Bloggers Who Inspired Me Through #WinterABC. Day 28/30

This challenge brought the best and worst of me. I’ve had to say NO to a few people in order to get things done. It was hard, but I had to do it. I had to finish this challenge by any means necessary. Thus, day 28 is here.

Over the course of 30 plus days (I actually started late. Its my fault) a number of bloggers have inspired me. I went through a writer’s block once or twice, okay, maybe a couple of times.

These bloggers never stopped writing. They never stopped inspiring. I found myself reading through their blogs every day.

Here they are…

The Write Edition

http://www.thewriteedition.com

Ethnetic me

http://www.ethneticme.com

Hey Anci

http://www.heyanci.wordpress.com

I initially wanted to tell the world how much these bloggers influenced me, but I think its best their blogs do the talking.

They all have different styles and that’s what I admire about them.

Fellow bloggers, never stop writing. You never know who you’re inspiring.

Uncommonly Known Things About My Country. Day 23/30

My country is famous for sandy beaches, great athletes, delicious tea and coffee.

My land is Kenya.

Here’s things you didn’t know about Kenya, or maybe you did…

Kenyans on Twitter

Kenya has the second highest number of twitter users in Africa. We dont recognise the first one.

We’ve had people arrested, deported and tackled most pressing issues in the country. We can make anything or anyone trend in five minutes. Trust KOT to start online wars with other countries like Nigeria and South Africa.

Jesus Statue

Did you know there’s a large Jesus statue in Kenya? It’s similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil only smaller. A group of missionaries built it after meeting with the natives in the area. What a nice way of saying ‘We were here.’

Maasai community

Arguably the most recognized tribe in Kenya. Many know the Maasai community since the Tourism Board uses them to market Kenya. What people don’t know is, after death, they don’t bury their own. Instead, they leave the dead bodies in the wilderness for vultures and other animals. They’re the only tribe I know who do this.

Black Leopard

Kenya is home to the black leopard. No, black panthers don’t exist but black jaguars do. This black leopard recently got famous after CNN shed light on it. Unfortunately to the white people who run the news outlet, a white man didn’t ‘discover’ the leopard. CNN made it look like the Kenyan conservationists who study and protect it are nothing. Shame.

Yiaku Language

Yiaku is a tribe in Kenya that migrated from Ethiopia. They joined the Maasai tribe since they were small in number. Intermarriage was allowed and thus, most children grew up learning the Mara language.

Today, only seven people from the Yiaku tribe speak their language. They’re elderly and the only people in the world who speak this dying language.

Did you know this about Kenya?

Can We Talk About Mental Health In African Homes? Day 22/30

Remember Malcom in the middle?

This family comedy show was a fan favourite. It had a cult following, a time when the internet and social media was unheard of. People tuned in every week not out of influence but because they loved it. Yes, am talking to everyone who watched Game of Thrones due to peer pressure. This show is a classic. Looking back at past episodes I realize why we enjoyed it so much as kids.

The show was about a dysfunctional middle class family.

In between the dark humour, their stories and watching everyone grow. This was a messed up family.

Malcom being the middle child was the only one who seemed ‘normal.’ He hated being around his family and was sometimes embarrassed to be seen with them. His mom was constantly shouting at them. His big brother bullied him and got away with it. Which is why I strongly believe mental health begins at home.

It begins with the parents.

Flash forward to the age of the internet.

Yesterday I was shocked to see a twitter video of a dad being violent to his kid. It had thousands of views, retweets and likes. In the video, the dad jokes about how he makes his child eat whenever he refuses. He tries to feed his child who shakes his head. So he reenacts the whole thing with a Mickey Mouse toy on the table. Out of nowhere he violently punches the toy several times. Then goes back to feed his child who immediately eats.

What a lot of people who agreed with him failed to notice was the traumatized child. You see, when the dad reenacts the situation the child smiles a bit. Poor kid thought the dad was just playing. Then when he punches the toy, you could see how scared the child was. So yes, the dad did finally make the child eat but it was out of fear. The saddest part of this video is hearing a woman laugh in the background. Meaning, this is quite normal for them.

Let me use this family as an example for a minute.

Two things are to come out of this. If that’s a boy, he’ll grow up controlling and violent towards women. He’s been taught by his father to use fear to get what he wants.

If that’s a girl, she’ll most likely end up in a violent relationship. Ever wondered why women find it hard to leave these situations. Well, that’s because they learnt this from home.

I look at Malcom and the anxiety he had. All the screaming and shouting from his parents really did a good one on him.

