YALI Cohort 2 Chronicles: Dress Code

I hate parties because of one thing: the rules! I get invitations to evening cocktail parties where I have to come dressed in “business attire”. In the evening!  I simply don’t attend. One, because I don’t touch alcohol; two, because it is after work, and I am usually too stressed at that hour to engage in light banter; three because I wear suits as a professional necessity, not because I am comfortable in them. See?

So, guess what? On the first day of YALI Cohort 2, Intel East Africa threw a party and asked people to come wearing “native dress or attire from own country”. Basically, they were throwing a bash to tell us ‘Congratulations for making it’, but we had to dress in a certain way to showcase the culture of 14 countries: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, and Somaliland.

I don’t have a “native dress” in my wardrobe. What I have that is authentic to me is a t-shirt that was custom-made for me to celebrate the reggae religion. Not quite Rasta, but something close. I wore it. Then I saw Mbarushimana and Mugume from Rwanda coming in with their attire from Rwanda complete with wooden walking sticks; Ashraf, was all white with a turban around his head – he reminded of his President, Hassan Omar el Bashir. 

Osero was all red in Maasai shuka. And I was in a white t-shirt branded with the Rasta colours! Life!

Lucky for me, the hot day with clear blue skies gave way to a cold evening and even a colder night. I put on my jacket. I survived. 


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