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Kenyan celebrities are usually ashamed of their home country

It is not a surprise that Lupita Nyong’o, the world star and winner of Oscar Prize made a non ceremonial return to her mother land Kenya. This is one of the questions many people do ask now. The interest here is about the passing on of Mr. Benson Wanjau known in Kenya by his role in Kenyan comedy as Mzee Ojwang Hatari. Artists in Kenya are the unsang heroes and heroins whose contribution to the socio-economic fabrics of Kenya has never been a big deal to policy makers. Kenya, as any other developing African nation, is in the process of cultural mortification by ignoring the significance of African theatre. Comedians, marathoners, footballers, singers, dancers, and film actors all over Africa are the minority group. The prominent question is, will Africa rise up and appreciate what her cultural heritages can produce? How many sons and daughters of Africa opting to become Mexicans, Chinese, Americans or Europeans? This is not brain-drainage but escape from a non sensitive socio-cultural environment. Kenya is the country that gave birth to Prof. Maathai Muta Wangari, but, who really cared about her? She became the world star but her country did not sing so much about her achievements. Who knows that William Fadhili was the composer of the original malaika? The copyright was sold in terms of many dollars outside Kenya and the Kenyan singer only died in the USA when Kenya was not a home for him. Who can tell about the talents of Daudi Kabaka and his likes? But in Kenya who cares? Who can tell about the talents of Suzanne Owiyo and her lyrics? Who cares? We live in a world of huge importation of cultural products and piracy. Living as an artist does not mean much in Kenya and this is making it difficult for Kenya to venture into music and film industries. We have become imitators of others’ culture. It is sad and very sad indeed.
Culture is the basis of every development. Vision 2030 leaves out anything to do with cultural development. Our cultural heritages are dying out very fast and we will be arid people with nothing to be proud of. There are no more cultural values that can define a people.
Cynics would ask, where should we start? Give nobel prize to our artists. Create strong legislations to protect culture and ensure that it benefits artists. Recognize talented artists in their own capacity. It is shameful to see those who worked hard like Wanjau dying as poor individuals who contributed nothing to what is Kenya today?
As a people we can do better and become a strong nation. Instead, we have chosen to become plastic society. All from China. We are never ourselves. No African arts. Kenyans are the first to hate their own arts. Houses are decorated by Chinese plastic products. Cars are those from Japan. Houses are those from other cultures. We also import religion. There is nothing African in Africa. Even our cities – Tatu City and Vision 2030, are all foreign cultures. Where is the African culture? If anything, are we teaching our children that they are the wretched of the earth? We produce nothing and import everything. Then we stand to watch shillings losing value to dollar and wonder, what has happened?
I always wonder if as a people this is the way to go! We import from clothes to food. We import even our ideas and laws. There is nothing that is considered indigenous. How do we expect such gifted grand-daughters of Africa such as Lupita not to be proud of Mexico? No wonder, the revered world well known Kenyan writer, Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o decided to settle in the United States of America, where culture matters.
I send my condolences to the family of the late Wanjau and his team that can start recalling the wealth of culture he had and how Kenya rejected him. It is not about him but our children to come. There will be nothing for them.
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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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