Grow a pair

There is an old African saying, “Character is like pregnancy. It cannot be hidden forever”.

A young man, called Hoze, in his late 20s finds himself embroiled in running battles between the police and demonstrators in a rural Kisumu county. It is October 26th 2017, a day scheduled for the repeat Kenyan elections.  In his home village, protestors have blocked all the main roads leading to the primary school serving as a polling station. They are determined to prevent arrival of the ballot boxes in the unshaken belief that the elections are rigged. He has never seen so many enraged and agitated people. Thousands, gathered on the main highway ready for battle. Word had gone around a week earlier that no one should remain indoors because stories from Nyalenda and Obunga in Kisumu had returned of police raids, involving rogue elements who break into houses targeting civilians. Even babies were not spared. When the police arrived, everyone would be profiled as guilty and served with the same brutal treatment. No one wanted to be a sitting duck.

Policing Libido In A Pornified Culture

Ezekiel Mutua, head honcho of the Kenya Film Classification Board has earned a reputation as the king of censorship. He polices our TV screens like a vigilante, protecting the innocents from pornography in our liberal society, where citizens won’t let anyone infringe on their right to sexual arousal.

Ezekiel Mutua’s censorship stance, comes across as detached from reality, akin to a story I heard about a herdsman who came to Nairobi city to collect his money after selling  30 head of cattle. Well aware of “Nairoberry”, he came to town prepared, carrying a sturdy metal box, fastened with a solid padlock. After the transaction, the money was arranged neatly in the metal box and securely fastened. The herder tucked the key into his socks and went to catch the next bus home at the busy Machakos terminus. As he waited, a trio of young hoodlums, snatched his metal box and varnished among the horde of commuters.  Two curious onlookers surprised by his nonchalant attitude queried why he was not running after his belongings. Without missing a beat, he announced,

They are wasting their time, I have the keys”. 

Nairobi, walking down memory lane

Every Nairobian has a part of the city instrumental in crafting their identity. A place where they truly came to appreciate the essence of Nairobi and found belonging. For most Nairobians, it is the neighbourhood they grew up in but I found my inspiration elsewhere.

My favourite part of the city is ensconced in the area around the University of Nairobi’s Main campus. From Uhuru Highway onto the University Way, down Muindi Mbingu Street, connecting the grid to Kenyatta Avenue and all the way around to the Arboretum Forest and back. It is packed with endless memories and makes a fascinating treasure trove for history lovers. I was in the University for a four year pursuing a Bachelor degree in Anthropology and spent a good deal of time crisscrossing this part of the city. My daily commute cut across Nairobi University main grounds, past the fountain ‘of Knowledge’ on the same path that Senator Barack Obama walked on his way to address students about a hopeful future at Taifa Hall in 2006 when it seemed ludicrous that he would be elected as the first black President of the US.

The Boy Child Has Become A Cliche

I have avoided wading into the boy child debate raging online for the last couple of months. Mostly because a good portion is dominated by ignorance. The boy child debate is a reaction to the empowerment of the girl child and the misplaced idea that elevation of our girls has accelerated the demonization of our boys. It does not help that media has mainstreamed these terms and the public is now accustomed to the gender juxtaposition of the enlightened progressive girl outshining the pitiful emasculated poor boy mourning over a lost position.

Of Angry Youth And Our Election Cycle

The common denominator for men and women of my generation, born before 1980, was that no one was above a good beating. Our parents were from the school of hard knocks. They swore by the words,  ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child”. I grew knowing my parents wrath came from a place of good intentions. The punishment was structured and one even got to fetch the cane that would be used to inflict pain and deliver a lesson. When disciplining was over, we were reminded that the world would not be so kind. That is what good parenting entailed.