In a previous article I wrote called, HOW CAN WE SAVE OUR DYING INDUSTRY?, I asked whether we should call our film making industry Riverwood and most people thought it was a rhetorical question. In actual sense it was not rhetorical at all and it is a question that lacks an appropriate answer causing us to be in the state of dilemma or be it being caught between a rock and a hard place. Well, in this scenario the hard place seems to have a softer spot as compared to the rock and it is better if we opt and stick to the hard place. The metaphor will unveil itself as you continue reading this article.

I was on a mission of finding out the origin of the term Riverwood and how it came to be. My mission bore no fruits but at least got a hint of its existence. It came to my knowledge that Riverwood is adapted from the word Nairobi which according to linguistics means a Maasai name which further means cool waters flowing just like a river and that is how it came to be. Another source defines it as movies and films being made super fast and in bulk and being sold in River road.

After carrying a survey, I asked a few people (comprised of both who are connected to the industry and those that aren’t in anyway whatsoever) what the name Riverwood symbolizes. To some, Riverwood is the equivalent of Hollywood, while to others; it is where local movies are distributed specifically at River Road. Fascinating responses I got there and surprisingly one person told me every time the name Riverwood is mentioned, what comes first in his mind are, and I quote “movies that have low budget cameras, plastic acting, poor editing…” I wish not to continue quoting him because he was not being just by the way he put his words. I asked him if he has had the opportunity of seeing some of the latest movies and T.V series and he confidently responded yes and acknowledge how our industry is doing a wonderful job and that it is growing quite well. I was a bit of confused and explained to him that those latest movies and series still count to be part of Riverwood. I could see the shmuck on his face and he said there is no way that they can be classified as Riverwood movies because they are of better quality and standards that what Riverwood symbolizes. Perhaps that was a clear indication of the man’s ignorance or is it the name Riverwood that should be questioned? I guarantee you this is one controversial topic.

I honestly do not like the name Riverwood and a whole bunch of people will certainly agree with me. Just because the suffix “WOOD” symbolically indicates film making adapted from Hollywood, the existence of Bollywood, Nollywood, Sollywood (South Africa) and Bongowood (Tanzania) came to be. Now what, Riverwood for Kenya? I don’t think so. Question is who came up with the idea of the term “WOOD” to tag Kenyans film industry? I quess we will never know and if there is, we do need a whole lot of explanation. Now that it is made official that “WOOD” concerns film making, countries should tag their industry with “Something wood”. Let uss take for instance Uganda, I do not know what they call their film Industry(any Ugandan reading this,please enlighten us) but here is a suggestion, maybe they should call it Pearlwood since Uganda is well known as the Pearl of Africa and clearly Uollywood can’t work out just like Kollywood didn’t work out for Kenya. All this is just hysterical and so are the names which are perfectly absurd. Furthermore, Riverwood (from its definition) alienates other regions of the country who are actively participating in the film industry as well. Does this mean that Coastal Films Productions is not part of Riverwood? Or should they also come up with their own name, mnaziwood for example? No pun intended.

Riverwood has had a stretch of success by creating marvelous and remarkable films and T.V series and that is quite a great accomplishment and it is not the activities taking place that most people have “a problem” with but the name. Some will say the naming convention shouldn’t matter but in this case it does matter. Some one shared with me and asked those who were supporting the name Riverwood if they would name their son Hitler? Naming conventions are very vital and defines what you do.

On behalf of those who feel that the name Riverwood is not appropriate, I would kindly ask and appeal to the Kenya Film Commission to reconsider about the name Riverwood. This could be done by getting a panel of people to come up with various suggestions and to come to agree with a nice and better name. Honestly speaking we do not need to follow the crowd such as Nollywood or Bollywood to fit in forcing us to come up with a prefix so as to combine it to the suffix “WOOD”. If however we do, let us come up with a name synonymous of the country’s film making industry and not river road alone. This is a call to be innovative and authentic and it is practically proven that Authenticity and innovation will always beat monotony. Let us avoid the fact that because they did it let’s adjust and calculate some measures so as to fit in.

