Annoying Kenyans who worship the ‘mzungu’

Controversial photo of French Olympic champ Teddy Riner kissing his coach’s shoe Photo:

There are some Kenyans, who if given the chance, would probably auction our country to the highest, white-skinned bidder from the West. You know that watchman who refuses to frisk a ‘mzungu’ and the waiter who rushes to serve whites and always assumes it’s the white guy who’s going to foot the bill? Then there are the misguided ladies, who can take all manner of crap, as long as it is being spewed by a white man. Surely, is the assumption that the white man is financially endowed good enough to let go of your values and dignity? The trophy for the most blinded goes to some people working for foreign-funded NGOs and aid agencies out to save Africans from themselves. It’s within this group that you find people who worship and kowtow to every whim of anyone with a white skin. And the bigger the agency, the cockier these folks seem to be. Not all of them, but a good number can be annoyingly conceited. I recently attended a cocktail party in some embassy and was so embarrassed at how some people were making a fool of themselves.

It was humiliating. The crowd was a mixture of all races, but at every table, the Kenyans were so enthusiastic to trash the country, shamelessly assuming that the white folks gave a rat’s drop of piss about us. You could sense an untamed aspiration among the Kenyans to belong. To be white. The white clique was easy, more at home, as the Kenyans grovelled to appear urbane, sophisticated and above the rest of the citizenry who are tribal, corrupt and stupid. I had to be high on whisky to survive their pompous talk. When I meet a Kenyan who was born in the village, went to a provincial school, and is possibly a beneficiary of the Higher Education Loans Board talking about French wine, Italian pizza and Irish whiskey with an almost divine admiration, I always feel like putting a gun to their head. When I hear them talk about shopping expeditions in world capitals, I pity the Mau Mau who put their lives in line to free this country. Even though there is no amount of money that can buy class, these Kenyans can give their souls just to belong. I’m not a racist.

Certainly, not all white people are bad. However, I loathe it when they take a superior attitude towards Africans. But half the time, it is us Africans who inadvertently elevate them to the pedestal of superiority. When Kenyans meet a white person, there is tendency to run their mouths, disparaging the country and our nationality and mistaking the white man’s attentive demeanor for empathy. A friend who worked at reputable aid agency once took a newly-posted white colleague to a cheaper ‘chapati-madondo’ joint after he complained that a nearby coffee house was overpriced. To his shock, he was taken to task by his superiors for exposing the expatriate to possible food poisoning (diarrhoea for me and you!). No wonder we are still mentally enslaved. It’s not until the day we learn to love ourselves and appreciate each other and what we’ve got that we’ll earn the respect of the white man we so desperately want to please. What is sad is that some of the people we consider ‘educated’ are the ones prostrating at the feet of the white man and will unquestionably adopt policies that may hurt the continent and confine us to the state of aid receivers, as long as they are developed by a white consultant. Have we forgotten so soon what colonisation did to us, or is it that we need a lesson in history? We all know that aid really benefits the West more by propping expatriates’ incomes and lifestyles, than ease the suffering of the supposed beneficiaries, us. When we are a volunteering destination for young Westerners, we need to start re-examining our thoughts and beliefs.

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