It’s kind of strange to me that I haven’t written anything about Kenya. I’ve been here for almost a quarter of the year! Especially, considering that this is my 2nd most favourite of all African countries I’ve ever been to – South Africa winning first prize of course 🙂 .I guess my current project has imprisoned me, my time shackled in chains of work pressures and stress, that I’ve pushed aside one of the things I love doing the most – inking my thoughts : my form of therapy, my getaway from it all.
Long before I landed here, I had fallen deeply in love with Kenya. There was something about it and the people I’d met that drew me to this country. Granted, Hollywood has contributed majorly to the Kenya brand, giving Kenya an image that the media has not done with the rest of Africa. Had it not been for the World Cup recently; Nelson Mandela, Cape Town and the Infamous CRIME, would probably be some of the very few words I’ve ever heard on international television with reference to South Africa, well, that’s if you don’t consider the guy whom Zapiro the cartoonist has constantly portrayed with a shower attached to his head or his apprentice, the dude who failed woodwork and now leads some “youth” as worthy to be noted.
As for Africa as a whole, I know of only two definitions for this continent; There’s the OxCNNford dic meaning of Africa (pun intended), which would be civil wars and images of emaciated, kwashiorkor children and the UN dropping bags of maize – a rather strange solution from the educated considering that “kwash“-as my mom would call it, is a result of protein deficiency, not need of more maize –I digress.
In the OxHollywoodford dictionary a different definition of Africa is revealed to us:
AFRICA: (noun) pronounced either as KEN-ya or as KEEN-ya,1: the second largest continent; located south of Europe and bordered to the west by the South Atlantic and to the east by the Indian Ocean. 2:a republic in eastern Africa; African Sunsets, Safari, Masai Mara.
Yep that’s Africa in Hollywood’s terms. Great films & productions such as Out of Africa ( considered Hollywood’s greated tribute to Kenya in ,starring Meryl Streep. This movie went on to win an Academy Award for Best Picture ), Nowhere in Africa (German language film about Jewish refugees), Survivor Africa (the 3rd Season of the reality show Survivor) have been filmed in Kenya.
With titles like these how can one not start thinking that Kenya is Africa and Africa is Kenya? I could list a number of other great productions including Born Free, Mountains of the Moon, The Constant Gardner not forgetting my old-time Disney Favorite – The Lion King. Hey even Lara Croft (Tombraider) was here 😉 . If you think that’s cool, think of this : The most powerful country in the world is headed by the son of a Kenyan man. Need I say more?
My point is, when it came to Kenya, I was sold. In fact,in my mind, the Serengeti, Mt Kilimanjaro and Kiswahili were all of Kenya. 🙂 – Ignorance revealed, but those were lessons learnt through Movie Magic – not National Geographic, so don’t judge ;). Having had spent three months in Tanzania, the confusion has been remedied.
To have finally fulfilled my dream of coming to Kenya is truly magical. Another crossed item off my wish list:
# 17. Kenya -check!
It took less time than I imagined for this to happen. I have not been disappointed at all. With a few more weeks before returning home, It’s criminal that I haven’t shared much about my observations and experiences, as there’s just so much life to this place, I should have already published a book. Yes work has been high on my priorities and the pressure has definitely not afforded me any free time. However, it’s time I decriminalise myself.
So watch this space…