African parents are not different. Its almost like they’re cut from the same cloth. They have no idea about mental health or maybe, they choose to ignore it. Will they even acknowledge the damage they’ve done to their children? No. Most of them choose to hide behind religion.

I’ll tell you what. I’ve seen parents on the news defend their grown children using religion.

For instance, the story of a guy who sent money to his ‘girlfriend’ and had his calls ignored. Drove over four hours to where she was. Parked his car outside the premises then walked to a hardware store and bought an axe. He went back to his car and waited until she came out with her friends. He ambushed her killing her on the spot.

When this story hit the news, his parents were the first to defend him with religion. “Oh, he was such a good son who went to church every Sunday” You know, I too used to go to church, but it wasn’t for the gospel. It was the money my parents gave me as tithe. I didn’t give tithe. I kept the money and bought snacks with it. Do you know how much 50sh was worth to a child? And this happened every Sunday. I eventually stopped attending church as an adult after they changed the Wi-Fi password.

African parents think discipline is a one size fits all. Spare the rod spoil the child, but damage them mentally.

They will gladly damage a child through adulthood, then act surprised when they commit suicide or murder.

African parents believe religion is the answer to all the problems their children are facing. Depressed? Jesus is the answer. Suicidal? Jesus is the answer. Bipolar? Jesus is the answer. They’ll consult their pastor even before they talk to their children

African parents think a child has been bewitched whenever they act up.

Its time to accept, African parents are damaged.

These Outdated Traditions And Cultures Need To Go. Day 19/30

I love my continent. With over three thousand tribes, Africa is a melting pot. Our music, art and dance have shaped today’s pop culture. Pop culture wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Africa.

Like everything out there that’s good there’s a bad side to it. Although I respect my ancestors for giving us a culture, I hate some elements of it. These traditions no longer work in a connected world. We have the technology and knowledge to do better. Information is important today than it was back then.

These African traditions have no place today.

Breast Ironing

Breast ironing is the flattening of an adolescent growing breast. Hot stones are used to mutilate these girls’ breasts. These Cameroonian women believe that if a girl has a flat chest, men would not be attracted to her. They do this as way of ensuring their girls finish school without getting pregnant. This practice is brutal and horrifying to young girls. Doesn’t it make sense to do something about the men that prey on young girls? How about having the sex talk with the girls or better yet, how about using long term contraceptives?

A flat chest will not stop a girl from having sex and risking her life. Breast ironing makes no sense at all. Using traditional methods to raise children in the modern world is pure madness.

Wife inheritance

What happens after your husband passes on? You wouldn’t think of marrying your brother-in-law now would you? This is the case of many women in Western Kenya. Thanks to this way ward culture, women are forced to marry their brothers in law. Refusing to do so results in their homes burned down, chased away from the community or worse, death.

Women, have no choice but to obey. Notice how men are never ‘inherited’ by women when their wives die.

Death of children

This actually came as a shock to me when I first saw it on the news. So this lady was lucky enough to give birth to septuplets, a first in her home county. Unfortunately, according to her culture, in case of septuplets, they had to kill three of her children. Reason? They believed this would give the new mother an opportunity to comfortably breast feed two kids.

It gets weird.

The new mum believed this too!

While in the hospital she would refuse to breast feed three of her kids. The doctors and nurses had to literally make her breastfeed all her kids.

I can make a list of all the crazy things culture has done to our children. This has to stop.

Misogynist rites of passage

In an African setting it’s very important for boys to go through initiation. This is where they get to learn how to be men. They learn the ways of their people and sadly, how to be misogynist. These boys go from being innocent to acting like they own the country. They no longer do things for themselves and expect women to do it for them. Men learn toxic masculinity from other men and it usually begins on the first day of their initiation. This has to stop.

The art of silence in marriage

You know, often times modern African women are compared to their mothers. “Why can’t you be more like your mothers?” This is in relation to marriage. Men who’ve grown up in such setting don’t realize that, even though their mothers never talked to them, they talked to us. Our mothers went through a lot in their marriage, but they always had to put on a brave face for their children.

This culture sold them silence.

They believed that their marriage problems were not something worth discussing outside. So, most women went about their lives in pain.

Women are no longer staying in abusive relationships any more. The rate of divorce is at an all-time high.

It was hard picking out the five since Africa is culturally diverse. Some traditions may be done in the dark. We can only move forward if we get rid of them. Its 2019, these traditions have no place here.

Any other outdated traditions worth mentioning, let me know.

