Being true to the title of this short essay I am going to start with a controversial topic. You might sit on your sofa and hear the laughter of children in the court yard. And your mind would do well to temporarily deceive you that all is bliss. You have nothing to be angry about. And the music that plays on your radio fits the state of the nation. A nation, after decades of a Neanderthal existence finally transitioning to embrace technology, finally embracing unity and believing in the youth. Sharing its resources with the poorest of its citizenry, being transparent and built on justice. But you only have to take a closer look to realise that all this is built on a lie. That we are still a country that has little regard for human life. We have deified the rich such that their demise is a calamity while when the poor die in far off remote villages from poor sanitation then they are just another statistic. Another short article to push for the sale papers and for a politician to market their face and poor English on National television.
When you pause to survey this wondrous nation, the nerve its people have to take the high moral ground strikes you like a bout of hysteria. We decry prostitution and homosexuality. We call it unnatural and un-African. There are really blurred lines when it comes to considering what is African nowadays. What is for sure is that we are comfortable to change clothes when it suits us. Our blogs promote the over sexualisation of women in the name of fame in fashion and pop culture.A country living in double standards, calling upon Godliness and morality when certain practices scare them and being ambivalent to those that in secret they tolerate. We conveniently call on misplaced theories of liberalism and notions of the ill disposition of individuals to pass judgment on a person’s character; something we say only ‘God can do’.
Education itself is a far cry from the ideal. Like giving to a girl an empty perfume bottles to line her bedroom window with, our education grants a deceptive status without the substantive pedigree of skills that this countries youth need to propel them to their destiny. That is why we have computer labs stocked with academic resources but the majority of the users are on Facebook and twitter communicating in the pseudo language of initialisation that is the hallmark of cyberspace. And the government’s policy in itself as misplaced and fanciful as introducing Salmon to the Wadi of the Yemen. Time and resources dedicated to procuring computers to children in schools without proper infrastructure let alone school feeding systems like a god that gives a snake to a child when what she really needs is fish.
There is no justice in domestic courts. Prosecutors with a practised languor conduct their cases for years while the accused persons languish in decrepit and overcrowded hovels that we have fashioned into remand cells. Advocates pick cheques for appearance as cases drag on with mentions being set over and over again. Yet we are quick to pick apart the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC for wanting to extend a case indefinitely. We say this is not justice. When this is the same thing that our people go through every hour at a Magistrates court across every country. These and others more I haven’t the luxury of space to recount; are a pack of ironies that need destroying.
And as my melancholy thoughts consider this state of things I realise that there is nothing happy to sing about. And I don’t want songs about a lover’s scorn or the new dance move that I would be ill advised not try out, or how good it is to be Kenyan. No I don’t want none of that. These hard times must breed hard music. I want my people to stare into the looking glass and see their real face. I want bands to be the source of angry, melancholic and anti-establishment lyrical content. I want themes of death and gore and a bleak future for my children. I want scenes of depravity, anti-Christianity and full on sexual display and ethnic slur and intolerance. Because that is what we really are. And the only cure isn’t to be found on the preamble of the constitution acknowledging the supremacy of a God that we continually by our actions for six days a week continually under tread. Because in truth we are not determined to live in peace and there is no place for either religious or ethnic tolerance. Just the opposite. And thus the elixir a cultural metamorphosis lies in a different medium.
Kenyan rock music needs to be that elemental/terrifying looking glass, a cultural crystal ball. The dramatic example to shake our people out of apathy. It needs to be for us that dark knight clothed in the garb of Satan and mysticism. It needs to praise despotism, cannibalism and be the output for the voices of hell and death. ‘Our children like maggots’ will feed on our filth and carry wear that mirk as a symbol of their rebellion, with dark makeup, dishevelled hair and to mark their bodies with all manners of tattoos. And so when the Nation with its politicians, lawyers, and parent societies and well fed NGOs blame it for the cultural problems that characterise our everyday life then in that moment they will see their true image. And change will come.