Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HOW TO SPOT A DIASPORAN






It's been a few tight lipped days on my blog, so let's have a laugh shall we?

This weekend, the amazing Liquid Deep band was in town, and, my daughter and I were among the thousands of Nairobians (and Summer Bunnies) who turned up. It was full to the rafters, it just felt hot and musky, even though the weather wasn’t that warm; like someone dropped me right in the middle of buzzy market place somewhere in Nigeria. Ok, I digress, but you get the point? Thanks.

When Imani, my daughter asked “Mummy, what’s a summer bunny?” We had quite a laugh trying to explain it to her.

December is official Summer Bunny month, and my diaspora holiday started off at Sankara, a friend had pals come over for the holidays, and I went with her to have a night cap by the rooftop.

I sat next to a gentleman with rather big hair, “(we no longer wear our hair long, dear diaspora boys, especially if you’re over 19.) Let’s call him Alan. I’m not good at making friends, but I managed to start a conversation with Alan. I asked him about his stay here and where he was from. “I’m from Baltimore” he said with a heavy American accent. He has been away for 8 years. He loves the new roads; he only wishes public transport was functional. He continued “you know in Baltimore….” I threw up a little.

About a week later I went to K1 after work with Maggie, our beautiful make-up artist. It was a summer bunny assembly.

They have an accent; mostly it’s a mix of accents. A healthy mix of Kenyaneese and Americanese.

They wear shades at night. I’ll never get over that.

I’m in Nairobi on a windy night, it might even rain, but little Miss thing walks into K1 with boob tube and leggings, she is on a beach in Saint Pete, Florida. ( I googled that, I have never been to Florida) I’m just hating because she had such an amazing little waist.



LL Cool J aint that cool anymore, drop the cap, especially in the club. And don’t lick your lips.


Buy a belt, Lil Wayne can pass without one, you can’t, really. Sagging pants is so 2002.



They wish MacDonald’s was here and KFC doesn’t “gerrit” , I told him they import potatoes from Egypt.

They complain about the roads, traffic jams and customer care, that’s ok, but when they add “ If this was an American restaurant”….good night, I can only handle so much on one night!

Feel Free to share your own diaspora holidays in the comment box underneath!

and, dear diaspora Don’t hate me, I love you too much!

Bring me a gift from America next time? :-)



13 comments:

  1. POW! Nailed it. *Waves pom poms*.....irritating bunch.But we love them aaaannnyhow.

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  2. Spot on, you can be forgiven for thinking that they never lived in Kenya especially the ones who have been gone for a few years i.e 2-3years.

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  3. Come on now, It goes both ways, many local wanna emulate the Diaspora's. You can wear your hair however you want it. Fashion is all about expressing oneself. I can talk about the local who wear knee high winter boots in the scorching sun,but that's how the feel like dressing. Anyway,at the end of the day we're all Kenyans and many of the locals would love to be in summer bunnies shoes.

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  4. There are Kenyans who have never left Kenya and behave worse esp the media! To each their own

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  5. I happen to be a Kenyan who lives in the Diaspora, and quite frankly I have also had it up to here with my compatriots in Kenya who just hate their fellow Kenyans for no other reason than the fact that they live abroad. While I appreciate your commentary on the so-called summer bunnies, I sense a slight degree of hostility towards foreign-based Kenyans. This is very typical of most commentaries emanating from home. For the life of me, I could never understand why this is the case.

    Granted, that even I sometimes get pissed off with behaviors displayed by some Diaspora Kenyans. I happen to travel to Kenya every year, either in November or early December. I have been doing this every year for almost 20 years now and whenever I am home, I try as much as possible to mingle with locals for the simple reason that it wouldn’t make sense for me to hang out with the same people I interact with out here. But fake accents, boasting, uncouthness, showing off and general bad manners is not the sole prerogative of the so-called summer bunnies. It is also rampant among Kenyans in Kenya. It just depends on the social rung with which you find yourself in, or what high school you attended. A housemaid in Jericho finds a Yuppie in Lavington to be a ludicrous American wannabe. The rap music airing on the local radio and TV stations are extremely poor and shameful imitations of American rap music. The “you must know people” comment is a manifestation of such fake lifestyles, and yet it was made by a Kenyan bourgeoisie in Kenya. I could go on ad infinitum.

