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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!”

 

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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!

Do You Miss The Old You?

Do you remember the person you were before the world forced you to be someone else?

You’re desperately wanting to get back to the person you use to be but somehow it feels unreachable.

You feel like they are too far gone. You believe you lost them completely.

You were so carefree and now you feel like you’re always on edge.

You were outspoken and now you feel like you have to hold your tongue.

You could wear anything you wanted without being criticised for it.

You could believe in what you wanted but now you’re judged for thinking differently.

Gradually, you feel like the part of you, you loved and created died… and who you are now is just an imposter.

You have to put on a fake smile, be apart of fake friendships, and be what the world wants you to be.

Before, you use to do things differently, you use to feel differently, you use to be different.

It was a gradual change. You barely noticed it until one day you said or did something and you thought to yourself, this isn’t me.

You have expectations to live up to now. You have people looking up to you. You have to be perfect and never let anyone see you fail.

Maybe someone changed you, or someone’s constant criticism or judgement changed you.

Maybe it was a relationship? Relationships do change us but in a way of where we are more ourselves than, than something we are not.

Maybe you don’t want to admit that the person you’re with has created you to be the version they wanted, and you let them because you’re so in love with them.

Know this, love does not require you to be anything other than who you are.

If you feel like you have to be someone you’re not, this isn’t love. Love frees us to be the person we know to our core.

Remember this:

There is a part of yourself that is always changing and growing.

There is also a part of yourself that you hold on to because that makes you who you are.

The person who is growing starts to see things differently than before because something in the changed.

They gained a new perspective, they gained new understanding, they changed their ideas and their thoughts, willingly. Not by the notions of others.

Growing does not mean losing the person you’ve always been. There is something deep down inside the core of who you are that only ourselves know intimately.

At times you can’t always be the person you feel down to your core. Simply, because you don’t have the means or the understanding to get there.

One day, I assure you, you will reach that potential. It doesn’t mean that part of us will ever die as we grow older, It just means we haven’t got there yet. Be patient. It will come.

Let go of anything or anyone that is not making you better, holding you back from your potential, or telling you that the person you’ve always known and loved isn’t enough.

You are free to love yourself, every detail, every flaw, everything because it makes you, you.

NETWORKING IS OVERRATED! (Part 2)

Many people will not like this, but if I don’t write it, my conscience will not forgive me. Multi – level marketing OR what we call networking business is a strategy that some direct sales companies use to encourage their existing distributors to recruit new distributors by paying the existing distributors a percentage of their recruits’ sales; the recruits are known as a distributor’s “downline.” Yes, it exists, and works, but, now I asked why is Africa always their dumping ground?

Because they know they can always manipulate us easily, Emotional, Mentally and Physically. Because they know it is here, in Africa, where you can easily find a lot of people whose thoughts barely go an inch deeper, because that is where you find a lot of people who are lazy, where you find a lot of people who are mentally poor, Emotionally weak, or what I call mentally drenched. It’s here you will find people who are mentally inferior, emotionally incompetent with thousands lacking foresight. Here you can find people ABEL, IDEL MINDS/MEN: where you find people who can sell their future for morsels of bread; people who can sell their brothers for a dinner with a king in the palace; where people are busy all through their lives plotting on how to take over their brother’s empire instead of building their own; where you will find people who lack knowledge of sewing and reaping; people who think of now, now, now and self alone; people who are not futuristic in nature, (immediate gratification is the mantra); and some countries in the developed world are using it against us.

Interestingly enough, this developed world created this immediate gratification for the business world. Was it created for Africans because they are abusing it or they have abused it? People who cannot separate business culture and lifestyle culture. And yet, this set of people want the big lifestyle, they want the manna to fall from heaven, so as to paint the towns red, so as to intimidate their brothers by living big. We want to reap where we did not sow. In short, we want an easy life.

So some emotionally empowered country, sit all night planning on programs such as what you and I call Multi- level marketing, Networking business with a stipend to entice (us) i.e. those countries that are emotionally poor in our own way. Because the way it sells there is not the way it sells here.

Once here, you and I jump into it, thank the Creator for our leaders who indirectly have contributed in aiding us into their hands, they are now our saviours – our mini gods. Do we have another choice than to live for survival? Most of the survival of this program thrives more amongst Africans then other developed countries in the world. Even their patterns differ by countries.

Tell this company ( the so-called, Multi – level Marketing / NETWORKING companies), to pay ten dollars for the adverts and they’ll slap you with a NO!! They know that the best way of marketing is One-on-One marketing i.e. word of mouth. They also know that the coconut heads people will do it for them just as they have been doing it. They are just using our manpower.

I don’t like this. I want my people to be liberated. Let’s get over immediate gratification priorities, let’s have the habit of long term project. Let’s kill the spirit of greed. Let’s kill the spirit of jealousy, envy and wickedness. China is where it is today because it cultivated the habit of entrepreneurship. Now millions of Chinese networking businesses abound in Africa. Our Government should also stop the faceless policy that discourages people from doing things on their own. Regulatory bodies should slow down on us. Do you know if you learn one thing or the other and instead, use these resources on you (instead of multi-level marketing), then in five to ten years time, you will not be hungry? But most Africans want instant results. Let’s stop allowing all these foreign companies to use us and dump us with the promise of travel, cars and house. When you own your own business you will be able to do those things with ease.

I have studied multi-level marketing and I know their tricks. Each transaction goes straight to their country. We sell their products. We bring ready market sfor them. We are directly building and increasing their GDP. Do that for yourself and watch your country’s economy grow rapidly. If we are importing goods, let’s know it’s importation we are doing. But not using our people and manipulating our leaders who in turn, push our people into these “Networking” jobs and their tricky programs. I am still waiting penitently for an African multi-level market – I suppose it’s only a matter of time.

Networking Is Overrated (Part 1)

Some people treat me like a God; they only remember me when they have problems. It’s an awful feeling when everyone looks at you as their ATM machine. You get hundreds of texts from people out rightly asking for money, jobs, connections etc. Often, they don’t even have the courtesy to introduce themselves or even, find out how you are doing. It is their agenda first. Do people ever stop to ask themselves where the ‘money’ or how the ‘connections’ came about?

I have been a panelist in forums where listeners were trained on how to do these things. How to walk in to a CEO’s office and ask for favors. How to draft an email request to a public figure to get you things or (practically) hijack them in lifts asking for favors. I beg to disagree with these strategies and I share my thoughts challenging the moral value of such acts.

I don’t give out business cards to anyone just because they asked to have it. I don’t go to those ‘networking forums’ anymore. I no longer follow those public figures making requests or demands for undeserved favors, those that sneak backstage for a selfie, slipping business cards into briefcases, chasing public figures out the exit. If the very thought of networking makes you throw up,then you are not alone. I read an article outlining why the writer felt networking had been overrated and I thought it wise to share these insights with you here.

It’s true that networking can help you accomplish great things. But this obscures the opposite truth: accomplishing great things helps you develop a network.

Take Justin Bieber’s career: Although it took off after Usher signed him up, Justin didn’t network his way into that meeting. He taught himself to sing and play four instruments, put a handful of videos on YouTube, and a manager ended up clicking on one. Adele was discovered that way, too: She wrote and recorded a three-song demo, a friend posted it on Myspace, and a music exec heard it. Developing talent — and sharing it — catapulted them to those connections.

For entrepreneurs, too, achievement is a magnet to mentors and a beacon to backers. Spanx took off when Oprah Winfrey chose it as one of her favorite things of the year — but not because she was stalked by the company’s founder, Sara Blakely. For two and a half years, Ms. Blakely sold fax machines by day so she could build her prototype of footless pantyhose by night. She sent one from the first batch to Ms. Winfrey.

Networks help, of course. In a study of internet security start-ups, having a previous connection to an investor increased the odds of getting funded by that investor in the first year. But it was pretty much irrelevant afterward. Accomplishments were the dominant driver of who invested over time.

People often believe that if they simply meet more important people, their work will improve. But it’s remarkably hard to engage with those people unless you’ve already put something valuable out into the world. That’s what piques the curiosity of advisers and sponsors. Achievements show you have something to give, not just something to take.

Sure, you can fire off cold emails to people you respect — they’re just a click away — but you’ll be lucky if 2 percent even reply. The best way to attract a mentor is to create something worthy of the mentor’s attention. Do something interesting, and instead of having to push your way in, you’ll get pulled in. The network comes to you.

