What Have You Done For Your Country

By Justalffie

What are you doing for your country?


In what could be one of the most elaborate & stinging quote as pertaining to patriotism & a citizen’s responsibility to their country from one of the most recognizable leaders, John F. Kennedy said:

“Ask not what your country can do for youask what you can do for your country.”

This is what came to mind after the ‘country’ became incensed, frustrated & even disgusted when the Ocampo 6’s return was welcomed in what can be likened to a ‘Hero’s welcome!’ The media did not make it any better with all of them turning their attention to Uhuru Park while at the same time purporting not to support them!

It’s this that I believe brought about the “I Support Ocampo 6 Media BlackOut” (#ISupportOcampo6MediaBlackOut on twitter) movement and cry all over the cyber world (read ‘Kenya’) and then came the petition to collect signatures in support of this cause. (Sign the Petition)

At this point I wondered how exactly this will help; so the petition is signed then & a HIGHLY almost METAPHYSICALLY IMPROBABLE turn of events that the media blackout is effected; then what? Don’t get me wrong, sign the petition. It’s a worthy cause but here I ask what good is a ‘good cause with no effect”?

Allow me to illustrate. If you were in unfamiliar territory and were lost and along the way you meet a native of the area who happens to know the area, ask him for directions. Assume with me, that he goes ahead & tells you how dangerous the path you are on is but doesn’t tell the right path to take, of what help will that be to you?

That’s how I feel about this move. Media blackout is well & good but what is it that we’ll be doing in the meantime? Inaction is just as bad as bad action, if not worse!

For too long we’ve complained about these politricksters with their politricks (as Peter Tosh would put it). What they are doing is hardly new to us or new at all! They’ll still come back to the voting public with the now famous “90 day roadmap” to do whatever including relocating the IDPs!! What nerve?!! Malcolm Muggeridge, a great in the media industry put it this way;

All new news is old news happening to new people.”

So in essence we are being REACTIVE in airing our frustrations which we all know will avail little to nothing! It’s time to be PROACTIVE. Talking about what they should do then get angry when they inevitably don’t do, is pointless. This is what Albert Einstein referred to as insanity when he defined it as;

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

But in terms of offering a direction to take, maybe Confucius said it best when he said;

“Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”

Cursing the darkness (what we don’t like about the politicians & maybe the media) will not make it go away. Shining a light on the other hand will kill the darkness! This is the focus of this post… WHAT TO DO, not WHAT AND HOW BEST TO COMPLAIN ABOUT WHAT IS NOT BEING DONE!


I’m not going to suggest aggression because I’m of the same school of thought as Dr. John Lennox who once said that, ‘In the country I come from (N. Ireland), Aggression is usually linked to weakness of argument.‘ I believe we have strength in our argument.

What can we do as the media fights for these leaders’ attention or the other way round or is it a symbiotic relationship?!

I offer a suggestion. Using twitter as a sample, we have corporate, sober media personalities, influential members of the business, music industries, event organizers, bloggers… the list of these movers & shakers, so to speak, is endless!

Twitter has more than 70,000 Kenyan users – about 50,000 active users but for the sake of this argument allow me to use 20,000. If for example, in a month, these 20,000 tweeters give only 500 each, we’ll have a total of 10 Million!! How far along can this go in the pursuit of aiding our brothers & sisters who were displaced during the PEV?!

That’s just one month. How much more can we do in the next 12 months, that is before these politricksters come back to tell us how they promise to resettle them in the now famous 90 days?!!

Just recently, there was the 1% drive that helped raise 100,000 in 8 hours via social sites! 8 hrs!! We can’t honestly say we can’t effect change now can we?

Events can be planned, drives held etc… nothing can really STOP A UNIFIED PEOPLE!

Remember Kenya Feb 28?


Many have different opinions concerning this initiative some even see it as a waste of time. I, however, see it as an initiative that achieved its objective – Unite Kenyans in singing the National Anthem which doubles up as a prayer or hymn as some see it! Without the “endorsement” of the government we, Kenyans, came together for a positive cause. If that’s not a testimony that we can do much more I don’t know what is?!

 If we, in our various capacities (still using twitter as the base of argument but not excluding other forums) including the corporate in these platforms, ACT we’ll have achieved more than just going on about “righteously advocating” for an Ocampo6 media blackout or whichever other blackout!


Well, it’s time we walk the talk, and to borrow from Johnnie Walker tag line… “Keep Walking”..

You want an Ocampo 6 (along with others) media blackout, good BUT don’t stop there, in fact don’t even give them your time. Instead effect change. It’s common knowledge some of them will want to ride on your cause down the line.

For the media, maybe these words by Caroline Mutoko address you best:
Let’s STOP the madness” 


This excerpt is borrowed from the blogger’s pseudo-journal. It was originally written in May 2010 on the back pages of the said, fake journal. Why the blogger decided it’s time to air out her ******* in the www remains a question never to be answered (so is the fact that the blogger is referring to herself in third person…hmmm).

