I never felt tribally alienated until I landed myself in foreign lands. Before then, being a Kisii to me did not make any big difference. You wouldn’t know unless I told you or heard me talking on phone with my dad, and sometimes my relatives. Beyond that, people confused me for Kuyu or Kao or any other tribe they would easily associate me with.
One day I came to understand that being from a particular tribe was something big, something that dawned on me when I met my kuyu friends. These guys will imagine everybody else bears their origin from the slopes of Mount Kenya. So at the end of the day you are getting choked with Kuyu lingo. I never got irked, I learnt to adapt to these circumstances, I learnt to declare myself as yours truly-from Kisii. I could not keep calm about it because we don’t. We are the chatterboxes, the horn bills that masquerade the as all knowing, dissimulating all forms of ingenuity.
I learnt to address my fellow tribesmen in Kisii whenever we meet. I embraced my roots and tongue wagged about it, shouting it loud that I am proud to be the kisii I am. Being a kisii is written all over my face, social media and my accent of late. My wall is emblazoned words that suggest Kisiism, words that shout. It is because I believe it is my immediate heritage and my identity.
Things turned sour when I landed in an office where I was the only one with a red tie. The discordant. I found myself in the middle of a deep sea of kuyus, with zero kisii fellows. Life changed for me. My loose tongue became tight. I was connected online and disconnected offline because those who surrounded me talked a different tongue. I missed the bits. I failed to follow the trails of conversations around me. This literally cut me off. My world became a vacuum. I became withdrawn, staying to myself. Many times, I had to remind them that I hardly comprehend their conversations. I beseeched them to open up the world for me, that was not promising too because after a while the light went off again. I was sidelined, like a black kid in a sea of white kids who couldn’t keep backing back at me.
I am sure you have been in such a situation before. You must have been angered. You must have thought of making those people your enemies. They really knew that you are different, yet they chose to keep on throwing the sails as if you didn’t exist in that boat, as if you didn’t add any value to them. Hope you didn’t get mad, and feeling like slitting their throats open so that they can keep calm.
You felt like squeezing their balls till they listen to your angry voice, or knocking their kneecaps dead so that every time they would wish to walk they recall of you in the picture.
I am looking forward to the last tribe, a tribe for all. The last tribe will not make you feel left out. Tribalism will not stick its ugly head during this era. All of our kids will roll anywhere without feeling insecure of being asked which tribe they come from. The will not mind voting anybody to power so long as they have stark leadership qualities. Terms such as ‘watu wetu’ will be gone with the wind.
The last tribe will make us one, a united family with zero tribal lines. This tribe will pull all of us together and project the agenda of development up front. Kenyans will live anywhere in this country without worrying that someone waging pangas in the middle of the night demanding that they vacate their land will wake them up. No one will torch your house because they feel that you don’t belong.
I am talking about safety, unity, brotherhood, one common language and a common identity tag- Kenyan. It is my dream that one day I will walk into a bank in Kiambu and someone greets me in Kiswahili, a day when I will get into a matatu in Nairobi and the conductor asks bus fare using Kiswahili.
Tribalism sucks. Tribalism divides us; it is a retrogressive leash in our blood that keeps pulling us apart. It is something that will bring our country down to ashes.
If our children will sink in this scourge of tribalism, trust me that at that time it will be in its peak. It will consume them and war will reign throughout their lives because tribalism is not on the demise. They will be caught up in the mare and our country will suffer the worst cases.
The future is in our hands, not our children’s hands. Our kids will thrive in the environment in which we build today. If we cement our country today with oneness, friendliness and brotherhood, we are assured that our kids will have better lives of one identity. While we will lose our tribal identity and heritage, if the tribal sacrifice will be worth saving the country, then that is the only option.
Tribalism can be done away with through intermarriages. Our children will lose their identity to form one Kenyan tribe. A tribe that will survive on the basis that they are all Kenyans.
Until our kisii parents stop telling our boys to stop bringing kuyu wives to their homes, then the dream of one tribe will be in vainglory. Until our kuyu parents accept us to marry Jaluos, our one tribe theory will end up in flames.
The Kenya I want is a free country where I can walk anywhere without petty worries of someone sidelining me because I come from Kisii, a country where opportunities will be equal to all, a country that cherishes all of its citizens, a corruption free country, a safe country for all of us. That is the Kenya I want. And that is the dream of the LAST TRIBE.
Photo Credit: Nipate