There Is A Promising Future And Success In Kenya – News
By Carol Musyoka.
The Daily Mail of July 18, 2008, carried an article titled How China is Taking over Africa and Why the West Should be VERY Worried.
The article began by quoting a letter by Sir Francis Galton, a distinguished African explorer, to The Times newspaper on June 5, 1873 where he outlined a new method to “tame” and colonise the Dark Continent.
“My proposal is to make the encouragement of Chinese settlements of Africa a part of our national policy, in
the belief that the Chinese immigrants would not only maintain their position, but that they would multiply and their descendants supplant the inferior Negro race,” wrote Galton.
“I should expect that the African seaboard, now sparsely occupied by lazy, palavering savages, might in a few years be tenanted by industrious, order-loving Chinese, living either as a semidetached dependency of China, or else in perfect freedom under their own law.”
As a lazy, palavering savage I read the rest of the article with much amusement as the writer spoke of a deviously secret conspiracy by the Chinese government to colonise Africa.
The article claims that China’s rulers believe that Africa can become a “satellite” state and have estimated that China will need to send 300 million people to Africa to solve its problems of over-population and shortage of natural resources.
My amusement turned into mild suspicion the other day as I was stuck in traffic at the Nyayo National Stadium roundabout and a car pulled up beside me filled with four Chinese youth nodding their heads as they listened to some Chinese hip-hop music blaring unapologetically from the creaking speakers in the vehicle. These were not the kind of Chinese I see standing at the Thika Road construction sight in foil covered round hats, barking instructions at workers. They had the kind of swagger and self-confidence of white-collar folks, driving to a destination with shilling denominated destiny.
The proverbial scales have fallen from my eyes since then. I see the Chinese everywhere. In Hurlingham, gripping toddlers tightly as they walk on the non-existent footpaths of Argwings Kodhek road. In Nairobi’s CBD, walking purposefully to some unknown business transaction. On Uhuru Highway driving manically to a meeting, blaring their horns at the sudden lane changing movements of the number 23 matatus hurtling to Kangemi.
Sir Galton’s musings were ignored back in the 19th century. But his vision is slowly coming to life close to 140 years later. The question I find myself asking is that if the Chinese have seen business opportunities in this country, why aren’t we Kenyans seeing the same and exploiting them consequently?
I have seen the incredible dismissal of some Kenyan companies’ successes as being the result of wind assistance from cronysm and political patronage. What will these naysayers say when we start to see successful Chinese businesses that have been started by simple immigrants who landed in Kenya in the 21st century looking for a new beginning? Where is the wind assistance to the Chinese trader operating a furniture, dry-cleaning or wholesale goods shop? Who gave the “airlift” to the Chinese developers of mass housing in Kamiti or Mlolongo?
Before I am accused of pandering Xenophobic theories, Kenyans too have gone beyond our borders to look for opportunities.
We have several Kenyan traders and business owners trolling for opportunities in South Sudan. Our not so insignificant export of white and blue-collar labour into Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States has resulted in diaspora remittances surpassing the billion-dollar mark annually. That the world is becoming a global village is obvious and Kenyans are staking their claim in the village market place. But we continue to struggle to find ways to create employment for our youth and continue to pander to the Naomba Serikali syndrome to find solutions to the chronic youth unemployment problem. Our education system lies at the very core of generating this problem. We continue to push our children through a process that teaches them to regurgitate lessons rather than solve problems.
Our education system stifles the inherent creative ability that resides in every one of our children and pushes them into becoming worker ants that are supposed to be happiest when employed.
Our worker ants come out of high school or university looking for jobs rather than thinking how they can hone their personal talents into becoming job and wealth creators in their own right. They are rewarded highly for cramming ceaselessly every night what they’ve been taught.
They are sucked into the propaganda that if they don’t find a job in Kenya, they should take their skills abroad to someone who appreciates them more and to turn their noses up to starting small businesses in Kenya.
It should not have to be outsiders who show us how to take advantage of a growing mass market. Safaricom and Equity Bank have unassailably demonstrated that there are masses in Kenya that are hungry to communicate or use financial services and pay for the same.
The communication and financial services industries existed long before these two companies became the behemoths that they are. Similarly, there are several other industries that we should nudge our youth to exploit. Note the use of the word “we” and not the “government”. The youth consist of our children, our brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews who bombard us with requests to help them find jobs.
Encouraging them from the school going age that not being in the top 25th percentile of their class does not portend a disastrous future life is a good start. That being in the last place in class does not make them lazy, palavering savages. But most importantly, making them well aware that there are people out there who see opportunity where they see lack of jobs.
Because whether the conspiracy of Chinese government take over is true or not, there are industrious and order loving immigrants who are already showing us that there is a future promise of success in Kenya.
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