RSS

Category Archives: Culture

Why We Cheat Our Way to Success

shule

I don’t understand why people get so vexed by the high rate of cheating in exams or the increased illegal buying of certificates and diplomas in institutions of higher learning. When we take a keen look at the way we are brought up, the manner in which we are programmed to think, you automatically realize that cheating is the fruit of a rotten seed planted in our mentality from the time we are born.

Our society worships grades and idolizes certificates. We are brought up in an archaic system that measures your worth on how well you can cram information for exams and how many A’s can grace your diplomas. Consequently, students regrettably go to school to pass tests rather than learn since schools value high grades more than enriched minds. Those few who are lucky enough to enter the cut-throat competitive job market are necessitated to return to class to get more papers once they grasp the fact that professional institutions value your papers more than your performance.

For a long time, since we entered pre-school, a certain idea has been constantly hammered into our minds; the idea that if you fail in your exams, you will fail in life. The idea is the rotten seed that society, through people and institutions, constantly plants in our psyche and continually waters it as we grow up. By the time you get to university, the seed is a gigantic tree with roots extremely deep that you will do just about anything to pass those exams and accumulate those diplomas because of your internalized fear of failure.

If by chance you are not the kind of person who is gifted with a mind that can memorize and regurgitate dozens of pages of information, then you automatically result to the typical examination cheats and tricks; you artistically create those microscopic mwakenyas, which you then hide in undetectable and ungodly places, or hire those academic ‘research experts’ to design and write up your final projects, or better yet, you purchase those nicely branded glossy certificates from a briefcase office somewhere along River Road. If the desperation runs too deep in your spirit, you find yourself among those who result to more extreme endeavors like ‘bedding’ their professors and ‘sleeping’ their way to success once they penetrate the high-paying job market.

We live in a psychotic society that measures the credibility of a person by how well that person can memorize formulas and how fast he or she can accrue diplomas and certificates from institutions of higher education. It is a system so draconic that promotions are based on papers rather than performance and recognition centered on grades rather than understanding. Such an extreme atmosphere induces those involved to employ rough techniques just to beat they system. Cheating, stealing, buying and all kinds of monkey business become the order of the day. Truth be told, people will do just about anything to acquire that ‘A’ and that diploma from that recognized university.

I am in no way justifying the diabolical means that individuals result to so as to advance academically and professionally, rather merely trying to explain their actions. As some like to say, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” The ideals of a society are sometimes oppressive in nature; hence the society is in constant war with itself. Those who know a little about war or conflict will tell you that the modes of oppression used by the oppressor primarily determine the means of resistance utilized by the oppressed; that is, the more intense the oppression, the more extreme the means used to overcome that oppression. That is the nature of the game and you can be rest assured that this game of grades and papers is exceptionally extreme.

Until we refrain from the obsession with high grades and paper portfolios, and shun from the ridiculous habit of placing value on an individual based on his exam score or diploma level, then we will continue to raise kids and adults who will result to any means necessary to get those pleasant papers and genius grades.

__uThanDiLe©2015

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Culture, random thoughts

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Men Are Never Comfortable In a Church_Part II

???????????????????????????????Photo credit: Anzaa Makena (church in Braga, Portugal)

The Skeptical Saint

Our people have a saying that you can rearrange the spots on a leopards skin but that won’t make it a kitten. Say by chance you succeed in getting a man through the gates of the church; getting him to pay attention will be like persuading a lion to sing soprano. His mind is always alert and questioning everything. The church is very cynical about skeptics.

The mind of a man is a radio which is only receptive to the frequency called logic. To many men, organized religion is nothing short of sanctified magical conglomerations. There are too many uncertainties, shifting variables, diverging speculations and mystical improbabilities. Then there are the miracles. The term miracle rarely finds a seat within the ears of a man. Men believe in sweat. The good book, which is the foundation of the church, exemplifies many miracles. To a man, the superstitious believe in miracles, the lazy subscribe to luck and real men deify hard work. If anything, a man believes luck and miracles are the fruits of sweat. The harder you work, the luckier you become and the more miracles you attract.

The male is inherently skeptical of the church; then the church is bold enough to ask him for 10% of his cash every month; a sacred tax of some sort. The pastor says it is for the widows and orphans. The man, a natural critic, is convinced it will be used it to pimp out the church windows and by a few ‘official’ cars.

Most men do not trust the government that is why they do everything to evade tax. Now, a man is more skeptical of the church than the government; if he won’t even pay tax, why would you expect him to put in a cent of his sweat toward tithe?