    But regardless of what “tweng” you hear, these are individuals, and does not necessarily reflect on the bigger body-politic of Kenyans in the Diaspora as a whole. Perhaps you have not had a chance to meet a broader mix of Diasporans, but it would help in giving you a better understanding of fellow Kenyans abroad. One thing is for sure: We are a very diverse group of people, in terms of ethnic origin, education, exposure, social and economic advancement, et cetera. All of us have been abroad for a varied number of years, but each individual has his or her own experiences. Some retain their Kenyan ethnic accents while others change, just as people change their village accents when they arrive in Nairobi.
    As for people comparing Kenya and America, the truth is that regardless of how long one has lived abroad, there are stark differences between Kenya and other countries in terms of infrastructure, culture, everyday behaviors, sights, smells and sounds. Some people just prefer to air these differences loudly, but unfortunately, the local Kenyan always feels slighted. But the same Kenyan would not hesitate to criticize others for the very same differences. This is a manifestation of some complex, either inferior, sheer hard-headed stubbornness, or simply for lack of outside exposure.

    Some Kenyans abroad may be a nuisance once they arrive in Kenya, but a majority of them are simply on vacation and want to enjoy their stay at home. Unwittingly, just by being abroad, they help their motherland in many other ways, not least with monetary remittances, which as of the end of last year, had surpassed whopping $1billion dollars! Most of those joints and real estate properties local Kenyans use are Diaspora-owned. It would be nice if local Kenyans viewed their compatriots abroad as just another version of themselves. They simply decided to seek opportunities abroad.

    - James K. Sang
    https://www.facebook.com/DeepRough
    Washington DC

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  6. James, Brian, Frida and Anon, Thanks for your input.
    James you do raise some important points. Can I post your write up as guest blog so others who don't read the comments can also see it? Let me know, looking forward.

    But, it really was a light piece just making fun of Summer Bunnies as always seem so disconnected, with due respect;Because we are in essence from different worlds.

    TC

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    1. Terryanne,
      I have been living I. The diaspora for the past 10 years. The difference between myself and one diaspora contributor is that I come home every month end. The summer bunnies article...you nailed it girl, I know what you are talking about...all of us, especially those of us from the US...tweeengggggg! Lets be honest, and we behave in a manner that dislodges us from the greater commune home!
      A cousin of mine (if he reads this he is gonna fry me) who went to the states 4 months earlier than I is a perfect example. Calling the guy a month after he left to tell him that I had the visa to come over....surprise.....it was an American accent on the other side of them line....less than three months! And what I see in Nai in dec....u have spelled it out well.

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  7. I had to go back and re-read the 'light' piece and indulge as mr Sang sets the record straight....Key point.. 'But regardless of what “tweng” you hear, these are individuals, and does not necessarily reflect on the bigger body-politic of Kenyans in the Diaspora as a whole' let's be careful of Stereotyping just because of the few observations you happened to make. Most of us in the diaspora are proudly kenyan, and for us to come back home and 'ringa to our fellow kenyans is not only stupid but also immature. Living in a foreign country its inevitable that some things change - accent and all but that doesn't necessarily change who we are. 'So don't get it twisted aaght!

    Kevin, NJ.

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  8. @TerryAnne,
    By all means, go ahead and post it. I enjoy civil debates and shun going personal as much as possible. I appreciate your takes on social and economic issues. While I recognize that your comments were made on a light note, I nevertheless felt that I needed to get the record straight due to the fact that many commentaries about the Diaspora have been grossly ill informed. But this is all part of the conversations we all have about us and our country. The more we debate, the more we understand each other and hopefully the more harmonious we become. Cheers.
    - Sang

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  9. Seemed like a light/playful piece to me. But James' response was very insightful.
    Gatwiri, MD

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  10. ..do guys REALLY have to take everything this serious?..TC was just writing about a personal encounter with them 'bunnies' and some of you have twisted it to sound like she has an axe to grind with them 'bunnies'...people chill out...TC spot on...personally i think that time spent comparing Kenya and God-knows-where you 'bunnies' come from could be better spent appreciating HOME...TRUST ME..KENYA IS LOVELY..

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  11. Thanks TC for taking time to spice life with your commentary. Not surprisingly, Kenyans take to their competitive spirit (I think it comes from being no. 1 in school exams) and go defensive - as usual.

    Am Kenyan living in Kenya and for me the article is about self reflection. Where do I see myself and my fellow Kenyans in all this? We are largely fake - diaspora, Kenyan urban or shags. I think the true fight is to become real and reclaim our heritage. Just look around you, now that our elections are with us, we have Running Mates, Primaries and Swing Votes - disgusting! Am sure some gal or dude is right now stitching a Kenya financial story around the Fiscal Cliff. My joy will be the day Americans adopt our lazy lingua and use Kutokelezea, Overlapping and Mshange in their speech and media!

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  12. http://bikozulu.co.ke/a-letter-to-kenyans-abroad/

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