So my metaphor presents itself in the fact that as all this is just mere politics and controversy, some ought to consider this unnecessary or even disagree, in this case we will totally disagree to agree that the name Riverwood has go. As much as it has produced great films and has contributed positively to the industry, the name is very questionable. These are just my opinions and of those that agree with me. We can stick to Riverwood and continue living with the mockery or we can do something about the name.

Written by Mark Kaiyare

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized



That Mexican soaps have flooded the prime time slot of the television stations cannot be understated.

But even though they are popular especially among women viewers, every TV executive is looking for that silver bullet that will turn the tide and start another trend in Kenya. What will that be?

Mali is the name, and NTV will be the home of the first Kenyan soap to air three times a week starting October.


The family drama will augur well with Kenyan audiences as the people behind the show, Al Is On Productions modelled it on a story that many would associate with or at least are aware of.

Some of the biggest headline grabbing stories in Kenya have been family dramas played right before news cameras.
Last year, there was the Kirima story, a real life soap opera that Kenyans were obsessed with that involved legacy, wealth and succession.

“There have been many high profile wrangles in Kenya that involved family not just the Kirima saga like Kijana Wamalwa, Samuel Wanjiru, James Kanyotu, Samuel Gichuru and even Wambui Otieno families and from the interest they generated, we figured it would be a fantastic theme,” says Alison Ngibuini.


When it comes to family, everybody has a story to tell, and this drama will address many of them like generation gap, succession, wealth, marriage, suspicions and deceit.

Mali revolves around a rich and wealthy family led by its patriarch, Gregory Mali (George Ohawa) who is married to two wives — first wife Mabel (Mary Gacheri) a Ugandan who is a staunch Christian and Usha (Mkamzee Mwatela), a Tanzanian, who is a free spirit and the cause of much of the family drama.
Mabel has two daughters, Nandi (Mumbi Maina) and Lulu (Brenda Wairimu) while Usha has two sons, Richard (
Kevin Samuel) and Arthur (Daniel Peter).


Only Daughters

The succession wrangles start with the children. While Mabel is the first wife and is in control, she is “disadvantaged” as she has only daughters while Usha has sons who will possibly take over Mali’s estate when he dies.
Their children, however, are not interested in the wrangles and admire each other’s mothers. Arthur loves Mabel while Lulu wishes her mother was as cool as Usha.


But they are not to be ignored. Lulu has a crush on a waiter who works at her father’s hotel while Arthur finds himself drawn to their house help Selena (Carolyne Ngorobi). Nandi, who is currently abroad is said to be pregnant with the dad’s Chief Operating Officer Tony Babu (Tony Mwangi)
Mali, despite having two wives, is also having an affair with one of his employees and this makes for interesting drama to keep you in front of the television everyday.
It has a strong cast, a mixture of experienced actors and budding ones make for a fantastic show.


It will feature some celebrities like Kalekye Mumo, Nic Wangondu, Lupita Nyong’o, Redsan and rapper Octopizzo.
Ngibuini says she has been working on the idea of a soap opera for five years now and started working on making it a reality two years ago.
“I pitched the idea to several broadcasters who shut the door on me but when I pitched it to NTV, they loved it on paper and jumped on the idea. It is a game-changer. That I can promise you,” says Ngibuini.
She has been commissioned to produce 326 episodes and says work has already started on the show and she is the first to admit it is not a cheap venture.
Many stations love the Mexican and Philipino soap operas as they are cheap to purchase as opposed to producing local shows.


Although she will not get into details, the show will cost over Sh100 million.
“It is expensive to do such a show and although Sh100 million sounds like a big amount, when you break it down per show, it means we work on a shoe string budget but it is a start and this is the only way to grow Kenyan productions because we are using local actors and crew and that is employment,” says Ngibuini.


MTV’s Shuga

Having worked on shows like MTV’s Shuga, which is currently on production for its second season, Ngibuini says that going down the “Mali” route was a challenge and she has had some guidance from people like Mfundi Vundla, the creator and Executive Producer of one of Africa’s biggest daily dramas, Generations.
The South African show, also very popular in Kenya, is the longest running soap opera in South Africa, after popular Egoli, having being on air for over 15 years.
It started as a once a week slot but it was extended to every weekday as its popularity grew, and in the process creating stars like Karabo Moroka, who has been in the show since the start.

