My Brother Eric Returns To the Shadows.

Bird-of-Paradise-Flower“Oh death…Where is thy sting…?”…It stings a lot…and it hurts til you are one big lump of pain! I am almost numb everywhere, after receiving the news of the passing of my hero, friend, mentor and brother. Eric Luseno…or Ilichi as he was fondly called by villagers for whom the Norse name was a tongue twister…was a lantern…A bright lamp whose presence and company made an event, even just a casual encounter, a not to be missed one. He was the kind of guy that walked into a room and a big aura of “look who’s here!” descended into the room.

The hallmark of his persona was kindness and compassion. He was a born diplomat. He listened well and when he got the chance to speak, he chose his spoken word ever so carefully. Those who think Barack Obama has too many “er’s” and “um’s” in his speeches…then you never heard Eric speak. When that happened you knew good advice was about to be dispensed! You could hear him think, before the words were uttered. He always deployed tact and it always came through not dripping spin and sneak but more with sagacity and great intellect!

Eric “opened” the swing doors to college education for our section of the Luseno clan. When he left to go to college, we were so happy and yet felt desolate because the guy who would speak up (gently) to mum and dad when your butt was on the line…was gone!  When he came home to visit…dressed like a college dude in Che Guevara-like / Black Panther polo necks, bell-bottoms, wide at the point where the trouser met the shoe (platforms thank you very much!) and just amply huggy at the waist…and his Brylcream-glistening Afro patted down to just the right level…we were mouth agape. This was transformation! Education was truly the key to all round awesomeness!

He would usually come accompanied by one or two close college buddies like Jared “Obengele” Ogutu, who later became the best-man at his wedding to our sister-in-law, the lovely Maria…or Barry Osome (one of the grooms-men and who looked like Richard Roundtree as far as we were concerned)…Or Oyando (who when they arrived at our house always promptly asked for my “Beryl The Peril” annuals / comic books in which he immersed himself and occasionally let out loud guffaws of laughter).

Then after a sumptuous special lunch prepared by my mum for the “Plato” of the family and his friends, they would sit outside on the back veranda and hold these high falutin’ discourses from which we heard snatches of words like “Australopithecus…Zinjanthropus…Kenyapithecus-Africanus…” Good Lord!…I at that point knew I had to go to college by hook or by crook…More hook really! People say that you can be judged by the company you keep. Eric had good friends.

Eric was such a devoted son, brother, father, uncle and friend. He respected loyalty and returned the same whenever an opportunity presented itself. He was patient and sometimes you wished that he would get angry and tell the person bugging him to beat it! I remember a time when, in our halcyon childhood days of growing up, a musu from a gated community, the Sister and Doctors Mess / housing for the spillover from colonial, stiff upper lipped staff, who worked at the Kenyatta National Hospital…formerly King George Hospital, across from where we lived in Kenyatta Estate, came to our house..Flat 4 Door A1, with his dog on a leash in tow, to complain that our kid bro, Boyi was among the cruel little estate brats that had beat his dog.

Toby, the dog, had broken leash and when master wasn’t looking had crossed boundaries into hostile territory, where the brats had on spotting him, pelted him with stones and then ran for dear life when the dog turned on them! Fortunately for Boyi but unfortunate for the complainant, both our harsh parents, Dad, who we had nicnamed “Blackbelt” and mum (she of the cheek and thigh pinching discipline and also known as “Mazenga“), were away from home and Eric was the one in charge. Double unfortunate for the guy again because Eric had just come home from the local pub with his buddies, slightly tipsy and so the stage was set for a local “courtroom drama”!

Eric was the judge and his pose of two equally “Tusker-happy” buddies were the biased, non-speaking jury…who only nodded and “ahemmed” in chorus in agreement with whatever Eric said. A ragtag of Boyi’s bash street kids looking friends stood on one side, ourselves included and together we made up the crowd in the courtroom. After the poor and haplessly overwhelmed dog owner had finished his opening statement, Eric cross-examined him and then launched into an anthropological elocution to him, of the African and his paradoxical affinity to animals…and especially of the variety that are not expected to end up on our plate as dinner…like the dog!

He juxtaposed that with the wazungu ‘s love for dogs and cats which in African homesteads had very specific duties as guards (usually barking only!) and rodent / pest catchers of the mice variety. In the process he explained how we just beat cows and goats and dogs with really no remorse because that is all the animals know!

