We say the words: “Je ne suis pas #CharlieHebdo” (“I am not #CharlieHebdo“) with due respect to all those affected by the terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices yesterday in the French capital, Paris. As Kenyans, we are all too familiar with the pain, loss and damage caused by acts of terror. So, we empathise with the French people and we say to them: “Poleni sana”. However, as #CharlieHebdo continues to flood timelines, media outlets and newspapers, we must decolonise our minds and remember not to get sucked into the Western Media frenzy. As Kenyans and Africans at large, we have very complex and pressing problems of our own that are not so fortunate as to receive the worldwide coverage currently being given to #CharlieHebdo.
We are gathered here today to say ‘kwaheri’ (farewell) to something that’s been a member of every Kenyan household and very dear to our hearts and indeed our bums for decades. Today we say adieu to the ‘kiboko’ a.k.a. the ‘cane’ or the ‘rod’. Here in Kenya, the kiboko has touched the lives of many both young while in the hands of ‘loving’ parents, equally ‘concerned’ relatives and friends and not forgetting those overzealous school teachers. Personally, I could say I owe my relatively turbulent-free formative years to the kiboko for putting the fear of God in me and keeping me on the straight and narrow path.
As you are aware, the kiboko met its fatal demise on August 27th 2010 at around 10:25pm at Uhuru Park with the promulgation of the New Constitution of Kenya. Continue reading