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The Face of Leadership

Patricia Murugami on 4 dimensional leadership

Reading Culture

Can we correct the literary bareness in East Africa?


Insect Marvel:Eric Gitonga’s macro photography

The Road to Rio

The Good, The Bad and The Future

Let’s eat, grandma. Let’s eat grandma.

editing | translation | publishing | printing

Epsilon Publishers Limited Gemina Court we know that a comma can save a life George Padmore Road P.O. Box 1175-00606


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Get over your writing hurdle How to overcome paralyis when you are writing

The face of leadership Patricia Murugami on 4 dimensional leadership

Book review Tracking Progress Report on MacroEconomic and Social Developments in the Eastern Africa Region 2012-2013

The diary of a budding writer The greatest novel ever


MANAGING DIRECTOR R. Mumbi Gichuhi OFFICE MANAGER Mary Wagura EDITOR Mark Muthiora LEAD CREATIVE Patrick Waswani CREATIVE DESIGNER Anthony Waithaka ACCOUNTANT Benson Njoroge

EPSILON PUBLISHERS Gemina Court George Padmore Road Kilimani, Nairobi P.O. Box 1175-00606 Nairobi Kenya Tel +254 (0) 733 333 600 @publisherkenya Epsilon Publishers

Prose is published six times a year by Epsilon Publishers. The opinions expressed therein are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Epsilon Publishers.

14 The essence of leadership

Š 2016 Epsilon Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieved system, without prior permission from the publisher.

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Of introductions, self-mastery, patriotic moments, and looking at manuscripts in the proverbial eye.


elcome to the maiden issue of our publication, Prose, a bi-monthly publication of Epsilon Publishers. Leadership, in tight tandem with effective communication is the pulse of any organisation, irrespective of its size. Prose is a magazine that delves into industry trends and insights of publishing. Publishing nowadays is not only restricted to traditional print but also includes digital media. Without further ado, let us delve into what lies inside this publication. We understand the angst of “I know what I want to say but I don’t know how to say it” and so on page 9, we break down for you how to approach to “attack” your manuscript, your dissertation or your annual report. Self-growth and mastery is a crucial ingredient to efficient leadership, what with the numerous

hats that we wear. In our one on one column, Patricia Murugami shares with us an incisive leadership formula G=RH4, that could propel any leader to the elusive self-actualisation. Growth= raising one’s heart, one’s head, one’s hand for a higher purpose. Still on self-mastery, what do you call an engineer turned photographer? Eric Gitonga. A selftaught nano photographer fascinated about insects. He shares his journey of what it took to put down his callipers to the moment he took his lens to take his first shot. I wonder if there was any Kenyan who watched the final medal award ceremony at the just concluded games with a dry eye as Eliud Kipchoge was awarded with the gold medal. I know that I shed a tear or two and sang along to our anthem with a big lump in my throat. Moments later, social media was awash with

comments on how great our national anthem is. Page 32 delves into the socio-economic impact of the Olympic Games and particularly into what the future portends for the games. With the recently concluded UNCTAD and TICAD conferences here in Nairobi, it would be remiss not to include a book review, Tracking Progress Report on Macroeconomic and Social Developments in the Eastern Africa Region 2012-2013, published by the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA). Although published a little under 3 years ago, it remains relevant as a resource as it highlights the salient economic milestones made in the region. Further, it provides gems of potential investment opportunities in various sectors. Enjoy!



Tsundoku (n.)

A little bit of trivia

The condition of acquiring books and letting them pile up in one’s abode without reading them.


This is a stylistic device in which points are piled up for a more forceful impact on the reader or listener, such as the first paragraph of Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of time, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Pangram A pangram, also referred to as a holoalphabetic sentence, is a phrase that contains all the letters of the alphabets. It is used for typing practice, showing fonts samples, enhancing handwriting and calligraphy skills among others. The best known pangram in the English language is ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.’

Famous quotes 6

Shrine A shrine is a sacred place dedicated to a deity, person or relic. The name originates from the Latin word scrinium, which literally means ‘chest for books’.




A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.

People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that’s the time to do something about it, not when it’s around your neck.

-Oscar Wilde Irish novelist, playwright and poet (1854-1900)


-Maya Angelou American poet and civil rights activist (1928 -2014)

-Chinua Achebe Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic (1930-2013)

C-Sectioned (n) agreement or Congruence harmony; compatibility

Book Monsters * Borrow books


* Don’t return them

ongruence occurs when all the cogs in your organisational machinery are perfectly aligned. It means that your values, mission, vision and objectives are in tight tandem and everyone in the organisation is aware of them and is putting them to practice.

* Return books which are dog-eared * Scribble notes on other’s people books (in horrible scrawls) * Tear pages off books

Congruence is important for any organisation as it enables internal perceptions- what the staff and management of the organisation think about it- match external perceptions, e.g. suppliers and client’s perceptions. In summary, congruence can be thought as ‘talking the walk’ and ‘walking the talk’ as being one and the same.

* Pirate books

Tips on creative writing

Whether developing a website or printed material, dummy copy comes in handy in developing the layout for these. Essentially acting as placeholders for later content, dummy copy helps you get a feel of how the finished product will be. The most popular, and perhaps most ubiquitous dummy copy is ‘Lorem Ipsum’, text. It is derived from Cicero’s ‘De finibus bonorum et malorum’- The Extremes of Good and Evil. It was written in 45BC and it explores the theory of ethics. It reads in part,

some more

* Write for 30 minutes daily as practise makes perfect * Get family and friends to critique your writing * Keep a notebook and pen handy for those eureka moments

Verbal elements include clarity, coherence, audibility and tonal variation. Non-verbal clues manifest themselves in the body language of the speaker and receiver in such things as eye contact, nodding of head, touch and posture.

The origins of Lorem Ipsum

* Read, read, read; then read

Essential to congruence is communication in the wider sense of the word: the exchange of information, values, and working towards a single purpose. Keeping in mind that information and feedback is shared verbally and non-verbally, congruent communication can be thought of as a communication pattern in which the verbal and the non-verbal cues send the same message.