“Mfundi has been a big help and he sent us a team from Generations, Isindigo to help us in the scripting and handling a multi-camera production, which we are doing and we have learnt a lot,” she adds.
Ngibuini says she is working with a crew of 120 adding they have done a lot of research and preparation for the show.
“We have seven writers, seven story liners and script editors and we also have lawyers, doctors, businessmen, pastors consulting with us and helping us come up with a script that is believable and free flowing. We are not going easy on this and we are here to set a trend and make sure that the production can be watched beyond the Kenyan borders and very soon, people across East Africa will be feasting their eyes on Mali,” she added.

Source: Daily Nation
Pic Source: First East Africa Soap Opera


Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Uncategorized



The glitz and glamour that was witnessed at this years kalasha awards will forever be plastered and engraved on humanities minds for a long fortune of time. The mind of the mere human entity will rewind and replay this moment for the longest period perhaps till next years event which I already am eagerly anticipating. In the words of Nicki Minaj, I wish I could have had that moment for life! Wow! I can actually pull a PLO Lumumba (one of the board members of Kalasha) English diction! Arrgh who am I kidding? Back to my normal average English.

This years kalasha awards was an event well organized and orchestrated. The event is clearly growing by the year. For those who were wondering why it was Ksh 3000, well, let me just say from a common mwananchis perspective, it was money well spent. The food was excellent. Let me repeat that, the food was superb; I had to go for 3 helpings of meat! (Cmon, I paid ksh 3000 do not judge me). The hosts, MCs and entertainment kept everyone awake.. The atmosphere and ambience of the whole setup and organization was top notch.

However, the surprises that unfolded when it came to naming the winners of the awards left many in utter disbelief. There was a crazy guy who actually thought he could predict the winners for the event and wrote an article called AND THE KALASHA FILM AND TV AWARDS 2011 WINNERS ARE (PREDICTION). I am sure wherever he is, his head hurts from how wrong he was. If that was an exam he was doing, he would have received an average grade of E for Effort. Never has anyone been so wrong at predicting things like this guy. As a matter of fact, he should probably have named the article, People who will not win kalasha 2011 and he would have had more right answers.

He did however get 10 predictions right out of 26 and I think he deserves a bit of credit. Anyway without further ado here are the winners of the 3rd Film and television kalasha awards:A special mention of the movie the rugged priest for being nominated for 10 awards and winning 8 of them.

1. Best feature-Rugged priest by Cinematic Solutions
2. Best short film-Me My wife and her guru by flick 7 Pictures/jitu films
3. Best Documentary-Destination mara by Department of Film services
4. Best sound-Brian Nyamus rugged priest
5. Best Cinematography-Martin Munyua-ruggged priest
6. Best original score-Nina ogots,Issa
7. Best editing-Joy Lusige-rugged priest.
8. Best scriptwriter in an original screenplay-Mark Mutahi and Bob Nyanja-rugged priest
9. Best director-Bob Nyanja –the rugged priest
10. Best lead actor-Kamau Mbaya-obi in The briefcase ( I have to take a moment to congratulate this boy ,this kid,14 years of age and he won the award beating the likes of Collin simpson, David lomunyak and Ian Mbugua!!!)
11. Best lead actress- SERAH NDANU..(alice in the rugged priest)
12. Best supporting actor-Lwanda Jawar-Ian in the Rugged Priest
13. Best supporting actress-Milicent Mugadi-Esther in me my wife and her guru


14. Best animation production-the legend of ngong hills-Apes in space
15. Best student feature-The Briefcase-Kenya Institute of Mass Communication
16. Best student documentary-My horn My dilemma-Kenya institute of mass communication


17. Best lead actor in a tv drama-Raymond Ofula, Richard mwako in Nairobi Law
18. Best lead actress in a tv drama-NICE GITHINJI.lisa of changing times
19. Best supporting actor in a tv drama-Vincent Mbaya- be the judge
20. Best supporting actress in a tv drama-Nelly kuria –Abby in mheshimiwa
21. Best TV drama-Siri-al is on production
22. Best performance in a comedy-Eric omondi-churchill live
23. Best talk show-capital talk 24
24. Best tv documentary-kitale nature conservancy-montage media services
25. Best tv comedy-Vioja mahakamani
26. Best tv entertainment-churchill live

We also had introduction of 3new awards and winners namely:

27. Life time achievement award went to David Mulwa
28. KFCB Best watershade compliant station –NTV
29. Kituo halisi awards-KBC

We from would like to congratulate all the winners of the event and it was nice to know you, let us do this again next year.

