CIRCUMCISION: CULTURE, CHURCH & GANGS

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Circumcision is one of the most revered cultural practices in my community. It is a mark of transformation and liberation, if you may. Liberation from childhood manners and anything that demeans boyish attributes. The physical mark that is painfully entrenched to the young man is a gate-pass to the lawns of adulthood. In a nutshell, it’s an achievement that serves as a height of brevity.

You see, this stage is such a big deal as ordinarily, welcomes the boys to the corridors of being the community’s pillars, so to speak. But not only does it qualify them as young men but more pertinently, bequeaths one with a whole wealth of social significants, for instance, being full members of the society including, equipping them with a hefty list of responsibilities.

While that is easier said than done especially in recent times when good morals have taken a heavy beating, we can’t wish away such an important cultural activity. However, the act is not cast in stone in that it automatically turns one into a responsible and fully-fledged young man. Ideally, it should be supported by frequent follow-up mentorship forums just to mould the young men to fairly principled youths who can’t easily be washed away by the evil millennial torrents.

At this juncture, it’s important to appreciate that there are organized men associations out there that are working tirelessly hard to foster good cultural practices that remain significant to the community. Of importance is to note that they are coming in handy to support the negated boy child who has periodically suffered at the expense of other emotive issues. For the last 5 years or so, they’ve strived to fill the void that the boy child has been subjected into overtime, by mentoring the boys and serving as credible role models. With the absence of credible role models for boys and young men to identify with, has in itself worked as a destruction to these generations.

That said, there has been controversy triggered by the role the church is playing as far as circumcision of boys is concerned. Now, to avoid being buried in the sensation, we should ask ourselves, who is supposed to circumcise the boy or rather put it differently; who is supposed to play the central role in the initiation stage of boys?

Tough as it may, traditionally, it was conducted by the elders. Why it was an elders-affair-only was for a very simple reason. They were and still are the cultural gatekeepers. No other institution or individual can challenge their authority as far as cultural knowledge is concerned. Nevertheless, with the global advancements revolutionizing the way of doing stuff, many African cultures risk being overridden and completely forgotten, if that hasn’t happened already. In the last 3-5 decades or so, elders in many communities got bypassed in the whole business of circumcision. Many families developed a preference for medical practitioners just to ensure hygiene was observed and that qualified personnel handled their sons. Actually, the best word to use is, Professionals. Yes, pun intended!

As time moved, so was religion taking root in the African context. And as you’d guess, the church jumped right in as the cookie crumbled. While this transpired, many elders outfits resulted to either being mum or outnumbered. They were seen as social outcasts and their beliefs considered unbecoming. But this didn’t erase their disquiet or tilt their views. Luckily, in less than a decade ago, tables turned. Quietly, the quest from middle-aged men yearning to become members of elders’ associations started gaining momentum. Some sections of the media started embracing these outfits too and inviting them on air.

And as if that was the lucking springboard, these cultural outfits seem not to look behind but to mop out every young man worth his salt to join them. And it’s a good thing. I will tell you why:

It’s only in these outfits that one comprehensively gets to learn about virtually anything there is to learn in a culture. At least in my community, they’ve proved to be extremely resourceful to mentor the boy child, instill values that were lacking before, pass unlimited cultural knowledge to the young men and serve as a center to diagnose a community’s challenges and propose solutions. This goes without mentioning the unmeasurable avenue of networking for the boy child and rewarding one with a sense of identity.

While this has been unfolding, it hasn’t sat well with the church. Men of the cloth have not only bashed the elders at least in some quarters but dared their male members to join such outfits. For the record, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa(PCEA) which is one of the most populous religions in this country(Kenya) advised its members to keep off a Gikuyu cultural practice referred to as Mburi cia Kiama which involves slaughtering of goats and relaying cultural studies to Agikuyu men. The elders in return, have not taken the accusations lying low. They’ve termed the ban as unwarranted and misguided since they are not in the business of fighting religion.

It is such sharp division between the church and cultural organizations that has yet again raised the lid on who should administer the circumcision act. While the elders believe they are the chief custodians of a community’s cultural resource bank, the church is riding on contemporary realities and the rule of Christianity. But it is in the wake of such quagmire that saw a section of residents of Murang’a protest due to a particular church having outsourced a seemingly fake doctor to oversee the botched circumcision act of male boys. The victims were painfully compelled to undergo the act again, this time by the elders.

One might hypothetically ask if these elders have any background in medical know-how? The answer would be; these cultural organisations have men from all walks of life and in different occupations including highly regarded doctors in this country.

That aside, more seem to be rocking this enviable stage of a man, as criminal gangs have taken upon themselves to radicalize the young boys soon after they face the knife. Dozens if not more victims have lost their lives in the recent past out of falling out with these villains and many more left for the dead having been grossly maimed. These gangs are loosely woven militias trying to fill a void of who should pass on the cultural knowledge to the young men.

The boy child is at a crossroad – To keep up with the church as it figures out how to go about the heavily important cultural act or warm up to the elders for the much-needed blessings and acquisition of knowledge. While these two institutions can have their interests harmonized, a section of the church fraternity does not seem to appreciate the role culture plays in mankind’s life. As that should be addressed, so should the criminal gangs radicalizing and misleading the youths be completely mopped out, for the safety of our young men.

In other words, the boy child has a lot of battles to win over or risk perishing in unchartered world that our forefathers sacrificed lives to safeguard!

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LATE 80’S KIDS

Related imageI don’t know what stood out in your childhood, nevertheless, as you ponder about it, I’m just about to sound old and dilapidated, okay, to some of you. Well, never mind, I’m neither that young. I’m a soul that struggles to be identified as a millennial. But technically I’m not one in as much as google defines it as someone who becomes of age in the 21st century. Leaves me to wonder; I’m I in the same category of life with those sensual kids that rock the likes of Ten Over Ten show dressed like they’re attending a swimming competition? Shudder not! I will let them be.

