VASECTOMY

According to Elaine Lissner, founder and director of medical research at Parsemus Foundation an American NGO, “it’s unfortunate women bring millions of children to the world by sole bearing the physical responsibility but still have to bear the repercussions for preventing unplanned pregnancies and failures thereof.”

That said, do you really care about your wife? Like really, really! Can you put a price tag on your love to her? And would that mean that as a fully grown African man who went through a grave ordeal in the name of circumcision in order to qualify being called a man, can as well shelve that level of pain and seek an equally if not worse, gruelling experience just for the same love for her. I’m just imagining vasectomy is damn painful. And this can mean parting with one of your symbolic organs that proves you are a man indeed? Okay, don’t get lost. Here is a simple definition of Vasectomy – It’s a method of male contraception which involves surgical cutting and sealing of part of each vas deferens, typically as a means of sterilization. Before you put your arms up, you better appreciate that – Vas deferens is that pipe that transmits sperms from the testicles to the urethra. Now you know!

Speaking of contraceptives, President Trump caused a major scare across the globe during his campaigns when he threatened to defund Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health organisation that provides contraception to many women around the US, and dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees access to contraception. By any clear reasoning, this was a gross insult to women. That aside, women continue to battle endless side effects depending on their type of contraceptives. This may range from hormonal imbalances which is quite common, mood swings, headaches, depression, acute PMS (I will leave men to find out on this) and for extreme cases – blood clot. Mind you, it’s even worse in areas where women survive with less than a dollar a day, which means using all manner of paraphernalia to mend their dignity. Basically, all I’m trying to do, is draw men in this so called sticky conversation of CONTRACEPTION.

Back to vasectomy;

You may want to refer this as part of first world problems but while doing so make peace with the fact that, quite a number of men here in Kenya have tried their chances with vasectomy. This includes married men and those cohabiting. So, why vasectomy? When a couple feels that they are in the stage where they wouldn’t be interested in raising more kids, long-term contraception methods come into play. Basically, vasectomy is one of those methods that deter pregnancies and taken upon by men to save their women from taking pills or going for those injections, or be it IUD coils, until they check into menopause age bracket. Quite noble isn’t it?

By the way, vasectomy isn’t castration. Nothing changes when it comes to vasectomy but for the latter, one technically ceases operating, if you know what I mean. Of course, nothing is 100% guaranteed under the sun, but vasectomy promises utmost 1% surprise, that is, very slim chances of failure. I hear it is also way cheaper and safer compared to all other forms of contraceptives. Something to worry though, chances of successful vasectomy reversal decline over time. Reversals are more successful in the first 10 years after the operation.

Some of the myths around vasectomy include stigma. That the process results to demasculinizing the man and is equal to castration. Moreover, it causes men develop female features for instance, breasts, and that it results to painful sex and reduced sex drive. There is also the element of information gap that erodes all the gains in the recent past.

That said, who is ready for vasectomy?

Certainly not me. They say in Africa, fathers never count their children. How far does that truth travel or amount to? Well, studies have shown that there are more elderly men having second families across the globe than in a similar period 30 years ago. This not being a justification whatsoever, I’m just saying, men would wish to feel psychologically ‘fully intact.’ No man wants to have misgivings about his reproductive health even after hitting a century old, with no teeth to smile about, and notwithstanding, him being awash with white hair and a feeble body that has seen better days. It is that twisted.

I tend to imagine our ancestors watching over us from wherever they are and trying to grapple with any idea of us having gone nuts in matters of embracing vasectomy. Thinking out loud – they will be like; “what’s the problem with contemporary man?” And go like, “Gentlemen, we need to embark on a trip downhill and summon them. This is absurd and will get out of proportion. Let’s get there before the damage gets ahead of us.” And they will descend to somewhere in Accra city, in a fancy hotel overlooking a humongous water pool, in the leafy and serene suburbs of the city where the rich reside or frequent. They will hold a press conference or rather, (a presser – a name I got acquainted with recently on twitter from journo timelines) after meeting our crop of representatives. It won’t be funny anymore. They will press us to declare if we’ve lost our minds! Okay, while at it, Ghana seems like a very safe haven for African declarations plus it was the first African country to gain her independence, in 1957. So, in here there will be a declaration that will read: ACCRA DECLARATION 2017 – NO TO VASECTOMY

And how will our ancestors land in Accra – Ghana in 2017? Does it appear beyond human imagination? Woe unto you who’ve not watched the breathtaking series TIMELESS. You’ve seen how the trio in this movie, that is; a History professor, US Army guy and the Pilot, travel in something alike a spacecraft which they call Time Machine. They embark on trips to critical events that happened in American history way back, in order to battle and protect the ‘right history’ as was intended by nature since a group of criminals had managed to reconfigure the fate of the Free world country. Similarly, assuming our ancestors are a genius lot, they will be in Accra to save the men in us from a fate that will have been orchestrated to destroy the very core of our survival.

