Category Archives: chebet

Of Lavish African loving.

“And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God.” — Les Miserable

I’m fascinated by writers. African writers specifically, even those with the charm of a corpse always manage to stir deep feelings of passion within me, anger or even regret, depending on what time in history they wrote. Because the African writers’ calendar dates back to when the colonialists came to Africa, perhaps, when Africans began to write in languages that foreigners could read ad understand.

I’m constantly peeved by the books written about Africa on my humble bookshelf, but my anger, unless countered by a new book written by me or other Africans that scoff at Englishmen of old or backpacking American journalists turned African experts, then I could as well tell it to the birds. It really is our fault that we do not have many African writers who can pen our own stories and help bring to life that now famous line, ‘The African narrative’ which in all fairness has evolved and transformed over time, and Africa, in many ways is rising. Numbers don’t lie, the economists say.

So, I’ve recently stumbled upon one Dunduzu Chisiza, he is described as a Nationalist and early agitator for independence in Nyasaland, now Malawi. Reading about him introduces you to an African that would not be stopped by class, colour or creed. His publications and style of writing literally tug at my heart.

He writes:
” In Africa, we believe in strong family relations. We have been urged by well meaning foreigners to break these ties for one reason or another. No advice could be more dangerous to the fabric of the society. charity begins at home. So does the love of fellow human being. By loving our parents, our brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces, and by regarding them as members of our families, we cultivate the habit of loving lavishly, of exuding human warmth and compassion, and of giving and helping. But I believe that once so conditioned, one behaves in this way not only to ones family, but also to the clan, the tribe, the nation and to humanity as a whole.”

Dunduzu goes ahead and talks about insubordination of national loyalties to international loyalties, referring to foreigners as Individualists who cannot foster internationalism.’

For me, Kenya is at the point where cynicism is the the order of the day. The days of women laughing heartily and young men and women celebrating each other has tapered down to wanton criticism, gossip, negative ethnicity and a uniquely high breed of hatred. We hate everything and anyone that’s Kenyan. The National Football team, The Rugby players, Public personalities, Kenyan firms. Everthing and everyone that’s Kenyan is constantly on the chopping board, it is everything that constructive criticism is not about.

Does this, after reading Dunduzu say something about our social fabric? Is there any more lavish loving that seeps beyond our nuclear family units and into the family next door? Have we tightened the rope too tough to allow cultures that are individualistic in Nature to wear out the African fabric that’s laced with respect and universal love. Deep lavish love.

For many, this may appear simplistic, but I’m student of this assertion, that Maybe, it is all about love.

National Dialogue and it’s babies

Greetings,

I’m sure your in-tray, your Excellency does not need an envelope from another anxious Kenyan.

But things are thick, and you probably feel the heat a lot more than we do. But I am getting anxious sir.

I had a conversation with a friend today and we spoke about Economic Sabotage and where that can lead us as a country. You see sir, I’ve been following the conversation about #KenyaRising keenly since 2006, when we first began to fully realise and define the growth the country had had since 2002, when President Kibaki came to power. There’s a host of things that are feeding into a full blown economic sabotage, MRC, Alshabab have already done well in that regard.

2007 is a memory I wouldn’t want to awake, for you, for me now for the millions of Kenyans who have tried to rise above the fateful bloody days. But it happened, and close on it’s heels the global crisis happened. We were back to scratch as a country. We saw investors flee, but shortly after, you as in charge of Finance and the government at the time lured them back, one at a time. But now sir, you’re quickly going back to ground zero.

Here’s a glance of what we have gone through this and last week.

1. Saba Saba has been declared a mass action day- not by you. Should go to work on that day?
2. Satao was killed, Kenya seems to have lost the fight against poaching.
3. 50 people killed in Mpeketoni, general anxiety if the same will happen elsewhere.
4. Tourism is on it’s sick bed.
5. Unemployment means more and more Kenyans have nothing to lose, and could take the streets.

Your CS of Treasury is on a road show abroad, enticing investors to buy our Eurobond. I can only imagine how their perceptions are being shaped this week.

