Ours is a most interesting country. It is a nation of sagas and fake stuff. These may sound like ordinary happenings but Kenyans have a way of improving even on the worst, getting the impossible done. For example, we’ve finally kicked sweetness out of sugar.
It seems mixing certain metals I last heard of in High School with the sweetener is a really terrible idea. Now the saga has turned my house to a land of milk and honey. That is because, in addition to milk, which is the beverage of choice for the majority (now don’t ask me how many we are), sugar is being avoided like the plague.
The talk is that unless and until someone assures Kenyans that the sugar we just pick from supermarket shelves is safe, honey will serve just as well to flavour the tea and other beverages.
Of course, before the sugar mystery came up, you recall media stories that fake fertiliser was being sold to unsuspecting maize farmers in parts of the Rift Valley.
Considering how hard toiling in farms is, that there is pure, evil genius. And still on the Rift Valley, we would like to clear the notion that it’s inhabitants did export a certain fever to parts of Tana River and Garissa. They wouldn’t have a reason to.
But back to our story. From fake fertiliser to contraband, poisonous sugar. And as we were digesting that (figuratively speaking of course), my good friend George Kinoti, that tough guy who leads all the country’s sleuths discovered that some ingenious characters had imported fake tyres.
Lest you forget, we have been living with fake fingernails, fake bottoms, fake eyelashes and fake foot calves, otherwise called maskwembe paraded by a variety of women but that is a story for another day. My concern, and I am sure that of many other imaginative fellows, is when fake things land on our breakfast tables. It is disconcerting —and awful for appetite.
But, perhaps, we should not lose our sleep over this world of things that are not always what they look like. Where I come from, we have interesting names that always do not conform to the persons or places they identify.
I had a friend called Kiongo Kiarie, literally “big headed”. And he wasn’t, having made it to a university and graduated with a degree in mathematics. Another was called Gichuru Kimata, which translates to “thick porridge”. Don’t be deceived by the name, the bloke could not even make the stuff even if you held a gun to his head.
Where you come from, you have probably come across a mayor, at least until a few years ago. Their title was “His Worship”. That never made sense to me. It still doesn’t.
Why would mayor be His Worship, while the men of the cloth were, and still are ‘His Grace’? Why not do it the other way round?
And while at it, why, oh why do we call our judges “Your Lordships” or “My Lord”? Does that title not sound like it belongs somewhere in our houses of worship? Put another way, I am sure you have heard of The Power of Jesus Around the World Church. Another is called Helicopter Church. And not because the pastor is a pilot or anyone in the aviation industry.
While I am not casting aspersion on these churches, whose names I have picked at random, you can see where I am coming from.
If blokes with little or no theological training can wake up one day and declare themselves pastors and start a church, what does that tell you about the society they live in?
Please note that for many, after a year as pastor, they wake up one day and promote themselves to senior pastor. The following year, they hold a coronation and pompously declare themselves bishops. Who ordains them? Their flock or closer home, themselves.
In a society that does things like this, are we surprised that fake sugar has found its way to our homes, where we rest on fake leather sofas? Should we be surprised? Whatever you decide, please do not quote me. As our young generation is wont to say, sijataja mtu mimi. Have a fake-free week. – The writer is Special Projects editor, People Daily.