This shouldn’t sound harsh to women. In fact, it should worry them that, vasectomy is a permanent contraceptive, so to speak as compared to the rest of them. Hence, it’s unfair to advocate and push it down our throats when we have other suitable contraceptives that can be used by men in as much as, they can be messy and annoying at times. That said, I will through caution here; that we love our women using contraceptives and we will go to whatever length to support them and advice on what’s best for them, given a chance. What this article doesn’t mean is; that we shrug off the conversation on contraception. On the contrary, more contemporary men are receptive to this topic and are more than willing to be drawn in and participate for the greater good of a win – win situation.

Enough said. The jury is out!

 

WHICH WAY OUT: FEW OR MORE KIDS

Image result for A photo of a beautiful african family

Early April this year, my family and I embarked on a trip to visit my Shosh, up in the hills of Othaya. A green desert of tea farms, and dwindling coffee plantation, up and down we were, taking sharp corners underneath unbothered deadly rivers making their way to distant lands. Othaya, a very fresh environment courtesy of the unrivalled abundance of rare indigenous trees, tall and gigantic, placed on top of hills and down south along the slopes, bending and singing smoothly – what a purified air! And this journey is never enough without passing by Tums. Well Tums is a small getaway, sandwiched by weather roads, red in colour and inside a sleepy village called Giakaja. Here, the best of kuku and mbuzi choma invites you from the parking bay, and soon you spot the busiest of waiters speeding like rally cars, balancing their trays with the dozens of orders playing in their heads. Tums being a gazebo-like layout, the laughters from happy people enjoying every bite of the meat and ambience waft easily all across. Normally, Nairobians who live for discovering hide outs, will be found here on a Saturday afternoon, flanked by their glossy wives, and their beguiling looking, smooth skinned girlfriends with sweeping elegant weaves, and their boys in expensive pants while some will still insist on puttting on coloured shorts in the year of our lord 2017. Usually, their tables will be dotted with Tuskers and silver-like melting meat. They will smoke arrogantly, speak louder, laugh more and ask for more beer and choma.

Now, we make our way to Shosh’s place, eat, drink, chat and then by coincidence happen to meet a number of my cousins who have also checked in for other engagements here. So, as the evening gets weary, one cousin rises to give vote of thanks but sneaks in an interesting conversation. That as cousins, they are considering awarding whichever family that will reach the target of having at least five kids. Currently the top contenders which is a tie of a few, has four kids each. Actually they are three families out of thirty something. SADLY, SHOSHO PASSED ON RECENTLY AND IN FACT LAID HER TO REST ON 16TH JUNE 2017. Rest in eternal peace dear pillar of my heritage.

Moving on…Our generation is breeding far fewer kids. Two utmost. Three if one is damn rich. Some one. Well the commonest reason being the “harsh economic times”. Quite logical. I mean how and why should one agonise over raising more kids when Unga is neither affordable nor available. When you can’t place food on the table, why more? Dear Andreaders, can our economy encourage contemporary parents to get more or few?

Well, I sampled a few of my friends asking them: Given a choice considering the status of our economy, would you go few or more kids? Kindly give reasons. Only one out of twelve respondents was for four to five kids regardless of the economic status. Three respondents were for very few kids. The rest had no clear answers. Simply put, they were nor here nor there. Just a bit confused. Sometimes back, my siblings and I visited mum by surprise. She was extremely happy and sensational. One thing I fondly remember her saying was; “Assuming I had one or two kids, would I be this happy?” You can imagine a family of slightly many siblings , armed with their spouses and curious teenage-like kids, and few more delicate and restless ones less than a year old, who can cry all night. We were scattered in one house, unbowed by the crying ones annoyed by the new environment they were not used to and the laughters and dealing with not-so-familiar faces plus the undoing of low temperatures of Nyandarua. Kids can be sensitive? My mum now savouring the beauty of watching her grandchildren whirl up and down while the shy ones sat attentively as they gazed at the hearty conversations. The shy ones in this instance had to be the teenagers getting acquainted to adolescence stage of life.

While working on this article, I stumbled on a research report named, Kenya: The Demographic of a Country in Turmoil which gives a chronology of Kenya’s population. Digging in, between 1970s and 1980s Kenya had one of the fastest population growth rates in the world. It experienced an economy slow down thereafter, which prompted the government to advocate for family planning to lower fertility rates. In 1960’s an average family would have 8 – 10 kids. As of 1990’s, that dropped to about five kids. With the AIDS epidemic which eroded health and mortality progress, Kenya has had to review life expectancy from an average of 60 years in 1980s to 53 in 2007.

