The revolution will feature sculptors

The revolution is coming, and the revolution is going to feature, among others, the greatest sculptors, most amazing designers, greatest poets/spoken word trail blazers. The revolution will be characterized by a dash of badassery and a whole lot of fierce interruption. Stay tuned to partake in the next ground breaking, next level thing.

“You know you are capitalism’s ideal puppet (and that education betrayed you) when winning the lottery is your only chance to realizing financial freedom.”  – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Not sure what I should write about, yet I feel the urge to write. Not because there’s nothing to write home to, but because prioritizing the issues that need discussing/addressing is the hard bit. See, when you love your country this much, you almost automatically have to romanticize hate for your politicians (both in government and opposition) worst case scenario. Best case scenario, you get an indigestion for every bunch of crap the political elite subjects you to. Mmh..explains why it feels like I just might be coming down with a bad case of the irritable bowel syndrome. (God forbid).

Do I go on an unapologetic rant about what seems to be lack of integrity on the part of Deputy Chief Justice of Kenya, Kalpana Rawal, who just like the typical  African leaders, won’t retire with dignity  at 70? What happened to people looking forward to retirement in a beach house somewhere in a tropical island, cleansing their souls by staring at the blue-green oceanic view, rolling in the white sandy beaches..sipping to mojito’s or fresh fruit juices, getting high off the memory of stupid mistakes committed in their 20’s, laughing till they cry…choking on laughter and embarrassment… You know, living on bonus gracefully and peacefully with loved ones? SMH.

Do I make this about the opposition who have managed to turn our Moneydays (Mondays) into “tear gas Mondays” here in the City in the Sun? Breeding a culture of hooliganism among the jobless, brainwashed idling youths? SMH.

Or do I exhort Mr. President for taking hard-line positions in handling matters of make-or-break nature (as that of the cleaning the IEBC)..allowing the side shows that have Kenyans like myself rolling our eyes and shaking our heads ever so often that our necks are beginning to ache perpetually? Treating Kenyans to a not so amusing, amateurishly scripted show glorifying political wars between power houses, shamelessly chest-thumping and flexing their flappy arms as if the lives and future of Kenyans were the gym that is meant to beat those loose fats into well toned biceps? SMH.

Or maybe I should address the topic of irresponsible journalism that was exhibited by one of the top investigative journalists’ recent expose that, in my not so humble opinion, achieved nothing more than shaming a slain man’s family and slandering a young lass? You see my predicament now, don’t you? Too many non-issues are being dressed as real issues and aired for us, the hardworking tax payers, to watch during the News hour, that it is becoming quite insulting for any sane mwananchi to just keep calm. But naah… I will not delve into any of the above matters for now.

I’m all about the African youth within and without the territorial borders of Africa but are still African because Africa was born in them.

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Take risks now and do something bold. You won’t regret. – Elon Musk

I’m rooting for the gullible African youth who has had to experience unrest in their country every general election year. Because the leaders are just power hungry individualistic persons with no vision for their individual country’s let alone Africa as a region, and only care about getting rich by looting public coffers, grabbing tracts of land, and calling the shots… For this reason, they are willing to watch people kill each other, businesses close down,property go up in flames…to get to power.

 

But why are the common wananchi so willing to give it all up for these persons? For people who only use them to ascend to power and discard them until the next general election period? No, it is not juju/voodoo/kamuti! It has got to be desperation stemming from joblessness and brainwashing. If you are sick about going on rants on social media each time we hear hundreds of millions of public monies have gone unaccounted for, like myself, maybe it is because we should focus on electing leaders who mean good for us. Not because they are our tribesmen, but because they actually have a plan.

How will we remain objective if we cannot resist the mheshimiwa who throws hundred shilling notes (equivalent of a single USD. LOL) at us? It is, methinks, by achieving financial freedom. You know, when we aren’t desperate for anything, maybe we can make sober decisions in life. And please don’t let them tell you how evil money can get, being broke is not exactly holy. LOL.

