A Man and his Hat


I finally got a newsboy hat. Google it. It’s a cool hat, aye? For some reason I’ve always thought it’s called a godpapa, which might explain the weird looks I got each time I mentioned my sudden desire for a hat. A godpapa is more like a cowboy hat, and would make me look like a constipated landlord. But a newsboy hat makes me feel like a moonshine smuggler during prohibition.

I love my hat. It’s on my dresser as we speak. I can’t wait to wear it to class every Monday. This sem I have Public Speaking with my favorite lec, Helen. I wonder what she’ll think about my hat.

The curriculum dictates we make regular class presentations, which is my least favorite activity. Helen will watch us – hand on chin – giving us pointers and coiffing us into orators. And on exam day we get extra points for putting on a suit.

I don’t know how a suit would go with my hat. I don’t even own a suit, for chrissakes. But the hat makes me feel cocky and confident, like I have the world at my feet, like I’m going to nail all my class presentations.

I like how the hat fits on my skull. I’m comfortable under my hat, a step up from how I came to feel about my wild locks of hair. My newsboy hat will knock every presentation into a cocked hat. There’ll be no fidgeting while I mumble my way through hastily researched notes on The MajiMaji Rebellion.

This hat will kick some Public Speaking ass. I could make any speech at the drop of a hat.

Perhaps the only thing I don’t look forward to this semester are the feigned gasps of shock, and all the wide-eyed incredulity, once people see what’s beneath the hat. I bet they’ll go, “Wawawa, why did you cut your hair?” before proceeding to make me feel like the ugliest boy to ever roam the school halls.

“But you looked so good. Aki why did you cut it?”

Shish! Put a sock in it, lady.

Truth is, though, my hair became unruly. The twists grew long and brown and they bounced around as I walked. My ears were totally hidden under the tufts, and it’d take half an hour to dry it after a shower. And then another 20 minutes while I whipped it back and forth, because slapping your forehead with your own hair is the most glorious feeling.

But I didn’t like the way my hair flung me at the center of a room. I stuck out like a rusty nail. I couldn’t blend in, or melt into inconspicuousness. People stared. Others got suspicious, and held their bags a bit closer when I slid between them in a mat. Sometimes, as the jav filled up at the stage, the seat beside mine was least preferred. You just didn’t want to sit next to the dirty-haired boy. You never knew what evil lurked on his scalp.

It also also took longer to convince watchmen at gates.

“Mpaka wapi brother?” they’d say, standing over me with folded arms.

“Fifteen,” I’d say, “house number fifteen.”

“Unaenda kuona nani? Anajua unakuja?”

“Eeh, boss. Ata ni yeye aliniita.”

“Ebu mpigie simu.”

Mpesa Shops. Same thing. They’d glare at me as I walked in, wondering if I was there to raid the coffers.

My hair was a great ice-breaker, though, but afterwards it would hang over me like a filthy shadow. Elderly folk would disapprove. Peers would ask if I dyed my hair. Others would be bold enough to ask, “Can I touch your hair?”

I became too self-aware as a result, which meant I wasn’t observing my surroundings.

My work demands I always keep my eyes peeled, joining the tiny dots of details to make up a solid narrative. Observation is really my basic tool of trade, yet my hair was quickly becoming an occupational hazard.

Much better, I reckoned, to cut it. And then get an unassuming hat. A newsboy hat. A hat that wouldn’t raise any alarms if I was ever to up sticks and move into the smuggling business.


So last Monday I check myself into a Barber shop at Tarikiville, Kitengela. The signage boasts of ‘executive cuts, salon, spa and sauna’. I pop into a room full of mirrors, with all sorts of hairsprays and purple bottles of gel. The reception desk is empty but there’s a man seated on a low bench near the door, looking down at his phone.

“Niaje, I say. “Nataka haircut.”

He looks up, and points me further inside.

I walk in, sure-footed, hat in hand. I find the barber section curtained off with wooden walls from the rest of the establishment. The barber is a slim-faced youth with long fingers, he’s tending to a customer’s beard.

I grab a chair and wait, doing my best to ignore any doubts about whatever is about to happen.

The hair was a real hit with the girls. What if I couldn’t flirt without the hair? What if Samson is on my family lineage and all my charm rests on my head? How would the barber feel about being Delilah in this story? Did Delilah have such long fingers?


I notice I’m seated in the salon area. There’s a ceiling security camera looking right at me, and a drier by the window overlooking a dirt road and a thorny field. There are no customers here, just tall mirrors and driers and what sounds like running water coming from the next room. An LG TV sits on mute on the other end. County Governors are holding a ‘Structured Benchmarking’ in Makueni.

I figure the spa and sauna are in the next room, not that I can tell any of them apart. Spa and sauna sounds too much like flora and fauna, and I couldn’t tell you the difference between those as well. But I allowed my mind to go beyond the sliding doors, and around the bend, to find a curvy towel-wrapped lady covered in steam.

Maybe she’d know the difference between spa and sauna.

Then – remembering the security camera – I quickly covered my crotch with the hat. The hat had just smuggled its first commodity, folks.

Five minutes later I’m joined by two uniformed ladies. One of them says hello, the other one takes a seat and starts to polish her nails. They don’t even ask if I’d like to go into the sauna. They sit together and engage in a spot of gossip, light chatter, fruitless conversations like the ones in Makueni.

The one who said hello looks up at the TV and says, “Steph alienda Makueni by the way.”

“Eh?” cometh the bored reply, trying to get a perfect flourish.

Meanwhile, I’m getting impatient. The barber is still on the customer’s beard, and now I just want to get it over with. I’m ready to kick the unkempt disposition.

I didn’t buy a hat to hide my stiffers. I don’t want to know where Steph has gone, or if I’m sitting wall-to-wall with a half-naked goddess, water cascading down her back, skin bathed in erotic sheen. I honestly don’t want to know.

I just want a bloody haircut and the chance to put on my newsboy hat.

Is that too much to ask, barber with the long fingers, is it?!
Follow Mike on Instagram: mikemuthaka

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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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