Traditional African culture always conferred kingly status on men in their households (or boma), be they ever so humble. And this went far beyond the traditional English proverb that preceded colonialism in the interior of countries such as Kenya, which held that an Englishman's home is his castle.
In pre-colonial times, we are told, proving one's manhood in African society was also a test of bravery, either by killing a wild beast or demonstrating your pain threshold during initiation. In both tests, blood flowed - bestial , human, or both.
Undergoing both rites of passage would make the man a warrior in the village and even secured him a beautiful first wife.
The warrior class:
One-and-a-half centuries on, manhood has been redefined in terms of financial stability and the levels of one's education. Today, the warrior class finds itself in barracks, in chase cars and flying squads of the Police Service, or guarding the gates and doors of residential, office and commercial premises as underpaid, undernourished watchmen.
The king of the castle is now a fellow who would faint at the sudden sight of a lion or invoke his human rights at the top of his lungs when faced with a circumciser's knife or dental implement.
In 2013, killing a wild beast with your hands and a spear will not even get you close to having a conversation with a lady. She will most likely alert the Kenya Wildlife Service and you will be hunted down for poaching!
The women's liberation movement, kick-started in the 1970s, brought in a whole new revolution - worldwide. Women were allowed to go to school, pursue their desired careers and even participate in elections. Women actively sought an equal chance to compete favourably with their male counterparts.
The destiny of many members of the male species is therefore no longer an accident of birth.
The re-arrangement of the sexist era (please allow me to call it so) comes together with a new brand of insecurity - the Alpha male is an endangered species.
Who poached the Alpha male to near extinction? He wasn't poached, he was (and still is being) coached. And this is happening irrespective of whether he is married or not, monogamous or polygamous.
Though feminists may regard it as the gradual triumph of the femininity agenda, it all comes down to a superiority wrangle.
A desperate two-way plight has resulted as both the man and the woman try to secure the upper hand in the emergent relationship, and it has been one of the major downfalls of these unions. This has led to a creeping insecurity that, if not properly addressed, can lead to much damage.
I met with Beverley, who told me of her encounter with two different men, whom she had dated, who felt insecure because of how much she had achieved. The insecurity had caused a lot of harm to the men - and to herself.
Beverley, a 28-year-old lawyer, opted for singlehood as her dating options were diminished by the pursuit of her career. She has two Bachelor's degrees, a postgraduate diploma and a Master's degree, all acquired in different cities in the United Kingdom.
Expectations clash with priorities:
James and Beverley had been dating for six years when the relationship suddenly nosedived. Having studied at the same university and attained the same academic qualifications, some may wonder what was amiss. It all boiled down to James's expectations and Beverly's priorities.
"James felt intimidated that I chose to pursue a Master's degree instead of marriage and that completely turned him off", she says.
This did not discourage her from pursuing her education, or giving love a second chance. In the fairy tales from the era when every Englishman's home was his castle and every African man's boma was his fiefdom, it was every girl's dream for a prince charming, brave, strong-willed and full of love, to enter her life and whisk her away to their happy-ever-after. For Beverley in this digital age of female liberation, James was certainly not the man, leave alone latter-day prince charming!
She met Eddy on her 26th birthday, which was also a housewarming party. It began as a joke when she asked one of her girlfriends to tag along with a man who had locks as she too had them (surprisingly very long ones). When their eyes locked, there was no dread whatsoever.
The dread came later. She moved into his place while she was still pursuing her MA programme at Birmingham University. Beverly tells me: "Irrespective of his stunning looks, Eddy was shallow and we just could not hold an intellectual conversation. He occasionally pointed out that I made him feel small, regardless of the fact that he was ten years older than me. He just could not understand why I wanted to study so much."
Eddy was a supermarket attendant and a high school dropout. He told Beverley many stories of how he used to skip school. Things became even more horrific when Eddy rapidly took up abusing drugs. He became delusional and sometimes he would throw Beverley out of the house and, a few minutes later, he would call her back and beg for forgiveness! As time went by, Eddy became a stalker and, often, after Beverley took off for school, he would take the bus and follow her just to see who she associated with. He even followed her into the library and would make excuses about meeting with someone else whenever Beverly bumped into him.
All this insanity culminated in Eddy opting for domestic violence. When Eddy pulled her locks, that's when she realised how much she was getting abused in the relationship - and she took off for good.
Men's insecurity disorders:
Catherine Wangui Mbau, a psychologists, says control is a survival mode as most people who are insecure want a future that is predictable. It is natural that control can be an aspect of wanting one's way. Men are natural hunters, whereas women are nature's nurtures. But women increasingly want to become hunters.
For millennia, the patriarchal society created and molded the male figure to be a provider; but with this belief system now undergoing major modification and showing that women can be proficient providers too, the male ego is not merely hurting but harmed. Insecurity in men is not difficult to spot, as it becomes more chronic as the situation "worsens", if not addressed fast enough. Catherine says some of the characteristics of men who are suffering from insecurity are:
Many men resort to violence, a symptom that he is hurting inside, though not able to express the hurt in an orderly manner. Violence can take many forms - it can be physical violence, verbal abuse or even emotional abuse.
This includes maladaptive coping mechanisms, either tameness, or emotional withdrawal from the relationship. In other words, they become dormant and they give consent to everything the lady says. It also includes indulging in behaviours such as alcoholism and drug abuse.
Men who suffer from insecurity often become fixated by what gives them a sense of achievement or accomplishment. This may include maladaptive behaviour such as becoming more industrious, in other words "workaholics".
So, how can this issue be addressed? First, they have to address their own insecurity, as the battle starts from the mind. This may include personal work such as therapy treatment. They should also seek inner strength more than external affirmation of their abilities and potentials. "We cannot choose whether it will rain, but we can choose whether to carry an umbrella, or get rained on. The key lies within us", says Catherine. No one has the capability to improve your self-esteem, nor address any insecurity issue; you have the answers in you. And this means the answer to your happiness as well as to your nightmares. Be the one to choose!