Sociologists call this the Matthew effect, from the Bible: “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance.” If you establish a track record of achievement, advantages tend to accumulate. Who you’ll know tomorrow depends on what you contributed yesterday.

Of course, accomplishments can build your network only if other people are aware of them. You have to put your work out there. It shouldn’t be about promoting yourself, but about promoting your ideas. Tooting your own horn doesn’t help you get a job offer or a seat on the board, and when employees bend over backward to highlight their skills and accomplishments, they actually get paid less and promoted less. People find self-promotion so distasteful that they like you more when you’re praised by someone else — even if they know you’ve hired an agent to promote you.

So stop fretting about networking. Build something useful first. Don’t feel pressure to attend networking events. No one really mixes at mixers. Although we plan to meet new people, we usually end up hanging out with old friends. The best networking happens when people gather for a purpose other than networking, to learn from one another or help one another.

In life, it certainly helps to know the right people. But how hard they go to bat for you, how far they stick their necks out for you, depends on what you have to offer. Building a powerful network doesn’t require you to be an expert at networking. It just requires you to be an expert at something.

If you make great connections, they might advance your career. If you do great work, those connections will be easier to make. Let your insights and your outputs — not your business cards — do the talking.

You Don’t Have To Try So Hard

You don’t need more motivation. You don’t need to be inspired to action. You don’t need to read any more lists and posts about how you’re not doing enough.

We act as if we can read enough articles and enough little Pinterest quotes and suddenly the little switch in our brain will put us into action. But, honestly, here’s the thing that nobody really talks about when it comes to success and motivation and willpower and goals and productivity and all those little buzzwords that have come into popularity: you are as you are until you’re not. You change when you want to change. You put your ideas into action in the timing that is best. That’s just how it happens.

And what I think we all need more than anything is this: Permission to be wherever the we are when we’re there.

You’re not a robot. You can’t just conjure up motivation when you don’t have it. Sometimes you’re going through something. Sometimes life has happened. Life! Remember life? Yeah, it teaches you things and sometimes makes you go the long way around for your biggest lessons.

You don’t get to control everything. You can wake up at 5 a.m. every day until you’re tired and broken, but if the words or the painting or the ideas don’t want to come to fruition, they won’t. You can show up every day to your best intentions, but if it’s not the time, it’s just not the time. You need to give yourself permission to be a human being.

Sometimes the novel is not ready to be written because you haven’t met the inspiration for your main character yet. Sometimes you need two more years of life experience before you can make your masterpiece into something that will feel real and true and raw to other people. Sometimes you’re not falling in love because whatever you need to know about yourself is only knowable through solitude. Sometimes you haven’t met your next collaborator. Sometimes your sadness encircles you because, one day, it will be the opus upon which you build your life.

We all know this: Our experience cannot always be manipulated. Yet, we don’t act as though we know this truth. We try so hard to manipulate and control our lives, to make creativity into a game to win, to shortcut success because others say they have, to process emotions and uncertainty as if these are linear journeys.

You don’t get to game the system of your life. You just don’t. You don’t get to control every outcome and aspect as a way to never give in to the uncertainty and unpredictability of something that’s beyond what you understand. It’s the basis of presence: to show up as you are in this moment and let that be enough.

Yet, we don’t act in a way that supports this lifestyle. We fill every minute with productivity tools and read 30-point lists on how to better drive out natural, human impulse. We often forget that we are as we are until we’re not. We are the same until we’re changed. We can move that a bit further by putting into place healthy habits and to show up to our lives in a way that fosters growth, but we can’t game timing.

Timing is the one thing that we often forget to surrender to.

Things are dark until they’re not. Most of our unhappiness stems from the belief that our lives should be different than they are. We believe we have control — and our self-loathing and self-hatred comes from this idea that we should be able to change our circumstances, that we should be richer or hotter or better or happier. While self-responsibility is empowering, it can often lead to this resentment and bitterness that none of us need to be holding within us. We have to put in our best efforts and then give ourselves permission to let whatever happens to happen—and to not feel so directly and vulnerably tied to outcomes. Opportunities often don’t show up in the way we think they will.

You don’t need more motivation or inspiration to create the life you want. You need less shame around the idea that you’re not doing your best. You need to stop listening to people who are in vastly different life circumstances and life stages than you tell you that you’re just not doing or being enough. You need to let timing do what it needs to do. You need to see lessons where you see barriers. You need to understand that what’s right now becomes inspiration later. You need to see that wherever you are now is what becomes your identity later.

