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December 11, 2018

You're Fundamentally Kenyan

JUBILANT : Some of the Kenyans who turned up for Kenya @ 50 celebrations at Kasarani Stadium on Thursday morning dance joyfully.
JUBILANT : Some of the Kenyans who turned up for Kenya @ 50 celebrations at Kasarani Stadium on Thursday morning dance joyfully.

On the morning of December 12 a young man I have never heard of penned a blog I believe we should all read. Someone who knows of my rabid passion for this country, sent me a  link to the blog and I figured I’d simply share the highlights of his take on [email protected] with you.

If you ask anyone who’s ever celebrated their 50th Birthday, they’ll tell you that it’s a great feeling. They usually throw a lavish party or their friends and family do that on their behalf.

The party is not because they are pristine and wonderful and saint-like, but being 50 in and of itself is an achievement. Complete with the missed moments, the mistakes, the major cock-ups and also the great moments.

Those are the fundamentals.  For Kenya and you and I, it is no different - Skyscrappers, dual carriage-ways, doctors on strike, matatus that kill our people daily and over-crowded classrooms and a booming real estate industry- these are the fundamentals and we celebrate them all in #KenyaAtFifty.

Fifty is as good a time as any to take stock of what you've done and accomplished in your life, and figure out what more you'd like to do with your time now that you're both older and (maybe a little) wiser.

News flash – Kenya is 50, Not the government, not Uhuru Kenyatta, but Kenya – that means you and me.  Suppressed media freedom, upset NGOs, idle Kenyans on social media, M-Pesa, Mshwari, Mamamikes- we celebrate them all. These are the fundamentals. We are all 50.

So each time you want to have your small-minded whine and indulge in mediocre grumbling about Kenya – remember that unless you’re under 18, then you’ve had a part to play in the state of this nation as we turn 50.

Those are the fundamentals – these are your things, these are my things. This is our country.
You will hear people come up with a “bucket list” at 50 and that’s because on reflecting on the years gone by they make a list of what could be done and achieved with the remaining time on earth – hence the bucket list.

This is what we are doing with the legacy projects – that’s our bucket list. Reflecting on what the state of things are and rather than whine about it, committing to making sure that on our bucket list we can check that off. The legacy projects, those are your things and those are my things, our National Theater, our Kenyatta Hospital, our Mathare Hospital – those are the fundamentals.

Ronny Ngala is in his blog puts it simply and beautifully – you’d have to be clinically thick not to understand him: “We are in every respect celebrating OUR country, its people, struggles and troubles – simply #KenyaAtFifty. Allow me to add, we are celebrating you and me, our failings, our triumphs, our dreams, our loses, our tears, our lost opportunities and our hopes for tomorrow. We are simply KenyaAtFifty”.

To paraphrase Ngala – all your whining and bellyaching not withstanding, please remember that you are breathing inside Kenya. That’s an indispensable reality. Ngala in his blog-post goes on to add “Let me jog your memory with a sequence of events. When you were born, you had nothing, you knew nothing, and you didn’t even have teeth; so now that you are all grown, whether you’re 15 or 50, you’re here snapping and posting with an undutiful gut feeling you know something – or everything, moreover about governance! You can’t even pause for a minute to at least acknowledge that somewhere in-between you were fully dependent on your parent(s), who saw you through diapers, daycare and welfare. So, you are now independent after so many birthdays and bad days, and still cannot see life positively in a country that hosts your standard of living and breath!"

Here’s what is required of you for your motherland, developed or not. Hospitals, schools, roads, superhighways and everything in between. When right, keep it right; when wrong, put it right. Those are the fundamentals. Nothing else is acceptable.

From Ronny Ngala’s blog to my heart, to God’s ears and to you: “Finally, let's get to the whole POINT, and learn by heart that, patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of your emotions, but the calm and steady dedication of a worthy deed you can faithfully execute and serve for your country in this lifetime”. Let’s get to work and build a mighty nation starting now. This is my country, this is your country – that is not  up for debate – that is fundamental. Today is Monday, the fireworks and parties are over, now let’s get to work. Please, get a grip and stop acting like the job of meeting Kenya’s milestones and your own is someone else’s job and not yours  - Let it dawn on you today, that you’re fundamentally KENYAN!

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