* Keep yourself updated on current events * Blog and get others to share in your writing journey

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tewwmpor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.” Lorem ipsum is a slightly jumbled text of Cicero’s œuvre. Roughly translated it means, there is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain.




MAN’S FOLLY A rainy breakfast The sun shinin’, his lunch Supping on oceans’ soup He doesn’t know when to stop. By the second grows his avarice For things shinier than the last Consumed by a maddening desire to subdue Mother Nature. And his crops wilt He buries his livestock Along with his children For he angers Mother Nature. Yet folly blinds him The lesson lost to him Blissful arrogance of the divine Rushing to heady annihilation.

THE LEOPARD KILLER He is stealthy in his dance For he knows to scent the wind His steps are graceful But his pounce thunderous. He has wooed Ihuoma With mighty sinews as he wrestled His cunning knows no bounds Thus he fishes in the great ponds. He has seen estrangement Been the slave to war Partaken pepper soup on the road And danced in Jo’burg. He has been with a woman in Calabar For life has favoured him But now the sun sets In Biafra, in Nigeria, in Africa. Sleep well Amadi, sleep well.




Get over your writing hurdles A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so the adage goes. In the world of publishing, the adage holds true, i.e., the journey of 80,000 words- or whatever the word count- begins with one single word. This is so as doing a complete manuscript on your chosen genre (a novel, a newsletter, a commissioned study) can be a nerve-wrecking experience. Here are some ready rules to see you through to the end. Away with the distractions You are probably all too familiar with how it begins. I will just check my email, then begin writing, you promise yourself. Four hours later, you are watching cute cat videos on YouTube; this after learning how to cook bœuf bourguignon and how to make a DIY canoe among other things. That said, doing away with distractions- the internet, TV, radio, a noisy environment- helps you focus on the task at hand. Which is to string words together towards the completion of your manuscript. Write, write, write… Write furiously on anything that comes to mind on the subject matter. Don’t worry about grammar or the logical flow of your story, article or report. At this juncture, the point is

to generate as many ideas as possible. You can begin writing the conclusion if that is what gets you going, then jump on to the third chapter if that is more solid than the first chapter. Connect the dots Once you are through with your flurry of writing in the form of brainstorming, explore it in depth. What are the ideas that can be fleshed out further? Which ones seem to be dead on arrival, or at least can be used on another platform but not this one? How do the ideas link with each other? You will be surprised at the amount of writing and hitherto hidden connections you might have missed out. Then, rewrite your material accordingly.

The 3Ps Rome was not built in a day. Neither will the writing of your manuscript. As a writer, therefore, you have to observe the 3Ps diligently: Patience, Perseverance and Purpose. This informs the how and the why of your writing and helps you through many a Monday blues. Revise, rewrite… repeat “To write is human, to edit is divine.” Well, Stephen King was on to something. The first draft is never just enough, unless it’s a supervised essay where the clock reigns supreme. Rewriting your work helps you to rectify embarrassing misspellings as well as put more coherence into your work. On the second or third draft, get someone to read your work for that fresh perspective.



Literacy in the East African Region 10






“Can We Correct Literary Barrenness in East Africa?” Taban Lo Liyong posed, decades ago. 12



o date, this question still crops up in literary, and by extension, publishing circles. Common, though understated, in this narrative is the poor reading culture that prevails in the region; with the perception that reading is strictly for passing exams. In short, reading equals literacy equals good literature. Matters are not helped either by our rather antiquated method of knowledge acquisition in our public schools that is rote-learning. An approach that sucks out the joy in learning and leaves in its stead a phobia for the written word onwards to our adult lives. Indeed, there is cause for alarm about the literacy levels in the East African region. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa publication, ‘Tracking Progress on Macroeconomic and Social Developments in The Eastern Africa Region 2012-13’ report “The Uwezo Report (2012) is the largest comparative study on educational standards in the Eastern Africa region. The report found large differences in average test scores between countries in East Africa. Kenyan pupils perform best in literacy and numeracy. Ugandan children perform worst in the lower school years, but slowly overtake Tanzanian children and outperform them after six years in school. The 2011 surveys tested literacy and numeracy skills of about 350 000 children aged between six and 16 in more than 150 000 households across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. In the literacy tests, children were asked to recognise a letter from the alphabet, read a word, read a paragraph, and read and understand a short story. The test was in English, which is taught as a subject and is the language of Primary School Leaving Exams in Uganda and Kenya. In Tanzania and Kenya (but not in Uganda) a further literacy test was administered in Swahili. The report found significant differences in average test scores among districts within East African countries, with large disparities in all three countries. While there were minimal differences in test scores between boys and girls, poorer pupils did worse everywhere, with children from disadvantaged households performing worse in all tests at all ages (UNESCO: 2012).” (p120). Noted in the same report is the lack of a reading culture in the region across the general populace. “Towards a Reading Culture? One of the surprising results that transcends from the DHS studies is the extremely low percentage of

Reading novels and suchlike was frowned upon by many a parent who would rather we were revising mathematics and sciences instead of “wasting time”.

population that engage in reading the printed press on a regular basis. For instance, in countries such as Congo D.R., Ethiopia, and Rwanda, barely 10 percent of the population read a newspaper as much as once a week, even among the richest quintiles. Kenya has the strongest reading culture in terms of reading the printed press, followed by Tanzania, Uganda, and Madagascar. But even in these cases, there is an enormous disparity among income groups – more than 50 percent of the upper quintile in Kenya reads the press compared to 5 percent of the lower quintile. These figures reflect widespread illiteracy, particularly among the poorest quintiles of the population, and it drives home the need to reconsider the importance of adult education and literacy campaigns. Experimenting with other ways of encouraging a ‘reading culture’ is also important. A number of countries in the region have, for instance, zero-rated books for VAT purposes and abolished import taxes of the same. However, libraries are rare resources. Other measures to tackle the problem could include starting ‘book week’ festivals, special training of teachers so that they know better about how to encourage students to read more, and starting ‘community libraries’. Perhaps one of the most effective ways, however, is through active adult literacy campaigns. Having illiterate parents is deeply discouraging to children with regards to cultivating good reading habits.” (p134). Drawing from personal experience, I opine that the lack of a reading culture among East Africans is twofold: content and attitude. Right from primary school, most of our ‘reading’ comprised of syllabus-approved textbooks which were rather dry and unimaginative in their presentation compared to ‘foreign’ textbooks.

Further, the library (where much more interesting stuff on diverse topics could be gleaned) was limited to a one-lesson-per-week situation; with a strict librarian who viewed us as troublemakers when we tried to access the library unaccompanied by a bored teacher who would rather be bantering in the staffroom. Then again, reading novels and suchlike was frowned upon by many a parent who would rather we were revising mathematics and sciences instead of “wasting time”. This brings about the need to appraise the role of the trade publisher. Traditionally, East African publishers have concentrated on the textbook market as that is where the dough is. This has seen creative works pushed to the periphery unless they are selected as ‘set books’, in which case the selected titles are printed and circulated for two or three years before being dropped. However, as purveyors of knowledge, trade publishers are uniquely positioned to reverse the trend and render the derogatory cliché that ‘the best place to hide something from an African is in a book’ irrelevant. To achieve the above and create a change in attitude as regards to reading, trade publishers have to focus on three things: quality, relevance and diversity. Quality means that the content being presented in whatever format has to be top-notch, more so in this day and age of self-publication and blogging. Quality content is one that is engaging, thought provoking and doesn’t raise the hackles of Grammar Nazis. Relevance means that content has to be at par with today’s needs and trends while diversity means catering to the various voices on any given subject matter.




The essence of leadership


story is told of a prominent cleaning agency that was recruiting. Among their clients could be counted State House, various ministries, big hotels and big companies. The owner of the company had built the agency from scratch with all his life’s savings, unbridled hope and a ready smile. Now, it happened that his most senior manager had resigned to pursue other interests, which brought about the need for recruitment. Being an agency of repute, the response to the recruitment ad was in the thousands. The owner was at a loss on how to proceed; interviewing every candidate was out of the question as he would be forced to spend an inordinate amount of time at the exercise when he really should have been serving his clients. That is when he hit on a masterplan. The day of the interview came. The owner of the cleaning agency converted the boardroom into a kind of hall to accommodate the huge number of applicants and who were divided into groups. He had a hidden camera installed in the now-converted hall and which was connected to his office desktop. From there, he could comfortably assess the various interviewees as they sat in the interview room. The interviewees were ushered in in groups of 30 and were allocated five minutes to sit in the boardroom before being ushered out and the next lot proceeded. Essentially, this was the interview. By midday day though, he was despairing. He had ‘interviewed’ all sorts of characters- short, long, thin, wide, smartly dressed, suspicious looking- to no avail. Instead, what he got a plenty was complaints galore and massively inflated egos. This would not do for his company, he resolved. As he processed the last group of interviews at 4, it happened. She was your average lady- mild in manners, modestly dressed, polite. However, it was her actions that

won him over. Getting hold of a mop and a pail of water, she proceeded to clean the room before dusting the furniture as the others looked at her as though she had lost her marbles. Only when she was assured the room was habitable did she take her seat. She could have judged the company like all the others; how scandalous it was that a cleaning company was unable to clean its premises, etc. Instead, she demonstrated leadership. The next morning, she reported in to work as the senior most manager in the agency she was ushered to the corner office and assigned an official vehicle and chauffeur. Essentially, this story encapsulates what servant leadership is all about. Selfless service first and foremost. In this story, we can draw important lessons on servant leadership from the conduct of the lady in question. Show, don’t tell Actions speak louder than words. In the case of our manager-in-waiting, her actions were essentially her CV. She could have waited for the nevercoming interview to say how hardworking or resourceful she was, instead she chose to own these attributes via her actions. This goes to show that in the end, leaders are judged by their actions and not by their words. To quote W. L. Watkinson “It is better to light a single candle than complain about the darkness.” Humility Humility entails being comfortable in your own skin. In the case of our manager, she was willing to get her hands dirty as this was the foundation upon which this cleaning enterprise was built. She owned the concept that the business of cleaning was not only reserved for the menial workers, but that everyone, including managers, were essentially cleaners even if their day to day chores did not demand that they clean. She mirrored the concept of working like God, “No task too humble, no work too great.” Others before me Placing others before one’s self is essentially its own reward. The manager in this story was concerned foremost with the wellbeing of others and the reputation of the company rather than her own comfort. As a result, those who came after her had a positive reaction to the company- and by extension, all those working there- due to her initiative. Who plays on your team Various acronyms or phrases have been forwarded as suggestive of what a team or team work constitutes. This include ‘Together, everyone achieves more’ to ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.’ In the case of the owner of the business, the success of his business hinged on having the right team. Hence his vigilance in hiring a manager who embodied his organisational values. Helping others to grow Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” I would like to imagine that the owner’s second-in-command had been with him from the start, hence his position. The lesson here being that a servant leader helps others to achieve their full potential via mentoring, delegation and so on; and should they be ready to fly on their own, he releases them to soar the skies.







Once a woman knows her purpose, uses her strengths to serve others, her life attains meaning. In addition, if she aims to grow in an integrated manner, she will need to consider raising her heart, head and hand for a higher purpose.





