The sun hadn’t yet peeped its orange head out of the eastern horizon. But mama had been awake for more than an hour. She was an early riser.

Her shriek awoke papa, Peter and myself. Our little sister Nashibe and little brother Mpasua continued sleeping. Being  three and one respectively, they were unshaken by mama’s shrieks. I leapt out of the safari bed that I shared with my brother. My little feet briefly felt the earthen floor’s warmth as they pattered past the door-less doorway of our tiny room, past the even tinier verandah and past the main door.

Papa was a few steps ahead of me. I found him standing next to mama at the entrance of an open-air cow pen that our three cows shared with our five sheep. Three of the sheep lay dead on a bloody earthen floor, their throats slit. One was partially eaten. A leopard that had been sighted on several occasions recently must have done this. Papa said.

This was my first introduction to leopards. As I slept that night, lulled to deep sleep by one of mama's bed time stories, a leopard had hid in the starless night and creapt into our homestead. Drawn by the scent of warm-blooded sheep, it had stealthily venture into the cow pen and mauled the hapless sheep.

I later saw leopards at Nairobi National Park, Maasai Mara Game Reserve and Amboseli National Park. Their black spots, golden skin and blazing eyes were quite a sight to behold. Dazzling. Beautiful. That’s why when Jess, my friend and business partner from Canada suggested that we try and make African sandals with animal prints, the leopard was the first creature that crossed the finish line into my mind.

Since there is nothing new under the sun, I had actually seen such leopard-print sandals at Maasai Market a couple of years earlier. But they had never caught on and I never saw anyone wearing them in the streets. So this would be our chance to popularize them again, in honor of that golden cat whose black spots always leave gasps of wonder wherever it goes.

Our African Leopard Sandals eventually made it to Canada, into the open arms of Jess and her Footwear Firm.


Get for yourself a pair by clicking the link below: