Three intriguing cases made it before the lethargic Kenyan judiciary this week, all three representative of the hypocrisy of our moral (or immoral, if you will) culture, and our pathological tendency to yell generic arguments whenever we are faced with issues that are ‘new’.
We are always ready to tell off such things as ‘foreign’ despite the fact that they have been in our society all along. What we do, as a 21st century country stuck in a 19th century mindset, is mistake lack of information for absence of such phenomena. We think that despite Africa being the cradle of man, that that man left and floated on dug-out trees to other continents and got sick before coming back with that sickness which we, as those left behind, now have to grapple with. Are we evolving?
Case #1 was filed by a transgender, Audrey, who is seeking to compel the educational system to recognize transgenders. This debate has gained significance over the last few decades, as feminism and liberal ideas on sexuality have spread to the edges of our tiny, polluted planet. If you decide to change your gender today, surgically or just decide to, say, change your name from John to Joyce, the legal process, though lengthy, is permissive.
The process itself is unnecessarily lengthy, perhaps to convince you to quit midway as the wheels of government turn as they did in 2nd century China. The simple switch of the (M/F) is, however, impossible by current laws. The reasons for this are broad, but the primary one is that the framers of the constitution ‘did not envisage a scenario’ where one could simply switch from being a man to a woman. Never mind that this constitution was drafted at the same time the LGBTI movement was gaining traction and recognition. Kenya, are these your sons and daughters too? The ‘cultural’ background excuse makes for a compelling case.
One is either born a man or a woman, with respective genitalia, as evolution and/or creation has seen fit to divide us as a species. Only, that definition is very limited, it assumes that having certain genitalia automatically assigns you a gender, and ignores the fact that gender is as much a cognitive development process as it is a biological one. It also explains why those born with ‘undefined’ genitalia were either killed or ostracized by our morally upright but seemingly barbaric ancestors.
Case #2 is seeking to have the government decriminalize homosexuality [If you open this link, do not even read the article, jump to the comment section]. This one is not new, it is just that with a judiciary that has had to reel under accusations of being lethargic in its jurisprudence, it should make for an interesting case. The common defence we have is that ‘homosexuality is unnatural, it was brought to Africa by the colonialist, it is a western decadence.’ WRONG! Homosexuality has been rampant in all human society since time immemorial, it is not even limited to human beings, it is present in animals and most probably, extra terrestrials.
This misconception is based on two things. One, that we know all about our ancestors despite the fact that we have made no significant effort to know how our ancestors lived before 1890, and two, that homosexuality and sexual ambiguity can be ‘shipped.’ Are we mistaking the lack of information (about sexuality circa 1800) with the absence of a phenomenon in our culture? In case #3, eleven women were arrested and charged with ‘engaging in unnatural acts.’ Their crime? They had engaged in bestiality with a dog, probably a pimp among equals now, while acting in a porn movie proving once again that Pwani si Kenya. Ignoring the fact that the law on which the charge itself is based is archaic and subjective as to what cultural benchmark we are using, as one man’s best friend is another’s love [sic!], the outrage about the case has been indicative of our collective hypocrisy.
Since January 2013, there have been at least three cases of bestiality but none of them has received as much attention as that of ’11 Women 1 Dog.’ Perhaps the number of participants in this cross-species orgy is the reason why we have made memes and exalted a dog that now has to be an unwilling prosecution witness. In the context of this discourse, I offer that it must be something deeper. In each of the aforementioned cases, the human beings were male, and the animals were either goats or some other domesticated animal. (In Sudan, you are caught loving a goat, you marry it, even pay dowry).
The cases are so common that all you have to do is Google search ‘Bestiality in Kenya‘ and then you can pray to whichever deity you give money about how an imperfect society he created. All these cases are where the person is caught, whether it is with sheep, a cow, a donkey, or (another) goat in April 2013, how many do you think go unreported, or undetected? In our patriarchal society, the act of a man having sex with an animal is seen as moral depravity, but surprisingly, not at the same level as that of a woman engaging in bestiality. Read this ‘dossier’ on female sex workers being paid a handsome figure for engaging in bestiality. Yes, dear reader, that blog post is about bestiality in porn movies, in Kenya, in 2008!