atricia is many things to many people: a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, executive coach, change agent, leadership catalyst, mentor, family growth enabler, faculty member and entrepreneur. Judging from her cool demeanour and ready smile, you wouldn’t know she wears these many a hat from first impressions. In our engagement, she elaborates that she is a focused talent development professional, keen learner and self-motivated leader who is deeply interested in the self -mastery and personal growth of all the people she relates with. This, she hopes, will transform them into becoming the people they were meant to become and leave a legacy that truly counts. This has seen her scale the career ladder to her current role as Advisor to the Dean & Programme Leader: Women in Business & Leadership at the Strathmore Business School (SBS). As Advisor to the Dean & Programme Leader: Women in Business & Leadership, Patricia’s role is multi-faceted as she is tasked with providing strategic guidance, research and business insights to the Dean and SBS on all matters with respect to Women in Leadership, Business and Technology. This experience has seen her evolve to lead three other courses: the SBS Women Directors Leadership Summit- for seasoned and experienced women directors on

boards and in the executive teams; the SBS Women in Executive Leadership League – for senior women managers who report to the C-Suite; and the SBS Women in Leadership Programme – for middle level women managers seeking to understand their leadership effectiveness and efficiency. This is linked to the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) course she is currently undertaking that focuses on the emerging area of Women in Leadership and their integrated growth in Executive and Board Leadership. Prior to her current role, Patricia served as the Vice Dean, Executive Talent Development at SBS. Here, she was the academic director for other programmes such as the Senior Management Leadership Programme, Developing Leadership Compentencies, New Management Leaders Programme and Advanced Management Programme. She states that her role was deeply rewarding with numerous outstanding moments especially when the participants and her coaching clients made a breakthrough in an area of personal or professional growth. She expounds that growing a young team in SBS to become strong leaders was fulfilling. Serving in this role also saw her honoured with the Award of Women Living Deliberately and Impacting the Market Place during the International Women’s Day 2015. This was due

to her contributions in coaching and mentoring women in leadership. Patricia has also won the Business Daily’s Top 40 under 40 Women 2010 award. She reveals that this award was such a pleasant surprise. This was so as she was doing what she should have been doing, namely growing others and serving the market tirelessly in an underserved area of executive education. She is grateful for the experience as it opened networks and opportunities where she can serve through speaking engagements, coaching and mentoring. This has resulted in more impact on many more women, leaders and families. Why the passion in women leadership? Patricia contends that naturally, women lead in many informal and formal aspects of their lives. However, they seem to not transition skills developed in their personal lives to their professional domains. She attributes this to fear, past negative experiences and a struggle to show up as they authentically are. However, there is hope, she opines. This is so as once a woman knows her purpose and uses her strengths to serve others, her life attains meaning. Patricia adds that if such a woman aims to grow in an integrated manner, she will need to consider raising her heart, head and hand for a higher purpose. Patricia further observes that the same scenario is played out



Addressing the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) women at the Power Her Regional Conference in June 2016 at the board level as diverse board representation is still low from a competent female contribution perspective. She is of the opinion that this can be remedied through research, training, coaching, mentoring and role shadowing. She takes great delight in being part of the process of creating this momentum through the three courses she has developed to grow the talent pipeline aimed at increasing women on boards. At the elementary level, Patricia says that the old adage proclaiming women to be their own worst enemies is fast losing ground. She thinks that the enemy is within, in regards to women as leaders, rather than without. This is so as once a woman knows how to overcome her internal barriers and reaches out to


grow, a woman of substance tends to enable others grow rather than block them. Patricia states that she looks forward to the day it will be common to say that ‘women enable other women grow further’ because they are naturally created to nurture others. This, she proposes, can be done by the four-dimensional leadership formula she has developed and which she terms as G=RH4. If the women can choose to Raise their Heart, Head, Hand for a Higher purpose, they will have a positive ripple effect based on their actions (Growth). When asked how she is able to balance her role as a leader, businesswoman and wife, Patricia is categorical in her preference for the term integrate rather than balance. She states that integration reflects


the effort towards unity of life and that she has found out that knowing one’s purpose and asking for help is key. She quotes from Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, ‘Done is better than perfect’. Another key lesson she has gleaned in her leadership journey is knowing how to delegate tasks and not people. She states that she has a strong leadership accountability circle that holds her accountable and which she consistently relies on. Finally, and most importantly, Patricia states that her husband is her close friend and that they both believe in each other growing within the family sphere and in the marketplace. As a result, she says that he has been an invaluable enabler of her life-work integration, with God’s help.

The 4 dimensional leadership G=RH4

As part of her doctoral thesis, Patricia has developed a leadership growth formula that seeks to enable leaders determine holistic integrated growth and make intentional decisions to achieve this. To this end the formula is described as follows, G= RH4 where G refers to holistic total leadership growth. R refers to the ability to raise different dimensions of one’s leadership in a transformative way.H4 refers to four aspects that are raised to lead with impact, transform and serve other.

1 2 3 4

The first H refers to raising the Heart. This entails emotional and spiritual intelligence, the ability to know oneself and master oneself with virtues such as courage, hope, authenticity, humility and patience. The second H refers to raising the Head. This entails raising one’s mind and intellectual faculties to enable one solve the leadership challenge or sharpen their leadership ability. Raising the head means applying one’s effort to gain knowledge which the leader then converts into actions which when repeated consistently form habits that become the leader’s character. The raising of the Head thus moves the leader from knowing to doing to becoming the person s/he was created to be. The third H refers to raising the Hand. This entails, contributing one’s talents, knowledge, time and resources for others. It also includes raising the hand to query and understand fully the knowledge at hand. It includes looking for a mentor and allowing the mentor to enlighten the area of interest. Raising the hand is twofold, it is enabling oneself to lead at the table, accessing leadership opportunities without fear but also enabling others who do not have a similar opportunity to be mentored and exposed to these opportunities. The fourth H is raising the heart, head and hand, for a higher purpose that is, raising the heart, head and hand for a purpose that is greater than one’s individual existence. It means that the leader seeks their purpose and calling in life so as to serve from a mission- centric perspective and achieve transformational leadership through all the dimensions of life.

Currently Reading

I read several books at the same time as I am keen on integrating life. These are the books I am reading, in addition to my doctoral and coaching work. PROSE MAGAZINE | OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2016


I am a married father of one, former electrical engineer turned photographer. I am currently exploring other art forms as well, specifically, watercolour painting and drawing. ERIC GITONGA shares his journey.







Banana Stalk Fly


ric Gitonga is a married father of 1, former electrical engineer turned photographer. He is currently exploring other art forms as well, specifically, watercolour painting and drawing. Eric says that his journey of photography journey has been wonderful. “I started doing photography as a hobby while still employed. Upon moving back home from the United States and being unable to find work in my chosen field (hardware design), I had a number of options to choose from on what to do. Photography won out.” More so, he further explains, after having talked to a few established photographers locally who guided him. He says that he wouldn’t exactly call them mentors; it was more of a one-time consultation than a prolonged guidance.


