The Kenyan Concrete Pew Mediocrity

Kenya is not mediocre. Kenyans have just embraced mediocrity – some perennially; others seasonally. The embracement of such mediocrity has rendered us look, sound, and feel mediocre. In turn, Kenya has ended up looking, sounding, and feeling mediocre.

Young and old individuals are sitting around the concrete pews outside the Hilton pretending to be basking in the sun while under the shade at 0900 hours. Others have met for the first time and, for what it’s worth, feel knowledgeable and important discussing the amount of money that CR7 will be making per minute after moving to Juventus. They analyze these “facts” with such authority despite having heard this from tenth-party sources who are no better informed than they are. Their main source of news is Facebook, as they are not even aware that their smartphones have internet-access capabilities beyond accessing WhatsApp and Facebook notification tones. When they want to sound educated and research-driven in their search for news (read gossip), they often visit the hyperbolic mipashos and ghaflas or occasionally glance at the Nairobians whose headlines and content often differ like tuko pamoja and nasa hawa before the in/famous handshake.

Afternoon comes and the number of air-burger-buffet-eaters cannot contain the amount of mixed, polluted gases they inhale through their hippo-like yawns. They will blame their incessant yawns on how tired they are and will often disregard the posho-mill-like sounds in their bowels. They refuse to concede that they do not love to “kula neno kula neno” as much as they do, “KDF!” They will not be affording KDF for a very long time and since they have the right to freedom of worship and association, they will be hopping from makeshift hawkers of “the Word” to makeshift, Anglokyuk hawkers of in/fertility and blood infection cures. They are also reliable primary sources of how social research for many, this-high, that-tight miniskirts have passed by Moi Avenue in a day. Some also seem to know the faces of city employees for positions of muggers and pick-pocketers. Evening will come and they shall walk home dog-tired and mad that their lives are no better.

Whereas there is nothing wrong with citizens adorning the concrete pews once in a while, the mediocrity of becoming a permanent tourist unattraction site in the Central Business District outside an international 5-star is worrying. Even the 5-star itself has tried to shrink the mediocrity projected therein by almost 50 percent by ‘acquiring’ nearly half of the ‘basking zone’ from its original size in 2005/2006. The powers-that-be have, on the other hand, ensured that these non-eating, non-drinking, “tax-paying” idlers can relieve themselves free of charge in the City facilities. I am not surprised that once-flowery-shrubs have turned yellow with ammonia as the idlers are quite philanthropic with such emissions.

A pew at the Aga Khan walk with the message, “I refuse to just sit here…” Photo credit:

One of my mentors once told me to walk briskly when I cruise the streets as if I am running to the most important appointment of my life. Granted there are numerous individuals who come to tarmac in the City and need to cool down their footsubishis and footsubarus, it beats logic for citizens in a working nation to be adorning city concrete pews gossiping before the sun warms the planet. Some of the nonconcrete pews even have the message, “I refuse to just sit here…” The pews will always be there; it is the people that need to move! Look busy, get busy, but don’t just sit around – even the late Tom Mboya and the late Dedan Kimathi are standing and not sitting on the concrete!