Understanding our Forefathers

by Eva

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.


6 thoughts on “Understanding our Forefathers

  1. Good Piece Missy.Understanding where it is l have come from helps me in knowing where it is that l am going.It heps to know that there have been others before me and they did more than just ok.It is all possible.I tend to think that it is not even about doing something grand or even being grand it boils down to doing something period.There is a huge difference from talking the talk and actually walking the talk, finding out which one it is that l am has been a journey of its own.

  2. I hear you Susan. It is sometimes inconvenient to follow through on what brought us here in the first place and I believe it could be surprisingly fun. We just have to be open.

  3. Hello, thank you for the insightful piece. As someone who has been to Kenya and of Jomo Kenyatta. The pride and respect for him was inspiring to hear.
    If anyone is interested I am producing a TV diversity series program and I would like to hear more about your thoughts.

    Thank you

  4. On the eve of Kenyatta Day, it is painful to reconcile with the hard facts of life and the irony of history.

    Torn between admiration for Kenyatta’s plain speaking, wisdom and pan-africanism idealogy, and on the other hand my distaste for his rein of terror and political assassination (Tom Mboya, JM Kariukia) and the systematic slaughter of the NEP Somalis by the Kenya Army; Kenyatta in many ways was a leader worth his salt.

    My deep pains of Kenyatta is the killing field of NEP Somalis during the Shifta war (1963-67) under the defense minister Njoroge Mungai but the worst of all was the killing of Moi reign during peaceful times – 1984 Wajir – Wagalla massacre.

    Wagalla massacre is the worst single mass murder of Kenyas in the annals of Kenya’s history under Mois reign.

    Bit the saddest part of it all is that the horse (Kenyatta) give birth to mules: Moi, Kibaki and Uhuru.

  5. Iva,
    this is a great article, we must look back at the lives and legacy of great Africans like Kenyatta and Kwame Nkruma and try to live up to their great achiev ements.

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