Sometimes we’re not yet the people we need to be in order to contain the desires we have. Sometimes we have to let ourselves evolve into the place where we can allow what we want to transpire.

Let’s just say that whatever you want, you want it enough. So much so that you’re making yourself miserable in order to achieve it. What about chilling out? Maybe your motivation isn’t the problem, but that you keep pushing a boulder up a mountain that only grows in size the more you push.

There’s a magic beyond us that works in ways we can’t understand. We can’t game it. We can’t 10-point list it. We can’t control it. We have to just let it be, to take a step back for a moment, stop beating ourselves up into oblivion, and to let the cogs turn as they will. One day, this moment will make sense. Trust that.

Give yourself permission to trust that.

‘Stop Dreaming,Wake Up & Live!

The Idiots Killed Him, Vote Wisely!

My great grandparents must have cast a spell on me when it comes to Isukuti. This traditional set of shirtless drummists and dancers wearing hats made of Leopard skin drive me crazy. They do this magic perfomances in a circle. Each member holds his drum firmly by the side like a lost rib, tilts forward just a little while standing on the toes to make it easy for them to swing while dancing. Their skinny bodies expose the countable ribs which mysteriously look like guitar strings. I have a strong feeling these form part of the instruments they play because the beautiful instrumental rhythm that results gives an impression that there could be more instruments than what meets the eyes. Even when moving, they maintain the circle. Some members act as ‘eyes’ to performers who move in a reverse manner by rubbing their butts together. It looks as if the butts Hi-Five, but since there are no five fingers, just two blocks I guess they Hi-Block each other, if you know what am saying. These performers sense directions according to pressure difference on the butts as cued by the ‘eyes’.

This is what brought me to this political rally. Watching my tribe’s men make beautiful music and dances with passion and grit. In a twist of events a certain man grabs a purse from a lady about five meters away and takes off. He disappears like a flash of lightening. I moved like Mr. Flash in real life! ‘This man should enroll for Men hundred meters Olympic competitions.’ I thought. In five seconds he was fifty meters away. This was way before the lady contemplated raising an alarm amidst the ululations! All we could see were his heels patting his shoulders as his figure grew smaller!

His victory was ephemeral. As he turned to check whether anyone pursued him, he ran straight on to a tree. He knocked it with all the zeal he used to run and fell still on the ground. He tried to get back up on his feet quickly. He couldn’t make a step. I saw him stoop down and hold his knees. Like all the weight had been transferred to his head. Nairobi being Nairobi in an instant people gathered quickly, I don’t know where they came from but there was already a crowd. People armed with stones, canes, metal and all imaginable things that one can clutch and use it to hit a thing (Not even a being).

A rain of stones fell on him. They made it rain on him. In a second he was reduced to a motionless being. There was a lot of shrieks and sharply drawn breaths. Women were tightly holding their mouths, horror written on their faces, like they had just played witness to a horrific event that would forever change their lives. I remember not wanting to look at the man who’d just been hit. I remember dreading to stare at a result of men’s unfortunate handiwork he’d turned out to be. I remember thinking, “God, don’t let this guy die, not on this bloody day!” 

When I finally get the spine to look at him my heart sunk. He looked like an archeological remain discovered in a pile of rocks. The Homo Sapien Sapien Pschophantae. Suddenly the mob runs back to the venue of the political rally. Back to ululations, dances, good music and euphoria. The waheshimiwas had arrived. They were welcomed heartily. The whole field had uniform T-shirts with all kinds of praises for the politicians. The whole arena went back to life. Indeed it was a ‘good’ day.

 

I stood rooted, unable to comprehend the flash of events that led to Mr. Flash’s splashing. I was chocked with anger. My heart bled. Could it be true that these people driven by anger about something deep down and they are just using this moment to channel it to the wrong person? Is there something more than what I saw? I felt like my whole body was being squashed by the hypocrisy of my fellow countrymen when I remembered this words by an oppressed African son, 

“It is in our nature to sacrifice small thieves and elect big thieves into power!”