Addressing The African Union. Day 15/30

I first learnt about African Union in primary school. It’s a mandatory topic for every child in Kenya so, there was no way I was going to escape it. I tried to understand its purpose to Africa. So a bunch of African leaders and their delegates fly to Ethiopia to discuss about Africa. Then what?

If given the chance to address the AU I know I’ll need a few minutes.

First, when are you making Swahili your official language? Swahili is the second most widely spoken language in Africa. Arabic is first but I believe we all know why. The AU spends so much money and time on translators when they could simply learn a language.

Rwanda dropped French for Swahili. South Africa is about to start teaching Swahili in schools. Again I ask, what’s taking so long?

Kiswahili Kitukuzwe.

Source, Kiswahili Kitukuzwe

When the Chinese government gave you free computers, what did you think was going to happen? Did the people who accepted those freebies did so before or after bribery? Nothing is ever for free; the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta taught us this.

Even after the Chinese got all the information they needed from you. Did you return their gifts or are they still in the building staying pretty?

A room full of grown men and maybe two or three women, and none of you smelled a conspiracy about to happen. I’m ashamed of you.

When will you cut the umbilical cord that’s holding you to the E.U? Will you ever make decisions for Africa without consulting your former slave masters and colonizers? It baffles me that even after our forefathers fought for their independence; we’re still taking orders from them.

Source, CNN

Can we talk about the stolen loot for a minute. Countries like Ethiopia, Senegal and Egypt are trying to get their stolen art from European museums. Don’t you think it’s a great idea to speak with one voice and empty those museums of stolen African art? We can learn so much from our ancestors through their craftsmanship. But it’s almost like we have to fly to Europe to know about Africa.

Until the AU get jealous with her people and put them first. You’ll always be the organization that meets every once in a while to waste taxpayers money.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

5 Africans, Past and Present Who Inspire Me. Day 14/30

Africa is such an underrated continent when it comes to leadership. The world sees Africa as a corrupt place that can’t be saved. Truth be told, inspiring leaders do exist in Africa.

Below are five Africans who’ve inspired me in more ways than one

Esther Passaris: a leaderevolutionary

She’s a feminist, she’s a wife, she’s a mother, she’s a leader and as if that wasn’t enough, she’s confident about her sexuality. She also openly talks about sex and sexuality and has come out in support of the LGBTQ community. Esther Passaris is everything Kenyan men have tried convincing us well never become. These men still use marriage and children as weapons against young feminists. They believe the idea of a married feminist with kids doesn’t exist. Well Esther Passaris is all that plus more. Insecurity is not a good look guys.

Wangari Maathai: an activist, an environmentalist

She protected and fought for a forest from encroachment. A time when protesting was an insult to Moi’s regime. It’s not like today where anybody can get up, gather few friends and family and hit the streets to protest. Back then, few people protested against Moi and lived to tell their story. She was brave to defend that forest.

Wangari led groups of women to fight off the police and army. This attracted a lot of media attention from across the globe. The pressure was too much for the former president. He called the whole thing off. I understand he was to profit from selling the forest for hotels and apartments.

She became the first African to win a Nobel Prize. Her fearlessness saved a forest and inspired many to embrace trees.

Winnie Mandela: a revolutionary

I grew up knowing Nelson Mandela was a revolutionary man. I mean, the guy spent 27yrs in jail for his people. Had young people take arms and protest for his freedom.

As I grew older I learnt more about his life. I got to a point where I needed to know more about Winnie. What was she up to? What was it like for her for those 27 years? Well, Winnie wasn’t the kind of woman to sit down and wait for things to happen. She was out there fighting for black liberation.

Mandela divorced Winnie later after getting his freedom. Most people believe it’s because she strayed from their marriage. Truth is, they both believed in different ideologies. You see, she was more of ‘fight fire with fire’. Mandela was the opposite, more like ‘love thy neighbor.’ They were basically Killmonger and T’challa respectively.

This explains why white media never mentions Winnie. They know she was the real revolutionary.

Binyanvanga Wainaina: a writer, an activist

I never read his books until few years back when he came out of the closet. I read his story in the newspaper and how he knew he was gay at 5yrs. Can I remember what I did at 5yrs? Absolutely not! Binyavanga however, knew who he was. The world didn’t change him decades later. Sadly, he passed away at only 48 years young.

It breaks my heart that Binyavanga never fully lived his life as an openly gay person. For most of his life he was in the closet until the age of 43 when he finally came out. Being a famous African writer and founder of Kwani?, he faced a lot of backlash. That didn’t stop him from enjoying life though.

