Pure Madness

My thoughts on the "behind the scenes" of life. You will find inspiration here. Share it generously


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True To Self, True To Country.

To be honest, the ladies in the NYS campaign are pretty. If any young man is looking for any motivation to join the service there is no need to go beyond the Ads. I know what you are thinking – they are just models. Imposters. Well, we both don’t have any evidence to support our claims but I like my assumption better.

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Photo courtesy of http://www.nys.go.ke

Enough of the shallow conversation. Let’s go deeper;

This is a great initiative Mr. President. It’s a step in the right direction. 70% of Kenya’s population is below the age of 34 years. There is definitely a need to tap into this resource. Sadly, a lot of the work that NYS does often goes unmentioned. I would have mentioned some of their work but their website is now about their future not their past; a minor oversight on their part.

When selling a product it important to give its history. How long has it been in the market and what are its success stories so far? Most importantly, why do I need to get the product? It not enough to make a sensational ad, content is key when marketing for ownership. I Love the ad but I am also of the opinion that to achieve its objectives the government needs to package NYS in a more youth friendly way.

Let’s start with the target audience of these campaigns.

“…The Kenyan youth aged between 18 and 25 years…”

I am yet to see a young person who has just left high school and wants to VOLUNTARILY go through a system that makes them feel as if they are back in high school but with primary school rules. Let’s not lie to ourselves, we are talking about the youth coming from an education system that has made them feel like a prison for the last 12 years! Youth at this stage want a sense of freedom and independence.

The only idea that most youth have of NYS is what they see on TV during national holidays; young men and women following orders. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of us thought that careers are about money until we realized there are responsibilities involved before you get the money. So in my view, NYS should package the 6 months as a critical practical step towards the youths careers.

 “…with a passion for Country and National Pride and only those who want to be a part of the change our country is seeking…”

Apart from being the target to be recruited into vigilante groups, Kenyan youths are also dealing with an education system that is burdensome, unemployment, lack of representation in the country’s leadership to mention but a few.

There is very little effort that is going into developing their national pride before they are 18 years. Given a chance, most of them will leave the country and go to any country that is branding itself as “the land of opportunities”. Many have a passion, but against the country.

Look at the hate that is always trending on social media and the tribal stereotyping that has become the Kenyan norm. National pride is a myth. A whisper in the shadows. A bed time story that we tell our children to fall asleep.

Photo courtesy of www.nys.go.ke

Photo courtesy of http://www.nys.go.ke

So now, what next?

Am glad you asked. First, don’t make the service recruitment optional, make it mandatory. Let all youth be on the same level regardless of where they come from. This will give the impression that the service is an opportunity for everyone not just a special few.

Please change the spade emblem. Let it be something that gives the impression that it’s a source of pride not work. Why not use lions they have better symbolism. They protect provide and have a status. Make the youth identify with a significant “brand”. How many of these young people have ever used a spade in the first place? Branding is everything!

Let the curriculum be about our heritage, our culture, our past and of course our future where we want to go. Sell the vision of the country to the youth. Show them the different routes that they could take to be part of the change; medical, technical, educational, musical etc. Make the youth appreciate and understand that whatever level they plug in certificate diploma or degree their output is valuable.

Equip them with relevant and practical skills. It’s ok to plant trees and do all other things NYS does but equip them with skills they will use in future. As much as a certain level of discipline is important don’t forget that waking up early for a jog won’t hold any water on their resume.

The idea behind NYS is noble. It’s the first step in the right direction. Let’s put some meat into the program. If you want the youth to be true to self, then you need to know what value you are adding to their lives before they can be true to their country.

Go on. Be Great!


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R.I.P Kenyan

There are more than a thousand ways to die in Kenya today. These are just a few ideas of places you are likely to meet your death in Kenya. Though hilarious, this account is NOT factual but that does not take away from the fact that there are people who die every day from these situations. Be the judge. Will this be the way you meet your death? Today, you get to choose.

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If you are the president of a country called Kenya, beware of flying shoes and add a backup anti theft system on the presidential escort vehicles just in case the current one fails and your car is lost. As the president, the citizen might decide to boo and chant as you (their president and Commander in Chief) try to negotiate with them to give you a chance to address them. These are just a few things that you should be LEAST worried about it.

But if you are a Kenyan citizen, your life is more at stake than you think. What happens to you when you are unwell? Well that’s easy right? Kenya have some of the best hospitals in East Africa and you have a medical cover! Lucky you. Today you get to cheat death. But for the mwananchi whose lifeline is that public hospital that is close to 400Km from where they live, death comes even faster when the doctors of that hospital are on strike.

You don’t have good roads; if any in the first place, the security in your area is questionable if not non-existent and by the time you finally get to the hospital three days later, the doctors are on strike? Before you leave your house it might be a good idea to leave everything “in order”. You may be gone a little longer than you think.

Merv Griffin's headstone at the  cemetery in Westwood Village, Ca, Splash

If you are a Kenyan citizen, well, how do I put this; get ready to lose your phone a couple of times. That’s not all. Get ready to lose more than just your phone. You might lose your car to car jackers at gun point and after they have cleared the little life savings you have in bank account, they will probably not see your use any more so they will shoot you and no need to pray for a good Samaritan because they are only good with your goods. If they take you to hospital well you will die in a “safe environment”.

