It is held on every first Sunday of the month. Sometimes it is at the Mamba Village grounds. Sometimes, like this time, at the Carnivore’s. This forty-fourth edition was the first I was attending.

Anyway, we get past the security check, to the entrance and wait for our host. And then they spilled in one after another. Give way ye people, they seemed to announce, Nairobi’s middle-class has arrived! Girls, in their denim hot-pants. Tank tops and shapeless cottons tees. African print bustier maxis with a belt pulled tight enough to accentuate the bust and the trim waist line. It was a sea of cleavage, legs and thighs. Sundresses in modern and bold mosaics. I spotted a tattoo on several female backs of a red rose. Or a dolphin. Or a letter from the Japanese alphabet. Or a sentence that gives a defiant middle-finger to the partiality of life. If not on the back, then on the side of the arm or the lower back. The ones at the ankle were the most sexy because of their subtlety. The guys were not modest either: T-shirts not long enough to cover their boxers or belts. Denim shirts in various shades of blue buttoned all the way to the top. Skinny jeans in all colors but ordinary black. A snug pair of knee-length shorts revealing hairy legs that ended in red or blue or white loafers. Fake gold jewelry. Sunglasses. Uchumi paperbags, or a kikapu carrying the blanket and wine. They talked loud, and laughed even louder.

I was disgusted. Eugh. Despite my disgust, everyone was happy with each other. Everyone was having fun. I realized quickly that the only way this fake and manufactured milieu I had found myself in would become acceptable, is if it was taken as it were: a laughable dismissible scene.

the music
I checked in at 3PM. Dela – the third artist for the day – was on stage. Dela is a talented diva. I had not listened to Dela much before today, which means I am in no position to give an opinion about her music. But it had this mellow afro-fusion melody to it that was easy to get accustomed to. The crowd went wild when Sauti Sol joined her to perform the song they featured her from their debut album. The song was ‘Mama papa’.

I chatted up the screaming fans beside me, you know, to get a personal feel of this whole gig. Angie, a regular, told me she comes here for the artists. Ruby, a Sudanese, said she has never missed a single event. “I have lived in Kenya for 10 years and such events make it the more memorable.” She pushed aside the fringe of her weave as she spoke, her red lips twisting in excitement. Tony told me freelance photographers have a field day at such gigs, “There are countless moments to capture on film.” Waceke and her pal are members of a small acapella outfit. “We are inspired by Zahara’s music,” she said.

Zahara – the final artist for the day – took the stage at 6.30pm. She looked lovely in her orange sleeveless chiffon top. A white ruffles skirt and suede pink peep-toe wedges. Plus this digital white watch I suspect is her good-luck charm because she wears it constantly despite its clash with her outfits. Her affability told in her smile, her simplicity in the braided corn-rows. The backup artists – Zulu-brown skin with their fresh faces and braids swept up in a simple do – took their place at her far left of the stage.

Zahara is a multi-award winner from South Africa. She is 25years old. She has one studio album to her name, Loliwe (2011). The hit single with a similar title catapulted her to fame locally and abroad. She won eight South African music awards following this platinum album.

In the hour Zahara was on stage, we crooned to ‘Ndiza’, snapped our fingers to ‘Lengoma’, nodded our heads to ‘Destiny’, waved our hands to ‘Umthwalo’ and swayed in unison to ‘Loliwe’.  All the while, singing along word for word as if Xhosa is our first language. Enjoyable stuff. In the middle of performing ‘Umthwalo’, Zahara breaks into tears and our hearts melted. It was telling that right there – right there – we loved her even more. She performed other tracks in Shona, plus two, three other renditions. All performances were accompanied by her acoustic guitar.

Zahara’s performance closed the curtains to a roaring crowd thirsty for more.

the blankets and the wine
After the gig, I chatted with my knackered host. I thanked him for the invite; he says he is glad I had had a splendid time. He steps on stage to oversee the techs as they packed the stage equipment, disconnecting the cables and whatnot. I follow him there. I had been dying to get a couple of things about this event clear. Beyond us, the sea of 3,000+ elated fans stretched out into the dusk in constant motion like black ants milling around an anthill. He acknowledges the crowd with a tilt of his head. “Today’s was a decent turnout,” he says. We stroll across the stage, down the steps and take a walk around.

