The Story Of Kenya

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Fact: If you are Kenyan, a vast majority of laymen among the international community probably think you live in a Savannah surrounded by the perils of jungle life. This is further complimented by the fact that our precious Nairobi National Park sits so close to the Nation’s capital that you can see giraffes making love from the KICC rooftop. They probably think slay queens emerge from Manyattas to hit the spa for a detox session. Let us imagine Kim Kardashian looking for a holiday destination on her Mac Book air and suggesting Kenya to her chisel jawed husband.

“I was thinking you, me and the kids should go on a Safari to Kenya”, says Mrs. West

“Kenya? Isn’t that where Obama traced his dad?” Mr West retorts absent minded groping at his wife’s ass.

“I dunno, maybe…Obama was like the president right?” Mrs West is now getting confused, thinking seems to do that to her.

“No Baby, let’s go somewhere people actually wear clothes…” Mr West exits the room mid-haste probably to tweet a troll on Taylor Swift.

Now imagine an average English bloke sitting in front of his Telly somewhere in Birmingham, profession notwithstanding, watching that distasteful movie ‘Eye in the Sky’ that showcases a shanty wasteland in Nairobi called Eastleigh that even has Alshabaab controlled zones. He probably thinks Kenyans are either Maasai living in the vast grasslands or city dwellers that are downtrodden by terror groups.

In truth, I have never really been anywhere myself, I have lived the entirety of my life within the confines of Kenya’s borders. I may have crossed the border once at Busia into Uganda which is similar to saying I can speak Spanish; while the only things I know how to say is compliment a woman with a great rack. (And most Spaniard women do especially those in Spanish Soap Operas). However I do not judge America based on the Grand Theft Auto franchise which is an action-adventure video game that is loosely based on various cities within the USA. Otherwise I would be given to the bias that the society in the USA is white, paranoid and ready to shoot at anything that is different.

Meanwhile back in Kenya we are busy fighting among ourselves. We are a divided lot on the basis of tribe and menial things like the presence of a foreskin or lack thereof. There is little love lost between the fanatic followers of concerned political blocks. Yet from a distance the rest of the world is oblivious of our differences and indifferent at best. It does not matter what political block you belong to or whether you are circumcised or not. It holds no meaning to them that we do not all speak the same language. They know nothing of the so called historical injustices that some politicians are so quick in pointing out at various forums. To the untrained, average and impartial eye of the rest of the world; we are simply black; nothing more and nothing less.

Thus it is imperative that as we work towards new and exciting ways to make our already shitty existence unbearable for each other, to remember in the immortal words of Jay-Z; “You still a nigger…”

 

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How To Raise a Girl

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My wife is a feminist, my mother too and her mother before that; I am attracted to feminists myself because they have no feeling of inferiority although Mother Nature gave them fairer features. Au contraire, they feel empowered as they actually know for certain that being a woman is very powerful business if conducted properly. Maya Angelou was my all-time favourite feminist and most of her work is stupendously insightful into the world of the feminist.

Popular belief has it that feminists are man-hating lynch mobs that are fuelled by the ideals to establish a matriarchal society. Yet this is very far from the truth, unless of course you hail from those misogynistic societies where women have as much rights as a dairy cows. Feminists are not even the opposite of male chauvinists, they are rather simply human beings who above all else think that the thing that is most wrong in our society is the injustices that their gender in specific is accorded. It is a just cause in any case but I question its legitimacy like Thomas did The Resurrection.

I met this 24 year old at a funeral recently who was in a desperate need for a husband, it was in the colour of her eyes the span of her hips and the length of her arms (Hehe see what I did there?). I pitied her a great deal because for starters she was too easy on the eyes to be in her predicament. She was a graduate of a local private varsity and she held a position of repute as a procurement officer in a firm. She hails from a well put together nuclear family which is to say she has the right blend of daddy issues. It puzzled me so because from my stand point a girl in her shoes should have a waiting list for dates as long as Kelly Rowland’s legs.

Last week I watched a girl with albinism get applauded after emerging best pupil in the National primary school examinations. It was a feat worth recognition by all means seeing as how she was from a medium income home which means the odds were stacked high against her since she was born. Somehow she seemed oblivious to what this meant for the girl children her age. What struck me fancy was the lack of conceit in her demeanour which feminists need a dose of.

However, I may have unwittingly stumbled upon a pearl of wisdom in my alcohol induced poetry. There is a better way to raise a girl. You show her that she is beautiful and intelligent and make mirrors of your eyes and pray that she believes it. It may take a lifetime and divine patience but success lies in the event that she believes you. Then the story she tells herself in her head will change and she will transform into the ideal feminist; a woman who is not only seen as beautiful and intelligent but intelligently seen by the present day patriarchal society.

