26 April 2016


(This first paragraph is named “As a Luo would say”). During this month, I spent better days of the month on the fishy shores of Africa’s Largest fresh water lakes that was named by a Briton explorer, John Hanning. So this guy saw and thought that the fancy African names Nam Lolwe (Luo), Nalubaale (Luganda) or Nyanza (Kinyarwanda) were not fit for such a wonder. So he decided to name it after his beloved queen, Queen Victoria and how that name stuck I know not. I mean, even children in those areas are taught that the original name was Lake Victoria and it was “discovered” by the said Briton. Yeah right, like the young and well-built warriors of our motherland (and sister-land for Uganda and Tanzania) who lived along the shores of this water body never even once saw it. Like they daily passed it and were wondering “what is this? It looks like water …or sand.” Then Bam! A Briton stumbles upon the water body and he says “Guys, I have made a discovery. There is something here that looks like a large basin (pun intended). Your Majesty , what shall we call this? Name it and it shall be done.” “A lake”, she said “Oh Your Majesty, may you live forever (the irony in that statement). Oh royal and beautiful one, you are full of wisdom. I shall name it after you”. And so it became; Lake Victoria. Colonialism *sigh*

Where was I? Yes, Kisumu. While I was there on some work assignment, I got to interact with a people who are known for pride, love of the fine things in life, and lovers of life itself; the Luos of Kenya. Though this might be a stereotype, it can be both a good reputation and a bad reputation to have. During the last of my days there, I spent an evening at one of my friend’s place. The family has it all, by worldly standards. They really live up to their reputation, except one thing. Pride. The vast house is home to more than 10 kids and an equal number of young people. 80 percent of the people living there are adopted or were taken up from various hardships. And they live such a simple life that when you meet the father and mother on the street you would easily dismiss them for some guy and lady trying to make it in life. Their humility melted my heart and almost brought me to my knees. I was going through a time of self-assessment, and God had been speaking to me on some of the areas in my life that need to be worked on.

This made me look at our generation and weep (kinda). Humility has been replaced with pride, and serious pride in our generation. We are a people who want to feel important so much that we want everyone to know how important we are. We attach monetary value to everything and we want people to know how much it was actually worth. Most of our conversations are full of how we did this, how we did that, how much our phones, cars, houses, headphones, tablets, sunglasses cost, where we went for holiday etc. We are itching to mention these and other ego-boosting thoughts to others, more often than not, our peers. We like to ask “do you know (insert name of a celebrity)?” “Have you ever visited (insert fancy place)?” “How much did you buy that? I bought mine for (insert ridiculously high price)”. We want to make others see how important we are, how we know people and how wealthy we are. Without knowing it, we are harboring and feeding pride. We are slowly killing humility. Sure, our friends and people will tolerate us, but only for a while. They eventually get tired and we end up with no friends…or with fake ones. Worse still, we could fall victim to what someone once said; “It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride.”

I recently read an article here that talked about the very same thing. The author states so well that when you act like you’re important, you only prove you aren’t. He goes ahead to show how proud people are cheap. Not in the way they look, the way they spend or the way they earn — cheap in the way they treat other people, and the way they attempt to assign a dollar value to everyone they meet.
“I’ve gone from having money in the bank to applying for a job flipping burgers in 6 months straight. When you’ve lived like that, you have a different attitude to money, and you have a different idea of what it means to be a Have or a Have Not. You’re less likely to look at someone and decide that they’re worth a material amount or they’re worth nothing.

You’re less likely to try and show off your money, your status or your prestige. The reason? You know that none of those things are worth more than other people, other human people.”

I know, many times I have also been a victim of the same. I have been infected with the same syndrome and looking back at it, I felt disgusted. So disgusted at myself and I kept asking myself “Was that necessary?”, “What have I gained?” Even God Himself says,

Through Solomon: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom… Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.” Prov 11:2; 12
Through Paul: For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Gal 6: 3

Friends, let us do self-assessment. If we find that we have pride (knowingly or unknowingly), let us strive to replace this with humility. After-all, T. S. Eliot said “Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important”. Don't know where to start? Get feedback from your close circle of friends...it will surprise you.

Facebook:  Njeri Kareithi

Twitter: @deekareithi