HUDUMA DAY AND MASHUJAA DAY
The 10th of October was Huduma Day, preceding Mashujaa Day. Not Huduma the number. Oh how we were hounded and coerced into taking this magic number lest we cease being long-suffering Kenyans.
Do you remember the conspiracy theorists? Specifically our parents; potently armed with the Whatsapp forward button. Truly, our employees (government) clowned us more than usual.
Who can forget the chiefs? They of the hoarding fame; allegedly dishing out clerical jobs under the principle of charity. You know, something about beginning (& ending) at home and all.
Speaking of chiefs, the execution of a ‘senior’ one in 1952 led to the atrocious state of emergency. Subsequently, on the 20th October suspected leaders of the MAUMAU were rounded up. Hence the commemoration of Kenyatta Day.
Johnstone really stole the show. Good thing the scales of our inadequate and manipulated history fell a little bit down our eyes. Consequently, the day was aptly renamed Mashujaa Day.
ROVING BACK MASHUJAA DAY LANE
Public holidays are a welcome reprieve for all Kenyans. One less day away from routine. More sleep, less learning. More sleep, less work.
Beside the common denominators, tweaks are made according to ‘enjoyment’ preferences. And how heavy the consequences of ignoring the accountant in your head are. No wonder we half-jokingly want the SDA and Akorino to have their holy days as holidays. The more the merrier!
October gives us two right in the middle of nothing. Bless you.
How are, or were, these holidays for you? The highlights? Mine:
I always looked forward to seeing the Commander-in-chief’s ceremonial Land Rover in action at the Nyayo National Stadium. Mind if I call her Nefertiti?
Nefertiti’s deep bronze green paint gleams. Ironically, camouflage stands the hell out.
Her wheels, mirror shiny and a testament that black is beautiful. Even the ever spotless military boots pale in comparison. Her crowning glory; the golden coat of arms. Above all, she moves smoother than an automobile fresh off the assembly line.
Backbencha, here is a pro tip; slap the hell out of me whenever I digress and start on cars. This daydream doesn’t end any other way.
Mashujaa Day is a first among equals. Some would say the mother of all holidays. For instance, without the actions of these women and men, commemoration of other national milestones would be impossible .
No Jamhuri Day.
No Madaraka Day.
The second liberation would have marked itself absent. Moreover, the little memory notes creatively hidden throughout the education system would not have a befitting name. Say, what would you call Mwakenya if not Mwakenya?
If Shakespeare’s famed words ‘What’s in a name? A rose by another would smell just as nice’ was a rule, Mwakenya would be the exception.
On the whole, let us not forget the continuous struggle of being a Kenyan. You’re a hero by virtue of existing in this 580367 square kilometer territory. Never forget.
Only a goldfish has better memory. Genetics absolve it. No excuse for the most advanced species.
Then, pray, why must heroes only be feted superficially? Dusted from the closet, brought out only for brief ceremony. Paraded for political mileage then quickly put back. Their memories distorted, their struggle romanticized, their ideals better left in care of the aforementioned goldfish.
Tragically, surviving heroes have been known to suffer neglect. Actions of an aloof state spit right into their faces. I guess we can accept that heroes of today are villains of yesterday. However, how can those whose status is uncontested be villains of today?
Zero soul. Zero heart. Nil memory.
TRICK OR TREAT
Around October, spookiness and elaborate disguises reign supreme. Out the Hollywood kids go, picking up candy. Pay day for the dentist. Sugar rush ordeals for the parents and guardians.
How come no one ever picks trick?
It has been a Kenyan Halloween for the past half a century and counting. Spooky for so long that any other alternatives seem fictitious.
Men and women, past and present, have trod the land dishing out little tokens to the common man. An elaborate disguise. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the national pot is plundered over and again. Mediocrity is indeed peddled as the gold standard.
This duet of tricks and treats must die. Otherwise, merchants of tokenism will morph into polished heroes.
LOCKED AND DREADED
Heroes have, do and will come in all shapes and sizes. They will champion different causes; through different times. Some will be immortalized while others will remain unmarked and uncelebrated.
Here is a little poem to one person I feel embodies the entirety of Kenyan heroism and the struggle that bears it:
I dread that your struggle will outlive you
That your mass of dreadlocks will go down with you
While a pursuit of freedom transcending two millennia
Probably into the next.
You evaded the savagery of detention
Walked out of the Aberdares, knowing
That ‘ithaka na wiyathi’ were a reality
Only for your dreadlocks to bear the mass of an unfulfilled dream.
I dread that an elusive dreams locks you up
While the shackles of a depressing reality tear at you
Nonetheless your locks lock us on the target
Symbols of the struggle for freedom,
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.
We embrace what you still fight for
Hoping to disentangle the injustices of our nation
Whether we’re heroes or not
Daring to dare dream that you’ll free the locks in our life time.
Therefore,Field Marshal Muthoni vows not to cut her dreadlocks until she sees real freedom.
Who are your heroes?
A GUTTING END
On a lighter note, what do you dread? I’ll go first. I dread getting my teeth knocked out by cattle. That’s why I never go to a ‘ng’ombetition’; mistakenly named bullfighting.
Additionally, I give maximum way to any hoofed animal I meet. The exception is when we meet on a plate. In short, I may have no guts but I’ll have you in my gut!
Happy Mashujaa day to you. May the true heroes be known, seen and felt! Most importantly, may their ideals take root and sprout in the heart and soul of Kenya.