I have no tribe

Twitter…what I particulary like about microblogging via Twitter et al is that you get to see new links and see what others are up to. Just a few minutes ago I came across AfroM‘s twitter message (“tweet”?) which informed me about David Kobia‘s new site: iHaveNoTribe.com


No matter how you feel on tribalism in Kenya, pls check out this nice new website and see what KENYANS ONLINE have to say about tribalism and nationalism.

I just skyped David on this as I – as a “mzungu” (gosh, I hate this word but you get the idea) – may be outside enough of the ring to contribute my 2cents on this. It’s because I’m often reminded of this debate we had on thinkersroom some time two years ago about what Kenya(n)Tourists are actually doing for Kenya – and how they perceive their status vs. those who are left at home, at the basis, trying to struggle with a corrupt regime and daily life. Well, I am not the person to judge who does it better, what strategy a young Kenyan should follow after school’s out. Everyone just tries to struggle, and we all know of the plenty Kenyans abroad who are busy making a life (with or without a visa!).
My Kenyan colleague from university recently told me that he was (financially) better off working as a cleaner for Mercedes-Benz factory in Europe than doing this 30.000 Kshs job for a GoK agency in Nairobi. Go figure…

Rather, I’ve been wondering about what Kenyans in Kenya think about their friends and relatives abroad, and how they expect us to help them.

Let me tell you something: no matter how bad the situation is in Kenya right now and no matter what kind of hatred we’ve seen – even online by educated ppl who should know better (although one could argue that’s just the power of an anonymous internet & normal flaming/trolls) – I cannot name any country right now that has more national pride than Kenya!

Remember the Kenya Airways slogan “The Pride of Africa” – there’s much more to this than just marketing. This has affected me in a way that I am constantly wearing this wristband – I feel proud of it. And this although my passport says I am German national. Can you imagine?

So, to make it short: the silver, no: golden lining underneath all this horror we have seen in Kenya lately – to me – is that we do now see people helping each other and beautiful initiatives like MamaMikes.com Special or food donations in front of Nakumatts where Kenyans are helping Kenyans. Did it take all this sheded blood to realize what’s inside of us all?

What I’ve seen and heard from Kenya lately strongly reminds me of Adolf Hitler and his fucked up policies: ppl being torn out of matatus just because they belong to another tribe and then beaten to death

Now what… imagine you’re a Kenyan in the US and shocked just like me about this. What can we do about it?


What else can one do except for showing unity and wishing for a better future?

As for the governments (worldwide) – I’ve said it before: we can not expect anything from them except for some political frameworks and lots of empty phrases. Everything else will be has to be provided by individuals – like you and me.

And yes, I do understand that we used to laugh about Tanzanians because of their economy & failures and that we are now addressing those very same issues that had been ignored in Kenya for a long long time due to “progress” + not even having a national language like Kiswahili. But so what? Does _unity_ depend on government decisions?

(on a lighter note: I take it that I am the only one out there who may call himself a “Kikuyu” these days :-)

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at Saniblog.org. You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.