 

With an average per capita income of roughly US$1 a day, sub-Saharan Africa remains the poorest region in the world. Africa’s real per capita income today is lower than in the 1970s, leaving many African countries at least as poor as they were forty years ago. With over half of the 700 million Africans living on less than a dollar a day, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of poor people in the world – some 50 per cent of the world’s poor. And while the number of the world’s population and proportion of the world’s people in extreme poverty fell after 1980, the proportion of people in sub-Saharan Africa living in abject poverty increased to almost 50 per cent. Between 1981 and 2002, the number of people in the continent living in poverty nearly doubled, leaving the average African poorer today than just two decades ago. The 2007 United Nations Human Development Report forecasted that sub-Saharan Africa would account for almost one third of world poverty in 2015, up from one fifth in 1990 (this largely due to the dramatic developmental strides being made elsewhere around the emerging world).

Life expectancy has stagnated – Africa is the only continent where life expectancy is less than sixty years; today it hovers around fifty years, and in some countries it has fallen back to what it was in the 1950s (life expectancy in Swaziland is a paltry thirty years). The decrease in life expectancy is mainly attributed to the rise of the HIV—AIDS pandemic. One in seven children across the African continent die before the age of five. These statistics are particularly worrying in that (as with many other developing regions of the world), roughly 50 per cent of Africa’s population is young – below the age of fifteen years.

Adult literacy across most African countries has plummeted below pre-1980 levels. Literacy rates, health indicators (malaria, water-borne diseases such as bilharzia and cholera) and income inequality all remain a cause for worry. And still across important indicators, the trend in Africa is not just downwards: Africa is (negatively) decoupling from the progress being made across the rest of the world. Even with African growth rates averaging 5 per cent a year over the past several years, the Africa Progress Panel pointed out in 2007 that growth is still short of the 7 per cent that needs to be sustained to make substantial inroads into poverty reduction.

On the political side, some 50 per cent of the continent remains under nondemocratic rule. According to the Polity IV database, Africa is still home to at least eleven fully autocratic regimes (Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, The Gambia, Mauritania, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda Eritrea, Gabon, The Gambia, Mauritania, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe). Three African heads of state (dos Santos of Angola, Obiang of Equatorial Guinea and Bongo of Gabon) have been in power since the 1970s (having ascended to power on 2 December 1967, President Bongo has recently celebrated his fortieth year in power). Five other presidents have had a lock on power since the 1980s (Compaore of Burkina Faso, Biya of Cameroon, Conte of Guinea, Museveni of Uganda and Mugabe of Zimbabwe). Since 1996, eleven countries have been embroiled in civil wars (Angola, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda). And according to the May 2008 annual Global Peace Index, out of the ten bottom countries four African states are among the least peaceful in the world (in order, Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan and Somalia) – the most of any one continent.

Why is it that Africa, alone among the continents of the world, seems to be locked into a cycle of dysfunction? Why is it that out of all the continents in the world Africa seems unable to convincingly get its foot on the economic ladder? Why in a recent survey did seven out of the top ten ‘failed states’ hail from that continent? Are Africa’s people universally more incapable? Are its leaders genetically more venal, more ruthless, more corrupt? Its policymakers more innately feckless? What is it about Africa that holds it back, that seems to render it incapable of joining the rest of the globe in the twenty-first century? It is me and you friend. We sacrifice small thieves, and elect the big thieves into power. Entrusting our goats under the ‘Noble’ leadership of Hyenas and Leopards. Then when the Leopard eats our goats, we kill our neighbors.

 

Back to Mr.Flash, the idiots killed him. We killed him. You killed him too, with your vote. Next time, Vote wisely!

 

EXTRA PAIN FOR DYING YOUNG & FOOLISH

Do you know how it feels when you stand for four hours, thinking hard and using every stint of your senses, to try and make sense of an abstruse experiment and nothing comes of it?

 

And then, after the frustrating four hours, the lab technician who has been giggling and grinning all the while, staring at his monitor with earphones across his head and a pitch black veil, walks towards you with a cluttered face like the angel of death, ‘Where are your results? ‘

 

You look at him blankly and he looks back. He sneers at you and looks at the equipment he gave you. For a moment he burst out laughing and says, ‘These pieces of equipment do not work. Find time and come back to repeat the experiment using better equipment. ‘ With that, he walks away.

