HOW TO JOIN KUMEKUCHA'S CLUB1999 TODAY

HOW TO JOIN KUMEKUCHA'S CLUB1999 TODAY
Click on the image for all the information YOU need!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tribalism is a State of Mind

I lost my uncle last week so I had to travel for the burial (which took place on Wednesday, 7th May). Being the first born of my uncle’s elder brother it behooved me to attend, however far I was.

My uncle lived at Ongata Rongai and he was a former production manager at Bomas of Kenya.

I arrived a day before the burial and found the burial committee praying in the main house. The leader of the prayers was a luo woman. After the prayers she encouraged the children of the deceased to know that they are not alone or should not consider themselves as out and lost; But that they had a shoulder to cry on.

It was a time charged with so much emotion. After the luo woman, there stood another luo woman and thereafter a luhya man, each saying things of utter import during that trying time for the family.

As I sat listening and thinking, I was mesmerised by the beauty of it all (the pain of losing my uncle notwithstanding!). Never before had I thought that I would ever see Kikuyus and Luos working towards a common goal, hand in hand and peacefully.

Some of these luos and luhyas worked under my uncle at Bomas. They heaped praise upon praise on my deceased uncle saying how good he’d been blah…blah…blah..

When the committee was through with its business, most people went outside. I was left in the main house talking to my cousins. In mid-conversation, a bespectacled old man (in his sixties) came to where I was and extended his stiff hand. I took it and responded to his greeting.

He sat down next to me and asked whether I was the cousin who lived in (…!…). I answered in the affirmative.

He told me that his first name was George (and a luo from Nyanza). He added that he had travelled all the way from Nyanza to attend the burial of his friend, my uncle.

He told me the far that he and my uncle had come. I was mesmerised at how fondly he described their friendship. Throughout the talk, I did not detect any trace of hypocrisy in George.

On Wednesday we travelled to Kikuyu country (a certain part of Murang’a) for the burial.

The Catechist who led the burial ceremony was a luhya. He simply amazed me when he decided to use both Kikuyu and Kiswahili in the leading of the service. His Kikuyu is so good that he could pass for a Kikuyu who was born in Luhyaland!

On the bus to Nairobi, after the burial, my mind was abuzz.

Does the “cure” to tribalism and tribal hatred lie in pulling down the stereotypes that we have of others? (The thought that screams out loud saying that this is what I think you are and nothing, whatsoever, can change me to think otherwise! )

Honestly, the present state of affairs is not the kind of environment I would like my children to grow up in. But what can I (we) do?

I am confused…

P.S. Kumekucha is mentioned at Kenya Imagine

Check out Kasarani.com, a new way to meet and keep in touch with Kenyans worldwide. You can even start your own blog on Kasarani! Click here to go to Kasarani.com now

11 comments:

BP ONE said...

Ritch Pole, May God Bless the soul of your uncle. I agree with you, "tribalism is a state of mind".Believe me the majority of Kenyans are not tribal in nature, but they are made to be so by our political leaders

Anonymous said...

Ritch

Pole for your loss.

Yes sir, tribalism like so many other stereotypes, is a state of mind which blinds a person from associating with, or acknowledging the positives or even superior skills in others. IMO Its actually a reverse strategy to hide an inferiority complex or limitation and thus massage the ego.

in short in most cases if someone cannot achieve a certain goal, they tend to mask their limitation by referencing a stereotype as the obstacle or stumbling block rather than their own limitation.

kenyans are more prone to this because as we each pass through various stages of progress we somehow want to assume expert knowledge in "all matters" (some false wanting to be master of all trades) and anytime we find another with superior capabilities, then we tuck in our tail and scream some stereotype.

if we could accept that we do not have a monopoly of knowledge or wealth and that its possible to co-exist either with anyone irrespective of where we fall on the chain/ladder then we can be less sensitive to the stereotype.

make a mental note to study anyone practising negative ethnicity and you will find deep down that person has a severe limitation and cannot or fears being matched up to some of his/her peers and therefore resorts to the diatribe. this applies across the board to all tribes, leaders, wealthy, poor etc

UrXlnc

Anonymous said...

hey did you read the kenya imagine pathetic piece trying to re-write history of kenya migration??

what a joke!! i would advise the writer to go back before colonization and point out exactly which tribes settled in the rift valley before he tries out the argument ati kikuyu's have a right in the Rift Valley!!
my take on this is unless kikuyu's accept that there were land injustices done to other tribes during colonization and after independence by Kenyatta then i guess kenya will always have land issues and people will be fighting to gain what they forefathers lost ! through dubious and unfair means!!

kikuyu's can not re-write history they are wasting their time!!
from Rift valley to coast province all the land grabbing from other tribes??? no wonder kenyatta family owns tracts of land equivelent to a whole province!! how can we as kenyans allow that when we have so many people landless?? and as if the land was acquired in the proper manner!!! being a president does not give anyone a ticket to take kenyan land freely to enrich themselves!!time out! all this issues must be addressed- " we might pretended now that we are friends and smilling with each other- but my children will continue to fight for what was taken from our great grand parents through powerful government machinery then- but times have changed-
central province if they continue to deny this land injustices then i guess they will find out soon that kenyans mean business- even the Mau Mau veterans want their lands back? this are kikuyu's!! why??was their land taken too??