I tell you what, my elder sister Liz has loyally been listening to The Sundowner show on KBC English Service for decades now. She puzzles me as to how she doesn’t get over it and probably grow legs to something more contemporary. Speaking of contemporary music, I really wonder if it’ll end up passing the test of time. There was something magical about 90’s and early 2000’s music. Anyway, back to Liz; to measure her degree of obsession with the Show – she can easily kill (not literally though) to be at home by 6 pm to tune in to the nostalgic programme regularly hosted by Catherine Ndonye and a few other awesome bunch of presenters.

That said, most of us fondly recall the late Nzau Kalulu’s (Rest in internal peace sir) baritone voice when he hosted the Show decades ago. It was phenomenal. Of course, we have to give up for Ndonye for unshyly flying the Sundowner flag ever high for as far as I can remember. In retrospect, the late 80’s kids should forever epitomize the beauty of growing up listening to such sensational presenters?

The Beat Time was the mother of all popular music, then hosted by the talented John Karani and Charity Karimi. You see, many will reckon that John Karani stands a chance to be ranked higher than the likes of Maina Kageni as the best radio presenter of all times. This was one guy who had quite an admirable chemistry with radio not to mention the massive following pre-social media era. If you were born in late 80’s or earlier, you must have waited for his other show Saturday Night Show, to jot down lyrics of popular hits which he used to share since there was hardly any internet then to google lyrics. Groove Time hosted every Saturday morning was another sought-after Show that entailed live-call voting for popular music to grace his coveted weekly chart. Jeff Mwangemi alias Crucial Mundu who hosted Yours For The Askin’ every Wednesday night, was similarly dribbling his talent on the radio effortlessly.

I was privileged then to always obtain a copy of the Sunday Nation. It was priced at sh.40/- which would mean saving for the rest of the week to at least go through Wahome Mutahi’s Whispers column, peruse through the Lifestyle edition, crack my ribs with Head on Corrision by KJ and finally check on the featured artist and song lyrics. One would then cut off the song lyrics and stick them on a collection book that was a must-have for every late 80’s kid. Speaking of which, I still hold beef with my brother for misplacing my 300-page musical album book that took me years to compile and form my identity as a teenager.

But before all these were vintage record players, radio cassettes and walk-man gadgets. Every home worth its name had to own a cassette player and loyally buy musical albums. Interestingly, one used to rewind the music using a biro if your dad didn’t own a classical JVC radio or worst case scenario, a Sanyo one. There was no piracy then neither were there avenues to download music. Walk-mans were spotted with rich kids which instead of playing the cassette in the family radio, one would insert the cassette in the gadget and listen using mini-size headphones.

Apart from great music, late 80’s kids must have come across landline phones that one would queue like they do in some banking halls. I remember accompanying my dad on a number of occasions to make those magical calls. And they came with no much privacy apart from confining oneself in the tiny booth, making peace with the would-be callers comfortably eavesdropping your conversation besides having to deal with the wrath of their impatience if you hang in there longer than expected.

Advancements came through in early 2000’s when Simu ya Jamii was launched. At least with Simu ya Jamii, there was no embarrassment of running out of cash as it was post billed and not limited to functioning solely on coins. It was extremely convenient for students who didn’t enjoy the luxury of owning mobile phones then. These digital calling booths were as common as mpesa shops but that quickly changed in a couple of years courtesy of influx of affordable mobile phones.

With mobile phones came the puzzle of scratch cards going for as high as sh.300/-. That was the cheapest for Kencell. Funny enough, the card was slightly bigger than a standard ATM card. This was also the time when calls were classified between peak and off-peak time. Dear 90’s millennials, during our time we used to wait up to 5pm to make calls that cost a whooping sh.10/- per minute. That alone melted our hearts. I mean, it was quite affordable. Michael Joseph, the then Safaricom head honcho, termed Kenyans as quite bizarre for having peculiar calling habits.

As telecommunication industry was leapfrogging, social media was miles ahead. Yahoo was one of the biggest powerhouse in the web services. I will not lie to you that I used Hotmail. You remember 2go social site? It was a fast paced messaging app that almost overtook Facebook until it went under.

But far before that bravado was well baked Kenya football. KFF was a body that stood tall and ran on systems. Talent was tapped all the way from the grassroots. At barely 8 or so years I’d name the entire Harambee stars squad. Don’t get twisted, not English Football but local football. From the tall lad who wired the team Musa Otieno, to the light-skinned midfielder Titus Mulama, to the dribbler John ‘Mo’ Muiruri, to the likes of Tom Juma, Mike Okoth, keeper Francis Onyiso, six feet center-back Joseph Shikokoti and many more, Kenyan football was a piece of gem to marvel for. Interestingly, in the absence of TV screens then, I’d listen via my pocket radio while grazing my dad’s livestock as the dynamic duo composed of Jack Oyo Sylvester and Ali Salim Manga revolutionized football broadcasting.

And that’s when you realise you’re growing old, by holding on to your childhood memories that seem to be bombarded and faintly buried each passing day by the so-called conventional realities. That said, Kageshi just reminded me my birthday is a few hours from now! Can I just deal with that? Thank you Andreaders.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

THE LOST LANGUAGE

Does it worry you that you can’t express yourself fluently in your native African language? Does it bother you that some of your affluent cousins, nephews and nieces are doing far worse? That expressing oneself exclusively in English or be it via emasculated Swahili discourse at the expense of the local dialect regardless of the circumstances is perceived as intellectualism.  Does it shock you that actually our grandparents struggle to have a Swahili conversation with our grand-kids at the expense of the local dialect?

Who will take care of the local dialect and to whose interest, anyway! It’s rather sad that we chose the Western way to form identities of our heritage be it in the name of citing the world as a global village. That advocating for native African languages is a narrowed approach to modern reality. We converse with our kids chiefly in English in the name of keeping up with uptown manners and shedding off our Africanness. We are simply black wazungus and that is catastrophic. We are in total denial of our cultures and medium of expressions and have been connived for dominance purposes by elements which have watered down our cultural pillars. If you take away a man’s language, you’ve taken away all that he has.

The fact that we are unashamedly watching and negating our cultural language dry up and go up with the winds courtesy of modernity is the most fundamental flaw of losing one’s human identity. Posterity will judge us rather harshly.

Allow me to put matters into perspective;

Anytime one writes on topics that touch matters tribe, they are bombarded with all the retrogressive adjectives the world has got. But why waste that energy hurling insults and pushing down a voice that resists the urge of hiding its head in the sand and expecting better days ahead. Africans have deserted their rich heritage and nobody is available to teach the young ones native proverbs, riddles, poems, folk songs and tales. This is classified next to inferiority complex and considered unbecoming.

Amongst the few who have chosen to pursue the blink road of liberating Africans from themselves is one Ngugi wa Thiong’o – a shrewd activist on nurturing, conservation and protection of the African languages. (Check out his book on Decolonising the Mind). In his book, he complains and seems worried of the education system in Africa which have always toyed with the idea of wholly embrace foreign ideologies be it language and culture. He terms it a generation destruction.

That aside, no research has proven that embracing Swahili and English languages fully at the expense of our native languages has a way of eliminating tribalism not even to the slightest of magnitudes. And embracing one’s heritage has nothing to do with backwardness and being tribal. In fact, social media which is mostly dominated by English conversations and broken Swahili/Sheng dialects has proven to be the worst hotbed of manufacturing tribalism in Kenya.

By the way, without sounding tribal, if you took a keen look at tribes associated with the Muslim faith, Asians and the like, they are very proud of their native languages and will not allow not even their scions to be trapped by the aura and syndrome of portending to appear urbanite by solely speaking English/Swahili exclusively at the expense of their background. Again, nobody has scientifically proven that kids who speak at least three languages be it their native language, Swahili and English record poor grades in school. In fact, the reverse is true. I’m amazed by the Kenyan born Australian Senator who has never lost her accent for the 19 years and counting, she has lived in Australia. I watched one of her many TV interviews where she shared an experience of how she once sat next to a UK woman in a plane who still maintained her English accent 40 years living in Australia.

Interestingly, what we are passing on to our kids is not healthy Swahili language but a ragtag analogy of a language that has no lungs nor the spine to uphold any cultural heritage. Degrading our native tongues and wholly embracing western ideologies is to me far worse than any other contemporary calamities.

CHURCH ETHOS

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Church ethics have evolved over the years and so have our guts. Religious leaders have been met flat-footed by the world advancements in technology and other fronts. The leadership has found itself in the wobbly and ugly underbelly of the synthetic headways. It’s not a secret that many men and women of the cloth have been caught pants down with their flock’s spouses. Many more have fashioned themselves as the high priests of impunity and daylight soft robbery. Legions of them have cases in court for grave reasons such as murder. These days you can’t board a matatu in peace without some so-called pastors sneaking in to sell and extort money for just making a prayer to the passengers. How unfortunate that many of them have thrived through taking advantage of the gullible and naive people in the society.

Many church ethics and etiquettes have been cannibalized, defiled and left for the dead from the high and mighty preachers to the low lying congregants.

Dress Code

When we were growing up, we used to have Sunday best attires. You wouldn’t wear such outfits anywhere else not unless it was a special occasion. Of course, times have changed and so has our view of what Sunday-best was. As we speak, that’s an old-fashioned mentality that has grass grown over it. We are in a different dispensation altogether. Our lifestyles have sort of ‘improved.’ At least many households can afford the luxury of not hanging on the illusion of Sunday-bests. Additionally, we have a generation that is cool enough and spontaneous in the sense like – it doesn’t attach too much glorification to the formal looks.

Consequently, the high regard to church has so much degraded. The spontaneous looks have come with their fair share of challenges and dicey moments. I saw a guy in my church dressed in solely a vest and was like; Okay, what to say! Perhaps I’m too reserved. But come to think about it, many of us dress extremely badly to church than in the workplace. That old pair of jeans that you’ve not worn in ages and the faded polo shirt bestowed by a former employer in a workshop in Mombasa somehow finds itself in church.

The contemporary church has gone so liberal and complacent to uphold and adhere on decency, especially on matters dressing. We are dressing far worse than several decades ago for reasons best known to us. It’s an open secret that women are doing far worse than men as a far as church dressing code is concerned. If it’s not dressing in attires that are too seductive and revealing for church environment then it is showcasing their flesh for-god-knows-who and for what purpose. Makes me wonder – if one is not breastfeeding what justification is there to have your cleavage sunbathing or better put; distracting a poor fellow who has no control or rather struggles on some aspects? Okay, put it differently, which male adult wants to breastfeed in church? Fact – there is a massive decline in dressing standards in the church, today.

If just maybe it’s a question of flaunting, who wants to be carried away in church, surely? Now, why would you wear a miniskirt that you’ll keep pulling down or sitting awkwardly just to discourage the prying eyes dashing up and down? Why parade your thighs to the rest of us and seat with your bare bum and expect the man seated next to you will concentrate on the sermon? Interestingly, some women will still dress erotically and sit indecently. We are only human and men are tamed beasts for crying out loud. And by the way, there is a reason some body parts are referred to as ‘private parts.’  You see, you can’t have your cake and eat it. And if you’ve got to eat it, at least don’t do it in the House of God.

