A letter to Kenyans Abroad

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Dear Diaspora.

There is this time I walked into this shoe shop in Dublin, Ireland. It was winter and cold as a hyena’s snout. I had on this hoodie with “Safaricom” emblazoned on its front in green. So, there I was checking out these shoe when I heard someone ask, “Wewe ni Mkenya?” I looked up to find this grinning miro guy. I said, yes, I was Kenyan. Boy, was he happy to make my acquaintance! He bear hugged me, which is something I try to reserve for the opposite sex. He then rattled on, asking about home and how it was “back there.” Asking about politics and things. He told me he watched Citizen news online most of the time, but that still left him shelled with homesickness. He lived in Northern Ireland, which is really next to the end of the world, and he is probably the only black guy for thousands of miles before you run into a Nigerian.

I asked him when was the last time he was home and he said 11years ago. That depressed me more than the weather. I asked him what he missed most about being home and he surprised me by saying, “attending funerals for close ones.”
He said he had missed his father’s funeral (it was cheaper to send money for burial), something that seemed like a monkey on his back. In fact, he had missed tons of funerals for close relatives. And he missed Mukimo (he was okuyu). On a light note I asked him if he had a kiosk in Belfast and he laughed, that distinct Kenyan laugh that starts from the diaphragm and doesn’t leave it. We chatted for a bit, in Swahili, mine markedly tattered.

I remember feeling such gutting sympathy for him when we parted. Him, out there, in that bleeding cold that makes your nails pale and your tongue blue, so far away from home, wondering who else will be buried in his absence. Wondering when he would next feel the balminess of the African sun on his forehead and the warmth of our own soil under his feet. It must be tough, this life in absentia. I would die of depression. No really, I would.

It’s easy to feel sympathy for fellows living abroad, right up until they land at JKIA, then the bottom falls off. Let’s first talk figures before my spiel.

Do you know how much guys living abroad ploughed into the economy in the first five months of this year? Ksh45 billion! That’s a lot of dough, about 10% of what Kamwana is bringing back from the East! And we appreciate this contribution, guys. We could use every yen, dollar and rupee we can lay our hands on now, especially during these trying moments that some of our governors have decided to conduct county matters from plush hotels where they live.

But your financial contribution notwithstanding, we need to straighten out some issues, guys. It’s about your conduct when you come back home for vacation.

First off, please don’t whine about how nothing works in this country. Nobody wants to host a whiner. Thing is, traffic cops will control traffic at traffic lights that work. That’s just how it is. Service in eateries might not be as swift as it is in Toronto. That’s just how it is. Matatus are a law onto themselves. That’s just how it is. It’s illegal to burn music for local artists, so don’t ask us to. Oh, and Kalamashaka doesn’t sing no more.

Secondly. You know, we love having you back home. And we don’t mind taking you to look for artefacts at Masai Market. But can you imagine that since you left life also happened to us? Hard to believe, I know. We got and changed jobs. We dated and we got married. We got kids. Most of us grew up and that came with different priorities. Life is a moving wheel. I know it might seem like we have lots of time on our hands back here but we don’t. We can get very busy between spending time in traffic jams and Facebooking.

And because there is work and there is school and there is family we can’t take you out partying on the daily. And just because you are back in the country after 10 years doesn’t mean all these things stop and we have to lay banana leaves on your path to Mercury Lounge. Or fetch you coffee. You are on holiday, we aren’t. If we have time, we will take you to do your rounds. But it’s not your right, so don’t sulk and brood and feel unappreciated.

Secondly, the legal tender of Kenya is Kenyan Shillings. Not the dollar. Not the Euro. Don’t go to Mama Oliech’s for fish and when the bill lands you ask the poor waitress if they can accept dollars! That waitress is from Kochia, the dollar is a currency she isn’t well acquainted with. And FYI, the only people who accept dollars or rands are the forex bureaus.

Talking of going out. A few years back my cousin landed in the country from Jersey (you should have heard how he pronounces “Jersey”). This time I took him to Havana in Westlands and he kept asking the deejay to play some song by T-Pain. I wasn’t that acquainted to T-Pain at that time because he was new-ish in the scene and I’m not exactly hot for that genre of music. You should have seen how after harassing the deejay he would come back to the seat complaining how the deejay wasn’t with it because he didn’t have a particular song by T-Pain. And so the whole whole night it was T-Pain this, T-Pain that. What a royal pain!

And guys, if you are going to have the deejay play your favourite jams at least buy him a drink, will ya? And be sure to use Kenyan Shillings, if that’s no trouble.

Then there is politics. Isn’t it flattering that every guy in diaspora has a solution to our political problems? And this is only because, I suspect, they have read Obama’s “Audacity of Hope.” Guys, like Mikhail Gorbachev once said, if you really want to change things back home, you got to go back home. You just can’t change things during your tea break at Starbucks. I‘m afraid it’s a bit more complicated than that. This animal called African politics needs time and energy, not a quote from Malcolm X.

It’s not like we are sitting here allowing the politicians to shaft us without as much as dinner first. It’s not that we have become so politically numb and inept. No, we make noise. On twitter. We stoke Boniface Mwangi’s fires on Facebook then we go on Youtube to see if he survived the fracas. We have realised that the only way we can fight these politicians and their endless plunder and greed is through the mighty power of Retweet! So don’t judge us, not until you walk 140 characters in our tweets.

I’m overeating? Just look at the Facebook pages of Kenyans in diaspora, with their breathless streams of political consciousness, tinged with Machiavellian teachings hoping that will change the political panorama. They won’t, guys. Because politicians don’t read. And the few who do don’t care. Your tweets will drown in the churning sea of social media melee, never to be seen by them. And their social media tools are managed by busybodies that only retweet comments that favour them. And so the most they can do, in response to your Facebook updates is to poke you. And you don’t want a politician poking you, trust me. And if you don’t believe me, ask…

And why are you guys shocked at poverty in Kenya? Poverty is the same as you left it. Poverty is still spelled the same way you left it. This is Africa; some folk eat only one meal, yes, even here in the city. And they aren’t on a diet; they just can’t afford to eat square meals. Fast food? Do you know that KFC is a luxury back here? Yes, back here it’s the hoity-toity who throng there, with their iPhones and their monstrous Guci shades coifed in Gussii-land. Poverty is part of this social fabric, even the middle-class are poor, only their poverty is the worse kind.

You know what we secretly laugh at behind your backs, dear Diasporas? When you come visiting and you tell us smugly, “ You know, back at home…” Back at home? Excuse us. United States of America is not your home, son! Your home is Nyansore, South Mugirango. Isn’t that where the remains of your dear mother lies? I’m sorry, was your grumps buried in Brookhaven, Atlanta? You are called Moguche, how many native Londoners are called Moguche? And please don’t ever say “you Kenyans,” That’s just racist.

And here is one of my favourites. I had this retarded conversation one day with some diaspora.

Kenyan from Texas (KT): Biko, I want to go to the Barclays in Loita Street, is it safe?

Me: What is safe, Barclays? Yes, it is.

KT: No, I mean Loita Street.

Hehe. Did he just ask if Loita Street is safe? Tell me, how can I be so wrong about my friends?

No, I told him, Loita Street is not safe. Get police escort. Hell wear a Flak jacket

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and lower your hat to your face in case they suspect that you are a foreigner because your eyebrows are different from ours. Hire security if you can (but not G4S). Loita Street is very dangerous. People get killed there every day, especially Kenyans visiting from abroad. And don’t wear your fancy cologne; it might draw attention to yourself.

Doesn’t that just make you sad? Here is a guy who grew up in Umoja and shopped at Mutindwa scared of being mobbed in Loita Street. A guy who lived in Kenya for 27yrs – taking matatus and eating roasted maize by the roadside- before he flew out. A typical Kenyan. This is the same fellow who asks you if Loita Street is safe because he now has an iPhone 5? While odiero backpackers are fearlessly trolling downtown Nairobi this guy is debating if he should leave his damned wallet at home before venturing into town?! If he should remove his watch before going to Kimathi Street?! Do they imagine we are super humans not to get killed by the numerous, mines, IED’s and snipers outside Loita Street? Do we, as Kenyans, have a special contract with God?

One last thing. Let’s be honest. We know you aren’t as loaded as you once was. No, we do. Central Bank Of Kenya told us. The diaspora remittance to Kenya declined by 9.4 per cent in June from Ksh 9.66billion to Ksh8.75billion in May owing to inflows from North America, Kenya’s biggest source of the dollar injections. Life, indeed, is hard everywhere. If Detroit declared itself bankrupt, really, things are hairy. Europe isn’t any better financially as we speak. So no need to keep appearances. It’s unnecessary. When you come down don’t drag us to the champagne bar at Sankara and get mild dementia after one look at their menu. And don’t call Sankara thieves. They aren’t. Sankara isn’t McDonalds. Shit is expensive there.

This city has its owners, mate. They dine at the Tribe Hotel and sleep in Laikipia. They never look at the bill after their meal and they can put three actuarial science students in a room with all their money and those kids will grow beards before they finish counting that cheese. So Sankara guys aren’t stealing from you, it’s just a different pond for a different kettle of fish. Try Tamasha, they have a happy hour. Look, we are just happy you are home, we don’t care much that you can splash money because we know it wasn’t handed to you easy back there.

And one last thing. You couldn’t have schooled in Durban, South Africa and picked an American accent. It’s unfathomable and ludicrous. We can understand you having an Indian accent because Durban has the largest population of Indians outside India, but they don’t speak like Americans last time I was there. And if you came back to Kenya from abroad more than 3 years ago you can’t prefix all your statements with “When I was in the UK…” It negates everything you will say after.

I love Kenyans in diaspora because of their uncanny ability to summon amnesia. You guys forget fast. You forget so quickly where you came from. You forget how the machinery back here runs. You forget that this is motherland and no matter how broken this place is, this place still remains your place.

Yours truly,
Bikozulu.

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736 Comments
    1. Take heart Gish..five yrs ago i financially helped one of them to go to Oz..before he settled he always called me back here, but now that he is settled and has a well paying job..he went quiet, last month i thought i should call him to see if he is ok,,this is how he responded, “hello,wha’ u want?” huh,,i told him,”nilikuwa nakujulia hali” he disconected the phone and never called back. Tell ’em Biko, East or west..nyumbani ni nyumbani.

    2. We too love having y’all Kenyans come visit us in the States (plse don’t forget to insert that famous all American accent), & yes we don’t mind taking u to shop in New York or party like its 1999 in “Sin City” Vegas or party in every floor in that club in DC, but geez wheez, those are three different states very apart & far from each other & we have to fly & some states even drive for days just to get there & it costs A LOT OF MONEY. And just coz we came to the States, life didn’t just magically over night become rosy…nah! Just like y’all…life also happened to us! Hard to believe, I know. We got and changed jobs. We dated and we got married. We got kids. Most of us grew up and that came with different priorities. Life is a moving wheel. I know it might seem like we have lots of time on our hands in the States as well, not to mention dollars, but we don’t. We can get very busy between our two jobs, each parent taking time to babysit, jumping on the train & making different transfers to get to school from work while NOT facebooking, but trying to finish that assignment or studying for that quiz on train between transfers, & just like u Gish when we have one of those landing we begin to fast not just pray (coz praying alone just won’t cut it) for patience and tolerance immediately we hear of the news.

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      1. Well said, I was visiting with my kids who are very well behaved,polite and I have trained them to eat whats offered and to my surprise.Someone says” they don’t even look like they live abroad,other than the twenty
        “. How are they supposed to look?

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      2. Yes that all famous American accent gets me all the time especially the whole trying to twang while writing………..sweery instead of sweety

    3. Hello, I should finish the letter and write this few words but no. Anyway, please Kenyans, do you have some understanding of where we come from before writing things like this? I don’t but I try to.
      The reality of Martin Luther King Jr. and many other civil rights movement heroes, does it resonate to our live today? The life of sacrificing for others, for our children and our parents to live a little beat better? The man in the cold may have missed many funerals, just like Dr. King missed his presence and many other things for the life that we have today. That is bravery. Please, Kenyans abroad, be very brave, people may not know or understand what you go through, but it is worth it.
      I will read this story and finish my commend. God bless us all.

    4. We need to get over ourselves, our self reservedness and see things for what they are. I certainly would hope someone would think,(why do may people live in Mombasa and go hoe once in 3 years) and make space for other people.

    5. We have many abroad who have their goals and I applause them because, despite many obstacles, they work towards their goals. Needless to say, go Kenyans abroad….

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    6. Well, I guess this writer is mad with someone. But I know someone, a hero, who has been supplying computers from N.Y ( Ndambuki is his name)to our schools, and I don’t know about you but where I come from, many kids have seen the first computer in their school from this guy, and not to mention the other projects including afforestation that he is blessing my village with. The reality is, we may be mad of different things, like people not meeting our expectations and many other things. I’m mad because my people fetch water 2 hours away everyday in the village, my village, and that’s their normal life, now. But although they may have no hope, I know something can be done, and I am furious for that.

  1. I am reffering this to a friend in Texas.He keeps wining how we have screwed leadership here and yet I left him in form 3 in a school in Siaya in 2007.

    1. life is good up here. If you hv a problem with that, then you need to deal with it. some pple commenting here are just a bunch of jealous parasites who doestn’t even know the way to JKIA. They ridicule us in public but fill our inboxes with “woshie siunitafutie kajob huko”, “nitafutie mzungu” or “Mpesa”. Leave us alone!!!!!!!!!! When we come home for vacation, we are just there to relax not to be tormented with your problems. We also hv our own problems to deal with. Get life!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. You should have seen my face light up when i saw a brand new article from you. I love your writing and I also read your Thursday articles on Business Daily 🙂
    I have relatives in the diaspora (USA) and I know what you mean.They are not really in the US since their heart and soul is here and they obviously aren’t in Kenya. It’s a sad situation.

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  3. Whenever I come home (my vacations are always short, 1 month max) I make it known to friends that I have limited time and finances. Nonetheless, I still get complaints about feeling too proud to make enough time for people just cos I now live abroad and expectations to foot all bills for those with whom I get to spend time. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

    1. It’s the same people who criticize and in the same breath turn around and ask you to mpesa them without any shame whatsoever! I read the first few paragraphs and lost respect for the writer of this idiotic and pompous article. Unless you’ve walked at least a thousand miles (barely enough) in any Kenyan’s shoes (abroad), then you don’t have any qualifications to say shit about how they live their lives.

    2. @Mkenya, you do not need to write shit too. And have you walked those a thousand miles yourself. Besides what Biko has written does not talk about anyone’s personal life, but rather about the general behaviour, which I have personally witnessed to.

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    3. @Wambui: what so-called biko is trying to do is intimidate Kenyans living in the diaspora, by trying to generally taint their characters. They are just human like any other, including Kenyans. The same applies to some guys who live in Nairobi and never visit their rural homes… It’s the same notion. I’ve walked 1000miles (while I was a student in India), came back and I live in Kenya. Why can’t we accept gaps in our living patterns and change -for the betterment of our lives. If anything, local Kenyans should appreciate the FREE advice. Anyone would have probably taken up the chance to live abroad, and there’s a very high likelihood that they’d have behaved the same way. If something is wrong, act/change it, and if you don’t, then you are part of it.

    4. Sure. That is the part I dislike about Kenyans. We all think that the folks coming from abroad are raining dollars when most of them sacrifice a lot to be home for the holidays

  4. LOL! Biko Jackson! You have “woken up for us”? I have heard of you from some friends I used to hang out in the states kitambo in 2007, before Dubs and I’m regretful I didn’t start reading you earlier. What you have said ni ukweli. Keep up this good job it has made my day.

  5. I actually know someone who had the nerve to say”you know now i am African american” and he was actually being serious heheheh ok i just had this O_o look on my face and was thinking you left Kenya in 2007 and now all of a sudden you are African American Haiya..ok no comment
    Good one will make sure to pass this along!

    1. from online sources, whites dont care which country you’re from. all africans plus black americans are lumped into one group as africans. exception to his rule are the whites from europe. you’ll hear italian american or french american but not kenyan american or nigerian american. we all look the same to them

    2. well, your problem! I am a Kenyan-American (there is no day i will be say i am African-American) and i am glad to have dual citizenship…so deal with it you all! 🙂

  6. Hahaha this is so so true —> Just look at the Facebook pages of Kenyans in diaspora, with their breathless streams of political consciousness, tinged with Machiavellian teachings hoping that will change the political panorama. The accents never stop good lawd —> And one last thing. You couldn’t have schooled in Durban, South Africa and picked an American accent. It’s unfathomable and ludicrous. PAHAHAHA!! Tell them! Coolsome read Biko. made my week!!

