Chokora! : A Kenyan Scavenger


John Patrick and Martin Joseph are two teens born in the dusty, poor neighbourhood of Huruma in Nairobi. Raised by single unemployed mothers, they turn to scavenging for valuables in the city’s middle-class neighbourhoods to survive the harsh life of Huruma. City residents have labelled them Chokora, a derogatory term to describe human scavengers. And they use this effectively. For them, the Chokora facade is a camouflage as the two youths go about their exploits, including stealing from unsuspecting residents. As fate would have it, the duo ends up in a police cell to face the full reality of their escapades.
Chokora! A Kenyan Scavenger is a poetic narration of the reasons most of the urban youth turn to crime. There is a lot of attention paid to the protection of the girl-child in Kenya, while neglecting the boy child. John and Martin have never known their biological fathers and are forced to adopt their mothers’ names instead. From the perspective of many, unconventional naming is an embarrassment amidst the cruel surroundings.

What others say

“Mbugwa’s Chokora! A Kenyan Scavenger captures the downside of Nairobi life. It is a story of street kids raised by single parents, ruthless gangsters and a middle class sex pest all in a police cell. It offers a real reflection on happenings in Kenyan society. The use of Sheng gives the narrative a genuine perspective of life in Nairobi. Chokora! A Kenyan Scavenger is a good, comical and serious read.” – Willie Murigi, Consulting Engineer, Nairobi

“Chokora! A Kenyan Scavenger is an intriguing narrative, extensively using Sheng and hence appeals to the ever-growing Kenyan urban population. It subtly captures the social aspect of absentee fathers, a rarely talked about subject, and the narration invites the reader to question society’s values in this respect. The reader is left to “fill in” the voids that the author opens up.” – Moraa Gitaa, Novelist

“Chokora! A Kenyan Scavenger raises a number of issues in urban society, including single parenthood, male dominance, sexual exploitation and pursuit of crime as a ‘business’. The prison-cell rendezvous of characters makes for interesting reading!”

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