But while the poor are having more kids, the middle class are siring few! Seemingly, the former are putting up with a fight of survival while the latter are toying with pro-westernized ideologies where getting more kids is no longer fashionable and worse still – very demanding and expensive, so to speak. But demographic pundits have it; that with an effective government and stable economic environment, population increase leads to steady economic growth.

The worry is, many alike, in our classes of life are bringing up fewer and lonelier families. Where, a couple gets two kids, educates them and by the time these children join University at about 19 years, the parents being anywhere from 45 – 51 years, are left to live alone while the kids run to Nairobi. These are the same kids who never get married nor visit home. So the closest these parents get to meet their grandchildren, unfortunately, will be in their sorry state – feeble and draining their family savings to medical bills besides dealing with two kids who haven’t stabilized in life. Forgive me for entertaining the thought that, there is fun in more numbers.

Thinking rationally, clear advantages of having relatively more kids include; Family projects become easier and attractable to finance based on the numbers, the few less-fortunate in life get pulled up by the rest of the siblings, the diversity of careers and lines of incomes brought about by different interests for each sibling increases chances of survival, such a family has a bulk of knowledge and forum to exchange ideas and increase business networks. Moreover, economies of scale have never been more plausible than in families – Utility bills are far cheaper in a house of more, than of few. Clothes and toys can be passed on to the younger ones. Parents who are pro-more can be in a position to enjoy freedom earlier since the teenage kids can be left to guard the little ones as they attend a dinner date, or rush for urgent issues out of the house, and can be caught up in traffic without worry of house girl drama.

Medical researchers have disclosed that growing up with a brother or sister can reduce food allergies, multiple sclerosis and some cancers. Obesity and depression is potentially reduced by exposure to more siblings. Parents with one or two kids, spend lots of money in Day-cares while the pro-more can have that aspect taken care of easily. Research have shown that ‘siblinged’ children will have stronger soft skills and keener emotional intelligence than single children. In most cases, siblings make up the best of friends. Mistakes and confessions are first told to close siblings meaning a good support system can be nurtured within siblings. Further, one or two kids can choke from over attention and pressure. Relatively more kids dilute the attention awarded to each kid hence aiding in making a child mature quicker.

Few or more, the jury is out.

 

CHEATS AND SIDE DISHES

A friend of mine who lives in a staff quarter since he works in a firm located remotely shocked me the other day when he narrated a story about his colleague. So, his colleague whom we shall name Jacob* who happens to hail from afar town and hence compelled to live in the same quarters, developed an affair with a lady from a nearby village. With time the lady moved in to stay with Jacob and would only walk home occasionally. Mind you, the lady’s parents are aware that their daughter sees a man from this firm but somehow have no idea that Jacob is very much married and with three kids. Commonly, cheating men are stingy to their wives. Exactly what Jacob turns out to be; earning a handsome salary but neglecting his family to an extent where one day, his wife decides to travel a distance of about 200 kilometers, to Jacob’s place of work to confront him.

On this day, the side dish happens to be in Jacob’s house oblivious of his wife journey to accost his seemingly mindless man. So the wife rings Jacob warning him that she is five minutes away, having embarked on a journey for an impromptu visit. As soon as Jacob hangs up, he drifts to the bedroom, grabs the side dish suitcase and all her belongings, throws them over the fence that borders the staff quarters screaming at his girl to speed off since his wife is meters away coming. In seconds, the poor girl walks out of the house confused, meets with Jacob’s wife along the corridor but lucky not to have been noticed as to where she emerges from; walks away unhurt by a fellow woman’s wrath. Too lucky but unregretful, she walks back a week later after Jacob wife travels back home.

A number of years ago, soon after landing my first job and too excited to live alone; living in a single room by then…My immediate neighbor a struggling alcoholic, red eyed man with a couple of dark scars on his face and one who would carry a heavy smell of intoxation, welcomed me in my new found freedom of sorts. His love for loud music was unmatchable. He’d exchange ladies at will, something the neighbors had made peace with. Well at some point he settled down with one lass. Haiya, just so casually at the glare of our eyes in that come-wash-my-dishes scenario. Assuming that she was among the seasonal ladies who would just be replaced as soon, we were dead wrong.

You know, in single room neighborhood, sound travels as fast, as if everyone is living under one roof – See your life landlord. One evening, as I was retiring to bed (My bed being next to the imaginary bedroom of my neighbor’s room) his newly wife phone rung and she picked it with ease. I could tell it was a man calling and flirting with somebody’s wife right on his balding head. As soon as the conversation ended, screams from the lady could be heard. The tiny house was turned upside down, in chaos, screams, ultimatums and shouts that would go like “Live my house”….”live my house”…”pack your stuff!!!! (Wajameni whats with men daring their wives to pack their stuff while inside they are wishing – I hope she won’t). Here was a phone call from a man who was sharing the spoils with a newly married lady or so it appeared.

While a good number of young people would jump to love triangles for material gains, a good number of the slightly older folks, deliberately get involved in side affairs for emotional assurances. That not being an excuse, the contemporary marriage has been rocked with complex issues opening gaps and cracks for side dish syndrome to penetrate, shimmer and thrive. The most vulnerable being men who are trapped by either desperation to feel loved, reassured and recognized, the side dish woman continues to grow in vigor and boldness each passing day. From the gospel world to men of the cloth and politicians, infidelity and lust seem to be crossing paths far too frequently.

When some months ago, a compelled confession by a man of no mean achievements and who happens to be the number two most senior official of Jubilee government, an eloquent, vibrant and charismatic – William Ruto; clearly the wave of brooding side dishes confidently stands tall, first among equals even for the high and mighty. Is this the case? Perhaps not. How so, while he is not the first nor the last politician to feature in the side dish infamous book. That in the year 2006 Ruto met, got twisted and succumbed to the strong agitation of brewing a secret affair, hearty and well-oiled love only for the timing and leaking of the bombshell to be in the electioneering year.

Monica Lewinsky a 21 years old unpaid intern in White House under the leadership of President Bill Clinton back in 1995, perhaps was and is the most publicised woman in the history of marriage infidelity.  Tiger Woods who was too naive to realise his career was intertwined to his performance in marriage, painfully ended up his envious world class golfing career out of a side dish affair. Locally, renowned celebrities have battled recorded tapes leaking to the social media, pants down cheating on their spouses.

But why are we surprised? You know of this guy in your estate pub or your friend who brews this beautiful side dish. You know of this woman whose man works in a far city but broods young men when the poor man drives back to the city. It shouldn’t be a surprise by now. You know of this close relative who is in his/her early forties, unmarried and seemingly unbothered to get hitched but occasionally have rumours wafting now and then sometimes to your doorstep that so and so is normally seen frequenting his/her house. You perhaps have this neighbor in her late thirties, with two kids, no consistent man in the vicinity but an occasional man who sneaks shyly when these kids resume back to boarding school.

What I’m I trying to say? That our generation has normalized infidelity, sexual greed, selfishness, and compromised integrity. We have smashed the marriage institution, robbed it off its values and bleached the institution with short-sided sinful and guilty looking men and women. We have witnessed Whatsapp prayer groups get rocked with sexual scandals. That not surprising, infamous pastors and alleged men of god have been all time culprits to this society weakness.

Far more men and women are putting their cries on social media, others succumbing to depression, lost for words with what is fighting their union. Many more are resulting to physical fights to save what is rightfully theirs in as much the reality is hostile to listen, respect and keep off.

Thanks to an ongoing conversation in the social media that MARRIAGE IS NOT AN ACHIEVEMENT; I dare say marriage is a goal and an accomplishment – For crying out loud in Africa. Marriage should validate oneself and be devoted for, if done for the right reasons. The so called campaigners of this narrative have every objective to welcome and support cheats in marriage and just play down this incredible institution. That with one phone call or text message, a life may be at danger, a whole family may be in shambles, two people conjoined by honest love and commitment may be at the brick of self-destruction. It’s very costly to repair love more so when the orchestrators move and smile at will in the name of socialites and sponsorees at hire.

Yes, majority of married men will look attractive to you lazy woman who can’t find your own and will gladly fall into your trap to cheat on their wife with you, only for you to realise when it’s too late that you too will be cheated on by the same man you lured in the first place. That said, people should stop doing church weddings for formalities if they can’t let go their side dishes.

Have a good one Andreaders!

LAIKIPIA’S PRE – ELECTION VIOLENCE

Image result for laikipia clashes 2017Just last month, (January 2017), the New York Times published a list of 52 must visit destinations in the world. Laikipia was number 47 worldwide and the only one in Africa to make it to this prestigious list. Borana Conservancy, being the reason why Laikipia was picked is a  hotbed and all-in-one scenic destination in and around Africa. It forms part of a 90,000-acre protected area for elephants, lions and cheetahs, among other charismatic megafauna. Game drives and lodges abound, but a spectacular new property, the five-suite Arijiju, opened in 2016 with guides who take guests on excursions, including fly fishing, trail running, horseback riding and treetop canopy tours. The region is also home to both the Samburu and the Maasai, tribes with equally colorful and fascinating cultures – According to New York Times website.

