In Summary
  • Your dad is also a national shame when it comes to athletics.
  • Despite living in a country known worldwide for producing top athletes, I never finished two laps on the track before a magnet of sorts developed in my stomach and it seemed like it was pulling all organs to some place near the kidney.
  • Do you have feedback on this story? E-mail: [email protected]

Dear Ji-jee,

I pray that when you are old enough to hurl a stone, when you start becoming politically conscious, you will be your own man. That you won’t let yourself be used by any politician who wants to boost their political capital.

For I have seen youth die at their prime after taking politicians too seriously, and a whole generation is ruined. Take it slow, son.

But I also pray that you be someone who will stand up for your rights. Martin Luther King Jr said a man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.

 I pray that you won’t be the man who bends your back for others to ride. Fight for any just cause.

Ask questions. Stand your ground. But always ensure the ground you are standing on is stable enough.

I pray that you grow up to be a man who can control his temper; who will not make headlines for doing things in a fit of rage.

For I have heard more than enough cases of a policeman who shot a lover then shot himself, a man who hacked his wife and children to death before hanging himself, a woman who jumped into a raging river with her children and more.

Always measure your actions, son.

However, don’t be the man who bottles up emotions. They were wise, the Swahili sages who said too much silence ends in an eruption.

Talk to someone. Write something. Cry, son. Forget about the beliefs that boys don’t cry. Above all, find a way to air your emotions.

It is my prayer that you will have legs swift enough to enable you run away the moment you spot a bottle of beer and a mouth that will shut automatically on the sight of a cigarette.

Okay, I’m kidding. My prayer will be that you will become a man who keeps off all the addictions that have derailed many a youth.

Our grandparents had a philosophy: let kids taste busaa when they are young and they will grow up knowing how alcohol tastes; such that when they are fully grown and have all the liberty to taste booze, they know what it can do.

Well, it worked for us. We would gulp down mugs and mugs of grandpa’s busaa and none of us five brothers ever became hooked to alcohol.

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