Intelligent. Kenyan.

Published: 3 years ago

How To Be A Kenyan

There comes a time when one is called to great things. One of those things is being Kenyan. How does one become Kenyan, you ask? You have come to the right place.

Religion: Praise God? Amen! It does not matter where you are, who you are with, or what their religious beliefs are, discussions about the wonders and glory of God are always welcome, especially since Kenya is a Christian nation. In a country as confusing as this one, where each day does its best to drive you mad, the only thing that can keep you sane is carrying your burdens to a “higher power”. Go to church every Sunday, even during the week when you can. Tithe as much as half of your salary, even though it means you may have no savings or emergency money. Watch as your tithe buys your pastor a new car each year and builds him and his wife a house in Karen or Runda. You should have no problem with this, because God blesses those who give. Never wonder about how the God they tell you about is all about prosperity and never about sacrifice, because you know the day is about to come when you too will be prosperous. You just aren’t praying hard enough. Remember to blame the devil and the bad wishes of your enemies whenever something goes wrong in your life.

Politics: Be obsessed with politics. The only thing more important than politics is God. Be in a permanent state of election fever. After an election, immediately start preparing for the next one. Five years is a short time. Except when the new regime is being asked why they are yet to achieve results – in this case, five years is an extremely long time, and you should only ask them about this six months to the next election. To be a political leader in Kenya is to be in paradise – it is to have unlimited power with no accountability, which is a thing all Kenyans aspire to. You must vote for leaders who are from your tribe to lead your constituency/county. A Kenyan is always loyal. These leaders must also be endorsed by your local kingpin. Development agendas and plans mean nothing. When these leaders fail to deliver, wonder how this could have happened, and complain ceaselessly. Fail to see the connection between your voting patterns and the terrible leadership. When your favourite politician is criticized or accused of corruption, insist that your tribe is being targeted, and back this up by pointing out the critic’s surname, which will likely be from another tribe. Should this person be from your tribe, accuse them of letting your people down. Be prepared to fight to the death for your leaders – it’s your tribe against the other tribes. After all, the other tribes you are fighting are the reason you are so poor.

Money: Almost everything is acceptable as long as it was done “for the hustle”. Whenever you can, steal from your place of work. Do you work at a bank? Steal from your customers. Are you a contractor? Skim. Once you are rich, no one will care how you got your money. They will love you, and pester you with questions on Twitter all day on how they can be like you. Fatten your chicken with ARVs. Use carcinogens to ripen your fruits faster. This same formula can be applied to any business. Brake fluid? Dilute it. Alcohol? A little methanol and formalin don’t hurt. Are you a matatu driver? Drive over kerbs, on pavements and through petrol stations. Some people might die…but that’s none of your business, right?

Women: You simply must have an opinion on all matters women, especially when you are not one. Define what wife material is; do it often. Your ideal woman is one who is intelligent but not smarter than you, does not wear weaves, wears just enough makeup, cooks chapattis; one who wears high heels and never, ever stumbles in them, one who believes in God and goes to Church every Sunday but still parties with you on Friday and Saturday and has sex with you on demand. (However, you should prefer a virgin for marriage). She must also be light skinned, but not have bleached herself, this is a no-no. She must have a job but not earn more than you, and like sports but not out-talk you when you are with your boys. She should not drink Guinness, Pilsner, whisky or rum, otherwise you might as well go ahead and date a man, right?

Men: Kenyan men are mostly perfect.

Time-keeping: What is that? When you are invited to an event and it says 2 pm, recall that this is only a suggestion, and no one will be there before 4 pm anyway. Upon arrival, it is unnecessary to apologize for being late – everyone knows that there was traffic jam on the roads. There is nothing wrong with saying you are walking towards 20th Century Plaza from Jevanjee Gardens when you are stuck in traffic jam in a matatu in Westlands. Also remember that deadlines are mere suggestions as to when work should be turned in. As long as it is within two weeks of the deadline, you shouldn’t see a problem with it.