Below is our picture gallery for the event.

You can also view the picture from our

Written by Gerald Langiri.
Pictures taken by Martin Githinji

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Uncategorized



After seeing Valentine ya Njarambas preview, laughing senseless and pondering in anticipation for the movies release,I had to contact the writer and director,Vincent Mbaya to give me an inside scoop on the movie and he was more than willing to do so.

One question I asked, what is the movie about and why is it in Kikuyu?, gave me the answer below:

“After being left by his girlfriend, Njaramba, an out of work matatu driver finds work at a construction. Lady luck seems to smile on him as he wins two tickets to go to Mombasa over valentine. He is scheduled to have an
interview with his girlfriend in order to be presented with the tickets on
air. Problem, he has none as the old one wants nothing to do with him. His
friend Solo has a plan, interview girls then he can choose one. Other
problem, Solo is not one to be relied upon. What follows is a rib tickling
farce as they set out to solve the problem.

Valentine ya njaramba

The film was written by I(Vincent Mbaya), Emily Wanja and David ‘Kabash’
as the first of a series of films based on the Njaramba character,
a character inspired by a real life friend. Valentine ya Njaramba is a
labour of love between the writers, cinematographer Jim Bishop and a friend
of theirs who is a believer in the film industry and put in some money to
cater for food, transport, phone, office and other expenses.

Valentine ya njaramba

It is directed by I (Vincent Mbaya), dp Jim ‘kinyua’ Bishop, sound David
‘Kabash’ Kinyanjui, edited byEmily Wanja

It stars actor Sam Kihiu and introduces a very talented first timer AB
who is a DJ.

The reason for having it in kikuyu is because of the character that inspired it,
secondly, a feel of authenticity in language, thirdly for commercial reasons. We
figured if a film like slumdog millionaire which was partly in Hindi could
do so well, then a broader market is not far off. The film is subtitled though.

The film is slated to be released in October 2011. Hope you will enjoy it.”

Since I was assured the movie will be subtitled, I am more than eager to watch the full movie, otherwise the skeptic side of me would be asking, are we not drawing tribal lines when making tribal centric movies? Then again we still have the unanswered question of the gay film. So, put you open mind cap on and wait for this, our own comedy Valentine Ya Njaramba to be released.

Oh No, just remembered I forgot to ask where the movie will be featured on.

Catch a preview of the movie below and please do leave your comments

Shovelled by
Gerald Langiri.

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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Uncategorized



I am an actor!a writer!a host!a director.

And proud of it.

Everyday, I get out of bed and go out there, laptop in my backpack, scripts in my hands and in my mind. Everyday, when you pass me on the road and see me talking to myself, I am probably trying to fix a story that I am working on or a story that just came to me. I am talking through a character trying to understand it better…or arguing the finer points of a character with an actor [all in my head]. I have had countless nights where I have laughed with the greats of my profession both in this country and in Hollywood [of course, just in my dreams!] In my head, I have been on Oprah’s couch and sat where Tom Cruise jumped up and down like a wild man proclaiming his love for Katie Holmes…I have seen it all and done it all…I’ve been there….

And I am proud of what I do! .

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a rant about how I am not guilty about what I do…call me crazy or stupid but I am not ashamed that I am a polymath…and that I am able to do all the things listed in the beginning of this note. However, I am ranting about respect. The reason….when people don’t respect you, they treat you like crap! I am passionate about what I do! I love my life and my job…my job is not really a job but a life choice. I choose to be a writer and an actor and unlike most of the world, I can follow my passion until I am 90! Some one out there is passionate about science or math [believe it or not!] but they are passionate! But here is the fundamental difference….

The people who are passionate about this are respected…even the ones who aren’t get respect. We artists don’t! .

Respect involves honesty and fair treatment. When you respect someone, you speak to them as an equal…and constantly remember that you treat them as you would want to be treated. You are honest with them and expect a level of reliability…and happily return in similar measure…you would never click at someone you respected…Sadly, this is not the case in my line of work! .