 

Some people are alive just because it is illegal to kill them, I think to myself. Although it’s the thousandth time, I just never get used to the frustration it brings. Feeling hungry, defrauded emotionally and desperate, I walk sluggishly to my room and lay flat on my empty belly. All the while, my stomach is rumbling as if there is a power shortage in my body and my whole being is running on emergency power from generators in the stomach.

 

The heat got too much making me uncomfortable and a bit restless. I got up and adjusted the window. Just as I was compressing the curtains, a huge body brushed through the parallel arrangements of glass that made up the window and broke them all. I was terrified. I peeped through the curtains to see what can only be described as a lifeless human body lying on the ground. Two thirds of the head compressed into the chest. Blood gushed out of the ears and nose. A small depression on the ground formed when his head speared the ground. He had gone to the roof top of the sixth floor in the building to get high. Amidst the excitement, he tripped and fell straight down ‘six feet under’. From a ‘He’ to an ‘It’. All his friends disappeared. 

 

In my first week on campus, I received the heart breaking news that a very close friend was found dead in his room. He had been out boozing all night with friends and came back before dawn. He slept henceforth, never woke up to tell the tale of his experience. Not even to his village which had been called upon every year, to raise money for his fees ever since he lost his parents. There was speculation that he had been poisoned by a friend after they fell out over a girl who denied them both because she was seeing some filthy-rich politician. She was found dead under mysterious circumstances. She was last seen in a multi-million party at the politician’s home in the city.

 

In my second year on Campus, a lady from the neighbouring campus was found dead on the highway, minutes away from the City. Rumour has it that they were headed for a night out with her lover when an argument erupted.  Things heated up. Both of them were high; neither of them was willing to come down. He pushed her towards the busy road. She was instantly knocked dead by an oncoming over speeding vehicle. He ran away and left her lifeless body there, bleeding profusely.

 

Several months later, I woke up to see a former classmate in all news sites; WANTED! He had stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death using a kitchen knife because ‘..she led me on.’ He was later found in a dungeon attempting to commit suicide. He was one of the politest and respectful students I had ever met in my former high school. In my 4-years tenure as a prefect, I had never found him make a single mistake. Life has acerbic ways of throwing surprises to us though.

 

Last year ended with yet another tragic news. An acquaintance was found dead in his room. It is said that this was caused by an overdose of some illegal drugs. Apparently,  it wasn’t the first time that the drugs had brought him complications. Unfortunately, none of his parents or family members knew a thing about his addiction to drugs. All they knew was their gentle, polite, down to earth son, brother and role model who was beyond reproach when around family and relatives. In fact, the evening before his death, his mother had sent him money because ‘he was selected to participate in an academic trip after emerging top in his class’ as he had said. Ironically, all his colleagues in school knew a complete opposite of these traits. They knew him as a rogue, violent, abrasive drunkard who consistently received warnings for his poor performance. The sad reality for most young people.  My question is, How many more young people need to die before common sense resurrects?

 

We are angels when around family but demons at school. We are virtuous around parents but thrive on vices around temporal friends. We boast about how skillful we are at living a double life and laugh at how smart we think we are, having fooled the world. We would rather be enslaved by someone who feigns-love for us than take advice from someone who truly-loves us! We hate those who are real with us and love those who fake it all to please us. We run around social media on cheap quotes about ‘our haters’ yet our lives have nothing significant to attract self-love. We go to extremes to do stupid things to massage our frail egos. We want quick money to show ‘them’ we are indeed making it big. We get sponsors (sugar-daddies, sugar-mummies) and give our bodies in exchange for petty acquisitions. All these because we want to prove to ‘them’, that we don’t care what ‘they’ think. 

 

People would actually stop worrying about what others think of them if they realised how seldom ‘they’ actually do. Most young people poison their lives thinking they are punishing parents/brothers/sisters/friends/haters only for reality to kick it, when it is too late. Nobody really cares. When you acted all-knowing and too smart for them, everyone retreated and got busy with their own races. 

 

The tragedy of most young people is not fooling parents. It is that of fooling self and spending the rest of your time proving or disapproving inexistent beings (‘they’,’them’, ‘haters’). Nobody hates you when you are a Nobody. You are too insignificant to be hated. You are just like a kitten, chasing it’s own tail, and getting mad about it. Then finds itself in the fireplace burning to death. Its soul remains alive, grumbling with the pain of dying in oblivion. 

 

That is why I believe, there is extra pain in dying young and foolish.