Dealing With The Lockdown In Kenya: Kenya Got Talent
Lockdowns got talent…this has become a well-known hash tag on the Kenyan social media platforms with many people posting videos and pictures of their new favorite pastime now that many Kenyans are home most of the time due to the COVID 19 pandemic. To some, this pandemic has turned out to be a blessing in disguise as new hobbies have turned to business ideas while others have taken that extra time to do various activities with family members. Three months down the lane and now many Kenyans have realized strengths they never knew they had inside them. Most people are now spending a lot of time in the kitchen baking and trying out new recipes. Some of these strengths are out of mere survival tactics following a wave of numerous job layoffs that followed right after the country was struck by this worldwide Chinese pandemic.
Social media has been abuzz with new channels coming up on YouTube, numerous live videos from artistes and DJs all trying to keep the nation entertained. Graphic designers have come up with memes of almost every COVID 19 daily updates usually addressed by the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe among others. Kenyans are known to use humor as a stress reliever and this has been evident in the last three months through the creative industry.
With many jobs at a standstill and over 1 million layoffs in the country, many have been forced to look for alternative ways to earn a living. The worst hit companies are in the tourism, transport, horticulture, communication, and education sector. Owning a car has proved to be a bird in the hand for many Kenyans who have resorted to the car boot business. Windsor roundabout off Kiambu Road in Nairobi County has become famous for such businesses with farm produce and foodstuff being sold on both sides along the 2km stretch of the road. Here one will find vendors who all have the same story of changing tactics to survive this pandemic.
The new normal has seen a new wave of communication using digital tools such as media applications to conduct virtual meetings. The education sector also had to move online with several schools coming up with programs and timetables that fit the needs of their students. This has however opened the Pandora’s box revealing how ill equipped the Kenyan school system is in terms of digital literacy. This is also evident in the manner in which people use several media platforms and applications to conduct their work meetings. Churches that have well equipped media personnel have also had to conduct their services online. However, a few churches are yet to come to terms with attending to their flock during this period.
With the tourism sector having been adversely affected by this pandemic, it is quite clear that with many people working at home and with very little human activity there has been less pollution in the country. The atmosphere has changed and nature is at its best. Some professional photographers have captured images that have never been seen before due to the clarity of the atmosphere. Andreas Knausenberger from the Africa Wildlife Photographer posted pictures and videos of the highest point in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro visible from Nairobi. This shows how health, economic stability, and nature are interconnected in one way or another.
The textile industry in Kenya has made great strides during this time in playing a key role in the fight against COVID 19 as they have been able to provide face masks, scrubs, surgical gowns, headgear, footwear and gloves not only for the frontline workers in the medical industry but to all Kenyans at large. These items were previously purchased from overseas but now the Kenyan
textile industry has successfully come up with very good quality products that are now being used by Kenyans as they try to combat the COVID 19 pandemic.
The pandemic has not entirely come to ruin our lives. These are lessons for a better future. It has revealed gaps that need to be addressed to shape our nation and our individual lives. So as people all over the world wait for governments to lift the travel restrictions and lift the social gatherings ban, many people should come out of this pandemic as stars ready to show the world what they are really made of. Personally, I have learnt to never say never.
Jasmine Wambui is a Kenyan Journalist in Nairobi.
HTBluff Associates Member
For Diaspora Messenger