Cut a long story short, Eric and his buddies were soon engrossed in a most interesting discussion (in good English of the university variety) with the good medical doctor and by the time he left, he was cool! He shook hands with Eric and his friends and he “praised” them as brilliant boys who in his estimation “will do very well in life!”…And with a nasal “jolly good!” said only in the way a Brit would, he was on his way home with Toby in tow again! Hilarious and brilliant…the way Eric diffussed that situation! And just one of the many instances of hilarity Eric gave us and I could quote many more as I am sure each of everybody else who met him could do too!

I can’t resist quoting our cousin Beeson (aka Bee) Avugwi who we related to more as a first bro than a cousin, and who I have always felt has the same kind, friendly and also listeningest disposition as Eric had. He said…

“Eric brought so many gifts to my life from the time we were kids to his days in Kangaru, UoN, Mombasa and finally and perhaps more importantly when we worked together at the Posta Training School in Mbagathi. Virtually every Friday evening, Eric and I would be found at the College pub just sharing. A very soft spoken man who had the response of a sage to every situation. It was while I was sitting with him and his uncle Ndungu (Freddie) at Kenyatta Market that he introduced me to Jane Avugwi”.

Jane is bee’s wife and our childhood friend (The Wandakas), growing up! That sort of thing was typical of Eric…Bringing people together! He brought us together and it is small wonder that he did just that, to the Elijah Kilaya branch of the Luseno clan just before his passing.

He, Maria and the boys…Alec, Nash and Mash, hosted us at his splendid new home in Ongata Rongai where we ate a lot of mbuzi, danced to lunje music which we sang, led by the family music maestro of “malago” fame, our sis / aunt Hellen Mudagale Luseno-Majani. The tribe came in from everywhere..States-side, on one end, to Manama Bahrain…and Mombasa and Kampala and everywhere. It was a jolly good show of jollification I tell you!

Eric and Mary put that party together and for some…it was the last time they would see Eric in person again. My hubby, Olu, is full of remorse at not having been able to have met him in person, during our last sojourn to the old country, last year (2012) over Christmas. He had to leave before me as duty and job called.

I and a few others like sis aunt Eddy, Kasmall, Flossie & Dennis Kashero and a gaggle of nieces and nephews and cousins were lucky and had the opportunity to meet with him and other relas at our Cucu Muthoni’s house, also in Rongai, where she had hosted a Sunday after church lunch so that I can get to meet those other of my relas, that I was going to miss seeing during my seemingly short 7 week visit to code 254. I was set to leave back to States-side, in less than a weeks time. Again it was a great kikao where we did a down memory lane story time, punctuated with anecdotes and the words rolling off our tongues easy, helped by the malt and that Grousy bird!

This started off as a homily to Eric but what he would really deserve is an epic ode. The stories are legion and being the kind of guy he was, a story about him always ends up digressing into other winding paths because he was all about people. He would have made a lousy politician though…He was too kind! But he made a great teacher, leader and administrator as he epitomized, in the course of his professional career.

We are all joined together in mourning this gentle, always calm and full of humor man. His laughter was infectious and his affinity for a good joke was what made him such terrific company.  We miss him already til it hurts. We will funika Maria and the boys and hold them up like the omundu strong we are!…They are ours and though Eric is gone, they will know that he is just a breath and a gust of wind away in us who he mentored and taught to value family as not just being important but the only important thing! But his pain is now gone and only a gentle peace in repose remains. I choose to remember him in happiness, rather than in the sting and sadness, of the shroud of death. The good memories of yesterday will ameliorate the pain and sorrow of today and tomorrow.

969147_10151617554984707_1546695095_n (2) My epitaph to Eric:…

“However long the night…the dawn will break”…And we will find you in the fresh dew on the grass, in streams and rivulets, in the music of rustling leaves, the oboe of the wind…in the quiet still of the dusky twilight and the stillness of a placid lake…

So long Eric…

©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

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Sports, Culture and Arts Secretary and Nairobi Governor Save The Kenya National Theater from being Auctioned

kenya-national-theatre

A topic after my own heart!…Unfortunately we still have anxious “developers” who get hives when they see prime property like that got to “waste”! I would imagine that they think it’s a waste because we don’t put these centers to as much use as we should.

I visited Market Theater in Johannesburg  South Africa (and met the late iconic George Menoe long after he had relocated back home from his home in Kenya!) and was so taken aback at the hive of activity that was this theater district! There were plays going on, rehearsals for next shows in other places, artists and patrons seated in various places including pavement / roadside pubs and eateries just debating / chatting about what they had just participated in or watched. It is also a star watchers spot where people go to mingle with their stage stars etc. There are also kiosks selling merchandise related to theater that I am sure serve as a side income generation for the theater…not just a bar and fish restaurant!