    1. An idiot laughing at themselves…so we are supposed to sit back and watch a country dive deep into hell because you lot are too lazy to do anything? Lol…pathetic..this is why africans can never develop…they are too immature to take criticism

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  7. Tehehehe..As a self-appointed spokesperson for Kenyans with Amnesia, I want to say that no amount of intimidation will deter us 🙂 Ati come back home? Haiya, no offense(sp) but we do like our hot showers and this Thomas Edison’s invention called Electricity. Or was it Tesla? Never mind. Being rudely interrupted by power cuts while watching X factor is not our idea of chillaxing. And God forbid we are afraid to get robbed. Have you ever seen a Nairobian with half his trousers torn and hanging out from the pocket downwards? All for the crime of having a nice phone? I have, back in 2000, when I was in Kenya -next day, I boarded a plane out, no kidding. Who among you would risk the death of his balls? coz whoever ripped that gentlemans’ trousers near damn well came close to plucking the guys descendants with it. Like Kibaki is fond of saying, “Haina haja”. Lets also be real for a moment, pickpockets in Nairobi are more sophisticated than their counterparts in Atlanta. That’s a universal truth.
    In the meantime Biko, pack all your belongings in a small bag and flee to some place ancient, like Uyoma…hahaha…

    1. You know what we are all thinking behind your back? “McDonalds gave you that long a break? Long enough to nip into your phone and post that long comment? Wow! The supervisor must be on leave!”

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    2. A good read and a good laugh on most counts. But this?:
      “First off, please don’t whine about how nothing works in this country. Nobody wants to host a whiner. Thing is, traffic cops will control traffic at traffic lights that work. That’s just how it is. Service in eateries might not be as swift as it is in Toronto. That’s just how it is. Matatus are a law onto themselves”
      This I have a problem with- it’s the kind of resigned apathy that will relegate us to underdeveloped status for eternity.Our lethargy and acceptance of the absurd and the outrageous is legendary.We could use some whiners with a fresh eye and alternative experiences to help us snap out of our pathetic comfort with the substandard.

    3. Benjaps for president 😀

      Diaspora people with or without electricity disruptions,your home is your home,You CANNOT run forever!!

      1. Memo to Diaspora: Leave Kenyans alone. They have their own live to deal with. You do not live in Kenya.

        Memo to Kenyans: Live Diaspora alone. They have their owns lives to deal with. You do not live in diaspora.

        Everybody stay in your lane. Mind your own business. Where you are is where God put you. It is okay.

    4. Run Odhiambo run, that geezer Ronald’s calling out for you to change his diapers as you write down bull. Might miss out on that 5 dollar bill son.

    5. Mr Odhiambo, you could come back home and make your own hot shower work! I live in the diaspora and hope to make some changes there for the others to experience the same sooner than later. You sound like a mental retard and you need serious help!

    6. i think that this article comes from a mentality that is quite similar to those who profile people by race, color, ethnicity and so on….maybe some people do go overboard but that doesn’t speak for all of us in the diaspora. i can understand someone asking if it is safe to go to a certain area, if a travel, my safety is my priority, if i have a visitor here, there are places i would advise them not to go to due to high crime rates in those areas. yes we consider ourselves African American, i AM African with an American nationality. So before you sit on your high horse and judge, get your facts right. We are proud to be African, but excuse us if we dare come there and complain about traffic!! i am sorry but complaining is human nature, even when I am in traffic here i am complaining, there is no biased. Maybe you guys are just taking things too personal and judging from a one sided view. Get the whole picture before you judge thousands of people based on a handful of those you know. Such a shame.

    7. @Benjaps..echoed my thoughts, i was thinking nursing home. Anyhu, we could use some change true, but the whining doesn’t help. If the whiners really care about home, come make some changes, if not, get yourself permanent citizenship abroad and spare us the drama

    8. What else to say, I have witnessed a foreigner from Macedonia robbed of her wallet in Nairobi streets, I have witnessed an American from California cornered in a matatu by 5 able bodied men who slapped her, tore her bag and took away with her Mac book air plus camera. Remember these are conspicuous white fellas who are easily visible. What would they do to camouflaged one’s from the diaspora?

      You must have forgotten the fact that out there you forget about washing your clothes.

    9. ADDRESED TO ODHIAMBO…..You know what we secretly laugh at behind your backs, dear Diasporas? When you come visiting and you tell us smugly, “ You know, back at home…” Back at home? Excuse us. United States of America is not your home, son! Your home is Nyansore, South Mugirango. Isn’t that where the remains of your dear mother lies? I’m sorry, was your grumps buried in Brookhaven, Atlanta?

    10. ummm Okay I’m in the diaspora and I do not agree with this comment… so what once in a while the hot shower doesn’t work. boil water put it in a bucket and have a bath or better yet if you’re enjoying a luxurious life in the diaspora why not spend some of that money fixing up the house back home so that you have solar power and massive tanks for your hot showers…? or are you afraid that they’d be stolen as well…?
      If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem. You need to stop ostracizing yourself from your motherland and the culture you were raised in. Yes you may have security concerns when going to tao or something but so does everyone else who pandas a mat and is worried that their phone will go!
      Please get off your high horse!

    11. i think that this article comes from a mentality that is quite similar to those who profile people by race, color, ethnicity and so on….maybe some people do go overboard but that doesn’t speak for all of us in the diaspora. i can understand someone asking if it is safe to go to a certain area, if a travel, my safety is my priority, if i have a visitor here, there are places i would advise them not to go to due to high crime rates in those areas. yes we consider ourselves African American, i AM African with an American nationality. So before you sit on your high horse and judge, get your facts right. We are proud to be African, but excuse us if we dare come there and complain about traffic!! i am sorry but complaining is human nature, even when I am in traffic here i am complaining, there is no biased. Maybe you guys are just taking things too personal and judging from a one sided view. Get the whole picture before you judge thousands of people based on a handful of those you know. it’s such a shame to see such lopsided thinking.

    12. Haha! I have come to the realization that most of you wouldn’t recognize satire if it walked up to them,slapped them and then introduced itself.

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    13. Bywa, You nailed the point. Diasporans need a meausure of apathy too. I think the author gets too tight in their corner. We cant resighn ourselves to “its just the way it is”. We must push for better running of our country.. but with action not complaining. A person is a total sum of his/her experiences. Dont live a half baked life to please anyone.

    14. Might be true that ‘ golden arches’ gave you ‘that long break to nip into your fone..” in the meantime i know of some doctors, lawyers, teachers.etc dying to ‘ flee’ to the diaspora ,ati ‘ hata kama ni kuosha choo’..to quote Aiyeyaa-poa, poa(A.K.A).. ” choose kibaru that pays..kaazi…ni Kazi, “

    15. Haiya, B-Co…. You want to come out missing??
      They will hire that fellow Kinyua who ate an Oga to consume you!!
      Hahahahaaaa……
      As usual, mind-blowing, hilarious, factual articles you write.
      Give ’em some more, wajinyonge!!

    16. My friend Otis! you can have a hot shower connected for less than Ksh3000/ very affordable nowdays. Electricity reliability is much better today compared to back in 2000. Sometimes we can go for a whole year without experiencing any blackout. Things have really changed in this country.

  8. I was guilty of the comparison game but I also learnt there are things I would not trade for the world, in Kenya there is always hope that processes can be changed albeit slowly, in the UK, the weather will not change no matter how much you complain, so yes, Kenyan sunshine any day 🙂

  9. I am not surprised but someone had to say it! For me it does not add up when I see posts of you having fun n living large when your family back home is in a state…!

    1. Hadassah, i dont know how it for works for women, but for men, once you get married and have kids, they become your family number 1, then ‘mom’ number 2, then bros, sis’, uncle aunt and all other relas…so dont fault a fella for looking out for number 1 first..

    2. This is the Ignorance of thinking that Living abroads equals lots money there are guys abroad who dont have a roof on Top, its histling.

    1. A preacher also said, build your ‘treasues in heaven’, yet he’s built his ’empire’ on earth…who’s fooling whom..

  10. LOL Biko you kill it daily —>You know what we secretly laugh at behind your backs, dear Diasporas? When you come visiting and you tell us smugly, “ You know, back at home…” Back at home? Excuse us. United States of America is not your home, son! Your home is Nyansore, South Mugirango. Isn’t that where the remains of your dear mother lies? I’m sorry, was your grumps buried in Brookhaven, Atlanta? You are called Moguche, how many native Londoners are called Moguche? And please don’t ever say “you Kenyans,” That’s just racist.
    You just made my Monday!

  11. Politics here needs time and energy not a quote from Malcom X. that totally nailed it. recently a friend of mine from the states started talking crap about thika road flooding relating it to the fire at JKIA. His comment was style up, Kenya or something to that effect. Let me not say that I felt like going all nkt. that is an understatement. thanks for voicing out our thoughts for us..hopefully out there they do read. esp this blog.

  12. Haha good read.

    We are always busy in jams and in facebook..lool

    At least my relatives abroad don’t behavior this way

    1. If only we would spend as much time and energy criticizing each others command of the our individual mother tongues as we do on the English language.

      Whoever wrote this article forgot that Kenyans in the Diaspora tend to be much more conscious and proud of their race and culture than the mentally colonized and enslaved Kenyans back home

  13. you mean that guy was from Umo and the way it has been dangerous since the beginning of time. The alteration of cultures doesn’t mean you get your memory erased. People from diaspora, Kenya is the only country that has it ALL. Keyword, all.

    1. I grew up around umo, outer, buru, Sou,long before umo2, sijui tena, and all the kadhalikas came about, i dont know which “umo has always been dangerous since the beggining..” You speak of..

  14. Well said, I wish the Kenyans in diaspora would read this! I have a friend who went to Germany less than three years ago, she says she can’t come back because of the constant grenade attacks, for her Kenya is not safe enough and remember we went to kisumu girls together. And don’t get me started on how she expects everyone to drop their plans when she’s around. She even complains about traffic and she knows that outering road jam has been there even before she left. This article should be on one of their blogs where they whine about Kenya.
    And oh! can you also add that washing clothes with our hands is still hygienic? I hate it when they say that they’ll get some infection when we don’t use washing machine.

    1. Ati the constant grenade attacks, shame, I have friends who have been in a conference in Egypt for the past one week, they went because they believe in development and they love their continent. Non of them was scared. They are very safe and they’ve given me hope that one of these fine days the bloodshed in Egypt will end. Just like it stopped back home (Kenya). So to hear that your friend is scared of the constant grenade attacks is just absurd. Please remind her that once you loss touch with your culture you become a slave.

    1. I’m a proud ‘summer bunny’ ..watch me while i ‘chafua the meza’ and bed you for the night..just telling it like it is…

  15. Hehehehehe ….. You killed me with laughter you Kenyan!

    “Try Tamasha, they have happy hour” … Hehehe … They even have #Team50 when they sell select tots at 50 baab … Hehehe

  16. Once again, your writing makes my day! Well, as a Kenyan living in the UK, I dare say your analysis of ‘diasporans’ is spot on! I must add that not all are guilty of that……some of us are really grounded and in touch with reality bak home….and yes, Cambridge isn’t my home, Kenya is!

    1. Home is where YOU choose to call home. It’s up to you to make that decision…..and no-one else.
      All of us Kenyans migrated to Kenya from Egypt or Congo or wherever. Is home Cairo or Kinshasa? I don’t think so.

  17. And here I am having stayed in Jozi for a couple of years all I could bring back home was ‘Yaah Ne! What a waste of time.

    1
  18. You nailed it…I have travelled round quite abit and there is no place I would rather be – East West Home is best… With our noisy unruly matatus, add those annoying boda bodas, those kenchic ‘fatty’ chips and chicken, our good old KPLC, I wouldn’t trade them for systems that run smoothly in cold Countries with somewhat ‘coldish’ people …

    1. somewhat ‘coldish’ people . Spot on my friend. It funny how all Kenyans in the diaspora have been put in one box(out of touch box). Someone needs to write a new narrative this one has been overplayed.

  19. This —> “..It’s not like we are sitting here allowing the politicians to shaft us without as much as dinner first. It’s not that we have become so politically numb and inept. No, we make noise. On twitter. We stoke Boniface Mwangi’s fires on Facebook then we go on Youtube to see if he survived the fracas…”

    1
  20. Can someone send this to Makau Mutua Letter from New York,on the political stuff he writes about home,has the guy ever done a public video conference with any of the Kenyan news studios to show solidarity ? only yapping away on pen and paper…

    1. Then there is politics. Isn’t it flattering that every guy in diaspora has a solution to our political problems? And this is only because, I suspect, they have read Obama’s “Audacity of Hope.” Guys, like Mikhail Gorbachev once said, if you really want to change things back home, you got to go back home. You just can’t change things during your tea break at Starbucks. I‘m afraid it’s a bit more complicated than that. This animal called African politics needs time and energy, not a quote from Malcolm X. –

  21. If this is what Kenyans think about us in the diaspora, then its such a shame. Some of us come home, and leave without making a fuss. We ride in the same matatus as everyone else, and eat mutura with relish.

    Someone needs to tell the other side of the story. There are accomplished Kenyans who do not need to convince everyone they have made it.

    Also kuishi kwingi, kuona mengi. There is knowledge that comes from interacting with other cultures for extended periods. Let the Kenyans in the diaspora add their voice to National conversations.

    1
    1. True that Boss, I second you on this one. Some of us who live abroad do not fit the summer bunny bill. we dont need to prove anything to anyone, and fit right in with everyone else when we are home, you would never guess we live out “there” YesI have lived outside nearly 20 years and no; i dont have an accent and I miss roasted maize 🙂

    2. I was gone for four years, I came back and guys couldn’t believe i was taking a matatu, I meet friends in town (4months down the line) and they ask me to buy them lunch. “what did I bring from “abroad”? I was in school, and no, money doesn’t grown on trees there. I’m out here hustling for a job like everybody else. There are two sides of the story, Biko, you haven’t lived in the diaspora, and no visiting doesn’t count.so please don’t be too quick to judge.

    3. Amusing read, but I find that most of us ‘of the diaspora’ have been put in the same category. I must protest that we are all different. Others go out there and don’t come back, others go and come back with accents, others come back and are unsatisfied with the conditions, others pick up just where they left off… and so on… yes it can be annoying when some come back and think they’re better than others, but not all act like that. In response to the ‘accent thing’, for me, its just how we got the locals there to understand us better (giving presentations in uni was a nightmare because they wouldn’t understand most of what we were saying as international students, so not just kenyans but just anyone not from england). So we had to adapt, and it got easier and soon second nature…. and yes there are also those wannabe’s who force the accent (yet they’re fresh off the boat) and go on and on about being abroad. So I get where Biko and others are coming from, but we’re not all the same.

    4. I may be British and yes originally from Kenya and having lived in the UK for over 15yrs, my accent changed just as much as my citizenship. I still acknowledge Kenya as my motherland but I dont live there. Obviously things have changed and I have changed, you dont expect my accent not to change after living in a different environment for so long. Would I have been in Mombasa, I would have a coastal swahili accent, but at that no one would penalise and judge me because Mombasa is in Kenya. You live in Germany or Iceland, their national language is german and Icelandic most of them do not speak english. So you live there for 10yrs and over and someone expects your english to remain the same? Remember english is/wasnt’ my mother tongue, I learnt it too in school. Obviously there are so many things that life abroad offers that I cannot compare to Kenya, and if they bother and I have to whine why not? Dont you whine in your village Biko? I also whine at things here in the UK, so spare us your long oratory judgements on a 6or less than visit visa and give people wrong info. The lastime I checked this is a free world, one can live anywhere they choose to, speak whatever language in whatever accent they want so if you feel comfy without whinning at the traffic along jogoo road as it may be something you have gotten used to, I may not be comfortable. I queu to get into a bus and no one snatches my wallet or handbag in the process unlike back home. We must glorify vices in the name of being Kenyan, some of these practises we must shun and learn to make better from experiences borrowed from other cultures. …(Diversity) so what of the chinese, japanese who live in the UK and USA and their accent change with time? Yes there are indians and if they have lived here for a while there accents change, this shows your inknowledgeable experience during your visit to the UK. My daughter of 13yrs has been in the UK for the last 4yrs since she was 9 and her accent is nothing like she left Kenya, her swahili is crap at the moment. So hell to the NO, spare us the crap of Diasporans coming to change Kenya, we came here to search for a better life and do the little we can to help our families. Kenya cannot save itself so and neither can the rest of Kenyans living there do much to change anything. Let live and live with whatever makes each of us comfortable but do not drum negativities into people’s ears about life abroad. What are the positives? If life abroad is not for you Biko, may not be the same for everyone else.