Do not get this twisted…I am not looking for your pity! None of us are! Actors, writers, directors and crew personnel love what they do…and sometimes we are our own audience. In his book, “Like a Flowing River” Paulo Coelho spoke of a pianist, “…he was talking to God through his work, and nothing else mattered.” That is US! That is you…the accountant…the mathematician…the teacher who is passionate about his work…passion! .

Passion is why we are here! Passion to create…to learn…to give….

And it is this passion that the world is so happy to take advantage of! .

So what I don’t understand is why you disrespect my passion. Actors, film crew and writers know what I am referring to…we work long hours and give more than our minds…but also our hearts and souls to you…for you to throw it back in our faces and not have the respect to pay us on time….

I will not be using the note to complain about remuneration. I have been around a long time…and I have worked for peanuts and good money in my 7 year stint. But what I will always tell guys is that when you want to pay me, be honest and pay me on time. Tell me what you have and if I can work for it, I’ll work. I am a man of my word…why can’t you be the same??? .


Actors, stop taking shit! Stop undercutting each other! Let us unite as one and put companies like Sterling Quality Entertainment and SpielWorks Media out of business…how??? If they can’t get anyone to work on their shows, people will stop giving them money! Black list them!!!! .

Producers…be honest. Tell me what you can afford and then, do not give excuses! Be reliable and pay when you say you are going to pay…otherwise, you are just like the conman on the street! The days of actors having to come back and work with you because you are the only show on TV are gone! I dare any producer to try that stunt…You can fool me once…you will never fool me twice! Trust you me…you will empty your pockets long before I empty mine!!! Let us unite as one and put companies like Sterling Quality Entertainment and SpielWorks Media out of business…why???These people make your legitimate companies look bad!!! Black list them!!!! .

Agents…be AGENTS!!!! Advise your clients properly…and then stop sending models for jobs meant for actors! The men and women who are actors are passionate about their work. Let us unite as one and put companies like Sterling Quality Entertainment and SpielWorks Media out of business…why??? If no actors will work with them, they will cut your commission and you’ll get paid less…much less…IF YOU EVEN GET PAID AT ALL!!! Black list them!!!! .

Newbies…I welcome you to the business…but I dare you to undercut me or any other experienced actor or actress! I will personally come to your house and cut you! .

Newbies [producers]…this is the wrong place to come thinking you can make a quick shilling! Three words for you…SLIT YOUR WRISTS!!! If you don’t know what you are doing, either attach yourself to a company that knows what it is doing or go and do one of those things where people don’t care if you are passionate or not…like…walk in space…or assemble phones…or make jeans in a Chinese factory of 6 cents an hour! .

Coz really, I am sick of the incompetence…and what people never seem to remember is the line from Sarafina…”…we can forgive…but we can NEVER forget!” SO keep disrespecting us… we will never forget! .

Let us UNITE…and change the world! .

Anger past! On to the next one!!! .

In the words of Charles J.Ouda (actor making a difference)

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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized



This one will be a really short one.I promise!!!

I was sitting in front of my television tonight (as most out of work writers in the industry will do) watching the thing that drives my life. I was having some kind of chat about how I really bring my work home all the time because I am constantly on my laptop or constantly watching TV, seeing what interesting new shows are happening. I found myself watching the Behind the Scenes for SATC 2. I was hooked instantly!

As I watched the making of this movie…the interviews with Michael Patrick King and the costume designer Patricia Field, I was amazed with the splendour of the movie. The spectacle of it all.

I started to look at our fledgling industry. It got me thinking…truth be told, we are not at that level. Because as much as I have worked with actresses who have more raw talent in their pinky fingers than Sarah Jessica Parker does in her WHOLE BODY, the spectacle is missing. I was watching the Behind the Scenes thinking, “Shit!!!If someone spent this much money and time on me for a shoot, I would walk onto set knowing all my lines and my co-stars lines as well!” True story…

Perhaps we, as actors, haven’t projected that image where corporate or private sponsors trust us and want to invest in us…as brands! I don’t think anyone is at that scale in our country yet but we must start to aim for that place. Where we are a trusted brand name…to the scale of SATC…or even to half that scale. That movie had a spectacular splendifourous budget (yes,I said it!) Half of that movie’s budget could fuel my movie ideas for five years, buy me a house, an office and that BMW I’ve been coveting with the hybrid intelligent system contraption. I want that for me…but perhaps it stems from knowing that in my life, this is where I want to be!

