Someone asked me about this rather strange name “Kikuyumoja” today, and before I keep on explaining it over and over again, let me just blog this once and give out a few juicy details. I know, the first thing some of you out there do whenever you’re on a new blog is to click on the “about” link — which sometimes doesn’t reveal as much as you were prolly expecting. After all, blogs with a domain name (URL) are not as anonymous as all these blogger/wp/twoday services. Whatever. Here’s the story:
When I first went online in Oct 1996 with AOL, I was required to select my own so-called screenname. Back in those days when we were talking of Online Service Providers (OSP) instead of Internet Service Providers (ISP), AOL was one of the big players among Compuserve.
I hate AOL. Do they still exist? Anyways, what they did was forcing me into this screenname-selection-process and so I typed in my first name (“Juergen”).
Now, since there were about hundreds of other “Juergen1234” on AOL (I tend to imagine someone like Joe Dirt whenever I hear my name), I needed to type in something else. I then chose the first thing (name) that came to my mind: KAMAU.
Kamau Njoroge wa Ujerumani, to be precise. I know there’s this friend who goes by the name of Hamisi wa Tanzania. Hamisi probably is what Kamau is in Kenya or Müller, Meier, Schulze in Germany. My folks used to call me that way sometimes because I, a mzungu with a profound interest in anything Kenyan, apparently often behaved liked some Mr Kamau.
To me, life in Kenya is this terrific mixture of meeting ppl from different backgrounds. Be it those high-class people in politics you expect to see on the golf range or just ordinary chaps like you and me. And, before I digress even more, let me just mention how much I hate this system in many countries where you are virtually nothing unless you have a business card or some important title/credentials to show off. That’s so dumb and backwards. I don’t need that. People are so used to a certain frame and try to categorize you right after they’ve met you. They want what? Categorize me? Which part of me? I clearly needed a name that gives me the chance to hide in the masses or otherwise makes me unique. One where ppl wouldn’t ask further questions or maybe even divert this quest for credentials (~“how influential is he”) into a triggered curiosity to know more about me as a person, and not with whom I might have lunch.
In the end, it’s all about marketing yourself — right? How many ppl in Kenya are called Kamau? A million? There you have it…
The name “Kamau” was already given away to another user on AOL. Damn it. I had to think of something else. And the next word that came to my mind was “Kikuyu”. So I typed it in. Basi.…woiii? Already someone with that screenname on AOL? wth?!?
…so I just added the third next word which was “moja”, thus making it
(The Agikuyu, ethnic group in Kenya; moja = 1 in Kiswahili => Kikuyu1, K1, etc.)
What a dumb name.
My Kenyan friends would surely ask me nasty questions. And the Germans? They would pronounce it like [Kiikuujuumohhhjaaaaah] — a long moooojaaaaahh. Like in this Rastafarian JAAAAH. Yeah.…great.
I stuck to that name though, after I left AOL in December 1996 because I got used to it and then after some time I even registered my first domain name on it. And now, almost ten years after that, this story still makes me think: WTF?! :-))
That’s it! That’s how I got my name. Simple as that! Kikuyumoja.
It could be anything else. Luomoja? Juergenimoja? Mzungumoja? Wait, Mzungumoja — wacha, that’s you, Hash :-) Ama?