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Olympics is my favourite season. If you agree that Olympics is the better season than world cup then raise your hand and scream ‘yeah!’ 😀 Oh well, Olympics has it’s own thrill even if the ‘world cuppers’ don’t agree. I love world cup but Olympics; I just love it way more 😉 It’s not really a surprise that I love Olympics, I dream of watching it live and I wish I could be an Olympics athlete too HA HA HA; I will tell you why.

My dad has always been my hero before Usain Bolt or David Rudisha or even Michael Phelps. I just get too excited when I hear him talk of his days as the champion. They call him ‘Jaguar’. The most thrilling part of his stories is not exactly when he explains how he had to be chained up by his own father at the stairs so he wouldn’t go play football or when he shows you his scars…it is when you hear his old friends talk about him. So on this fine day I went for a job interview and during the introduction, I mentioned my father’s name of course. The boss said, ‘wait…Abdulhalim? Jaguar?’ And I am like ‘yeah’. He started praising my dad’s talent and explaining how he would make the entire crowd chant his name ‘Jaguar’. So you can imagine, I am right there, doing an interview and the boss starts getting excited about my dad. It actually made me wish I knew my father since back then. But still, this wasn’t the most interesting part. Some other day I went into the same office and another school mate of my father was there too. The boss started,

“Do you know whose daughter this is?”

“Who?”

“Jaguar!”

“Oh Jaguar!!! He used to break his own records during school days. I doubt that anyone ever broke his records to date.”

I started laughing as they went on explaining how fast my dad would run, or how good he was in the football pitch…oh, not forgetting swimming. He was just that talented all-round athlete. I remember laughing until my cheeks were aching. I was proud. I’ve always been but the most unfortunate thing about my dad is that he got a bunch of girls and one boy who have little or zero talent in sports compared to him. My sisters and I all participated in different sports during high school; the gene is still there only that it is a very tiny bit of it. So I may not be sportish but I love sports. I love the thrill. I love watching footballers do their training. I love watching the fans cry and scream with excitement. Oh my, I love the shoes; I really love the ‘nikes’ and ‘adidases’ on display. As they say, Olympics is the biggest stage for sneakers, you bet they are right! I love seeing anything that looks like a sport. So for me and for my family, Olympics is family time. We would sit together and cheer for the Kenyans and our other favourite athletes, stay up late and enjoy one sport after another. Oh yeah; this is the world of Olympics.

Olympics is not only about the marathon, the races or the swimming. It is made up of so many sports that can just amaze and amuse you. All the way from archery (where we had a Kenyan Muslim girl participant; Shehzana Anwar), basketball, badminton, beach volleyball, Synchronized swimming (which just seems too artistic to not fall in love with), swimming, gymnastics (one of my favourites too), cycling, trampoline (awesome!!), triathlon, wrestling, rowing, long jump etc etc.  This time we had Palestine bringing in 6 participants and Refugee Olympic athletes, 10 of them, isn’t that inspiring?! You see all this and you would be mind-blown at how people are so talented and skilled in this world. Welcome to Rio Olympics 2016!!

It’s so much fun watching David Rudisha break his own record in 800 men’s, watching Jemima Sumgong win the first gold for Kenya ever in Olympics women’s marathon, watch Usain Bolt win his 3rd consecutive gold in the Olympics 100 meter titles. Well the thing about Usain Bolt; he never disappoints his fans and he has the coolest celebration signature ever.

On the other hand, Michael Phelps will be taking home 5 gold medals and 1 silver after being defeated in the 100 M butterfly by Joseph Schooling from Singapore who happens to consider Phelps as his childhood idol. For Michael though, he says he is done. This is his last Olympics and well, why not? His performances cemented his title as the greatest swimmer of all time, winning 28 medals throughout his career, 23 of them gold.

There is so much inspiration in the Olympics, so much to learn from the champions. Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in swimming Thursday night, tying for gold in the 100-meter freestyle with Penny Oleksiak of Canada. Or on the case of Mo Farah of Britain who fell down half-way during  the 10th lap in the 10,000 meter race yet still the gold placing our own, Tanui from Kenya as the silver medalist. Etenesh Diro got a stand ovation from the crowd after losing one shoe during the 3000 meters steeplechase heat yet still emerging number 7 out of 17 participants. After an appeal from her team, Diro was among the lucky ones to proceed to the finals. With one shoe, or no shoe at all, you gotta stand up again!

