Kenya’s 2nd Colonization

What’s up with Kenyans’ obsession with all things American???

Case in point 1: Why on earth do we price things in US Dollars? I mean, when Kenya Airways advertises flights in USD, is that their way of telling us that they’re now “The Pride of America”? I know we have a lot of foreigners living here or travelling here but surely, does that mean that we must now ape what they do, say and are?

Is it just me or didn’t we already go through this obsession in the mid to late 90’s? I remember it like it was yesterday: Kenyans would flock the embassy (at the time, located in the city center) in the wee hours of the morning only to be met with cold, steely eyes. It was like a lottery into ‘heaven’, and those who didn’t get in felt like losers. I thought that whole mess had calmed down a bit but I realize now that it has only begun.

Case in point 2: Our constitution. Before you toss the rotten tomatoes, allow me to say this: our constitution seems to be a shameless copy of the American constitution. My issue is not in the actual passing of the constitution. It’s in the wording and structure. We may (or may not) need a new constitution but why must it be so Americanized.

This is really what I’m irritated about: we, as Kenyans, don’t seem to have a sense of national pride. We can say “Najivunia” blah blah blah but in reality, we’re desperate to look like them – whoever and whatever they may be. We want to wear what they wear, eat what they eat, talk the way they talk even if it sounds so damn fake (some cases excluded though).

We may complain about being colonized but at the risk of sounding I-donno-what, let me say that our first colonization was not our choice but our second colonization surely is.

When will we as Kenyans stand up and truly and proudly be counted?

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When Mia isn't ranting or raving, she keeps a blog in an attempt to live her life to the fullest. Her exploits can be found on "The Yes Trail" at www.miasaysyes.wordpress.com

  • Africangel

    For as long as the middle class Kenyan dresses like an American, talks like an American, watches everything American, goes to clubs that are so Americanized or to churches with preachers that preach like Americans – we are stuck with what we got. I once got into an argument about accents (ie; people who go to India do not come back with an Indian accent but most yuppies who so much as step foot in “American” school end up with an American accent- and note that they probably never left the country all that time. ). Can’t blame the airline nor the constitution makers, we are the ones who idolize them.

  • TOTO

    here is my penny mbili.
    The US$ is the dominant currency of the world, since Kenya Airways is actively involved in the fuel hedging market, they have to trade in $, the Kenya shilling is to unstable for that.
    As for the constitution being American, by most constitutional standards, the US constitution confers the most liberties to it citizens, going as far the enshrining the pursuit of happiness. For all its faults, the US constitution gold standard for a free republic. There is nothing wrong with copying what works and modifying it later. So colonization is not always bad, I mean, English came on a boat, did it not?

  • http://lily.co.ke/members/miamor/ Mia

    Africangle, I agree. I don’t think that we can’t/shouldn’t enjoy things from that country or any other country. The thing is, we need to develop and maintain OUR sense of pride in who and what WE are. People can do what they want when they want, I just think we should acknowledge the source rather than try to pass it off as our own e.g. when you to an Italian restaurant, you say it upfront instead of acting like pasta and lasagna are Kenyan foods we just happened to eat in an Italian restaurants. That may not be the best example but I hope it gets my point across.

  • http://lily.co.ke/members/miamor/ Mia

    TOTO, thanks for the comment. Now for my comments:

    1. Kenya Airways can trade in whatever currency it sees fit but when it advertises fares to/from Kenya in Kenya, where it is based and in a Kenyan newspaper, it needs to advertise those fares in Shillings. It is afterall a Kenyan airline. Think about how you would feel if US Airways started advertising in Euros within the United States. It would be an insult, intended or not.

    2. I laughed at your comment on the American constitution because it smirked of that very common yet ill conceived sentiment that America is the best at everything so we should all just be grateful and follow along. That’s ridiculous. My issue is not with the constitution itself but with lots of the language used. Contrary to popular belief, America is not the SI unit of excellence in politics or any other place. We’re in a global world now TOTO, where every country has something to offer.

    PS: Your comment on colonization is insensitive and won’t be dignified with any additional response.

  • bailey

    Hahahaha I sooo feel your frustration! The whole “American accent” thing just cracks me up coz there is no other country that people inherit it’s accent as much as the U.S.
    We are a people who are ashamed of our heritage. In a way I totally get it. Our leaders are a farce, a mockery. Hence our countries are just the same. Despite all the wonderful things that Africa has (I think it’s the richest continent in terms of natural resources) look at where we are. Most of our countries are third world countries. We have so much that if well managed, we would be the super powers of the world, but our leadership sucks, we are riddled with so much corruption and mismanagement and a truckload of other issues that the U.S. and other superpowers sell us things that WE produce! It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so darn sad.

  • http://lily.co.ke/members/miamor/ Mia

    Bailey sorry it took me so long to respond. I agree with you kabisa! I’m impressed that you’re at least willing to see things and understand them from the other perspective. When I wrote this, I was too irritated to care about our reasons but as you rightly point out, our leadership gives us little to be proud of. Sigh!

    Well, come back often and contribute. Cheers :)

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