For photographers that he looks up to, there is Dan Winters in the United States. Eric likes him because Winters doesn’t let anything hold him back. In his career, Winters has been a sketcher, a carpenter and a painter, in addition to his photography. Each of those has fed into his photography in one way or another. Eric recommends Winters’ book, Road to Seeing, which shows this journey. Eric’s preferred style is photojournalistic. This is so as he likes capturing what is there and he dislikes directing or stage managing. As an aside, he says that a photographer friend who is the complete opposite of him calls Eric’s style guerrilla photography. Eric prefers watching out for moments and capturing them as they occur, without any input on his part on how they play out.


My preferred style is photo-journalistic. I like capturing what is there. I don’t like directing or stage managing. We ask him what goes into a shoot. “It depends on the kind of shoot. If it is a portrait session, then lighting equipment and backgrounds are required.” He usually brings his equipment on location to a client’s premise and he can either use the backgrounds to recreate a studio feel, or he can shoot in the environment as it is. For a documentary shoot, he usually has just his camera and an external flash. In most cases with places that have enough ambient light,



Jumping Spider

Eric will not even bring out the flash. That said, some documentary shoots require some directing, in which case he agrees with the client on the course that the shoot should take. For others, he just captures what is happening with no directional input. For his insects however, Eric just shows up to where they are, point his camera at them and start clicking. When asked whether there is viable market for quality photography in Kenya or in the region, Eric says that he is not sure about the region but there is a viable market in Kenya; If one was great at one’s chosen aspect of photography and had a personable character, there is much work available. Concerning his most memorable shoot, Eric says “hands down, it was the week that I spent as

part of a media team in Mauritius.” Air Mauritius flew a number of photographers to the island and drove them around, putting them up in different hotels to capture the beauty of the place. The goal was for the group to come back and market the island as a holiday destination to Kenyans. “I took joy in the fact that I was getting paid to photograph such a beautiful place.” On his take on the recent craze of ‘baby bump’ photography, more so by Kenyan celebrities, Eric thinks it is perfectly okay for a woman pregnant with child to have a portrait session done for herself. This is because capturing such a milestone is something she can cherish for a long time, and even show her children in years to come. However, he opines, “I think that those photographs should be for the woman and her family.” He gives the example of the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - who recently gave birthwho demonstrated that you can be pregnant and not give a performance of it to the world. Eric explains that his clientele includes families when it comes to portraits. For his documentary work,

Moth and Ant



it is non governmental organisations and companies with projects that would like photographed for reports, proposals or documentation, who engage him. As to his interest in macrophotography, Eric says that the hidden details and beauty in arthropods fascinate him to no end. He says of them, “they are so small, and so a lot of that is hidden from us.” He was driven by the desire to record those hidden details for the world to enjoy. We ask Eric if his work has ever been exhibited and Eric replies in the affirmative, ”In 2014, I was part of a group showing at the Alliance Francaise in Nairobi. This year, I have also shown at Garden City as part of a group show. I have had solo shows at Purdy Arms in Karen and at Brackenhurst in Limuru.” Eric jokes that some relatives and friends are still waiting for him to come to his senses and get “a real job”. That said, he affirms that his family is fully behind him in supporting this venture. Initially shocked at his decision, they have since come to terms with his decision. In fact, Eric says, some of his former colleagues











The hidden details and beauty in arthropods fascinates me to no end. They are so small, and so a lot of that is hidden from us. I am driven by the desire to record those hidden details for the world to enjoy.




Honey Bee

have bought some photographic prints of his dudus (insects). He has also sold some of them to people in the United States that he went to university with. Does his engineering knowledge come into play in his photography? Eric expounds on his fascination with photographing water drops. He explains that the fascination was borne out of the beauty that was hidden from us because of the very fast nature of the reaction when a drop of water lands on a surface of water. At first, he tried photographing this by using a dropper to release the drop with one hand, as his other hand was on the camera ready to capture the reaction. His success rate was 1 in 100 attempts. Then he realised he could draw on his engineering background to come up with a system that would automate the process for. Consequently, Eric designed a microcontroller based system that controlled everything. Upon the press of a button, a solenoid valve would release a drop of water. A fraction of a second later the camera and flash would be fired to capture the reaction. That brought his success rate to an amazing 1 in 3 attempts. That setup won in the hardware category of the 2015 Kenya Art Fair. He also says that he has encountered instances of mathematical phenomena in nature as he conducts his

photography (Eric is a connoisseur of mathematics). His answer is simple. “Patterns. That’s the one thing I notice all the time.” Be it patterns of behaviour (photographing certain insects such as the dragonfly led him to this). He adds that you notice that for some, there is a very definite pattern of how they fly about and where they settle. That makes it very easy to predict where they will be at what point so as to photograph them or physical patterns. Repetitions of colour or shape or form. All very precise and mathematical. “For the water drops and with the design of the system, that is even more obvious,” he adds. He says that he needed to measure distances and times so as to come up with a working design. He also says that Physics also gets thrown into the mix because one needs to calculate the time a drop will be at a certain point so as to know when to trigger the camera and flash. As to photography gear, Eric explains, “That depends on what aspect of photography one is interested in. For the beginner, I recommend a basic entry level camera and lens kit to get one going.” He points out that, however, even the humble camera on one’s phone is enough to get one going. “Start with

what you have,” he says. As one of the photographers he follows, Chase Jarvis, says, ‘the best camera is the one with you at the moment.’ Concerning insurance, Eric says that there is insurance for gear locally, though it is covered under the all risk category, meaning that one has to insure other items that one has. He elaborates further that gear is insured as part of a business assets or as part of household goods. For the gear on its own, the Photographers Association of Kenya (PAK) has an arrangement where members are able to insure just their gear at a reduced rate. Eric recommends one to join PAK if even remotely interested in photography. He says that the benefits go beyond just discounted insurance. Asked about his last word on photography, Eric says, “I simply love it.” More so because it has given him opportunities that he hadn’t thought he would ever get. This includes travelling to exotic places and getting published (Pocket Guide to Insects of East Africa by Dino Martins and Pocket Guide to Butterflies of East Africa by Dino Martins and Steve Collins). He has also gotten to meet very many people from all walks of life doing very interesting and varied things.

