In Summary
  • From former US First Lady Michelle Obama to Miss Africa Quiin Abenakyo to tennis great Serena Williams, these women must be celebrated.

Ladies are very much on my mind as I approach my 75th birthday. It appears that age in itself does not either blunt or diminish the natural or social urges with which we respond to our men or women friends and prospective lovers.

This is why you find that even in places like old people’s homes beautiful love affairs sprout and flourish. Thus, I admit that, try as I might, I cannot rein in my insatiable “celebration” of my intriguing, tantalising and inspiring sisters, which is just about all of them.

So, while I was pondering the hefty matters of the new year, like the projected “slowdown” in the world economy and the accelerating effects of climate change, three dadas (sisters) that I could not take my eyes or ears off, popped up onto the scene, and I could not resist the temptation to tell you about them. Two of them you know anyway, because they are “Kenyan”, and I keep talking about them.

Do you remember Michelle Obama of Kogelo and “Akinyi” Williams of Seme? The latter recently got herself into a match, of the sporting type, with one of the most admired fathers of twins in the world, and that truly melted my heart, as I will tell you in a moment. As for Michelle, a recent “news” item startled me with the claim that she had replaced Hillary Clinton as the most admired woman in the world.

Well, I have the most profound respect for former First Lady, Senator, Secretary and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But I have never even begun to consider her as a competitor of Michelle Obama for my admiration. I think that Michelle, apart from her exceptional intelligence, courage and articulateness, is incomparable in her gracefulness as a person! But that may simply be the opinion of an infatuated old man.


But the latest manifestation of Michelle's versatility is the publication of her latest book, Becoming. I will not say much about it here because I am still reading.

But what already strikes me is the profoundly sincere and generously “sharing” angle that she adopts. Having been where she has been, and being where she is, she could have dazzled us with her most glamorous experiences. Instead, she appears to choose what most matters to you and me.

I think that anyone who wants or cares to become a better, more caring human being, should read this book.

The third lady, quite near home, is a beauty queen. She is the current Miss Africa, Ugandan Quiin Abenakyo (“let-her-have-it” in Lusoga, the language of the source of the Nile), who earned the title by finishing among the top contenders at the Miss World beauty contest in China last month. I cannot describe myself as exactly a fan of beauty contests. But, as we advance in years, we inevitably become more tolerant of divergent views.

Indeed, one of the most valuable lessons you learn as you grow older is that no one is infallible.

Anyway, whether we support or oppose beauty pageants, we can hardly ignore them. In the case of Quiin Abenakyo, I could not help skinning my eyes and pricking my ears when, on her triumphant return from China, she was honoured with two invitations to visit my age-mate, Ndugu Yoweri Museveni.

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