In her old age, Gogo is still very smart. Her memory is still sharp and specifically, I admire her spectacular attention to details.
She points out that most of our Kenyan politicians today were either unborn or very young when Kenya attained its independence, and although we have read history books that attempt to describe the struggle for independence, we seem not to understand the price that was paid for our freedom. As streams of guilt-free insults pollute our political atmosphere, our leaders do not hesitate to ask,
“Oh! Are our children watching this?”
The important aspects of our African Culture have been forgotten. When young people respected their elders, women respected family men and a child was raised by the whole society. When the child went to college, the whole village boasted with pride.
Today, women while pressing towards the noble cause of equality are in the process stripping off men’s pride. Shouldn’t equality be for all? Men, on the other hand are stooping low. Gone are the days when one could trust a man when he gave you his ‘word’. An African man’s word was his loin-cloth. But not today. Deceit will flow freely from a man’s tongue. Since deceitfulness has been intertwined into his DNA, he will not blink but will look at you straight in the eye. Men, where is your honor? Today the integrity in our society is as scarce as the rain that dances in the Kalahari sand.
As much as everyone else blamed the western culture a while back, I think that this one is on us. We have the freedom to decide how to govern our country yet, our forefathers’ fight for independence has turned to a mere myth- just another African kaka sungura story.
Gogo remembers well when Kenya’s founding father was in Kiambu, and he asked the people in his language,
“I am about to capture the donkey by its jaw, it might kick back hard, will you be strong?”
The people cried back,
Their voices of unity resonated throughout the land and would be joined by other determined voices in other parts of our country. Gogo remembers how long the seven years of resistance were. Blood was shed as they travailed. Her dear brother marched courageously into the forest but did not come home. They did not even find his dead body.
“Freedom does not come as easy as you may think,” she says with a candid look in her face, “It is not given to you as easily as I can give you this tray of potatoes, and tells you,
‘Take this! Cook lunch!’ ”
As thought-filled silence comes between us, I add small planks of wood into the dying fire, it rekindles and burns with a new zeal. As the fire crackles, orange sparks rise upwards like a phantom. The sky is clear and filled with twinkling stars. Jupiter, the Moon’s wife (as Gogo calls her), sits alone in the cold night, her husband is nowhere to be seen. It is a good thing, because as Gogo recalls where the Crescent moon faced, there was war. We cannot predict where we are going, but our actions today will determine where the Crescent will face, next time he shows up.