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” – Groucho Marx

Look, I don’t even have the answers or spot on guidelines..a sort of one size-fits-all solution to this financial dependency that we the youth are struggling with. But I do know we cannot make sober decisions on the ballot and in life when we are compromised, intellectually and financially. We lack the bargaining power. I also know we can stop whining about joblessness and start getting creative. Creativity does not stop at those wonderful imaginary compositions/essays we wrote in school to earn those good, or not so good, marks/grades. We can still create jobs for ourselves and others, right? Maybe not everyone is going to be a lawyer/doctor/engineer..you know those boring, yet noble careers my colleagues and I settled for? Guess what! They aren’t all there is. There is more. More fun, more rewarding, more exciting careers…and we need to embrace those ones because 85% of the world’s population is not going to make a kill off the “mainstream” professions.

Enough of trying to zig, is time to zag professionally and be happy while at it, don’t you think? Then the next time your politicians want to have you carry stones and stone people in the CBD you’ll be so busy painting the next  Monalisa portrait of our time, that you won’t be bothered enough to go destroy other people’s property.

changing african narrative

The revolution is coming, and the revolution is going to feature, among others,  the greatest sculptors, most amazing designers, greatest poets/spoken word trail blazers. The revolution will be characterized by a dash of badassery and a whole lot of fierce interruption. Stay tuned to partake in the next ground breaking, next level thing. 🙂

work-in-progress
A work in progress. And the possibilities are endless. Check back soon. 🙂 – Mbula Nzuki

PS: Please tag your favorite African designers, sculptors and young artisans. I am scouting for them.

STRIKING A DEAL WITH THE LEADERS… OF TOMORROW

Mentoring the younger generation, in my view, is providing a seat for the little ones at the table of the older ones. It is pretending to give them some of your power, courage and hope when in reality you’re only pleading with them to use the power already vested in them by God (- a force beyond us, a supreme being whatever you may perceive him to be) wisely and for the betterment of our society come tomorrow… And yes, tomorrow does come!

“A revolution is coming – a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough, compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough – but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character, we cannot alter its inevitability” – Robert F. Kennedy

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending it with a bunch of visionary young leaders that I am so damn proud to call my friends- about 16 of them. We hit the road at the crack of dawn setting out for ‘a date’ with some mighty little ones in the heart of Kamba land (Kitui South to be precise). To say the very least, the experience was life-changing! You, dear ones, rock..never let anyone tell you otherwise! Asanteni.

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Friendship isn’t a big thing — it’s a million little things. ~Author Unknown

I was quite excited when my friend Davis (founder of Friends of Progress) reached out to me regarding this gig and of course I had to seize the moment and bring Youth Mentoring & Career Programme (YMCP) Org on board. Clearly I subscribe to the Umoja ni nguvu (Unity is strength) school of thought.  What a friend I have in you Davis! Thank you for reaching out. That’s what friends do!

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But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. ~Thomas Jefferson Davis Muthoka & I

 

Now, this post is to let you in on the joys and pains of mentorship. Mentoring the younger generation, in my view, is providing a seat for the little ones at the table of the older ones. It is pretending to give them some of your power, courage and hope when in reality you’re only pleading with them to use the power already vested in them by God (- a force beyond us, a supreme being whatever you may perceive him to be) wisely and for the betterment of our society come tomorrow… And yes, tomorrow does come!

