Call me Uncle


“Never talk to my son again!”

Those words knocked the stupor out of me.  How dare I fill her boy’s head with such tales of debauchery? It’s like I was out to erase all her careful parenting with the stroke of my immoral brush. I was painting a glamorous picture for the kid, birds and booze – a played out Hollywood version, bikes and boots and black leather jackets, fabrications of my conquests.

His mom didn’t like that. He was only 10, for chrissake.

Her frown struck out the jolly affair. Suddenly everyone was looking in my direction, listening to what I was saying to the kid.

It was Saturday after sunset, at a family gathering of not more than 20. I was seated around a circle of cousins, along with a tall can of Tusker Malt. The adults had broken off to a corner of their own. Someone was playing music through a pill. The wine and the music flowed. (I think that’s a song).

The boy is my nephew, CJ. And CJ is knocking at the doors of puberty. He’s getting curious.

“How old are you?”

“26,” I say.

“Why do you have dreadlocks?”

“Because girls love it.”

His face beams. “Do you have a girlfriend?!”

“Ofcourse! Lots of them.”

That really kills him. He thinks I’m such a chic magnet, which means he thinks I’m a cool uncle, and I’ve taken the flattery with stride.

Whenever we get together he asks to see my phone, where he rummages around the menu, and, finding no games, he goes through my playlist, where he most certainly won’t find any Migos songs. Then he says, “Wah, bro. Your playlist is so boring.”

CJ’s phone has lots of Migos.

Sometimes CJ asks if he can have a taste of my beer, and I chuckle and say, “Your mom would kill me, bro.”

Earlier that day he whispered to me that he has a girlfriend, and that, if it wasn’t for this particular function, he’d be at home, with her. I forgot to ask about the lucky girl’s name, but I remember feeling proud. A rite of passage was unfolding right in front of my eyes. I was a stripling’s uncle. Uncle Mike.

And the title sank a little further when, a little later, CJ followed me into a bush, where we shared a quiet pee.

Anyway, CJ’s school won the music festivals. The reward is a trip to State House. CJ was excited as hell. His mom was proud. The cousins were happy about it, too, because a branch of the family tree would finally set foot in State House.

CJ is also learning how to drive. He’s only allowed to move forward. No reverse. No turning. The first time he negotiated a corner he bumped into a neighbor’s car. The owner, an elderly lady, caused a row on the estate Whatsapp group.

“Why are we allowing children to drive in the estate?! What if he had hit one of our kids?!”

I imagine that day CJ was made to apologize. He’d be forced to face the woman, hands crossed at the crotch, with his mom a few paces behind. He’d mumble an ’I’m sorry’ with tears in his eyes. But there was no real damage the lady’s car, anyway, and the boy would be forgiven.

He might have caused some ripples, but let’s not forget that the boy was an honored guest at State House.

CJ’s mom gets uneasy about letting him drive. She only allows it because it’s fun for him, otherwise the car turns into a deathtrap when he’s at the wheel. I got to witness it first hand, little CJ behind the wheel, with the seat slid all the way to the front. You could see the concern all over his mom’s face.

It was shortly after lunch, and I’d stepped out for a cigarette. Akina CJ’s car was not at the parking. (OK, I wasn’t really smoking). Then I heard a hoot. I turned to see CJ grinning in the driver’s seat, mom riding shotgun. She beckoned me over, and said, “I don’t want to die alone.”

I jumped in the back, and held on for dear life.

“What is the first thing you do?” she said.

“Seatbelt,” the kid says. He clips it on.

“OK. Now start the car.”

The engine rambles to life. The speedometer lights up like a Christmas tree. A battery of questions follows to CJ. “Have you taken off the handbrake? What do you do next? Are you stepping on the break? Which foot are you using? OK, now release the brake. Slowly, baba.”

She had one hand on the dashboard, ready to bolt if we landed on a ditch. (“Stay in the middle of the road CJ!”)

Meanwhile CJ was doing his best not to accelerate too hard. The car was purring at his feet. He was driving at 10kph, but at least he was moving. He didn’t care that fuel was going up to 130 bob. He wasn’t thinking about some bloody math homework, or that Elani had staged a comeback. Forget State House and the girl next door.

This was the purest form of freedom. He was at the helm, sailing this ship. It was hard to fault him for wanting to push the needle a bit.

And as we snaked along my mind went back to my first fender bender. I was 17, not even old enough for a license. That time we had a grey Mazda Demio, and I had been sent on an errand – a vote of confidence I didn’t take for granted.

So I did what every other boy does with such responsibility on their hands: I cranked up the music and put my weight on the accelerator.

It was mad fun, really, until I came up behind a Double M bus, unloading passengers on the side of the road. I was getting impatient. I wanted to get my Vin Diesel on, but this damn bus was in my way. So I waited for oncoming to traffic to clear and attempted to overtake. But I was too close to the bus, a gross miscalculation on my part.

There was a loud smack. The left side-mirror snapped shut, and I quickly hit the brakes. It took a second before I realized what had happened. The people on the pavements were watching, I felt a lump in my throat.

What the hell had I done? My folks would surely have my neck for this. Plus what if the driver of the bus stepped out? How would I tell him I don’t even have a license?

I sped off, one eye on the rear-view mirror, waiting to see if the bus would begin pursuit, if the tout would disembark and ask for some identification. I had all these morbid scenarios running in my head. Maybe I’d be tossed into a police cell, and I’d never get to drive a car ever again. I went round a random corner and stopped.

The bus went along, though. I watched it glide across the rear-view, paying me no mind. I switched off the engine and assessed the damage.

The scar was reddish, sticking out like a gushing wound.

I went home and confessed my sins to my Dad. I wasn’t hanged, thankfully. I was only met by a serious-faced question: “So what have you learnt?”


CJ was ecstatic after his drive. He wanted me to tell everyone about it.

I suppose as the cool uncle it’s your duty to boost their self-esteem. But I ended up getting drunk that Saturday and forgot to make the announcement on CJ’s behalf. I’m certain I went down a few rungs on the favorite uncles’ ladder.

But I quickly redeemed myself with pearls of wisdom. He was seated on my lap while everyone was talking about State House. Then I remembered Ngina Kenyatta also lives at State House. CJ’s mom was one seat away. I didn’t think she’d hear me from that far.

“How long did we say we wait to text after getting a girl’s number?”

“48 hours.”

“Yes. But now at State House you might meet Ngina. You know who that is?”

He didn’t know Ngina. So I told him. The first daughter. The princess on the hill.

“For Ngina you don’t wait,” I said, “you text her immediately you get home. You tell her you haven’t stopped thinking about her.”

The boy was in stitches at this point.

Then the mom heard us, and the lesson was cut short. She didn’t approve. It was like I was staining his innocent soul.

I haven’t talked to CJ since. Maybe when they got home CJ was instructed never to talk to me, that I have bad manners, and I wasn’t the player I’d made myself out to be. Maybe he was told never to take any advice from me.

Hell, maybe CJ was told not to call me Uncle. Ouch.
Follow Mike on Instagram: mikemuthaka

Chin up!
Lady Justice

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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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