Don’t be fooled, ageing is natural, not a medical condition

Those averse to research soon realise that a fool and his money are soon parted

In Summary

• Fads lure politicians and others to try them out in an effort to look 20 years younger

Some of the elderly who attended the International Day for elder person at Dedan Kimathi Kamukunji stadium in Nyeri town
Some of the elderly who attended the International Day for elder person at Dedan Kimathi Kamukunji stadium in Nyeri town
Image: FILE

The other day, while covering a conference here in Cape Town, I came across a man I last met in Dubai nearly 30 years ago. 

This man, Issa, is one of those people I refer to as more Kenyan than most for his incredibly mixed heritage, all from Kenyan peoples, or tribes, if you must. He does not seem to have aged much, or even at all, in that time.

When I first met him, I was in my early 20s and he was already in his 40s, if not his 50s. But clearly blessed with great genes, as three decades later, he could pass for a fellow in his 50s, which would make us agemates.


Unlike many of his contemporaries from Kenya, he has not taken to dyeing his hair black, it was grey even in the early 90s. Unlike some of his agemates from Europe and North America, he does not seem to have spent time having cosmetic surgery to hide, if not reverse, the signs of ageing. 

He still seems to work as hard as he ever did when he was running his freight and logistics business in the Emirates back in the day. In fact, he appears to have taken on more work as he is now an academic whose advice is sought in the highest councils of one of the US’s most prestigious Ivy League universities.

If there ever was such a thing as The Fountain of Youth (and some claim it was in Ethiopia where incidentally, some of Issa’s ancestors may have come from, if I correctly recall his origins story from nearly 30 years ago), then perhaps I should ask him to draw me a map to its whereabouts. Let’s just say there are days when I feel I could do with a few sips from that fountain.

Speaking of ageing, back in June last year, I wrote about what I had been told was the latest fad by the well-to-do and painfully vain politicians and others, in an effort to look 20 years younger. They were feeding their hair with rice water to strengthen it before dyeing it black. I thought it was vain and funny but not necessarily harmful.

Now just over a year later, I am reading about what I am sure will become the hottest new fad among these types, especially in the lead-up to the 2022 election. It is about an allegedly scientific treatment using hormone drug cocktails to slow ageing.

Of course, as Kenyans seem to be averse to research, especially when people are selling them miracle snake oil, the people behind these treatments may well end up making some good money, and only later will their customers realise the sense of the adage about fools and their money being parted.

Being a journalist who still believes in the mandate to provide readers with information to make the best possible decisions about their lives, I would suggest that before you rock up at the clinic, hoping that a series of magic potions will turn you into Methuselah, you might want to read the story of a woman called Hanneke Hops: (https://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/28/health/age-youth-treatment-medication/index.html).