Mzee Morowa Galana (The composer of The Kenya National Anthem)
As we celebrate HEROES DAY tomorrow, we should be asking whether we respect our real heroes as a country. For unclear reasons, we have been celebrating the wrong people while real heroes are a clear case of prophets who are not respected at home.
Take for instance the Mau Mau freedom heroes who are only remembered on public holidays such as Mashujaa Day, and after the parade they go back to their normal hard lives. This has been going on for years now. A good number of them have died in abject poverty even as their children continue to languish in deplorable conditions.They fought hard for a freedom that they have hardly enjoyed. It is ironical that the home guards who tormented them while they were in the forest, have together with their children, reaped the the biggest share of the fruits of freedom!
Look at our world beating athletes who are accorded celebrity status in other countries more than they are at home. Other than the occasional sip of “Murisk” and some traditional dance at the airport, when they come home, nothing much happens after that. Just ask our teenage children how many Kenyan gold medalists they know and you will be surprised that they will hardly give you a name, or ask them whether they know who Prof. Ali Mazrui is and they will tell you that they have only seen the grey-haired man on Tv when his demise was announced and a funeral was being arranged. Yet they know the three names of each player in the EPL!
The man who composed the most important song in our country – our national anthem – has been living in abject poverty and utter neglect until royal media, a privately owned media house, built him what can be termed as a decent house a couple of weeks ago. However this is coming a little bit too late when the man is almost completely senile and cannot even converse coherently. Below is the house that Royal media built for Mzee Morowa Galana recently.
We are privileged, as a country, to have produced the first ever woman Nobel laureate from Africa, Prof. Wangari Maathai. But what did we do with her? President Kibaki made her a mere assistant minister in a ministry that she overqualified to head! She humbly accepted the appointment but a majority of us were in agreement that she deserved more than that.
The biggest reason as to why we don’t respect our real heroes today, is because our media is obsessed with the noisy political class and a funny species of celebrities called socialites, while the real heroes are given a blackout! This is because the media houses discovered that politics and sex sell more, and there is a hungry crowd of Kenyan consumers out there who will not consider news worth watching or reading if there is no story about a political duel of sorts; while tabloids are full of funny stories about what the socialites have been up to lately.
Just ask any youngster what Hudah Monroe, Verah Sidika or even Kim Kardashian have been up to lately and they will give you a very detailed account of the weird stunts each of them has pulled in public for the past one year! Our leaders also do too little to recognize the heroes because they are afraid of losing the limelight to them! Most of them would rather the papers report a fist or chair-fight of MCAs in some county than writing about the life history of an accomplished sportsman or a renowned intellectual like prof.Mazrui. The end result is, we are sending a wrong message to the youngsters about who the real heroes are. Have yourself a wonderful and introspective MASHUJAA DAY.