As I sat through the talks given by my colleagues to the pupils (in all five primary schools visited), I couldn’t help but wonder if these kids knew just how important they are. I wondered if they know how envious most adults are of them, I mean these kids have entire lifetimes ahead of them – case of the figurative clean slates! I looked into their curious eyes and felt the child in me drawn to the child in each of them. I wanted to tell them they are powerful beyond measure, I wanted to let them know that the future of our nation is in their hands, I wanted to tell them they are the people we will be judged against in just a decade or two. I wanted to tell them that it is not so much in going to school and getting the best grades, going to the Alliances, the Precious Blood Secondary Schools, the Starehe schools and the like that matters… I wanted to tell them that it is what we have over and above the accolades we accumulate over the years of formal education, that which is deeply engraved in our hearts and characters that matters the most.  I wanted to let them know that a grade A  in the exams scored by an individual with a grade E personality is the reason Kenya and most of Africa is swimming in poverty, crime and disease today.  And as I stood to speak to these little ones, I think I heard the the voice of Aristotle echo somewhere at the back of my mind saying, “educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”.

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 With the team at Ndili Primary, Ikutha.  “The soul is healed by being with children.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

So, like my colleagues, I stood time after time, dramatically sweeping my eyes across the rooms, slowly letting my eyes take in the greatness in the kings and queens giving me their attention,  yet fast enough not to let such greatness intimidate me. I would hear myself tell them how happy I am to be a lawyer and asked them if any of them would want to be a lawyer when they grow up, or an engineer like one of my colleagues…a doctor, financial analysts, IT specialists, business men and women…my God! What do you want to become when YOU grow up? Hahha.. Then I would proceed to tell them the time is now, time to befriend their teachers and the top students, time for group work and sacrifice, a time to sow. I smiled and told them to be disciplined and prayerful..and to never sleep on their talents..and so did my colleagues. I guess that’s our way of telling them to be a little extra. Something a little more than just book smart. Heck, there is more to life than just being good with the books! But still, we rewarded the top three students in each upper primary class for being book-smart because sometimes indoctrination is a much safer evil than to be daring enough to go the Bill Gates way..that we gotta live with.

 

Much was said, but none of us dared tell these kids anything close to  what one Doris Lessing coined out in her book,’The Golden Notebook’ and which I borrow here:

Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have  not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry , but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself – your own judgments. Those that must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded  and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.’

Of course I wanted to warn them of the beautiful mess that our education system is. I should have warned them about the dangers of working so hard only to join the rat-race, but they might have been too young for such truths. Maybe the next time my colleagues and  I mingle with them, we will try change the “work hard at school, go to the best universities and get a job then climb the corporate ladder”-narrative to something like, “go to school, be keen at discovering your strengths, focus on the things that make you come alive – be it science, humanities or pure talent, single out a path that best suits you, keep at it and never settle. You’re born for greatness!”

The next time I see them, I will not be afraid of teaching them freedom! I will tell them it is okay to zig when the world finds comfort in zagging… I will tell these little ones that there is no beauty in rounding ones edges…I will tell them to break free from the fear of the unknown and I will pray they understand what I mean. I will ask them to be bold enough to dance even when only they can hear the song! I will let them know they are the leaders and that the offices we are holding today, we are only holding for them in trust and that they must make us proud.

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“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts” – C. S. Lewis  
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We are the selfie – generations. 🙂
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Sanitary towels for the girls.

With that, our mission was accomplished and of course we had time to play and boy, don’t we love to play! So now, on behalf of Friends of Progresshttp://www.friendsofprogress.co/ )and YMCP ( www.YMCP.org ), we call upon all persons of good will to join in the mentoring of the youth if only in their own little ways. Let us drink from late Nelson Mandela’s wells of wisdom and remember that, “What counts in life is not mere fact that we have lived. It is  what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” and without forgetting the words of Robert F. Kennedy, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.”

To my team, the dream team, keep inspiring multitudes everywhere you go. Greatness is what we’re on the brink of! Blessings galore to each one of you.

 

A prosperous 2016 to all my readers. Bless!

There’s,somewhere in the world, a saviour for Somalia: That saviour is most probably neither Kenya nor Ethiopia!

“A nation is born stoic but dies epicurean.”

