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Spreading tribalism

Kenya television has recently discovered the power of local programs. In a span of less than a year, we have too many of them to even care to keep up. I am a recovered t.v. addict so I am very informed of new programs and time slots across all the t.v channels. Apart from having to read more and discovering the world of series, I sort of stopped watching t.v. much because of a million Mexican and Philippines soap opera which if you watch one, you need not watch the rest as the story line is the same, mostly the characters are the same etc (no pun intended).

Back to my local programs bit. There is this particular one that is just the epitome of what a local program should not be. First of all, the host has been a radio host for as long as I remember, but now I get to see him live. The show is an imitation of the central comedy where he brings in celebrities and asks interviews them on life, work etc. Now what baffles me is his first question, it is always, where are you from? If one doesn't name the exact place, the host will insist until we all get to hear that the person is from Meru, Kinoru village. This in Kenya is actually asking what tribe one is because its not like he plans to pay you a visit in his free time! Its as if that's the most important detail about the person.

In a country where a year ago we witnessed a lot of blood shed and displacement of persons because of their tribal affiliations, I feel this show is continually drawing us back to the things we so desperately wish and want and should to run away from. The show is actually on during prime time on weekend and you can imagine the effect it has on children who may be watching. Isn't this how we sow seeds that later grow into calamities we cannot deal with?


efe's picture

african thing?

I thought only Nigerians get really interested in knowing the exact village a person comes from. Sometimes, if you are not from a village they expect you to come from(one closest to their own) then you may miss out in one way or the other.I find that myopic thinking extremely ridiculous. I am enjoying rich and fulfilling friendships with people of diverse backgrounds. How boring life would be if all one does is to associate with people that are exactly like them.

Leila's picture

soap operas.

My dad tells us to watch something else when the soap operas are on T.V.He says that what the ladies who are there do everyday is to cry.There is always nothing new and the men talk in shivering voices.

I love to watch movies and i would love to hear more about them.

With smiles,


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