Crème of the Reel

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Motion pictures are the second best story telling tools after books. Second because if movies were really that effective, formal education would be conducted from a couch in front of a television. In fact, I think movies are books for the chronically uncreative mind that requires to be stimulated visually to be fully engaged. In truth movie watching culture should be frowned upon because it really is slowly leading to the demise of a reading culture. Only thing that my generation reads are texts and memes. Be that as it may, there are movies that you should watch before you die. These are epic stories, chiefly from Hollywood, pictures that have changed my perspective on life by rattling me at the very core of my being. Walk with me.

  1. Scarface

Alpacino is a genius; Period. If the director had cast any other guy for the lead role in this movie, I would probably not be listing it here. Alpacino is a cool guy, so cool in fact he seems like the guy who can crush your throat; with his balls and then gets to second base with your woman and you shall forgive him. Well, maybe he is not, but in this movie the arc of his life is very well thought out and the way he goes out in the proverbial blaze of glory brings tears to my eyes each time I watch this movie- All the three hundred and forty-five times that I have watched it.

  1. Pulp fiction

The expendables movies are awesome, but they are strangely juvenile in their approach in the same way that a porn film would have a tacky storyline. If you read the list of cast members of this picture before you saw it, you would be mistaken for thinking that it is the classic macho bullshit that my wife and typically all women hate. But it is not. Watching this movie is like losing your virginity; it stays with you because that is how Quentin Tarantino works. He consolidates talent and wrings it dry in this movie, spare three hours of your life for this one.

  1. Casablanca

Shot in 1942 and starring one Humphrey Bogart, finding a decent copy of this movie is a mammoth task in itself. However, once you do, you shall not be rewarded accordingly. A word of caution though, this movie is best watched with a person with whom you are at liberty to have intercourse with. Sex and this movie go together, I don’t know- like guns and ammunition. It is very romantic without being too fruity or direct about it. So then, this is not a movie to be enjoyed with your nuclear family members, unless of course incest is not frowned upon in your locale.

  1. Cat on a hot tin roof

This movie like many of its day was adapted from a play that was a show popular on Broadway. The lead actors; Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman are so aesthetically pleasing together that if you are vindictive like me, you secretly draw pleasure from their dysfunctional marriage. They are a spitting image of present day couples and that is what makes this movie timeless. Au contraire you will sympathize with the bourgeoisie and their rich people problems despite your vindictiveness.

  1. The counsellor

A guy I once knew said this movie was like a poet’s dream; and indeed it is. You shall remain glued to your seat and experience a barrage of emotions as the story unfolds yet even after watching it you cannot tell what the movie was about. In my case the opening scene with Michael Fassbender and Penelope Cruz in bed makes my day. I could watch that scene every day of my life before I leave the house for inspiration and that well would never run dry. This is a movie best watched with an alcoholic beverage at hand for full effect.

  1. An officer and a gentleman

When I was younger, my parents used to make big fuss of this movie. The VCR cassette it was stored in was safely stashed away and we were under strict instruction to never watch the movie. That is why I watched it anyway when I was ten after my sisters went to have their hair done at mama Rhoda’s one Saturday afternoon. This is a movie for the lazy Saturday afternoon that is the best conclusion I can draw eighteen years later. I have no idea why my parents loved this movie that much but I would encourage anyone to watch it all the same.

  1. The Way Back

This is a tale about human resilience, a true tale of those rare types of people who have the mental tenacity to find just about any excuse to survive the worst conditions possible. The movie is about a polish man who walks 4000 miles after escaping a Serbian POW camp to stick it to his wife who had sold him out in the first place. This is like The Count of Monte Cristo rewritten; only this time it is a true story.

  1. The Wolf of Wall street

A lot of truth is said in jest. This is because the truth is either one of two things; horrible or boring. Despite the fictional nature of the story, this movie explores the infallibility of the rich and the depths of depravity that the human animal sinks to in search of the Dollar. However, it is wonderfully told with the tactful help of Leonardo Di Caprio as the lead star. I have borrowed life lessons from this masterpiece that I would never otherwise have acquired from a crappy self-help book.

  1. Nairobi Half Life

Kenya does not produce that many movies relative to our illustrious Nigerian counterparts. But then they do, wonderful stories are brought to life. I watched the director to this movie come clean about how much of a financial flop the movie turned out to be and it almost brought me to tears. It made a miserly USD200 on its week of release. That notwithstanding, it is an incredibly entertaining and entirely plausible story that any well-seasoned Kenyan movie enthusiast would applaud.

