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.

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‘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.

 

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?

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