Because for me, it doesn’t matter about the fame or the celebrity…what counts is the craft…and having fun and being professional and growing something that will be a viable industry for our country….and a viable option for the young talented children in schools across the country.

Perhaps, the producers are the ones who need to scare the pants off the actors and crew. This business of shooting on half your budget doesn’t fly…I suspect that on some level, if as Kenyan actors, we walked onto set and found a set up as spectacular as the set of SATC or Dark Knight or Transformers or even Devdas, we would be so scared…and find ourselves working harder than usual to get ourselves to that level.

Personal story…when Makutano Junction first started and I got cast, we got taken to the set in week one. The largest scale set I had been on up until that point was a billboard advert shoot when I was in Standard Seven…(which doesn’t say much since I had been shooting Better Days pilot episode before that!) Anyway, point is that I was blown away.The producers scared me…and as much as they may deny t, a few of the guys we went with were blown away too! 🙂 I became so scared of failing that I started working harder and harder. I used to know lines in advance…and I got good!welll, better than I was then! 🙂

Perhaps, we must stop pointing fingers and start looking to us. The trouble is with the actors who treat each shoot as a new excuse to socialise and lose track of the professional mission before them, the rejects who think we are here because we can’t do anything else and that this is a great way to pass time until the law firm calls or PWC hires you,or the producers who want us to take shit money and give shit to produce shit,or the critics who are not really critics because they are love you when you are hot and ignore you when you are not,or the writers who think writing is just pulling an idea out of the sky and not doing the necessary research or character development to make the product work,or the old farts who have no faith in us,or the lazy directors who aren’t willing to put in the work, or the people who want the glitz but don’t want to get the mud on their tyres and their fingers in the mess…basically, the the people who are holding us back…stop!

Let us look to ourselves…and answer the question! Why are we here?

Because the television industry in Kenya right now is like the bypass at Museum Hill…it looks really ugly right now, but if the right people build it for the right reasons and in the right way, it will be beautiful and will last us for generations to come

Written by Charles J.Ouda

For those who were wondering what SATC is,its Sex and the City.

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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized



I would like to bring something to the attention of everyone…and you can spread this to other cats who feel themselves actors and crew personnel. The Government needs help! What I mean is that they don’t know we exist because we are not a united front. When the GOK wants to make laws to help protect your copyright or you as an actor in whatever way possible,they don’t know who to speak to because there are thousands of us but no united front for all actors…

Point is, after the Luncheon, I learnt that we need to come together. Not just to blacklist crackpot production houses [you know yourselves…] and boycott the timewasters but also to just stand and make our voices heard and to collaborate for the betterment of this industry and our own individual art! Francis Atwoli is one of Kenya’s most powerful men because he is the face of COTU. If as actors and writers we were unified against theft of ideas and money and underpayment and things of that nature, we could be a force far stronger than anything this country has ever seen! In the unity, we will grow what is our voice and develop our own individual cinema / theatre / tv model that is ours and is international…

Collaboration…I find that this is a word that Kenyan artists seem to be afraid of!!! Yet we should not be afraid of collaboration. We should be embracing it and learning from each other…so that we know how to grow our art. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should steal from your fellow artist,it just means that you should be willing to collaborate…and grow

June Gachui gave the example of how in Australia, if a foreign actor is hired for a movie, the Australian actors [whether starring or extras] are paid an extra amount. These are all protections provided for by the union and the government. The government wont recognise we are a group worthy of its protection until we are a united force against the con persons!

Something to think about…spread the word…we need to start standing united…we need to be that united voice so that when they start making legislation that concerns us, we have the ability to stand up and tell them how to do it…and can help guide the newbies to a better place…and stop them from having to face the rubbish we have had to face

United we stand…Divided we fall…cliche I know but in this time, it is appropriate….

This is our Moment!

Shouted by Charles J.Ouda

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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized