Less African Than You

May I vent?

The other day, I had gone to meet one of your pretty cousins for coffee at some nearby overpriced piece of sh** excuse for a cafe.

[Frankly, not a big fan of Java and Dormans. I have Nescafe and milk in the kitchen if you’re thirsty. Just bring sugar, some of us drink it black.]

Anyway….after we placed our orders and chatted for a few seconds, Paul Tergat walked by. I recognized him immediately but didn’t react. She, however did.

“OMG, it’s Paul Tergat.”

[Just to clarify, she actually said “OMG” and not “Oh My God”.]

So I gave her a shoulder shrug as if to say “…and so….?” but instead she immediately assumed and blurted out the following.

“You don’t know who Paul Tergat is? What kind of Kenyan….” and her voice trailed off.

I gave her a half smile and had half the mind to just walk away.

But I didn’t. Not because this was acceptable, but because it wasn’t the first time that it had happened. In my numerous years living here, there and everywhere, people always assume that I’m from the furthest away place possible. Currently, I’m American, as I just returned from Obamaland. And no matter how hard I try to remind people around me that I’m just a kid from South B, I’ll forever be subconsciously bunched with the foreigner I frequented; a lesser African by decree of the people.

Yet, I’m the one who’s downtown so much, people look for me there before they check at the house. I’m the one you call when you need an escort to that dodgy part of town or when you’ve forgotten which matatu number you should be boarding, or where exactly something is located…yet I’m still less in touch than you. And my only crime was owning a passport and exercising the will to travel.

Somehow this doesn’t make sense to me.

Just venting.


6 thoughts on “Less African Than You

  1. It may also have to do with the fact (re : Tergat) that we Kenyans exonerate useless politicians and all our heroes especially sports heroes go totally unnoticed. So I’d like to see just how many Kenyans would be able to pick Paul Tergat out of a crowd. But I also feel you on the “what kind of Kenyan are you” vybe!

    • Agreed. Most kenyans do not properly acknowledge the people who we should really be proud of. If that’s how she’d meant it, I wouldn’t have been offended at all. The ensuing conversation was chock full of snide “You’re an american now” remarks, which prompted this post.

  2. it’s okay to vent, to let it out! I find it just as significant as ure right to food or one of those things the new ‘katiba’ says u ave a right to!
    One would explode if venting was not possible! Anyway shit is what it is, we cannot correct all perceptions!

  3. Pingback: Java, Dormans and Nescafe « Diasporadical

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