December fever has caught up with Nairobians as thousands prepare to leave the city next week for their rural homes, Naivasha or Mombasa for Christmas. Domestic flights, SGR, buses, and hotels in popular holiday spots fully booked. Ordinarily, I would also be part of this migration, however, I have barricaded myself in the house on a Saturday night absolutely terrified of what awaits me. How did a night of fun turn into a never-ending nightmare? This is how it all began.
I check my watch for the umpteenth time. It is 10:45 pm on a Friday night, I am crashing a birthday party at some nondescript joint along Waiyaki Way. Worst decision ever. The DJ is playing reggae non-stop and every reveler except me seems to know lyrics to all the tunes by heart. If that isn’t bad enough the party is a total sausage fest.
As if on cue my phone rings. Josh Calling. Now Josh is a coworker who does two things with uttermost perfection. Close business deals and party like a rockstar. Whenever he calls I’m absolutely certain it’s going to be a dramatic night.
I move to the balcony.
A couple of days ago I had the good fortune of hosting the fifth edition of Kenya Entrepreneurs’ Conference on Trade & Development, which is the brainchild of Sebastian Ngida, a fellow engineer whose passion in events planning has seen him build a viable branding & events business.
Consolidated efforts to give both genders equal opportunities, close the pay gap and literacy levels have been largely successful. Sadly, this progress has also led to a neglect of the human male species. Phasing out of initiation rites that saw older men inculcate important life lessons in the younger generation coupled with deteriorating economic fundamentals that plague the modern man who is still expected to be a provider and protector has left him feeling frustrated, disillusioned and emasculated.
With his position in the society threatened, his identity lost and afraid of being branded a misogynist the modern African man can no longer speak out his mind, choosing to suffer in silence. This ends today. The following are 13 harsh truths about life every man should know.
I work with this tall, pretty and quiet mami called Sylvia. A true fitness freak. She recently introduced me to a group dubbed Run, Fun & Fitness with members drawn from various parts of Nairobi. Now, these fellas are mad about fitness. At 5 am, when other city dwellers are snuggling under the covers they are running through the streets of Nairobi in an effort to keep fit. Sylvia jogs at least 15 km every morning before coming to work. Suffice it to say she motivated me to join the club especially since having a potbelly without an equally inflated bank account is a crime in this city.
The journey through boyhood is littered with a myriad of challenges especially if you do not have an elder male to guide you through the treacherous waters. I am often embarrassed whenever I remember the things I did in an effort to earn admiration and respect of my peers during this transition.
Growing up in a typical Kenyan family, every adult remotely related to you sells you the same dream. Study hard in school, get good grades, pursue a prestigious course and you are guaranteed of success in life. Come graduation, your entire family attends the ceremony.
Once the celebrations are over reality rears its ugly head. The entire vibe about education being the key to success turns out to be a big fat lie. The world doesn’t care how great your grades are. Titles accrued from your fancy papers mean nothing. You have to fight for limited opportunities with thousands of other graduates with similar qualifications; some even have master’s degrees and additional certifications when you have none.
Several weeks after ghosting Luciana you find yourself in Mombasa for a series of meetings with potential clients. One of them would like you to spearhead a marketing campaign for a product they are about to launch. Immediately after the meeting, you call up Dan, a long-time friend, who lives in the coastal city so he can show you around the trendiest night joints.
Having insisted you want to have a taste of authentic coasto nightlife Dan takes you to a popular restaurant in Old Town for biriani before heading out to Nyali. You first check out Anuba Lounge, which turns out to be too bourgeois for your liking. Nonetheless, you have a couple of drinks.
It’s on a Thursday night, you are attending a launch at a swanky hotel in Westlands, Nairobi. A woman is making a presentation about their new services and packages available. She is in a high-neck sleeveless dress, white pointy toe pumps with matching white-gold pearl earrings and a bracelet.
The guys on your left are arguing about a soccer match that took place the previous weekend in low tones. Maybe not so low. The lady briefly stops speaking, looks in your direction. The fellas shut up. Your eyes lock. Her gaze is intimidating but you stare back. After five long seconds, she goes on speaking about SaaS, DaaS & PaaS. You have no idea what any of that means, however, there is something fascinating about her. She has an alluring presence, assured gait, and a powerful voice.
4:47 AM. A sharp stinging pain in the stomach jolts me awake. I sit up on the couch, feel the wall till I find the light switch and flick it on. The room is spinning. I close my eyes trying to make it stop. Pointless. I feel sick. Another wave of pain goes through my lower abdomen accompanied by a strong urge to puke. I stumble to the bathroom. Drop on my knees, lift the toilet seat and hunch over with both hands on the basin. I open my mouth in anticipation but nothing comes out. I feel weak. Nauseous. That’s when it hit me, I haven’t eaten anything over the last 24 hours.