Again, because the only male in this ’11 Girls 1 Pup’ case is ‘foreign’, we heaped all the blame on the ‘mzungus who bring us such moral decadence’. We transfer our locus of responsibility to other people, as we do in politics and civil society despite the fact that as slaves of Breton Woods Institutions and now China, we are all as foreign-funded as can be…Another likely reason is that the females now considered the junk of our upright and moral society are young curious college girls who were using their bodies, which by right belong to our upright and moral socially acceptable institutions of marriage, whether as a rightful partner or a third party, for money/employment.
Our common ‘Kenyan’ perspectives on prostitution are interestingly stupid, please, do indulge (and perservere the bad grammar) in this Wikipedia entry on the topic. Prostitution is the oldest lasting profession, given that everything else has evolved into something else, such as thieves to politicians, and priests to sodomites (on the one hand, on the other anti-contraceptive, anti-condom messengers). If you think about it, all ofhuman employ is a form of prostitution, you use something you have to provide someone, or society, with something he/she/it needs or wants. It is the same for the blacksmith who uses both his skill and experience as it is for the woman or man who uses her/his genitalia to do the same.
We validate more the person who meets another in a social gathering or on social mediaand they do as they will only if neither gets paid out rightly. If anyone pays you, you are a prostitute….if you listen to the myopic arguments against prostitution, such as those that contributed to the crucifixion the former Nairobi mayor after he suggested legalizing and taxing prostitution and ‘sex work’ in the city, you will constantly hear the argument that it is ‘un-African.’ Prostitution has been present in all of human society since people learnt that these genitalia fit into those ones, and that sex is a human need and want, perhaps the only one that truly matters. It was in African culture before the ‘mzungu’ , perhaps not at the same level of limelight, and certainly not paid incurrency, handbags, or rent as it is now, but certainly in some way… (We sold Mt. Kenya to John Boyes for four goats, go figure the math).
Did bestiality exist in Kenyan societies? Of course it did! Was it rampant? We don’t know. How can we know if we do not investigate? ‘Other people’ seem to be doing a better job at analyzing our sexuality history than we are. It is much easier for us to blame ‘the West’ for the breaks in our moral façade because it makes us feel less responsible for ourselves. It also helps deify our ancestors as the symbols of ‘morality and good manners. Generations of individuals who had defined sexuality and gender roles and who would never, ever, look at an animal in an amorous way’ TOTAL BS! Human beings are human beings, whichever planet we came from, and whichever theory of man you believe in, our homogeneity as a species is significant.
We are animals at a basic level, with our own thoughts on our ‘heightened cognitive senses’ which makes every subsequent generation feel superior to the last, and hence, more foolish….and, it is Christianity and other ‘new’ religions that are ‘UnAfrican.’ If we were being purist Africans, we would still be swearing oaths and consulting with seers instead of burning them (Yes, 21st century symbol of progress, we torch to protect society, hhhhmmmm, burning human flesh, the smell of singeing immorality).
So what is the façade? That we have accepted all this ‘Western cultural values’, including religion, fashion, food, and greed (another human instinct, but indulge me for a minute) while hoping that the ‘liberal thinking and moral decadence do not have transferability.’
We want to atone for our blindness by saying that homosexuality, undefined sexuality (cognitive and biological), and such things as bestiality did not exist before the white man explored Africa and brought guns, cocaine, HIV/AIDS, and capitalism.
On the one hand we are willing to do anything for money, including stepping over each other in the process despite the fact that our real African culture was communal. It explains why there was no outrage amongst court poets when the feudal prince went to the Queen’s land where the Prime Minister made all effort to hide him from the media and seemingly, being seen with him.