Sex: Do not speak about sex publicly. It is unAfrican and unChristian. However, feel free to call your favourite radio station at 7.30 am to tell them about how your husband’s small penis does not satisfy you, or how you are cheating on your wife with three women, one of whom has threatened to tell her and now you don’t know what to do. Should you hear such a story in the matatu, smile or laugh knowingly and start an unsolicited conversation with your seat-mate about “these men” or “these women”. Never mind what she says about not wanting to talk about it, keep talking anyway. Upon reaching your office, turn on your computer and visit your favourite gossip blog. Wonder aloud about what happened to “the children of nowadays”. Why are they twerking and becoming socialites? Why can’t they just go to church and praise God? Make a mental note to say a prayer for them on Sunday.

LGBTQI: 404: Page not found.

Seriously though, why are there lesbians? It is because they still haven’t had sex with you. If only they had some good sex with a man, they’d know what they were missing. They’d hop right onto the dick bandwagon. And gay men? What the hell is wrong with gay men? How can a man let another man put a penis in his anus? (Sidenote: it is totally okay when you want to put your penis in your girlfriend’s/wife’s anus. Anuses may be the same structurally, but it’s the thought that counts). Be obsessed with anal sex, because gay people are not capable of falling in love and seeking companionship. LGBTQI relationships are only about sex, unlike straight relationships. Gay people also don’t pray hard enough, obviously, because if they did, this “disease” called gayism would leave them and they would be straight, right? Isn’t it cool how we can invent completely new words, like gayism?

Death: The most rewarding Kenyan experience is that of death. (The second most rewarding is that of old age, because no matter how much of a scumbag you are Moi and his friends people suddenly can’t speak ill of you, they must “respect” you because you are an elder – all the property you stole and people you had killed? Forgiven and forgotten!) Death magically wipes away everything you ever did wrong, and you are guaranteed that the pastor/priest will say “He was such a good man…” and cite the time you bought him a pair of shoes for Christmas and made a donation to the church for benches as evidence. All of a sudden, people will have nothing but nice things to say about you, and the RIP messages on Twitter and Facebook will confirm the age old saying: “Death is the best career move”.

Poverty: Poor people are poor because they are lazy. If only they worked hard enough, they might escape poverty. When driving past a slum and someone in your car mentions the squalor, sigh and say “But I guess they are used”. When you notice that your salary can afford you less and less each month because of unreasonable power bills and ridiculous taxation, do not protest against the government. Resolve to work harder and make more money (see above: Money).

Matatus: Allow yourself to be driven (quite possibly to your death) by a maniac who may even use the opposite side of the road regardless of oncoming traffic to get to the CBD just five minutes earlier. Pay no attention to the fact that the door keeps falling off and that there is a hole in the floor of the matatu, all you care about is that you get to town, who cares if the vehicle is falling apart? Notice the loud music that threatens to make you deaf before you are 40, but do not ask the driver to turn it down. Take the seat next to the window and refuse to open it under any circumstances. Ventilation is for sissies. Occasionally peep at your seat-mate’s phone screen to see what they are typing, you can never be too sure with all this terrorism happening. Feel free to pull your seat-mate into whatever discussion you feel like having. If your seat-mate is a woman, even better! She may be your future wife, so hit on her because in life, you only get one shot. If you are hungry and you have some chips and chicken/fish with you, just start eating in the matatu. Pay no attention to the scowls on people’s faces because of your smelly food, you’re hungry and that’s all that matters. When the matatu is full, board anyway and force some unwilling person to share the seat with you. If they protest, squeeze them until you occupy half the seat. Once you do, abuse them for being so unkind and ask them why they don’t have their own vehicle, since they are so stuck up. Proceed to pay the full fare for half a seat.

Bribes: That is such a strong word! How about chai, or kitu kidogo? It’s good to bribe – it saves you time and the hassle of doing what you are supposed to do. Now, when it comes to the police, kitu kidogo is usually 10% of whatever fine you will have to pay if you are taken to court. Caught taking a wrong turn? The fine is Sh. 50,000, but freedom can be yours if you pay the cop Sh. 5,000. You also save time while you’re at it. Buy your way out of any unpleasant situation. Have a driving test? Who cares if you can drive, just make sure that your driving school has paid the cops and you should have your license in no time. Don’t want to queue at KRA to file your returns or get your PIN? Pay someone to do it for you. Need a search done at the Lands office? You know what to do. Never mind that you have already paid for most of these things with your taxes, bribe anyway, for this is the Kenyan way.

