Tuesday, May 22, 2012
MIMI NI MKENYA?
The first time that happened I was thrown into a complete panic. The dude got on my screen and finished the whole speech with "Mimi ni Mkenya. Wewe ni Mkenya. Sisi ni Wakenya!" Dude, I just freaked out. I remember diving into my wallet to find my ID card like an addict looking for a fix. A politician looking for a sound bite. A high school girl looking for Trey Songz' lyrics. See? Utter chaos. I fished it out and stared at it. Yes. Turns out the guy on tv wascompletely on the money. Turns out I am Kenyan.
So now I walk around town and see stickers with 'Mkenya Daima' emblazoned on them. I am assuming it's a campaign directed directly towards me. I tend to wake up every morning with this crazy idea that I am Polish or German...What? One of those really tan German or Polish people. Don't be racist. They exist. I go around town being polite and handing out flowers and ribbons to little children and feeding the poor then someone just jumps out of the bushes and proceeds to ask me weird questions.
But really? Mkenya daima? I don't mean to be a stick in the mud but then again that's something I don't quite seem to forget. I wake up knowing I am Kenyan. I didn't think it would wear off at some point. Like I would wake up one day and it would have faded off like an old shirt.I remember I am Kenyan when I get on the mat and Mwalimu King'ang'i shakes that blasted kayamba. Why? Because I start wondering whether under Kenyan law assault with a deadly weapon covers kayambas. It's in the cop's "gijana unaenda wapi?" and the patron's "Niletee kama yake."
There is a state of affairs being peddled where we think to be Kenyan is to lose our identity. Like you are supposed to be patriotic and that should be the end of it. We didn't have chaos in 2007 because we had forgotten we are Kenyan. We don't get robbed blind by the political class because we are Kenyan. We don't put food on the table, or get struck in traffic or rock at TPF because we are Kenyan. We have to be individuals first. Individuals who aspire for so much more.
So spare a moment when you are casting stones against 'those politicians' who we have come to demonise and think about where you stand on any issue. What is informing those ideas? I never forget I am Kenyan. I can't. This isn't condemnation of those patriotic campaigns. But without a change in how we think...in how we view the world, then being Kenyan just may not be enough.