One can glimpse Eric’s work or contact him through his website:



Road to RI 32





The Good The Bad & The Future T

he recently concluded Rio Olympics had their fair share of razzmatazz as well as scandals as is the case with such high profile competitions. Considering that nations spare no expense to ensure that they host the prestigious games, and that their athletes win that dream gold medal, debacles were to be expected.

The Good



The Rio Olympics draw from a long tradition. The games have their genesis in the Greece of the yore where gods, led by Zeus, resided in Mt. Olympus and the games were a veneration to them. These games were always held at Olympia in Elis, on the Peloponnese peninsula- hence the name Olympics; a departure from the modern version of the games where they are held interchangeably in various cities around the globe. As the epitome of athletic prowess, the games managed to draw superstars as well as less accomplished athletes. Instantly recognisable names such as Neymar, David Rudisha, Serena Williams and Tirunesh Dibaba represented their nations as did others like Shehzana Anwar, Radik Isaev, David Katoatau and Lubna Al-Omair. Records too were broken on the field, on the track or in the shooting range. Aside from the games, Rio 2016 went beyond sports. This year’s games sought to leave a lasting legacy for the country built on education, transparency, volunteerism, culture, sustainability, and pre-games training where foreign delegations acclimatised in various locales around the country prior to the commencement of the games.

Brazilian judoka fighter in the stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Filipe Frazao

The Bad

The doping menace lurking everywhere; whether it be Russia’s blanket condemnation, Kenya’s John Anzrah’s and Michael Rotich’s embarrassing blunders, or the carryover of Justin Gatlin’s rivalry with Usain Bolt dubbed by the media as good versus evil. Matters were not helped either by Ryan Lochte’s allegations that he, together with three others from the USA swimming team had been robbed at a gunpoint in a petrol station in Rio. This year’s games were held against a backdrop of political turmoil and socio-economic turmoil in Brazil; namely the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, the slowing down of the economy and forced evictions as facilities were constructed or expanded to accommodate the games. Added to the hubris was the cost of hosting the games weighed against expected benefits. Though pegged at a modest $4.6 billion -compared to the World Cup’s $15 billion which had preceded the games by two years- there were concerns that the funds could have been put to better use such as paying wages and equipping hospitals. Then there was the ever-present threat of terrorism, concerns over the Zika virus and rampant street crime- with visitors perceived as easy prey. Prior to the commencement of the games, there were concerns that the Olympic Village was not ready, with various country delegations seeking alternatives as well as concerns on facilities hosting water sports.

Sexism too was exhibited, more so when it came to reportage on the media. For instance, when American Corey Cogdell-Unrein won a bronze medal, the Chicago Tribune headlined this as “Corey Cogdell, wife of Bears lineman Mitch Unrein, wins bronze in Rio.” Apparently, this was aimed at bettering their initial tweet which read ‘‘Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal in Rio Olympics.’’

The Future

The doping menace has to be addressed conclusively to restore the credibility of the games. In the case of the Olympiads, the end does not justify the means. Besides the medals, the games are an opportunity to promote peaceful co-existence, impart values to an impressionable young generation on sportsmanship and what it entails, and to promote different cultures from around the world. The model of the games too has been questioned, more so in regards to sustainability. The games in Athens are said to have been a major contributor in the collapse of Greece’s economy, with many of the facilities built at the time now lying decrepit. Corruption too, especially at the national level, more so in regards to the National Olympic Committees, is an endemic catastrophe. As a start, there is a school of thought that proposes that the Olympics have a permanent home, with Greece, naturally, as their home. PROSE MAGAZINE | OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2016




Tracking Progress Report on Macroeconomic and Social Developments in the Eastern Africa Region 2012-2013: Towards High Quality Growth and Structural Transformation in the Eastern Africa Region

W While the Eastern Africa region has impressively continued to out-perform global growth many countries in the region remain vulnerable to the slowdown in the global economy.


ith the world’s economy taking a downturn, the East African region is peculiar in that its economy continues to perform strongly. However, this economic growth is disproportionate in that broad-based poverty alleviation and job creation, more so for her relatively youth populace, continues to be a great challenge. This report closely scrutinises why this is the case- dependence on the primary mode of production, lack of diversification- and recommends ‘structural transformation’ as the vehicle in which the region can achieve accelerated economic growth and greater wealth parity. Chapter one is an overview of the microeconomic developments in the region. Key highlights include growth performance in the region, fiscal policy, government debt, monetary policy, foreign exchange rates, trends in commodity prices, current account developments and foreign direct investments. It is to be


noted that ‘While the Eastern Africa region has impressively continued to out-perform global growth many countries in the region remain vulnerable to the slowdown in the global economy, through both direct channels such as a decline in the demand for their exports and the availability of development finance (overseas development aid, private investment, remittances), and through indirect channels such as the softening of commodity prices.’ This slowdown is particularly evident in high income countries and emerging markets who are the major trading, investment and development partners to the region’s countries. Of concern too is the role of conflict and terrorism in the region and which has the net effect of scaring away tourists and investors. The second chapter focuses on the structural characteristics of growth in the region. It delves into the reasons why, though growth in the region continues on an upward trajectory, there is increasing concern on the quality of this growth, more so in terms of broad-based poverty

reduction and employment creation as well as sustained high levels of inequality. Such inequality puts into jeopardy the sustainability of economic growth over the long term and which is much needed for the countries in the region to attain middle-income status as envisaged in their economic blueprints. Further, such inequality can adversely affect social cohesion and its attendant consequences. Concerning the sources of employment, the report notes that government and the agricultural sectors have been the most important job creators; followed by retail and hospitality, and manufacturing and construction. That said, the report states that investing in agriculture is smart way to uplift the poorest; however, in moving forward to middle-income status, the nonagricultural sector takes on a more

