Monday, October 5, 2009

Revisiting Moi Day

When I was growing up, I had a few relationship problems with Moi day and every holiday that was made to remind me that I am Kenyan. Not that I hate being Kenyan, no. I am 'Proud to be Kenyan'. But in Primary school, preparing for Moi day two months ahead was a real pain. We had to practice all these patriotic songs such as Tawala Kenya and another that went Eh Moi Eh.... for more than two months every year for the 5 years that I was in upper primary.
At first the whole exercise was fun since it meant that you had outgrown lower primary until I reached Std 6 and there arose some more important things to worry about like puberty, a bulging chest, That Time of the Month and GHC.
For those of you who need a background of the Nyayo Era, the president used to dish out 5 acre lands as if they were the complimentary mints you are given by big hotels when you attend workshops. This was especially if you could sing his praise like a parrot.
So the teacher who was in charge of Music in our school would recruit us into the music club by force if she had to. She was not going to miss the 5 acre gravy train because we refused to sing. The most amazing thing about it all is that she thought I could actually sing. So I was recruited into the music club. I don't know why but we had to don white ribbons on our heads when we sang and so we had to maintain a minimum length of hair that could hold the hundreds of pins used to hold the ribbon.
When I got bored with all that Tawala Kenya thing, I thought that the only escape route I had was to cut my hair. You would have thought I had murdered one of my fellow pupils! The teacher used Sellotape to hold the ribbon on my head. After Moi day, when she finally removed the Sellotape plus ribbon from my head, it came off with my hair and left me with a 'hairless cross' on my scalp.The next time I was sure if I pulled off something as stupid as cutting my hair she would literally staple the ribbons on my scalp.
I did finally (thank God) graduate into Secondary school where I avoided the music Club like the plague. I now realize what a wrong move that was because today I would be a celebrity.
In college, we hated patriotism. I can't remember why but it the in-thing. So on National holidays we would borrow all the books from the library and spend the day locked up with books in our rooms. It didn't matter what we read but we did. I remember there is a time I borrowed a book titled 'The farm implements of Kyrgyzstan'. Those are the kinds of books you find in most college libraries which are usually donations from other international colleges.
Today, I enjoy Moi day because it gives me an opportunity to stay at home and rip-off my employer coz he has to pay me for not working. It is the only way to get back at ya boss and I hope we can continue to slug on with the Constitution review so that we can keep Moi day.
Good luck this Moi day and help someone.