Policy solutions must come from Africa if at all Africa is going to record any trans-formative progress this moment on. There are myriads of reasons why I would advice against Africa depending on the opinion and analyses of outsiders to understand herself, or even the problems affecting the continent at large or individual states. For decades we have fed into the lie peddled by the mainstream media, politicians and most western-allied economists into believing that a continent so rich in natural resources and brain power could be termed “hopeless”, “dark”, and desolate.
The Economist, in the year 2000, referred to Africa as the “Hopeless Continent”, in 2011 the same magazine referred to Africa as the “Rising Continent” and in 2013 the March issue of the Economist referred to Africa as “Hopeful continent”. Now, I do not know what that tells you about outsiders’ opinions but I know what that tells me of opinions generally: they will never pay the bills and for that reason they really do not matter! The only opinion that really matters is that which Africans have of themselves, and of their continent, and that is to say that, only Africans can cure any hopeless situations we might have in Africa.
I am starting with an attempt to address the dire need for stability in Africa. Stability is brought about by security internally and externally. Whether stability gives birth to security of vice versa, is an issue of a child giving birth to a mother, we know they are conjoined truths.
The debate that has been taking place on our social media platforms, our homes and other such places for sometime now is whether or not Kenya should withdraw her forces from Somalia. I am full aware that this is quite a sensitive matter but we need to understand that a win for East Africa, is a win for Africa at large, hence this is no longer a Kenya-Somalia affair. In my opinion, I think Kenya needs to withdraw her military forces from Somalia soonest possible and if you ask me, that should even happen immediately. Here’s why:
1). Somalia is paying the price of foreign aid fraud
Only Somalis can deal with their problems effectively. I say this because for anyone who cares to look keenly, they’ll see that the Somali people only have themselves to blame for the quagmire they find themselves in today. These problems are stemming from ideological sources. The Somalis have been sold a narrative of whom they are and sadly, they have bought it under the watch of selfish despotic leaders who have in continuously paid to have their country bombed into submission in the most literal sense of the phrase. “Why would persons entrusted with the leadership of a nation do that?”, you may ask. For selfish economic interests of course! There are people who have thrived from the instability of nations in Africa, thanks to the “foreign aid fraud”! And Somalia happens to be one of those nations where a section of their leaders would do anything to continue reaping from savagery and anarchy. These leaders reap big from famine, disease and instability and in that way the foreign aid flow would pass through their sticky hands and somehow get stuck in those hands only to end up benefiting the select few at the expense of a suffering majority. It is what one Rasna Warah would refer to as a “feast in the the time of famine”.  It is so sad how one of Africa’s oldest beautiful cities with rich history would only represent anarchy and suffrage today when the name Mogadishu is mentioned. What most people do not know is that Mogadishu became a place where anarchy and savagery reigned supreme from back in October, 1993 when the dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by Somalis who jeered on. Even though at least 500 civilians were killed during the circus, the world only remembers the 18 American soldiers who died. Ever since that dark historic time, Mogadishu, and Somalia at large, hit rock bottom because the media has done a great job of painting a really dark picture of Somali to the world and they themselves have accepted that picture as a representation of their beloved nation.

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I’m certain by now it is clear I don’t quite fancy the notion that Africa needs foreign aid to rise. Africa is definitely better off without it, if anything, it benefits the powerful elite mostly.

2). Kenya is not the best mediator in this case.
History shows that the relationship between Kenya and Somalia is not any different from the relationship between Somalia and Ethiopia. The dealings between these three nation which border each other has always been one characterized by fear and suspicion. All these can be traced through the history of the three states in which you will see that it is argued that the British colony of Kenya extended northwards over a predominantly Somali area, and Ethiopia appropriated in Ogaden province territory to which is claimed to have belonged to Somalia. While Ethiopia could not trust the British with being impartial towards the Somalis, the Somali people felt that Kenya was the unfairly favoured “child” of the British. This consequently brewed some tension amongst the three states which would continue for decades. In 1977 the Somalia-Ethiopia war broke out in which the Somalis seized the Ogaden region from Ethiopia but an intervention from the USSR army to the aid of the Ethiopians would later result in the same disputed Ogaden region seized back from the Somalis. Long story short, their has been tension amongst these three states and it is evident the Somalis would not trust that Kenya nor Ethiopia would want them stable for rather purely political reasons stemming from a not so pleasant shared past. Even though many would argue that Kenya would benefit from having stable neighbours, it is not clear if the Somalis would believe the same to be true as the relationships between the two nations remain tense, characterized by fear and suspicion, and certainly what I would call a dysfunctional marriage which looks quite unpromising. It is, in my opinion, best if these two countries (Kenya and Ethiopia) back off and let Somalia deal with her issues first before any further interferences.

