There is a running joke on Kenyan social media platforms this week, variations of “Politicians sasa watoe posters, waganga wanataka kurudisha zao.” I laugh, I retweet, especially because the variation I come across features the woman-beating former governor Evans Kidero. It is that time in the political cycle when our lives are wallpapered with brightly-coloured but quickly-fading promises, some of which will survive, just barely, until the next election.
Vanilla looks like a one-toothed tokoloshe. Koki knows this because it slips out of her dreams from behind her eyelids and into the recycled air tainted with, among other things, the remnants of would-you-like-chicken-or-vegetarian-miss? It curls upwards, tugging at the hairs in her nose, blocking her ears, prying her eyes open, sinking its single canine into her right cheek. Always vegetarian, because the first time she met Aviwe – the only person she knew who would sing an opera to help her insert a tampon – she told Koki the entire university delegation, herself included, had shit their pants for the entirety of their entire time in Beijing because of the chicken they had eaten on the way there. Koki had watched her neck muscles tauten with expression, laughed at the particularly gross bits, and then they had fed off each other’s company after that.