By JOSEPH NYARINGO
The rate at which Kenyans are adopting Western culture is alarming. In fact, practices like Halloween with no benefit to the spiritual and moral fabric of our society are being celebrated like any merry holiday. In our urban centres, there is a big shift in the modes of dressing, communication, and general attitudes especially from young people.
These negative social transformations have caught our society by a storm, which is a negation of the values and tenets we need to uphold as a God fearing nation. In fact, what I see in New York, Los Angeles or London is exactly what\’s happening in the City of Nairobi.
I shudder at the thought of how our society will be in 20 years as the liberal lifestyle we see in the West is penetrating deep in our society and not only eroding our Kenyan heritage but slowly destroying our moral values. It\’s extremely frightening that these days, we are experiencing these: poor dressing habits, open profanity, vulgar language and open talk about sex.
Tragically, these negative trends are spreading rapidly even in schools where many young Kenyans are struggling to look modern by imitating everything Western under the allure of looking modernised.
I fail to understand why we\’re failing to maintain our societal norms and only accommodate foreign habits which are of no benefit to our lives. Our people need to be reminded that foreign is not necessarily good or applicable in our society. Just because it\’s working elsewhere, it doesn\’t mean it\’s suitable for Kenya.
Our people are wrong by embracing events like Halloween which has its roots in the US, Canada, Ireland and Scotland. Most homes looks like graveyards with human skeletons dangling on doors, as children and adults roam around in frightening costumes.
Kenya is home to almost all races – Asians, Europeans and Americans, but most of them have continued to retain their identity and values. In fact, most well-to-do individuals or those on short assignments especially diplomats take their children to schools which offer their country\’s education curriculum.
In fact, the tourists who visit Kenya do not go back to their countries and start practicing our customs for instance wearing the popular Maasai shawls or singing the popular Isukuti folklore.
Wherever Westerners go, they carry their culture, education, religion, norms, and values. And when we allow ourselves to be a dumping ground for obscenities we forget our true identity.
There are numerous examples showing that our society is ready to accommodate anything originating from the West while burying our original identity. Our musicians want to rap like Jay Z; while others want to sing like Janet Jackson or Madonna.
Many want to dress like lady Gaga. The popular Benga Music that spread up to Central Africa has faded away and may never be heard again because if it doesn\’t sound American. Where shall be our identity for years to come?
We should not become copycats to foreign habits which are not only destroying our values but also ruining our families. Currently, many of our women have become less virtuous; men don\’t care about nurturing lifelong relationships. Amongst our youth, profanity (Western) epithets are on the rise. The types of music they play contain vulgar language with unprintable lyrics.
Many of us who speak fearlessly against negative western lifestyles ends up being labelled or accused of being anti-modern and traditionalist. However, it\’s high time we kept the tenets that forms the basis of our upbringing but only accommodate the Western culture which is vital to our society.
Nyaringo is based in New Jersey, USA