The Watchful Beast

Our people believe a woman is the closest thing to the creator due to her ability to create life through birth. Well, a man is the closest thing to a wild beast. His instinct prevents him from ever lowering his guard whether in the world or in the church; he won’t drop it even for a moment for he knows his everyday survival and wellbeing depends on the sharpness of his instinct. That instinct is a combination of logic and reason.

His woman will see the pastor as a saint, a prophet, a loving father, a God-called anointed holy spirit filled being. The man looks at that preacher and sees an ordinary man like himself. To him, the preacher man is a product of the same environment; a cunning hyena in sheep’s skin prowling around for a ripe opportunity or naive victim.

The Sacred Submission

Even if a man refrains from being a spiritual tourist, drops the street soldier mentality, shuns the independent philosophy and denounces his skepticism, he still will not make the cut for church because of one thing: Submission.

In the DNA of a man is instilled a drive to conquer, succeed, dominate, manifest indisputable courage and strength. It is something inscribed boldly in the male self. To be a believer, the church demands submission to the Savior. A man is structured to surpass and subsist not to submit to the Christ. It is a hard request to ask a man to place his heart above his mind. If anything, it will take quite a chunk of time to achieve.

The Last Hope

We live in a society that sculpts a man to be anything and everything except being spiritual. The male is taught to dominate and take charge of his own destiny by any means necessary. The young male lad turns into a hard societal product that has never felt the luxury of expressing weakness, fear or submission since its initiation to manhood. Now the church expects this societal soldier to return to its childhood; exhibit affection, weakness, helplessness and submission. Such is a chemical reaction that many chemists will say is not easily reversible.

Unless we change the systems that nurture this species called man, from when he is young, no man will ever find or feel at total ease within a church building. Like Fredrick Douglas profoundly stated, “It is easier to raise strong children that to repair broken men.” If we raise our kids well, in a spiritual sense, they will grow up to be men who find strength and comfort in any church, sanctuary or chapel.

_uThanDiLe©2015

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Men Are Never Comfortable In a Church_Part 1

???????????????????????????????

A man’s mind is not wired for the church. A sincere church going man is like a grass-eating lion; very rare to find but nowhere close to extinction. Allow me the honor of taking you on a tour of the makeup of a man which causes him enormous discomfort anytime he finds himself on a church seat.

The Spiritual Tourist

Most men are in church because of their women. Any man, at least the reasonable one, will do just about anything for the woman who has somehow managed to tame his wretched heart, which includes accompanying her to church. The church dictates total conformation of every soul within its walls. Let it be known that a man who attends church is not necessarily a convert.  Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian in the same way visiting an arboretum does not make you a tree. Most men in church are like tourists; watching and aping but never fully conforming. Their manhood does not permit them the luxury of conformation.

The Street Soldier

The church is like a horse ranch; it takes the wild hearts and attempts to tame them. Our society does the exact opposite, especially when it comes to men. Our society is designed to convert a regular gentleman into a creature with a heart harder than the bumper of a garbage truck. The once humble young man turns into a beast rougher than a rhinoceros, more ruthless than a ghetto hustler and more cunning that the self-educated call girl. From sun-up to sun-drop, for six straight days, this man lives a routine similar to a military ‘pass out’ drill. How then do you expect this same man, this rigid civilian street soldier, to automatically turn into a ‘jelly-back’ hand-lifting servant during the Sabbath day? If a man can be tortured and battered out of shape every day yet won’t even shed a single tear, how then do you expect such a hard soul to enter a place that people express brokenness? Imagine hoping that this soldier tears up upon hearing a soft worship song. The good book says that some things can only be overcome through prayer and fasting; I believe breaking this street soldier is one such thing.

The Independent Deviant

The church teaches on helplessness of the self. It constantly lectures on total reliance on an entity that is much greater than you; that is Jesus/God. The typical male driver would rather find his way by getting lost than ask for directions. The only time a man will sincerely ask for help is when he begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel; that is, when he is almost at the point of death. Let me be straight with you, if a man could burry himself, I mean, if he could pick up a shovel, dig a ‘3 by 6’ feet hole, enter it, then somehow push down the soil back in and burry himself, you would never hear of male funerals anywhere. Men are not programed to ask for help. For them, asking is not only a sign of weakness, but also an expression of defeat and inability.

Now, imagine expecting to see such a man going on his knees, tears in bubbling in his eyelids and expressing a heightened form of helplessness; the same man who would rather die before requesting assistance from another air-breathing human being. Even more tasking is that he is expected to ask help from a Man he has never actually seen, save the fabricated Michael Angelo paintings of the Savior that we find on the walls of the Vatican and catholic sanctuaries. The message of living it all to the Messiah does not flow well with the soul of the independent deviant.