Caution: You will notice that there is no particular flow of thought in this piece. Also, the over-usage of certain words. The reason is revealed somewhere in the middle of this rather unnecessarily long blog. Please do not think any more (as opposed to less) of the blogger as such is kind of person that she is.

Date: May 7 2010

Time: 1.56am (GMT +3)

So, I can’t sleep. I just stupidly wrote an inbox to *Stantlaus. I hope he still has his sense of humour and won’t read too much into it (please! please God!!!). I have currently woken up (got out of my bed), taped papers on top of my door frame so that no one can be disturbed by light from the room. And if someone gets curious and actually comes down, they will stumble on to the chair at the door giving me ample time to duck into bed and pretend I fell asleep……with the light on. Current track playing on my phone is Broken by Lifehouse. You gotta love rock. It’s so on point.

The last time I actually wrote was I think back in high school. When I was cooler and actually had a head on top of my neck. I feel empty these days. I have no more care for the world. Most of the time I’m like a zombie. I am purely existing. I’m not living. I guess when you keep all your issues bottled up, if it doesn’t explode one day, then they start eating you from the inside. I think that’s what is happening to me now. I haven’t had my moment of bursting out with pent up emotions since the last time I stole my mum’s phone in 2003 and I managed to link all that to my fear of failing exams; amidst crying and torrendous flow of mucus. haha

ok, he's a bit over the top

If I don’t go to sleep tonight, I’m gonna research on the effects of Panadol Extra and Mara Moja cuz I am the Queen of  Sleep. It has never evaded me!! Ama it’s tryna be a Makmende? Ngoja. Itajua nani ni Makmende.

you really don't want to mess with this guy

I actually went out of my way one day and bought a journal. It majorly was cuz halfway through my Mizizi class I realized people really did take the whole “write in your journal” directive in the Mizizi book quite seriously. So I went and bought myself a really fancy and expensive journal. It was all for bragging rights so that it looks like that I too, was with it. If you could see the journal now, I have started writing from the back; song lyrics, places I’d like to visit; things to do (when i can still remember where i wrote them). Just basically non-feelings stuff. I’m not really good at documenting my feelings of a class. I really do not give it much thought. Throughout the class, I’m probably daydreaming and wishing the class would end. So asking me to write about what I felt about the class, I’d probably have more to say about the people in the class and my opinion about them. Not what the class was all about. This also happened when I did my I Choose Life thing. The only time I wrote in that journal was when they said they’d collect them the following day and it had to have something. I quickly picked random dates and wrote 2 lines on each page, jumping like 3 pages to look like I really did write them in different days….with different colors of biros!!

It’s now 2.18am, 22 minutes late. No sleep, no phonecall from one Stantlaus who I was hoping for some reason, he’d see my message on FB and actually pick up the phone and call me. OMG! Girls can be soo ahead of themselves. To begin with, Stantlaus is not an FB addict. He checks it once every millenium and even if he sees the message now, why would he call? I’m not his chic nor his love/lust interest. In fact according to him, I’m the most don’t care person in the whole planet. The other night I told him I do have a heart and emotions and he scoffed. Yes! Apparently Africans do scoff (I used to think it’s a white man’s thing. We miros just click (nkt) and move on). But I have a problem. There was this book I read once (fiction) and the heroine of the book is quoted saying “I’m so desperate for intimacy, I could date a tree”. You know, if I don’t watch out, I will be seen somewhere at Uhuru park, with two cups of coffee. One in my hand and the other, I would periodically pour on the roots of the tree. Yes. We willbe on a coffee date and I will be having a conversation with it. I think I should go to the Arboretum…you know, expand my options….(Please note that I am not desperate for intimacy. I love quote though)

But seriosly, I haven’t been in a serious relationship in almost 3 years now. In the begining I was still healing from my last relationship(I broke up with him but i’m still scarred by it. Long story for another day) and I’ve been using that excuse for soo long it’s now 3 years. But i think i’ve just become lazy. Loving someone can be effortless, but the committment to the love, well, that’s the mother. I’m not ready for all that hullaballoo…read, I’M VERY LAZY. So, these days if a man captures my eye, I’m busy imagining if he’d make a good husband. If you don’t look like husband material, you’re out. And these assessments usually last for as long as 10 seconds. Yup. That fast. It’s a bad thing, I know. I should probably give the guy a chance to properly introduce himself, get to know his name at least then dismiss him.

