Who loves the song ‘Show me the way’ by Papa Wemba? Guilty as charged! You may want to go ahead and play it as you read this paragraph as it will set you in the right mood for it- kind of like a movie where there is always background music! Isn’t it amazing how a whole song can be a timeless hit when the only lyrics most of us know are ‘show me the way I can go’? Then for the rest of the song we join toddlers in their language- “na naa naaa naaaa…na naa naaa”
Now you see background music varies with the change of events. I would like you to put on replay ‘Utawala’ by Juliani for the next few minutes you will be reading this post! Music is what feelings sound like, and with that, you ought to listen to that song as you read this. I would like you to hear what I am feeling as I write this to you. You are the music while the music lasts! Carry on now, get those head phones, amplifiers and what not and play that song. In any case, I am just about to vent! Here goes nothing…
Why is it that we wait for Jamhuri Day to appreciate our fallen heroes and heroines? You can never be too sure these days, so for those who are not aware when Jamhuri Day is, that will be December 12th for you! Not that I would like my news feed on Facebook to be filled with impeccable status dedicated to them on a daily basis, or be tagged on pictures taken next to Dedan Kimathi’s monument-it’s the small things that count. That goes for relationships as well. There will be pages for things that shall not be mentioned, numerous of them for that matter, but why isn’t there a page to appreciate ‘Kapenguria Six’ ‘Dedan Kimathi’ ‘Wangari Maathai’ ‘Tom Mboya’…name them! Life is God’s best gift to a human, and these people sacrificed their lives for my freedom, for your freedom, for our freedom. They gave up their most valuable gift for me, for you, for us!
The Late Nduta Wa Kore- A Great Freedom fighter with her Grand Children. Her story will come soon!
So how would you like us to appreciate them, you may ask. Take any primary school kid and ask them who their super hero is- ‘Superman because he is stronger than Batman’ ‘Spiderman because I have a spider for a pet’. Probably Ben 10 has already entered that bracket of super heroes, so next you will be hearing- ‘Ben 10 because he has not one, but ten different super heroes in him ’. Isn’t it sad that their super heroes are fictional characters? Not Dedan Kimathi or Wangari Maathai, but Superman and Spiderman.
You may go ahead and argue, “Chill out Miss I, they are just 5! Nothing is ever that serious at that age”. This is the point I dramatically exude the lawyer person in me and say; Objection your honour! It is easier to mould a young mind than a matured one. It is our responsibility to channel the information regarding our heroes and heroines to the younger generation. We can put it in simpler terms for them to understand, and then build up on it as they mature. I remember my elder brother telling me about Wangari Maathai’s story of the little bird to teach me a lesson- To always do the best I can even if I think my efforts will be futile.
NEVER EVER GIVE UP!
If I can just quickly go through that story, it went something like this-There was a fire in the forest and all the animals observed the fire in despair. Among lions, elephants and rhinos, a little bird emerged and using its small beak, it sipped water from the river and consequently poured it on the huge fire. It continued doing this, back and forth from the river to the forest fire. The other animals laughed at the little bird because in the animal world, that was equivalent to a tortoise trying to pull a Usain Bolt stunt. Out of curiosity, the chameleon decided to ask the bird why it was doing all that when it was inevitable that it wouldn’t turn off the forest fire. The bird then went ahead and explained that it was doing the best it could.
I may have altered the exact details of Wangari’s version, but the important thing here is that the message is passed across. At the end of the day, I look up to Wangari Maathai because of my Brother and no one else. She is not only other people’s heroine, but mine too-which goes to explain why I acted as Wangari Maathai back in high school. Some close friends still call me ‘Mother Nature!’
Of course I ended my scene with one of her famous quotes- If you destroy nature, nature will destroy you!
‘Wananichi’, the next generation is in your hands, maybe in a literal sense, in your mouth! If you have younger siblings do not hesitate to tell them about our African heroes. When they go to school on their first day tell them to work hard so that they can get a Nobel Peace Prize like Wangari Mathaai. Let them look up to the likes of Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela; after all, they are the leaders of tomorrow. It’s not so much about the popularity or the prize, but ensuring they emulate the values instilled by our African heroes- ‘Be a man of value, rather than a man of successes!
Just last month, I attended the 19th commemoration of the 1994 Rwanda genocide at the United Nations Office Nairobi where we remembered more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus who were killed. I had the honour of asking the Rwanda High Commission Ambassador; H.E. Yamina Karitanyi whether it was possible for schools all over Africa to introduce a new subject ‘Peace keeping’ as early as elementary school and to my surprise she said that was a very excellent strategy to promote peace in Africa.
I apologize for this picture,but it had to be put!
Instead of saying ‘naomba serikali itusaidie’, she challenged me to promote that idea myself. I’m afraid am not in the government or any humanitarian organisation, but I have the power of the tongue! A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Change begins with you and I. Let us not wait for learning institutions to teach the young ones about peace. If we want the Education Bill 2012 to introduce that subject, we must change ourselves first. START NOW! The Wangari Maathai biography would definitely make a great bed-time story! When two children fight, don’t punish them-help them by instilling the importance of peace in them. If children are of brought up knowing the importance of peace, humanitarian organisations would not have been scared of a violence outbreak after March 4th. The ages 1-7 are very crucial in determining the calibre of person a child will turn out to be.
WANT THE CHANGE! PRAY FOR CHANGE! BE THE CHANGE!
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