Helplessness is not a trait that a typical man will voluntarily portray. Such a man is not designed for the sanctuary. Before he asks WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), before he goes on his knees to ask for divine guidance, he will go for many sleepless nights trying to figure out an innovative solution to his present condition. He will thoroughly torture his mind before he admits defeat and only then, with his dying breath, he just might call upon the Most High; rarely does he make that call.

The Desperate Lad

They say church numbers will continue to boom as a long as poverty and desperation persist. One may then be curious to ask, “Where does the desperate man relinquish his desperation if not the church”?

Yes, many will turn to the knob of the pope’s confession door but most prefer to swim in cheap liquor stores in those dark and crowded shebeens. There is too much pity for the desperate especially in those sacred buildings; too much sympathy without empathy. Men don’t like to be pitied; they prefer to be celebrated and recognized despite their woes and dented pockets. That is why they will flock the bar before they call upon the name of Jehovah!

_uThanDiLe©2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Culture, random thoughts

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monkey In My Bathroom Mirror

seis Photo credit: Anzaa Makena (vervet monkeys)

My Gogo (grandmother) often says to me that unless I leave my mother’s house, I will grow up believing she cooks the best food in the world. I once looked at my mirror and saw a monkey staring back. Unsure of whether I was awake or in a trance, I blinked once and then once more. When I opened my eyes, there was not only the monkey but a meerkat had joined the peep show. They say mirrors are a reflection of the heart just like water in a stream; they show you things that the ordinary eye cannot see. I was anxious to know what these images meant, but I was in a fix. If I went to my elders, they would say I am deranged. If I went to my friends, they would jokingly say I need to stop smoking that herb and if I went to the preacher man, he would try an exorcism on my innocent soul. So I decided to visit a Sangoma to help me demystify my vision.

A Sangoma is a diviner; a prophet of some sort; a healer; a visionary who can see things that ordinary people cannot see. A Sangoma is more often a woman, a very old one, with a dreadful appearance and mystical voice that will frighten your spirit to death. My Gogo told me that a Sangoma can smell death from a mile away; she can also see evil spirits just like a cat. According to tradition, evil spirits like to inhabit the bodies of rats. Rats move around stealthily and freely; they cause diseases and chew down your most valued possessions. In our Afrikan culture, if you have rats in your house, you are deemed poor or cursed or both. That is why most households will have a cat which they believe will chase away the evil spirits of death, disease and poverty. I have two cats, each presently nursing three kittens. I think I am well protected; but I am also a graduate with a degree in a scientific field. I am your enigmatic highly educated African with a heightened belief in indigenous spirituality. The westerner just calls it uninformed superstition.

The white Man has somehow managed to convince our people that everything we believe in is sheer savage superstition; spirituality is an abode of the civilized. That is why that Man has made it clear to us that God and His angels are indeed light like Snow while the Devil is dark like Coal. It does not need any guesswork to conclude who are the children of the crucifix and who are the bastards of lucifer. This god-look-alike Man has made it his mission to turn our dark savage souls into spiritual sanctuaries by any means necessary. That is why he has thoroughly enslaved and colonized our people. Now our people have become more fanatical than the colonial missionaries when it comes converting the dark souls of their brothers.

I am a mystery even to my own self. I am at the front seat during the Sunday sermon, I am awed at the science behind the work of Surgeons and I acknowledge the power of a Sangoma.

The Sangoma I visited had a battalion of cats patrolling her frazzled yard. When I recited to her my ordeal, she laughed mockingly just like the monkey in the mirror. “Young man, why do you want to crack the tired ribs of an old woman?” Her breathing sounded like a distant echo. My imaginary mind imagined how her rib cage must be ruggedly held together by bushy cobwebs and her lungs coated with layers of dark dust and grey ash. My Gogo says a Sangoma cannot be arrested by death. Anytime death comes knocking at her tiny congested hut, she welcomes him with a concoction of hot water spiced with mint and tangawizi. The concoction has an effect similar to that of Cannabis. Upon gulping down the drink, Death slowly turns drowsy and the Sangoma seduces him to her mahogany warped bed. After two half-moons, Death heads back to hell with his face all lit up but no soul in his hand; nothing to prove he has done any work while visiting earth. Sangomas are the custodians of the earth. They are as old as time itself: Inkulu nkulu. Not even the insatiable tummy of death has a grip on them.

“Only a fisherman knows where a fish lays its eggs. Now go!”

That was all the Sangoma said to me. She is the typical elder speaking in parables and sayings that don’t make any sense to a young educated graduate. If she only knew the kind of nonsense they teach us in school these days, she would have given me a chemical equation to balance or an algebra question to solve. They don’t teach us to solve parables in college. They don’t show us how to unravel sayings in secondary school. Yet, a Sangoma and a Gogo are the finest teachers you can find anywhere; they show you where to look but not what to see. They leave the seeing to you.

