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September 19, 2018

Why Nairobians need secondary education

Club Zodiak, Imenti House, Tom Mboya Street. Photo/JAMES MURUA
Club Zodiak, Imenti House, Tom Mboya Street. Photo/JAMES MURUA

The hottest, most sensational piece of news last week involved a rogue Kenyan preacher. Not the one in South Africa playing golf in Pretoria lambasting ‘haters’, but the one whose church was exposed by KTN’s Jicho Pevu and Inside Story.

In the feature, a gentleman who calls himself Prophet Dr Kanyari was exposed coaching his flock on how to give false testimonies, all in a bid to enrich himself. He was promising all manner of earthly goodies including instant riches, cure for terminal illnesses such as HIV-Aids and cancer, which have baffled scientists.

For some of those who watched the exposé, the most amusing part of the documentary was how the pastor instructed his workers to fool worshippers by washing their feet with potassium permanganate, a chemical that turns red when mixed with water. This trick of cleaning the feet is premised on the possibility that once you see the red colour, you will believe the Man of God is washing your sins away, and you will be expected to reward him for his ‘Godly’ act.

Well, anyone who studied chemistry in a Kenyan secondary school would not be surprised at the chemical reaction. What impressed me most, however, was this gentleman’s ingenuity to take advantage of the information in the public domain – that we take casually – to actually make a living. If the ‘prophet’ got his hands on the lessons taught in Form Two and turned them around for self-gain, I wonder how much more he could have gathered had he gone all the way to college.

So, what more can we, as former high school students, utilise to our advantage in career and personal life? With schools currently sitting national exam at both primary and secondary levels, we will need to look at them in a new light as they are bearers of life-changing information that needs to be tapped for the common good (or evil depending on your leaning).

I expect secondary school leavers to become some of the most sought-after human resources when they finish their exams this year, in contrast with the past. This is because they have invaluable knowledge at their fingertips. We should expect ‘academic bonfires’ to come to an end – where students burn their school books after exams – as school leavers will be the new gold mine for those who want to go far in life. In fact, for the first time in decades, socialites will start hunting down the leavers to be their mates because they are in no doubt the goose that lays the golden eggs.

What are the lessons that can be borrowed for everyday use? Let’s start with the most basic of subjects that we are taught in school – geography. While this might seem to be a boring subject to some, it can come in handy to many groups of people.

Gor Mahia fans might want to go back to a geography class and learn about the different types of rocks. This will ensure when they want to express their displeasure at rival fans, players or even referees, they hit them using igneous or metamophic rocks, as opposed to sedimentary rocks. This is because sedimentary rocks are soft and may not bring about the desired damage.

A KCSE certificate will also come in handy when you are out in a pub having a drink, and more so when chemistry lessons are still fresh in the mind. When you get into the bar and you encounter a drink you are unfamiliar with, then you need to read its ingredients carefully. Any indication of methanol in the product will be a red flag that you, the drinker, steers clear if you value your life. You know excessive amounts are harmful to your health.

Knowledge of physics will come in handy. Take, for instance, the cattle rustlers who, out of ignorance, attacked the Kenyan security forces recently. They are currently being tracked down by the good guys who aren’t too pleased with their colleagues being murdered in cold blood. The criminals in hideouts will need to know how to measure the speed of sound so that when tanks are rolling in they can tell how far away they are. This will enable them flee as far away as possible from their hideouts when the good guys come calling.

A rudimentary knowledge of agriculture will go a long way in enriching life experiences. Anyone who has done the most basics knows the importance of cultivating crops to keep down weed that eats into the nutrients in the soil needed for the crop to grow.

With this knowledge, then, Nairobians will quickly minimise the number of people who are like weeds in their lives, just like unneeded friends on Facebook or on their phone books. They will also know the importance of using pesticide for the bugs that attack, which could be as easy as deleting the ‘friends’ from Facebook or simply making themselves busy when these people call on a Friday for drinks that they should buy.

Venue Review: Club Zodiak, Imenti House, Tom Mboya Street

Tom Mboya Street has an interesting space in Nairobi’s club life often seen as the line that separates the more affluent and less affluent drinking areas. A drinking place on this street, then, has the option of picking either of the faces of Nairobi drinking. 

Club Zodiac on Tom Mboya Street seems to have taken the best of both worlds. The pub was initially called Pink Elephant, and reggae is the music of choice for punters. The pub shut down, was remodelled and came back with the new name and attitude.

Entry to the club, which is between a bakery and a shop selling knickknacks, which are promoted via recording of a man enticing buyers: “Nunua viatu na mia tano pekee hapa!” (Buy shoes here for Sh500 only). There was quite a bit of activity when I was trying to get in, as it seemed to be very popular with enough supervisors and four people at the entrance to ensure only customers of legal age went in.

The club is not friendly to wheelchair-users as one needs to use stairs to get to the place, which is on the first floor. There is a beautiful sign directing you to the club, just before you take the stairs.

The pub is divided into two main areas, and each section has a huge counter where folks order drinks. At one corner, there was a DJ booth manned by a gentleman spinning hit songs of the 20th century by Lionel Richie’s, Dance. There were several TVs mounted around the pub showing the videos of the music. During the weekend, they air football matches from European league.

There is a balcony all around the place, which allowed punters to enjoy their drinks as they watched the action on the streets of Nairobi. The view overlooks the Odeon bus stop. It was here that I settled last Friday as I waited for Nairobi’s traffic to die down before heading out. The waiter, who had a neon sign name tag, gave me my cold Tusker at Sh200. The punters in here were mainly young upwardly mobile professionals of both sexes.

A quick recap of the venue:

Good: Decent décor and service, central location, clean washrooms, TV for the football fanatics,

Bad: Disability-unfriendly, emergency exits not convincing,

My verdict: A great place to while away the time as one waits for traffic to die down in Nairobi.

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