Sir, perhaps you and Baba need to sit down and brew that cuppa tea for the sake of the country, even though I have mixed feelings about his recent libretto. Figure of speech, sirs.

As you and your team work on a plan out, we are hoping for a master plan, as the interest of all Kenyans is the peace and stability of our wonderful country; not just for us, but for the investments we badly need from the international markets that will take our country to the next leave, given your ambitious blue print.

Let not our ego’s come in the way of ensuring that your people are safe and secure. Just a reminder of that election promise, sir.

Please do whatever you must, whatever will make you sleep well at night, for the sleep of millions of Kenyans depends on you.

Not that you didn’t know that , your Excellency.

PS: We miss Boinet. I’m sure you feel the same.

Your’s in respect.

My Brain, My tribe

Just last week, a friend and I got a thirsty throat and our next stop was the inevitable Kengeles Koinange, right next to our office at Ambank House, and once the Rum and tusker malt started flowing, we got talking; on the men seated around us, to relationships, commitment, flowers, or lack of on valentines day, commercial properties of love, when is love really love, or what is the cost of love these days? It can be in the thousands…or better still millions so, when he, the one right across, whose attention I got while wrapping my fingers suggestively around my 100% human hair from the UK, tells me he runs a dairy farm, I ask him if it’s the family business.

You see, if it’s not, its love in the thousands, and if it is the family business, and he is the adored son of the man who practically owns that town, centre of the great rift, it is love in the millions, with probability of growing, maturing, if with tender loving care, to love in the billions. Another double rum is placed on the table, a few tusker malts cover the apple red’s table lining, the proud way the Luo’s like to do when out drinking, someone makes that famous joke, and after being on first name basis for the last 20 or so, he asks…”and what tribe are you?”

The million-dollar question.

Why does he want to know what tribe I am?

The questions start racing in my mind, and I don’t have multiple choice answers

Of note is that I have been watching the news a lot lately, the throat slitting headlines now remain etched in my mind, until another gory headline appears on my used to be my very light newspaper( read tabloid)..Militias prepare to go to war…

“What tribe are you?”

What tribe am I? How does that affect the price of my Meakins rum this rather adulterous looking Thursday evening, or looking at long term options, how does that affect how much you will love me?

What tribe am I? Do the millions in your family account need know what tribe I spur from, the egg that hatched me is human, only carried by my Kalenjin mother, sad, that my tribe is blamed for burning, killing, hate campaigns that make me now want to hide…but still I am proud, made proud by community, that which has seen Kenya, the name in athletics..(read Tergat, and all the other Kips and Cheps) and even with our English as lacking as it may be, I am proud, that, I speak the language that my mother taught me, that I am different from the Americans, who understand, speak and love only that one language.I am proud that one day, when I get married, my mother will receive a number of cows. I am proud, that I have an ethnicity, and the vile humour that runs in the blood of those that curse the culture divide.It is a beautiful divide, it introduces me to the beauty of a ngurario, and the sour love of mursik, it beats me in the bull fights in luhya land, and makes my blood run at the lusty waist beads of the Taita woman.

I am a Kalenjin, and am proud that I can tell my brother, in my tribe, that there is cow dung in his path, so he can step the other way.

That’s my culture, that’s the African culture.

So what tribe am I? I am the tribe that seats in the middle of the country, and boast that I own the Rift valley, because, you know, I do. I was born in the rift valley, and the soil that I step on, I own.

I am the tribe that loves, that shares, but,one that does business too, yes, even with land.

I sell my 40 acres of fertile land which my grandfather inherited from the white man called Masta Chosep (Master Joseph) to the best offer.

I am that tribe, that jokes about the Kikuyu having a thieving record, we see that everyday in court, and the Luo’s being the stone throwers…lets just start with the primary schools in Yala…and the Kamba’s being overly loyal to the Indian traders, and the Luhya’s being the cooks, the watchmen and the Boda boda kings..