So here I was trailing and watching monkeys and meerkats from can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night, trying to figure out why they appeared as my reflection. I was as observant as an owl yet saw nothing to report about, until one day I sighted something unbelievable. I saw a meerkat, as harmless as it is, jolting a sleeping rattle snake. Anytime the rattle snake would rattle its tale, the meerkat would just sit back and watch keenly. When the snake went silent, the meerkat would disturb it again just to hear the rattling. I too was fascinated by the rattle snake’s rattling tail. It sounds exactly like a shekere or Kanyamba. If you have ever put beads or hard seeds inside a calabash and then shaken it, then you know what a rattle snake tails sound like. Monkeys are even more fascinating. I had come to observe that wherever monkeys were, other animals would parade around. The monkey is indeed the maestro of the wild; it knows where to find the sweetest leaves and fruits, the purest water and the most succulent roots. If you are around a monkey, you will probably never grow hungry or become angry. Just watching monkeys and meerkats will make your ribs crack and lungs cough.

When I think about it, my Gogo has compared me to a monkey on several occasions, saying that I like jumping from tree to tree; always curios to know something about everything. My professor says it’s quite a task for me to keep a single trail of thought; I diverge more than a chameleon’s camouflage. My friends always smile when I walk into the room or open my mouth to speak; they are sure I will say something cheeky. I am learning to take life a little more serious while still holding on to the belief that comedy is a funny way of being serious. Nonetheless, until such a time as then, anytime I see these two fascinating animals staring back in my mirror every morning, I’m just gonna continue looking, seeing and learning about the many things that I don’t know I don’t know. I also hope one of these days you too will find some strange creature staring back at you in your bathroom mirror; my Sangoma is in need of more clients and more laughter to clear her dusty lungs…..

__uThandDiLe©2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Culture, random thoughts

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Self-fulfilled Lady

???????????????????????????????

Someone somewhere has miraculously resurrected an almost extinct species of women: the Self Fulfilled Lady. That mysterious lady who goes wherever she wills as herself and only herself. The lady who does not raise tantrums just to get attention, but who won’t hesitate to shove some shoulders whenever her dignity is insulted. She is indeed a unique creature of creation. She won’t endeavor to harm her backbone by balancing her body on six inch hills on the ruggedly concrete jungle of Moi Avenue Street. She won’t suffocate her hips with tight gripping high-knee minis just to break the sweaty necks or blind the roving eyes of ordinary Nairobi hustlers, sufferers and perverts. She won’t walk around swaying her assets like a cypress tree wrestling with the wind on a chilly Monday morning just to flare up jealousy from the flock of casually dressed hardworking women who routinely manage and maintain the bulging economy of the CBD. Yet this lady will dress nicely. She will wear whatever she feels like wearing based on where she is going, who she is meeting and whatever clad is clean in her closet. She doesn’t have thirty pairs of shoes or 20 pairs of skirt suits but she will never lack something classy to wear when she steps out on a date, interview or walk in the city park.

This self-fulfilled lady won’t bulldoze people to get to the front of the camera; she is cool, calm and content like a serene waterhole in the hot shrub-manifested Savannah. Nonetheless, she will neither sink back in her seat nor shy away when the reporters’ questions and microphones come beckoning at her. She doesn’t torture her mind with unending information about the latest movies, fashion stalls, pizza joints, iPhone gadgets or alcohol brands in the market but neither is she ignorant of what’s happening around. She is the kind of lady that will chat freely with the makanga, gladly give you her phone digits if you ask nicely lakini ukijifanya bale ya unga ama eti wewe ndo ‘big kahuna’, huyu msupa atakusuka na kale kanamba ka yule mganga wa kutoka arusha. This lady is like an oasis in the desert that is modern day digital TV’s mentally-corrupted females. She is not one to measure her value based on fancy Filipino weaves, un-artistic tattoos and nose rings, ‘rangi ya thao’ bleached skin, glossy bloody-red lips or accentuated curvy hips. However, when she decides to, she will dress to kill. She is her own MVP.

The self-fulfilled lady is natural; not natural in that she wears raffia reeds or drinks milk straight from a goat’s udder or flaunts an unkempt dusty Afro, but in the sense that she is always herself. She is real. She is an undecorated walking package of peace; self-peace, self-worth, self-dignity, self-fulfilled girl. Maybe if you pray hard enough, the Most High may mercifully allow your path to cross with a member of this self-fulfilled species.