In a nutshell, self-respect and value to oneself should help you decipher as to whether what you wear to church is decent or not. The overriding point is – what powers your intention to dress in a certain way to church! Is it to jump-start your self-esteem or draw attention or just to feel good when congregants eye bath your upper legs and boobs? And to you who sag in church giving us unwarranted glance at your inner wears and if unlucky, your bare bum please cut the slack – For heaven’s sake, it’s 2018 man!

Phone Chatting

I once sat next to a couple who seemed like they were in a situationship or some sort of speed dating never mind they were in church. Why am I saying so? See, for the entire sermon, they spent it on phone chatting and in social media and clinging on one another like one of them would just evaporate before the sermon got concluded. It’s sad that we can’t shut off social media even for 2 damn hours just to listen to a sermon. But who chats on Sunday at 9:01 am surely? And can we stop side-shows in church? Is it much to ask?

Ringing Phones

Many church sermons have been rudely interrupted by horrible and loud phone ring tones many a time. Followers are alive to the fact that, it’s unethical not to have their phones on silent mode, airplane mode or off but they will still defy. Some even pretend that it’s not their phones buzzing and only happen to react when the congregation appears disturbed and starts wagging necks.

Sitting Arrangement

Is it just my church where congregates jostle for the few available seats. It’s not like they are really few, no. The number of fellow-shippers is exceedingly high. Taking that into account, some parents will defy taking their children to Sunday school or catechism classes and have them occupy places meant for grown-ups. It’s even worse when one tries to find a space when toddlers occupy the same seats fidgeting with their parents’ phones, while the parents seem unperturbed.

Rich Kirkpatrick a writer who specializes in spiritual content best summarizes this topic: “There is no one single answer to church ethics. This takes humility and heart to make it about values and principles, rather than rules and laws. We should hold ourselves to be righteous Christ-followers, not legalistic rule followers.”

Photo credit – catholicsun.org

DO DISTANT MARRIAGES WORK?

Related image  I’m sure you ran into images that surfaced on social media recently of a guy who stumbled on his wife on one of those Kilimani Mums Facebook page sliding into a foreigner DMs after the foreigner wrote to inquire about the availability of a Kenyan female lover. Later on, this white chap leaked all the messages that had been sent to him by would-be female soulmates only for the poor black guy to come across his wife on that infamous list. Gentlemen, what would you do if you realised your wife has been claiming to be single on social media? (Sighs!) Anyway, it seemed like the husband worked out of the country only for his wife to hoodwink the foreigner that she was, in fact, single while she was actually, a mother. That alone mirrors a blurred picture of typical shivery realities of distant relationships and marriages.

Distant marriages create so much freedom which then invites high chances of infidelity if accountability goes missing. Of course, a cheater will always cheat even when next to you, but then again distant relationships make people who’ve never contemplated cheating, get prone to cheating. You see, vulnerability is not something you just shed off and tell yourself, I’m no longer vulnerable! Hell no. It’s something you’ve got to fight now and then and keep on upgrading your firewalls as the devil and his agents keep on being innovative and just never give up. It’s a question of how solid and authentic your principles are. For distant relationships, it’s even worse. Stakes are higher and so are your self-control systems supposed to be, to withstand the high proportionate of vulnerability.

As a matter of fact, many cheating scandals happen in distant relationships, just do your research. I’m sure you’ve come across Cheats and Side Dishes article on this blog which is inspired by a true story. Living with your spouse is like a tag hanging around your neck that keeps reminding you, hey I’m watching you. It might appear like it’s vexing but come to think of it, it keeps you off vulnerability and being distracted. And that’s a good thing.

Actually, in hindsight, you’ll come to appreciate how important it was to always go home from work to meet your family than living in a distant town where God knows what goes down when you are free, idle and having your family miles away. Let’s face it, we are bound to be distracted by charming people out there and coming across souls that live to steal, rob and kill relationships. Hence the longer the distance you are away from your soulmate, the higher the chances of increased cheating vulnerability. I mean, we are living in an era of being set up and blackmailed, if not compelled to undress by delinquents out there.

You know, human beings continually need reassurances and being reminded where it all started and why they are together anyway. Phone-call communication has its limits. Sometimes we devour for one on one connection and if it’s not available it will probably be created out of the woods be it by side chicks or side-guys if there is such a phrase.

Distance marriages rob one the beauty of being together. Love tends to grow more where ingredients such as sharing house chores or shopping together are made a reality. A couple also tends to benefit from developing one another since it’s impacted directly by your spouse on a daily basis. One also tends to be more cognizant of the other person hence creating a profound blending of the two personalities. We are wired differently and have quite diverse personalities, thereby when people live under one roof, in the long run, learn to cope and accommodate one another’s flaws as opposed to when your spouse lives in another town.

There may also be light moments on some scenarios that may appear simple on the eye like how to squeeze the toothpaste – some do it from the top while some start from the bottom. Some role up the tissue from the top while some down. Some prefer having their ugali served with a spoon (like me) while others don’t. Some will sleep with their legs on top of their partners while others sleep across the bed. It such simple dissimilarities and sometimes small fights that make a relationship interesting and one an accommodating person. Besides, such differences make a marriage tick, smell like a genuine marriage and grow a couple’s bond. But surely, why would one have ugali served with a spoon!

Children also benefit from the presence of two parents, in their childhood. I think this point can’t be over emphasized. The disadvantages of one spouse working in a distant town are more or less similar to those of absentee parents or single parenting, to children. If I can just paraphrase what I wrote in an article I did at the beginning of this year; Maternal Moments Part 3…..a child’s primary relationship with his/her father can affect all of the child’s relationships from birth to death, including those with friends, lovers, and spouses. Those early patterns of interaction with a father are the very patterns that will be projected forward into all relationships…forever more: not only your child’s intrinsic idea of who he/she is as he/she relates to others but also, the range of what your child considers acceptable and loving. Now, if one spouse works in a distant town, the children tend to be denied most of their social aspects that come with being brought up by two parents.

