En skribent fra Kenya

Fred er en sosialarbeider og en god venn i Nairobi. Som leder av klubbarbeidet i Maisha Mema opplever han den harde hverdagen i Soweto-slummen på kroppen. Men i disse dager er det ikke snakk om hverdager i Nairobi. Valget har forstyrret balansen, et av hjulene på vogna har falt av. Fred sender meg av og til artikler som jeg har frihet til å gjøre hva jeg vil med. De handler om livet i slummen, om forholdene i Kenya, og om veivalg. De fortjener å bli lest, derfor kommer jeg til å legge de ut både på min egen blogg og på bloggen til Global Village, linja jeg har ansvar for på Solborg. Vi snakker ofte om å la Afrika slippe til med sin egen stemme, uten fortolkninger fra oss i vest. Samtidig er Afrika en konstruksjon, noe som akademikere og lærde i Vesten har definert om én størrelse. Men på samme måte som Norge og Europa ikke er én og samme ting, eller Stavangerog Norge for den saks skyld, så er ikke Kenya og Afrika det samme, heller ikke Nairobi og Kenya. Fred har en stemme, den er hans egen , og den fortjenes å bli lyttet til.

Fred Oguttu er miljøarbeider i Maisha Mema-stiftelsen i Soweto Township i Nairobi. Han er utdannet arkitekt fra universitet i Nairobi.
Fred har besøkt Solborg Folkehøgskole i Stavanger flere ganger, og vil komme med jevnlige innspill i «Så var det sagt…»



When the smoke finally clears

As we go through our daily routines, we as a country are writing the pages of history with a title of which the rest of the world will have to apportion. The very ink that dries on the paper is of a wierd mixture of our blood, sweat, tears, and punctuated with sighs.

Of late there had been an awareness campaign going with a slogan that echoed the words,’I am proud to be a Kenyan!’ The question ringing around our motherland is, ‘are we?’

As a true story of sorts,the drama continues! The suspense that goes with it has made the otherwise before ignorant non-committal average citizen glued to their screens or radios, desperately itching for the sounding of a truce or a cease-fire. The horrors we have been exposed to in our living rooms, of man-eat-man, where the power of the machete or a sling thrown rock rules.The tragic comedy where a young man sets the country «a laugh» as he makes monkey faces only to be shot dead seconds later. The despair when after the ashes are sorted out, an old lady in a wheelchair disappears in a burnt down church shelter! A one role model who inspired many by beating the odds to prove that her disability was nowhere near inability…

I voted as a neutral, going against the grain, the obvious stereotypical expectation and chose to watch how matters would unfold. But close to a month later I have clearly been forced to take sides! It beats me why one has to be forcefully evicted from areas they always knew to be home, it hurts why all of a sudden couples engagements were thrown out of the window, all in the name of ethnicity, it’s embarassing to see shops razed down, looted, vandalized in a so called excuse for venting out pent up anger and frustrations…I take sides for the hurting,innocently displaced mourning and grieving Kenyans whose lives will never be the same again.

How would we explain all this to that family of barefoot children holding on to their only left belongings that what they left behind of their home is not a huge berbaque, where only weeks before they had celebrated Christmaswith a bonfire with grills and roasts everywhere? Will that woman who was sexually molested in the melee ever love again? When the child who was given birth to in the bush and not allowed to cry for fear of exposing their hide-away,grow up to speak out?You tell me.

Are there lessons to be learned? What do you see? If we here do not live to see the next light of day, what will you say of us? What will you pass on to your children and generations after you?

Of the countless lessons learnt, one going round as a result of the youth who gawked at a cop was, «never nyeff nyeff (make monkey faces or dare) at a cop, and that,especially so, if you are on the wrong end of the gun»

Truth too can never be hidden. its sole destiny is always to be released and set free, otherwise it erupts into a very costly and an unexplainably expensive aftermath…why is it so difficult for the truth to be told?

The rest they say is history. What we do with the truth is as important as what we are doing without being accorded the same truth!

A lot has been uncovered that was previously latent. Stuff that was left unattended to: lack of equity in social stratification,tribal animosity and the disturbing land ownership issues.

As we write or be part of history, read the story we leave behind…but in your reading be sure to note these few incidences that in spite of what we are going through, make me proud to be a Kenyan: – in one of our hotspot slums members of an opposing ethnic community saved a man from drowning in a fast flowing river. This man was from their rival community. after the ordeal, the saved man’s first statements were, «kenya is okay, let us live as one, there is no need to fight one another…» – in the rift valley, a friend kept his friend hidden until it became precariously dangerous for both. He chose to endanger his life for a friend, but when word started leaking out, he called the police who whisked the friend to safety. – and who said mass action demonstrations are a call for violence, thuggery and destruction? With no police in sight, members of another community took to the streets waving twigs, held a rally peacefully and went back home afterwards once their concerns had been aired! Talk about being civil.

As I sign off, its good to value freedom, normalsy and love.

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