important role in driving economic growth. Chapter three of the report is an extensive analysis of the growth dynamics in the region. It examines the strong bond between the patterns of structural change and development. A point of departure from prevailing policy emphasis is the realisation that promoting demand at the domestic level is far more important in terms of poverty reduction and economic growth in contrast to improving external competitiveness; with the case of tourism popping to mind. Tied to this is the increased quality of human capital via greater quality in the education sector. Extrapolated in the report too is a simple growth model for the region in moving forward. The model focuses on the role of domestic savings and investments, the current account balance, the role of Overseas Development Aid, population growth and so forth. It concludes by stating a series of policy conclusions in regards to enhancing the sustainability and quality of economic growth in the region. These include generating greater domestic demand, technological acquisition and constant technological upgrading, and sustaining higher levels of domestic saving and investment. The last chapter of the report, chapter four, addresses the educational deficits in the region. It is noted that

although education has expanded in the region, more so at the primary level, quality has been compromised and is manifest at the secondary and tertiary level. The report also notes the need to align educational systems to certain sectors of the economy. Of paramount importance in this regard is the role of vocational training in plugging the deficit currently in these sectors as pertains the requisite skills. The informs what the report terms as ‘educational deepening’, with benefits including improving the quality of life for all cadres in society, an increase in productivity, a reduction in crime and a reduction in infant mortality, as better awareness of causes of disease can increase women’s ability to prevent and respond to children’s illnesses. Further, the deepening will improve a country’s stock of human capital and increase the potential for endogenous growth. The chapter concludes by stating that quality education, via a highly qualified labour force, is the foundation upon which the structural transformation of the regional economies will be built. In all, the report raises valid points that policy makers in the region, at whatever level, need to be aware of when planning, making policy or making decisions. The report can be accessed at files/PublicationFiles/tracking_ progress_report_portrait-2013_en.pdf

A Snapshot of Education Across the Region: What Can be Gleaned from the DHS Surveys? Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) are currently carried out in 8 countries in the region. These large scale surveys include thousands of respondents, to provide statistically significant representations of the entire population. For example, the number of respondents for 2010 DHS in Rwanda was 13 671 and in Tanzania it was 10 300. Unlike indicators like the Universal Primary Education (UPE), the advantage of the DHS country profiles is that it provides a view of educational attainment across all agegroups, employment status, income, religion and place of residence.

The results of these different surveys reveal that the countries of the region still have a long way to go in terms of improving educational performance. It also drives home the need to dedicate sufficient resources to adult educational programmes, such as literacy campaigns. Focusing exclusively on improving educational performance among the youngest implies that it will take many years before the benefits of improved education policies will be felt. For instance, DHS studies reveal that low percentages of the population have completed even

primary education – in Uganda, Congo D. R. , and Madagascar, for instance, barely 11.3 percent, 7.1 percent and 5.7 percent of men have completed primary education, respectively. Only in Tanzania are the figures much more respectable with an average of 49.4 percent of men having completed primary schooling. This is no doubt in part the product of socialist policies from the 1960s-1980s until Julius Nyerere’s retirement, when primary education was extended to the whole population. Source: PublicationFiles/tracking_progress_report_ portrait-2013_en.pdf







The greatest novel ever O

nce upon a time. No, no, that won’t do. In the beginning‌ still doesn’t cut the mustard as it sounds Genesis-ish. Thing is, I am penning a novel. A great novel. The greatest novel ever. Sci-fi or children fantasy, I am yet to settle on the genre though I am a big fan of the Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. I already have a pen name, as all great writers do, that will catapult me to fame. M.M. Chozi. It is not a pen name per se, rather, a contraction of my surname bundled to my other initials. Mashida Mingi Mwana wa Machozi. Said my father, I would always remind him of the poverty of his youth. It is a wintry July day as I embark on writing the greatest novel ever. Grey depressing clouds dull the spirit as the numbing cold whet my mind by chasing away any vestiges of sleep in me.

She glanced around. On her left was an alley. Sitting there silhouetted in the dark was a tramp. He had a bonfire- pieces of carton, noxious polythene bags, broken furniture- raging.

Before me is an open word document, a flask of steaming coffee and attendant snacks, a black pen and a couple of notepads. These inform my revolutionary tools to dictate literature and write myself into the annals of history. I have always loved that phrase, ‘annals of history’. Most probably, its inventor was miffed by something; the way lawyers are when they say ‘the law is an ass.’ As part of my writing expenditure, I have invested in fast internet to aid me in my research. For example, should I embark on sci-fi writing, I need to get my facts right to enhance the plausibility of my work to exposed readers. Say, for instance, I will need my characters to be wearing space suits as they traverse the breadth and teath, I mean, the width and breadth of the universe… it is really the mundane that bogs down a good tale. Says the internet, JK Rowlingshe of dementors, Quidditch and

all things Potterly- is the first dollar, US, billionaire author. More googling and I have her hanging out with The Queen and a host other celebrities and megastars. Hers is a modern day Cinderella fairy tale with a twist here and there. Unable to pay power bills to heat up her room, she resorted to writing in a heated café. This while in the middle of a heartbreak and unemployment. Sounds like a female version of yours truly, the author of the greatest novel ever, so I will quote her as my inspiration when the novel becomes a reality and the world my oyster. I don’t know how it happens, but I find myself on YouTube. That’s what happens when the World Wide Web dictates your life. Psy, Gangnam Style, 2,598,779,679 views. The most watched video. You should see the comments, genuine and trolls. TheCraftingCat, ‘but there are only 1,000 people in the world how are

their 2 bilion views’. YouTube is where the English language goes to die. JJ K, trolling, ‘HEY Jamie Lannister is Azor Ahai. He will pierce the heart of his love, Cersei Lannister and will fulfill the prophecy, redeeming himself and ending up saving the world at the price of his love. Thanks for listening.’ The Game of Thrones is officially a sub-culture. The alarm rings. Time for my 15 minutes’ break to stretch. See, I have set the alarm to ring after every half and one hour of vigorous writing. As frustration kicks in, I close my browser- no more time wasting. Time to focus. Time to suspend immediate gratification for that Ferrari for my future self. Brainstorming is the watchword. Here goes: She glanced around. On her left was an alley. Sitting there silhouetted in the dark was a tramp. He had a bonfirepieces of carton, noxious polythene bags, broken furniture- raging. She was tempted to join him. The tramp, as if reading her mind, beckoned her. He was friendly, querying whether she was ok and offering her his seat, an upturned plastic bucket, as he shifted to another less comfortable seat fashioned out of bricks and rags for padding. She was touched at the gesture. He was unlike the other animals he had come into contact with. Perhaps, she should spare him…