I ventured into the foyers of the theaters and saw plays advertised for as far ahead as 6…7…8 months. The box offices were busy selling tickets for the many, many functions booked to happen here. It is a center to which people gravitate all the time and not just during the one play that is showing as it is usually our case! The decor, ambiance and the history of theater depicted via murals on the walls was breathtaking!

Indeed, the Director and ministry officials should draw a plan with a caveat that puts all cultural centers and theaters around the country permanently out of the reach of cultural Philistines who never tire and seem to be born in every generation.Then it is also time to put in place people who can get stuff happening here all the time. By people who can…I am talking about ones with actual experience in running such cultural outfits and know how to put together programs that attract people and funding to keep the places going. The centers should be made visitor friendly and stop being hangouts for aspiring celebs and tailgaters!

And it does not have to be a play all the time but rather even workshops to encourage the development of the arts in every field.

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Written in response to a story and headline by Kimani Wa Wanjiru @ http://kimaniwawanjiru.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/sports-culture-and-arts-secretary-and-nairobi-governor-save-the-kccknt-from-being-auctioned/

©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

Mimi Natenka Kudenko…Swahili for I love You?

417iEXz6j+L I am currently reading a novel Harvesting The Heart by Jodi Picoult (A New York best seller author) in which her protagonist Paige is talking to another character Nick that she is beginning to have a stir in her bosom for. She tells him…”I know how to say I love you in ten languages. Mimi natenka kudenko. I said it in Swahili just to prove it”….Picoult is an accomplished writer…has written four other novels and was awarded the New England Award in 2003.

I was taken aback by that Swahili there and wondered who her translator was. The mimi, is right and correct Swahili for Me. Natenka, hubby and I assumed, is nataka. Now kudenko becomes interesting because it can be subject to different approximations of words in swahili that are said in times of amor! I can think of one in Kimara but which would mean what you do after saying I love you properly…kukundeko!

I am afraid she may have fallen victim to a prankster, some of who deliberately give you translations to simple, nice greetings, making them mean something abominable, then they stand aside and watch you say it to someone, whose facial expression in response is…priceless! Am I right or am I right?…Because I want to let her know that while enjoying her novel thoroughly, I found my national language massacred to death! Ama she was not writing for a Swahili audience and so just used bunga bunga language…Hahaha!.. that has no meaning really…which then does not fit in with the rather serious tone of her story!

I would be interested to hear what others may have to say on this! And Oh!…Mimi Nakupenda (I love you in Swahili)!

©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

To Be Cremated Or Get Robbed While Dead?

cremation_20urnsCremation Urns…Much smaller than the standard coffin, lower priced, easy to transport and more eco-friendly to dispose off!

A friend of mine asked, “What is this world coming to? This is really bizarre! I thought the practice of stealing coffins had died a natural death???”. The question was in reaction to a story that appeared in the local media about grave robbers who had been scuttled by the police in their attempt to rob the grave of the late Mutula Kilonzo. He passed away very recently, and therefore his grave was still fresh, the soil or cement may not have settled or hardened enough! Talk about striking the iron while it is still hot. But this was a cold grave! Stories like these are what reincarnate the idea of boogeymen in your wardrobe, closet or under the bed when you’re still a kid…and even up to when we grow up.

Grave digging &  robbing, is not a new or novel phenomenon. According to Beta News  (3/12/2012) over 100 graves were dug up in the West African country of Benin, looted by grave robbers seeking body parts for use in magic rituals. And according to a Reuters news story on the same grave looting story, “The incident is the most serious case of grave-robbing in the West African state, the world capital of voodoo where most of the country’s 9 million residents practice a benign form of the official religion.” The story clarifies that the grave robbers in this case were looking for body parts to use in “religious” rites. It just boiled down to witchcraft if you ask me!

Muti hunting was featured in the 2009 South African science-fiction film “District 9,” in which the hero’s body parts were sought after by a local warlord who believed that the limbs would give him magical powers. The Muti affair in South Africa assumes graver proportions when if they cannot rob a grave, then murders will suffice in order to supply the body parts. Closer to home in East Africa the Muti practice was and still is happening with the abduction of Albinos, whose unusual body pigment lends their parts a higher price and potency in the macabre world of divination, devil worship and whatever else these guys do to knock themselves out!

But this is not a practice limited to Africa. Africa is in good company and probably playing catch up with the bad side of maendeleo! In Europe it is historically true where in Britain, by the early 1700’s, theft from graveyards was common in London, England, and grave robbers (or “resurrection men,” as they were known) were making a profit digging up bodies and selling them to anatomists and doctors. Among the most infamous of these criminals were Irish grave robbers and murderers Brendan Burke and William Hare. And how about archaeological excavators some who have crossed the line and no longer do it to further knowledge in their field  but to find fame and fortune?

