Essays II and III

After that first Brazen essay for ‘The Elephant”, my editor Christine Mungai continued to share interesting provocations that offered ways to document and examine the Kenyan experience.

The next one was regarding how in the 80s and 90s this country witnessed a general decline in the economy because of the implementation of the infamous Bretton Woods Structural adjustment programs which impacted negatively in nearly all areas of development.

This series was titled “Beyond the Numbers”. My approach was to look back at how those decisions affected my family in small but significant ways. How we slowly started to become less generous at harambees for cousins and siblings traveling abroad.

Next came the question of “Security Theatre”; how we’ve come to perform a semblance of care and deep scrutiny ever since there was a spike in terror attacks. It isn’t that the threats are real, it’s how we’ve come to handle it. I learnt that since 2011, Kenya has faced 321 terror attacks; the equivalent of a new attack every 9 days.

I wrote about the privileged of owning a national ID and the ways in which mine, though torn, poorly photographed and misspelled, has never been rejected. It has formed an insulated bubble with my surname as the final saving grace—the thing that puts me above scrutiny no matter how flimsy my documentation seems or where I am in this country.

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