    5. And if one say, felt the need to ‘prove a point’, who is one to tell them not to..i as a kenyan are not accountable to the other..like we used to say, ” wewe nani amekuzuia”.. Granted ‘Biko’ is an author-they and artists, philosophers..etc , shape the culture, keep culture ‘in-check’,but that this made it to ‘print’ , leads me to believe that some ‘kenyans’ do have a lot of time in their hands..

  22. Eish..mkubwa! Umewatandika na kiboko kweli kweli. “Boka rao!” they call it in Kendu Bay. I am yet to meet a diasporan who has picked up an indian or Chinese accent…why doesn’t that happen?

    1. me go speak to you like its nin hao on thika road, then quickly switch to a serius gujuratified english accent and before the very thika road floods imma bid you farewell in wariahe speak and by the time u say pardon me..i shashamane it fi ya……it can be done, it has been done -Shrug

      they are just languages PEOPLE! STOP getting offended when kenyan natives acquire new ways fi talk… and if you have to, then hate on the Bara people who live in the coast so long they speak pure swahili like them grew up there..Think Ann Ngugi( KTN SWahili newscaster)

      1
    2. I speak Hindi ……..so what?. I remember my days as a student in India well. How people back home would make Fun of my Indian accent every Year I came home for Summer breaks. At the same time expected …… rather, demanded a treat or a gift from a ……. student. Now having lived in Germany for 12 years, dont blame nor laugh at my German accent. Dont blame me when I complain about corruption, water shortage, power cuts, traffic, air & noise pollution. Its wrong to say, thats the way it is. Dont expect us to bring change nor take it for granted, our rocks are meant to feed family back home. When you visit us abroad, we take leave from work to be with you, we clear the kids room for you, we hire a vehicle to show you around, we take you shopping, wo buy your meals and send you off with gifts for everyone including the neigbour’s tots. When we come home, we come to relax from the long, dark winter chills, to enjoy the weather, food and spend time with family and friends. And not to be ripped off from family, friends & strangers.

    3. I meant to say satire (at least there are no grammar nazis around). As for Koko,….I sympathise with you and how you view yourself as the typically stereotyped diasporan. This was not meant to be a piece to pick up a fight with, but clearly it shows how pent up emotions are for many folks who found an avenue to spew their frustrations and intolerance.
      Mimi ni mtu wa ku-enjoy satire, sarcasm and all pieces with irony twisted in it. If you cannot spot a joke and light note….pole ndugu!
      Peace!

      1
  23. Well written and the truth is well spoken. This is how Kenya works. Wish the diaspora folks would be honest enough and admit that life overseas is not a bed of roses. The weather sucks, you’re ‘black’ in most places and the pressure man, the pressure to come back home loaded. Not forgetting how many dream of coming home..

    1. Give us a break already the americans dont want us in there country and fellow kenyans dont understand us,we are rediculed by the mzungu for our kenyan accent,you think you speak english but when you get here they think you are speaking a foreign language hence the tweng

    2. Please I hate it here am only here coz I was jobless back home but I can work and support my family,they think am illetrate coz I come from africa they think we run around kenya and they dont understand my english coz of my kenyan accent! What bloody accent.

    3. They say if you go to Rome you do what the Romans do. Its amazing how we in the Diaspora are judged by our fellow Kenyans. Have a look at this Scenario. You plan to meet one of your friends back home when on Holidays,they Show up hours later, but you are not allowed to complain, otherwise watasema unaringa.As a Diasporas if you are home People expect you to be loaded, maybe they think pesa zinaokotwa huku,mara they want this mara that. On the other Hand if you decide to splash your Money the way Biko has put it, we become criticized ati tunajionyesha,and tunaambiwa they know life is not a bed of roses huku but if you tell them the same wanasema ati unadanganya.I mean guys get serious.About the Accent Thing si kitu ya kujiwekelea.Just as someone said we acquire accents to be understood by the natives and after a period of years it becomes normal and automatic to speak like that. I remember my first years living in the UK,after expressing myself in English the Kenyan way, One of my lectures was like“that Accent will get you nowhere“And no I don’t work at McD or Change Peoples diapers, so haters spare me.Finally These fellow Kenyans hating on us are the very same ones ukienda home wanakushow vile uwa unganishie Job hapa majuu and here they are pretending and dissing.

    4. ‘Bed of roses in deed..’ Only the other day some kenyan went bananas- couldnt be served..what …pasties?..@ Prisca, heri those ones asking for jobs..some that i come across-even married ones go like ‘huwezi nitafutia kamzungu hapo?’..as if they had heard i run a ka-pimping biz…also the number of Kenyans selling their biznas ati to go abroad is unbelievable,case in point- check olx.. Me thinks when visa and ‘papers’ all thro’ bitterness is inevitable…

  24. Shared this with my sister abroad. Cant wait for her response. However, you forget the part where they come back from waitering at McDonald’s and we descend upon them with delirious requests for handouts.

    1. I don`t see no problem working at McD. It pays her school fees, pays her bills and helps put food on the table and not forgetting Mpesaring her hard earned money to relatives who sit their lazy arses waiting for Manna to fall from the Diaspora.

  25. absolutely amazing letter. I love it. Its funny and has so much truth to it is unbelievable! Especially that part about them forgetting where they came from.. such a shame.

  26. Can’t stop laughing. This relates to so many people I know. A friend of mine went to Australia, came back to visit and proudly declared that she is no longer a Kenyan! Poor soul.

    1. What is wrong with her not being Kenyan? I naturalised as British so yes am British originally from Kenya. Dual Citizenship ringing a bell????????of course if you had a chance to change a few things in your life you would be, who would not?

  27. It seems that Kenyans in the diaspora are more versed with what goes on in Kenya than in their host countries and seem to comment only in their home blogs. Don’t they socialize with non-Kenyans and the people they live and work with out there? The politics of their host country should be of more importance as they affect them more. For some their friends are only from their tribe and they even attend Kikuyu church services in the US. Despite their global travel they still live in their tribal cocoons and do not learn or appreciate any new cultures or make new friends. How sad.

    1. Maybe that’s practiced by people from specific ethnic origins. But generally speaking, one needs to embrace the cultures of where they mostly reside (US, Kenya, Australia… name it). But that shouldn’t deter me from commenting and/or complaining about what’s not working – in my country of origin. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t, and if I’m concerned,
      then I’ll to complain – and I shouldn’t relent until it’s works right! I’ve lived in Kenya most of my life, and the last time I was outside was like 15yrs back. But I think it’s unfair for diaspora guyz to be attacked. I believe everyone would probably behave the same – if given an opportunity to live abroad….

  28. I like this guy…rather this guy’s writing; and No- I am not gay!
    Whenever i read through his lines, it feels like a wave of joy has invaded my vessels. It tickles my creative juices,to the extent that I feel sufficiently motivated to put two or so lines of my own. Keep cheering us man

  29. Amusing. I have lived in the diaspora for the last 8 years.

    Yes, there is lots truth in what you are saying but I can definitely read arrogance because people in the diaspora are not sheep to be put into the same pen…but all the same a good read.

    When I come home and I do come twice a year – I barely have to ask anyone if Loita street is safe – my family and cattle in Kajiado takes most of my time.

    Nothing much has changed in Nairobi streets – I can still find my way to the pubs, banks and offices. I even feel safer in Nairobi. Friends tend to move on quick – so I stopped bothering to catch up for a drink – that’s just reality. What brings be back is family.

    Traffic – I used to get the same in Los Angeles and now in Johannesburg. The motorcycle does wonders. Biko, buy one for yourself and save time instead of those hours on traffic.

    About dollars and accents – I agree. Some guys can be real idiots – as if they have landed from the moon. If they behave like that in Kenya, they do the same in North America.

    I would defend the accent thing though – people learn to survive – you learn to speak Americanese so that can get a job. How can you do a call centre job in America with a Kikuyu or Luo accent or any customer service job? Biko, wacha zako. Even your radio and TV presenters are all over the country with foreign accents.

    I must stop because it is getting too long!

    1. JK,totally agree with you,had to change my accent,first in Johannesburg, and again in Sydney Australia to be able to communicate effectively with locals,otherwise they will not understand a word you are saying. On traffic jams,i must admit also used to get slow at times but lets face it, dry taps and power outages are rare in SA and Australia..and if it happens you will have been warned weeks in advance..and of course i cant forget our unreliable meteorological department,in SA and Australia you get weather forecasts to shocking accuracies,how i wish we had such in Kenya,then our agricultural production would triple..and hey,some of us dnt bother with Nairobi when we are back in Kenya,and if we do then we drink from local joints,eat mutura in Umoja..generally avoid anything that reminds me of overseas life…but i have noticed ‘summer bunnies’ are different,we have the educated ones,those ones who earn good monies abroad and dont have time to show off while back in Kenya…and then we have those ones doing three manual jobs..

    2. ”Even your radio and TV presenters are all over the country with foreign accents”.

      Key word here is ”YOUR”…there it goes again eeh! Embrace your country my friend.

      Biko, well said!

  30. I have a friend who went to the same primary school as i did. This person recently posted: ” I am glad the Jubilee government is ruling well back home, all the new roads will ensure more food for Kenyans.” .. i was pissed…maybe its the same guy who asked you if Loita street is safe!!!!

  31. Amusing. I have lived in the diaspora for the last 8 years.

    Yes, there is lots truth in what you are saying but I can definitely read arrogance because people in the diaspora are not sheep to be put into the same pen…but all the same a good read.

    When I come home and I do come twice a year – I barely have to ask anyone if Loita street is safe – my family and cattle in Kajiado takes most of my time.

    Nothing much has changed in Nairobi streets – I can still find my way to the pubs, banks and offices. I even feel safer in Nairobi. Friends tend to move on quick – so I stopped bothering to catch up for a drink – that’s just reality. What brings be back is family.

    Traffic – I used to get the same in Los Angeles and now in Johannesburg. The motorcycle does wonders. Biko, buy one for yourself and save time instead of those hours on traffic.

    About dollars and accents – I agree. Some guys can be real idiots – as if they have landed from the moon. If they behave like that in Kenya, they do the same in North America.

    I would defend the accent thing though – people learn to survive – you learn to speak Americanese so that can get a job. How can you do a call centre job in America with a Kikuyu or Luo accent or any customer service job? Biko, wacha zako. Even your radio and TV presenters are all over the country with foreign accents.

    I must stop because it is getting too long!

    1. I have to agree with you about the accent issue. You definitely need to change, or at least soften it/tone down to get anywhere job/career-wise. People treat you differently when you ‘sound different’- I see it almost everyday.

  32. You killed it Biko! That mischievous grin on my face, guys at work keep peeping at my screen. They wonder why am too charged for a Monday!

  33. This needed to be said…!!!

    Lol 🙂 Also is Loita Street safe? Hahaha “And don’t wear your fancy cologne; it might draw attention to yourself.”

    Great read.

  34. There’s no doubt you have had many interactions with diaspoarians coz u definitely hit all the right spots and in a very hilarious way. However even as I acknowledge that this is a blog not the NY Times, your comments refuse to look at whether there is any merit in some of the things that diasporians point out. It always tickles me how touchy Kenyans are when their country is criticized and are very content in the fact that Kenya is better than Uganda and Tanzania. However, the fact still remains that customer service is shitty and Kenyans very much contribute to their political problems by restricting themselves to making jokes on twitter and facebook. Just my 2 cents

    1. As much as Kenyans have contributed to their plight, don’t make nonsensical comparisons. How old is civilisation in Kenya compared to the US, China or India. Pause and ask yourself why stuff works in the west and not in Kenya and give us the answers to implement.

    2. David, stuff works because people want it to work and make it work! That’s all. But if you are proud of the matatus being a law unto themselves and all other types of nonsense, then nothing will work. And please, stop the self-defeating and tired excuse of the age of civilizations. We do not need 200+ years to appreciate basic tenets of decency and the rule of law.

    3. It always tickles me how touchy Kenyans are !! Musa we ni mkenya?! If you are Could you just come back and make those changes you think need to be made…..

  35. Good observation. However its one sided and makes many assumptions.

    1) First, you need to know that the only views we get of kenya, are what we are to find on line as that is the only contact we have with home. So if i watch citizen, nation, star, ktn online and all i see is crime reports and bad politics, that is the impression you get. and trust me they have a habit of making it look like the whole of kenya is falling apart.
    2) Its interesting you note that kenyans are struggling abroad coz of the reduced remmittances, however not every one shares your views. If for any reason we have not visited hoem for donkey years, its because we are constantly sending money to maintain our folks back home, who never appreciate the kind of humiliation we go through to send those littel sums we send. If we send money, atleast a thank you would be appreciated, but it never ends, its always, i want an iphone 5, samsung galaxy 4, i need money to start a business etc etc. no one ever asks how we are, no one ever wonders that if maybe we didnt send that money back home then maybe we would be able to visit kenya frequently and not loose touch with the reality of local life.
    Thirdly, Britain once ruled the world, because, whenever they travelled across continents, they brought back with them ideas, and adopted them. For once, dont you think that diasporans solution may actually work? or do you think they actually speak from their arses? My advice open your minds, and listen to them, they probably do have a point. as for the DJ guy, why couldnt he have just told the diasporan, that he hasnt heard about T-Pain? what is wrong in admitiing that you dont know someone rather than trying to give the impression you know when you dont know?
    as for the diasporan knowing that things have changed, fair enough, its always a shgock whern you find people have moved on, however, you guys are guilty of a show off malaise as i call it. every one wants to show the diasporan how well they are doing, busy trying to show off their cars, houses, money, buying drinks like its the end of the world. we have our own money and can buy our own drinks, we have seen all that materialism, its not knew to us. all we want is to spend time with you and talk about the old good days when we had nothing. so stop looking at things froma narrrow minded view, and for once appreciate that however different we are, we are still kenyans and should work together for the prosperity of our country.

    1. Love your comment, hauehuaheua they blame peopkle but truth be told from the minute you land there is a list of people with the most outrageous demands following you around and woe be unto you ukikataa kuwasaidia ….. hahahahah things have changed in kenya and people there are now sooo rich some of them earn double what I earn and work half of what I work yet I am still the bad one when I ignore the endless stream of Mpesa me this much messages

    2. “Thirdly, Britain once ruled the world, because, whenever they travelled across continents, they brought back with them ideas, and adopted them. For once, don’t you think that diasporans solution may actually work? or do you think they actually speak from their arses? My advice open your minds, and listen to them, they probably do have a point. ”

      While your comment has very solid points any Kenyan from the diaspora who only complains that things don’t work and makes comparisons is no different from the average Kenyan who only makes noise on social media or in social gatherings but takes no initiative to change things in this country.

      A round of applause for every Kenyan who has lived in the diaspora and come back home and done something, however small, to contribute to the positive development of our country with the knowledge and insight they gained from living in developed economies.

    3. Great point, and finally bringing it to a full circle. There is always another perspective. If the one you have is not serving you in the way you’d like, then change it – or at least acknowledge that it can be changed.

  36. Like it or not we shall have to find a middle ground. Yes people at home have changed; people abroad have changed too. The problem is when people abroad or at home claim to know more. People abroad are also tired of conversations involving money. Every time one calls home to say hi, the conversation ends up in money. Can’t we just say hi and appreciate those abroad as people and not banks? Hateful articles are not going to change anything. All we need is a little bit of tolerance from both sides

  37. Brilliant piece!! Of Kenyans who hail from Nyansore, South Mugirango, schooled in Durban, picked an American accent, and are worried about safety along Loita Street. “You Kenyans” in the diaspora are just a special lot

  38. Have been guilty of some of these wrongs as put above BUT as someoene else said up there, after a few years there are some things that you would never trade for anything…….I LOVE KENYA WITH ALL MY HEART AND WILL ALWAYS LOVE KENYA. and no matter what is wrong with it it will always be my Home, BUT where I live now has also become a second home and there are things here I wouldn´t trade for the world ……..

    anyways we Diasporiana are guilty of a lot of sins ………. Mimi sina kwetu niwacheni na Amani, because after years of thinking I was from there I discovered even my grandparents were immigrants from somewhere else ……………..

    hata sijui nlikuwa nasema nini ……

    wacha nikauze KFC as mwingine saifd hahahahahhahaha

  39. middle ground has a point here.. this coin has two sides…i dont like the loita street side coz eh, i dont have an oblong coin( what happen to the shillingi tano coin..the real kobole..i hazard a guess here, kobole means oblong mayherps?

    any hoo, a bit of tolerance from all fronts..and now biko an article on kenyan news casters and how they copy and paste from cnn/sky/nbc albeit without the natural smoothness of native speakers of a language, any language( the swahili is done very well though..dont player hate on that !

