Not too late to inspire change of youth mindset
Most of today’s youths are preoccupied with discussing English - and to a smaller extent European - football on one hand and wish to leave Kenya for Majuu (abroad) for aspired greener pastures.
When he was Secretary-General of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA), former journalist Nicholas Musonye is famously remembered for chastising Kenyans for spending so much of their weekend afternoons pastime in bars “trinking a lot of pia and watching Manchester United and Arsenal” instead of flocking stadiums to support the national soccer team Harambee Stars and local football sides play.
However, though he was right, Musonye did not attempt to give reasons as to why Kenyans keep off the stadia on local match days.
Truth is that for more than two decades now, Kenyans - whether educated or not - have steadily been growing a sense of disdain for their motherland.
Out of disillusion, a considerable percentage of them have developed a misguided belief that anything foreign is far much better than everything Kenyan. This has led to the desire by youngsters to hanker for exit from Kenya tand proceed to Majuu regardless of the life - mostly miserable - they meet out there. That preference for Majuu has witnessed tens of Kenyan domestic workers lose their lives in various countries in the Middle East.
The more educated ones elect to travel to what was previously a preserve of refugees: Europe, Canada, United States and Australia where they too dream for greener pastures but eventually end up doing manual jobs.
The same applies to Musonye’s football fans who, too, believe that Kenya has nothing to offer in terms of soccer: Thus, the crave for English and other European teams and leagues.Today’s Kenyan football fan can probably name all the first 11 and substitute players of any of the 20 English Premier League teams than they can their national team or country’s top clubs.
How did we reach here? Kenya’s leadership has been and remains the problem.
Ranging from the political class to the religious or academic leadership, a seed has been planted among Kenyans that foreign is better than Kenyan.
Kenya’s elites take their children to foreign schools, their sick kin to foreign hospitals, buy their food, clothes and bedding from foreign firms and court foreign business partners. Not anything Kenyan. That is the bane of our shattered nationalism. In more ways than one, that attitude has largely contributed to the false belief that Kenya is a bad place to live.
If anything, that belief has not been helped in any way by the ceaseless bickering among our political leaders, corruption, ethnic profiling, unemployment, poor healthcare, poor infrastructure, the ever-changing unstable education system, etcetera.
Kenya needs to change its attitude towards its own youths. This change must come from all our national leaders. It is imperative.
That way, we shall stop Kenyans from “trinking pia” on weekend afternoons discussing English football and also convince our youths that Majuu is not necessarily better than Kenya.
— The writer is the Revise Editor, People Daily. Email: [email protected]