WEH WEH, KSSS KSSS, WEWE, NANI… Yes, you there, reading this, I bet you don’t like being taunted, called names, mocked, whistled at, stereotyped, bullied and made to feel like sh*t! It’s called being DISRESPECTED! In Kiswahili we call it MADHARAU!
You see Kenyans, being peculiar have been accepting of disrespectful behaviour towards them for years so much that its now a key part of our culture. Listen to how we call each other on the streets, how our politicians treat us, how our brothers, sisters, friends, pastors, clients, companies, strangers talk to us. We even refer to our domestic helpers as Mboches. Look at how our leaders even teachers, and generally every “peace loving” Kenyan uses unflattering phrases like MAMA YAKO (Your mother), or K*MAMAKO (I CANT translate this), FALA WEWE/ MJINGA (Idiot) MSEE WA OCHA (Backward villager), CHUTI (when referring to Kenyans of asian origin). “JARUO” (Luo) OKUYU (Kikuyu) Yeah, see how disrespectful that is. Our Tanzanian neighbours say we are rude in how we speak, behave and even appear when we interact with them (I didn’t create this) So here is my 2 madharau cents why.
As Kenyans we have accepted a culture of DISRESPECT – MADHARAU within ourselves that when visitors come they, – to put it very succinctly “do as we Kenyans do! They mirror us exactly and we hate it so much! We don’t know it but we can’t imagine someone doing what we do to ourselves. So, we go on a “qwerty rampage, throw ourselves at each other screaming “haki yetu” because someone is doing exactly what we do. You thought twerking was a problem, take a minute and hang out with 3 year olds and test what I’m saying. They are learning fast from what we do. (Someone reading this is already abusing me… wacha madharau)
The chinese, tourists, politicians, pastors, our friends, family, neighbours, strangers, all of them take OUR cue. They learn from US how to DISRESPECT US because they see how we treat each other in our Rome. We all need to change that myself included.
Its futile to demand respect from anyone when you cannot live by example. So are we changing how we speak and behave towards each other? Are we willing to be more respectful to each other and teach others through our good actions how to respect us? Remember, when we continue to DISRESPECT each other, expect it from the chinese, the expat and any other person in our beautiful country, after all in Kenya hakuna matata, kuna madharau!