Back to our Kenyans, we have 5 medals until now; 2 gold and 3 silver placing us at number 18 which is not bad 😀 Leading is United States with 75 medals. However, for Kenyans we still have hope in the upcoming events including the athletics happening today. Perhaps even by the time you read this, more medals will have already been won Amen!

Okay now people, as much as our Kenyans have poor English speaking skills, let us admit that the bigger problem is the accent rather than the English grammar itself. I mean did you hear this Rwandan athlete who was being interviewed and he was like, ‘I ran I ran I raaannnnn, I enjoyed I enjooyeeeddd’ lol. So yeah, at least our Kenyans are trying. They are bringing you medals, what more do you want!

Anyway besides that, Deputy president Ruto joined athletes in a jog in Rio, warned dishonest sports managers and also said the government has increased the award package for Olympics medal winners to Sh1 million for gold medalists, Sh750,000 for silver and Sh500,000 for bronze. Oh well, isn’t that so juicy?! Especially since Kenya has sent quite a crowd over there. Though I think an appeal should be made for the marathon runners. I mean come on, how does someone running 42.195 kilometres marathon win the same prices with someone winning in 100 meters?! Eish! These athletes deserve double award! I mean, didn’t you see Jemima shed tears as the Kenyan flag was raised?! She deserves a greater token lol.

With that much said, let us enjoy the few remaining days of Olympics and most of all, let us learn from these champions and their stories of failure and success! As for my dad, I am just hoping my son will be the one to get that precious sportish gene from him, ameen!!!

For now it is, ‘Go Kenya Go!!’

 

Photo Courtesy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

By: ‘Mtoto wa Katama’

I remember when I was young, I was a penchant for the history of the world. Tales of ‘great men’, colonizers, freedom fighters, wars, politicians so on and so forth. If it wasn’t for the skewed education system in my country, probably right now I would be ‘languishing’ in the department of history in a university somewhere in the world. My love for history and how society came to be was greatly influenced by my father. A confusing character I must say, I would be convinced if someone confronted me and told me that my father lived a double life. He was an introvert by nature, and you could probably tell he had a ‘blast’ during his teen years, the endless stories of how he was the ‘coolest teen’ among his entourage. Yes, he had an entourage and one of my uncles who happened to be Mr. Kenya was part of his crew, and you can imagine the crew back in the 60’s.

Back to the endless stories, my father would narrate to me about the world war 1 and the sequel of it, and how Africans fought in the two wars which had nothing to do with them, imagine being ‘kidnapped’ a thousand miles away from your family, in the middle of nowhere standing with a rifle being ordered by someone who considers you his ‘subject’ to fight for your ‘freedom’. My father would just make you look stupid by asking you questions randomly in between the narrating like who Otto von Bismarck was, and while your just wondering trying to figure who the hell the guy was, he would pump you with ‘intel’ about the guy he just mentioned and heartily would sympathize with himself for paying school for a person who didn’t know who Otto van Bismarck was, but deep in my heart I knew he was doing all of that on purpose and probably found joy in making people look stupid by claiming that he is all knowing.

I remember this one time I was watching television with him, and all of a sudden a reggae music concert is aired on the television. My father with a lot of confidence he said that he knew the reggae artists, and they came from Taita Taveta, a local town just kilometers away from the city of Mombasa and that the television guys were not being honest for claiming that the guys came all the way from Jamaica. And there after he gave us a proper ‘lecture’ about fraud in the music industry during the yester years and how he gave a local promoter a beating of his life for failing to bring a Congolese artist after luring him to buy tickets for the whole of his crew for the concert and brought a quack artist, I can definitely picture what the guy went through, believe me when I say it was horrible. Later I came to found out through my brother who was an adherent fan of ‘Rastafarians’ who later was given the option to be a Muslim or Rastafarian after my father found that Rastafarianism was indeed a religion practiced by native Ethiopians that indeed the reggae artists truly came all the way from Jamaica but my father would not concede defeat and kept on to his word and even went further to claim that he even knew each artist and their whole clan. And that was my first disappointment with my first history teacher.