In our African culture, the true one, not this hybrid one in which we purport to have found an equilibrium between the past and the future, such a slight would not be taken lightly. If your host does not want to show you off, then you are the sidekick hidden in the closet when the wife comes home unexpectedly. As a communal people, a guest got first class experience. In fact, whenever a prominent guest visited your home, you let him sleep with your wife! Okay, just one of your wives…It is how we got Wangu wa Matheri the misogynist from just another wife of a local chief…it is also why your mother will show you off to her chama and slaughter her healthiest chicken when you go to visit.
It is why you had sets of china and cutlery designated for guests only…but thousands of Kenyans bombarded the articles with half-witted, incoherent, fallacious, regurgitated comments and expressed their ‘moral outrage’ at the fact that some media had seen the slight and reported it. In the article about the comments, you can see more comments because, well, we are a vigilante nation.
So, who determines that it is time for a culture to evolve? If a 21st century country validates stupidity by referring to their version of a 19th century mindset, is it evolving or static? How long does it take for a hybrid culture to become mainstream? Is the same culture that considers itself progressive, but laughs when men strip down a woman for wearing as she wills, and is her right to, evolving?
The validation is often that it goes against our African ideals yet our ancestors were by and large comfortable while naked. If you watch that video in the last link, you will hear a woman saying ‘usichukue hiyo kitu‘ [do not record this] and you can tell its more of ‘do not show the rest of the world how evolved we are‘ than ‘save this woman from the animal instincts of a mob.‘ A people so evolved that we have to train people ‘not to strip women.’ Clothes, and this extreme sense of having to be dressed all the time, are the western cultural elements, not the wearing of ‘skimpy clothes.’
The mentality itself is rooted deeply in religion, especially in rural areas where this seeming hybrid culture is still foreign. It validates our common misogyny, unless there has been a case of a man in short shorts’ having to lose them for being irresistible to women, and other men. The act of stripping someone is the height of this misogyny where the validation is that ‘we are teaching her a lesson.’ Such stupidity, in this 21st century Kenya, is the reason why the three cases above will be determined on a non-existent ‘cultural benchmark.’
The same ‘Africanness’ to which we owe clitoridectomy, or as we like to call it, Female Genital Mutilation, to which we quickly revert when we need to pull down ads that are ‘too revealing to children.’ To that culture, the same one where boys pleasuring, nay, masturbating each other was a ‘normal cultural thing’, but was given up at initiation (yes, Kenya, these are your ancestors, the real African ones, not you hybrids). You can read more about just how ‘sexually liberated’ they were here.
These same issues we are facing now are still troubling the Western states we love to hate. Truly evolving societies are breaking down these issues and critically assessing them by first making them mainstream issues and not hiding behind a façade of moral uprightness. They are first agreeing that for any meaningful debate to take place, all human beings who successfully navigate the arduous journey of a sperm towards the ova, and subsequent imprisonment, have certain inalienable rights and responsibilities.
You can yell that such individuals should be burned at the stake, or burned like this ‘purported witches’ in Kisii (I would request that you watch that video in its 5-minute entirety, it is brutal, but that is Kenya in 2013 where three people are being burned as hundreds watch and cheer). The ‘witch-burning is also so common in modern-day Kenya that you only need google it too.
We can yell all we want, but homogeneity in the human species, or this moral cocoon we think we live in, will never be…
When we decide to first agree that all human beings have free will, and that what one man or woman does in the comfort of their own homes should be between him and his deity, if he is stupid enough to believe in judgement beyond that of his fellow men and women, we might then begin the real, painful, tideous, ‘unnecessary’ process of evolving from 1800 to at least 1903.
We are not evolving; we are merely acquiring technology and more information, and actively making all effort to live in a past that never was, or never existed as we think it did. If anything, we are just robots of consumption, actively swallowing propaganda and advertisements, as we have sermons and religion, without thinking for ourselves.
It is the 21st century since Christ alright, but we are living in our romantic version of Africa in 1850, but we are ‘moving on’ [sic!]. Kenya, are these not your sons and daughters? Who said that nature is one thing, or has one single outcome, preferably the one that the mob agrees with so it can sleep better at night? Isn’t nature the same source to which we owe all that is wrong in our ‘perfect, often-forward-moving society?’ A society that does not evolve, my beloved Kenya, dies.