Snaking through the crowd on their ‘blankets’, I regarded this audience which was outright different from the music fans I had mingled with earlier: Lovers locked in a lustful entangle of limbs and lips. Teenage girls cheek to cheek to cheek, crinkly eyes outlined with kohl, rosy cheeks and exaggerated pink pouts staring spell-bound into the white light of the Galaxy SIII outstretched from the girl in the middle. A mother with her toddler’s head resting on her bosom, his legs sprawled over her sleeping body. They are covered in a red-and-blue checked Maasai blanket. Boys and girls giggling as the shisha is passed around them in the circle they had formed on their mat. A family of four jungus; dad and mum’s safari boots discarded to the side and kids snacking on cold sausages. Sozzled adults dancing barefoot, and screaming into the night as if the world is about to end.

I ask him whether the original concept of blankets and wines had been eroded after its five years in business. “No. Blankets and wine is about a Sunday afternoon of chilling and music,” he says. “Parents with their kids, youngies with their blankets and wine. Encapsulating all this is the music. So no, it has not been eroded.” Fair enough.

What about this horde of aspirational middle-class? He laughs. “They contribute to the aura of blankets and wine because here, they can be a different escapist persona. It’s all for good fun.” Mh, acceptable.

We stopped briefly to say wsup to the Google+ crew as they packed their tools then continued with the stroll.

What about the financial aspect of it; how viable is this business? “Blankets and wine is an event which sells as a music event,” he says. I ask him for figures. He eyes me with skeptic narrowed eyes before he obliges. I do some quick math; based on the turnover and operating expenses, the margins are handsome. Not bad at all.

I probe him with more questions, and he answers each one satisfactorily. By this time, we have taken a complete circle from the stage, snaked through the crowd, and are now backstage. I leave him to continue with his work.

We spent the remaining hour dancing our hearts out to the techno and pop mixes from the Homeboyz DJs. Out there under the stars, we danced until we flattened the grass beneath our feet. The cleaning crew was on site zigzagging us on the grounds, bagging the trash from the afternoon: plastic party cups in white and red, crashed beers cans of Heineken and Tusker, empty bottles of vodka and gin, wrapping foil and used serviettes, paper bags of Uchumi.

The music was muted at 9PM. The screens alongside the stage go blank. The darkness engulfs. We stopped dancing and realized then how cold it was. The crowd started to scatter.

the fake bourgeois. the music. the blankets and the wine.
Blankets and wine: on the one hand, it is about aspirational middle-class Nairobi with their fake and disgust-worthy bourgeois behavior. A group of Nairobians who flood an event they are here to not actually attend, and bring along with them the toxicity of their youthful verve. On the other hand, it is about a Sunday afternoon whiling away on a blanket with sunglasses and sundresses, shorts and kids. It is about promoting African music. It is the success story of a simple entrepreneurial idea that blossomed to become part and parcel of Nairobi’s social scene.

On the balance, it is the brilliant idea for a musical coterie that lost its all exclusivity once the masses of wannabe Nairobi got wind of it then followed to poison it with all their urban plasticity.

my opinion?
Blankets and wine is an event which works because of the music. Period. And that is what it is anyway: East Africa’s premier music experience.

Getting published
Midgets and toddlers in a row

Comments (11)

  1. Wangechi

    I have not attended a single blankets and wine event. Not sure I am in a hurry after reading this…but will do for the MUSIC only!

  2. Apple Tamu

    Never gone for Blankets but when I eventually decide to, I have you to thank for expectations!

  3. Savvy

    First, writing suits you :) And I haven’t spotted a single typo (so maybe auditing wasn’t such a waster after all).

    When you say it lost its exclusivity, isn’t that a good thing? Now anyone can go.. just ignore the fakes. You’ve actually made me want to go and see what it’s all about, have never wanted to. For the music, of course. The wine too, perhaps.

    • fra

      Thanks for dropping by Savvy. Turns out auditing taught me more life skills than I thought; catching typos being one of them.
      Pass my warm regards to J.

  4. Mystery

    I have always given blankets and wine a wide berth , pretentious middle class tickle me in a wrong way……but the music…yes…the musicians always threaten to narrow the berth. The internal war is still raging on. This is well written (as savvy noticed) and perceptive.

  5. miss.lamo

    i believe am the (main) reason this post even exists. if it weren’t for my constant pestering two weeks prior to the event,that Sunday would’ve been spent watching some underrated movie or basking. So yes fra,you may thank me now or later..no rush.
    awesome piece tho and no, i wouldn’t mind attending it again minus the fake bourgeois obviously.

    • fra

      Touché, hehhe. Touché *tips hat*

  6. Capt.Jecinta

    You write well fra.I’m very proud of you. B&W, just like Subaru clinics and all that other ‘yuppie’ city stuff, i think i’ll pass, no, but no thanks! My sensibilities bruce easily! Keep at it Miss, i’ll keep reading!Go.

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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