Binyavanga inspired me to live my life to the fullest, stay true to myself.

Muammar Gaddafi, believer of a United States of Africa

Depending on whom you ask Muammar Gaddafi was a force to reckon with. A leader who saw it fit for a united Africa, a self-sufficient continent with her own currency. He saw a future where Africa would no longer have to get permission from her former colonizers. Unlike the leaders before him, he had the wealth to back him up and get things done. People didn’t see or hear Muammar Gaddafi, people felt his presence. As expected, his ideology on Africa didn’t sit well with America and so they had him killed. Now look at Libya. You can’t imagine this was the same country Gaddafi built.

Am yet to understand why people fear a United Africa. What scares them about African people coming together?

What Its Really Like Blogging In Africa. 13/30

Blogging in Africa is an extreme sport. Everything about it is great until you have to explain to the government why. Why it’s an important tool for Africans to tell their stories to the world.

On day 13 of the blogging challenge, I take on the good, the bad, and the ugly side of blogging in Africa.

The Good

African bloggers own their stories. We get to tell our truth, the unbiased truth. Unlike the Western owned news outlets that want to picture a ‘dark continent.’ We get to share a side of Africa like fashion, culture, music and arts etc.

Source, Essence

Blogging has become a source of income for many. Companies that choose to use blogs to advertise have spearheaded the rise in blogs. Traditional media is slowly becoming an alternative for advertising.

I love working from home. It’s one of those little benefits of blogging. You can be your own boss without ever leaving your home. Except when you need some fresh air.

The Bad

Some Kenyan bloggers have become notorious for supporting the government. “Government Bloggers” has even become an insult to everybody else who blogs. There’s a myth that they’re paid 517sh to blog in their support. I’m not sure if that’s true but it gives a bad name to the rest of us.

Blogging in Africa is expensive. You need at least good Wi-Fi to keep your blog on track. Mobile data is especially expensive although readily available. Try watching a 1 minute video and your data runs out.

The Ugly

Source, ugtechmag.com

A government shutting down the internet during protests has become the norm. Africans can’t vent without risking arrests. This to me comes off as a way to silence people. Are we not supposed to get angry enough to get these governments removed?

How powerful is blogging in Africa? You know there’s power when governments put tax on it. Social media taxes can only be found in Africa. As if buying data wasn’t enough.

Blogging in Africa has come a long way.

The Africa They Don’t Want You To Know About. Day 12/30

Ask anyone what’s the first thing they think about when it comes to Africa. You’re sure to get answers like, Ebola, mud huts, civil wars, drought and famine just to mention a few. I get it. These are the kind of stories covered in the news. Every time Africa gets a little spotlight, people want to report on the bad things, the crazy things. The things that make white people donate all their hard earned money to. You know what I’m talking about.

Let me be the first to say, people should get out more often. Thank me later world.

Here are a few things you never read about when it comes to Africa. Ready? Let’s go!

Cities In Africa

African major cities, our capital cities, they’re growing and yes, they exist. Granted, we still have some of our people living in mud huts. This is no reason to put us in a box. Capital cities across Africa are getting innovative. Within few decades we could be on Wakanda’s level. Trust me; it’s only a matter of time.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is not new to us, at least to Ghanaians and Ethiopians. You don’t read about the A.I labs in Africa because the idea that we’re smart is foreign. It scares people to know that we can code and build robots.

Traditional African Food

Traditional Biltong Stew | Source, The Spruce Makes

A group of researchers wanted to find out why Africans had low colon cancer cases. They compared us to African Americans by using our food. Results were as follows. Traditional African food is not only delicious but nutritious. Ok so maybe they didn’t conclude our food is delicious. What they concluded was, this kind of food creates an environment colon cancer can’t survive. Since then, every time I hear an African has colon cancer I have to ask. What does he eat?

Community

International news outlets love it when there’s tension In Africa, usually after an election. They just sit there and wait until something happens. What most people don’t know is we have a sense of community. You know the saying; it takes a village to raise a child. Africans are that village.

Africa’s Spiritual Beliefs

Ala (Odinani) | Source kwamezulushabazz.tumblr.com

There’s a shift in religion when it comes to Africa. When most of our parents go to church, fellow millennials are turning to spirituality, African spirituality to be precise.

I remember the first time I applied for my university application. This guy quickly goes through my papers and stops abruptly. ‘What is Odinani?’ He asks. A staring contest follows. Realising he’s not getting an answer he goes back to my papers. I left the church a long time ago; I don’t have to explain myself.

