From far right: Mario Puzo, Poster of The Godfather, Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Jomo Kenyatta, Mount Kenya.
A late bloomer is a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until much later than usual in life.
The truth is that the Kenyan political landscape is filled with late bloomers starting with Kenya’s first president and founding father of the nation Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Kenya as a nation is just beginning to emerge from the abyss and will no doubt be a late bloomer, just how late is anybody’s guess because she is already almost 50 years old. Still many would argue that for a nation that is still very young.
But in this post I would like to focus more on individuals and what they have achieved. I stumbled on this information and I thought it would make a nice change from all the negativity that comes with the territory that is Kenyan politics.
There is no denying that genius and creativity is popularly associated with the freshness and vigour of youth and indeed there are plenty of examples. Mozart wrote his breakthrough Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-Flat-Major at the age of twenty-one. Orson Welles made his masterpiece, “Citizen Kane,” at twenty-five.
Closer to home Tom Mboya clocked many of his achievements while in his late 20s and early 30s. Mwai Kibaki was in the cabinet in his early 20s.
But I guess the truth here is best described by what a friend said in a recent Facebook discussion we were having with quite a number of old school mates. He said that those destined for greatness have to finally emerge no matter how long it takes. In other words time is not a factor in true genius and creativity.
So my hope is that if you are reading this and have always felt that you have passed your sell-by-date by a decade or two or even three, then let this be the post that inspires you to turn around your life.
There are some pretty amazing things very old people have done. Jomo Kenyatta did the intricate balancing act of leading Kenya to independence with all the political jostling and set a firm foundation for the new nation of Kenya when he was already well into his seventies.
In business Irene Wells Pennington became best known in her nineties when she helped straighten out irregularities in her husband's oil business after he went senile in his own 90s. Colonel Sanders began his franchise in his sixties and can also be deemed a late in life financial success.
And then there is my all time favourite late bloomer, Mario Puzo. That’s the guy who wrote the runaway best seller called The Godfather. For years Mr Puzo struggled doing the kind of writing where he could not even afford to put food on the table for his family.
Puzo's most famous work, The Godfather, was first published in 1969 (when Puzo was 49 years old). He based it on anecdotes about the Mafia organizations that he had heard during his time in pulp journalism. He later said in an interview with Larry King that his main motivation in writing the book was to make money. By this time he had already written two earlier books that had received great reviews, yet had not amounted to much. As a government clerk with five children, he was looking to write something that would appeal to the masses and make a killing. And it happened beyond Puzo’s wildest dreams because after the huge success of this book, others followed and then the films.
The story of the making of The Godfather is another Cinderella saga. Paramount was in financial trouble at the time of production and was very desperate for a "big hit" to boost business, hence the pressure director Francis Ford Coppola faced during filming. They were determined that The Godfather should appeal to a wide audience and threatened Coppola with a "violence coach" to make the film more exciting. Coppola added a few more violent scenes to keep the studio happy. The scene in which the character of Connie breaks dishes after finding out that her husband is cheating was added for this reason.
And the list can go on and on.
Quit feeling sorry for yourself and get out there and do whatever it is you were brought into this earth to do.
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