The common denominator in all these ghoulish practices is the desire for power and money. But in the case of what happened in Ukambani, I am tempted to just water it down to plain good old robbers who while probably standing in the wings and watching the whole burial ceremony, were busy calculating how much the clothes, accessories that dressed the body and the mahogany looking coffin can fetch on the local underworld market!

Expensive coffins, suits and jewelry that we bury our rich in are a natural pull for the hungry poor who can’t understand how some can have so much and others nothing at all. Not that it’s the dire poor who always steal but there are those daredevils who aspire to wealth and riches by any means necessary…including desecrating graves and disrespecting the family of the deceased! It’s a catch 22…a splashy send-off in the glare of those who had nothing to eat the night before and risking a visit from them coming to get what the dead have and they do not!

What wood was used on this casket! And where was it made? Another friend mused. I have been part of  funeral committees and it always amazes me how we go to great lengths to procure coffins whose wood and timber would make very expensive tables and other furniture or even better serve as a “gently” used, second hand coffin for the next customer. The coffins have more glitter added with golden handles fitted and a finish in the wood that is so fine. The budget for the coffin sometimes eats up a big chunk of the budgeted funeral donations, rivaled only by the cost of the food for the send off feast, even when the family of the deceased could have done with the money post burial!

Then, as if that is not enough for you the poor deceased and the family, someone comes in after the last mourner has left to unearth you, undress you literally, take your ride (coffin) to glory-land and dump you back in the cold soil or cemented grave! And all they wanted is the sometimes faux gold and anything else that they can palm off for whatever money all that paraphernalia can fetch. The late Whispers nailed it when he always referred to mitumba clothes as “marehemu George”, in reference to the same having been imported from the land of King George, England! In this case, the clothes came off the cadaver of a real marehemu!

I watched the funeral of the last Pope who died in office and was humbled at the coffin which can only be described as a pinewood box. Simple indeed! I guess our problem as human beings is how to separate the needs of the dead when they are really gone, from the living and whose needs are truly greater and very real. In going through the mourning phases of denial, grief etc, we still continue to think that the dead are aware of what we are doing…buying them a new suit, a watch, shoes, shirt…don’t forget the underwear (clean too!), and making a public display of out-wailing each other (the will is yet to be read!) and also affording them the best and really expensive ride to their final resting place, from halfway houses with names reminiscent of the Inca.

I guess we call it “resting” because we believe in the doctrine of the apocalyptic rising…and so they, the dead, are not really dead! So when we arrive on the other shore will our mum be waiting to check see that your nails are cut short and that your undies are clean? I hardly think so!

Much of what we do when a loved one passes on is done from a very emotional plane and sometimes trying to inject reason into such a highly charged situation could land you in hot soup. You might even be said to be silently jollificating and that is why you are suggesting a cheaper coffin for the dear departed. My friend Nina put it this way, “Sadly, it doesn’t really matter how you inter the dead, the end result is the same….we end up 6 feet under where we quickly transform into dust. Sadly too, life moves on and the only people who truly feel the loss are usually a handful of people consisting of the departed one’s nearest and dearest.”

All this having been said, it seems to make sense that we should make certain important decisions while we are still alive and not wait for mourners to do this for us. Those decisions are ones like what kind of funeral we would wish to have including the method of final interment. I know it is still taboo for some to write a will or even suggest to oneself that you will die one day. They say that you are tempting fate! My Ann here in the US had what I found to be an unusual funeral which she planed while alive and in a surreal way, directed and conducted the same after she had passed on. She planned the service, the scriptures and she actually read and recorded the order of service from beginning to end! The music too! And she paid for everything in advance! In the foregoing circumstances, cremation as an option, does begin to look and sound like a not so bad idea.

I would opt for cremation instead of the ritual of church and graveside burials at a huge expense….and being far away from home, it is the right choice to make seeing how people turn you into cargo at great cost, and wait for you to arrive at the airport so that they can view and wail over you afresh! Really? Cremation is easy on the remaining family and I also like the fact that people do not have a mound to get tethered to and keep making pilgrims to every year and feel guilty when they don’t.

Graves are also a way for us to perpetuate ourselves in the mind of the living and also provide guilt trips for if they forget! Cremation is also hygienic and saves on land as a resource. I have been to homes where graves have overtaken the area set aside for farming…It is like they farm graves and the bits of maize and maharagwe plants are the weeds!

