Since technology started changing the world (from the discovery of air transport), the global outlook drastically changed. We started experiencing the film, playing records, and listening to the radio which for long has served as a companion. Then came mobile phones and then the rise of the internet. This has not only revolutionized the way we communicate, but it has also transformed how we live.
For the last I would say 15 to 20 years, there has been a rise of internet speakers who have tapped into the undeniable need of healing a broken society. A society that is hurting so much that they cry to them. People like Andrew Kibe, Amerix, Caroline Mutoko, Over 25 (crew), Huddah, and many more. They have understood that society is bleeding and know what to offer. That is why it is easy for Amerix to amass a large following to the extent people are living their lives on his terms. Whatever he says, becomes their mantra.
I’m not a critique of their work. I appreciate what they do. What I am trying to put out is why do we have to treat symptoms instead of the sickness? You might tell a 25-year-old girl not to have sex (funga duka) but you have not addressed the story of sexuality. Why does she need to abstain? Is sex good or bad? What are sexually transmitted diseases? She will be treating the symptom that men are only satisfied with sex and that she has more power in a relationship because she controls sex. Yet at the same time companionship (courting) has been proven to be the key to building a strong relationship. Even recorded in the bible: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself.” (Eph 5:28)
As recent events have transpired, they have got me thinking. We so much ignore treating the disease till it becomes late that’s when we look into the issue. It took a lot of people to commit suicide and governments worldwide started taking the matter seriously. Introduction of shorter working hours, laws prohibiting work-related conversations outside the office, and taskforces created (such as that in Kenya) to deal with mental health. And still, we are not addressing the issue. Especially here home Kenya.
A task force might say the reason for high depression cases is drug use but they have not addressed the reason why people use the drugs while they are depressed. Or instead of talking to people while they are adults, we should start talking to them when they are young. Start addressing these issues early enough so that a man or woman when they are 33 or 45 doesn’t have to run to YouTube for advice. They will have known how to cope with issues.
The basic places for nurturing are usually at home, at school, and at a religious institution (a church, mosque, or temple). And mostly these is the same places that are failing to offer support. Most parents when their child cries the first thing they think of is how to get the child to stop crying and nowadays is handing their phones for them to play games. “Shika unyamaze” (catch to stop crying). In school grades and how well a student is doing is the most emphasized thing and if a child excels more in soccer than math, it is soccer that is pulling him/her behind. In religious institutions, the devil has possessed the individual.
Instead of the parents understanding why the child is crying or what is causing them to cry, they are quick to calm the wail. The same to the school and the church. The child grows up knowing that for him/her to be “successful”, he/she must be book equipped. Which later leads to a broken society that is finding itself through over 25 episodes.
Yes, let us have more people who are like Amerix that have realized the problem in our society and are trying to fix it than people who seat and are cosmetic about the issues. Learn from them and start nurturing the next generation from inception. Correct where you went wrong and fix the broken society. Because as they say in Swahili: “Mtoto umleavyo ndivyo akuavyo” (How you raise a child is how they become)