In 2016, Laikipia County was feted as the, County of the Year, Tax Compliance County and Trade Facilitation partner for the year 2015. I can confirm, this was not accidental but due to the quality of firms which have settled in Laikipia largely in Tourism sectors and Flower Industry, thereby fueling the economy of this county to new height levels including providing employment opportunities to as many as they can. It has dozens of ranches, conservancies, private firms, home to the big five, and big enough to fetch over 200 kilometer squared.

By now you appreciate the level of tourism inside Laikipia County. That said, you’ll ponder why the political class is busy crisscrossing the country mobilising all and sundry to register as voters as County number 31 is burning inside-out, since late last year. It’s prime revenue source, being Tourism, the sporadic violence is eating up its main core of survival, displacing the minority tribes and European/American settlers; while no hairs are being raised.

The worse of all is the lackluster approach with which the government in place has conducted itself. It’s saddening when the media too doesn’t tell the whole story. The country has been cheated all along that what is befalling Laikipia is scramble for resources and the biting drought. That’s part of a well-choreographed story, well-polished to lure the rest of us from what is the actual truth. The actual truth is, Laikipia County is envied for its lack of ‘hardened Army’ unlike its neighbouring communities who engage in cattle rustling.

The truth of the matter is, Laikipia County has been invaded by its neighbours, who form thousands of pastoralists from Baringo, Isiolo, Samburu and Pokot with close to 200,000 cattles. Worthy to note is that the dynamics of this invasion was changed by the heavily armed Pokot. Pokots are ‘envied’ for their superior war tactics and the number of arms in their possession. Why Laikipians need to worry is because; Pokot and Samburu resolved their archaic feud just before 2013 elections, and developed a strategy to displace communities living in Rumuruti – Maralal and East of Laikipia.

The minorities being largely Kikuyus and white settlers, theirs have been counting the losses and watching their properties go up in flames and farms get invaded to feed pastoralists livestock. The epitome of the violence is greed, selfishness and barbarism from enemies of Laikipia which is unrivalled. I wonder why the Government has not thought of setting up a military base either in Rumuruti or Baragoi where we lost about 40 military and brave Kenya heroes who died painful deaths having sacrificed their lives for peace, in this region. As the situation appears now, the worst is yet to come. Unfortunately, the Truth, Justice, Reconciliation Commission of Kenya has been reduced to a spectator as Laikipia County is held hostage, by incitement and political powers where some politicians want to place themselves as kingpins for their self-preservation as election date draws near.

The aspirants are using the Land issue to incite their communities that the ranches and private firms across Laikipia County are illegally occupied by the settlers yet most of them are Kenyans, who pay tax and land rates and rents to County governments just like everybody else. A former Mungiki leader who controversially got born again and fashionably became a pastor, who is now an aspirant for the Laikipia senate seat has gone public to allege that the settlers leases have expired and therefore should give back the land to the locals. There has also been allegation of voter importation by both political divide thereby causing tensions and political animosity.

National Land Commission and National Cohesion and Integration Commission have done little to bring long lasting solutions. The government too has failed to disarm communities in cattle rustling areas which to a large extent has had guns play out as the most lethal weapon in this clashes. Where the guns are sourced and who finances these bandits cum herders, is the elephant in the room.

Will we watch Laikipia’s envied ecosystem get destroyed by politicians who want to win elections through the back door? What of the billions of money in this economy which has created employment and tax revenue to both County and National governments? The media must do enough to expose aspirants who are fuelling animosity like Maina Njenga and have Head – Office of Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tubiko direct prosecution of these rogue politicians who want to burn our livelihood. Moreover, Laikipia should make enough noise to their superiors be it having politicians and other leaders be vetted for this menace. The National Intelligence docket too, should have justified their work by now.

WHAT’S IN A BEARD!

Image result for Full blown bearded men african men

“The male beard communicates a heroic image of independent, sturdy, and resourceful pioneer, ready, willing and able to do manly things,” said psychologist Robert J. Pellegrini

November might have been my birthday month but somehow also marked the end of ridicule from a good friend and deskmate whom I will refer as Chris for the sake of this article. Chris is a typical mischievous, humorous and very bright classmate if you may, who effortlessly creates lighter notes from a seemingly dull class tormented by fast approaching exams. Now, Chris decided not to shave his beards the entire month of November citing to be in solidarity with the rest of the guys who believe in not shaving in this particular month. It’s known as Movember where male adults raise awareness about men’s health issues more specifically, cancer.