One other thing, when you fall sick and need somebody to watch over you or perhaps help in chores you’ll have none but yourself unless you are rich enough to have a domestic worker while you live alone. It’s daunting to have your loved one hundreds of kilometers away while you’re sick and helpless. Emergencies are inevitable and are way complicated in distant marriages. Let’s be pragmatic – For instance if you collapse in your house, who will come to your aid? Costs of running a distant marriage similarly, go over the roof.

There are those moments in marriage when you just have bad days in the office, or you find yourself feeling sad and low, and all you pine for, is to go home and meet your family to forget about the day’s hurdles. This scenario doesn’t work in distant marriages.

Certainly, it’s naive to assume only distant marriages have challenges. All marriages have their lows and highs, struggles and wars they fight. However, when you put pros and cons on a weighing scale, distant marriages have a lot more to lose than gain. But then again, some formations that lead to distant marriages are inevitable like on matters job placements and this leaves a couple with no option than to work around it by working on their trust and being accountable to one another as naturally as it would be if they were living together.

 

Slayers

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I’m seated in a banking hall clasping on my ticket number, pensively waiting for my turn amid the slow system hardly ever making any meaningful progress.  We are just about to spot a lingerie lining, lay bare from the flaring petite piece of dress that’s the size of my handkerchief which apparently, is miserably trying to cover up a young lass, at one of the tellers just in front of the metal seats. Not to say our eyes have made peace with the exposed kilometers of her brown thighs. She is donning a pale orange dress, translucent and doing lots of injustice in covering her bum. She has a muddle of natural and artificial hair that are blending together, making us struggle to spot the teller serving her. Additionally, she is wearing a bold black lipstick that is fusing with her very light complexion, and on high heels that are doing way little to amplify her height.

I’m here warming my seat next to a gentleman seemingly twice my age. I’ll name him Kibicho* not his real name though. Once in a while, Kibicho will complain to me that queuing in the banking halls before they brought in the ticket systems, was more efficient than nowadays where the process is cumbersome. I tend to agree with him since we’ve been here for over 30 minutes being compelled to consume a marketing gimmick from the tv screen gazing at us. If not that, you’ll find us building castles on such a chilly early morning.

It’s on such a juncture I indulge Kibicho regarding the lady at the teller. I’m so bothered by the length of her dress. To my surprise, he’s like; “That’s not even short! These days they are dressing in very short stuff.” For your information, Kibicho pulled a demeanor of a very hardworking farmer. Look, he was in the banking hall on this hazy morning in muddy gumboots. And he seemed to have concluded few other tasks at home before embarking on a journey to the bank to deposit some cash. He appeared to be one of those who wake up at 4 am to milk, take it to the dairy, feed his livestock, have a session with a vet doctor and take a walk round the farm to find out if the last-night rain reigned havoc on his cow-peas for export, all done while you in bed. He seemed to grow greenhouse tomatoes as well. He could be here to pay school fees for his last born. He looked like those parents who are very organised when it comes to finances. Like, they pay all the running bills well on time and have one of those home-expenses box files kept in the bedroom for all the record keeping. Besides, these fellows are usually ahead of themselves financially.

Back to the girl that made Kibicho and I initiate a man-talk. She seemed to be one of those typical slay queens dotted all over. I’m yet to figure out how she was seated in that erotic dress but then again, nothing beats these ladies’ creativity when it comes to sitting postures.

But what exactly is slaying and who fits in this category and why so many ladies wish to be associated with the whole controversy of slaying?

Well for starters, not every lady who dresses exotically makes it to this clique of slayers. Slaying is the new sophistication a good number of young ladies are using to catch the attention of men. In other words, they dress to impress men. Forget the whole bullshit that men coined the word slay queen to project women as sex objects. That’s far from it. In fact, it is not men who advise women to dress derogatorily. In my local dialect there is a phrase called minji minji which basically means a young, fresh, vibrant, ambitious and beautiful woman. During the last election campaigns, many young women vying for electoral positions rode on that maniac and a number of them successfully sold it to the electorate. My point is, women are at the heart of using certain cards to their advantage and is it a bad idea? It depends with how you look at it.

So, what are the features of a slayer:

No Marriage Plans

Slayers have better things to do than focus on being trapped with the whole melodrama shenanigans that comes with marriage. Well, according to them. They are too cool to be domesticated, caged and to practice submission. They run the show, and can’t afford marriage diplomacy. To them settling down is an anticlimax to life and should only be emulated by boring personas who have nothing better to do than being second fiddle.

They date money

They date any man, married or not provided they own a bank and knows how to treat a woman. They are attracted by financial resources and reckon that the rest will fall into their rightful places in the span of time. They never give a damn whether the alleged men are old folks who struggle to hold together their chain of thoughts or lame duck young blokes or be it men of the cloth if not family men.

Dress Controversially

To cut the niche of a slayer you’ve got to dress bizarrely in the sense that you’ve got to leave tongues wagging, eyes drooling and necks aching. They present the true spirit of ‘my dress, my choice.’ It’s at this point that men are advised to look away and focus on their self-control flaws.

Light Complexion

It might appear unfair but the reality is that, ladies with a light complexion always have a head start in this industry. It is what it is, and the world bends over to that fact. The rest have to work unfairly harder to achieve half of what their counterparts with a lighter complexion tend to gain.