Somalia05-2007

3.) The problem in Somalia needs more than military-intervention.

It is hard to help a nation achieve stability when her leaders are benefiting from her being unstable. Ever wondered why we live in a so-called free world in which everyone  preaches freedom and the benefits that the same bring forth yet these benefits only accrue to a select few, specifically those in power? Well, I am certainly not the one to answer that question for you but logic dictates that the answer lies in the game of power and the rules that the world is run by. In the case of Somalia, a country run by warlords and a breeding ground for radicalized youths who are intoxicated by doctrines they can’t quite comprehend, we might as well need more that military intervention to undo the damage done by brainwashing the younger generations of Somalia as they are the future of the nation. In fact, we need to demilitarize the police and employ more pacific  counter-measures.  Whether it is a misinterpretation of religious texts or a victim mentality-affair eating into the nation it yours to decide but in the words of Tony Blair (Former British Prime Minister),”The reason why these people are radicalized is not because of something we are doing to them. They believe in what they believe in because their religion compels them to believe in it.” Whether that statement is accurate or not, is definitely a highly debatable topic and in fact, almost polarizing and for that same reason, I shall leave it at that.

4.) Enough of the blood-letting already

I need not recount painful happenstances that have taken place in Kenya and Somalia in the recent past all in the name of retaliatory attacks, leaving hundreds (thousands even) dead,orphaned kids living in abject poverty, many more maimed and homeless with images they would give anything to have erased from their memories…not to mention how our tourism sector has been left literally on its knees. Our economy is threatened and lives are being lost day and night.  We have lost too much and not much has been seen to benefit us. It must all come to an end. It is possible that there might be a saviour somewhere in the world for Somalia, but that is definitely not in Kenya. Sometimes it is really okay to quit if the price is too high and the gains only but minimal. Abort mission Kenya, abort mission already for the sake of Kenyans! Some will argue that the U.S.A has pledged to aid Kenya in this mission in Somalia, but do Kenyans quite understand the dynamics of that pledge? The U.S.A has vested interests in both Kenya and Somalia and now, more than ever, both countries need to fully understand what is in it for them. Does the west even want a stable Somalia? Go ponder.  The U.S.A just like the entire fraternity of the western countries and China have vested interests in Africa as a whole and East Africa happens to be such a prime area now for these self-proclaimed world powers and before any deals are sealed blindly, maybe it is time we re-evaluate our place on the high table  or we are in for more instabilities, and rude awakenings. A word is enough for the wise.

Beyond a shadow of doubt, there is a saviour, somewhere in the world, for dearest Somalia, but that saviour is going to come from within the borders of Somalia, not Kenya, not Ethiopia, and certainly not from the United States of America. That saviour will arise and Africa will rise with them. They will tell a more authentic tale for Somalia and the rest of Africa will rise in the Africa rising narrative. May that day get here sooner.

It is important we all accept that once most of Africa awakens, we won’t ever return to business as usual, but that knowledge offers hope for the future. Arise Africa, it is time we shaped our own destiny as a continent, it is time for a new Africa narrative, this time for Africa, by the Africans! The Africa Rising Narrative: let’s rewrite history together.

Let us not look at the future as a gift from our ancestors, but rather as a loan from our descendants!