KENYATTA WAS GIVEN FUNDS BY THE BRITISH AFTER INDEPENDENCE TO BUY BACK THE LANDS FROM THE WHITE SETTLERS AND RETURN IT TO THE ORIGINAL OWNERS!! HE INSTEAD TOOK IT FOR HIMSELF AND THE REST HE SHARE AMONG HIS CRONIES WHILE SOME HE MADE IT STATE OWNED LAND WHERE AFTER AS YEARS WENT BY HE HANDED IT OUT TO KIKUYU'S IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF KENYA INCLUDING THE COAST PROVINCE AND THE RIFT VALLEY!!TRUTH IS THE TRUTH AND NO ONE CAN WISH IT AWAY!!

luke said...

Bwana Ritch, welcome back-i wondered where you had disappeared to.my condolences, and may your uncle R.I.P
Ritch, you've chosen to make a comeback with a baptism of fire!Tribalism in Kenya is a known fact, even though there is nothing wrong with our diverse ethnicities; together with good governance, a civil education of each other's communities and equal distribution of national wealth Kenya will truly begin to belong to all of us and the arrogance that is the calling card of tribalism will be banished
I still dream that one day Kenya will be free of ethnic hatred. it is my daily prayer

Anonymous said...

My condolences to you for the loss of your beloved Uncle. May God give you strength to live with it and even move on.

I completely agree with you Ritch that tribalism is a state of mind. Look at my case. I am a pure Kamba, but born in Kisumu in the early sixties. I lived in Kisumu for 16 years until I did my O-levels. When we were young I quickly learned Luo and I am more fluent in it than my own mother tongue. People tell me my accent is Luoish and it is actually difficult for Luos to realise that I am not one of them. Two years ago I was transfered to a station where there are Luo and Kamba colleagues. Can you imagine that the Luo colleagues are saying that I am a Kamba tribalist!!! Why? Because I speak kiKamba with my Kamba colleagues. On the other hand, when my Kamba colleagues see or hear me laughing and chatting with my Luo colleagues, they say that I am a traitor and that I have abandoned them!!! Who is the tribalist here???

Mwala

Anonymous said...

@8:39 am,
So where did the cat drag you in from? Relax. Argue your point like a human being. That's what the KI article did. Simple.

Sayra said...

Ritch, pole for ur loss.

And its so true that tribalism is a state of mind. A while ago i discovered that we all have a different meaning of tribalism. And for that reason, I also came-up with my own definition of tribalism besides the one i was taught at primary school in class 3.

It all depends on what one is trying to put across, and tribal sentiments are used so one can feel and make other believe that they superior or inferior ... all in the name of covering a weakness or a weak point in the case of our politicians.

For us Kenyans to have 42 different tribes is not a crime neither was it a mistake that we all happened to be under the one state named Kenya. And i don't understand how tribalism is usually an issue during the election period, but after that we are are pple living together happily bila issues.

Tribalism only becomes an issue when the political leaders decide that it shld be an issue ... if they want it to stop been an issue ... believe me it will STOP been an issue.
We are a people who are always at the mercies of our political leaders.

Anonymous said...

Rich Pole sana and thanks for writing this article it touched me and hopefully it will touch others too!
My cousin travelled all the way from US for my Dad`s funeral in 2005. I was greatly touched by this.
Thanks your cousins will never forget.

Bobie, Bristol said...

Seriously Chris,

Are you completely incapable of writing any piece that does not contain the words ‘tribe’ ‘Kikuyu’ or ‘Luo’?

If you ask me; you and your cohorts are the real inciters!

ritch said...

bobie, bristol,
In which world do you live in. Hiding your head in the sand and pretending that these issues don't exist will not help matters!!

KITEXPO said...

My Sencere Condolensces for your loss and Pole to relatives those of 14 inocent Kenyans butchered at dawn.We need to improve the tolerance levels among next door neighbours,who may not be of the same Creed,Tribe,Race.That we may eliminate those among us who would prefer terror as a means of correcting Percieved Injustises whether current or Historical.We need to boldly preach the importance of virtues such as hard work.To let our people Look to the universe.

Google
 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...