Want to know more? Visit any country in Africa. Learn to look at Africa through our African eyes.

The Internet In Africa: Affordability, Availability, And Accountability. 10/30

Africa is always a step behind when it comes to technology. Good news is, we’re slowly catching up with Ghana and Ethiopia leading the way.

The internet is one of those average developments we keep getting in Africa. Huawei, the new kid on the block, is already looking to get into 5G network. Sadly, I know countries in Africa that don’t even know what 4G network feels like. That’s Africa for you.

Is the internet affordable in Africa?
That depends on who you’re asking. I’m Kenyan and I can tell you straight of the bat, it’s slightly expensive. These Telco companies make it difficult for people like me. Online businesses are hard to run when data bundles have an expiry date. It’s pricey on a daily basis. I tried buying the monthly bundle and that only lasted about a week and a half.

Telco companies keep giving us data bundles promo every once in a while. But something tells me, we could be paying less and getting more data. These darn networks.

What could I say about the internet affordability in Africa?

It’s more of a luxury than a basic need. If you can afford it, well, cheers to you. Can I be able to access the internet in every corner of the continent? Yes and No. Africa lacks coverage in terms of making internet available to everyone. It’s highly concentrated in urban areas and lacking in rural. It may not be a major factor but I believe this contributes to rural to urban migration.

We’re in the age of information and leaving people behind just doesn’t sit well with me.

Who do we hold accountable if something were to happen to peoples online data?

Can we hold cellular networks accountable to anything? I doubt it. Juggling laws and how to properly use the internet is still up for debate.

Have you heard about Facebook’s data mining scandal? Well, let me tell you about Huduma Namba here in Kenya. It’s sponsored and run by MasterCard. Kenyans had to fill up a form detailing all their digital print. So yes, this is another data mining scandal about to happen.

I doubt if we’ll have our online information protected. Networks can practically do what they want without question.

The internet in Africa may not be seen as a priority. Given the chance, we could change peoples lives. We could change the world.

Featured image by ayaniart.blogspot.com

My Class On Blogging And The Internet For Teens. Day 9/30

Am about to address a class full of adolescents about blogging and the internet. I feel like Anerlise Keating without her signature wigs.

Welcome to blogging 101 kids.

Class is in session.

First and foremost. I know you lied about your age when you first signed up to these sites. I also know you scrolled down past the ‘terms and conditions.’ I see you. There’s no use in denying it.

Now that that’s out in the open, lets dive in shall we

1. Go through any social media site settings. Use it to your advantage.

2. When it comes to blogging don’t wait until “you’re ready.” Start. Start today. Start right now!

3. Share your work. It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect.’ It’s your work and you’re proud of it, share it.

4. Not every challenge is serious. Some are fun. Some bring awareness to certain situations. While some could end up killing you. Pick your challenges wisely. It’s okay to watch on the sides.

5. The internet is a shit hole filled with crappy people. Once in a while you’ll come across them. My number one rule is, ignore them. If you can’t, block them. The block button is your best friend.

6. If at any point people start bullying you, deactivate your account. Put your phone down, take a hot shower, read a book. It’s a jungle out there.

7. Not every discussion or trending topic asks for your opinion. You could avoid a lot of arguments when you let these trending topics slide.

8. Always remember this. People will do anything for clout. I get it, you’re broke. That doesn’t mean you should send nudes and do illegal things for money.

9. Everything is Photoshop and filters these days don’t fall for it. Instagram is guilty of this. That girl with a thin waist and large hips is not real, just Photoshop.

10. Always be on the lookout for grown men and women. They’re not to be trusted. They’ll tell you they love you and want to meet you. Never give them your home address or meet up with them.

11. Be open with your parents. If you’re being stalked by anyone, or an adult is asking you for favours. Tell your parents or your guardian. They’ll know what to do.

12. Don’t take those Facebook quizzes and games. Hackers can use them to get your info and all your accounts. Stay woke.

13. People who want to hide their identity make cat fish accounts. Since you lied about your age that means, the chicken nugget asking you to meet up for free food is basically R. Kelly about to happen.

14. Log out every now and then. It’s okay to go a few days without being online. It won’t kill you. Its good for you.

15. Fake news is real. You’ll find yourself reading some unbelievable stories. Turn to the website’s about page. There, you’ll find they’ve clearly stated they’re a satirical site.

16. Be yourself, be authentic, have fun.

Class dismissed.

Wait, did I miss anything?