I have been reading the old copy of Saturday Nation, a week end edition of the daily nation in Kenya. It was published some weeks ago. It has some enticing feature stories that have made me to reflect on a certain family values in Africa. The three feature stories I have been reading are; Lupita Nyong’o stellar performance in the movie,12 years a slave, in which she emerged a top American actor, attracting in the same course the most coveted Oscar prize, I have also read in the same paper the shooting literature star of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an American based Nigerian writress, who had had her last book Americana win the American Booker Prize, and lastly, I have also ready a very captivating account of Wanjiku wa Ngugi’s spellbinding debutante in her book, the fall of saints. Wanjiku account was written by Proffessor Evans Mwangi a Thiong’o literary scholar based in Newyork. Mwangi being a Ngugi wa Thiongi’o, scholar wrote this article because Wanjiku wa Ngugi is also a daughter to the world famous Kenyan novelist, Ngugi Njogu wa Thiongi’o.
In each of the three above cases, emanates a significant observation that the fathers to the respective ladies are great men in their respective capacity, and that the ladies mentioned are now obvious heirs to the family names, family intellectual domain and family selling point respectively.
Lupita is heir to proffessor Peter Anyang Nyong’o, Adichie is an heir to the African literary heritage of proffessor Chinua Achebe, and While Wanjiku is a promising successor to Proffessor Thiongi’o.
These are actually a crystallization of strange unfolding that time has now challenged old mindset among African societies. The mindset in which Africans have not been counting girls as children.This family value has been there up to today. If an African man tells you that I don’t have a family it means that he is expressing three connotations; he is not married, he is married but he does not have a children, or he is married but his wife have only been bearing him girls, because if anything; an African man is only responsible for siring sons, daughters are a mistake of the wife.
This typology of family civilization got to its peak in the mid of last year, when the Luo council of elders, hailing from Siaya County of Kenya, where Baraka Obama is rooted, expressed their open puzzle over Baraka Obama as per why he can’t take his time to have sons. They are now organizing a delegation that will go to America to counsel President Obama over the matter that he needs to re-organize his posterity strategy other than thinking in terms of Sasha and Malia.
What I mean is that Africans don’t believe if at all family interests can be carried forward through a daughter. They don’t believe if a girl can be an intellectual or command any wisdom that can go places. But realities from a historical experience that great African men don’t sire great sons but instead they sire great daughters must make this society of male chauvinists to have a mental paradigm shift in relation to child valuation and recognition. To accept a social déjàvu that daughters have a big capacity to carry forward the family name than the previously mistaken notion that they are only sons who can do this.
Facts on the ground range from the case of Julius Nyerere, Kwameh Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Frantz Fanon, Richard Wright, Tom Mboya, Masinde Muliro, Nelson Mandela, Mutula Kilonzo, and Francis Imbuga just to mention a few African heroes. Justification of this list showing Africa’s reversal of Prospero complex abodes in the facts that; Susan Nyerere is currently the most outspoken in the Nyerere family. Similarly, Nkrumah’s daughter is currently a politician in Ghanaian parliament and very promising politically. Betty Shabazz X was recently reported to have put Louis Farrakhan on the spot over the murder plot of her father the late Malcolm X.Mireille Fanon Mendes is the director of human rights activist organization known as Frantz Fanon foundation. This is the organization which recently recognized Mumia Abu-Jamal with a prestigious prize. Mumia Abu-Jamal is an African-American writer and journalist, author of six human rights focussed books and hundreds of similar spirited columns and articles. He has spent the last three decades on racially biased Pennsylvania’s death row. And now general population in America and in the world knows that Mumia Abu-Jamal was wrongfully convicted and sentenced for the murder of Philadelphia Police man, Daniel Faulkner. His demand for a neutral trial and unconditional freedom is enmassely supported by heads of state, Nobel laureates, human rights organizations, scholars, religious leaders, artists and bioethical scientists. All this is nothing other than universal singing of the tune in the poetic writings of Frantz Omar Fanon entitled Facts of blackness, through his daughter Mireille.
And equally enough, those of you who have delved into posthumous family conditions of Richard Wright must have appreciated stellar performance of proffessor Julia Wright in respect to the genetic legacy of her father. Dr. Susan Mboya is currently living in South Africa and she is serving the society in the same tandem her late father Tom Mboya discharged anti-colonial service to the people of Kenya, Africa and world in general.Masinde Muliro has Mrs. Namwalie Muliro and Mutula Kilonzo has Kethi Kilonzo. The point is that, just like all of other heroes in Africa, these two great politicians have their daughters; Namwalie and Kethi as the heirs to their political legacy.
This phenomenon is not unique to Africa. But it is a universal genetic condition. The study of genetics has a concept that inferior genes of the mother are passed through an X chromosomes in XY to the sons, while superior genes of the father are passed through an X chromosome of the XX to the daughters.
Just but to wind up my story I want also to counsel The Luo council of elders that president Obama, their son who lives in America does not have misplaced values in projecting his posterity through Sasia and Malia. Personally I am aware that as per now there is no any African boy at age of Sasha Obama that has ever read Yann Martel’s Life of Mr. Pi. But in stark contrast the international media reported Sasha Obama to have vividly read this book until she commented to Baraka Obama that, ‘daddy, this is a very good book’. And of course this is how an intellectual is made.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem