Hey, You Need A Quick Fix?

Alone.

When was the last time you were alone? With nothing but the distinct thumping of your heart, the ragged sound of your own breaths? When was the last time you realised even silence has a sound?

Society has romanticised the concept of being with someone to a stifling degree. It’s always made to be shown like you constantly need someone with you. Be it a lover, a friend, a parent, a sibling, an acquaintance – but you just have to have someone with you constantly. Why? Society forgets, that being alone isn’t the same thing as being lonely.

And it doesn’t stop there. You need to be able to hold a conversation well. You need to be abreast with current issues to sound intellectual. General knowledge ceases to be a thing of curiosity or keenness to learn; it becomes a standard for judging someone’s IQ. You need to be fun, interesting, goofy, witty, sarcastic, humorous; when did human interaction cease being natural and start resembling a job profile? Why do you have to know every current pop culture reference to “fit” into a place? Why do you have to always have a topic in mind to be with someone?

When did benefits of human interaction turn into criteria for choosing humans for interaction?

Stop.

Stop trying to fit in. Stop trying to chip off the edge in you to conform to the old that society gives you. Stop letting the weights that life throws your way succeed in weighing you down, leaving you gasping and spluttering in the water, desperately trying to catch a gulp of air and getting a mouthful of salty water instead. Stop yourself from having to sigh as you type “yes” to a group outing while you’d really like to just stay in your pyjamas with a bag of greasy, salty chips and tie your hair up in a messy bun, the entire evening spent burrowed cozily in your blanket with some movie.

Be.

Be alone. Be with your own thoughts – an entire swirling galaxy of numbing thoughts and ideas just waiting to be heard by you. Be with the quiet of your soul and the raging inferno of your spirit – feel the pull between the two as the stretch makes you feel alive.

Look.

Look at the momentous times you’ve had – the time when you were with your friends and all of you were almost broke but chose to go for that movie anyway, because it would be the last day of college together, before you saw each other after a period of over three months. The time you couldn’t sleep at night because you were that moved after having watched Dead Poets’ Society, a lump in your throat as you tried not to cry after the film ended. The time you stayed up all night writing something because the bug in your head was too insistent to get rid of, your body humming with a tired ache, but your mind active like never before, the words rushing over each other to get penned down as soon as they could. The time you got a grade worse than anyone you knew, a sinking feeling of guilt settling in your conscience even as you couldn’t help but resent the happy faces around you, realising that they didn’t know what they had. The time you felt so isolated and excluded from everyone around that you didn’t mind stomping on your self-respect and ego repeatedly and appear chirpy and curious about their activities, the broad grin on your face just a cover for the actual hurt you felt. The time you pretended like you didn’t hear them make plans without you, despite you being a mere couple of steps away from them as you pretended to be busy on your phone just to avoid an awkward situation with them.

Realise.

Realise what an insignificant speck of dirt you truly are in comparison to the vastness of the universe, nothing more than a wing of a mosquito compared to the gargantuan size of the universe. Realise how privileged you are to be able to have a roof over your head, a meal thrice a day, water that you can drink without the fear of falling sick, the assurance of proper medical treatment even if you do fall sick.

Realise what powers lie within you – be it the ability to dip a brush in some colours and bring a blank white canvas to life with myriad shades and hues being created by your hands. The ability to recognise the beats of a song and with some dips and turns of your hands or feet or hips, break into a scintillating dance sequence. The ability to reach octaves higher than most can, drop to a pitch lower than possible, to develop a falsetto almost as strong as someone’s real voice. The ability to put the thoughts in your mind to coherent words and pour them all out, a gushing waterfall of emotions each time. The ability to perceive the truth in someone’s eyes even if their actions speak otherwise, to be able to just sit in silence with someone and let them talk, be the support for their shuddering outburst of truth. The ability to be able to dispel any discomfort with some humour, to feel blessed to be the cause for someone’s laughter, someone’s joy.

The ability to be you. A privilege, an honour to have. One reserved particularly for you.

Seize that opportunity and live up to it. Don’t lose sight of the person your younger self would’ve been proud to emulate. Chase every goal you set for yourself. Stumble, fall, trip as you fail to do so. Dust yourself. Get up and run at it again.

Live.

Take your time and be fully present in every moment. Sometimes the people with greatest potential often take the longest to find their path because their sensitivity is a double edge sword – it lives at the heart of brilliance but it also makes them more susceptible to life’s pains. Good thing we aren’t being penalised for handing in our purpose late. The soul doesn’t know anything about deadlines, so I will take my time sit here and enjoy this view.

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WHICH WAY NOW AFRICA?

I recently asked a business acquaintance how long it took to travel by road between DR Congo’s biggest cities, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi given their recent work there. There was a long sigh, a pained look, then a helpless shrug: “It could take a week or two.” DRC is Sub Saharan Africa’s largest country but this seemed remarkable. A Google Maps search tells you the 1,451 miles (2,335 kilometers) between both cities should take 36 hours, but as my contact noted, it’s not quite that straightforward given poor road networks and other challenges. A similar distance from New York to Oklahoma City, (2,373 km) would take 22 hours, says Google.

 The DRC conversation came to mind while reading a report the from London School of Economics’ International Growth Centre. It argues that despite years of progressive international trade liberalization and tariff reductions across the continent, the impact has been limited due to the costs of moving goods internally, within African countries and between neighbours.

The first claim is that the high cost of moving goods from/to ports eats into the benefits of better trade terms. Research shows a one-day reduction in inland travel times could lead to a 7% increase in exports or the equivalent of a 1.5% reduction on importing country tariffs. Other research shows a 10% drop in transport costs could increase trade by 25%.

And as is likely the case of DRC, it is estimated that the cost of transporting goods could be up to five times higher (per unit distance), in some sub-Saharan African countries when compared to the US, as indicated by research from 2015. In Ethiopia  for example,  it is thought to be 3.5 times more while in Nigeria its said to be 5.3 times higher.

Some of the recent infrastructure partnerships and investments, such as those backed by China, give some hope that it will not always be this way. But the report’s authors caution that just building better road and rail networks has not been enough to win meaningful cost reductions. A plethora of challenges include the price of fuel, labor, equipment, unnecessary regulations, bureaucracy and cartels, among others.

Put another way, it’s great if my agribusiness can get its produce to ports in a day rather than a week because of improved transportation however, that is not much use if it still takes two weeks to get through customs and the other “officials” to get my goods out to international buyers.

So while it might be all rage to bash free trade in the age of Trump and, to some extent, Brexit, there’s is still much for African countries to gain from fully opening up. However to achieve that, to paraphrase the old aphorism, charity really must begin at home.

If you slapped me out my sleep and asked me who will save the African continent, I will outrightly answer, the Cheetah.

There are a lot of Africans who are angry at the condition of Africa: a continent that is not poor; a continent that is rich with natural mineral resources. However, the wealth created by this mineral wealth is not used to lift its people out of poverty.

While many people, governments and organizations want to help the people in Africa, they seemingly don’t seem to understand the nuts and bolts; the cause and effect of activities within this continent. And until they do, I suggest that their withdrawing their support is far more helpful to the inhabitants of this continent.

Don’t get me wrong when I suggest that help shouldn’t be given to Africa. Helping Africa is noble, but it has been turned into the fear of the absurd. I equate it to the blind leading the clueless.

There are certain things that we need recognise. We should know that Africa’s begging bowl leaks. Did you know that 40%+ of the wealth created in Africa is not invested back in Africa? It is taken out of Africa; that is what the world bank says. Yet there are people who think we should pour more money, more aid into this leaking bowl.

As at 2007 (more than a decade ago), corruption alone cost Africa more than 148 billion dollars a year. Capital flight out of Africa, more than 80 billion dollars. As for food imports, Africa was spending 20 billion dollars to import food. All these leakages surpass most targeted aid for major donors.

Back in the 1960s, Africa not only fed itself, it also exported food; not anymore. Clearly something went fundamentally wrong. We all agree with this but the most important question to ask is, Which way now Africa?

The answer to this question begins with another question. Who do we want to help in Africa, is it the people or their leaders/ governments?

Between 1960 and 2004, Africa had exactly 204 heads of states. If I asked you to name good leaders, the number wouldn’t reach to 15. This is a mere 0.07%. It tells you that a vast majority of leaders failed their people. If you look at them, these slate of post colonial African leaders are an assortment of military vampire elites, crocodile liberators, Swiss bank socialists & pack revolutionaries. These is a far cry from the traditional leaders that Africans knew for centuries.

Another false premise is that most people trying to help Africans have is, that there is something called ‘The government’ in Africa that cares about its people, serves the interests of the people and represents the will of the people. A Lesotho chief once said, “In Lesotho, we have two problems; Rats and the government.”

What most academics understand is that government does not exist in most African countries instead, we have vampire states which suck blood, life and any sign of economic vitality out of the citizens. Governments are a problem in Africa. We have vampire states instead.

A vampire state is a government which has been hijacked by bandits and crooks. They use the instruments of state power to enrich themselves, their clones and their tribesmen and exclude everyone else. The richest people in Africa are often heads of states, their families and affiliates. Where do they get their money from? By creating mysterious wealth? No! They wrecking it off the butts of their people. This is not wealth creation. It is wealth redistribution.

The third fundamental thing to consider if we are to help the African continent is to know where the African people are. For instance, take any African economy. A typical African economy can be broken down into three sectors: modern sector, Informal sector and the traditional sector.

The modern sector is the abode of the elites. The seat of government. For many African countries, the modern sector is lost and disfunctional. It is the meritorous, fandango of importance that the elite themselves do not even understand. This is the source of all problems in Africa, where the struggles for political power emanate and spill over to the informal and traditional sector claiming innocent lives. Unfortunately, this is where most of the development aid resources currently go to.

The informal and the traditional sector is where you find the majority of Africans. If you want to help the people, you go where these people are. However, that is not what we have done. As a matter of fact, we neglected the informal and traditional sectors. This is where Africa produces its agriculture. Neglecting these is one of the reasons why Africa cannot feed itself. We have to import food. You cannot develop Africa by ignoring the informal and the traditional sectors. And you cannot develop these two sectors without an operational understanding of how these two sectors work.

These two sectors have their own indigenous institutions. First one is the political system. Traditionally, Africans hated tyranny. If you look at our traditional systems, we organized our states in two types: the ethnic societies who believed that the state was necessarily tyrannical and didn’t want anything to do with any centralised authority. These societies include the Ibo of Nigeria, Somalis of Somalia and the Kikuyus of Kenya. They had no Chiefs.

The other ethnic groups which had chiefs made sure they surrounded the chiefs with councils to prevent them from abusing their powers. In the Ashanti Kingdom for instance, the chief could not make any decision without the concurrence of the council of elders. He couldn’t pass any law. And if the chief failed to govern according to the will of the people, he’d be kicked out or the whole village would move away and set up a new unit elsewhere.

Even when you look into ancient African empires, they were all organized under one particular principle; The Confederacy Principle, which is characterised by a cradle of evolution of authority and decentralisation of power. This is the indigenous African political heritage. Now compare this to the systems established by the modern ruling elites. It is a total far cry.

In the economic system, in traditional African system, the means of production is privately owned. It is owned by the extended family. In the West, the basic economic unit is an individual. An American would say, I am because I am and I can damn well do anything I want, anytime. In Africa, an African says, I am because we are. The ‘we’ implies community; or the extended family system. The extended family system pools its resources together, owns farms and decides what to do or produce – not taking orders from their chief. They decide everything for themselves. When they produce their crops, they sell the surplus to market places. When they make a profit, it is theirs to keep not the chief’s to forfeit from them.

In a nutshell, we had a free market system. We had big markets before the colonialists set foot on the continent; Timbuktu, Salaga, Kandu etc. And women dominated them. So the market was not alien to Africa. This was a different form of capitalism. But immediately after independence, all market capitalism became western institutions. And the leaders said Africans are ready for socialism. Ridiculous! And even then, what kind of socialism did they practice? Swiss Bank Socialism, which allows the heads of states and ministers to rip off and plunder Africa’s treasuries for deposit in Switzerland? That is not the kind of systems that Africans had known for centuries.

So what do we do now? We go back to Africa’s indigenous institutions. This is where we’ll charge the cheetahs to go into the informal and the traditional sectors where the real African people are and help grow their initiatives to world class level.

The Cheetah generation is the new breed of Africans who take no nonsense about corruption. They understand what accountability and democracy is. They are not waiting for the government to do things for them. That is the Cheetah generation. And Africa’s salvation lies on the back of these Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs will help us kill the Hippo generation. These are the ruling elites who are stuck in their intellectual patch. Complaining about colonialism and imperialism. They wouldn’t move even one foot. You ask them to reform the economy and they will never do it because they benefit from the rotten status quo.

The Plight Of An Entreprenuer…

Yesterday I received my 317th rejection letter. The day before, I was short-changed by a friend in what was to be my biggest deal in six months. During the weekend, just after finally repairing our greenhouse, a strong wind swept it away. It brought down all posts leaving one middle post in the firm. What a mockery, this middle figure! When I met my business associate to get solace, she disclosed to me that she closed down our coffee shop a week ago but she didn’t know how to break the news to me. Relax, I won’t tell you more failure. I was just telling you how my two weeks have been since we last met.

Everyday, they ask how are you doing, we respond with so much liveliness and excitement, I am fantastic, I am blessed, unbelievable, highly favored and a lot more overwhelming responses which sometimes make people believe you are problemless and that everything is going perfectly for you. They see you in fancy wears and sometimes in a car and they wish they were in your shoes. They know not the wounds you habor under your clothes.

We don’t expose every aspect of our lives to the public except the good part, the strong part, the desirous part, the part that makes you look like an idol, a role model, the only star in the dark and sometimes the lucky one. 

The truth is some of us have not slept for years, yes years, ever since we joined this course to influence the world and achieve something greater, we have been haunted by our dreams, some call it obsession, what ever it is, we don’t sleep like normal people. Sometimes it feels like carrying the weight of the world but we understand the path we follow is not for the ordinary. So we are not fine…

They ask how are things going and we respond; solid, amazing, great, fantastic … But the truth is, we have never been great, we are always on the look for solutions. We reflect the good, better, best poem where it says  “may I never rest, until my good is better”. We don’t rest. Sometimes we don’t even know what that word means. We are always in a problem. We don’t know the meaning of weekends or holidays, those are strange languages to us so far as the dream is concerned. Always spinning your brain and draining energy from all directions. We sacrifice a lot of relationships and relational time just to ensure we are focused and connected to the right energy source….we are not fine!

We can’t permit spiritual sluggishness because the risk we sometimes take, only The Creator can hold us down. It is not like we have metallic hearts, we feel the pump, rush and fear that everyone else feels to but our unquenchable desire to make great impact in the lives of the people we care about, gives us a reason to take the leap when we are still uncertain about the dept of the valley.

Don’t even talk about financial losses; these become regular and normal. It is now abnormal to not lose money. We now understand why the foundable law of nature says “one must go for one to come”. We have developed the eyes to see money as just a tool to reach a goal, unlike many who die, kill and waste their time on money, we sacrifice the money to get the time, knowledge, skills, human resources and sometimes zero, yes zero lol..you can call it lesson…

The family backlash is one of the greatest challenges the upcoming entrepreneur would have to deal with. It’s normal for your parent to discourage you when you are trying to do the impossible; something no one ever did. And when it takes you so long in time, effort and finances they get alarmed by how you are likely to waste your life chasing something unrealistic. It is quite a heavy burden when the people supposed to fight with you are often the ones against you…. We are not fine!

Sometimes you wonder if you are going crazy, is this really meant for you. Come on, I have been doing this for 5 years now still nothing. What happens after 20yrs and things still don’t work out? How do I settle and cater for the family?. This is how life challenges you and this is the perfect opportunity for you to encounter the demon in your head. You begin to panic and lose your entrepreneurial senses. You begin to think like a normal person and shiver….we are just not fine!

We are always confused and indecisive, a lot of articles online give the impression that entrepreneurs are smart and decisive. Its all deception, most entrepreneurs didn’t even know the business to Start with. We always have to battle our indecisiveness and act like we know what we want when in actual fact, we are testing to see which one our ‘vim” would wrap around and we give it our all and HOPE for the best…..we are still not fine!

Everyday we anticipate a new failure, a new fall, a new bad news, a new it didn’t go well. Then we give ourselves another chance to try. People would adore us and wish to be like us when they see a successful performance after 10,000 stressful repetitions…. We are not fine!

We pretend to play the universal soldiers; we are fearless, painless, tireless and emotion-less. But the truth is we are just ordinary stubborn people who believe The Creator will reward us if we keep pushing. We don’t stop until we get there. In simple terms,  we are not fine, we are on a mission to change the world.

 

Daughter When You’re Grown…

Some women choose to follow men, while others choose to follow their dreams. If you are wondering which way to turn, remember that your career will never wake up one morning and tell you, it doesn’t love you anymore!

Your mum is a celestial being in a wrong planet. An angel is an understatement. So symmetrical and dainty with beautiful skin, dimpled cheeks and a shock of jet-black hair. Seeing her wave of curves seamlessly flow through her dress sweeps me off my feet and lands me right on her bumps. I thought I was too strong to be visually seduced until I found myself on the ground after knocking the wall while in a trance staring at your mum. Shift happens!

Without a shadow of doubt daughter, you have taken after every bit of her beauty and have taken it a notch higher. You are a hybrid of a phenomenal human being that I am and a heavenly body that she is.Your supple bronze-skinned face and your sylphlike form makes you look nothing less but a goddess of beauty. Honey, you are quite a sight. But always remember this princess, thinking you are too beautiful to be broke, is the biggest lie you can ever tell yourself.

Your beauty might help you push open doors. That beauty, whose current standards entail youth and symmetry, will give you an edge in life today. With regards to matters of the heart, being pretty might get you noticed first by prospective suitors. Being considered beautiful will get people to sit down & listen to you and may even get you an interview. If you are lucky, depending on which career path you choose, it might even get you hired. But beauty can only go so far. You might be given priority for your looks, but you will be fired equally fast if you do not have character, excellence and professionalism, required for the job. Good looks are simply not enough. Thinking that beauty is synonymous with success is delusional. 

To attain fulfilment in life; whether financial success or even success in relationships, you will need to put in the work. Just like believing that inner beauty is enough, thinking outer beauty is equal to success is an easy way out for women who do not want to make an effort to improve themselves; indolent women who believe that being easy on the eye is enough to make themselves successful, as such, they do not put in the work.

By putting in the work, I mean improving your scope of knowledge and skills, while making sure to remain physically presentable. I am talking about striving for a self-awareness, self-identity and more self-confidence. Being all rounded will not only open doors for you but will also ensure they remain open.

My princess, if you ever get tempted to think that beauty equals success not necessarily in the career world but in the form of a rich and a powerful husband, look around. Look at the wives of the rich and the most powerful in East Africa. A quick glance at Margaret Kenyatta, Janet Kagame and even Janet Museveni will show you that these women’s explicit focus isn’t on how they look. Other than a hint of lip gloss, they do not wear heavy make-up or expensive hairdos. What they do have however, is likeable personalities and overly impressive CVs.

From personal experience, I can confirm to you that the life choices of the rich and powerful are heavily influenced by the fact that they spend their days around people who are trying to put up appearances in a bid to impress them. Think about it, on that day that you have a meeting with your CEO  or you are going to make the (business) pitch of your life, you will put on your best dress, have your hair done and apply that tube of expensive lipstick that you only save to use on special occasions. Both you and the CEO or the business mogul you want to work with, know this. Naturally, when this man goes out looking for a life partner, he will be looking for something deeper than appearances. I love your mama for reasons far beyond physical looks and her impeccable sense of fashion.

Believing that beauty is enough is a damaging attitude for any woman to have, today. When a woman who feels she is entitled to a high-end life or the best man available but finds herself single or broke, then she feels conned. Much like a woman who settles for a man she deems unworthy of her feels when this man cheats or leaves her for another.

Sweetheart, while you are busy pinching your cheeks and lazing your eyes, remember that it is not permanent. Youthfulness and beauty is fleeting. Like smoke, it will soon disappear in the clouds.

Beauty standards are constantly changing. What society terms as a beautiful woman today will be seen as plain tomorrow. A decade ago, women were starving themselves to acquire thigh gaps, now women are eating chicken feed and getting silicone implants in their behinds because society has told them that curvy is more beautiful. What will you do when you find yourself on the other side of the standards? Are you willing to peg your success on something that is fleeting?

Sweetheart, beauty with brains is not a myth. A woman can be drop-dead gorgeous, quick-witted and highly skilled, look at your mum. One is not exclusive of the other, as we seem to believe. 

Honey, now that you are aware of the choices available to you, in case you feel that bagging a rich man and having that status rub off on you is the way to go, then go for it. But to keep this man’s attention, you will need to work on other parts of your life.

For your friend who believes that aesthetics really matter, tell her to remember that beauty today comes in tubes and bottles and can be bought from surgeons’ dens. Instead of spending all her resources today to look prettier, she should try improving herself in other areas too. This naturally, will come with financial rewards. Then, if it will still matter to her, with a few nips and tucks, she can afford to look however she wants.  I will forever be your greatest fan and candid friend.   

Who Is A Real/Good Man?

I am fascinated by articles I see circulating in magazines daily; ‘How to be a man’ ,’9 things a man needs’ ,’Why men should be tamed’ etc. What wiles me the most about these articles is the fact that they are written by women! People who’ve never had a minute’s experience as a man but have striking confidence about guiding men on how to be ‘real men’!
Men thrive on testosterone. This is both a blessing and a curse. It makes us highly competitive, want to win, feel driven and stay aggressive. Anytime a man feels like he is not winning, he withdraws. It is hard for a man to continue doing what he thinks he doesn’t do well. Every man you know in your life has certain things in life that he shys away from because; he is afraid that he doesn’t do them well. So for all the naggers,who try to change a man by telling him what he doesn’t do well, don’t wonder anymore why he is less inclined to come back to you. 
Men are not drawn to criticism, they thrive on praises. Criticism shuts them out. We perform the best when you tell us what we do well. If you brag about what we do well, we wll do it better. If a man shows up with two bags of groceries and you talk about how strong he is, he will add on another one the next day to show you, ‘Girl this is nothing, I can carry three more with one finger!’
However, at times it feels like society has set up men to fail. It keeps changing the rules on what a good man is hence leaving men in a dilemma. Every two years  people come up with different rules of what a good man is. 
It used to be that a good man is one who is just a good provider. If you took care of your family, you paid all your bills and brought some money home, you were a good man. It didn’t matter that my grandpa wouldn’t say a word. In the evening. He just sat there quiet reading a newspaper and flipping through TV channels as he wills. He never communicated about his emotions. A few grumbling here and there and he was done. He was always silent, cool, calm and composed. 
We felt secured as he exercised control this way. Never have I ever heard him say ‘I Love You!’ to my grandma or anyone else. Maybe he did that once every twenty years. Maybe he did that at his death bed, I wasn’t there. If he did, I am sure it must have come out like grumbling, one wouldn’t be sure whether he was passing gas or addressing someone. All this didn’t matter. He was praised by all women in our village and revered by all men, he was a good man. And if you dared to say anything about him all women would pounce on you and drive the demons out of you. We were forbidden against saying anything about him, all they said was, he is a good man. Back then, women didn’t let kids disrespect their husbands!
Today, you can’t just be a provider, you also have to be in touch with your feelings. Listen to your inner voice. You’ve got to be tangible, be willing to express your emotions. So you don’t just provide, you also have to be able to cry. But if you cry too much, you are too soft, you are a sissy. You are wimpy. And if you don’t cry at all, you are not a man. Consequently, most men are confused, ‘How can I be a good man to a woman and enjoy being the good man?’
I spent all my life being groomed to open the door for my woman. And to ask her whether she is okay. Call her, check on her, make sure she is well. But the new wave of philosophy demonizes this. 
‘Why are you calling me now you prick, checking up on me? Stop prying! I can open up the door for myself. What a man can do, I can do it even better!’ 
The philosophy seeks to spread the wave of competition between men and women, forgetting that creatures operating on testosterone are competitive by nature, if you show them it is a contest and you are an opponent, they are biologically inclined to start viewing you as a game to be played, won, earn points and move on regardless of how cultured they are.
If you pride yourself on doing what I was taught I should do, as a gesture of my overwhelming love for you, have you not worked me out of  my job? Chivalry? Now I don’t know whether to buy the dishes or wash the dishes. You are now taught to do the everything I thought of doing and I no longer have a defined role to play but you keep complaining that I don’t show enough love to you. I don’t keep your love cup filled and overflowing.
Okay, a man is obligated to be on the set, but have you told him, Why do you need him? What should he bring to the table? What is it about him that keeps bringing you back even after totally singing out of how less of a man he is? If all you are good at is communicating where your man falls short, don’t expect him to excel. 
A man does not flourish in criticism, he flourishes in praise. He flourishes in the same things you give readily to your son but acutely deny the dad. Remember, every father, is somebody’s little boy. And in every man, there is a boy seeking approval of his surrounding.
The world is accustomed to celebrating mothers. A chain retailer disclosed that 215% more money is spent on cards for mothers’ day than fathers’ day. Men are expected to keep their love well flowing when nobody ever makes any deposits in it. Men are still expected to show up in all the kids practices, sort school challenge, settle differences with neighbors and workmates on behalf of all family members but when the kid finally grows up, he gives all credit to mum and forgets dad ever played a role. In some cases the whole family gangs up against dad, illuminating all his shortcomings.
There’s not always a big pay off for being a steady man. And the truth of the matter is, more and more men of all colors are quitting. Walking away. Hanging themselves. Blowing their heads. Jumping from towers. Or commit offenses that leads to lifetime in jail. And the younger generation of men is mad, angry and upset because their fathers left. They never dig deeper to the root cause. They fail to realize that they too are setting up themselves for the same fate. It is easy to criticize, but at times you blame others for what you’ll soon become.
Our daughters are fascinated about the thought of owning a man to themselves. They are excited though they have never lived with a man past intimacy and through disaffection. So you have to live up to what she imagines. A superman. But just because you imagined it, doesn’t make it doable. I wish you imagined a broken man, a flawed man, a man who get scared sometime, one who gets worried but keeps fighting, swinging and pushing. I wish you never imagined superman for a husband, I wish you imagined Clerk Kent, this is more achievable. So you won’t have to hop from one man to another searching for ‘the one’. All men have their superman moments, but at last their kryptonite moments come. No man stays as superman forever!
There’s no such thing as a real man. Or a good man. A man is just a man. This concept of there being an imaginary box men should fit, of manhood being something that is quantifiable is fallacious.
Every time someone speaks about what they believe a man should be, I always ask: According to who? I don’t think manhood is quantifiable. Even if it were, the most annoying thing about all of it is that it isn’t even the man who gets to decide for himself what the measure for manhood should be. It is the people around him who have assigned themselves that role. People with no experience whatsoever about being in his shoe.
Then there is the fact that the rules on this bar that the man is pitted against are external. Manhood is almost a measure of how a man looks. What he wears or how he talks. If we were to quantify it,why can’t we go with things that actually matter? Like a man’s values or even how much impact he has on society around him?
It is this lie that birthed the current breed of men who are obsessed with the exterior superficial outlook. The media sells them out everywhere. These corrupt pricks fake everything. They want to show that they got it. They take some pills and get instant abbs, biceps and triceps for photo shoots. They gamble and bet all day and night with the hope of winning millions to buy  flashy lifestyle, cars and women. They mimic all definition of happiness by what the banana media intends to sell out to us. This is bullshit!
By believing in the concept of real manhood or a good man we are continually undoing all the progress that manhood has made socioeconomically. When a boy is born, he finds the lists of attributes in place. He grows up being pitted against them. He spends his whole life trying to scale them. Almost always, he will not be able to tick off all the boxes because he is a real good man and a real good man is not perfect.
He spends a great deal of his resources trying to reach what society tells him is perfect. Depending on the strength of his fight, he may give up along the way and spend the rest of his life feeling like a failure because clearly, according to all those around him, he is not a real man. Something must be wrong with him.

Is It Gender Competition or Gender complementation?

One day, when we were in Class Six, female teachers took all the girls in to a private room to teach them how to be women.

Being young and nosy boys, we frantically tried to eavesdrop on this session. A big part of the talk dwelled on warding off ‘stupid’ boys, and not allowing boys to rule over their bodies. Then there was the little issue of puberty and the changes it brought, and what the girls were to do.

Later, when I spoke to friends, I realised that this was common practice. It is founded on the perception that a girl child needs someone to walk with through the tumult of adolescence, and the fallacy that the boy child is an impediment, if not an enemy of a girl’s success.

These thoughts replayed in my mind with the explosion of the debate in recent days about the place of men in society. The place of the boy child and man in  society is changing at a frenetic pace. It is not simply about the traumatic punishments meted out by women in Nyeri

Globally, boys are more likely to drop out of school. They are more likely to abuse drugs. A boy child in some countries is 20 times more likely to be imprisoned. Where did it all go wrong?

It went wrong right from Class Six when teachers assume that the boy child knows his way; that he does not need direction. That if anything, he is the aggressor. It spiralled right out of our homes, where boys have no model on how to transition into men. And I believe, by insisting on gender equality, we miss the point. Gender equality is a utopian, if not alien concept. For, how can you compare the incomparable? Boys, by nature of their wiring, are fundamentally different from girls.

To subdue a creature responsive to testosterone and equate it to another, thriving on oestrogen, is like caging a cat and a lion together because both are from the same family.  The intersection between modernity and traditional practices has thrown the boy child into a wilderness of identity. A man was supposed to be stoic, strong and forbearing. Today, the message is that what a boy can do, a girl can do better. Instead of working on the inherent, God-given strengths in both, the current rhetoric sets them in competition against one another.

As one writer puts it, parents today are too quick to swoop in. We don’t want our children to fall. So, instead of letting them experience life’s challenges, we clear the path. We have forgotten that adversity is part of life and is necessary to enable children to build life-coping skills they will need later on in life.

So, when we see a drunken man lying in a gutter, it started from the roots. Drinking is but a manifestation of a flawed system. It is time we did something about it. Doing something about it starts with a robust debate. It starts with an honest discussion about life stages and identity of the boy child. If it calls for going back to our roots to find out what went wrong, then we must embrace this.

Empowering one gender must never be synonymous with stifling the other. We must realise that we need a functional man and woman for a functional society.

Take Care Of Your Ageing Parents

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. “We must do something about father,” said the son. “I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.” So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl! When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?” Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his day, he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Our parents are still waking up and dragging themselves to work at their 60’s to feed their 29-year-old children who sit and flip through Tv Channels all day.Worse these adults post pictures on Instagram and pretend everything is going well in their lives. We are so busy trying to impress a blind world that we forget those who gave up their lives so we could live.

The parents have been struggling since birth traveling 10 km to school bare footed.
After that, they got job’s and used all their money to pay for their children’s education.These parents have never enjoyed their money

Now some of the children didn’t even complete their qualifications and also some completed their qualifications but they are choosy when it comes to job hunting. Also, the high teenage pregnancy is putting more weight on our grandmothers.

Those who have been fortunate enough to get jobs have forgotten their background. Most parents born in the 60’s and 70′ are dying today because of the stress that is caused by their children. Imagine working hard your whole life and never enjoying the fruits of your labour.

I have had heartbreaking conversations with some parents. Some say they wish they were dead already so they could finally get to rest.
Listen, a real ‘hustlers’ dream should be to see your mother leaving free.
#FinanciallyFree
The dream should not be chasing after gold diggers that want luxury.
What’s the use of chasing girls while your mother is still struggling and dragging herself to work?
Some guys would rather buy $80 bottle of Champagne and impress girls instead of buying groceries for their starving parents back home!

We grow up and forget how hard our parents fought for us. How hard it was for them to raise us. We forget that. Our parents sacrificed their lives so we could live comfortably in this generation. They deserve heaven.

Let us appreciate our ageing parents and stop stressing them out, they have been through a lot. Never forget where you come from. But if you do, don’t worry, your kids will remind you when you are ageing how it feels to be abandoned by poeple you lived to love with all your might.

The Quagmire Of Youth Unemployment

These days, it seems that our youth go through a cycle. They are passed through schools that don’t teach anything real about life, are then forced to search for jobs that don’t exist and finally, are left stranded in the streets to stare at the glamorous lives advertised around them that they cannot afford.

It is common practice to see people with incredible academic qualifications posing at strategic places during peak hours (when traffic jams are tightest), holding huge placards containing a list of their qualifications, asking for jobs. These include multiple degrees, masters and certificates in different professional fields.  I saw a write up about the death of employment in a certain country and thought I should share my thoughts on it in the context of most African countries.

Someone posted a photo of a woman engaging in ingenious business and it sparked multiple reactions. She carries a gas cooker, eggs, frying pan and utensils around construction sites, receiving orders for fresh fried eggs which she prepares on the go. Many people sympathized with her because she has a college education, and as such, apparently she shouldn’t be engaged in such work. For some however, this is something to celebrate. Somebody has risen above her situation, and found something to do with her life.

Africa is awash with graduates moving from office to office searching for the elusive formal job. In the banking sector for example, thousands of graduates jostle for jobs in a shrinking market. Yet, information technology has made traditional banking almost obsolete since many people now use mPesa or transact on their phones: they withdraw, deposit, transfer cash, and even borrow loans.

This grim reality should awaken us to the truth of our times: The era of formal employment is over. Does this mean education becomes useless? Not at all. The country will continue training all forms of professionals.  What is needed though, is a huge shift in paradigm? The first step is to manage expectations.

There is a big difference between the theory in a lecture room, and the real world. Our education system must start preparing our students about the uncertain terrain in the job market. Only graduates who are willing to soil their hands and cultivate in patience will succeed in the ever changing landscape.

The lady preparing eggs on the spot has already learnt how to adapt to the tides of time. Armed with her education, she will slowly penetrate the market, and after sometime, she may employ others to help her in her vast distribution network. These alternative ventures, which are a form of hustling, need time to grow into enterprises. The era of clambering for quick riches should end.

Looking at photos of Jay-Z in full attire of PUMA, one may think it is just a typical photo of him. But it is deeper than that. Jay-Z’s right hand man, Vegas Jones collaborated with PUMA and has a line of clothing and footwear. Jay-Z hasn’t even signed an endorsement deal with PUMA out of loyalty & support of his friend and his vision. Some young people won’t even share a friend’s business page or posts promoting their services. Yet these very same people never stop asking for favors in terms of free goods or money. 

I have heard countless stories of young people who have suffered at the hands of local celebrities who demand free goods and services or breach payment agreements only to show off to the public, their expensive ‘imported’ luxury product. Support your friends like you support international celebrities you don’t know. When you support a small business, you support a dream that my change your immediate society.  

Additionally, studying a certain course does not mean one is necessarily destined to work in that line of business. We have seen doctors who have become successful farmers. Some economists have gone on to become great fitness trainers. There is a Swahili saying that goes, Mchagua jembe si Mkulima (He who gets choosy about farming tools is not a real farmer). The youth ought to be taught the need to be willing to take on transitional jobs as a means of building a successful dream. Sometimes you need to do these transitional jobs to get to where you want. 

If you have to sell bedsheets, sell bedsheets. Do what you have to do with pride, at the same time, do not let any job kill your dream. The only thing that can make you feel alive is your dream. You have to make the decision and say, ‘I am going to do this’ NOT, ‘ I am thinking about doing this. Stop waiting on your ‘dream Job’ that will instantly deliver all your demands at your door step, in one fell swoop.

Finally, governments have a role to play in that, they need to provide enabling environments to nurture start-ups and other forms of hustles. For a long time, starting a business has been made complicated almost to the point of being criminalized, especially for struggling youth. The tax regimes and licenses should be streamlined and made easy to adhere to. A death knell has sounded on the era of employment. A new era of self employment begins. Let us start bracing for the challenges ahead.