For the rest of us who either have no good relationship with beards or who were caught unawares, had to deal with a Mr.Chris who did everything to make us feel bad about ourselves for failing to prove that we were in oneness with men who battle prostate cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and liver cancer which are common in men. Forgive Chris for this weird imagination. My problem with him though is that he tried too hard to create an impression that he had full-grown beard look while in reality was struggling with a semi-arid, disoriented appearance. (Hoping Chris won’t read this).

That said, you’ll appreciate that beards have come of age on perception, metamorphosing from the conventional thinking to contemporary trends that use them as a fashion statement, to express one’s personality and to symbolise solidarity with victims of chronic illnesses. In the past, beards only proved that one was indeed a male adult. Nowadays, depending on how they are kept or shaved, they can enhance or totally disfigure one’s look. From a research I did at a recent time amongst friends of either gender; female respondents showed a very high correlation between how they perceive a man and how their beards appear to be.

Let’s sample a few reactions I received from ladies when posed the question;

What’s your take about men who keep beards and them that not?

Respondent A: A Man who keep well-kept beards appear to be mature, responsible and more manly but in situations where the dressing does not match his style of hair and beard cut, it implies a disconnect but the same dude in casual outlook gives a totally different implication…..Those with trimmed beards appear more presentable.

Respondent B: I believe it’s an individual’s preference however I personally prefer men with well-kept, trimmed beards.

Respondent C: I prefer a complete shave…It’s neat and brings out some kind of order in a guy’s image.

Respondent D: Some look handsome while some are deemed not grow beards at all!. I prefer a neat beard, trimmed and well cut. And he has to have a smooth face not a bearded face with pimples looking like a forest in the hills!!!

Interestingly, from my findings, ladies have stereotyped men with fully grown beards to be ‘Bad boys’, unreliable in the society, hostile and bully.

A good number of male respondents didn’t have much of a problem in fact insisting beards are a sense of male identity, and part of their personality and expression. Some said they keep them to justify their age which if not, are misjudged to be young boys. A majority of them confessed to keep well-trimmed beards by virtue of their careers which otherwise would be taken to be disorganised, arrogant and unprofessional.

Well, researchers agree that men who keep beards do so to appear dominant among other men. Moreover, they are stronger, older and more aggressive. They are also likely to have deeper voices and rated as the most attractive. In contrast though, some experts have it that beards can harbour more germs than a toilet. They have warned that beards are nothing more than a ‘bacterial sponge’, riddled with thousands of bacteria and a perfect way to pass on germs. The cuticles on the hair which are like layers of tiles on a roof, trap the germs and grease. Hair around nostrils and mouth is well-placed to harbour bacteria. Men have a habit of over-handling their beards, meaning they can spread bacteria to their mouths. If their hands are dirty, they transfer dirt from their hands on to their face and mouths.

TYPES OF BEARDS

Wild Beard

The full-on scraggly, all-over beard belongs to a very specific man. Not many can pull off its wild ways. It epitomise boldness, super confidence and egocentric. This look is also likely to be kept by people battling depression, relationship or marriage breakups and loss of job.

The He – Goat Beard

This is kept by outgoing men who love exploring, have a soft spot for outdoor activities and are self-employed. They are also likely to be sophisticated, mischievous, non-conformers and have a sense of humour.

Cleaned Shaved Beard

This is common with men who don’t love attention, cautionary when it comes to risk, and mostly semi introverts. These type of men have a belief that all grown beards are irritating, demanding and trigger itching.

The Scruffy Chin

This type of look is close to the weird beard but a bit trimmed and well-kept. This is for men who are fashion sensitive, have time for themselves and pay attention to image.

The U – Shaped

This type of look is for men who are averse to change. It is mostly common with men above 35 years, who grew up listening to KBC radio and who unfortunately believe that it’s still trendy to have such a look in the post-Trump era. We forgive them!

Male beards have endured endless battles that somehow threaten their extinction with perceptions that men who clean shave appear more presentable. In the midst of these challenges, beards remain stubborn, unbowed and rebellious, confronting all roadblocks that threaten their legacy with a pinch of resilience. What does the future hold for them? Will men stand to erode part of their heritage by doing away with them? The jury is out.

R.I.P CREATIVITY

Image result for Ezekiel Mutua cartoons

If there is a man who rattles and disturbs creative minds in Kenya then it has to be the one and only Ezekiel Mutua. Every time he tweets or walks to a news conference, the creative world in this great country quivers and runs for safety. This infamous public figure has grown tall over us, trashing and vomiting on thespians, art enthusiasts and media freedom. He has turned the Creative industry to a ball of remnants that should be done away with. To him, artists, writers, actors and practitioners in the media are irritating ‘things’ that should be expunged with guns blazing. With the same gusto and conviction Moi government declared Mau Mau activists terrorists, Ezekiel Mutua has used the same pen and spirit to conclude that creatives are a sore in the eye.