  1. The Shaw shank Redemption

Allow me to say something politically incorrect. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman would make an amiable gay couple. The amount of bromance in this movie is nauseating, but that does little to change the fact that it is awesome. The only two women in this movie are on flashbacks and a movie poster. Yet these two women play a pivotal role in the movie, both Tim Robbins wife and the belle on a poster. This is a fairy tale really but I have never grown weary of watching it. You would too if you masquerade as a cynic but you are a sucker for love happy endings.

Roots

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My father was born in those days when coca cola’s ad campaign simply read ‘Drink Coca cola’; my guess is nobody gave a damn about your feelings let alone how they tasted; the mid-20th century. His father worked as a stableman for a white man named Bruce and they consequently lived in what I would best refer to as the staff quarters. Yet it really was a cluster of mud huts where the workers lived. His mother worked the fields where Bruce grew wheat upon acres that stretched far beyond the eye could see. My father has fond memories of his childhood but I cannot imagine how, all that comes to my mind is the scene from 12 Years a Slave where there are negroes working in the field as a horse mounted supervisor cracks a whip from the background.

For instance he talks about plotting a shortcut through the restricted part of the farm on his way from school together with his mates. This would not only have warranted a beating* from his mother but also being mauled to death by Mr Bruce’s six German shepherd hounds. (*Beating because spanking is bourgeoisie 21st century nonsense, kids back then used to get physically assaulted). It may sound like all fun and games but one of his friends died this way and this only taught them to give treats to the dogs and forge friendship instead of trying to outrun them. It never occurred to them to abandon the path altogether. My father went on to become among the present day less than 160 anesthetists in Kenya.

Meanwhile, my father’s auntie on the father’s side was busy playing both sides of the fence conducting oath taking ceremonies for females willing to join the freedom fighting group the Mau Mau. The Mau Mau was a politically motivated liberation group that was predominantly Kikuyu under the leadership of Dedan Kimathi. She was involved in co-ordinating the preparation and distribution of food rations to the guerrillas. She risked not only death but torture beyond comprehension, however, she was never caught and although the British claimed victory, I think 55 million pounds is a lot of money to quell a force that was out-manned and outgunned. My grandmother went on to live a fruitful life building a reputation of not taking shit from anyone. She passed on peacefully at the age of 94 in her sleep.

My point here is this; I am not a reasonable man. I come from a long line of people who stared death in the eye and offered him a cigarette. People who have weaved their lives around being useful and of service to people. That is the blood that courses through my veins; it is the reason why I never do the speed limit on the highways and foolish pride has been the force that has glued my mind and body together all these years. I hope I grow to be someone that is admired or respected by folks further down the family tree. I hope my epitaph will be written way before my blood clots in my veins. I want to die like a hero going home singing my death song.

Top of the Heap

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I genuinely thought until recently that being overtaken is a sign of weakness. I love competition and I do anything and everything that gives me an edge in any competitive activity that tickles my passion. This of course means that winning is embedded in my primal instincts, it is not just an indulgence- it is a necessity. I cannot explain how many times I have raced a car on the highways after being overtaken in what I would regard a lesser car. It is serious and life threatening but it floats my boat and the car is always borrowed or hired. Just last week, I had a stomach upset that ran on for days after losing a Fifa tournament to my millennial cousin that ended with my team harnessing a miserly two points by the end of the league.

Back in high school, there were a myriad of opportunities for competition. Being an all-boys school, there was a little game that was played every Monday evening after supper. We were fed a dinner of chapattis and green-grams or ‘Ndengu’ as they are popularly known in Kenya. It was simply one of the most coveted meals of the week because it not only served as a meal but also as a trade commodity.

Anyway, I have no idea why the meal gave just about everybody a bloated stomach, and I mean everybody even the teaching staff although I have no way of verifying this. Mondays nights were characterized with methane strung classrooms that were potential fire hazards. During the Monday night prep as everybody was busy fighting their study demons, an individual would let out a fart if the deemed it fit.

Nobody would pay any mind to the inaudible ones or the shrill ones that sounded like a chocked cat. The loudest and most boisterous sounding however, got a round of applause lasting about five seconds before everybody continued with their studies. It was a mundane game but it still brings tears to my eyes in laughter because most of these characters I mention are now fathers, lawyers and other persons of repute in society. Yet, I still remember the guy who used to fart loudest. He was the Michael Schumacher of farting and in a that regard we held him in high esteem as far as farting was concerned. The only reason I remember this is because it would have mattered to me if I was the one that held that title.

