Those things are not for us
This is a statement that many 90s kids growing up in this country might be familiar with. That and it's various variants: 'Hiyo iko na wenyewe' , 'not for the likes of us' and most recently, 'Stick to your lane'. When you've lived in mediocrity all your life it changes you. It seeps through your pores and permeates your soul. It becomes the glass ceiling that you place over yourself and your children. The thing that keeps you shackled in the dark when you had the keys all along. Maybe it's a result of colonialism. Decades of Africans being told what they can't do so much that they started to believe it. And even after they were freed, they never really experienced freedom.
You might wonder what these things that we've decided we don't deserve are. Back then it might have been certain restaurants frequented by foreigners, the idea of a family holiday to Mombasa or even the concept of demanding more from our leaders. I was taught that the leaders after independence were stand-up folks who did everything they could to ensure the well-being of the country as a whole. They were basically saints all dressed in white. It wasn't till I got older that I started to hear stories and I realised that things weren't totally black and white. There were a lot of shades of grey in between. Stories of people who desperately hoarded wealth for decades at the expense of our country's development. Tribal power-plays that are quite honestly appalling.
And I get that I was born in an era when people just didn't have the privilege of demanding more from the government. But apparently that 24-year stint has really played a number on the current middle-classes heads. People who either raised children during those years when you took what was given to you without an ounce of complaint, or else folks who were growing up then and were old enough to understand the status quo.
And speaking of the status quo, you do realise it can be changed right? That beyond your myopic view of reality there lies a whole horizon of possibilities! But unfortunately you have decided that:
- Corruption is OK. And you leave the fight against to a few brave souls while making comments like 'this is Kenya'. Statements like that irk me to no end.
- You have decided to elect the same leaders over and over again because so and so has popularity on their side and is most likely to win. So you really don't want to waste it. You might as well give in and go with the rest of the herd of sheep because you're just not comfortable sticking-out and going against the tide. Or maybe you want to make sure that one of 'our people' is in power. How's that worked for you so far if you're still complaining about the same old things?
- You have accepted that our health system is broken and doesn't work. It's been that way since before you can remember. It doesn't really bother you however because you've made it enough to afford private hospitals should you be feeling under the weather. Then you go on Twitter and make statements about doctors being selfish for striking mostly because this strike is a giant pain in your neck. Chances are you're not even properly conversant with the issues on the table.
- You somehow got it into your head that tribalism is the new black. So you go around hate-mongering and making snide comments about other communities. No that does not make you cool. It just makes the rest of wonder if you were dropped on your head as a child.
I could go on and on about so many more issues. Stuff that I should have written about last year. And yes I was busy with school, but also I was just tired. Tired of scandal after scandal on the news. A virtual competition to prove who can shock the nation more. The corruption Olympics. Just when I thought 'they' couldn't stoop any lower, our dear leaders performed another hat trick. But it's not enough to be tired. Honestly most of us plus our parents have been tired all our lives. There comes a time when we need to step out of our numbing hazes and remember that it is possible to have more. We deserve those things we've been told are impossible. We're the only ones holding ourselves back.