Tuesday, August 07, 2018

You know what I've realised recently? Being Kenyan entails more than being a long distance runner or jumper like the Masai as portrayed in Western media - at the route of it all is a sharing of a beauty and essence like no other nation in Africa. Today's post is literally me obsessing with how much I love my country and how I aim to carry it with me in everything I do. Recently, I was with some of my other Kenyan friends meeting up to catch up - laughing and enjoying each others company. It was in those moments we all realised the humour and overall character of Kenyans compares to no other. My Mum is one of five sisters and I've grown up knowing the amount of noise that can come out of our people - to others it sounds hectic and I know that now reflecting on inter racial marriages into the family, it can be quite intimidating. But I mention the noise because it's the one thing that feels like home and safety - even at times of sadness it seems that we are able to turn everything into a joyous occasion. Have you ever heard a Kenyan laugh? If you have you know why I've mentioned it - that in itself is enough to make you laugh too - our laughter carries and most times I laugh at my aunties laughing. We are a happy people.

As a Black British female of Kenyan origin, I've seen the turmoil of tribalism in the UK and the negative cultural norms being carried from Kenya into the diaspora. Quite bluntly, divide is no longer according to the tribes of your parents but instead a divide based on social class or grouping within the Kenyan community on a national scale. What's unsettling to me is that it appears that tribalism has mutated into a hierarchical system operating from within - almost symmetrical to a patriarchal system. Don't get me wrong - I'm so proud of how far we've come but sometimes it appears we're making progress then ultimately take a step backwards. We celebrate the accomplishments and forthcoming greatness of younger Kenyans - yet it appears the foundation for us to take on the baton from our parents who started the journey has been built lopsided.

The Kenyan people are charismatic and most importantly loving - joining together in the spirit of 'Harambee' to support their own, the word itself directly translates to mean 'pull together'. If that's not what being Kenyan is I don't know what is. The heart of the people is pure but changes are being made from the roots up - getting rid of division and corruption that the country is known for. I strongly believe that a new generation of Kenyans will have the ability to 'pull together' to rebuild the image and sense of community I believe is at our core. I feel it coming, do you?

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