I often hear researchers say that talking to taxi drivers is a good way to get a sense of the political atmosphere of any place. My experience with one tells me that Kenyans are angry and despondent at a political system that has completely failed them. While I was in a taxi today, the driver was very vexed, and I decided to hear him out. It turned out that he was so ideologically grounded, it felt like I was in a Sociology 101 class that was speaking to the realities of what is happening. He spoke with a lot of … Continue reading Lessons from a taxi driver
I started following the South African university students’ movement from March this year, when UCT students declared that #RhodesMustFall. I have followed the movement closely and with a lot of excitement, because South African students are demonstrating that they understand the meaning of freedom, not just in its superficial form, but in its deepest and truest form. The students understand that ending apartheid is not enough, the symbols of apartheid must be destroyed, and they began doing that by demanding the fall of the Rhodes statue at the UCT Campus. They understand that the remnants of apartheid must be destroyed, … Continue reading We too shall rise, but how?
When I read Wangari Maathai’s autobiography Unbowed, I was going through one of my lowest points this year. I was feeling tired, deflated and depleted, and questioning whether “all this” matters. “All this” being my struggle for emancipation of women and other oppressed groups. I was so deflated, that I thought I would never blog again. I was tired of the constant scandals and crisis mode that has become of this country. I remember sharing with a friend how tired I was of the fact that the entire year has been characterized by crisis after crisis, with a new scandal … Continue reading I’m tired but I will keep going
“What is feminism?” is a question that I have been asked very many times. Last week alone, I was asked the question three times. As people ask this question, many do not hesitate to share their understanding of feminism with me. The most common ones tend to be feminists as women who hate men, with intentions to be like men and go against nature by dominating over men. After responding to this question during a radio show last week, I got into a discussion with a feminist friend who had listened to the programme, and we both agreed how difficult … Continue reading Every struggle needs feminism
A few months ago, I planned a group interview with residents of certain parts of Nairobi. When I got to the venue of our meeting, I asked the guard to allow me in for the meeting. To my surprise, her response was, “unaenda ile mkutano ya waluhya?” Quite irritated with the question, I informed her that I didn’t know the ethnic identities of the people that I was meeting. Shortly after that incident, I attended a meeting in a different community in Nairobi. In this meeting, no one seemed to know the name of any of the people they were … Continue reading This is how low we have sunk
Every month, the watchman of the building I live in asks me to lend him 1,000 or 2,000 Kshs, with the promise to pay me back at the end of the month. He rarely pays me back on time, because things always come up. Although he watches over property worth several hundred million Kshs, his earnings are barely enough to see him through the month. This man walks three hours every morning to get to work and back home every evening. He works 12 hours a day, without a lunch break, and yet he cannot afford to pay 40 Kshs. … Continue reading Obama’s visit tells of a society in need of emancipation
Guest post by d’Arthez. Nairobi is a bustling city. People are always in a hurry – if not to make money, then to spend it. The lucky among us, on consumer goods and holidays abroad. The less fortunate among us on food and school fees. Like an army of confused ants, we’re marching to the CBD, Westlands, Kilimani, Karen. To Kibera, Dandora, Kayole, Kangemi or who knows where. The fortunate ones waste hours sitting in traffic jams. The less fortunate are wearing their shoes out, While the former go to gyms, or upmarket walking tracks to enjoy the joy of … Continue reading Is this really the Nairobi we want?
Something is not right in Kenya. Something is amiss. Something needs to be done, and that something needs to be done NOW! Something needs to be done URGENTLY about the apathy that is currently characteristic of Kenyan society, because it is saying too much, and I don’t know what to make of it. Last week I wrote about a woman that was publicly raped at 7am, in Nairobi, by a street boy/man, and people did nothing. If anything, they talked and made jokes about the incident. In the same article I talked about the different ways that Kenyans have responded … Continue reading Out of the ashes of apathy, Kenya must rise
I have never experienced poverty, and so I will not claim to speak for the poor. That said, I have experienced the indignity of poverty, and will therefore speak for the dignity of the poor. It was in the streets of London, where a“beggar” with a container approached me and asked for a donation to “save Africa and other poor parts of the world”. My contribution would send a poor child child to school, and provide a meal for a starving family. He looked tired from all the talking and efforts to convince passersby. I imagined the smirk on his … Continue reading Skip Lunch and Save an African
This week marked the 31st anniversary of the Wagalla massacre. The massacre happened between 10th to 14th February 1984, in the Wajir district. Although the official government report states that 57 people died in the incident, the TJRC report states approximately 1000 people died, while eye witness accounts claim the number may go up to 5000. The Wagalla massacre was perpetrated by state security officers, who were acting on information that members of the Degodia community had accumulated weapons to attack those of the Ajuran commuty. The state security rounded up men from the Degodia community locking them up on the Wagalla airstrip, … Continue reading If Kenyans want peace, they must work for justice