According to an article published in The Star “The Intricacies of Cremation” by J. Chigiti of the law firm Chigiti & Chigiti and a graduate of Pune University India, a country where cremation is the first choice interment method, “In recent years, cremation has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional in-ground burial for many different reasons. Many people perceive cremation as being the more environmentally sound choice, some prefer the efficiency of cremation, and undoubtedly, the lower cost is appealing. Cremation is an option for the final disposition of a deceased person. The late Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai is the latest entry in the known list of cremations.” The article further notes that we still remain firmly entrenched in out traditional burial rituals but with time, the changing social and especially economic dynamics will box us into seeing cremation as an okay alternative.

I am all for respecting the remains of the dead but we must at times stop and listen to the voice of reason that niggles at the back of our heads that reminds us that, this immediate burial fanfare will soon end and then we will be left to face the grim future of life without the departed and the looming rent! For those who can afford it,  their conscience should tell them to not parade it to those who are so poor and needy it hurts! I have seen extravagantly wealthy people opt for small and very private funerals.

The legacy of a simple life, that the dead Pope who was buried in a pinewood box,  left to us,  is what we enjoin ourselves in. The same goes for our hero, Professor Wangari Maathai, dead and cremated, and who I remeber each time I am driving by Uhuru Park. And that idea of what legacy we leave behind should also suffice for the wealthy dead…not the pomp and pageantry of a body going back to dust, all dressed up and laid out in a coffin that came at the price of what counts like a small county budget!

©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

On Undercover Babies…And Posthumous Scandals!

A conversation I had with some friends recently on Facebook went something like this:

Jerry: These are signs of our times. Posthumous scandals

Me: Hio ni sawa kabisa…In keeping with our national pastime off having asides and deserts following the main meal! Hahaha! She said in her supporting affidavit that she needed to hit the iron when still hot…i.e before he is interred…Her trump card!

Willis: I think we are in a material oriented society. What about other men of less economic status? Almost nobody goes to claim anything when they die. Also, we are in a society where we lack strict laws on marriage, inheritance, Wills, Estates, etc etc.Undercover babies

As you might have already guessed…Yes! It was us Kenyans engaged in another favorite pastime….In the bar, at home, on street corners (I saw a lot of mini Kamukunjis in the city, Nairobi, when I last visited just before the elections…and nice little benches to laze on and chat that also ironically say on the backrest…”I will not just sit here…”!). We were  discussing current events (more affairs than gossip…affairs has a ring of highbrow  intellect being engaged!) and lending the discussion our own wild suppositions and explanations for the state of affairs…a death in the family called Kenya. In this case it was the untimely death (when is it ever timely?) of the said distinguished lawyer turned politician Mutula Kilonzo.

The reason why his passing caused a stir is in part because we had just come out of a bruising election and he was on the side that lost. The losing side was and still is trying to make sense of that loss and any scapegoat will do. In this case, it was being whispered that he has been “eliminated”. And that sinister dark forces that oddly resembled the government of the day and probably the Dalai Lama or Maradonna (remember his famous Hand of God?), must have had a hand in it…all in preparation for the return match set for 2017 by eliminating whatever and whoever looked like a formidable foe!

But that was not even the core of our discussion…We have since moved from shock and grief and crocodile tears and playing Sherlock Holmes by offering our “elementary” theories of how Mutula died…to now a more seedy and corpulent topic. That Mutula Kilonzo while serving the nation so opulently and in distinguished manner, may have found time to sow wild oats in his backyard that resulted in a little boy being born. Oh boy!…Is there a topic that gets our juices going and tongues wagging more than one where a clande relationship is nakedized for all to see and savor  Now we know who he really is, we bellow! We have seen his underwear…sorry underbelly!  And all that pseudo-intelligence cum political talk we earlier had on how a great reformist mind and sturdy mugumo has been felled by dark ninja forces,  is forgotten. So lets talk about sex nooow!…undercover sex and how oops!…babies can also be the unintended consequence!

I have only the greatest respect for this distinguished son of Kenya who led an iconic life. He was smart, and is the only lawyer within the Kenyan legal fraternity that a colleague said he ever heard expound on the law of unintended consequences; and his life story reads like the great novel Angela’s Ashes, a 1996 memoir by the Irish-American author Frank McCourt. I read a long piece on Mutula, written by one journalist, Emeka, in a local daily, and whose writing I admire for its depth and research, in which he chronicles Mutula’s journey from his indigent village life, through school and hard work, making much moolah along the way, and right back to the magnificent Valhalla he built as his getaway, and at which ironically he exited the earth! But by the time Emeka wrote his piece, the woodwork was still intact and Nthenya had not busted through to thicken the plot with claims that she wants to tell us another part of the story! She had a son with Mutula all seven years ago and before the soil is settled on his cenotaph and the ink dry on the will…would they please add a nota bene and include her son!?