__uThanDiLe©2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Culture, random thoughts

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Wife & Your Wi-fi

wife_wifi Truth be told, social media is the most formidable foe of friendship and intimacy. It gives you an illusion of closeness and personal touch while actually putting a barricade to the very things it is designed to bridge. Social media’s firstborn bastard child is none other than the smart phone. You see its effects everywhere; in the bus, bar, salon, café and boardroom. Two minutes cannot even pass by before you slide your phone open to see what is up on Whatsup, who has posted on your Facebook wall, which of your followers have retweeted your latest tweet, whose profile picture is trending on Instagram and what new archive is in your Dropbox. Sadly enough, you check all these things as your friend or partner is left talking to himself or herself while staring at your inclined forehead with your eyes fully focused on the phone screen; better yet, he or she gets bored and automatically slides open his or her own smart phone if they happen to have one. It is therefore no surprise that the same thing ends up happening behind closed doors in the most intimate of situations. One of my favorite bloggers, Ciarra Ross, rightfully states that ‘something is completely out of order when the most important vibration to a nation of people is their cell phones’.

Now let us dissect the impact of social media gadgets behind the most important closed door: the bedroom. Going through your phone while spending intimate time with your partner should be considered a serious crime of passion, which should be punishable to the highest extent of the law. I state this based on the belief that intimacy is not as trivial as some would have us believe. Why then should someone misuse part of these divinely phenomenal intimate moments to engage his bundle-based Wi-Fi instead of connecting deeper with his precious Wife/partner? Social media primarily engages the mind and once the mind is sidetracked, the body and spirit follow suit. The dissatisfaction resulting from constant distractions when spending quality time is a typical marital/relationship ticking time bomb.

The marital problems resulting from intimacy issues are already grave; why then exacerbate the matter by constantly stalling the full flow of affection due to obsession with a cellphone? It is good to remind ourselves that the uncouth and anti-social habits, resulting from preoccupation with social media, which we display in public, will automatically replicate themselves in the privacy of our bedroom walls.

Maybe it is time you tell your Facebook you want your face back; time to tell your Twitter handle to retweet your wit ASAP. Otherwise, the moments set aside for spending quality time with a loved one will just provide fertile ground for conflict between sacred relationships and soul-less technology. As for who will win this great battle, it depends entirely on which of them you spend more time engaging. The hope is that the signal to connect to your Wife/partner will be stronger than that of your smart phone’ s Wi-Fi.

__uThanDiLe©2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Culture

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

~Hand of a Star~

Empress_I

I went to the Sun to request for the
hand of one of her stars
the bright shy one
the one who had crossed the paths
of my clan lands about
five months back

“My son, will the shadows of your love
that are cast on the brightest parts of your
hearts still grow more after
dusk comes?” the Sun asked…..

This girl….this shy star
she had the beauty of an entire galaxy
I could feel the rays of her beautiful
eyes warming my chest as I sat down anxiously
on a silver-lined cirrus cloud unsure
whether I would impress her Mama & make
her proud.

Truth is that I was confused
with love sometimes comes hurt
I couldn’t contemplate turning a
bright star dark
receiving her hand only to break
the glimmering glare in her heart….

As if sensing my uneasiness
her soft breath of breeze slowly cooled my racing
heart beat….
I fell into a trance imagining
a day without the Sun
a clear night with no constellation of
Stars
“I’m I man enough to walk this unknown path?”

“My Son!”
My eyes opened
glancing drowsily at the Sun
then gradually turning my neck to her
magnificent first born Star.

Mama
your daughter is the brightest living thing my
eyes have ever seen
You are concerned whether her destiny
is to be tied to that of a mere man like me
Her rays have been glaring hot on my skin since
I came in yet the compassion of her cool
breath has kept me cool within….

Mama
I am no Son of a Moon or relative to any Star
I sprout from the meekest of clans
the one made of dung and mud
Not an iota of burning gas burns
in my blood
I am as meek as they come
Yet what I bring is but what no other man has
the burning love for your brightest Star
one that will keep her brighter that the
light of the entire earth…..

Oh Mama
Our shadows will swim eternally through the
ground and through the grass
for a million dawns and a billion dusks
with our souls illuminating the entire
universe
The brightest Star producing the coolest
breeze
The darkest mud generating the hottest
heat….

Little shadows mixed of
mud & gas will swim on the
dusty ground and silver-lined
cumulus clouds
You’ll see them jumping around even
after Sun down….

Rainbows begun to form
raindrops snowflakes sun-rays
I felt the blood in my left palm
instantly turn warm
I knew her hand had been placed on
mine….

__uThanDiLe©2014

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,