8 December 2012

Kenya: Top Four Books for This Political Season

For many writers, writing is a window into their soul, where they express both the world around them, and the world inside them. As we head into elections, you will find these four books useful.

1. One Day I will write About This Place- By Binyavanga Wainaina. Growing up in Nakuru, Wainaina struggles to find an identity. He is a child of mixed marriage; his father a Kenyan businessman and farm owner, his mother a Ugandan salon owner.

In the cosmopolitan town of Nakuru, he still can't find an identity, even in a town teeming with people from all corners of Kenya. An air hostess, seeing Wainaina's Ugandan first name, Binyavanga, - he is named after his mother's brother - challenges him at the point of departure to prove he is Kenyan.

2. Things Fall Apart- By Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart is about the tragic fall of the protagonist, Okonkwo. Okonkwo deter- mines to gain titles for himself and become a powerful and wealthy man in spite of his father's weaknesses. In reality, the book is about what has gone wrong with Africa.

3. Amezidi- By Said Ahmed Mohamed I must admit that I did doze off during the first times when the book was intro- duced by our Kiswahili teacher, but it's only when the teacher revealed the deep symbolism of the book that I began to appreciate how a great read it was. It is a journey through the lives of two friends "Ame" and "Zidi".

They are the best of friends in the worst of times but they make each others situations better. In them, lead- ership fallacies in Africa are exposed. 4. Animal Farm/ Shamba la Wanyama- By George Orwell. "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others". This phrase is evidently adapted from this book.

Looking at the list of presidential candidates, isn't it amazing that almost all had privileged upbringing, are children of famous politicians- Presidents and ministers; their children study abroad, and their wives and mistresses deliver in hospitals abroad? I'm not saying that being rich equals evil, or being poor equals virtue, but what matters is can your presidential candidate relate to you?

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