All this remains unsubstantiated and it is all conjecture of course, until the DNA results are in. A pointed aspect of the discussion however, was on how he Mutula had now sunk low in the eyes of some of those who held him in high esteem as a morally upright person and whose life and success is a testament to how it is possible to be rich, famous and a politician and still be an example to others. One other friend weighed in on the discussion saying: “This man was all form and no substance. Let no one tell me about speaking ill of the dead.I’m getting more disgusted with Mutula with each passing day.This one about hobnobbing with his herdsman’s daughter…a girl much younger than Kethi…..eish!”

Women were more incensed because this has become the norm rather than the exception in our society where men shirk their responsibility of looking after the children that are born after the nice time of making them is a long forgotten faint memory that does not cause a stir in their groin anymore! My friend Esther was livid and had this to say: “Eunice Nthenya is a daughter to the late Mutula’s herdsman/ranch hand. I am trying to imagine how he approached & seduced her. Or was she just delivered by her father? Mutula paid Ksh 4,000 for maternity fees for Eunice child, his son… a princely sum indeed maybe at a local hospital or Pumwani. But…. he paid Ksh700,000 to feed the lions (PER MONTH!!)…so there you go..value for money, I tell you….. so Kenyans where do we go from here??? We need to hold our leaders accountable for their private immorality. After all we are funding their lavish livelihoods. Give the politicians their raise but they should live in a moral and transparent manner, failure to which they should be disrobed of their positions.”

Private Immorality! Now that is a new one. How is that and is it allowed? My friend is angry and indeed echoes the sentiments of many women who will no doubt be livid to hear of the lions eating well and yet the mother and child are left to fend for themselves. In Nthenya’s case, it is being suggested by mathematicians who did the quick mental sum that she was underage (15!) and did not know any better and did not have the wherewithal to make ends meet. This is even more annoying according to many, considering that the person involved here as the supposed father is wealthy beyond our wildest imagination! He had lions and gazelles and other wildlife for pets for crissake and he fed them!

But before we rush to judge Mutula so harshly, there is the other side of the coin that alleges that women we have also become not very different from the lions that he fed!…And that we go into these clandestine escapades knowing full well that the man is taken..He has a wife or wives and children to boot! What ever also happened to the pill…and now there is even an I-forgot-morning after-the-white-night pill? Can we still say it was an accident when the belly begins to grow? We then wait in the wings for the cue…most usually when the man is completely died and dead…and just before he is buried…then we tokelezea with the immutable exhibit of a child or children in tow to claim a share for “the children”!

A local daily quoted Nthenyas affidavit as saying that: “Ms Nthenya has sworn an affidavit to the effect that she was in a relationship with the late Makueni Senator between 2005 and 2008 and that he was the biological father of the minor who was born on May 5, 2006 in Makueni”. It is the child’s natural right to share the father’s wealth with the other siblings. It is in order therefore that the paternity test be conducted with speed and expediency to enable this child legally claim his fair share of the father’s wealth”

Speed and expediency! What speed now when we had all the time in the world to get matters fixed…birth certificates, wills and testaments and all that good stuff while everyone is still feeling lovey dovey. Maybe there is a lesson here that each time you are with a clande in a tight embrace and the with intentions of making immutable consequences called babies, pluck some of his hair and store well for future DNA purpose! But how about we also use the same wiles we used when the man is still alive to get ourselves situated…a business, a job…anything that will make you self sufficient and independent and strong…instead of waiting to potentially make a joke of yourself before the entire world…asking for a Shylockean pound of DNA to prove that indeed, apart from the forehead, ears and fingers looking a lot like the dear departed, science will also bear you out?

As a friend, Willis, said at the top of this article, women seem more Machiavellian when they arrive later to claim that they are acting for the children. That there are never cases of women chasing after poor men…only the rich and famous. I don’t know that such cases do not exist because we would not hear about them. Poor peoples stories never make it into the big media unless it turns tragic or comic. Readers and the public in general like to read about a rags to riches story..or riches to rags, but not about people who are just poor and whose lives seem to be going nowhere. Frank McCourt’s story in Angela’s Ashes only becomes interesting because he rose from abject poverty in Ireland and found his way to America the land of dreams and fulfillment. We empathize with stories such as these because they mirror our hopes and aspirations. So Willis that is the irredeemable fact, It is a material world and women now also know their rights. If the case cannot be made when the rich and powerful man is alive, then they will wait for when his torch has dimmed and the family is at its weakest, to step forward and lay their demands.