This is my bone of contention; the other day as I watched re-runs of the show Top Gear from ten years ago, I watched Jeremy Clarkson tactfully weave an interview of Usain Bolt. I realized that competition mattered to him too, maybe as much as it does to me. He was among the top half of stars in a reasonably priced car and only failed because he is a big chap who weighs a lot and cars do not like that. Which drove me to thinking that Usain Bolt recently, at the IAAf championships in London 2017, let Justin Gatlin an American win. It is a despicable thing to do from my stand point despite the fact that it was very kind gesture to a lesser sportsman. Mr Bolt is indeed the bigger man,  his size notwithstanding.

Row your Boat

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Margaret Atwood once said that she believed that everybody her age was an adult whereas she was merely in disguise. I share in those very woes. I am surrounded by adults who care about things, like whether the colours of their belts match with that of their shoes. Adults care about what their favourite political icon said or what he had for dinner. In my world these are trivialities, painful bores that drove me to questioning, when does one really grow up?

Every time I find myself in an ATM cubicle, I engage in what would best be described as momentary lunacy. One of either two things happen; I either make a crazy dance while facing the camera which is mostly mounted to the back of the ATM user or I repeatedly make obscene gestures at the same camera usually a middle finger. The dance is saved for the times when my account balance is good and the latter is used when I am displeased with my balance. It is never a something I consciously plan on doing but I cannot help myself; I do it even when I have left a line of people waiting to use the facility. Over the years I have told myself that I would quit the habit, I even included it in my new year’s resolutions in the year 2015. However nothing seems to work, I have little in the way of explanation but I do this as impulsively as African political leaders ask for votes every voting season.

I love dancing in empty elevators for no apparent reason and in the event I find myself in the same elevator as my woman, I quickly degenerate to a horny teenager. I unsuccessfully try to instigate a make out session much to her dismay and embarrassment. I remember this one time she used to work at some office that had those elevators that have mirrors all around. I would bear with the silly security checks at the ground floor just to dance my way to the seventeenth floor. One day on our journey down I tried to instigate a make out session but this time my woman was not in the mood to stomach my juvenile habit. I was ousted from the elevator and to cut the long story short I walked the stairs from the fifteenth floor. This did not hinder my habit either.

In truth, most of us are children deep under the layers of titles, weaves, professions and college degrees. Some people have perfected the art of allowing this child within them to only come out and play during certain times of day and only with the right company. However, for some of us the child is who we are, it is embedded into our very being and we can hardly downplay this. That is why we still compete with our ten year old cousins on fruit ninja and street fighter and relish beating them at their own games- literally. We row our boats down the stream of life, never gently but merrily as only a child knows how to make merry!

 

 

Opinions 101

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I honestly believe that the most comparable thing to an opinion is an asshole. Everybody has one and they are all the same in that they serve the same purpose, they show us or at least give an insight as to what goes on inside us. In the case of opinions it gives an insight into our souls while the latter gives an insight into our bowel habits. That being said, I find it a tad bit primitive and utterly distasteful to flaunt your opinion because you believe in its superiority. It’s a lot like walking around bending over backwards (Naked) claiming the flawlessness of your asshole. Thus we can successfully draw the inference that opinions are like assholes, everybody has got one but none could possibly be better than the other.

It is a political year in Kenya, and opinions are a dime a dozen depending on which political preference you are skewed towards. The nullification of the presidential election did not do much in the way of easing the tension that plagued the country like a dark wind. I am politically apathetic and I rarely engage in political banter, I’d much rather have my nipples pierced as than talk politics. Unfortunately this is just but a front; I care deeply about the future of this country. I care so much that each time I switch on the TV and watch inflammatory speeches it eats me away. Each time I refrain from political discussions I secretly realize that it is the only thing I care to do even in my head. Yet I constantly lie to myself that I don’t just so I can get through the day.

It is a trying time this, because I know of relationships that have been strained and ties that have been severed courtesy of the political stand-off in the country. Kenyans living abroad have all these idealistic opinions about how the country should be governed and they too care enough to share. Those within the country are divided into the candidates with whom their allegiance is tied.

I completely understand those Kenyans fasting and praying for a peaceful election because I feel the same way too. I feel that we as a people are losing interest in what is really important. We do not care how each other’s day was or which group of people we are waging meaningless 140-character warfare on Twitter. People are not showing much interest in conversations other than politics. People are slowly backing out of living and it breaks my heart because there is nothing you can do but keep smiling politely and pretending you do not notice.

The most critical thing to appreciate is even if we cannot agree politically; we are inevitably part of each other’s lives. Remember that your opinion is the asshole of your mind, please refrain from thinking that it is superior to any other that is divergent from your own!  Be smart. Be Kenyan.