Considering the recent celebration of Nigeria’s Independence on October 1st and the upcoming Kenyatta Day celebrated by Kenyans on October 20th, I find myself trying to draw parallels between my life and that of the Late president Jomo Kenyatta. After all, for a certain period of his life, the Late President was living overseas as a student and an underground champion for his country.
Though I cannot claim to be as grand a figure as the Late President, I acknowledge that the parallels I seek however are those that compare my life as an African living in Minnesota to Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and many other Africans that came before us. They found themselves living far from home for a certain period in their lives and interestingly for reasons similar to those that propelled most of us to live overseas.
As Africans we have a multitude of opinions on these leaders’ political careers and hard though it is, I want us to avoid their politics. Instead, I want us to study how they lived as immigrants and the good they did for their country and their communities while they were away from home. As we celebrate Kenyatta Day on October 20th and as we reflect on our purpose abroad, I certainly think that we would not be amiss in seeking inspiration on how to do better by studying what Jomo Kenyatta and others did right while they lived abroad.
My challenge to you fellow Africans is to look at the good they did for themselves, their country and communities. Their failures or missteps, if any, should serve as lessons on what pitfalls we need to avoid. Great Leaders and legendary figures though they may be, they were first and foremost as fallible as the rest of us.