What an unfortunate tragedy it is that talented young people have to apologize and beg for acceptance for pursuing their passions. That an overzealous man in the name of Ezekiel Mutua can sit down in his office pulling a smiley face and tend to think of what next can raise hues and cry in the public domain. The fact that Kenya has produced thespians that have had the world wag its neck and solicited for a piece of them, he should know better and stopped proposing draconian laws that only make him a stumbling block to the advancement of the Creative industry.

What has become a norm these days whenever Mutua opens his mouth, he leaves many of us badly wounded. He scatters our hard work and renders us hopeless. He wakes up armed with his so called proposals that are only meant to curtail and strangle talents of innocent Kenyans. Interestingly, he has awarded himself the role of patronising our moral dispensation which by the way is far from his mandate. A man who bites more than he can chew, Mutua cuts out as man with tendencies of wielding imaginary powers, putting a lid on how far we can enjoy online products. He has also gone further and capped how far we can go in terms of innovation, creating online products and sharing them across social media.

Instead of Mutua inspiring, helping nurture and protect media freedom and content creators he has instead chose to make headlines for his wishy washy suggestions and voodoo proposals. Some may ask, where is my venting coming from? See, Kenya Film Classification Board came to life through an Act of parliament specifically Cap 222 that gives powers to KFCB to regulate the creation, broadcasting, possession, distribution and exhibition of films in the country with a view to promote national values and morality. This begs the question; WHAT IS A FILM? Oxford English Dictionary defines a film as a story or event recorded by a camera as a set of moving images and shown in a cinema or on television. Mind you, cap 222 was created before the promulgation of the 2010 constitution, and since no law acts outside the constitution, KFCB is compelled to operate and conform to laws that were enacted in the 2010 constitution. The point is, Constitution of Kenya is supreme and nowhere does it recognise KFCB!

Dear Mr. Mutua, is recording weddings occasions and sharing videos on whatsapp really part and parcel of the spirit of Cap 222. Surely, is it about marketing products and services online? Bwana Mutua has given himself the mandate of regulating ads on T.Vs, websites and in social media. On that juncture, I can’t still understand what the definition of a film is. Further, KFCB has gone way ahead to ‘kidnap’ responsibilities of other agencies like Communication Authority(CA), Competition Authority of Kenya(CAK) and Media Council of Kenya(MAK). For Instance, MAK has a responsibility of ensuring media houses in Kenya operate within the law and that they do not air programs that do not augur well with the general public. MAK also accredits journalists and regulate professional standards in the media industry.

C.A has a mandate of censoring, or age restricting broadcast content to ensure that content which depicts or contains scenes rated as adult, or are of the language intended for adult audiences, are not aired during the watershed period. In fact, KFCB role is to rate broadcast content including films and stage plays and give advisory services to other relevant agencies that have specific authority to regulate the communications sector in Kenya – Communication Authority (CA). In any case, KFCB can’t purport to monitor and penalise media houses, that’s the mandate of C.A. To draw my point home, KFCB is established under the ministry of Sports & Culture while CA is founded under the ministry of Information, Communication & Technology. That tells you which agency of the government between the two has a wider and more pronounced mandate.

In the coming days, you and I will be expected to apply for licenses as long as we intend to use our phone cameras. How ridiculous can it get? Recording a scene via your phone renders one a broadcaster and by virtual of that you need to alert the relevant authorities for approval, according to Mutua. Further, the proposal suggests authorised police to be present during the shooting of a broadcast film and to stop any scene an officer feels “in his or her opinion” is unlawful. More interestingly, this man of no slim ambition has dared to police and regulate political speeches. He will also blacklist political commercials that demean politicians, their parties and manifestos. Come to think of how money buys people in this country and what dangers he is wading this country into, especially with the 2017 elections, fast approaching.

Don’t be surprised if Mutua wakes up tomorrow with suggestions of blocking social media similar to North Korea which intends to control further access to outside world information. Kenya cannot also join countries like China, Iran, Pakistan and Syria that shockingly have banned YouTube broadcast. Journalists in Kenya have a right to work without interference from a poking hand courtesy of KFCB as is captured in the constitution. Moreover, I’m not sure how producers and the contractors are meant to be fined Sh5 million or sent to jail for four years, and this help the film industry.

Our constitution is envied world over for being among the few that has elaborately enshrined the bill of rights in its clauses. Surely, Ezekiel Mutua cannot be the one to stop us from enjoying these rights which include freedom of expression, more disappointingly when it is note his mandate.

