About two weeks ago, I called out popular writer Silas Nyanchwani for copying me. This resulted in a Facebook war where his worshippers were dispatched to attack me. They infiltrated my comment sections like angry bees, offloading all kinds of insults. But like Detective John McClane at the Nakatomi Plaza, I took them all down single-handedly. If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s clapping back. This is something Nyanchwani’s fans learned the hard way. Many left with their self-esteem shattered to pieces.
Anyway, why was I calling out Nyanchwani? What had he done exactly? The 15-foot fella who would have been better off being a basketball player than a writer, or better of being a member of the giraffe species, decided to release an Erotica book. What’s the problem with that? This walking Burj Khalifa had thrown underhanded comments at me in the past, and most importantly, he had never written Erotica in his life. When I called him out, he even had the audacity to claim he had never heard about my book. Yet I remember him commenting about it last year. I even remember the exact words in which he also referred to me as “kid.” Are you kidding me? I am almost 30. Why do tall people always think they are elders? I am also a father. He isn’t. Who is the kid here?
Nyanchwani had always carried himself as a ‘decent’ writer. In fact, before I hit the scene in 2013, the only other Kenyan author who had ever had the balls to write sex scenes was David G. Maillu. But Maillu’s book, which came out in the ’70s, didn’t fall under the Erotica genre. It was classified as a Thriller novel. It wasn’t a book about sex. It was simply a story about the society in general. The sex scenes in it might have been capable of triggering boners at the time but today’s generation would find them dull. Only 10% of After 4:30 is about sex, and for a book to be classified as Erotica, more than 50% of it’s content should be about sex.
Maillu never wrote a sex scene again, which simply meant that it wasn’t his thing. It would take three more decades for another writer to write about sex for mass consumption. That writer was me. I started with short stories about my escapades dubbed “Etemesi’s Tales.” When Ghafla began publishing my tales, I became a household name. Girls would hunt me down to get a taste of the “Luhya Manhood.” My DMs were full. My peers saw me as the man too.
After leaving Ghafla, I created this blog and began publishing the tales here. I did so consistently and as such, the popularity remained. But while the perks were great, I received plenty of criticism too. In Kenya’s literary scene, they labelled me “the porn writer.” They couldn’t accept me in their circles. They said I was not a real writer. A couple of fake friends disowned me too or spoke negatively about me behind my back. This didn’t bother me at all. I loved Erotica and my balls were big enough to take the heat. They have always been.
In 2018, I slowed down on the tales because I was too busy. Thanks to my popularity and ‘real’ people who recognized my talents, I had a number of writing gigs that were paying better than what I was earning from this blog. I thus made the logical decision to focus on these gigs more. I had to. I wanted to be a success story, not just a fame story. I didn’t want to be older and still squeezing myself in a matatu like Nyanchwani. The guy is in his mid or late thirties I guess, but he’s still content with hitting his head on the roof of a matatu every time it hits a bump. He loves it so much that he proudly writes about it. That can never be me.
I also had a child on the way, and I wanted to give them the best life. So, the frequency of the tales reduced. I wrote on the Daily Nation and a number of other international platforms that were paying well. None of those other platforms were about sex, which is proof enough of my diversity to those who label me as “just a porn writer.” I had traded fame and easy vagina for money, which I believe was a fair trade. What’s a man without money? Plus, I couldn’t write about banging Njeris and Mwendes on hot weekday afternoons forever. I was now very busy on those hot weekday afternoons. Guys kept asking me about the tales but it really didn’t bother me. However, by 2019, I was starting to miss Erotica. But I couldn’t just go back to doing what I was doing before. I had to think of something different.
I thus decided to write a book – the first ever Erotica book in Kenya. And that’s how The Fornicator was born. It took me three months to write the book. Editing was done in a month. After four months, the book was out. Unlike my previous short stories which were real, I had decided to write a fictional story this time.
I had a good reason for writing a fictional story. I wanted people to focus on the art rather than me. The problem with “Etemesi’s Tales” was that people were more focussed on seeing me as THE MAN and as a bedroom bully instead of focussing on the brilliance of the writing: the storytelling skills and the linguistic prowess.
With The Fornicator, people finally got to see how good a writer I was. Many were in awe. Etemesi had written a book. He had done so before many of these decent writers. I have to acknowledge guys like Brian Mbanacho and Charles Chanchori who give me great tips about self-publishing, though the publisher Chanchori linked me up with turned out to be a holier-than-thou hater. He refused to publish my so called “porn” so I looked for another one.
The sales were good and the praises were endless. I was the highest selling Kenyan author in 2019, by A LOT. Media outlets in countries like Nigeria and South Africa were even reviewing the book. But the most important thing was that I had published the first ever Erotica book in Kenya. I was a pioneer. And even before the book, I had established myself as the only mainstream Erotica writer in East Africa. No one else was doing it.
After seeing how big my book was, guys like Nyanchwani now wanted in. These are the same guys who had always criticized me for writing dirty stuff. Now they wanted to do it after I had opened the doors. And that is part of the reason why I called him out. There are structural elements in his book which he also lifts from mine. If a young writer who respects me had decided to imitate me, I’d be totally fine with it. But being copied by people who have always bashed me and mocked me is something I can not take.
Am I the king of Erotica? I don’t know about that but I am definitely the pioneer of the genre in East Africa. I made Erotica cool and acceptable in this side of Planet Earth. I fought for the freedom to write about topics like this. If it wasn’t for me Erotica would still be taboo in Kenya’s literary scene. Picture this. You open a fast food joint in your hood. Your neighbour mocks you that a fast food joint can never work in that hood. Then after seeing how successful your joint has become, they open one too.
This is the part that Nyanchwani’s boot-lickers who attacked me that day don’t understand. Nyanchwani and other so called elite Kenyan writers/readers always looked down on me because of what I wrote. Now they want to copy me? It’s like Otile Brown deciding he’s going to drop a rap album just so he can get a BET nomination like Khaligraph. I’d even be okay if they did a good job while copying. But Nyanchwani’s book was so underwhelming, from the cover to the story.
Anyway, imitation is the sincerest (or the dumbest) form of flattery, so I’ll end this here.