  40. Biko,
    You will never understand us until you walk in our shoes. Just like we will never understand you guys who never left Kenya and built your lives hapo. Our reference points and experiences are different. If you walked in our shoes and stayed abroad for those 11 years and read those daily bizarre Kenyan news stories of demonic cats dodging nine bullets while the entire neighborhood watches, Al shabaab bombs going off twaff even on Moi Avenue, police pickpockets on Thika hwy, and WHOLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BURNING DOWN (WTF?) trust me you too would be asking if Loita Street is safe.

    1
    1. Wellsaid Oldie,on point. Evrything changes with time, even the Kenyans at home have changed why not the ones in Diaspora. If I could count how many friends on fb I went to school with in primary,secondary,and University who got no jobs. You try to evade replying to their messages or calling as every call ends in asking for cash to do this and that like we pluck them from trees here abroad. If Kenya was that superb to the life we live here, they would never be asking for money, they would never be asking us for ways on how to come abroad.

  41. Hehe, Biko, it is Nyasore, there is no n and it is not in South Mugirango. Good read though. This is one debate I would really love to watch unfold;Kenyans in the diaspora and Kenyans wenyewe (wenye wako Kenya). For once, it wont be about some tribe and some tribe. Keep up.

    1. Its absolute utter rubbish. It is one man’s opnion. I call where my heart tells me to call -home . It rills me when people think I am too a fancy to speak swahili, I never spoke swahili since I could speak so why should i try to please someone just to show that I am grounded to my roots.as for checking if I can get robbed on whatever street…yes I will ask. Anyone visitor to a certain contry will ask. Kenyan should travel more often and stop being so shallow by judging other. In short everything changes- WHEN IN ROME ACT LIKE ROMANS. Foutsek!!

  42. Biko i am your number 1 fan but today……..Rovin Maa and Mzee Kobe have said it all. For crying out loud ofcourse I will pick up an accent. Don’t we usually say when you go to Rome, do as the Romans do? Besides its not fun having to repeat yourself coz half the class/workplace does not understand what you are saying in your “african accent”. Accent=survival.

    Talking about politics in Kenya, I am in a political science class so i have to keep up with politics at home. What Kenyan media regurgitate to us is very limited information so yes I will call home very often to ask for more accurate information. Besides its not interesting that I have to defend my country here and on the other hand Kenyans are just criticizing me.

    My apologies for the summer bunnies behavior but i have no apologies for being a Kenyan abroad. I still speak and teach Kiswahili, Kikuyu, Luhya and Maasai. First thing I do when I get home is go to shags and have a home cooked meal with family. BTW we would appreciate a phone call/ skype from home every now and then that has nothing to do with money. It gets lonely out here. Lets not criticize but appreciate.

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  43. This type of blanket condemnation is the bane of Kenyan problems , it is merely another form of “ism” only that now the object of hate is the tribe called diaspora.I came back to Kenya after 10yrs and it was mostly because of reasons beyond my control , to make fun of someone who was not able to bury their parent is beneath low.When I was home many were suprised how my sheng was good and none could even tell that I had lived outside for that long , my dress code was very modest and was quite impressed with the way kenyans shine.Bikos lamentation represents manys true feelings about the diaspora , it is a thinly vieled jealousy and envy the same guy who is ranting diaspora this , diaspora that will be the first to catch a plane as soon as he wins a green card so he can start making the green.Let us face it , Kenya is an unequal society and the class system shuts the door for so many people out here you get a shot in life all you need is confidence and willingness to reach the apple so Biko you are welcome to America when you eventualy get that elusive visa , you are even welcome to sleep on my couch untill you buy that dream mansion.

  44. Great article, it reminds me of some pals who used to come every summer.

    The same can be applied to guys who come to Nairobi after growing up in shags. Get an accent, change attitude, look down on folk they left back home. As a matter of fact, this could be a whole article on its own

  45. its uncanny how all our friends who have flown out come back and behave in the same way. this article is accurate down to how they expect you to be in the same spot they left you and having as much time as you had back then.
    good read.

    1. Uongo! There are many of us who are more reasonable than this article suggests. Some of you took it too seriously- like someone was voicing something that’s been bugging you and you had no guts or wit to express it. But I think (or hope) it was just written tongue-in-cheek. Just laugh it off and stop acting like your hero just stood up for you… In the diaspora or not we continue being Kenyans. And yes, our sojourn in other cultures will impact and change our perspectives in many ways- deal with it! We make no apologies for ourselves. Neither do we need to be like you or think like you or accomodate your limited point of view.

    2. 1. They don’t all behave in the same way.
      2. This is not accurate, because it does not recognise 1. and although amusing, is highly one sided.
      3. Some of us come back excited to see the growth of our country and our friends…. so…. refer to 1.

  46. This article is simply brilliant!!! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Been having this conversation with my friends at home all the time when they ask me how come I haven’t become all ‘bourgeois’ like everyone else who goes abroad be it for school or work.
    Well the simple answer to that is because I am Kenyan, always have been, always will be. I have lived in the US for four years now and I come home once a year during my summer breaks. The Kenyans in diaspora I have come to know around America n Canada would always look down upon my travelling back home as if I’m heading back to some kind of prison, saying why would u want to go back to having water problems, power problems, riding matatus and to the filthiness of Nairobi. It’s not safe there and Kenyans party too much n never work blah blah blah… N yes, they did say Kenyans as if they too are not Kenyan so I’m glad u pointed that out.. Living in a different country should not change who you are, it should actually make you an even stronger Kenyan at that. I have a friend who told me she doesn’t go home because she feels she can’t relate to Kenya anymore. She can’t relate to the people aka her friends that she has known since childhood.. WTH?? That really baffles me because she has only been abroad for 4 yrs, just like me. This was two years in when she said this, yet she used to be the most down to earth person I know. She is even thinking of becoming a full citizen of the country she is in now, n luckily for her she won’t have to disown her Kenyan passport but I’m sure if she had to choose, she would have dropped it in a heartbeat.
    I am not a major fan of life abroad, I came here to study and now that I’m done I’m just fulfilling my life’s dream of wanting to travel the world. I love home and will be relocating back there this December:) I agree with you about the ridiculous behaviour of certain Kenyans in diaspora but as someone has said so above, not all of us have turned a blind eye to our country. Some of us are still well grounded and keep up with it everyday.
    Once again, brilliant piece Biko, glad u brought this to light.

    1. Nothing was brought about here other than stereotyping. And four years is not that long, no one I know considers Kenya a prison. Good on you that you can afford to go home often, some of us cant afford it, have established roots etc.
      Just bloody get of your high horses.

    2. Khadija, as I said.. NOT EVERYONE is like that. Some of the Kenyans I have met during my time here and some I knew from before who came here around the same time as I did are the ones I say have the negative look towards home. I did not say it was EVERY SINGLE KENYAN in the diaspora. And I, just like you, work extremely hard here and one of the reasons I work a lot is to save for my trips back home. I told myself I would go back every year and nothing will stop that routine as that is the only time I get to see my family and friends. You may have established roots here but some of us still have roots back home that we would like to remain tied to.
      I did not say four years is a long time, in fact I mentioned me being here for ONLY four years as opposed to most people who have been here much longer. I am glad you feel at home here and have established a foundation here, though that isn’t the same for some of us. You are lucky enough not to have met those type of kenyans but I have and it saddens me that they have such a negative look towards our country. Anyway to each his own, this was just my 2 cents on the matter and that was yours. No disrespect at all.

    3. Is your return home “voluntary”? ha ha ha. Most returnees go home for good because they do not have papers and their visas are expiring so of course they will justify how much of a paradise Kenya is because they do not have a choice! Good luck in that tribalism and dust infested pit named Kenya!!

    4. It is voluntary, Im blessed to have that choice and I choose to go home. I don’t need to justify it for you or anyone else. like I said, I want to travel the world, experience a multitude of different cultures and continue enriching myself with knowledge from all over and so I will be diasporan for quite some time, in the end though, I know where I want to settle and that’s back home in Kenya.

      Thank you for your wishes and good luck to you too, wherever you are.

  47. i know someone i want to tell this so bad her conduct when she came back to Kenya after 6 years was astounding to say the least.

  48. You have caught attention of many but forgotten that not all fall in this class…..we got the down to earth who even dont announce their coming,easy to be with,come down all the way to mashambani,enjoy bolied maize and the evening walks in the tea plantations and so on….in ur next article plz highlight on his as well…only that way it will look unbiased

  49. Haha. This made my evening. Glad I visited. Cheers and rock on Biko! I haf a twendi dorra bill in my pocket…does that make me diasporan too? Haha. Thanks for the laugh.

  50. Very one sided post. A few things I thought I’d mention.

    1. Saying “you Kenyans” isn’t racist at all. Racism is based on race. I believe Kenya is a multi-racial country and saying “you Kenyans” isn’t really racist. It’s insulting yes, but not racism.

    2. I believe there is a huge population of dutch people in South Africa and I’ve met quite a couple of dutch people that sound kinda American.

    3. I’ve lived in Kenya for about 20 years and have only been in town a number of times. Don’t know some street names/buildings and so on. So if I ask if a street I’ve never heard of is safe, it’s a pretty logical question. I do the same thing about towns/cities I’ve never heard of in other countries too. So don’t jump into conclusions making general statements.

    4. When someone complains about service in a restaurant or something else for instance. It is because they are obviously used to living differently. They will adjust to life in Kenya when they get back, so just give them time. It also isn’t just how Kenya is when you say, poverty is the same as it was 10 years ago. Should there be no development? Are you disillusioned? There’s a sense of acceptance of the status quo I sense in this post. You mention Kenya has some level of poverty, so should the situation remain the same because this is Kenya? You see that person living in the diaspora has lived a different life and he wants to come back to a country like the one he/she lived in. It’s obviously not going to happen overnight but that urge to want to better your home is where it begins. Dreams are great, dreams turn into visions are great for a developing country. While some ideas of how Kenya can benefit politically may not really apply, some could.
    While some people may be gloating, not everyone gloats as you think. Open your eyes and don’t generalise.

    1. You nailed it my man. I went back home, with a business idea copied from a company in the states. met up with one of my childhood buddies who was into IT business for over 10 years, seeking his advice on how i can establish my business idea and if he was interested we could join hands. He dismissed the idea outright, calling me an ignorant Diasporan, and that i should keep those american ideas in America as they would never work in kenya, and that he has over 10 years experience in the IT industry of kenya and people have tried my idea and failed miserably. He also stated that Diasporans think they know yet they know nothing. Must admit i was shocked at the hostility. So i approached an ex diasporan who we once shared a house with back in our university days. He embraced the idea and we set the ball running. My mate still is in shock how the idea worked and now the bizna is doing better than his. I sometimes think all this hostility to the kenyan diasporan is to do with an inferiority complex, with some people back home i.e the DJ who could not admit he has never heard of T-Pain. same way their are some diasporans who to cover up for their inferiority complex will insist on drinking coke, as water is dangerous, eating cake as ugali will mess their tummy, Hiring a car coz matatus are expensive etc etc

  51. This is a slighlty irritating article from a very narrow minded individual who aims to entertain a particular audience by insulting a particular people (the Kenyan in Diaspora).

    We are all individual and have our own character traits, just because you have a friend abroad who behaves like a little shit whenever he/she visits doesn’t give you the right to say all Kenyans in diaspora are arses.

    Britain is home for me now, not Kenya, my mother died and is burried in Kenya. she worked so hard to educate, feed and house my brother and I with very little income. From this, I learnt how to be extremely hard working, focused, tenacious and ambitious. I moved here against all odds, like growing up in the poor side of eastlands. My mother, rest her soul in peace, tried to move us abroad a few times when we were little, to improve our quality of life, she did not succeed, but after her death, her sons did manage to move abroad (making her proud am sure), I am sure, my mum would not want me to come back to Kenya to suffer with unemployement and poverty (yes I was unemployed for the 6 yrs between finishing high school and moving abroad) just because that is where she is burried. She, unlike our writter here, had realistic expectations, through life and am sure after life as well.

    I started off in UK washing cars, managed to get into the Armed Forces, worked my way up in the forces from a private infantry soldier to a dentaly qualified non commisioned officer (so we do not all work in McDonalds and we are not financialy struggling) we just dont fucking appreciate sending money home to some bum sitting on their ass waiting for manner to fall down from heaven or western union. Mali yangu ni yangu, so screw the idea that the figures from central bank are an indicator that our pockets are running dry.

    I have been ‘home’ recently, last year, and the year before and the year before, I always use public transport and walk the streets. While doing this, I am always vigilant of my wallet and phone, like every kenyan and actually every individual in every country does (surprise dumb ass, no one likes being robbed)I do meet up with my true friends, only when they are free, the rest of the time, I do my own stuff and no, I dont take the boys for drinks, I dont believe in that crap, I wake up at 0530, go for a 10KM run, get ready for work, be at work for 0800, work through to 1730 then head home, there is no way after all that, I am coming to take you out for drinks with my hard earned money (I dont expect you to take me out when you decide to visit me here one day). The only thing that marred my last trip, was a makanga trying to charge me more because he thought I wasnt that with it. Nimezaliwa eastlands na change alinirudishia.

    Forgive the french in my article, but to be quite honest, you have judged a very large group of people due to a few misbehaving individuals, which is quite sad, as I do not go around saying Kenyans are parasites and thieves because I got car jacked along jogoo road 7 years ago. I instead, sell my country to all who want to visit, work hard and give Kenyans a good name here and try to live my life the best I can for my family, and if it means setting my home here and planning to live here for the rest of my life, so be it. When I have children, I do not want them to experience poverty as I did, God bless my mother, she did the best for my brother and I, she gave us all she could, and she would expect nothing less of me for my own children.

    1. @Andenyi & Nawate…. YES indeed it was addressed to him and all of us “kenyans in abroad” so he has every right to make a comment and speak his mind.

      WELL DONE… Joe.. I concur!

      And may your Mom RIP, and yes she would be proud.

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  52. I don’t spit entertaining English like you do. I must say not only was I humbled by the truth in your article, but also found it quite entertaining. Your writing is amazingly entertaining, informative, positively criticizing, eye opening and of course full of truth. I am now your new fun, if only I can pick up a few of your skills as well..:)!

    1. Sure, every other narrow-minded Kenyan would certainly fall for this. I live in Kenya, and am a Kenyan. One must have starting living positively, with an open-minded foresight especially after High School. Sorry for those who didn’t, and still don’t. Everything has pros and cons. Consider slavery: a good number of Africans have the idea that they were colonized and stolen from. That now they are independent. I totally disagree with this. I believe most Africans are suffering more than ever, with their ‘independence’ which is ‘in-dependence’. Why? Cause or so-called ‘leaders’ are ruining our economies more than the colonizers did. Point: Learn from your past. If one criticizes your way of doing things, think about it critically, re-think, n do the right thing. Don’t look at the source of criticism. Take it positively and improve you lifestyle. If anything we need to be applauding the Kenyan Diaspora Team for giving ‘us’ FREE consultancy services.

  53. ‘So don’t judge us, not until you walk 140 characters in our tweets.’
    Now that, is what I call literary genius!! Brilliant!

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  54. Biko- I don’t know which “disaporians” you hang out with and what that says about you but there are plenty others who will make you proud.

    Blanket statements have never and will never help anyone.

  55. Mr. Biko,
    You come across as exactly the very thing you are complaining about.
    You come across rude and patronizing and have generalized too much.
    I am one those that come home every 2yrs or so. I have an accent, I drink and eat in Tamasha and if service is shitty I complain whether in the USA or Nairobi.
    I am certain relas and friends from diaspora will want to hang out with you with a heart like that. Maybe we should not come home at all with hosts like you and some of your readers.

  56. Funny (and true) as some of the points may be… it makes me sad to hear all the complacent, defeatist tints. I mean, is it REALLY “OK” to just roll over and continue getting shafted by the politicos doing whatever they want whenever they want with the money that WE ALL put in to the economy?! Is it OK to just accept matatus and their death star ways as status quo? And so what if we want to know if it’s safe to go certain places? I get asked everyday about how safe my ‘hood in Harlem is…! To which I respond, I live in Nairobi, this aint sh*t! You mention back packers, when was the last time you saw one getting jacked? If Kanjo isn’t on their backs 24/7 trying to get a bribe then, some one else is. And let’s face it, most of them have no money anyways. At least never on them…

    As per complaining, I was in Diani last year when I was home over the summer, you think WE diasporans complain?!?!?!?!?!?! Please go to coast and hang out with Nairobians… OBJECTIVELY. Just listen! Nairobians are by FAR some of the brattiest of bratty city folk I’ve been around. Living where I live now, that’s saying a LOT! God help you if you hang around those with some money…. *rolls eyes* … Neddless to say, I left the pristine 5 star (which was no good for some of my Nairobian companions by the way) and moved to a lodge and kicked it with some backpacking britons…. I would HANDS DOWN hang with a broke traveller, than be around middle class Nairobians (who think they are upper class) that sit around complaining about everything and everyone and simply tweet their issues, because THAT’S gonna solve issues!! …right?

