Guest Post: Losing My Identity In A State Of Angst

Words: Arkanuddin Yasin

Who am I? Am I “Catholic”? Am I “Christian”? Am I Kikuyu? Or am I “Kenyan”? Or am I all of them at once? Or the other way around?

Am I “African”? Or am I “Bantu”? Or does it depend on time of day? On place? Or on who’s asking? What is an African?

Who are you? Somali? Kenyan-Somali? Somalian-Somali? Somaliland-Somali? Cushite? Who decides?

Luo? Ugandan? Ugandan-Luo? Kenyan-Luo? Tanzanian-Luo? Nilote? Who decides?

Who are we? Blacks? Africans? Kenyans? Somalis? Arabs? African-Arabs? Who decides?

Who are they? British? Kenyan-British? Foreigners? Kikuyu? Immigrants? JoLuo? French? Italian? Ndorobo? Europeans? Whites? Who decides?

What should we be? Can we decide? Does it matter?

What makes us connect? What connects us?

Breaking The Black Ceiling

FOUNDERS JOURNEY: THE MAKING OF SARACEN MEDIA OMD

In the art of war, the underdog wins by employing unconventional tactics. Courage may get one to the battle ground but to win takes something extra.

On 1st October, 2002, 15 years ago, a small ad agency with an peculiar name, opened its door to business, in a global industry that munched local upstarts for lunch and spat them out before dinner. Saracen Media came into existence as the audacious dream of  4 young ad agency men daring to create Kenya’s first independent media agency.

Romance is Un-African and Valentine’s Day stories

Show me proof that you love me?

This is the question many unfortunate men will be grappling with on Valentine’s day, to prove to the chosen lass that, she and only she was worthy of his affection.  The poor boy child will be forced to engage in an elaborate love dance, all in the hope of gaining new status as a romantic. Valentine’s day arrives with the flair of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Lord forgive the ignorant, for we poor native children in the tropics once believed that a man with a woolly beard wrapped in a red fur coat riding a sledge pulled by reindeer through the snow, would be squeezing his overweight self down our non existent chimneys to leave gifts under a Christmas tree, decorated with bits of cotton wool to represent snow. There were no reparations for this blatant lie sold to wronged children. The illusion of Father Christmas continues to get passed down, from one generation to the next like electoral fraud in Kenya.

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”.