Why my biggest fear is 'Jerusalema' challenge

I'm not the greatest dancer, but I lose my rhythm when I have to follow everyone else's

In Summary

• Trying to engage employees in some sort of forced corporate bonding is not my thing

Participants in a dance session
Participants in a dance session

In theory, I am all for facing your deepest, darkest fears. In practice, I have found it is quite a different thing altogether.

For instance, we had a couple of earth tremors within an hour of each other in Cape Town on Saturday night, but I’m afraid I only read about them on social media.

Not to worry; it’s not like I have a particular fear of missing out or FOMO, in this instance. I have been at the centre of enough tremors to last me a lifetime.


We were just getting going in the very early days of this newspaper back in 2007, when Nairobi experienced a series of properly frightening tremors.

If you were there, surely you can’t have forgotten the panic that gripped the entire city when, for five days straight, the city was hit by repeated tremors with a magnitude of between four and six on the Richter scale.

I remember folk being afraid to go to the CBD and others refusing to enter any highrise building for fear of their personal safety. 

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried at the time. Not of death but perhaps a little of being caught in the middle of a disaster. 

Let’s face it, we know how cowboy contractors and builders ignore the building code and how they are aided and abetted by corrupt officials to keep doing so. 

My fear at the time was of being crushed to death by a falling building. But even this did not stop me from leaving the house and getting on with my life.

Later that year, there was that historic abomination of an aborted election that threatened to tear the whole country apart. And that was scary, too. 


But, and this may sound terrible to some people, I take that traditionally Kenyan fatalistic view of these things: kama ni mbaya, ni mbaya.

That said, the one thing that currently has me biting my nails with worry isn’t even the very real fear of personal financial ruin as a result of the pandemic. 

It is not even the fear of catching the coronavirus itself. Though the way my neighbours here in Cape Town were partying and carrying on this last weekend — with their dozens of guests — you’d think social distancing was a thing of the past and a vaccine was on tap.

My biggest fear is that of arriving at work and finding an email requiring all staff to participate in a Jerusalema Dance challenge in some sort of employee engagement event.

I enjoy dancing, even though I am certainly not the guy Sister Sledge was singing about in their song, 'He’s the greatest dancer'. 

What I don’t enjoy, however, is choreographed group dancing.

Anyone who has ever seen me at a wedding and other such celebrations knows that when everyone gets on the floor to do the “shuffle” or whatever they call it, I’m the one who makes a beeline for the bar to be as far away as possible when that madness begins. 

Some companies I have worked for in the past have been very big on that sort of thing. They love to get their workers to go out and bungee jump together or do obstacle races or walk on hot coals or whatever.

I never saw the point in participating in such exercises myself, and so I always opted out of that kind of forced corporate bonding.

If we get on, that’s great. You don’t have to fall back into my outstretched arms for me to prove I have your back. But that’s my shauri.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against dancing. I just have problems keeping my own rhythm when I have to follow everyone else's. 

But because my ego is too big for me to admit that, I prefer to just have another sip of my beer until the moment passes.

Dance with me on Twitter @MwangiGithahu