    Oh and on the “power of the retweet”… I attended a couple of Boniface Mwangi rallies that had a LOOOOTTTT of twitter action, by the way… Come the day of, I only saw about 2 of the middle/upper class people that had been verbose about it! … Where was everyone else? Comfy in front of their computer at Art Caffe tweeting their support, while having a cappuccino and a croissant, I presume.

    So yea, we DO do stuff when we come home. We send a boat load of money, AND we’re busy too! When we come home, we just WANT to be happy that things are good and changes ARE being made (even if we’re realistic with the fact that it will be slower, thanks to all the complacency I have observed)… but no, you guys just sit and complain about everything, including us Diasporans who – believe it or not – ARE happy to be home, genuinely so.

    … and while we’re at this, can someone please initiate a “personal space” academy?!?! I’m punching the next jerk who breaths down my neck at the checkout of the damn super market or hovers over me at the bank teller!

    1. By the way ati that thing ‘retweet while eating a croissant and having a coffee at Art Caffe’ irritates me as well… people sit around complaining all the time in Kenya, so can guys stop pretending that when a diasporian complains, that its a new thing… Most people and kenyans included complain all the time, no matter what side of the fence they’re on. If I (a diasporian) complain about something you (non-diasporian) complain about as well, how can you turn around and condemn me?

  57. Sad that Bikozulu has also been bitten by the green eye bug that generalizes about Diasporans. The article or story is so inflated with stories that remainers or stay at homers sit and tell at the fireside when all esle fails. It is simplistic and a collection of rants by uunhappy remain at homes! Diasporans are different and do things the best way they know how. Being different is everyone’s prerogative and if they irk you when they come home then stop hanging around them for a whiff of the dollar and a chance to floss with your relative who lives majuu and shows the other that your family is sort of represented far and wide! Might I also add that Diasporans are also weary of remainers who tag along and ask for money and other things from you as if you carried the Federal Reserve Bank with you when you came home on holiday. Don’t get me started on the ones who come to visit you huku majuu and the things they want to bring back home when safari ya kurudi is emminent…Some see waste even in the supermarket jualas and plastic milk cans that you throw away! Ball is clearly played on both parts of the field and while we have our shortcomings, the remainers have even bigger ones! And Bikozulu…A hoodie is not standard wear for winter!

    1. he he he good one. The funny thing is that many of the “green eyed” monsters or remainers as you call them prolly had their visas denied at some point, hence the seething jealousy and desire to broad brush us all in a negative light. As he “pities” us for the Kenyan sun not patting our foreheads, we pity him too for the flies and dust he has to munch largely as a result of the poor sanitation and unkempt pavements that still need addressing.

  58. Great read. One can fault the generalization, but not the writing… We look up to you. Get rid of the second “Secondly” though 🙂

  59. Oh boy! Just the other day, another one had all the answers to our problems somewhere on a spreadsheet in some overpriced tablet. We were courteous enough to wait for him to leave before we engaged in a hearty laugh. Something happens to a Kenyan (African) when he goes abroad, maybe anthropologists and psychologists can give us answers.

  60. In defense of the Kenyans in the diaspora, there is something human in all of us, the illusion of memory. People tend to ‘modify’ their memories subconsciously to depict a rosier, more palatable picture of the past. Hence the reason older people keep thinking they were wiser when they were younger, and better mannered and listened to deeper music, dressed better, etc…

  61. This one erupted like a volcano and am sure many slope dwellers are burning. Well I miss home but I hope my visit one day would not be that bad. At least I have nothing to say about politics just plainly missing my mtaa. That writing is commendable.

  62. Love, love this article. And I even live abroad. But this is really, spot on and really, you’re just not hating. I lived in the USA and lived in Kenya for 2 years after that..before I moved to Sweden. In my two years there, I did notice this behavior and was so embarrassed by it. One of my pals from the USA used to walk around with her IPAD and wed go to a small hair saloon and she,d ask if the bathrooms were ok to use…. in front of the ladies working there……and say you Kenyans, and make sure everyone knew she had lived in the USA and and and….I do not have an american accent…I hate watching anyone try to speak with one. Like that Tujuane presenter chic..or Robert Nagila….acquiring an american accent is deadly hard ….you almost need a speech coach to get one. Its not that serious people. But again if these people are so annoying why does the media give them jobs on TV. I don’t get that. It sends a message that ou can only be important if you have an accent….It just makes people sound and seem plain stupid. Anyway…I’m ranting…but I loved your piece…very well researched, well written. Will be a huge fan from today…lol

  63. Went abroad a yr after high school. lived a decent life until my dad decided to quit his well paying job to be a pastor. rice and tomatoe soup everyday for a whole yr. had run away quick. Never been back. been a decade now. it just saddens me the level of poverty that exists. I’m tired of sending my hard earned $. For Christ sake they know my pay day. I put myself thru school was tough. most people I still talk to in Kenya be like maisha ni magumu. No motivation for me to visit.

  64. I am Ghanaian but I can relate to all that you have mentioned. It’s not any different here in Ghana. It is well with us.

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  65. Interesting, the article nailed it. However, a new setting needs an adaptation to. It happened when my big Bro went to college in Nai and came back with an accent, forgotten the mother tongue. And yeah, coming from Mombasa drama festivals a while ago my classmates diagnosed the Pwani ‘flu’ in my voice. Call it contagious. For some it doesn’t matter, they are equally mean when abroad. Speak to them in Swahili, you get that alien look and an answer in English.

  66. The extreme nature of the comments are way more amusing than the post itself!! It is never that serious. Well written a guy

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  67. Granted he writes relatively well but this by far is not one of the good ones I have read by Biko…and not just because of the content but also from the purview of flow of thought and general articulation of the not-so-novel sentiments. It adds nothing new to the already badly and mercilessly flogged topic of bash-the-diasporans-any-chance-you-get library. Sad little article.

  68. This article is entertaining but narrow minded just like many other articles that are better suited for a comedy club.
    It is insulting to a lot o hard working Kenyans in the diaspora.
    And what if they work in McDonalds? At the end of the day thy earn their living.
    And, oh, I have heard of a native American called Obama, so Nyoike could just as well be an American or a Londoner.
    Nice article, Biko, you have sparked a conersation and if that was your end objective, then much kudos to you. If you intended to potray some sort of realistic article that could stand the test of truth then you failed.
    Nonetheless, kudos for starting a conversation.

    1. Very true! My kids who were born in America and thus Americans by virtue of birth have kiuk middle names so surprise there might be Americans called Nyoike or Nyokabi or whatever!

      I couldn’t agree more, so what if someone works at a Mac D? Last time I checked they didn’t ask you to foot their bills!

  69. You don’t know for a fact that I’m not making more money than I used to! Maybe I stopped sending money to Kenya because my parents and siblings don’t need it anymore!

    Things change, before I left Kenya, there were street boys everywhere in CBD but the last time I was in Kenya(2010), I didn’t see any so if I ask whether an area is safe, it’s because the last time I was there it wasn’t safe.

    Where do you come off generalizing all of us? Btw, there is poverty in the US as well, yep there are homeless people and people who can’t even afford one meal a day. So how exactly do we forget about poverty?

    So I guess it’s ok for Kenyans living in Kenya to discuss politics but it’s not ok for me to join the discussion because I don’t live in Kenya?
    Newsflash, not every Kenyan is an Obama fan so not all of us have read his books or take every word that comes out of his mouth to be the gospel truth! If discussing Kenyan politics is off the table for me because I don’t live there is wrong so why should I refer to Kenya as home?

    I pay my taxes in the diaspora, I’ve lived in the diaspora for years so every single cent that I own is in the diaspora …true I grew up in Umoja but diaspora is my home. Deal with it!

    Try walking a mile in our shoes before you judge us 🙂 My cousins have been in the UK for eons and went back to Kenya in 2010 for a burial but people said that they were proud simply because they couldn’t remember Kikuyu…again try not talking kiuk or swa for years and lets see how you will do!

  70. its very true that this article represents some people in the diaspora but for a well such a well written article its always good to have some numbers and more so statisticlal population sample to atleast give the various readers a balanced view of the sampled population. i know a few who feel and behave exactly the way the article say but i equally know more who wish they could get a chance to got back home and make a good living nyumbani, coz east west nyumbani ni nyumbani and is the best place to be. the diaspora is face by many challanges and ontop of the list is legal documents to work/study and travel back home.

  71. Ok..guyz should just relax. Anyone reading this article should see that it is with a light touch. We all know people who behave like this and we also know people who don’t. Same way some people who were left behind ask for money and others don’t. Come on..how did you miss all the sacarsm and the parts where Biko ‘insulted’ those of us who stayed back home and go to KFC? I would like to believe that people can read this and discuss it without getting all touchy. Laugh a little ok?

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    1. Totally agree Esther, Biko made fun of both the Kenyans in Diaspora and the Kenyans at home e.g. holding demonstrations on twitter. Relax people, have a laugh, its never that serious!

  72. Biko is a fantastic writer, I love his articles.
    But this well written this article lacks of perspective making it banal. It makes the writer sound not much different from the same people he is criticizing.

  73. Do these pple know how long does it take some of us to get a career esp. those living in countries where they have to learn a foreign language. Its difficult for pple living kenya to understand the endless list someone has to accomplish before lending a hand to others.

  74. Look, we are just happy you are home, we don’t care much that you can splash money because we know it wasn’t handed to you easy back there. – yeah right,
    Uwongo uwongo
    I totally disagree with the above Statement

  75. Utapigwa mawe Biko!!! hehe
    but like someone here said you can fault the generalization but never the writing, brilliant n entertaining

  76. …..As others complain how diasporas are snobs while in abroad, others get irritated when ‘bear hugged’ by the same, As those in diaspora find themselves being ‘probably the only black guy for thousands of miles’, others cant stand people from certain tribes, As those in diaspora take a few years to come home, some Kenyans go upcountry only on Christmas,…
    So Biko its sad how you have generalized everyone in diaspora. I love your articles but this one has grieved my heart.

  77. Ha Ha Ha…this not only happens in Kenya. You could substitute Jamaica where I am from and the article would still be relevant!!

  78. I live in Kenya bt am always vigilant, u never know when they will strike… Even at Kenyatta ave. so dnt blame Kenyans abroad u fool

  79. This is ‘high end’ literature. it is satire, commentary and all. Readers, please don’ take it personal, but take note of it. Am proud of this talent, ability to describe, to pun and all. keep it up Biko. I have been in diaspora for 6 months, all the Kenyans I met were reflective, people of substance. And even those that often visit Kenya and we ran around having fun together don’t come across as simple as the ones you describe here. But I have only dealt with a small sample size. I could not doubt your observations. It is those who go abroad and while there develop a deep seated identity crisis that end up this way. It takes a lot to look down on uaself, or your people. Ignorant people tend to disappoint, nothing ever really adjusts them properly. Nothing.

  80. http://mkawasi.blogspot.com/

    A Letter from a Kenyan Abroad

    A response to Bikozulu’s “A Letter to Kenyans Abroad” http://199.192.19.46/~bikozulu/a-letter-to-kenyans-abroad/

    For a long time I’ve fought the itch to respond to blogs, tweets, status updates and newspaper articles from Kenyans at home that bash Kenyans abroad for their accents and attitudes. I had decided it’s too trivial. Until today when “A Letter to Kenyans Abroad” arrived on my wall, twice, then twice again, demanding to be read. And I did. Time to scratch that itch.

    Bikozulu starts off well, then degenerates into a rant of castigating Kenyans in the diaspora for being o-so-obnoxious. Some Kenyans at home have taken to carrying around a big stick canning their diaspora brothers and sisters at every turn for defiling a certain doctrine of Kenyanness. Thanks largely to Bikozulu’s letter, I have summed up their ten commandments for Kenyans abroad.

    1. You’re not allowed to have an American or British accent.
    2. Don’t criticize your country’s dirty politics. That’s the way it is.
    3. Stop pointing out the crippling poverty in your motherland. That’s the way it is.
    4. It’s sacrilegious for you to speak of a foreign country as “home.” It turns your ancestors in their graves.
    5. Stop asking for quality time with us when you visit; we’re busy and we’ve moved on from you.
    6. If you want to make a difference, come to Kenya. Stop that diaspora rights nonsense.
    7. You’re not allowed to use the phrase “when I was in…” or “back in…” with reference to a location in Europe or North America during conversation with a Kenyan at home.
    8. We are allowed to insult you for flipping burgers and scrubbing toilets abroad because… remind us, didn’t you go to get a PhD?
    9. You’re not allowed to criticize a Kenyan at home for poor work ethic. That’s the way it is here, respect us.
    10. No matter how long you’ve lived in Europe or the US, maintain an authentic Kenyan accent. (A variation of 1st commandment.)

    So let me start with the 1st, 7th and 10th commandments, by far the most irksome to Kenyans at home. A year or so ago, there was a news item about a certain white lady who had lived in Lamu for only a year and mastered Kiswahili perfectly, complete with the Lamu indigenous accent. What was interesting is how so many Kenyans in Kenya, including the journalists, were awed by her effort and achievement, holding her up as an example for other Kenyans whose Kiswahili is questionable. But a Kenyan abroad speaking excellent English with a decent command of the British or American accent is considered arrogant, false and somehow a rejecter of his/her African heritage.

    The stuff of inferiority complexes by colonized minds still amazes me. It is what I see every time I see reactions to Kenyans abroad speaking with some degree of a western accent. Yes, some consciously work at it, either because in their workplace they bear an obligation to be understood (I’m a teacher, language is my tool, and to be understood is my responsibility), or because it simply makes life easier to do what the Romans do while in Rome. Some acquire accents overtime, subconsciously, in varied degrees. That does not mean they lose your identity. It is true that Kenyans abroad acquire a deeper pride in their ethnic and Kenyan identity, some speaking Kiswahili for the first time, and those who were born here learning their mother tongue with pride while Nairobi kids could care less.

    Now, some claim, with a chest-thumping, that they don’t have an altered accent after living abroad for decades. False. Even a Kikuyu with the heaviest Kikuyu accent somewhere in Boston will subconsciously slip in a “tomayto” here, a “callege” there, a “Canerricat” (Connecticut) too. There’s nothing to it. And if while in Kenya you slip into your diaspora-acquired accent, don’t ever apologize for it to puzzled Kenyans ready to write you off as a fake. You are the sum of your experiences. Because I’m fully aware of this attitude, before I visited Kenya after a long period of absence some years ago, I warned my family, “my accent is significantly tainted.” I’m also able to switch back and forth between accents, depending on who I’m talking to. I know a lot of diasporans have this dexterity. Did you study Darwin?

    And yes, Kenyans do pick up accents from other parts besides Europe and North America. I can point you to Kenyan friends who settled in India, Nigeria and Tanzania and came back with the various accents. But Kenyans at home just choose not to highlight it. Go figure. You don’t even have to look beyond Kenya. My Taita aunts, married and settled in different parts of Taita, now speak with accents from that part of Taita. But do we tell them they’re being arrogant? No. Only if they settled in America and spoke with an American accent, then they deserve our wrath.

    As for commandment 7, it belongs to the same category of inferiority complexes displayed by those who think it arrogant for a diaspora Kenyan to speak of foreign (read, Western) places in conversation. See, I’ve told so many stories starting with “when I was in Kakuma refugee camp…” and tell of what I learnt about bravery beyond human comprehension from the “lost boys” of Sudan, and never once did I receive a judgmental look. But the minute I start a story with “when I was in New York…” Kenyan noses are squinted upwards, eyes rolling back into insular heads as if I just farted nerve gas. C’mon Kenyans.

    Commandment 2, 3, 6 and 9. Reading Bikozulu’s repetitive tag, “that’s the way it is”, as in, you have no right to change our status quo, is really telling of the “outsider” attitude directed at diaspora Kenyans. Kenyans abroad criticizing Kenya is seen as insulting someone else’s mother. Get over it, Kenyans, we’re Kenyans too, and we too have a fierce responsibility to hold our politicians accountable and our fellow Kenyans responsible for conduct that builds a country. The corruption sucks, the poverty stinks, the matatu menace is barbaric, the roads suck (don’t brag to me about Thika Superhighway, a mere 50 km stretch that leaves another 8,900 km of principal highways in need of similar upgrading, and 63,000 km of interurban roads crying for attention; we made one step in the right direction, don’t act as if we’ve arrived).

    The insecurity on city streets we once walked is still unacceptable, even more now that we have experienced greater safety in foreign countries. We want the good socio-economic experience we’ve had abroad to be available in Kenya too; uncongested transportation, social services for the poor, clean neighborhoods…and for the well-off Kenyans to care enough about the lives of slum-dwellers in their backyards. Yes, we will tweet and blog and status-update from our diaspora perches until you hear this. Even as we have in our own diaspora midst shameful incidents of tribalism of the worst kind, our failings and foibles do not allow you to exclude us from the privilege of being part of Kenya’s journey, in critical speech and action.

    And while we’re on this topic of criticizing each other, there really ought to be a deodorant revolution in Kenya. Why is it that the minute you land in Kenya, the foul smell of human armpits hits you? You walk about the streets or ride a matatu and wish you had a gas mask. Or if an elevator full of people somewhere in the US is reeking of stale sweat, I’ll bet you all my diaspora remittances the culprit is definitely the newcomer diaspora African at the corner. Our collective reputation is fouled up. Yup, I said it, yes I did. My African peeps, man. Style up. Please don’t tell me about poverty and choosing between soap and food. Dignity is important. Martin Luther King actually made such a call to his people, told them to stop stinking, that working hard for long hours with little pay does not mean neglecting personal hygiene, and to date, you won’t find any black person all funky, even in the heat of summer, the poorest of black folk in America smell good! Heck, Richard Pryor probably said it best, “Don’t just wash you’re ass hole, wash your whole ass.” Let’s take care of the total package of who we are, not just one aspect.

    On commandment 6: The world is now a kaleidoscope of each other’s influences, and claiming you don’t want “American” solutions is myopic while America itself seeks all kinds of ways to get stuff from Africa for its own growth, from culture to human and material resources (yup, they harvest human brain power through the green card “lottery” every year). The Romans built their civilization upon a borrowed Greek culture and a borrowed foreign faith that later became Christianity. So diaspora, go ahead with your exposed selves and influence change for the good of our country. And yes, Mr. Bikozulu, I can actually sit in Starbucks and effect change. It won’t come in one tweet, or one blog, or one electronic transmission of funds to Kenya from my cell phone. It will come from a concerted effort of using all the tools I have in the diaspora. In fact, diaspora has contributed to change and continues to do so.

    On commandment 8: Kenyans go through a lot in the diaspora, few have it easy all the way. Don’t gloat over those who go through flipping burgers and scrubbing toilets while working towards their school fees or just to pay rent. It’s these very same Kenyans that send money home, haba na haba. Some have made a business out of it, no kidding. You can find Kenyans running cleaning businesses that have done so well they’ve bought homes. I speak of people I know personally. A Kenyan banker I spoke to recently left his “big” job for a taxi-driving business. Labor which Kenyans at home consider menial can be turned to gold. It’s attitude that counts. It’s time Kenyans at home kicked the habit of equating success with white collar jobs. And yes, some succeed, some don’t. Such is life. A little encouragement would go a long way.

    Finally, a touchy one for me, is commandment 4. About calling a foreign country home. I’m a transnational citizen. Kenya is my home, my birth country, the land of my family, extended family and ancestors. I also have a home in the US (not a house, a home). I very easily and naturally, without skipping a beat, speak of “going back home” when I’m in Kenya, referring to the US. I have no apologies for that; I and millions of other human beings for whom the concept of home is not limited to your ancestry, the origin of your name, the sound of your accent, or a certain cultural definition of “home” that is held sacrosanct by your people. We know that in Kenyan cultures, even the cities are not your home, only your ancestral land qualifies for the title. I understand where Bikozulu’s emotional but unelightened chastising is coming from. Brother, some of us long released ourselves from the shackles of that cultural straitjacket that does not allow you to belong anywhere outside of your ancestral home or country of birth.

    Kenya is still the abode of my constant agitation. I will care about what goes on there till the day I die. My spirit will continue to roam around the hills of Taita all the waking days of my life. Yet none of this stops me from staying active in my neighborhood committee in Baltimore. This is home. I seeking solutions to crime, overgrown sidewalks and career opportunities with as much passion as I do for Kenya. This is home. I cared about the Trayvon Martin case, the Ravens winning Super Bowl, and wonder loudly if Mayor Rawlings-Blake really cares for inner city Baltimore. This is home. I take the train to Washington DC to teach, attend countless meetings and socialize. This is home. America has nurtured me, annoyed me, loved me, grown me. In most likelihood, I will be buried here. This is home. Don’t tell me not to call it home just because Kenya is home too. And should my family move to Italy or Rwanda or China, I refuse to live a suspended existence of non-belonging because I’m not “home”. I will plant and harvest the crop of my dreams there too and make a home in that country. That, my friend, is quintessential diaspora experience. I treasure it.

    Posted by Mkawasi Mcharo Hall

    2
    1. Nobody hates people in the diaspora and not all of them are as described but he is speaking from his own experience, blanketing or no blanketing, no reason for you to get your panties in a bunch,if you aren’t that way..great, but if you are then too bad.
      I understand that people get accents to adopt,no problem with that but as it is said when you go to rome,do as the romans do, we have no problem with you speaking with an accent,just don’t start bombarding relatives from shags with these accents and claiming how you do not remember any swahili (again,not directed towards anyone in particular.)

      What everyone needs to do is calm down..the lady who wrote this article finds Kenyans smelly,that is fine,it is her opinion and i am not affected because i know i do not smell.

      About the complaining..yes we know our matatus are stupid and they make us mad,yes we have mad traffic and yes town is unsafe but we know this,we so not need you reminding us about this each damn time without providing any solutions. You cannot run your house from a friend’s house,bring your ideas here..do something like some of us instead of saying how bad your homeland is..actions people,actions!

      We love our people in the diaspora,they work hard to make money so ata sisi tuwache tabia za kuomba omba pesa kila saa,the struggle is real everywhere, just because mtu ametoka abroad doesn’t mean they have money.

    2. This I do not refute…even I am angered by a lot of things we are apathetic to. However, Biko is against the phony attitude SOME Kenyans in diaspora develop. I am all for development and civilization which we badly need in Kenya. I however can also see through phony belittling attitudes developed by SOME Kenyans abroad. So while I agree with every thing u say, I know Biko too has a point.

    3. Good GOD, so much hurt feelings over a satirical article.
      Jeez.
      1. Not all diasporans have the attitude Mr. Biko has talked about, but the truth is, SOME do. And I see some people getting all riled up because he’s bothered to point it out. Chill.
      2. Not all Kenyans are sitting on their smelly asses in the rat and fly infested homes waiting for the savior that is money from the Diaspora. Again, SOME do, but not all of us. Some of us actually get up, kick ass and earn our livelihoods so you people generalizing things about us like that yet attacking Biko for pointing out pretty much the same thing…uuumm, hypocrisy much? Hello pot!
      Not all the things said here apply to all of us. No need to get your panties in a bunch because of that. Again, CHILL. Sheesh.
      Touchy much??
      We need to take things with a lighter touch.

  81. Love it. Came home after 15 years abroad and everyone was wondering why I still had a Kenyan accent and why I still spoke fluent jang’o. It was a deliberate choice. I will die before I loose my accent. Mimi Mkenya thru and thru…down to the kwon and apoth!

    1. @peres. Kudos. My sis came in Dec 2012 after 15 years of being majuu. She didn’t have an accent, her swahili was like everyone else here, and when she went to visit her in-laws in shagz she spoke Kikuyu very well and was very respectable. I was very surprised. But she said it was a choice she made. To drop the American accent at JKIA and realize that if a crazy president was to be elected in the States who would want all immigrants deported, then she’d have to come back to Kenya with all its issues. As a result she had the BEST time here, people were making time for her in their busy schedules to show her around, on their dime.
      It’s all about attitude and the way you present yourself.

  82. hehehe, my take…Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go,be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do at home or in Diaspora… Hell, get a Chinese accent if you so wish…Out of the box is unique, and I say that’s what makes us who we are… Good read though..

  83. You know what irks me? I have lived in America for 20+ years and I can still speak my mother tongue fluently and even write in it! Yet my friends who have never left Kenya cant even have a decent conversation with their shosho. Oh wait funny thing is they also calculate money in dollars. Did I say they never left Kenya? And they wear more designer clothes than I do and know the latest song by Rihanna before I can even tell them about it. So you see Biko the same way you wrote this blog please do us a favor and address those right underneath your nose not the ones dropping 45Billion Shillings which you appreciate so much. And if your friends are all like your pal from TX asking about safety by Barclays bank then I guess I can understand why you would have such a mentality about everyone in diaspora. When it comes to politics damn if we damn if we dont. Politics are all based on opinions and everyone has them. Even the Queen has hers about Kenya. Good luck with changing that one! Otherwise your English and writing skills are Superb! I just wish you can use it to bring people together instead of dividing us we already have over 42 pieces of clothes that we would like to make one beautiful quilt! That says Kenya!

  84. You are entitled to your opinions, but as a blogger, I’d say please be careful in the future before publishing your views to read through your article and rid it of grammatical errors, distortion of facts, ill use of words and contradictory statements to name a few. As a writer I can imagine you’d be loathe to constantly run afoul of this very embarrassing situation.
    A simple read-through, on your part (or a second set of eyes) I imagine would address this issue.

    I will highlight some examples:

    1. “I’m sorry, was your grumps buried in Brookhaven, Atlanta?”
    Grumps. What the hell is Grumps? My grumpy old self? Did I bury my grumpy old self in Brookhaven? Eh, I’m thinking you meant Gramps. There’s an “a” lodged between the ‘r’ and the ‘m’

    2. Racism – saying “you Kenyans” does not qualify as racism.
    Racism is: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. AND a “race” is each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.

    3. “Its illegal to burn music for local artists, so don’t ask us”
    What? Why would a diasporan be burning music FOR a local artist? Is that something that goes on in Kenya? Are local artists requesting diasporans to burn music for them? What kind of music is this they seek? And it seems that they use “you” – the non-diasporan Kenyan – as the middleman to acquire this music. So if I read this well I take it ‘you’ – the non-diasporan Kenyan – are requesting diasporans not to ask you whether they can burn music for the local artist? Did I get this right?

    4. “And FYI, the only people who accept dollars or rands are the forex bureaus” WRONG!!! So blatantly wrong and misguided.
    Some fact checking would be good here to educate yourself on institutions that accept foreign currency.
    Top of the list are Banks (which are not forex bureaus – a forex bureau is a business whose customers exchange one currency for another. A forex bureau may be located in a Bank).
    Some hotels and restaurants will also accept dollars – and what I’ve found is that the dollar note has to be 2003 and later.
    Of course very risky, expensive but still available is the black market. If you know how to locate it.

    5. “We have realised that the only way we can fight these politicians and their endless plunder and greed is through the mighty power of Retweet! So don’t judge us, not until you walk 140 characters in our tweets.”
    Then you say to the diasporans —
    “Your tweets will drown in the churning sea of social media melee, never to be seen by them. And their social media tools are managed by busybodies that only retweet comments that favour them”
    So how pray tell are YOU making a difference re-tweeting if by your own account politicians don’t react to tweets?? Eh? or is my English getting rusty? These seem like contradictory statements to me.

    6. And one last thing. You couldn’t have schooled in Durban, South Africa and picked an American accent. –
    Och, och, och! Those who’ve never left the country can be guilty of this trait too. There are those who have been schooled in Kenya and picked up a pseudo-British accent. Check out the TV or listen to the radio – listen to some of these reporters/ newscasters/ talk show hosts, radio jockeys …. boy there’s a plethora of weird Kenya/American/English/Dutch/Flemish/GodKnowsWhat accents going around. Let people talk how they want. That’s what choice is all about. So if someone feels good about changing the way they speak why should that keep you up at night? Let them be.

    7. You know what we secretly laugh at behind your backs, dear Diasporas? When you come visiting and you tell us smugly, “ You know, back at home…” Back at home? Excuse us. United States of America is not your home, son! –

    WRONG!!!

    Definition of HOME: the place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household.
    — So unfortunately you are wrong here. If a person has relocated to another country and they live there permanently they have every right to call it “home.” There is no requirement that ones parents or grandparents are buried in said place known as “home.” There is also no requirement that your name be native to the land you call “home.”

    7. As for your last paragraph commenting on “how quickly diasporans forget” … well (as ‘sweet brown’ would say it) maybe it is that they choose not to remember.

    1. does anyone care bout grammar any more? NO! LOL me say BIKO, just keep writing and if the commas fell off your keyboard, we NO CARE!

  85. The shock was when diaspora were demanding IEBC to register them to vote!! All 200k of them spread around the world.. Really?

    1. Yes really! The world is a village now if you have not heard and you do not lose your identity when you go from one side of village to another. Promise to be here in 2017.

    2. If you want to vote come and register and then come back and vote.how many countries actually have the diaspora voting?

    3. Have you heard of the Internet? Many other countries are doing it, we can only ask as hope that at some point someone will consider the voice of the diaspora Kenyan, don’t make it sound like its a ludicrous demand!

    4. We were demanding to vote because we are Kenyans as well. Girl you seem to have deep rooted problems with Kenyans abroad. Does it really matter what other countries do in regards to having their Diasporas vote? Coming back home costs money Miss, we have schedules to attend to. duh! We live in a digital era and if it can be done online then be my Guest.

  86. The article is entertaining but the following part needs to be addressed:

    First off, please don’t whine about how nothing works in this country. Nobody wants to host a whiner. Thing is, traffic cops will control traffic at traffic lights that work. That’s just how it is. Service in eateries might not be as swift as it is in Toronto. That’s just how it is. Matatus are a law onto themselves. That’s just how it is. It’s illegal to burn music for local artists, so don’t ask us to. Oh, and Kalamashaka doesn’t sing no more.

    The squealing wheel gets oiled. You Kenyans better start squealing!

  87. An the guy writing the article is using the queens language, so African of you I guess. Such a hypocritical article. Some of us own homes and families in the diaspora, so yes it’s home to us. Just like some Kenyans own homes in the country as well as the city, and they call both home. We can also talk Kenyan politics as we please, because we send money and own large tracks of land and homes. I’ve been in the diaspora and hell yes I don’t have the same Kenyan accent I arrived with, of which nobody tends to understand. Walk a mile in our shoes and then you can feel free to talk this nonsense. As for safety, I love going out and walking home at 3am in the morning while on my iPhone without being paranoid that somebody will jump me. So yes I will ask about safety all day long. This guy sampled five of his friends and generalized it enough to write an article. You call yourself a writer/journalist? Well then you need more schooling and perspective. There is something called research when writing articles. This article just discredits you as a writer, doesn’t make me want to take any of your work seriously.

  88. Nice article..but you should learn to use SOME instead of generalising. Maisha ulaya ni ngumu,kama tu ya malaya home(Kenya) ;)..so when some of us go home,ofcourse we want to enjoy ourselves,plus we all know Kenyan fun is the real deal,so bare with us
    Lakini hio ya Loita street ni utiaji…
    And you guys complaining about accents,haha..try learning a new language,plus you have to use their accent for them to totally understand you..all in all,Home is best!!!

  89. The article is very good to read and well we can not generalize that all Diaspora people behave as such. On the currency issue only a daft person will come with Dollars, Euros and say a Swiss Franc to a local, it not ignorance but plain showing off. On the foreign accent though i tend to defend them. For any Kenyan soul to get a job out there they have to learn a foreign language and accent is part of that learning and to some extent it comes out automatically after some years of speaking that language. Imagine a Kenyan speaking French, German or Italian in a Kikuyu accent. You may want to dive into the nearest river!You have to speak as the locals do if you have to get a realistic chance of getting round the city leave alone getting a decent job!

  90. Biko ,

    If you live in an American city, with no Ke nyans for say 12 years , and your co workers and friends are all American. Your spouse is American. Your kids are American. You have even got your American citizenship now.

    HOW DO YOU EXPECT THAT PERSONS ACCENT NOT TO CHANGE????????????

    You think that Kenya damu crap is so hot , that you can talk Kenyan accent everywhere and be proud. No my friend no. You have to change your accent. And after a decade or more, trust me, YOUR ACCENT WILL CHANGE. Not showing off , its a fact.
    If a west African from a French speaking nation leaves his country to go to FRANCE when he is in his early 20s and returns to visit at nearly 40, ARE YOU TELLING ME HIS OUTLOOK ON THINGS WILL STILL BE AFRICAN? WILL HIS ACCENT STILL BE WEST AFRICAN?

    Stop with diaspora jealousy bashing. We are used to a different lifestyle. There are two Kenyans. Kenyans in Kenya and Kenyans in the diaspora. One common heritage. That’s it. We are no longer the same people.

    People who go abroad for decades and come back like they never left are people who associate with wananchi in the USA. They attend Kenyan churches. Marry Kenyans, only socialize with Kenyans, talk Swahili between themselves at work ( VERY ANNOYING).

    1. True JJEvans, I find it Ludicrous that some Kenyans who only hang out with other Kenyans whilst abroad expect everyone else to hang out with fellow wananchi and bash on wazungus! That is why their English nver evolves!

