Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Return of MOI: Kenya's Post Erection Insolence

Everybody loses it, I have oft found, continue to find. Perhaps this is why, in writing this piece, I sat and took a long hard think as to how I'd say what I need say, and appear not to bitch. Appearances, however, are a tart cliché filled with deceptive pastry.

This is not a bitch post. My mother had it tested.
I have also oft found that I disappoint people a lot. More on appearances -- remember them? -- than it is on the deliberate intention to deceive. The appearance that I fit into a box: the 'one of us' box; the 'not for us' box; the 'uptight' box; 'the easy-go-lucky' box...and much more recently, the '(not) Kumbaya my Lord' boxes. 

Recently, however, a new series of boxes has seemed to emerge. The 'serious', 'loaded' or 'seriously loaded' box, depending on where the boxer stands. 

You see, I decided to start a company. I have done business before, but this time I chose to go it the long hard narrow way that is incorporation in Kenya. 

Being as I find action to be incorporated in thought and speech, I talked about the company; it was soon to be that the company took on a life of its own. A story, one oft finds, that I will tell another day; since that is not why we're assembled in this dark cyber room, pretending to speak to you. 

We're gathered here today, dear brethren and sirens, to cast our minds back to the days when Kenya was born. 50 years ago, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong. 

In fact, Wrong Turn kinda-dead wrong.
Kenya was born of the fecal matter that sprung out of the Race for Africa. Just in case the wording fools you, we're talking about race in a 'Hey ye! hey ye! scramble, let us partition Africa's scrambled eggs' kinda way. 

The Race for AfricaNot the colored race, nor the colorful races. 

Those races are not the kind we speak of. The race we do, today, is the same one that invaded - and continues to invade - the dusty 1, cave-dwelling 2, Provincial Roman populace 3 now known as Africa. The same one that occupied, annexed -- and continues to occupy, annex -- this land, named for all intents and purposes after some king-doomed place, in or around present-day Tunisia4

The race -- your History books will tell you, if you bother yourself with them -- that colonized and civilized my ancestors. It continues to colonize and civilize their children's great grand children.

The Race for AfricaThe only race that has been for Africa. The violent race; a bloody winner-takes-all race; one that named, shamed and took Africa, continues to name, shame and take Africa.

The capital race; a Capitalist's race wrought in steel, iron and capital murder; not a colored race, nor a colorful race.

Even the people who live in the continent called Africa certainly are not for it. They spring from it, in more ways than one. They are sometimes born in it, into it; sometimes they choose to live in it, fly into it. 

Always fly in. 

You don't hear Amistad-like stories of people drowning in their boat-fulls; on their way from Spain, crossing the 15 odd Strait of Gibraltar kilometers into Morocco, and to the blissful freedom of oblivion's claws.

The Strait of Gibraltar as seen from space by NASA, 14 April 1994.
(North is to the left: The Iberian Peninsula is on the left; North Africa on the right)
What you do hear, is those born in it, when given the Green chance, springing the blank off of her sperm-fulls of potential blanks. If they're lucky enough to be worth their host country economy's while.

Yes sir, Frank Njenga sir! Ladies first...
The people of Africa, as she is now, spring from Africa. Spring; not from what it was when it wasn't Africa, but from what it is since it has been Africa. For over half a century towards the 19th Century's close of business, before the boss said there would be no pay for overtime, the dusty slum-dwellers of the black land were prepped. 

Lubed, more like, by a hegemony -- an informal governance, if you will -- of military superiority and economic dominance. That, and the influencing promise of slave-ship detours to Religiosity.

Long before the land- and mind- grabbing began -- long before the lines drew, the mines blew -- there lived a Berber named Leo Africanus. The Moorish 16th Century diplomat and author is said to have written of the land west of the Nile Valley, in a Descrittione dell'Africa.  A Description of Africa in which he proposed that his home was aphrike, from the Greek Αφρική. With the suffix φρική, meaning "cold and horror", and a prefix that to this day means 'without', he described his home as being 'without cold or fear/ horror.' He is also said to have traveled to Timbuktu and back - literally, before it became a European byword for inaccessibility.

He never once crossed the Sahara, nor saw Nigeria, Kenya or South Africa. He did see a lot of the Songhai Empire, travel through Cairo to Constantinople and Bologna. Go figure. 

The Rhodes Colossus: Caricature of Cecil John Rhodes, after he announced plans for a telegraph line and railroad from Cape Town to Cairo. December, 1892.
The irony that you - supposedly - are going to figure, is that the man after whom Africa was more likely christened 5:
  • did not see most of what he described, but rather relied on what he was informed of. 
  • did not see Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa, countries supposedly synonymous with Africa today. See Africa Rising narrative.
  • quite possibly did not intend to describe any more than his own knowledge. That is, he described what lands he conquered -- also later known as 'discovered' -- in his travels. Mostly North Africa; this he compared, one might imagine, to what else he had seen. Namely some bits and pieces of Italia, Anatolia (Asia Minor) and what lay in between.
This is what became of Leo's knowledge, in 1600.

 'A Geographical Historie of Africa' was proclaimed.
To Africanus, however, aphrike was what he knew; and he certainly knew a lot. Quite like many of our own leaders, wannabe leaders and pretend leaders today do. He had read, you see. He had been told, you will find. He had also traveled and seen some, and concluded that what he had seen -- related to what he had read, and been told to think -- was true. 

He had not, one finds, experienced every nook and cranny of what landmass became Africa; much - again - like many of our African Union peeps. Peeps who be presidents: many simply peeping abroad and sipping high teas as their small portions of the cake Africa rot in their mouths.

I am no apologist of Europe - or Britain, for that matter - in as far as her Colonial History is concerned.  I am no apologist of Africa -- or Kenya, for that matter -- in as far as her recovery, or pretense thereof from said history, is concerned. 

But; inasmuch as facts be considered, then the following remain true:
  • Kenya is not Kenya for Kenya's interests.
  • Neither is Africa for her own interests.
  • Being Kenyan, Ugandan, Burkinabe or South African (what does this even mean? Where does South begin?) counts for naught in as far as bread puts up tables.
Who, pray tell then, is African? Who is Kenyan?

I am who I am. I think -- dream even -- but not like Umair Haque does, or thinks I should or shouldn't. I do, but not like my brother and friend Boniface Mwangi  may or may not think I should. I say, but not as my good foreign friends -- TED -- and gooder local enemies -- GOK -- think I should. 

My thinking -- my dreaming, even -- and my doings and sayings, are my own. They should not come to be sought to presume that I have this, that or that there. This being money and women, as they go together... oh so tenderly well. That being expensive phones... and that there?

That there being leadership. 

Because I will, by default, likely disappoint these boxes. At the very least, my appearance will.

      .::0 To be continued 0::.

Ps: This is still not a bitch post. It was the return of moi, French for me. Or the return of My Own Interests. Or the return of President Moi. 

To see what actual bitch posts look like, contact me herehere and here. They may or may not really be bitchy.

1-4. From Africa's Etymology, see hypotheses on: dust, cave, Africa Province - capital city being Carthage - and Ifriqya - being modern-day Tunisia.

5. My own presumption, based on little actual knowledge.

* The next installment of today's piece features: Kenya's colony, and how it led us to where and who we are to date, our post election insolence, and 'my own interests' culture... 

DISCLAIMER: It may or may not be titled as follows. 

"From Kenya to Africa: One Big School Full OF FAKE Bitches."

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