You have to understand where I’m coming from. Everyone my age is busy poppin babies and getting married. I am under A LOT of pressure here! There’s is no time for long term relationships. You’ve got only 10 seconds to make it happen and boom! onto the next one. Too many clocks be ticking. Eggs will be drying up soon, time waits for no man/woman and quite frankly, I am not going to allow myself to be a spinster while everyone else around me is married. Then I’m left there to compete with beautiful youngins in campus who are all that and a bag of chips. I happen to be well aware of the fact that the beautiful ones have already been born and they are waaaay younger than me and so the competition is so on!!!. Hold up! Need an FB break. Will be right back.


i’m supposed to compete with her….? give me a break!


Ok, NO MESSAGE! That boy is clearly very much asleep. So back to my story. If I could just meet someone right now who is perfect for me, and I for him, I’d be a content girl.


he...would be fine

But apparently you don’t meet such men on the rave. My gal told me that our age, we have already met our husbands. When I look back and think of all the menn I have met in my life, I’m a bit worried for myself. She should have told me this when I was 12. I would have travelled all over the world, busy meeting men, just to ensure that I have literally covered all corners of the earth and kept my options wide open…and vast ;)

I’ll stop here. Lemmie listen to some more rock. Maybe sleep will give up on being so macho and come home. Plus I’m soo hungry. Well I do hope I can pick this up someday. I really enjoyed this though

Time: 2.49am

i probably looked like this in the morning but i didn't check to confirm

*not his real name for, well….obvious reasons. We can however question my choice of name

Other posts by the  author can be found at http://pre7amer.wordpress.com where she pretends to blog.

Is Language Evolving or Dying? by Alffie

Change the meaning of a word and you change the meaning of the world.

I was fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you see it) to have an English teacher being my mother. Let me paint the picture, my English was for one particular reason a little less credible than hers..This is the reason:

“My teacher was a white man whose first language was English. I wasn’t taught English by an Omondi, a Kamau or a Wanyama!” She once put it!

We always argued over pronunciation – our favorite being picking into news anchors’ pronunciation & at best painful use of English! If there’s one thing I’m poor at it’s “sheng“. It’s not that I can’t understand it, I just can’t keep up with its dynamism and ambiguity. Plus the idea that it is location specific also presents a barrier for me so I stopped trying.

So why write this post?Well,since the advent of social media especially..the foundation ground of language as we know it has been shifted. This coming as such things as Hip Hop culture already playing its major role in shifting the language dynamics a great deal!

Allow me to highlight several examples:

Hip Hop Influence

The Hip Hop culture came in with creativity at it’s best, especially so through RAP (Rhythm And Poetry). This art form brought with it witty word play, coining of new words like shawty and word use which include redefining the meaning of ordinary words to mean different things. Now when you mention words like COOL, HOT, CAT, ICE, CHIC, FLY, RIDE…etc you have to consider the audience and context because they all refer to different things from what they should originally. One that bothers me a lot is “Hustler”. Hip Hop has made this word mean a person who works hard to get what he has. If my mother hears this word used, she’ll probably go to the dictionary meaning which is not good at all..

This movement also brought along with it new ways of saying ordinary words. The most common being the one widely credited to Snoop Dogg.. one just adds the “izzle” suffix 7 what u get is for example.. for shizzle nizzle,it’s the big Snoop D-O Double Gizzle!

The Computer Age Bug

This is not much but has changed quite a bit of language. Consider for example how much you hear of  “Windows” and immediately think of the normally glass covered opening on a wall of a building?! Windows, Apple, Mouse, Program among many other words don’t get the same automatic ordinary response they were meant to have.

Social Media

This ties in a lot with ‘The Computer Bug’ because simply put, social media rides on the revolutionary wave of the computer age. Social media has made ordinary language entirely different. Now we have initials to represent reactions like LOL for Laughing-Out-Loud, SMH for Shaking My Head probably in disbelief, among many others. It’s influence is so bad that I recently saw a tweet of a friend who ended up saying LOL instead of actually laughing! Other common acronyms and their meanings can be found here.

There’s this expression; “DEAD” (common on twitter! for some reason, Facebook faithful don’t seem to get this concept!!) which implies that one is dying of laughter. Then there’s this expression “Blog whoring”.. my mother would faint on hearing such an expression used in whatever setting! The idea here is that one moves from one blog to another reading as they go along. Now, I understand that, reading someone’s work has been described as intercourse of the minds but “blog-whoring” seems like pushing the envelope, I would think!

At the end of the day, when you meet someone who can’t seem to express themselves well i.e. articulate their thoughts well, speech punctuated by curse words half of which they hardly understand, mixing languages (we’ll meet in the jios, soma the gazeti!!).. you can’t actually blame the above reasons, at least not without considering other factors.

I realised, for example..not many can sit through a British (English) movie mainly because their “English” is “hard”. They would rather watch the American (US) which defiles English as it is! To start pointing out the errors in American English would be a tedious task.

Is it a case of evolved language or death of it?

With all these changes, the world has indeed changed. For the positive or for the negative…I won’t dare to judge!

PS: And before I go, my name is The Alternative Focus not my names are.