Instagram

They’d rather miss out on any other online platform but have a presence on IG. Here, they post they daily moves from high end washrooms to rest rooms that frequent the big kahunas, in their unconventional dressing styles and flirtatious poses. They also have to be photogenic and exude tremendous affection for the camera.

Physically Endowed

Slayers have to be outstanding in matters of physical beauty. They have to be noticeable and above board. The thing is, they have to be unapologetically stunning and ‘gifted.’ Commonly, they put up quite discernible and disruptive hair styles.

Expensive Accessories

A slayer must have an exorbitant phone to take quality pictures for IG and for hoodwinking potential ‘clients’ that they are the real deal. They’d rather sleep on a cold floor but have a pricey phone to intimidate wannabes.

Party Lover

They are to be found in every exclusive party that’s worth the talk where everything obnoxious takes supreme. They have no problem drinking from Monday to Monday provided somebody is paying the bills.

In the spirit of bro code, gentlemen be advised that the road might be tempting and full of delicacies but very slippery. Slayers have nothing to lose, suffice it to say, you don’t want to be set up like one Deputy Governor!

OFFICE ROMANCES

 

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Office romance is as old as love itself. Its been brewed and given breathe in the high walls of office set ups and graced by likely and unlikely characters masquerading in formal dressing codes since way back. You’ll be shocked or rather amazed depending on which side of the conversation you sit, by the statistics of office coupling. A sizeable number of the workforce have at least on one occasion or another, succumbed to close office relations courtesy of the attraction magnetic pull triggered by long working hours. All be it for quenching lust or seeking genuine love, many get trapped by the blurred web of office affairs.

The interesting bit is, many employees find it annoying, naive and selfish to engage in office relations in as much as they’ve been in them too at some point in their careers. And, did you know women receive more shade than men when they fall prey to office romances. In fact, when women are perceived to be having a thing going on with their senior colleagues or immediate bosses its interpreted to as, a game of coercion for promotion in exchange of sexual favours in as much as, perhaps the woman didn’t make the first move.

But what makes staff vulnerable to these kind of relationships? You know, the more time people spend together, the more they become familiar with one another. The more familiarity grows the more comfortable they become with each other. The more comfortable two people are with one another, the higher the chances of them sharing about personal stuff. The more they share the more subconsciously they view themselves as a couple. While this unfolds the higher the chances colleagues will notice the chemistry in their friendship and start teasing them about it. Do you know so many relationships are cemented by the outside world in this context being office colleagues who start perceiving an office friendship as not just a platonic one!

Interestingly, 90% of office relationships are merely short term in nature. Very few pass the litmus test of leading to something tangible and worth writing home about. Short term meaning they span for less than a year but seemingly one year shelf life out ways many relationships in the outside world. Anyway, where were we; some office relationships die before they start or prior to making the first baby steps. Some vanish in the air before they get noticed by anybody. This is because they are built on sand and in haste. They are moulded by environmental factors and are circumstantial in nature. Meaning, the bigger chunk of the conversations around you two are basically about workplace stuff. Be it about your damn boss, office gossip and so forth. Such a relationship is not sustainable. Few have common values and shared interests outside of the office hence why they are chocked by nature. They say nature has humour.

Office relationships are annoying in the sense that, the consequences of the affair failing are dire. This is because colleagues get attracted by such pep talks doing round in the office corridors. And it’s never funny. They will dig in, gossips will crop up and allegations will be retold over and over again. If you are not careful, the information may even reach to your boss’s desk in very bad state and this may have a negative effect on your career. More harrowing, it might be against your company policy to engage in office relationships. Pleading that you were unaware will not save you but land you at the HR’s office only to be met with a gross misconduct warning letter if lucky not to be issued with a summary dismissal.

The most annoying thing with office relationships is that one tends to be chocked off by the partner. You see, you literally spend 40-45 hours in a week with him/her without even counting hours after you leave office. By the time you reach home there is nothing much to talk about since you’ve been bumping on each other on office corridors and worse still if you work in the same department, you might as well be summoned with the rest of your teammates by your immediate bosses for missing company targets or for poor performance. Moreover, you never can’t have your personal life and space since your spouse is always around you any day and time. And if he or she spots you being hugged ‘intimately’ by a colleague from the opposite gender, your guess is as good as mine how your evening will turn out to be like.

Office relations get over scrutinized by colleagues. Essentially, the pressure becomes too much and there tends to be a lot of public relations to be played especially when things aren’t working out well for both of you. Be it as it may, whether it’s a fling affair or a serious office relationship, a break up from this nature can be the worst of all nightmares you’ve ever grappled with. First of all, there is nothing like amicable breakups in office set ups. You recall my article on Amicable Breakups or Not. Well, it gets uglier by the day, nastier and leaves you dreadful. Office breakups leave you with a permanent punch on your face. They have the potential of making you lose your job or have a serious career take a beating and worst of all, get you paraded in court for allegations of sexual harassment. Before you hop in office affairs, appreciate that office romances and sexual harassment are intertwined and either of it can be used against you in a matter of time.

Plus, who is ready to work with his or her ex in the same office? On my previous post on Amicable Breaksups we delved deeply on the importance of cutting off exes from our lives. Now imagine, your ex being your colleague? Think of the emotional baggage that comes with breakups and ponder dropping at your ex’s desk to work on a particular task together that has a biting deadline. How awkward can that be! What’s more humiliating is helplessly watching your ex warm up to another relationship with another office colleague. Moreover, nature compels your office colleagues to take sides between you two depending on how loyal they are to each one of you. Eventually, such a workplace becomes a stress zone to work from. The thing is, we’ve got to be strategic and think straight with the right ‘head’ before jumping in to every relationship that presents itself right at our noses. We’ve got to think of the repercussions of the potential end even before we toy with the start.