“When the hunters learnt to shoot without missing, the birds learnt to fly without perching. When the centre does not hold, Things Fall Apart!”

 

10 Things You Will Regret Doing in life

  1. Wearing a mask to impress others –  If the face you always show the world is a mask, someday there will be nothing beneath it. Because when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are. So don’t fear the judgments of others; you know in your heart who you are and what is true to you. You don’t have to be perfect to impress and inspire people. Let them be impressed and inspired by how you deal with your imperfections. 
  2. Letting someone else create your dreams for you – The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are; the second greatest is being happy with what you find. A big part of this is your decision to stay true to your own goals and dreams. Do you have people who disagree with you? Good. It means you’re standing your ground and walking your own path. Sometimes you’ll do things considered crazy by others, but when you catch yourself excitedly losing track of time, that’s when you’ll know you’re doing the right thing.
  3. Keeping negative company – Don’t let someone who has a bad attitude infect you. Don’t let them get to you. They cannot pull the trigger if you don’t hand them the gun. When you remember that keeping the company of negative people is a choice, rather than an obligation, you free yourself to keep the company of compassion instead of anger, generosity instead of greed, and patience instead of anxiety.
  4. Being selfish and egotistical – A life filled with loving deeds and good character is the best tombstone. Those who you inspired and shared your love with, will remember how you made them feel long after your time has expired. So carve your name on hearts, not stone. What you have done for yourself alone dies with you; what you have done for others and the world remains.
  5. Avoiding change and growth – If you want to know your past look to your present conditions. If you want to know your future look to your present actions. You must let go of the old to make way for the new; the old way is gone, never to come back. If you acknowledge this right now and take steps to address it, you will position yourself for lasting success.
  6. Giving up when the going gets tough – There are no failures, just results. Even if things don’t unfold the way you had expected them to, don’t be disheartened or give up. Learn what you can and move on. The one who continues to advance one step at a time will win in the end. For the battle is always won far away and long before the final victory. It is a process that occurs with small steps, decisions, and actions that gradually build upon each other and eventually, lead to that glorious moment of triumph.
  7. Trying to micromanage every little thing – Life should be touched, not strangled. Sometimes you have got to relax and let life happen without incessant worry and micromanagement. Learn to let go a little before you squeeze too tight. Take a deep breath. When the dust settles and you can once again see the forest for the trees, take the next step forward. You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going to be headed somewhere great. Everything in life is in perfect order whether you understand it yet or not. It just takes some time to connect all the dots.
  8. Settling for less than you deserve – Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were before. Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again. Do not settle.
  9. Endlessly waiting until tomorrow – The trouble is, you always think you have more time than you do. But one day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to work on the things you’ve always wanted to do. And at that point, you either will have achieved the goals you set for yourself or, you will have a list of excuses for why you have not.
  10. Being lazy and wishy-washy –  The world doesn’t owe you anything, you owe the world something. So stop daydreaming and start DOING. Develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Take full responsibility for your life – take control. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now; the somebody the world needs is YOU. 

Are You Happy?

If you are not happy in your current state, you might never be happy in any other state. This means your happiness is dependant upon an ideal state that you have formed in your mind and yet life will never be ideal.

Happiness (namely long term, consistent happiness), is an inside job; it is an emotional state and comes from within. It can never be gained from the outside. Happiness can best be described as contentment. Once you train your inner being into being contented with who you are, you will be happy as you work through all stages of becoming who you want to be. if, on the other hand, you ignore the habit of contentment, you will be dissatisfied with everything in life.

According to the WHO (Word Health Organization), approximately one million people commit suicide each year worldwide, that is about one death every 40 seconds or 3,000 per day. For each individual who takes his/her own life, at least 20 attempt to do so. Suicide has a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000 people.  These statistics show the results of unhappiness. It is heartbreaking.

Society is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness is not very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? In a society that thrives on self-doubt, being self confident is a rebellious act.

How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturizer? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get someone to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration, another religion, tribe, race or colour. How do you get people to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get people to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaw(s). How do you get people to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get people to buy a new smart phone? By making them feel like they are being left behind.

We are constantly being shown on commercials that happiness lies in what we don’t have. They portray people in bigger houses, fancier cars, different outfits as the ones who are happier. So we are duped into defining happiness based materialism. We start thinking that acquiring the things we don’t have now, will make us happier in the future.

To be calm becomes kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with you own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable in your own messy, human self, would not be good for business.

So you spend your time and resources chasing jobs, titles, people, relationships, houses cars and all things hoping these will make you happy. You live your life on edge, hiding your flaws to please a person, company, organization or employer somewhere. You hope your fake perfection will make them happy and convince them to accept you. Only then will you start living because you will be happy.

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. You are not a whole human being without your flaws. You cannot cut out only the good; your strengths, talents and gifts then leave out your shortcomings. If someone doesn’t accept you just as you are (with all your strengths and weaknesses), that person isn’t worth having in your life.

You are not a machine which comes with certain specifications to suit a particular job. You do not exist to make institutions get anything from life. The institutions exist to aid your journey through life. You are under no obligation to set yourself on fire so as to keep the world warm.

There is beauty in imprefection. Most of all there is fulfilling joy, happiness and contentment. Be-You-tiful!