  91. A good piece, Bwana Biko! But only if you promise to and until you write a counterpiece. What you prescribe is true of a significant section of Diaspora. There are those who deride home/Kenya and the homeland-based for one reason or other.

    In the same vein, there is a significant section of “homeland” Kenyans who for one reason or other despise, mis-understand or envy Diaspora. It is imperative a similar piece be penned about such people too.

    For Kenya to unleash its full potential, the spirit of Article 10 of the new Katiba (National Values & Identiity) must be embraced, especially “inclusivity, equity and tolerance”. We are all interconnected – and to some extent, inter-dependent – one way or other. Concerted public/civic education of some sort to bridge the gap is required on both sides of the divide – to better understand and appreciate each other.

    I consider articles like this and the resultant comments as important contibutions to that discourse. Therefore, Bw Biko, keep it up – and go further and give us a counter-piece! For every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction; for every matter there must be an equal and opposite anti-matter!

  92. You are wrong to paint everyone in diaspora with same brush. We all have different experiences, should appreciate each other and never despise anyone. Does the bashing of diaspora make the lives of Kenyans in Kenya any better??? I think NOT! Lakini there is always 2 sides of a coin… Here is a reply to his letter – http://mkawasi.blogspot.com/

  93. Its hilarious how folks are busy fact-checking this article and catching feelings. You are not reading some article about Weapons of Mass destruction from the pages of The New York Times, this is Biko doing what he does best – Write. I doubt he is loosing sleep about inconveniences such as facts getting in the way of a good story.

    So ask yourself this, Is this a good read, you bet your ass it is! Has the writer been extravagant in more ways than one, aha! Has the writer deliberately paint all Kenyans living abroad with too broad a brush? Yep. Was it malicious? Hell nope, Biko trades in shock humor. Can you sue him for not being factual? Nope, he’ll probably plead temporary insanity.

    1
  94. I haven’t stayed away 4 long but I know what those diasporans say is truth. My dilemma is, if I speak my mind and people think in the lines of biko’s article, does it mean I should lie and tell them JKIA is not dimly lit as compared to other airports. And on American accents from SA, everyone is getting an American accent even people who have never left their rural village in Kenya, just watch those guys on tujuane calling themselves gs n hustlas, those Kenyan rappers like caligraph n muthoni drummer etc, dude, for real? It’s the English language and American English is the modern version, mine sucks but that’s just coz am a shade, if I could flex my tongue better I would be all over it coz it’s the language the powerful understand, “realigning urself with power”. Tell u what, every time I fail at something, I wish everyday that I had listened to the advice of people who knew better, truth is the diasporans know some things better, to ignore their runts means to ignore their words whic means to miss the message.

    1. Stan, you nailed it! Everytime am back home from the Diaspora, after having passed through International Airports such as Schipol in Amsterdam i wonder if we should call our JKIA an International Airport. For real it doesnt qualify! Its dimly lit, no proper direction and gate signs like you can see clearly in Schipol or any airport in Europe. Does it mean we should not point this one out and continue to praise our so called’super highways’ and not tell them that the rest of the world built super highways long time ago?
      Truth is, the kenyans in Kenya want to hear that Kenya is best in everything but the reality is far from their delusions.

  95. Allow me to reposnd to this letter in lay mans, language. I am in no way shape or form, born during this xemanese linguo and neither do I come from khosa tribe.. the xaxa xema quorraum. I want everyone to understand my letter from a Kenyan living in America, married to an American nad have Kids who are actually Americans. This is their home. Not Ngacura.. I proceed.
    I really did love this article. Truly there was a lot of truth about it, however they should not generalize it. Karoki I totally loved your last point… you totally nailed it. I rem in 2009 I went home (or should I say back there) for my yearly visist. Nothing changed for me. I still shop at the same places most times. I went to sunbeam or one of those show stalls to find some jeans. I found one guy who was still at the same stall as he was in 2001. The guy rem me nad was so happy to see me. He gave me a real tight hug, leaving the other buyers (females) looking at me like am some alien). Ooh well first thing out of his mouth was *insert Eastlands talk) “manze yaaani Loeah yaaani mtu akienda majuu hunuka hivi? Jo! Unanuka tu kama oteto, auskii mi na vuka haki niunganaishie” we laughed and I left.
    There are those Kenyans who go back home from diaspora and act like buffoons. Trust me I have witnessed it first hand. They need to do more research on that kind of people. Most of them come from diaspora… read==== India, South Africa, Dubai, China, some South American countries… and have been there for like a year or two and go to act like they have been living in heaven and Kenya is hell. Troubleshoot.. those arenjust emotionally, insecure, disturbed persons. I am yet to meet one who has been in real ‘diaspora’ for more than 10 years and acted like they were not happy to be home.
    Why cnt one person from the diaspora write a letter to the Kenyans in Kenya and tell them how they act when we visit. First, half of them in Nairobi have mysteriousely acquired a foreign accent. They have this tweng going on and you are left wondering… mara her swirrry, so nice of yah hellooo? They watch too much reality tv and think that is everyday talk here. Secondly, their dressing, they need to lay off too much MTV… dressing like Beyonce during the day is just whack!! Dnt they know that celebrities wear what they do because those are costumes for stage performance? Some are advertising shyt? But no ooh hell not Kenyans.. go to Westlands and tell me how many rihanna wanabees you see. The Mohawk and one Michael Jackson glove. Funny we make fun of 9jas and the Kenyans are heading that way, wear Gucci (from river road) stunners at night to hook up chilles…. Oooh lets not start about how busy they are. Majority are hiding. When we come to visit, we do not expect them to stop all they are doing to worship us,,,, no… we call them and tell them where we will be and they can come and see us, only because we are there for a short moment and cannot spend two or three weeks visiting a thousand and one places. It is not boasting, we are actually doing you a favor to meet you and will not ask you to pay for anything.
    Many are jealous, they are gloating and busy commenting bashing us diasporas but h=behind their backs (fellow Kenyans) are the ones secretly inboxing us, “si uniandikie letter of invitation, ukona friends single..and shamelessly adding you to wedding and funeral committees of people you have not met.. the list goes on, they better not get me started.. its that time of the month I can yap all day and night bashing Kenyans in Kenya. I am a proud Kenyan and I love my country. My kids are American and this is their home. I have two homes and whoever has a problem with it, write it down on a piece of paper, gently fold it and shove it up your ….you know where.

  96. Bikozulu. I so read through every bit of your article, It’s so sad bit yet so true. I live in New Jersey I have visited my country Kenya whenever I can and love it so much. One I have the freedom to laugh on the street and nobody gets scared of my color and laughter. I can shelter on anybody’s house if it rains and I can get a cup of strong tea. I can go on and on about how great is kenya. The accent I have to learn to talk American because. .I have to imitate them so that they can understand me..everytime I speak to an American they ask me? You have an accent, where are you from? But when am home I love to speak ekegusii and swahili to those who don’t understand my kisii. Salary, most kenyans in diaspora live in diplorable conditions..most of kenyans can be ranked poor in America. Some of us shop from the cheapest of shops, where by it’s equal to daraja mbili or gekomba..but in malls. Our bills are larger than our income. Most live with rroommates in a one bedroom apartment..or basements in the worst of neighborhoods. I have encountered the likes here who don’t wanna speak kisii and yet they know it well..so I usually talk in my mother tongue and they reply in whatever. So anyways..those who say that Loita st is unsafe..hope they don’t leave in Jersey’s slums…

    1. the cost of living in the big cities is high esp if your still on minimum wage, and some states like jersey have the highest taxes in the land,

  97. Where to start, first of all, people change accents because no one understands what you say unless you say it in a certain way, do you know how aggravating it is to keep repeating yourself and explaining what you’re trying to get across. Calling us stereotypes, yet you put yourself in the same category. If someone is working in McDonald’s, then well with it, better than no job. Let them put a roof over their heads the only way they can. You don’t see us criticizing janitors, and housekeepers or whoever. That’s your hard earned money. And you know what’s funny is that many of those working in McDonald’s are putting themselves through school to be pilots, nurses, doctors, engineers. You need that extra money for whatever. It is sad to go home and have people ask you for money when you’re a STUDENT! I mean really? That’s just shady. I remember working as a nurse assistant, those checks paid for my rent, internet, tv, furnished apartment, elecricity and i lived in a big ass apartment, and still sent money to my family whenever there was problems.I’ve been here for almost six years, went home last year, and forgot how life was back home. Everyone in my class knows im from Kenya, even with that American accent because when we introduce ourselves at every new class, you get to say where your from. i’ll tell all sorts of stories from my high school, wildlife, they love it.I love my country, don’t get me wrong but I got used to the privileges I had. It makes you appreciate things more. I don’t look down on anyone, if my friends wanted to hang out, I was down with it, but I also understood that people had lives going on. no hard feelings.

    Generalization is the worst kind of ignorance mister. I avoided matatus like you wouldn’t believe it. Many of my neighbors did the same. Hata kabla ni fly out, I always avoided them. I’d rather panda a double m, or KBS, nani anataka kuibiwa? Even though kwa basi it can still happen, it’s just not as bad as matatus and I’m saying this cause after kuishi easich na ongwaro, I’ve seen it all. You come out as a bitter person when you start generalizing things based on your experience. Takataka was my problem and you know what it was still a problem before I left, my friends and family used to make sure not to litter around me, cause why keep polluting the environment. I can’t change everyone but if those around me can see things from my point of view then something is accomplished. Yer heard???

  98. BIko Biko Biko……well your artikle is interesting but ..some part of it its True…and the other Parts dont really apply.
    1. your Article is a STEREOTYPICAL attribute about Kenyans in the Diaspora!

    2. some arrogant kenyans back home..should try and Walk the Long Hardworking WALK OF LIFE we Diasporians Take and face everyday in USA,Europe or anywhere!.

    3. Sucessful KenyanDiasporans when they come back home- usually expect to live the same way of Life they are used to back in Europe or E.U. So a Local Nairobian would take this as MASTINGO ama being PROUD.

    4. Not all KE-Diasporans have ACCENTS.

  99. I’m not known to keep quiet over controversial issues especially those that result in constantly putting people who no longer live in Kenya down. I will try to address all the issues presented hopefully with humor and respect.

    1) Whining about how things don’t work- First off, most people that live abroad have this rosy colored image of what they perceive Kenya to be like because there are things that frustrate them about living abroad. When they come to Kenya you call it whining but in reality they are shocked to discover that Kenya is not the pearly gates that they have thought it to be for years and start to appreciate their lives in abroad. You call it whining, people living abroad call it reality check.

    2) Kenyans are busy-FYI most people living abroad are under the assumption that if they don’t spend time with their old friends and relatives, then they think that they are now better than everyone else but alas if they try to involve y’all then y’all are too busy. Most people living abroad are very independent and can come and go as they please without relying on old friends and families. Why not just decline to attend such activities. In addition, most people living abroad relate to the fact that when Kenyans visit their countries abroad, they take time to host their friends and relatives. Therefore, hosting goes both ways and they do it without writing blogposts about how high the expectations of these guest are including but not limited to the fact that they can’t even make their tea in the microwave because they expect their host to do it stove top for the 2+ months they will be staying over.

    3) Currency- People living abroad are under the perception that local vendors prefer to get paid/Tip in other currencies because the exchange rate is higher. In addition, other visitors coming to Kenya will often do the same thing. So why the annoyance when it is a non-tourist doing the same thing? Doesn’t the local vendor get the same benefit as well. Also, it is not that easy for someone to keep going to the bank to withdraw money or exchange currencies when they live in an economy where 95% of everything they do is done electronically.

    4) Your cousin was just a douche-bag but also there is nothing to be desired about the current Kenyan night scene. I can assume your cousin’s frustration was because the Kenyan night scene has decided that RAP HIP HOP is trashy and 95% of the music at a club is either pop and rock because Kenyans have been brainwashed to think that that is classy (refer to Mirfat from Tujuane). In short, clubbing in Kenya is very boring. It’s not for a lack of exposure or access to this music, y’all have just decided that y’all are “CLASSY” for hip hop yet everyone seems to be trying to imitate the likes of Drake and Kendrick Lamar (refer to the WHACK show called Str8 Up Live).

    5) Politics- Who cares we don’t even vote in Kenya but at least we have the options to apply for dual citizenship unlike the millions of Kenyans that are so invested in Obama and The White House and can’t even get a visitors visa to come and take a close-up of the white house.

    6) Poverty-Are you seriously trying to state that the gap between the upper class and working class has not widened? The shock doesn’t come from seeing people in Kibera, it comes from seeing how places like South B, South C now look like Dandora. Let’s not even talk about how these people living in South B, South C, or Langata are so proud and look down on other people living in “eastlands” and when we look at them, we are puzzled over what it is about. Those housing communities here would be condemned by the departments of public health. We have a lot of compassion over people that live in the slums and are constantly rooting for matatu drivers or shoe shiners to be successful like the likes of Jaguar.

    6) Back home – Home is your domicile. The definition of domicile is the country that a person treats as their permanent home, or lives in and has a substantial connection with. Great-grandma buried in XX does not quite rise to the level of “substantial connection.” Factors like schools, property, spouses, family, jobs, where you vote etc. etc. etc. count.

    I won’t even bother with the rest. My point is that there are always two sides and two perspectives. There are people living abroad believe it or not who are really really happy and thriving and have no significant ties to Kenya other than extended relatives with your type of attitude. There are people living in Kenya who are also thriving and really really happy and don’t need the attitude of the likes of your douche-bag cousin from NJ has. As long as the Kenyans in Kenya are happy with their lives in Kenya and the people living abroad are happy with their lives what is the beef about. FYI Kenyan tourists abroad are also not easy to deal with and they come with a lot of attitude and expectations. Why not seek to understand each other and just accept that both sides are different?

    1. USLatte!!!! hahahahahah…. that is SOO!! true….

      Awesome reply…… esp. last paragraph

      “FYI Kenyan tourists abroad are also not easy to deal with and they come with a lot of attitude and expectations”

  100. Geeeeez,this piece blew me out of the water.Been a Ghost reader…but this, and am not in the diaspora.

    PS.People need to take it easy.mhh…

  101. True some of the things ‘returnees’ say and do are outrageous and delusional but then there are good folks in diaspora: folks who are grounded! I have been out here in the States for a couple of months and among the first Kenyans I met is a dude who hosted us for a July 4th party. One of the richest Kenyans in the US from what I saw and heard but the dude is HUMILITY ITSELF! And couple of weeks ago I bump into this idiot in a club so full of himself: he is probably a janitor in a rehab but he possessed the arrogance to annoy every Kenyan in that club including HIMSELF! A friend who is a neighbor back home huko Zambezi where soil is red recounts to me a story of how this idiot went home for his grandma funeral and over slept on the funeral day! His explanation to family: HEY YA ALL CALM DOWN I STILL HAD MY PHONE ON WASHINGTON TIME! Now Biko I need you to call out the so called cool Nairobians who have fake accents too and are fond of words like dope and killing it and chilling out…They chill / hang out ( idle is most like it) in places with fancy names and know so many cool things that is just plain useless and nonsense AND THEY DON’T DO RIVERROAD! When you have PERSONALLY dealt with that ‘class’ those of us in diaspora will have no one to compete with being DOPE when we come on vacation!

  102. Personally I will never swap my life in NYC for the Life in Kenya or any other Country. Not because I don’t love my home country but because I have found a place where I feel fully self expressed without the consistent pressure of having to conform to expectations from my immediate family or friends. It is this kind of freedom that inspires me to excel. I don’t expect the debate to end on how either People Living Abroad on those in Kenya ought to relate to Life however, I think we should focus more on acknowledging that Life will always be invariably different from both ends of the world. There is nothing wrong or right with it, it just is. Let everyone though enjoy the opportunity to call, act, behave and call home the place they find they can succeed the best regardless of maternal or paternal heritage. Personally, a fulfilling life full of varied experiences and diverse cultures is worth much more than conforming to a stifling heritage 🙂

  103. Very interesting piece. Rather than bash any side of the divide, I believe it’s important to separate emotions from facts. The fact is most of what the writer has said holds a lot of water. Most – if not all of us know that. You’ve either witnessed it, or deep down know you do it. And might I add that this doesn’t only happen with the diaspora folks.

    I think the most important thing is for us all to look deep down in ourselves, just within our individual circumstances and choose to act appropriately, for it is indeed a choice that one can make. It is true that very many (not all) folks who live in the diaspora do have the articulated tendencies, which would naturally drive anyone up the wall, and it is plain silly.

    However, it is also equally true that some other folks always place crazy expectations (mostly financial) on folks who live and work overseas, whether during their visits back home or upon their return – again, plain silly behavior.