Nevertheless, we all know of couples who’ve dated, gotten married and raised children still working in the same organizations. The thing is, its not a crime to harbor feelings for an office colleague as long as you do it with the right intent and having trusted your intuition. Life should be approached with an open mind and so should it also apply in an office set up. It’s highly important and healthy to make friends, network with colleagues and fuse into the array of office characters. However, boundaries must be set as the odds are clearly overwhelming.

 

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OF AMICABLE BREAK UPS OR NOT

Related image When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most may be clearer in their absence. — Kahlil Gibran. So, is there anything like amicable breakup? Like can you call your significant other and start an awkward conversation with words like’ “Hey babe, I’ve reached a point where I want us to part ways”. And she smiles about it and be like, “sawa tu!” Subsequently, can you then sustain a no strings attached relationship with your ex? Someone said – If you’re still friends with an ex, you’re either still in love or never were.

The longer the relationship, the greater the codependency and the worse a breakup would be. That’s why people who engage in hit and run never get hurt since no emotions are invested in the first place. On the other hand, the would-be ‘victim’ is also likely to heal in no time since the time span is too short to warrant much pain. But of course, there is always the element of being robbed some innocence or being taken for a ride. This mostly happens to women.

But how many people can welcome rejection with a broad smile? Breakups are more or less, versions of rejection especially to partners found flat-footed and bombarded with breakup news. And it can tremendously destabilise one’s life. This is because rejections provoke thoughts of us questioning our true selves and identities. You see, somebody who clearly loved you for quite some time – say several years (not these 6 – 9 months relationships. In fact they don’t suit to be called relationships but hookups.) waking up one day with such hard news or developing signs of breaking up with you can only be tormenting, to say the least. Actually, for some, they jump to friends they friendzoned earlier on just to hide from realities of rejection. Some switch to new-found infatuations where they succumb to unwarranted pregnancies all in denial of a rejection. Some drown to depression or alcoholism.

It sounds very civilized to break up amicably, but I tell you what, the more cordial a breakup is, the higher the chances of a relapse or intrusion into your future. And your future includes you moving on to a serious and long-term relationship or actually marriage. The impact can be dire. Stories have been told of exes showing up at people’s door uninvited for emergency sleepovers. In retrospect, if the break up was relatively hostile or draining the said ex wouldn’t ever show up regardless of the excuse. There is a fallacy that your ex can be a good friend but the reality of it all is that either or both parties will feel vulnerable and temptations are bound to happen.

It’s been proven that any habitual friendship with an ex has every likely element of flirting. And this is mainly aided by the mere fact that the breakup was cordial. I mean with an ex, you can bank on boundaries being blurred and feelings being messy. Haley Nahman a Digital Editor puts it this way; “true motives are often buried in our subconscious, only to be revealed in hindsight, and that’s why this remains a tricky territory.” In other words, you just may never know that it’s not actually advisable to awaken sleeping dogs.

The golden rule is to close that chapter and give the keys to your current significant other to dispose them off. Otherwise, an ex entertained is like having your cake and still intending to eat it. Eventually, you’ll have your fingers burnt off in the cross-hairs. By the way, why an ex’s chapter is tough to close for some is the emotional limbo that comes with a breakup. It’s agonising to reconcile the fate of you being single hence why a majority of the afflicted wouldn’t mind tolerating a friendship with an ex just to find a way of fixing the mess.

On the flipside do you know there could be advantages of breaking up with your ex amicably? To start with, a good term breakup doesn’t mean no one got hurt! It only alludes that there is dignity in letting the other party leave without melodrama. It’s about respecting the mutual reality that things aren’t working for both of you. Of course its emotionally draining, but I tell you what, the lesser the drama, the better the coping mechanism and bouncing back to your old self. Drama attracts people, and people can make you get hurt more. It also robs you respect from would be friends and colleagues or neighbours. However, the main disadvantage with such a breakup is that feelings don’t just disappear even with the time factor. There is a lot of vulnerability at play for the mere reason of a dignified separation.

Toying with an idea that you can be friends with your ex after the breakup, is a catch 22 for many. They find themselves inhibiting their feelings and acting up to a just-friends kind of hook up. There’s the inevitable magnetic pull to each other, which includes still wondering how their family is doing, and still being concerned about their overall well-being. You see, what keeps two former lovebirds apart are the cruel words pronounced during a breakup, revelations that came in too late for instance cheating, and the catastrophic nature of the breakup. You know, there is nothing that tears up and wrenches an individual like cold words coming from somebody you were once adored and occupied your personal space. Moreover, realising your better half was cheating on you behind your back, triggers overwhelming emotions leading to brutal breakups and such chapters getting closed almost immediately.

But the moment you entertain an ex cum friend scenario, the heartbreak progresses from worse to worst.  Appreciate that in such a situation, feelings will just be restrained and the idea of seeing them with somebody else not only makes you envious but tends to hurt you even more. Pundits have it, it’s extremely difficult to watch the same person you once terribly loved with the same lenses of a platonic friend post the breakup. Feelings rebel and become stubborn. Its only easier said than done that an ex can just be a friend. It’s unnatural to reverse your view of somebody who meant everything to you, to just a harmless friend. One or both of you must be lying to each other.

According to relationship experts, be it with relationships, a job or a stage in life, getting closure for any significant moment in one’s life is important for one to heal and move on. A closure means finality; letting go of what once was. And this is regardless of whether a breakup was amicable or not.

‘OVER PUBLICIZED’ RELATIONSHIPS

 

The couple share an intimate moment during aEvery human being devours affirmation and validation. It’s human nature to require some appreciation here and some there. No man is self sufficient and it’s important to feel valued and cherished by the world. Even relationships beg for acceptance. When your friends and family affirm your relationship, it kicks in the feel-good hormones. It works for your esteem. Plus, nobody is immune from street love and blowing of accolades.

