The East African - - MAGAZINE | OFF DUTY - Su­san Mu­umbi, The Eastafrican

What’s your off-duty pas­sion?

Lit­tle Einsteins East Africa, where we teach in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity by teach­ing STEM to chil­dren aged three to 12, by hav­ing them en­gage in hand­son projects and ex­per­i­ments. We held our an­nual sci­ence fair last month and I worked on a project with my chil­dren. We com­bine fun and learn­ing.

If you hadn’t gone into ar­chi­tec­ture, what would you be do­ing in­stead?

I would be an artist, a starv­ing one for sure be­cause my fine art skills are not good enough to earn me a liv­ing. I how­ever love ar­chi­tec­ture and cre­ativ­ity.

What sig­ni­fies your per­sonal style?

I have clas­sic pieces that I can wear for many years, such as a well-cut jacket and a dress that last be­yond fash­ion trends. I also have an eclec­tic style so I have newsboy caps, con­verse sneak­ers and big ear­rings. I don’t spend a lot on clothes, ex­cept on great jack­ets, shoes and bags.

How do you man­age your wardrobe?

I am com­pletely Type A about the or­gan­i­sa­tion of my wardrobe. Dresses in one row, shirts in one pile, jeans in an­other. I find it makes it eas­ier to get dressed in the morn­ing and mix and match pieces when you know what goes where.

Where in East Africa are you most likely to be found on your day off?

I was born and raised in Mom­basa, so I still have a soft spot for Coastal lo­ca­tions. I love Zanz­ibar in Tan­za­nia and Watamu and Diani in Kenya.

What is your best des­ti­na­tion in East Africa?

The Med­ina Palms in Watamu. It is serene and well de­signed. I also re­ally love Ki­gali. I ap­pre­ci­ate the clean­li­ness and or­der­li­ness.

What is on your must-visit list?

The beaches of Bali, In­done­sia, and the Machu Pichu ru­ins in Peru. I would also like to travel more within Kenya, and I plan on vis­it­ing all the 47 coun­ties.

What is the most thought­ful gift you have ever re­ceived?

It has to be the cards I get of­ten from my chil­dren. My two sis­ters are also thought­ful gifters. One sent me flow­ers and a beau­ti­ful note on In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day last month. The other took me on a sur­prise visit to the set of Black­ish in Los An­ge­les, where I met the stars of the show.

What is the best gift you have ever given?

My si­b­lings and I gave our par­ents a cruise to the Car­ribean Is­lands on one of their wed­ding an­niver­saries.

Your last great read?

I re­cently read Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Oko­rafor. It is an African sci­ence fic­tion novel. A re­fresh­ing and en­gag­ing read.

What genre of books do you most en­joy?

I love books by African au­thors, fan­tasy (C.S Lewis and G.R Mar­tin) and chic-lit. I know that’s very cliché, but I ap­pre­ci­ate a good Mar­i­anne Keys or Sophia Kin­sella book, es­pe­cially when I’m on hol­i­day. I also read to get bet­ter in busi­ness, en­trepreneur­ship and in­ter-per­sonal skills. I am cur­rently read­ing Built to Last: Vi­sion­ary Habits of Suc­cess­ful Com­pa­nies by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Por­ras.

What movie has had the most im­pact on you?

Def­i­nitely the Lord of the Rings tril­ogy. It is a clas­sic and can be watched many times over.

Favourite mu­sic?

Hip hop and reg­gae. I can­not sit still when old school mu­sic is play­ing. Reg­gae is time­less. It doesn’t mat­ter whether it’s Pe­ter Tosh or Ro­maine Virgo.

What is your favourite food?

Cha­p­ati and dengu (green grams). Noth­ing beats the homely feel they evoke. On an evening out, I pre­fer In­dian food, and I also love Thai soup.

What never misses in your fridge?

Milk and yo­gurt.

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