Police, Peace and the Price of Freedom

This story may sound familiar to many of you.

The other day, a promising rapper was on matatu doing what promising rappers on matatus do: commuting.

panda train

The matatu conductor, like 99% of workers in the not-necessarily-formal sector of transport, was not in uniform and the driver was probably being an idiot.

Speaking of idiots, there was also a cop somewhere in the mix. Continue reading

“They Killed Them?”

Everybody has a story.

This is primarily why given half a chance to get to know someone, I take it. Cab drivers are my favorite people to interact with. With the hours lost to traffic in this city, that time feels less wasted if you can learn even one new thing, make a new friend as your life gains a new dimension. One of my favorite cabbies, let’s call him John, hangs around the Ngong Road/Kilimani area quite a bit.

One day we found ourselves waiting for a larger group of people at Prestige Mall and he decided that we had ample time to get his car washed. So into Kibera we went, greeting miscellaneous folk on the road, the old lady that sells fruits, the kids who split into two groups and reenact AFC vs Gor every weekend, that random cop who we gave a ride when his cavalry was late and he had resulted to walk the distance. We waved, exchanged a word or three and then moved toward the “Car Wash”.

It technically wasn’t a car wash, just a place where these 7 or so youngsters hung around washing cars, listening to music and talking shit all day. I had only had the pleasure of talking to 4 of them, but not for lack of trying. They didn’t trust me. I wasn’t from there. They washed the car with no incident and at an extreme discount, returning lost monies – coins and notes alike – that had found themselves under the seats and in between consoles. He told them I would bring my car next time and we parted ways. Continue reading

The New Kenya: “Children of The Fifth Monkey”

Sometimes enlightenment beams through the oddest crevices.

I was reading a book by David Thorne, a renowned internet troll, where he sarcastically called one of his coworkers something to the effect of “Harlow’s fifth monkey” for blatantly following rules without questioning them.

For those not familiar with Harlow’s monkey experiment, it goes something like this (and I’m paraphrasing).

He took 5 monkeys and put them at the bottom of the stairs and then put a bananaat the top. When one monkey approached the stairs, all 5 got sprayed with ice water. This was repeated until none of the monkeys tried to get the banana and resolved to remaining warm and dry. At this point, one of the monkeys was replaced with a new monkey. When this monkey went for the banana, the other 4 beat the sh** out of it. It was never sprayed. After this monkey was thrashed once or twice, yet another of the original 5 was substituted for a new one and it was yet again thrashed. The other monkey joined in to this monkey ass whooping with even more enthusiasm and vigor than the original four. No spraying. They replaced the third monkey to the same outcome; no monkey dared approach that damn banana. Eventually the fourth and fifth monkeys were also phased out slowly and initiated with the violent orientation whenever they approached the banana.

A new 6th monkey was introduced. And although none of the 5 monkeys that had been sprayed were there, the 5 in their place still handily dished out a thrashing to the new monkey when it tried to go for the banana. They had no reason to. They didn’t know about the water sprays and the cold that came with them. They didn’t know that they actually could have the banana now. Instead they made sure all other monkeys stayed in line. What line though, is questionable.

I read that and think of this.

 

Continue reading

A Disappointing Breed of Kenyan Teachers

Among the things I’m passionate about is teaching. Having had a short stint in the profession as a college lecturer, I’m certain that, given a chance, as a “retirement” option, I will share some knowledge with a few students, and they will in turn educate me as well. It’s a two-way process. And a very fulfilling one.

Now, a close of friend of mine recently told me that he intends to find his son a place in a different high school. The boy is currently a Form 2 student in an X Secondary School in Machakos. I inquired from my friend what was wrong with the school? Were the facilities wanting? Was the food bad? Was the performance poor? He said all these things were in order. What he had a problem with were the teachers.

See,  when my friend accompanied his son to school after a student’s strike. He was shocked to discover that the teachers were “way too young” and if not for the fact that they didn’t wear school uniform, he would have mistaken them for students. He recalls one who, despite it being a weekday was clad in sagging jeans, a t-shirt and sandals, going to class to teach.