Car jackers are angels in comparison to what kidnappers will do to you if you are their target. Apart from denying you your basic human rights including food and water, some of them might rape you and after they have their ransom, you will already be dead! That’s not all. Meet the new face of terrorists. They are young and driven, passionate about their cause. But they are also desperate and frustrated and finally found someone who knows their value. Well, you never get to meet these ones if you do at least you die together. The rest will “throw death” at you from a distance in the name of a grenade. If you survive, remember the doctors are still on strike.

The main mode of transport in Kenya is road. You are likely to meet your death on this avenue too. The “certified” un-roadworthy vehicles operating as public service vehicles are driven recklessly and despite having speed governors, the speeds are literally “out of this world”! If you think you are safer on a motorbike otherwise known as bodabodas well think again. The helmet is filthy and you are always tempted to think that you don’t have time to wear it since you are not going far. That’s your first mistake and your step in the direction of your death door. Well there are many wards specifically for motorcycle accidents so you won’t be lonely. But then again remember doctors are on strike.

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There are many other ways to die in Kenya. You could fall into an uncovered man hole around town break a few bones before an ambulance comes to your rescue and dashes you to hospital… oops you just got to your death faster! The high cost of living will definitely not be your cup of tea especially because it might raise your “sugar level” and we don’t want that for obvious reasons.

For you who have clean water to drink every day and even flush your toilets with it, you don’t get to die today but for the majority of Kenyans who have to walk miles every day to get a gallon of dirty water, every day is death day. That’s not the only “death wish” they have to worry about. They have leaders that they voted for who should be “eliminating these death traps” for them. Sadly, they will only get to see these leaders after five years – and that’s if they will be alive.

So today, when you are alive, before you meet one of your a thousand ways to die, don’t you think it’s time you “fought for your life”? I can point you in the right direction but unfortunately it’s all I can do because I too have my a thousand ways to die to deal with.The way to stay alive today, begins by you using your right and power to choose the right person to be in power.

The power is in your hands. Use it wisely. Tic toc.


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Dear Youth; YOLO (You Obviously Lack Originality)

Remember when you were young and carefree? Remember how you had all the time in the world to do everything you wanted? You could watch movies the entire day and still have a few more hours to take an evening stroll with that lass from next door even though her dad was apprehensive about your late visits? Surely you must remember the youth camps and the bonfires and the texting all night and I hope that’s as far as you went.  

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Then campus came along and classes were just a few interruptions of the fun. The party weekends; oh, what was in that drink? Life became about pushing limits. We were free. No parents, no curfews, no Christian Union meetings, no limits! The world belonged to you (and most of the young women in it). Life in campus was even better when there were riots. Such adrenaline! You still have the scars and stories to accompany them. Just like in high school, before you knew it, the four years were over and you were ready to go “out there” and make money and perhaps change the world…but more money than change.

How long has it been since you graduated? How many job offers have you had? What was the starting salary they offered you? Hmm… They actually asked for “something” in return for you to get the job didn’t they? Really, in this day and age? Oh you are considering it? Wow, all the “fun” and education in campus never prepared you for this huh? Well the good news is, you are not the first to experience these things and neither will you be the last. Now that you are here allow us to share some “wisdom” with you that we have “collected” along the way.

First, swallow your pride and take that job. Yes it has nothing to do with what you studied in school and it doesn’t pay much or even pay at all. It’s about the principle – this job will help you develop certain skills. These skills are what most employers look for; ability, better known as experience. I know some of your friends got a job that offered them cars and mortgage facilities before they even left campus but since you haven’t gotten such offers, take whatever is on the table.

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Don’t make the mistake of comparing yourself with others. Time and chance happens to us all. For some chance comes faster while for most of us it takes a little longer. Whichever group you find yourself in whether it’s the sprint or the marathon the principle remains; grow yourself. Set goals. Don’t be comfortable with where you are – with little or much. Go the extra mile. Do more than you have been given more than you are paid to do. Volunteer to anything that offers you a chance to grow your skills. Yes I said skill not money. If you are lucky you will get both. Take advantage now before you have responsibilities like family that require more predictable working hours.

Get involved youngling. Start now. One day you will learn that you can’t really change the world. But before you come to that realization, give it your best shot. Challenge everything! Don’t accept the mundane and norms the world imposes on you. Ask those irritating whys and why nots? Step out of your comfort zones and step up for what you believe in. Take risks! Dare!

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Get involved in the leadership. Look for opportunities to lead. Learn to be accountable. Why? Because unless you know what it means to lead, you can’t identify leaders. So you end up voting for whoever looks handsome or pretty on that ballot paper. Always remember you have and will have interests in the country. Chose a good Captain for your ship or you will end up in a destination that you are unfamiliar with. What’s the point of working hard only to lose everything that you have worked had for?

Whatever you do, SAVE for a rainy day. Not just money, save the environment, save your relationships, save your contacts! You will need them in future. Always be yourself. No matter how little you think you have, learn to give. For crying out loud learn to WAIT! Nothing happens overnight. Everything takes time. Be patient. Always thank God for both the good and the bad that you will experience along the way. These things eventually make you who you are. And for your information, you will turn out just fine.  Breathe, dream, laugh and enjoy the ride!