Will Nthenya’s addition to the story be the final epilogue to the unwritten ode of Mutula’s life…or should we expect an addendum(s) and more ibid, sic footnotes?…Or even part two and three…and four…as separate rejoinders and or as replies to the original manuscript? That is most likely never gonna happen because the drama is now over and the story is almost complete. We the interested bystanders will also have long moved on (okay…I know I might be boxed in the ears for that phrase by recovering poll losers but its for lack of a better one and also being Kenyan…!). We will have already found another sumptuous topic to mutilate with our forks and scythes which we always have at the ready! Linturi’s case is waiting in the wings. And the other guy..an MP also and whose 40 year old son wants to be counted as part of his brood!

We are never idle. My niece Yvonne gave me a nice phrase that describes how we roll us Kenyans…”We don’t idle well” and as Jerry said at the start of our conversation “These are signs of our times. Posthumous scandals”!

Catch up with the story here…or you will be the green horn at the bar discussion!:

http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1846018/-/w5syt6z/-/index.html

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000083329&story_title=tna-senator-in-paternity-row&pageNo=2

©njeriOsaak Is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

In my Opinion: Why We Love to Hate Caroline Mutoko!

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“A mother ship (or mothership) is a vehicle (e.g. ship, aircraft or spacecraft) that serves or carries one or more smaller vehicles. Examples include bombers converted to carry experimental aircraft to altitudes where they can conduct their research (such as the B-52 carrying the X-15), or ships that carry small submarines to an area of ocean to be explored (such as the Atlantis II carrying the Alvin). The mother ship may also recover the smaller craft, or may go its own way after releasing it.”

Caroline Mutoko is a mothership. She is strong, successful at what she does, opinionated, seemingly fabulously wealthy, bossy, famous, admired…and yet for the same reasons, she is misunderstood and…intensely disliked by many! I do not purport to know her well enough to write in her defense (she does that all by herself very well and doubt that she needs my help with that!)…nor am I a fan of her radio show but, her personality and place in the public eye (she is a celeb!) and the way she is perceived by many leads me to want to say something about her.

We constantly complain about our empty debe or air-headed celebs who usually have nothing of substance to say past the talent and money they have and yet when we suddenly get one who has an opinion and is brilliant enough to articulate it, we are quick to want to dumb her down. As if we want her to just shut up already and “eat” her money quietly! In fact, we all tend to sound like witches who wish the worst calamity on her…her offspring and anything associated with her!

I just think most people…and that includes some women… just don’t really like successful people…and its two strikes if they are women. Add a third strike if there is no successful man in the picture!  Caroline Mutoko is strong and mirrors our weaknesses.. or tends to remind us of our failures…or what we will never have or be! She speaks her mind, says what she likes because she is her own woman. We are such pessimists that we tend to not see her as a positive influence, a mentor for us to emulate or set our goals by. We give up before we even start and end up setting ourselves on fire consumed with hate and dislike for her success. Most of us cannot understand how she has not crumbled under the repeated onslaughts from the general public and so we keep on bringing up all sorts of sordid stories about her.

But she has refused to let the public write her narrative. In fact…it is these same stories that seem to make her stronger and a mystery that we continue to hammer at hoping to “kill” her and then look for the next victim after burying her in the heap where we send people (Nancy Baraza comes to mind) that we have made capitulate and brought down to their knees with attacks such as these. Caroline is always taking one for the girls because she encapsulates the strong woman who like the mothership, carries all of us with her as she sets sail in uncharted spaces where others have dared and fell. She is a mentor, a philanthropist and constantly speaks out asking young women to stand up for something and not be content with mediocrity.

I would at this point hasten to ask…So what if she was the mpango at the home when the mighty Iroko fell! What does that change and what abomination did she commit that Kenyans are not already famous  or infamous for? Caroline can never be let off the hook! Even after she offered (unconfirmed media sources) an “alibi” for where she was when Mutula died…she was at hospital condoling a friend and workmate, a lady, who was admitted in hospital…comments after the rumor carried by a daily rag went something like…”Why was she at the hospital with the lady overnight? Is she her husband?” Another chimed in response to that thus…”Caroline does not like men!”….of course insinuating that she might just be a dyke!…So they sort of accepted her alibi but still wanted to lynch her and open a new platform on which to continue attacks on her!

So incessant and urgent is the need to cut Caroline down to size that an FB lynch page is open for all “members” to jump in and vent any time she speaks and they, in turn, need to respond and add their two cents (which is really usually nonsense!). I think this is what helps her to grow. Every time people post insults in response to her she actually gets more material to keep her radio show going. This is all good fodder for her. All these people need to listen to her everyday or play catch up and listen when an issue is out there. All this hullabaloo drives traffic to her radio station. Consequently, no amount of kelele from the baying public will make her bosses sack her. It is all symbiotic…you feed on her, the radio station gets its traffic and the bosses are happy. I think that balances the equation!

And while we are at it…the baying wolves…(nipping at her heels and spending so much time in which they should be doing other things to better themselves)…should remember that she has a big platform from which she is able to adequately respond to all her critics at once. And it is no skin off her hinny because it is her job and she would actually enjoy doing that!

I like this talk that she gave and I hope the young girls there were listening. She was not speaking out of her hat and had prime examples that she mimicked complete with the sound and idiom of how we sound when making excuses for the bad decisions and choices we make in life.

(Watch the video here… Caroline Mutoko speaks to Eve Sisters about Relationships and tells Sisters to quit average attitude if they want to succeed. FAST FORWARD the video to the 6th minute to watch and listen to Caroline’s warning to girls.   :http://www.kenya-today.com/entertainment/caroline-mutoko-sisters-you-must-quit-average-attitude)

If you watch the video and the camera panning on her listeners as she speaks, you will notice the nervous laughter and looks on their faces as she tells the biting truth. It is either the young faces are already caught up in the scenarios she is describing…or they were contemplating a life no different than that. I particularly like the scenario she creates of a lady who happily goes for a date at Kwa Njuguna (who is the owner of that joint? He gets a lot of publicity each time girls talk about a bad dating experience! ). So if you set your standards so low, why do you expect the guy to treat you any different?

Going to Njuguna’s is fine and fun as she says.  But that should not constitute the entirety of what it means to have a good time. Well-to-do men often go to masandukuni to drink and eat nasty mutura every once in a while but they later retreat to where they think it befits them on the social ladder…and where they also hope to meet the future mother of their children. The same applies to ladies who can opt to visit seemingly seedy joints with their girlfriends to eat, drink, catch up on stories and gossip and just like the men do, they also remember what their goals in life are and move on back on track!

I live in the US where there is no limit to what a woman can do if she wants to be successful and independent at that. Fundamental of which is to value yourself and also get a good education. Learning self reliance at an early age is crucial and moving away from the belief that a woman’s history is etched in stone from the time she is born…to the time she bows out of the stage of the play called “this life”. Despite the fact that we are given a western education, some of us remain tethered to the ways of our long gone mothers, fathers, aunties and uncles that insist that a woman is nobody if she does not get an additional tag to her name…as in a husband. Caroline alludes to this when she mimicked ladies who despite having a good education and job have as their dream, the hope of “ensnaring” a good husband and then quitting everything to become a stay at home mother. That needless to say will be the first step towards committing harakiri…strangling yourself socially and emotionally.

I am happy to say that at this stage in life I have wonderful, strong and independent women friends who have done marvelously well on their own. I love it when I travel to the homeland and we gather at a “hen party” where we talk about almost anything under the sun…our children, careers, husbands or non-husbands, love found or lost…with food and wine flowing copiously! And yes some people have said all there is to say about us the “Hens” (when I was last home a gentleman we knew from our college days approached our table of girls at Impala club and greeted us saying…”Well well…If it isn’t Grace (our host) and the Pips!” Hahaha!)…but believe me…It all does begin to sound so yesterday that they give up and begin to respect you for who you are.

Why does dependency appeal to us so much? Is it the psychological misconception we have that our mothers who stayed at home had a good life?..an easy life? Did we ever stop to think that our mothers may have not had the benefit of an advanced education and the chance for the new-found freedoms that we have increasingly get with the changing technological communication and socio-economic environment. Why do we fear to be alone just because society will label you a loser, cheap, immoral etc…just because you do not have a husband? What is wrong with being single, a single mother and being a success at it and especially if the man responsible has abdicated their irresponsibility? In my eyes, all single mothers are the unsung heroes…Ask all those guys who go by names like James Wa Maria!

Ladies, you should talk to your mothers and you will discover that most of them want you to have a better life than they did. That does not necessarily mean living single or getting married. It just means that you need to be making sensible decisions guided by whatever situation you find yourself in…and that includes having oodles of self esteem and putting yourself in front…putting yourself first…and letting the kingdom follow….Like Caroline the mothership does!

©njeriOsaak… Is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

#Women in clubs…The Standard

Here is another enlightening and enriching Standard story! It is such an “Aha!” and revealing story and all men need to beware of this “new” tactic by women in clubs! Soo many women have grown “rich” due to the unsuspecting nature of men who frequent these clubs to pick up…wait for it…Women! Who in turn rob them of their phones and grow rich! I am def in the wrong profession!

 

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000083046&story_title=women-in-clubs-conning-their-way-to-riches