There is no overnight success – even though our get-it-now appetite for news and influence grows. And there are precious few stories on how to make it as an African in Africa – and the world in longhand, from the source. This weekend, Fred Swaniker spoke to me directly, reflecting on his weekend at Middlebury College commencement 2017. He posted a recap of his journey, mostly about how he got to receiving 2 Honorary Degrees one month and two continents apart by the age of 40. With the privilege of living in this era of Africa’s rise, comes with the responsibility of curating our history and learning from one another. I found this snapshot heartening. Well in Bwana Swaniker.
One big part of Swaniker’s post revealed his start as an assistant to a tradesman and fast food salesman, working alongside his mother, scholarship to Macalester College, college summer internships (including one very boring – but skillsrich stint at an insurance company). He then shares some valuable lessons that each of us can take to the bank: including places to get great insight on how businesses work, where to build your professionalism and sense of work-ready requirements, and how to stay the course. I particularly enjoyed his description of walking backwards as a tour guide in college, which I also did in college sharing my experience with prospective students. Check it out below.
Oh, to answer the question posed by Bwana Swaniker; my first job was helping my Mom as a salesman in the family snacks business at a very young age in the mid-1990s.
Are you trying to challenge yourself to change your own CV and open up the next line in your career? Check out my recent post on getting hired.
Learning with you,
One language that we have not yet learned is that of speaking to one another across political barriers. My dear Kenya has spent the week in the first set of party primaries for the upcoming general elections. With over 40,000 candidates vying for the complex tiered county governments (47 of them) senate, and parliament, the primaries are much like the athletic heats which determine which Kenyan athletes make it to the international stage. The difference being that winning any of the seats is a guarantee of a hefty salary with perks that may extend beyond one’s term. As you can imagine, the polls are filled with colorful language that does not seem to have limitations. The winners list seems to be filled with new, younger, and untested faces. The first big bit was: Fagia Wote (Sweep Them All Out!) where voters decided they were done with several big names.
And now the major primary contests are all but over. The tribunals featuring primary election complainants are sitting day and night resolving one dispute after another. What started off as a full field of the same faces from the last election has been given a makeover with less of the old, and more new, fresh faces. Some of the mighty have fallen, the unlikely underdogs replacing them. A few of the previously heartbroken losers from previous contests can scarcely believe they are back. We are still mostly armchair political pundits roasting those we managed to catch on camera in the heat of the contests. We still have not learned to speak to one another. We still think it is virtually an anomaly to have someone win a contest in a region that does not match his name. We are still eating the mashed foods of young learners in modern day Kenyan politics.
Also, we are learning the meaning of the phrase: Independent Candidate. This is the place those unsuccessful in the primaries, and unwilling to concede will find their way to the electoral box. Kariuki has a meme you need to take a sec and chuckle at, that describes what this means to the man on the street.
And me, what language am I searching for now? I am a registered voter in Kenya – so I can afford to talk. Thinking deeply about how to write about my choices for MP, as of today being between Boniface Mwangi, Jaguar and Steve Mbogo for Area MP. On that I need new language too.
So who else am I watching talking about Kenyan politics on the internets?
Who are you watching and listening to regarding the elections in Kenya? Drop me a comment or write your own post in response
I am amazed that last week, a Kenyan couple took home the Paris marathon titles for men and women on the same day. In Kenya, winning a marathon is normal, and even expected. However, in the race to find ways to support the Kenyan public to fight gambling addiction, Kenya is losing.
I’m having a hard time finding tears to cry for local game owners whose national taxes through the betting industry in Kenya have been raised from 7.5% to now 50% of all gaming revenue. Mainly because they have proved ineffective in self policing and correction (e.g. underage checks and support for gambling addicts) Their advertising revenues carry major budget share in a variety of publicly accessible media, and almost muzzle journalists’ ability to critically analyze the impact of gaming on Kenyans.
Unlike other addictions, which are more visible now in the media, like alcohol and substance abuse, gambling addiction hardly gets any airplay. Invariably, you hear and see more about the betting promotions than the ails. You read less Op-Eds and see less school based anti-gambling campaigns. Betting ad revenue seems to be carrying the day.
However, if the heavy arm of the taxman cannot provide a temporary umbrella for the suffering of families which are struggling with gambling loved ones, who can?
In a 2017 study conducted by Imperial College and the National Problem Gambling Clinic in the United Kingdom and reported by Science Daily, the most problematic gambling behaviours included sports gambling, and gambling was more likely to activate the same pathways as drug and alcohol cravings. Even more scary? Scant research exists on the impact of problem gambling on adolescents and youth. A 2006 Psychiatry (Edgmont) article estimates that for every one adult with problem gambling, 2 to 4 times as many adolescents are likewise affected – with the consensus being that gambling is worst when it starts at a very young age.
Are we just waiting to cry so hard, we will only be able to cry out of one eye?
Let us get serious.