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.

Guest Post: A Lament For My Country

Words: Anyango Odhiambo

53 years since Kenya’s independence I have little to commemorate and nothing to celebrate. It bothers me the way we are glossing over the past with such aplomb yet in the present we have outgrown our national significance. We are yet to instill a national identity or a sense of national unity among the people living within our borders.

Functioning in a democracy requires more than marking a ballot every five years. It also requires an informed citizenry, knowledgeable about concepts of justice, notions of logic, approaches to problem-solving, ideals in child rearing, gender roles, values, morality and worldviews.

Kenya has sunk into a blind allegiance to a system, which has no recourse to any sort of higher human values.

My Tribe Is Justice

Zeituni Onyango was Barack Obama’s auntie. Obama writes about meeting her for the first time his best selling memoirs “Dreams of My Father” the story of reconnecting with his roots and finding a sense of belonging in Kenya. His sister Auma had given her ride to her place of work in a temperamental VW Beetle in Nairobi. As Auntie Zeituni was leaving the car for her office at the Kenya Breweries, where she worked as a computer programmer, she kissed Obama on the cheek and then turned to Auma and said, “ Make sure he doesn’t get lost again”.

This was an expression that Obama had never encountered and he asked his sister Auma what his Auntie Zeituni meant by getting lost. Auma explained the two meanings.