Black Microphone

We have weekly chapel meetings in school. Every Tuesday and Thursday. The campus administration says it’s compulsory, they say you will not graduate if your attendance record is below par. They send warning emails at the end of every semester. “Your chapel attendance is wanting,” the emails read. “Please check with the Chaplain or you will not be allowed to wear a gown at the end of your course.”

It’s a silly rule, obviously, because when we signed up for campus, we knew what we wanted – a lot of freedom, girls to flirt with and possibly some weed. And now all we get is a shove into a church hall or a chilling email from the people of Calvary.

Usually, before these chapel meetings kick off, they hand you a small piece of paper in which you sign in, a kind of attendance register. At the end of the meeting you return the piece of paper to one of the ushers who then puts it in a box. It’s to be reviewed later by someone who really has nothing better to do than crossing names off a list. It’s the school system, and we’re all at its mercy.

But the best thing about chapel, for me at least, is the seats. The fabric on them is soft; it drinks up your body and puts the sleep right back into your eyes.

The hall has two floors, with the upper floor overlooking the heavily carpeted stage. The back row is separated by blue pillars and there are three flat screens that project the stage. There’s another screen above the stage, too. This one is square, stuck to the wall. And it’s through this screen that I saw her holding the black microphone.

At the far end of the stage, there’s a Hollywood-looking sign with the word ‘Harvest’, which I suspect plays a clever hand during the offertory period. There are six white speakers hanging from the high ceiling and a polished grand piano is set on the centre stage. Light from the high windows fall on it and gives it a glossy face.

On this day, when I happened to spot the black microphone, I was seated at a far corner, next to a tall boy who I would later ask for a biro so I can sign my name in. As it turned out, he didn’t have one, and, like me, he didn’t bother coming with one because there’s always someone with a pen at chapel.

The weather was grim. The seat felt warm and I fancied I’d squeeze a brief nap before the singing started. But my eyes caught the staircase that flanked the front of the building. I had never noticed it before, never mind that the railing was beige and ugly. The hall had a velvety air, it smelled like freshmen and sweet perfume. The stage had been lined with placards shaped like road signs, Bible verses marked on them. And as a reward for coming to chapel, we were each given a packet of biscuits. I tore up my packet and wolfed down two biscuits in quick succession. The sleep was coming to me.

But before I could bat an eyelash a man in a suit bounced onto the stage and introduced himself as Pastor Something Something.

“I’d like to take this opportunity, before we start the praise and worship, to welcome the new students,” he said. “Let’s give them a round of applause!”

He had a bright smile, a terrible suit and a goatee. He was a likeable fellow, really, but he soon got under my nerves when he started banging on about elections and tribalism. And my betting is that I wasn’t the only one getting hot under the collar because this particular lot of students doesn’t give a toss about politics.

But everything was made better again when the praise and worship team got on stage. And up to that time I hadn’t noticed the black microphone. Pastor Something had used it but it hadn’t quite registered in my head.

“Okay. Let’s rise up and sing for the Lord.”

The voice came from a chick who had a big scarf snaking around her shoulders. She gingerly held the microphone to her side as the crowd unfurled. From where I was standing I couldn’t quite make out her face. But the square screen at the front showed a fair-skinned girl with chubby cheeks and innocent lips. Yummy.

Her voice was backed up by a choir, some drums, an electric guitar and the piano. I remembered the guy on the guitar from last sem; I had sat next to him once before during chapel and he had kindly given me his pen after he saw me pretentiously patting about my pockets. Helpful chaps. Chapel is full of them.

Meanwhile, the choir was getting everyone else on their feet. The songs were upbeat and cheerful and there was a lot of clapping. Bodies swayed from side to side and girls swung their upper bodies, some of them had their eyes closed and hands half raised. The music was truly soulful, the drums and the piano and the guitar came together to make sounds so glorious they could wake the dead. I couldn’t help but dance a little. By the time the praising was done beads of sweat had dotted my forehead like dew on a melon.

Then it was time for worship, which, unlike praise, consists of slow hymns and beautiful sadness, sometimes with a bit of tears. The girl with the microphone stopped dancing. She stood rooted in one spot, gripping the microphone close to her chest. The guitar and the drums had faded away, but the piano went on, slowly, ever so softly. And after a solemn hymn the girl said, “Take a moment. Just talk to God. Tell Him thank you. Tell Him anything that’s in your heart.”

There was something about her voice. It grabbed all your attention and touched you in the marrow. The microphone amplified her voice to a warm fuzz that spilled into your soul and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

And it made me think of the other person who had been arrested by the same voice. I wondered about the pains the mic was soothing: Maybe there was a boy in the congregation who found hope in that girl’s voice. Maybe he was just like me, with ill-fitting jeans like the ones I had on, the ones that cut all blood flow to my balls and almost had me faint. I wondered what he was praying about. Maybe his mom fell sick over the holidays and she had spent the last two weeks in hospital. That house hasn’t felt like a home ever since. Maybe he’s scared; the doctors say his mom will have to be shipped to India for treatment.

I wondered about the girl with quivering lips. Her head bowed as she feels the guilt pressing down on her. She’s dimly aware that it has now become a problem, and she feels all her spiritual cells battling inside her. She’s Catholic. She was told doing it was a sin and yet, on most nights, her hand finds herself between her legs. She prays for forgiveness, but she’ll have forgotten this moment tomorrow night. She’s an addict, after all.

I was certain that that microphone had lifted some spirits. That it had swept over some dusty souls. And when the girl got off the stage – taking the microphone along with her – a loud comfortable silence took its place. Well, up until Pastor Something came back, and then all I could hear was the sound of me chewing my biscuits.

A Bike, a Sack and an Ugly leather jacket
Walk With Me

Comments (4)

  1. A.J.O OKOYO

    Oh my God! This is wonderful. The read was so fascinating. Looks like I just found my best descriptive writer. I’m looking forward to more of this. 😚😚😚

    • Mike

      Thanks Okoyo, more of this coming up.☺

  2. Mnkatha

    I like.
    I actually did Work Study and at one point, my work was to key in attendance to a computer 🙈

    I enjoyed Chapel. A lot of freebies and sometimes it was interesting.

    • Mike

      Thanks, Nkatha☺
      You’re a brave soul for taking that job✊

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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👇🏾
  • 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