Through the years I came to learn that never learn about history through the society including my father but rather through the lenses of the society. This was evident in the history that I learnt in school about my country, its founding fathers, its heritage, its people and if I were to keep that and probably claim to be ‘educated’ I would have end up to be the greatest fool of all time but I hear they don’t give awards for that title. One thing I came to learn is that every society ‘sanitizes’ its own history according to its own political ambition and even betraying its own, I am not saying that we should not learn history from our own communities but rather we should hold its contents with a question mark and not subject it to total credence. Because overtime we have come to learn true ‘history’ after being fools for many years. Like back in junior school, we were taught to believe in that the Mau Mau literary fought the colonial masters and defeated them and such we became a free country, leading to our independence. With all the due respect to Mau Mau for their courage and valor, they were part of the struggle of the dream to liberate themselves and they paid it with blood, sweat and tears. A price so heavy that when we never taught in schools how they paid it in order to be politically correct and preserve diplomatic ties with your former ‘master’. I came to learn of the British transgressions after the former Mau Mau remaining members chose to sue the British government for damages and demanding recognition of the transgression, they were not able to mount a criminal case per say since the claimed transgressors who were acting under the orders of the Kingdom which is still in existence were not alive. I was overwhelmed with sadness for days, after reading through the atrocities committed especially against the women. But one thing that should not obscure our minds is what really happened, during the 60’s and the activities that lead to our independence.

During the early 60’s many African countries were gaining independence and it was by design, like in Kenya that transition was well organized and ‘peaceful’, it was a wave of independence glaring over Africa especially for the so called ‘African nationalists ‘who some neither never participated in any warfare but rather had the privilege to be learned others even in some foreign countries and assumed the realm of power. If Mau Mau so called ‘guerrilla warfare’ was solely responsible for the gaining of independence, why didn’t some of their ‘field Marshalls’ assume positions of power not even a single Mau Mau freedom fighters that I know of came even near to an influential post in the post-colonial  government. It was because Mau Mau was not a nationalist movement but rather an ethnic block which mainly constituted of ethnic Kikuyus and they had harbored no nationalist’s ideologies, their only agitation was to get their ‘fertile’ lands and protest their economic deprivation. Let alone the British, the Mau Mau never came near to defeat the home guards who were mostly Kikuyus and some even considered to be more ruthless than the white colonizers. Their uprising was short-lived and what followed was inhumane crackdown on Mau Mau followers which led to the arrests and detention of many ethnic Kikuyus which some other central and lower eastern tribes. With the continued state of emergency and ruthless crackdown some high profile Mau Mau leaders came out of hiding with the lure that they will be granted amnesty only to be arrested and executed after flawed court hearings.

By the time Kenya was gaining independence through ‘political goodwill’ from the colonial master, some remnants of Mau Mau were still hiding in the bushes not fighting but rather escaping arbitrary arrest and execution. And only after the assurance by the ‘founding’ father that they will be granted amnesty and a promise of having their land back which was the initial reason for uprising, they came out of hiding, and had ‘stints’ with the founding father and after a while their joy was short-lived, even the founding father held them with suspicion and did not want them in any process of engineering the country through self-rule. The questions to ask are if the Mau Mau uprising solely led to the independence of our country? And if yes, why did they come out ‘weaker’ from the bushes unlike other popular uprisings?  Like the Spanish and Napoleonic wars, with the likes of Simon Bolivar. If the Mau Mau were the political factor that lead to lead to self-rule, why did they become political weaker after independence.

The only reason why the Mau Mau were recognized was to hide the shame of the ethnic community which has already produce three presidents and hundreds of influential political leaders, they ‘sanitized’ their own history of betraying the Mau Mau and accorded them statues like Dedan Kimathi and a national holiday called ‘Mashujaa Day’. And forcing millions of Kenya through our education curriculum to learn that our independence was literary fought with armed resistance until we ‘defeated’ the British colony blinding the descendants of Mau Mau that their fathers and grandfathers blood was not spill in vain while they still languish in poverty. The British were so ‘defeated’ by the Mau Mau and thus leading them to ‘humbly’ invite our nationalists leader, the likes of Jomo Kenyatta, Oginga Odinga to the Lancaster house to discuss how they will approach self-govern. It would have made more sense if the representatives in the Lancaster house were the Mau Mau leaders. Long live the Mau Mau for standing and fighting for your land as and being heroes for your own communities. Your struggle shall never be forgotten and never be ‘sanitized’ to fit the political will of those who betrayed you.