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January 21, 2019

Heroes and villains star in 30 best feature stories

Clockwise from top: Best Education Feature, Best Sports Feature, Best Photographic Feature and Best Crime Feature
Clockwise from top: Best Education Feature, Best Sports Feature, Best Photographic Feature and Best Crime Feature

The Big Read takes readers away from the mainstream menu of politics to explore the plight of ordinary Kenyans and the pluck of extraordinary ones. And Star writers went out of their way to get interesting stories last year. 

One writer ventured into a banditry-prone area to capture a medic’s unwavering service. Another rang the alarm on Kenyans in America raping their own daughters. And one immersed readers in a meeting of young thugs at the Coast trying to reform. 

What emerged from these and other narratives were unsung heroes, hardcore villains and tragic characters. Love them or hate them, their stories were gripping to read.

While an outline is shared in today’s Big Read, below is the full list of best features of 2018, along with links to the stories and writer bylines.  

A. BEST EDUCATION FEATURES

3. Thirst for education drives the elderly to school in West Pokot https://goo.gl/VcMGAW 

By Marryann Chai

2. Unearthing the sanitation crisis within Nairobi’s public schools https://goo.gl/M6FFRN

By Sarah Nanjala

1. Bias or rules? How prayer time row led to stabbings in Jamhuri School https://goo.gl/NY6GKh

By Julius Otieno

B. BEST HEALTH FEATURES

3. Hero nurse treats patients alone under trees in Tiaty https://goo.gl/jGfT6S

By Joseph Kangogo

2. Why Kenya wants health solutions from Cuba https://goo.gl/9qGMqD

By John Muchangi

1. How cancer pain is pushing patients to use marijuana https://goo.gl/23Jrcu

By Monicah Mwangi

C. BEST SPORTS FEATURES

3. How boxing promoters kill talent in Kenya https://goo.gl/5Z1XYh

By Monicah Mwangi

2. Chess coach Githinji Hinga’s endgame: To nurture Kenya’s first Grandmaster http://bit.ly/254GMQuest

By Tom Jalio

1. My 400km run to raise funds for cardiac centre in Vihiga https://goo.gl/Q2ggHL

By Joseph Jamenya

D. BEST BUSINESS FEATURES

3. The diminishing returns of digital taxi business https://goo.gl/YozkXc

By Cynthia Ilako

2. The economics of suicide https://goo.gl/3dNMLU

By Victor Amadala

1. Why I abandoned degree for mitumba business — graduate https://goo.gl/Sjuxyd

By Abel Muhatia

E. BEST ENVIRONMENT FEATURES

3. Drought to flood and back again: Cycle that haunts Kenya yearly https://goo.gl/S8744n

By Stephen Rutto

2. As hyacinth chokes Lake Victoria, more women trade sex for fish https://goo.gl/xbQqfd

By Habil Onyango

1. Village where sand harvesters don’t let the dead rest in peace https://goo.gl/Xyz3CG

By Habil Onyango 

F. BEST CRIME FEATURES

3. Is killing a pregnant woman a case of double homicide? https://goo.gl/6Suinv

By Joseph Ndunda

2. Where shall we wail? Kenyans in US decry rapes of own daughters https://goo.gl/2AZuzh

By Special Correspondent

1. We want to quit but fear being targeted: Mombasa juvenile gangsters speak out https://goo.gl/RHJF1R

By Brian Otieno

G. BEST SPOTLIGHT FEATURES

3. Four convictions out of 9,000 cases draws flak for IPOA as officials exit https://goo.gl/MeDEMg

By Ramadhan Rajab

2. Kilifi bears the brunt of teenage pregnancy crisis https://goo.gl/txhvjk

By Alphonce Gari

1. Why more women are marrying two husbands https://goo.gl/uKbuue

By Joseph Ndunda

H. BEST SOCIAL DILEMMA FEATURES

3. Is Waititu saving alcoholics or wasting tax hiring them? https://goo.gl/QfBQns

By Stanley Njenga

2. Why HIV rate in Homa Bay is four times that of Kenya https://goo.gl/DokP5E

By Robert Omollo

1. Women shun contraceptives to increase libido, keep husbands https://goo.gl/StK5Df

By Ernest Cornel

I. BEST INSPIRATIONAL FEATURES

3. Pokot chief turns cattle rustlers to peace envoys through gospel https://goo.gl/UG1C8o

By Marryann Chai

2. Courage of a woman who beat late cancer diagnosis https://goo.gl/nMABQx

By George Mugo

1. Ex-VP Joseph Murumbi’s Legacy of Integrity serial https://goo.gl/rr5Wfc, https://goo.gl/9uQ8qg and https://goo.gl/Ce2Qvx

By Karen Rothmyer 

J. BEST TABOO FEATURES

3. Boni elders demand FGM 'to tame teen pregnancies' https://goo.gl/yqD4GC

By Cheti Praxides

2. Harsh realities behind the moral debate on abortion https://goo.gl/NRxRwR

By Kagweni Micheni

1. ‘Rafiki’ film opens the door for homosexuals to open up https://goo.gl/EixJGX

By Nancy Agutu 

AESTHETICALLY SPEAKING

Best photography: ‘Handshake’ and Brexit through the prism of a wedding in England: http://bit.ly/GgiFest

Best alternative imagery (cartoon): How rogue traffic police, gangs rob matatus of Sh50bn each year https://goo.gl/cCrmx9  

Best layout: The economics of suicide https://goo.gl/3dNMLU

Congratulations to the writers singled out for exemplary works, and thank you to the readers who took time to give their feedback.

Do you agree with our picks? Which one did you like most? And what kind of features would you like to see more of? Let us know in the comments below. 

 Tom Jalio is a narrative journalist whose works are compiled at http://bit.ly/JalioTales

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