Positive affirmations make us feel valued, raises our confidence levels and works amazingly in making us believe in ourselves. Besides, the power of positive affirmation uplifts our moods, make us feel happy and reminds us never to take ourselves for granted. Beyond that, we have to appreciate, to successfully affirm oneself requires a daily ritual of self motivation. Without it, we lose our state of balance and focus which makes everything that matter come down crumbling. Without affirmation we lose the plot.

This brings me to my question; Can we get quality affirmation from social media? After my research, I concluded that, opinion is divided and it depends on who you ask. What is apparent though is that, the online space is not only superficial and addictive but also increasingly unsafe to engage on private matters. Cyber bullying is on the rise and so is data theft. More worrying is a reality that confirms, a primary user has very little control if any, of photos he or she uploads to these platforms. Anyone can download them, and have the reserve to do whatever they so wish including ferrying them to a witch doctor. My point is, don’t over share, period.

Now, relationships…

Every relationship has its private and public life. Depending on how a couple is wired, they may decide to keep off social media and all avenues that encourage public display of affection commonly coined as PDAs. Some may balance it out – letting a teaser of their relationship to the public eye for instance during anniversaries, birthdays and whatever milestones the relationship tends to surmount. And there are couples who go all out, full-blown, sharing their every nitty-gritty, petty or otherwise, aspect of their relationships. To some extent, you feel part of that relationship. Your subliminal mind convinces you, that you’re a partaker and a shareholder of the relationship too. The moment sharing of events and pictures of a relationship simply become too much and go overboard, that is called relationship brag. It’s addictive, makes the couple vulnerable unnecessarily and tends to involve everybody else in their social media space be it complete strangers, virtual friends, secret admirers, acquaintances, frenemies, haters, snitches and anybody else in that composition. They are carried along and consistently fed by the couple’s news-feed.

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Relationship brag is a situation where a couple deliberately and actively make a decision to make aspects of their private relationship, public. It’s a psychological disorder. It’s a condition that can be interpreted to mean – “Hey, I matter. I exist.” In my opinion, it has nothing to do with ego but a question of demanding to be validated and cherished by all means possible. The more insecure we’re feeling, the more likely we are to post about how great we are.

What exactly is over-sharing?

Well, oversharing is when the rest of us have an idea of how your wardrobe looks like even when we have never met you in person. It is when your virtual friends can successfully break into your house, eyes closed and putting on masks and still manage to run through all your rooms pointing out your most valuable items even when you’ve never invited them before. Over sharing is when we know all your hairstyles and what pair of shoe is in your shoe rack from January to December yet we only happen to meet in the virtual world.

Facebook depression is the culture of spending too much time on social networks at the expense of doing something constructive. And people who over share depict an unusual sensitivity to social rejection. That is, if they don’t share they feel left out. We have commercialized happiness and equated it to mean, the more you expose intimate messages and pictures about your loved ones, necessarily espouses how much you love them. Hahaha, not necessarily so. It could be a case of coercion or demarcating one’s territory or distracting your spouse.

You see, over sharing is a breeding ground for straight forward facts like – Couples who over share do so to convince us to help them convince themselves that they were meant for each other. Without us, they are long gone, for worse. Voodoo validation from social networks especially for relationship purpose is nothing but smoky, unmerited and holds no credible substance. And by the way, there is a direct and strong correlation between narcissistic people and them that over share on social media. Boy! have you met narcissistic people? You’ll pee on yourself. They are hell and can make you explode. They have the energy to make you lose your esteem if it’s not intact.

One unhealthy way of boosting one’s self esteem is by invoking envy from other people. By oversharing or making private aspects of your relationship subject of discussion by all and sundry, you tend to lie to yourself, that you’re a big deal. You cannot compel people to make you a sell-out! As a matter of fact, that’s being desperate. When you are genuinely happy and in an authentic relationship, you have nothing to prove to anybody. You have no followers to feed, nor tabs to keep. And as they say, sometimes less is more!

A good number of local celebs who’ve engaged in over publicized relationships have been forced to delete their social media footprints that were once awash with overshared private lives after their relationships went downhill. Without mentioning names, there are obvious suspects a case in point being one relationship of two media lovebirds who coughed millions to hold a posh wedding that lit social media streets only for the relationship to go down crumbling after a few months. You also must be living in a cave if you don’t know of this fine blogger who got proposed on top of Mt.Kenya where a meal was prepared by the said man and his pilot in the ice cold ambiance that consequently crushed the online networks for a couple of weeks only for the couple to separate recently.

We watched the rise and fall of Diamond and Zari right in front of our noses. In fact, if the social networks could attest, they could create an entire thrilling series courtesy of the millions of photos uploaded by the once East & Central Africa’s most powerful showbiz couple. And as their relationship disintegrated, their baby daughter Princess Tiffah still commands a whooping over 1.5 million followers.

When Shaffie Weru travelled to the US last year for a vacation, his top notch house was broken into. From then, he ceased from posting pics of his digs. In late 2016, Kim Kardashian got robbed her 11 million US dollar ring in her Paris hotel room after posting it on social media. What’s my point? There is a connection between over-sharing and breakage of houses. Stop it my friend!

The more people you draw in your relationship, the more agitation and right of consultancy they will demand at your time of break up. This is because you made your private life their business and chose to feed them with daily fodder hence the interest to watch you sink just as they stomached you rise, toppling and overshadowing their lives. The right of consultancy will include and not be limited to making you a laughing stock, skinning you alive, trading unsubstantiated rumours, tearing your dignity apart and much more theatrics to humble you. Basically, there is no grace in over sharing especially when it’s time to pack your stuff in a relationship as the internet never forgets even when you delete your over saturated life in the social media.

 

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