My intention was to attend the ‘Guerilla marketing for writers’ session at the 2014 Storymoja Festival. But unfortunately that went sideways when the tents changed. I was at the dome already and ‘Kenyan to the Kore’ was the discussion. It was fireworks and I couldn’t leave.
There were so many sober and pertinent things that people said, trying to coin and figure what being Kenyan is really all about. But what really slapped me in the face was this, “Before we get to the ‘we’, we need to be conscious of the ‘I’”. Profound!
There were several consensuses; first, what brings us together is our differences and second, it was time that we as citizens of our great republic, Kenya, should no longer rely on government or politics to determine what being Kenyan is. We need to define what that is and means by ourselves.
Another pretty interesting scope at understanding who we are, was what really makes us who we are ethnically. This part of the argument got me tickled watching people fumble over themselves. Think about it, just because your parents are a certain ethnicity, you speak the language and your rural home is in a certain region in the country, does that really constitute who you are ethnically? Think about it for a minute before you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
That is up for debate, but that really got me thinking especially when Morris Kiruga pointed out what kind of culture and traditional practices our great grandparents and grandparents went through. There is a lot that has been lost over the years through urbanization. So who then are we really?
Like Kibali Mureithi concluded, “we need to allow ourselves to interrogate who we really are and what does it mean?”