So when did it get so bad, just last year, right here and right now, we would be laughing our heads off…at the very same jokes, and now, I cannot even say my tribe to a young handsome man who runs a dairy farm, whose love is worth millions, and if treated with tender loving care, love in a billion.

“ I am a Kenyan”, I say, and I f I was a dog, at this point, right here, right now, I’d tuck my tail between my legs, and let them stay there FOREVER.

Shame, guilt…what became of me, an Independent, educated, young, sometimes sensible, making it big in this world of today woman?

I cannot say my tribe, because, in the Kenya of today, just a few weeks after December 30th, my brain shrunk to the size of a tribe, I am that tribe.

Intellect

Intellect?
the faculty to reason objectively(oxford)
To think, to see ahead, objectively, cleverly
Such a little word
Yet so ignored,and we think we are…intellectual.

Intellect?
Is that what will save Kenya from a sunken hole
where some of our African Brothers and sisters have sunk into for many years?
Afraid to come out
even in starlight
yet we seem to enjoy, the smooth slide into darkness
we left intellect at home to sleep
on the queen size oak Lamu bed
in the mansion we live in when we are happy

Intellect?
is that what it’s called when i talk about the FTSE as if I was born in the bourse?
If I rise above the politics
and settle with hoping that politics and economy can be oh so very different?
Am I intellectual?
Or am i just optimistic?
and when I do not know my trivia,
but I follow the resilience of the Kenyan markets after poll violence?
is that intellect
Or I am just being foolish?

When I know, what’s to buy, and what’s to sell
Stocks and shares
that build the world
Bills and Bonds
That rule the world
Then am I intellectual

nonintellectual? Kenya?

Because I read the news everyday
ashamed at the gory details that slash the very economy we sweat- ed to build
press, politics, analysts…. intellectual
hanging dirty linen in public
freedom? non intellect?
to fore see….that without the teargas,
Masai Mara and the white beaches in the South coast
and 10,000 families
would be beaming with white joy
billions in taxes to the tight lipped tax man.
Not to deny, but to choose not to show.
maybe the shilling would strengthening by the day
the NSE would be a smile away

Intellect?

COURT ME

I am tired of having drinks,
or a great time with your boys at the pub
Laughing and poking at European football
Talking boy stuff…
On the high stools downing beers
In brown and green bottles
Looking at the display of legs and bossoms of girls in the bar
while making inroads into the take away girl for your boys

You see if you look at me very carefully
I have got curves curved out across my body

So, listen, I want you to court me;
In the old fashioned style I heard from Aunty Jane

I am tired of shots of tequila
Then revert to a raunchy night
In the blue moon on your balcony
That’s if we even make it to the balcony

I would like a good morning Kiss,
and to bring you breakfast in bed
Probably a little dessert that you get to choose
See, I have even been reading the karmasutra lately

See, I want to be the girl your mother wants you to have
To have to gorgeous babies with you
A little boy and a little girl
And go shopping for little pink and blue booties

I want to cook for you
Those exotic meals I read on True Love magazine
I want to be everything you want in a woman

See after those boyish nights, and being “one of the boys.”
I know what you are looking for

But first, I want you to court me

Colour of War

What is the colour of war,
pray tell me…

In Rwanda, it is green
April, the month of abundance
Green April, green genocide
green, the wealth of the country
the reflection of heartless bastards
Green, envy, Green, war…

In Congo
Its black,
its diamond, Its Gold, the wealth of nature
earth, black,
the colour of nature,
black, death…black, war

In Iraq,
it is gold;

liquid, heavy, deep down in the earth
corroding the very essence of life
killing the breath that is life,
brown, oily, gold, hell…gold, war

In the Sudan, Sierra Leone,
the colour wheel spins
black, red, green
the colors of war,
Pray let me know
So when one day when I cannot speak
and I hold a crayon in my hand, paint
when I will tell stories in colour
then I will freely call it black, or gold, or green….

The colour of war
is not red
Red is the colour of the pain that is war

Pray, tell me then…
What is the colour of war

Terryanne Chebet