Neither in his (nor my) days as a student, was this acceptable. Perhaps my friend and I are old-fashioned for demanding that teachers assume some sense of decorum. I remember when I began teaching, I had to adjust my wardrobe from something other than what I wore to class in Uni. Also, there was no way I was going to wear six-inch heels and a mini-skirt (with or without tights). But then I see some of you going to your fancy jobs dressed in that. It’s one thing to hide your thighs under an office desk from 9 to 5 and another to stand in front of young, vulnerable minds with your thighs exposed. How this is not common sense, I don’t know.

Perhaps that’s why, the students of Rwathia Secondary School got their way and had their parents and teachers give in to their demand  for short, tight skirts. Did anyone bother to ask the girls  exactly what purpose the new skirts would fulfill in their quest for an education and good grades? Also, why exactly did the teachers give in to this request? Would they be surprised if come next year the girls demand that the school dispensary start stocking oral contraceptive and that each student be given their ration every month?

Back to Machakos and we meet another breed of teachers who wanted to treat themselves to a  trip to Mombasa. Only problem is, they didn’t have the money. So they demanded that each parent fork out Kes.2,500 to meet their expenses of this luxurious trip. All this time, the parents thought the teachers were joking. But when they didn’t pay up, their children were sent home. Now, here’s what makes me think TSC should fire these teachers if not line them up and execute them:-

1. Do these teachers realize that some of these parents cannot even afford a trip to Mombasa, and have never been to Mombasa in the first place?

2. The teachers say that the trip is “a way of motivating them to work harder and post better results.”  Wait a minute? Who’s supposed to post results, is it the students of the teachers?

3. Are there more pressing needs in this school (perhaps facilities that require an upgrade) that this money would instead help meet.

4. Is this even legal? If not, can the students and their parents sue the school board?

5. What kind of example have these teachers set for their students? What will they become as employed adults? Will they go on strike when their employers fail to finance their company retreats?

I don’t know whether we are just a frustrated lot of Kenyans who cannot think clearly anymore. It’s like we’ve all lost it. And who can turn things around? Is it the students who clad in miniskirts seem to be training for a career on Koinange Street? Is it the parents who don’t mind if their daughters attract the wrong attention? Is it the teachers who would fleece their way to Mombasa? Remember the teachers are parents as well.., of some equally crazy children. Is it KNUT and KUPPET who are busy trying to get their wages sorted, and who will then claim that their members cannot afford a trip to Mombasa? Is that what they’ll strike over come 2017?

We’ve failed our children people. And they will in turn fail us, if they haven’t done so already.

Event Recap: Kola Boof vs. Kenyans on Twitter

Ladies and gentlemen, amidst the loud voices bellowing about Occupying Parliament and other serious matters, a not-so-silent fart of retardation clapped its way out of the US and into the Kenyan Twittersphere this fine day. Its name was Kola Boof: the Lion Cub Eating African Queen.

I’ve seen Boof on the Diasporadical Twitter Timeline before. She’s hard to miss for her outlandish statements and her…ehm…let’s say “she has cargo.” It’s not pretty cargo but…

It’s like the missing portion of the Rift Valley. But trust me, her allegations are even more ridiculously proportioned. Her claim to fame is that she’s a best-selling novelist or something, but really people know her for having screwed more famous names than the guy who drills the Hollywood stars in place. Or at least claiming to. She’s purportedly boinked Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, Russell Simmons and…whoever else pops up when you google her.

But today, she won the Darwin Award for having somehow evaded being extinguished by Mother Nature through evolution – an insult convoluted enough that I’m sure she won’t get.

In the morning, in between being very racist towards Asia as a whole and tooting her proud African horn, as she frequently does, she decided that eating lion meat was something that we as Africans do. Further, that we should be proud of it. Continue reading

Dear Kenyans, You Will Die Soon

I’ve been skimming through today’s dailies hoping to see at least one Op-Ed with that title up there. Sadly, none of the country’s opinion writers had the guts to beat you black and blue with the truth. But that’s what blogs are for. So I’ll spell it out for you loud and clear. YOU WILL DIE.

And no, I won’t kill you. Not even Bonny’s prophecies will. See while all of you went HAM when Bonny was making death wishes on vultures, your relatives, brothers and sisters, had formed a sizeable crowd right outside Assanand’s trying to catch a glimpse of .., I don’t know what. Continue reading