The night she went I

fell in love 15 years ago. There she was- clad in scarlet, comely, and with a beauty bordering on the divine. I was totally smitten, with all the accompanying malarialike symptoms of a subject properly enamoured: a high fever, clammy palms, a flushed complexion, the mandatory sweating. I got her number, numbers rather, for she had several. I got her number on the same day, no need to dilly this and dally that and have another fellow end as the lucky man. Always strike the iron hot, was the mantra my old man raised us by. And he raised us well. I remember the old days. I remember nights soaked with fun. Of memories garnered from reputable establishments and seedy joints. The chanting and the banging and the shouting. The occasional broken bottle when tempers flared a shade higher. I remember drinking in to her


perfume, the heady exhilaration when we locked eyes. The desire to own her and possess her for all eternity. Ours was a nascent love brimming with the promise of the morrow. Then, we were conquerors. Conquerors of our little corner of paradise. Our little corner of paradise where we laughed and we cried. Our little corner of paradise where we loved and we hated. Our little corner of paradise where made fun of other odd couples and the same was done unto us. Then we laughed some more and cried some more and life was good. I remember the many hikes to the Ngong Hills. I had promised to take her to the Maasai Mara, but then again, money and I were not the best of friends. But she understood. Said the only thing that mattered was that we were together and that money would find us in due course. Oh, you should have been there


when I promised her a heaven on earth and other impossible dreams a man makes when he is in love. Her eyes then would light up, drawing from her a smile enough to melt the hardest of hearts, and then some. You should have seen her when I called her sweet things: muffin, baked beans, chocolita… then she would laugh, nudge me on the shoulder and say I should stop being silly. How I miss those days. Then life happened. Children. A wife. A mortgage to take care of. Taxes. A hernia. Our love mellowed. Perhaps, I should have been more firm with her. Or my wife. Told my wife that the other was my constant companion through thick and thin. The one that had seen me through many a trying moment. Then one who squeezed my hand and whispered that everything would be alright. But I didn’t and that is when the fights started. Said my wife, I didn’t have time for her.

Then, we were conquerors. Conquerors of our little corner of paradise. Our little corner of paradise where we laughed and we cried. Our little corner of paradise where we loved and we hated. Really, I should have sensed something was amiss the moment I entered the house. See, I had come early at 11 in the evening and the TV was off. And the children were not asleep either, with Shirley blurting out that she was hungry as a church mouse. Just as well that I had partaken of a juicy half chicken on my way home, else I wouldn’t have made it through the night. Heart shaking but maintaining a false sense of bravado, I waited for the earthquake as I did quick calculations on which of my children to recruit. Nairobi living had taught me that it paid to have others rally to your cause when pushing turned shoving. No, Shirley was out- a hungry little human being is an angry little human being. Pipi could understand my predicament. Last week, on his birthday, I had gifted him an Arsenal jersey as a bribe for missing out on his party. At

which point, as if reading my mind, my wife scolded the children to go to sleep; with Shirley grumbling all the way to her room. What did I see in her? The sentence hung thick in the air. I had an urge to open the window but decided against it. Any movement, lips and eyelids included, was bound to agitate Madam further. What did I see in her? What did I see in you, my wife? I was dithering, of course, buying time. I knew exactly who she was referring to. Now, if looks could kill… Hmmm, let’s see. What did I see in her? For starters, she was my first love. For soup, we had been through a lot- me and her; I riffled through to the main course where she happened to be fun amplified. All these being mental in my head. Unfortunately, though, this line of thinking detracted me from whimpering a satisfactory answer- if ever there was one. She is just a friend… and just like that, I

was condemned to the guillotine. So, I had to choose. My wife or her. My beautiful wife, the mother of my children, she who caused daily confusion to my wallet, or her. I had to choose between the past and the future. More importantly, I had to choose my safety and security for the night. You? Yes, you? I am talking to you. What would you have done in my position? That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I broke up with her. Chelsea. The Blues. And her extended familyfootball and gambling. For that night, I realised I had a young family to take care of and who needed my presence and finances. But not before, ever the wily negotiator, I talked my wife into letting me bid her goodbye on that weekend’s late night fixture. So long Chelsea. Take care and watch out for Manchester United. He is a tricky one, that one.

D OW N T I M E 1







1 Preliminary versions of publications meant for review by authors, editors and proof-readers


2 The intended readership




4 List of the books referred to in a scholarly work, usually printed as an appendix


7 Manuscripts sent by an author or agent to a publisher for consideration

11 12


8 Prepare material for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it 10 A book industry professional who engages publishers on behalf of authors


14 A specific category of books, such as historical, science fiction or biography


15 A percentage the author receives out of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of his book


Down 1 To make available to the public, usually by printing, a book, magazine, newspaper, or other document


3 The exclusive, legally-secured right to reproduce and distribute works of original expression 5 Literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people


6 Acronym used to describe the de facto standard for the syndication of online content


9 2


10 A payment made as an advance against royalties by a publisher to an author when the author’s book is acquired by the publisher






11 A person tasked with the writing, compilation, and revision of content for a publishing firm or for a newspaper, magazine, or other publication






12 A preliminary version of a piece of writing
















9 Contract

13 A loose sheet detailing errors found in a printed book


5 3

The first printed books didn’t have the name of the author or even the title printed on the covers. The covers were artworks itself, covered in drawings, leather or even gold.

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Prose Magazine Oct-Nov 2016  

Prose is a bi-monthly publication of Epsilon Publishers. The magazine delves into industry trends and insights of publishing.

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