Celebrating East African Writing!

Kenya Nchi Yetu – A confabulation by Muthoni Garland

If you do not have 72/ to buy a packet of unga, you will starve.

If you do not have chapa for rent, you will sleep on the street.

If you don’t have an ancestral shamba to retire on, you will die prematurely.

If you are Luo on the Kikuyu side of the street or vice versa, say your prayers nightly.

If you are arrested, you are guilty.

If you wear dreadlocks and don’t work for media, you are Mungiki

If you are a young man in dreadlocks, you’ll likely die a young man in dreadlocks – shot by police accidentally but on purpose

If you are a young man, you may also be shot accidentally but on purpose

If you want to be featured in the media, start a political party

If you have not cleared form four, you cannot get a job as a watchie.

If you clear form four with less than an A, you might still become a watchie

If you are a teacher or nurse, you are one salary away from starvation.

If you have a mobile phone, it will be stolen at least once.

No matter how you earned your money, you are a thief  

If you are caught, you can purchase your freedom

If you own anything, you will be stolen from

If you wear a short dress, you are begging to be raped

If you are raped, it is your fault

If you have money it’s no guarantee that your children will live well – it could all disappear

If you say what you mean, you are confusing

If you do what you say, you are not a citizen

If your parents die, their NSSF contribution will not arrive for kido 30 years.

If the water minister is not from your constituency, you will trek miles to find a borehole.

If you ride in a matatu you will lose your heart or your hearing

If you drive a matatu, there are no words to describe you

If you ride in a long distance bus you’ll probably get to heaven faster

If you know all the words of the national anthem, you were born before 1964

If you have HIV, you’ll get free medicine, and hunger will kill you

If you speak English, you are not Kenyan

If you speak Swahili, you are not Kenyan

If you speak Sheng you are Kenyan but you cannot get a job

If you are educated and not rich, you are an object of derision

If you are rich but not educated, you are an object if admiration

If you can run fast, run fast out of the country

If you are an MP, no words can describe you

If you’ve tried to be an MP, spend more next time

If you are caught stealing, galvanise your tribe to save you

If you pull a Goldenberg-size scam, your country will save you

If you live in Kibera, local and international tourists will gawk at you

If you live in Mathare, nobody cares

If you were Mau Mau, nobody cares

If you were homeguard, you are living large

If you read beyond exams, you need your head examined

If you put in 4 hours of work a day at the UN for a months salary , you are exceptional

If you believe in enterprise, form an NGO, not a for-profit company

If we form enough NGOs, we will stay poor

If you go to church on Sunday, you are saved

If you are saved, you are not required to be moral or ethical

If you live on more than 3 dollars a day, you are a statistical anomaly

If you shop at Village Market, you need to tour Kibera

If you visit home from abroad, dump thoughts of rights at the airport

If you visit abroad from home, stay there

If you need hope, look abroad

If you are not related to Obama, who are you?


I invite readers to add more patriotic scenarios…


7 comments on “Kenya Nchi Yetu – A confabulation by Muthoni Garland

  1. Alexander
    January 29, 2009

    I note with amusement Muthoni’s parallelism between matatu drivers and waheshimiwa – their undescribability.


  2. Anto
    February 2, 2009

    this is just a classic.

    Go Muthoni go!


  3. Anto
    February 2, 2009

    if you imagine a Kenya that you want, keep imagining
    if you are Kenyan, who are you/
    if you hear a conductor shouting 20, 20, its not 20 bob fare, its 40 bob, maths at work
    if you are kenyan, your name rhymes with Broke- Anto:am bro-ke, Mutho- Am Bro-ke,
    Kenyan is a scientific name for Canine
    if you are a virgin in Kenya, you are probably a very insane
    if you are an artise in Kenya, you remain just that, a piece of art
    if you bird watch, you have too much meat in your fridge
    if you are hungry, you either die of hunger or eat poisonous fruits and do just that- die
    if you are Kenyan, getting maize flour is as hard as a maze
    a Kenyan dream is just that, a dream!


  4. Carol Gaithuma
    February 2, 2009

    If you notice beggers on the street you must be a tourist
    If you believe what your MP tells you, you ought to be in Mathare
    If you steal 24million you are set free. if you steal a neighbors chicken you are remanded for 8years
    If you live in Dandora or Calif you must be a genge rapper
    If you are human /civil rights activist you must have dreadlocks and you must avoid at all costs to demonstrate on Fridays or Saturdays


  5. ukwelii
    February 3, 2009

    You will wait for 5 average matatus to pass, so you can board “The One” that will break all traffic rules and pass the 5 in front of it.

    It’s the same one that makes your ears bleed and makes you watch your life flash by as you wish you wore a safety belt, only to wake up from your daze in town 🙂


  6. connie
    February 3, 2009

    if you want to be the best
    you have to do the worst.
    if you go to church they’ll say
    god will forgive you
    if you build a church
    they say you have stolen from them
    if you speak about the death of corruption
    you are a hero
    if you attempt to kill it
    you are the devil’s advocate.
    if you love the country
    you despise the city
    if you don’t vote
    you are betraying your president
    if you do vote
    you are betraying the people
    if you die while deciding
    no one cares
    yesterday’s tragedies will be tomorrows fortunes.


  7. peter
    July 31, 2012

    in kenya, if u don’t have a godfather, it doesnt mata whether u r learned or not. kazi yako itakuwa ni ya kutafuta kazi.
    in kenya, anything is 2b bargained as long as haiko kwa supermkt.


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