The Police: Dealing with the Kenyan police is both an art and a science. Cool, right? The first step in dealing with the police is hoping and praying that you do not encounter them. Should you encounter them, instantly smile and greet them “Habari afande!” If you are a woman, use your sweetest voice to talk yourself out of whatever pickle you find yourself in. If you are a man, immediately find common ground. “Unajua sisi wanaume….” Many times, they will attempt to arrest you for a crime that you have not committed. Perhaps you were crossing Mpaka Road on your way to your favourite club at 12 am, and they arrest you and charge you with loitering, or public indecency. Do not argue. Offer to pay the bribe and get out of there as soon as possible. If you are going to report a crime, be prepared for anything. They may not have the book in which to make your report. They may blame you for walking at night when you were mugged. They may ask where your husband was when your house was being robbed. What? You don’t have a husband? Why don’t you have a husband? And if you were raped, they may tell you to go take a shower. Should they catch your rapists, they may ask them to slash grass. Ah, these things. We just pray to God.

Editor’s Note: This piece is satire, in case you didn’t notice.

31 Comments.
  1. Sylviah says:

    Ms. Brenda Wairimu, very well said!…and the end note …I die.

  2. E'm says:

    What else can we say. Tunajivunia (or is it Tunavumilia) kuwa (or is it kuua) Wakenya.

  3. Kiprono Sang says:

    Mmh..passive aggression…it’s a thing nowadays…

  4. tonykirumba says:

    Dear Mr./Ms. Editor,

    Are you sure this piece is satire, because I can relate to every experience in this piece.
    And my Nigerian friends can too: http://chimurengachronic.co.za/how-to-be-a-nigerian/

  5. william says:

    The part about kenyan men being perfect left me in stitches!

  6. francisca says:

    What a master piece! !! Truth and reality1000%!

  7. SAM MBAVU says:

    A great piece, u have made my day, I can now go to bed, lol

  8. roinology says:

    Hey Brenda…
    Awesome read right there…
    We’re holding a TEDx event (https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/tedx-program) in November, we’d love for you to speak…
    Let me know what you think.

    Thank you.

  9. Sophie says:

    Love this piece…laughing out loud instead of quietly to myself…that seems to be the thing to do these days. In defense of gayisms and other such made up words, it’s now a word in the urban dictionary. And weren’t selfies and bootylicious also made up words that Oxford now recognizes and good an proper? Only a matter of time

  10. Binti says:

    Of course its satire cos you say its satire, right? Lo. There’s something Mark Twain said about truth in jest, but what do I know about all that.

  11. Mangotree22 says:

    What a delightfully informative articl, I now have a thorough and detailed guide on how to be a Kenyan! Incidentally a while ago one of my male cousins bought me a copy of “How to be an African Woman” clearly I didn’t get the memo about gender specific alcoholic drinks, that’s the end of my relationship with rum and pilsner, ah the things we Kenyan women sacrifice for our “perfect men”.

  12. Sean says:

    Ah these piece, I pray to God for more!!! Class Act, yo!

  13. Thetshirtgirl says:

    Lovely piece!!!Keep up the good work!loving the irony!plus really hilarious!Oooooh how I miss home!

  14. gragory says:

    loved this piece. engrossing to the end

  15. NJERI. says:

    Oh the truth. I loved it!

  16. Morori says:

    very nice read….“Death is the best career move”.

  17. I like it for the most part because it is uncloaked reality. Often we sugar-coat truth as we play God with morality. A refreshing read.

  18. Karen says:

    Brenda you never disappoint! I am forcing everyone in my office to read this brilliant piece!

  19. Asumwa says:

    Brenda Wambui! I love this! And it is oh so true! First strategy of dealing with the police is avoid them. Very true!

  20. This post never gets old! Love it!

  21. Karwitha says:

    Dear writer, this is beautiful. The worst part is when people are openly proud of all this ‘Kenyan habits’…. Ati’ this is Kenya ‘justifies everything….

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