SOCIAL MEDIA: THE BAD HABITS

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Social media craze has swept across our minds like bush fire, breathing life to introverts, tumbling on the extroverts and on the flip side killing our century old socialization aspects. Our reference point has to be on the social media. We compete to report first, to show off, to stalk, to break unverified news, to parade our imaginary wealth and to explain to god-knows-who, of what we are up to, travelling to, or where we are savoring sumptuous lunch with whom.

More annoying, we share images of our hours-old kids, never minding that kids are not to be displayed to anybody who cares to see them. Kids are sacred and sensitive and not everybody in social media is happy for you who got blessed with a one. Sorceress and humans who don’t mean well for you are on social media too or at least their agents. In fact they make part of your three thousand friends on Facebook and follow your every move on IG (Instagram). But why would one share a pic of her kid on social media even before she steps out of the maternity room?

We even go ahead to create social media accounts for them. Is that not encroaching on their rights? Whose consent do parents have when they create these accounts? You see, not every kid would be comfortable to learn later in life that virtually all their life was shared widely on social media. A parental expert will tell you this violates a kid’s privacy. Ultimately, we will go down in history as a generation that has not only over-photographed our kids but also over-scheduled for them. We have to come to the realisation that our children are separate human beings with perhaps different tastes, beliefs and personalities from us which ostensibly, should be respected as well. In a nutshell their autonomy and privacy should be accorded the necessary respect. A research done in UK recently revealed that contemporary parents will have shared about 1,000 photos of their kids online before they turn five. Is this fair?

I’m sure you’ve followed on the story of the famous – Kim Kardashian after she was tied up in her luxury bathroom in Paris and her hotel room ransacked and robbed off 9 million pounds worth of jewelleries. Of course no robbery should be justified however; some school of thought would refer Kim as a publicity junkie. In fact one columnist put matters into perspective as far as this American reality television personality is considered, in this form;

For when you live your life as a shop window mannequin, parading the spoils of your success, you cannot be surprised when one day someone smashes down the shop window and lunges at your baubles and bling. Kim Kardashian has built her global fame – and gargantuan fortune – on exposing her life to the public.

Seemingly, Kim is a victim just like many of us who belong to the millennial generation that hovers on approvals, showing off syndrome and rogue competition. To a large extent, social media platform mirrors our inadequacies, insecurities and the gaping emptiness in our lives. That unless we get those staggering likes and double taps, we seem not useful to the world.  Interestingly, we have to let the world know what is taking place around us. There is nothing wrong about it, however, when we overdo it, then it begs a lot. When total strangers get to know all in your wardrobe, or where you can be usually spotted, or how you kitchen layout looks like, then there is trouble.

Speaking of which; you and I know of these IG bigwigs who literally go on the spree, over sharing about their hoods, their family and all the pettiness in between that you can imagine of. In fact, some of you can go round their digs with much ease based on the hundreds on pics uploaded daily about their high end mansions. Just why should we parade all our possessions online?

I was taken aback the other day when I happened to find a photo uploaded by a dude who is supposedly my friend on Facebook, regarding a dowry invitation (read financial help). So the photo had the image of the couple, inviting (soliciting money) Facebook friends to their dowry ceremony. My thinking was; this was an act of desperation. I mean, who shares dowry invites on Facebook? It appeared like soliciting. Please don’t invite people to your dowry or wedding by uploading invites on Facebook for all who care to read them. It somehow dilutes these ceremonies. In fact one appears, ridiculous, laughable, selfish and full of shortcuts. Kindly invite specific people to these ceremonies, not a mammoth of complete strangers on social media who perhaps have never and will never meet you in person.

Further, don’t flaunt your air tickets to Coast on social media; the world is not safe anymore. You never know who might break into your house. And if you have to share them, please let it be after the trip is wrapped up. You just never know. You recall when the infamous Ezekiel Mutua vaunted about his diplomatic passport only to emerge he shouldn’t have been issued with one, in the first place. At his age, was this appropriate? Cut the slack people. Genuine success doesn’t announce itself. You simply can’t have your cake and eat it!

There is an untold rule or is it a memo that should be passed around; That social media is a double edged knife. It is an incredible platform for networking and reaching up to your friends. On the other hand, if a line is not drawn between sharing and oversharing; one can antagonize family and friends, breach on privacy, expose loved ones to unnecessary attention and possibly attract fraudsters.

And by the way, let’s drop this hullabaloo of ‘checking in’ here and there. Who said you should report to social media on every corner you dart at! While at it, stop selfies at funerals. It’s rude and unbecoming. Come to think of it, do we need to be briefed on how your honeymoon is coming along?