    We’re all entitled to our own opinions. For some, as mentioned in some comments herein, getting an accent is survival. Works for them. Others never needed it to succeed in life. One Kiraitu Murungi – a Havard Law School graduate can attest to this. Whether it is turning Burgers at McDonalds or being a top executive that pays your bills, then so be it. Always read the words ‘usidharau kazi yangu. Yako hainisaidii’ on everyone’s forehead.

    The bottom line is, looking down on where you came from; trying to be who you’re not – in the name of impressing people who don’t even care about your self imposed antics; feeling more important than you really are, while in the process seeing others as nothing, are just as silly as being like a leech (always saying ‘give me’), when dealing with someone who lives in the diaspora, just because you think they have finances dripping all over.

    Na kwa hayo machache, kumbuka kuwa mwacha kinyago hanyeli; huenda akawia papo.

  104. To a point i do understand your point i am Kenyan and in defense of our people out there, the flip side of things is true. You live in a place long enough you are bound to pick an accent, give it a deeper thought even among ourselves as Kenyans it happens. two, Kenyans expect this from our ‘foreign’ brothers and sisters sometimes they are humoring you and while i understand you being busy to take them around, if they gave you a year’s head up they would come to visit why not take the time off for two days and spend it with them, the country is gorgeous but they mainly come to see you and finally the comment that is jazzing everyone here talking about going back home, really people that is funny? most of the people in the city of Nairobi, when they travel home talk of going back home when wanting to get back to Nairobi from the countryside me being one of them. it does not negate my ancestral home nor does it undermine my heritage, it just means i have set roots and i am at home in the city. so it is with those who are abroad, it just means they are at home there it is not a definition or them dissing you. oh and the African American comment, they are African who have become American through citizenship or whatever so how is the phrase wrong? isn’t that how the African Americans came about? like i said in the beginning the flip side counts for the same, you don’t like whiners, good neither do i, so don’t whine either.if this is your opinion then their whines are theirs, its a big world be accommodating just like everyone else accommodates each other hmm.

  105. Lol, Biko una uchungu kweli, truth be told. 1) YES Kenyans visiting from the diaspora are easily identifiable in town and are targeted! Not just by thieves but by makangas, street vendors, watchmen etc! Its the truth. 2) Ndio, machali kenya hunuka jasho, sio siri ask any chick in Nai or MSA when the bunnies are around in DEC. They can smell a diaspora guy from 3 streets away! 3) Home is where you heart is, not some shamba where your ancestors were buried! Yours is a colonial definition of home derived from the african reserve concept of wabeberu. Peace out , youknowwharrimsayin! lol.

  106. A Letter from a Kenyan Abroad
    A response to Bikozulu’s “A Letter to Kenyans Abroad” http://199.192.19.46/~bikozulu/a-letter-to-kenyans-abroad/

    For a long time I’ve fought the itch to respond to blogs, tweets, status updates and newspaper articles from Kenyans at home that bash Kenyans abroad for their accents and attitudes. I had decided it’s too trivial. Until today when “A Letter to Kenyans Abroad” arrived on my wall, twice, then twice again, demanding to be read. And I did. Time to scratch that itch.

    Bikozulu starts off well, then degenerates into a rant of castigating Kenyans in the diaspora for being o-so-obnoxious. Some Kenyans at home have taken to carrying around a big stick canning their diaspora brothers and sisters at every turn for defiling a certain doctrine of Kenyanness. Thanks largely to Bikozulu’s letter, I have summed up their ten commandments for Kenyans abroad.

    You’re not allowed to have an American or British accent.
    Don’t criticize your country’s dirty politics. That’s the way it is.
    Stop pointing out the crippling poverty in your motherland. That’s the way it is.
    It’s sacrilegious for you to speak of a foreign country as “home.” It turns your ancestors in their graves.
    Stop asking for quality time with us when you visit; we’re busy and we’ve moved on from you.
    If you want to make a difference, come to Kenya. Stop that diaspora rights nonsense.
    You’re not allowed to use the phrase “when I was in…” or “back in…” with reference to a location in Europe or North America during conversation with a Kenyan at home.
    We are allowed to insult you for flipping burgers and scrubbing toilets abroad because… remind us, didn’t you go to get a PhD?
    You’re not allowed to criticize a Kenyan at home for poor work ethic. That’s the way it is here, respect us.
    No matter how long you’ve lived in Europe or the US, maintain an authentic Kenyan accent. (A variation of 1st commandment.)

    So let me start with the 1st, 7th and 10th commandments, by far the most irksome to Kenyans at home when broken. A year or so ago, there was a news item about a certain white lady who had lived in Lamu for only a year and mastered Kiswahili perfectly, complete with the Lamu indigenous accent. What was interesting is how so many Kenyans in Kenya, including the journalists, were awed by her effort and achievement, holding her up as an example for other Kenyans whose Kiswahili is questionable. But a Kenyan abroad speaking excellent English with a decent command of the British or American accent is considered arrogant, false and somehow a rejecter of his/her African heritage.

    The stuff of inferiority complexes by colonized minds still amazes me. It is what I see every time I see reactions to Kenyans abroad speaking with some degree of a western accent. Yes, some consciously work at it, either because in their workplace they bear an obligation to be understood (I’m a teacher, language is my tool, and to be understood is my responsibility), or because it simply makes life easier to do what the Romans do while in Rome. Some acquire accents overtime, subconsciously, in varied degrees. That does not mean they lose your identity. It is true that Kenyans abroad acquire a deeper pride in their ethnic and Kenyan identity, some speaking Kiswahili for the first time, and those who were born here learning their mother tongue with pride while Nairobi kids could care less.

    Now, some claim, with a chest-thumping, that they don’t have an altered accent after living abroad for decades. False. Even a Kikuyu with the heaviest Kikuyu accent somewhere in Boston will subconsciously slip in a “tomayto” here, a “callege” there, a “Canerricat” (Connecticut) too. There’s nothing to it. And if while in Kenya you slip into your diaspora-acquired accent, don’t ever apologize for it to puzzled Kenyans ready to write you off as a fake. You are the sum of your experiences. Because I’m fully aware of this attitude, before I visited Kenya after a long period of absence some years ago, I warned my family, “my accent is significantly tainted.” I’m also able to switch back and forth between accents, depending on who I’m talking to. I know a lot of diasporans have this dexterity. Did you study Darwin?

    And yes, Kenyans do pick up accents from other parts besides Europe and North America. I can point you to Kenyan friends who settled in India, Nigeria and Tanzania and came back with the various accents. But Kenyans at home just choose not to highlight it. Go figure. You don’t even have to look beyond Kenya. My Taita aunts, married and settled in different parts of Taita, now speak with accents from that part of Taita. But do we tell them they’re being arrogant? No. Only if they settled in America and spoke with an American accent, then they deserve our wrath.

    As for commandment 7, it belongs to the same category of inferiority complexes displayed by those who think it arrogant for a diaspora Kenyan to speak of foreign (read, Western) places in conversation. See, I’ve told so many stories starting with “when I was in Kakuma refugee camp…” and tell of what I learnt about bravery beyond human comprehension from the “lost boys” of Sudan, and never once did I receive a judgmental look. But the minute I start a story with “when I was in New York…” Kenyan noses are squinted upwards, eyes rolling back into insular heads as if I just farted nerve gas. C’mon Kenyans.

    Commandment 2, 3, 6 and 9. Reading Bikozulu’s repetitive tag, “that’s the way it is”, as in, you have no right to change our status quo, is really telling of the “outsider” attitude directed at diaspora Kenyans. Kenyans abroad criticizing Kenya is seen as insulting someone else’s mother. Get over it, Kenyans, we’re Kenyans too, and we too have a fierce responsibility to hold our politicians accountable and our fellow Kenyans responsible for conduct that builds a country. The corruption sucks, the poverty stinks, the matatu menace is barbaric, the roads suck (don’t brag to me about Thika Superhighway, a mere 50 km stretch that leaves another 8,900 km of principal highways in need of similar upgrading, and 63,000 km of interurban roads crying for attention; we made one step in the right direction, don’t act as if we’ve arrived).

    The insecurity on city streets we once walked is still unacceptable, even more now that we have experienced greater safety in foreign countries. We want the good socio-economic experience we’ve had abroad to be available in Kenya too; uncongested transportation, social services for the poor, clean neighborhoods…and for the well-off Kenyans to care enough about the lives of slum-dwellers in their backyards. Yes, we will tweet and blog and status-update from our diaspora perches until you hear this. Even as we have in our own diaspora midst shameful incidents of tribalism of the worst kind, our failings and foibles do not allow you to exclude us from the privilege of being part of Kenya’s journey, in critical speech and action.

    And while we’re on this topic of criticizing each other, there really ought to be a deodorant revolution in Kenya. Why is it that the minute you land in Kenya, the foul smell of human armpits hits you? You walk about the streets or ride a matatu and wish you had a gas mask. Or if an elevator full of people somewhere in the US is reeking of stale sweat, I’ll bet you all my diaspora remittances the culprit is definitely the newcomer diaspora African at the corner. Our collective reputation is fouled up. Yup, I said it, yes I did. My African peeps, man. Style up. Please don’t tell me about poverty and choosing between soap and food. Dignity is important. Martin Luther King actually made such a call to his people, told them to stop stinking, that working hard for long hours with little pay does not mean neglecting personal hygiene, and to date, you won’t find any black person all funky, even in the heat of summer, the poorest of black folk in America smell good! Heck, Richard Pryor probably said it best, “Don’t just wash you’re ass hole, wash your whole ass.” Let’s take care of the total package of who we are, not just one aspect.

    On commandment 6: The world is now a kaleidoscope of each other’s influences, and claiming you don’t want “American” solutions is myopic while America itself seeks all kinds of ways to get stuff from Africa for its own growth, from culture to human and material resources (yup, they harvest human brain power through the green card “lottery” every year). The Romans built their civilization upon a borrowed Greek culture and a borrowed foreign faith that later became Christianity. So diaspora, go ahead with your exposed selves and influence change for the good of our country. And yes, Mr. Bikozulu, I can actually sit in Starbucks and effect change. It won’t come in one tweet, or one blog, or one electronic transmission of funds to Kenya from my cell phone. It will come from a concerted effort of using all the tools I have in the diaspora. In fact, diaspora has contributed to change and continues to do so.

    On commandment 8: Kenyans go through a lot in the diaspora, few have it easy all the way. Don’t gloat over those who go through flipping burgers and scrubbing toilets while working towards their school fees or just to pay rent. It’s these very same Kenyans that send money home, haba na haba. Some have made a business out of it, no kidding. You can find Kenyans running cleaning businesses that have done so well they’ve bought homes. I speak of people I know personally. A Kenyan banker I spoke to recently left his “big” job for a taxi-driving business. Labor which Kenyans at home consider menial can be turned to gold. It’s attitude that counts. It’s time Kenyans at home kicked the habit of equating success with white collar jobs. And yes, some of succeed, some don’t. Such is life. A little encouragement would go a long way.

    Finally, a touchy one for me, is commandment 4. About calling a foreign country home. I’m a transnational citizen. Kenya is my home, my birth country, the land of my family, extended family and ancestors. I also have a home in the US (not a house, a home). I very easily and naturally, without skipping a beat, speak of “going back home” when I’m in Kenya, referring to the US. I have no apologies for that; I and millions of other human beings for whom the concept of home is not limited to your ancestry, the origin of your name, the sound of your accent, or a certain cultural definition of “home” that is held sacrosanct by your people. We know that in Kenyan cultures, even the cities are not your home, only your ancestral land qualifies for the title. I understand where Bikozulu’s emotional but unenlightened chastising is coming from. Brother, some of us long released ourselves from the shackles of that cultural straitjacket that does not allow you to belong anywhere outside of your ancestral home or country of birth.

    Kenya is still the abode of my constant agitation. I will care about what goes on there till the day I die. My spirit will continue to roam around the hills of Taita all the waking days of my life. Yet none of this stops me from staying active in my neighborhood committee in Baltimore. This is home. I seek solutions to crime, overgrown sidewalks and career opportunities with as much passion as I do for Kenya. This is home. I cared about the Trayvon Martin case, the Ravens winning Super Bowl, and wonder loudly if Mayor Rawlings-Blake really cares for inner city Baltimore. This is home. I take the train to Washington DC to teach, attend countless meetings and socialize. This is home. America has nurtured me, annoyed me, loved me, grown me. In most likelihood, I will be buried here. This is home. Don’t tell me not to call it home just because Kenya is home too. And should my family move to Italy or Rwanda or China, I refuse to live a suspended existence of non-belonging because I’m not “home”. I will plant and harvest the crop of my dreams there too and make a home in that country. That, my friend, is quintessential diaspora experience. I treasure it.

    1. I agree with this in as far as Biko saying it as if all diasporans are spoilt is concerned. Lakini hii mambo ya kuangalia I-fricans like we are diseased nayo mtawacha. Ukienda kula lunch kwa hao ya neighbour mdosi, usianze kutukana/kushangaa mbuyu wako kwanini ako down. Hata vidole za mkono hazitoshani.

      Do you know it took America more than 300 years of ‘democracy’ for women to start voting in the 1920’s. You talk of transport that works, unajua hiyo transi imework for centuries lakini kama si Rosa Parks kuzusha as recently as the 50’s nyinyi ma-blacks mko States mngekua mnaichekia tu hewani?

      My point? What I-frica has done within half a century of indipendence Amerika couldnt dream of doing for more than four hundred years. Tuko nyuma najua lakini hiyo states imejengwa na whips kwa migongo za Wa-I-frika. Free labour. The west imejengwa from free resources. Walikuja I-frica wakachota gold kama maji, waka-farm on our lands for free tukiwachapia job on the same farms for free. Hii ndio story iliwapatia head start. Sisi tunajifanyia pole pole na challenges zetu na nguvu yetu ndio maana super highway yetu bado ni 50KM.

      ‘ We know where we are going. We know where we are from. We leaving babylon . . . going to our father’s land!’ ~ Nesta

  107. most of these kenyans are whining about kenyans in the diaspora how about u first stop with asking for money from us every time we log on to Facebook or call you or buy you drinks or this and that when we visit we are not BANNKS, and yes when u live in the diaspora your accent has to change, u cant talk your mother tongue so obviously you have to talk like people you met here to be understood, and about the security issue… its obvious that when u visit kenya from the diaspora u will be an easy prey for theft and thats why we have to as if we will be secure when we go to a certain street at a certain time and I’m sure as hell that most of the people on here commenting and talking shit about people in the diaspora have never even left kenya and don’t know how life is here all they do know is what they hear and see so u look like a damn fool talking about stuff u know nothing about, i am a proud kenyan living in the united states and i love it here i don’t care if somebody thinks as they say “KUJISKIA” because i have an accent or I’m concerned about my security when i visit. lastly most of you who are having negative comment about people in the diaspora you know you would love to visit e.g the US, or the UK but you probably cant because of circumstance so stop with the jelousy and work hard.

  108. I’ll keep advocating for ‘personal space ‘ and the elusive ‘deodorant use’… Before I listen to arrogant , uninformed writters

  109. Whoa, what a lashing!
    Anyhow, I guess one skunk can stink the whole neighborhood.
    Loved reading this article, i wonder why guys are getting so personal.

    1. whats the meaning of personal to you?

      They are simply commenting on what was written…. Nothing about the replies is personal….

    2. Dear Texan,

      I happen to be a Kenyan in the diaspora and a writer.
      You know what… whatever Biko said is water off my back…. my two cents is that whatever he wrote was on a light note. so…. I choose to take off my serious glasses and laugh at the humour. Besides, its ‘high school’ as he calls it.

  110. before some kenyans talk shit about kenyans in the diaspora, how about they stop asking kenyans who ask money from us in the diaspora to stop everytime we communicate like wer banks

  111. I am a proud Kenyan living in the diaspora and I had to smile (and occasionally laugh out loud) at some of the points you raised, Mr. Bikozulu.

    Are we that bad? Really?

    We are not and I think our friend Mkawasi has the perfect response to you letter, Mr. Bikozulu.

    http://mkawasi.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/a-letter-from-kenyan-abroad.html

    Read it and maybe, understand that it is what it is. We are Kenyans for life regardless of the twengs we adopt, our political views (however condescending), and yes our nostalgia for a Kenya that we don’t recognize anymore. No one can take that way from us. So cut us some slack, will you?

  112. Surely, are these the issues that are going to lead us (Ooops, ma bad, please read: Patriotic Kenyans living in Kenya) to vision 2030?
    I would rather see you write more on the reasons why the Diaspora money remittance has dropped – Is it because, Kenyans living abroad are fed up with scammers and lazy people waiting for handouts, or is it because Kenyans living in Kenya are becoming more self sufficient?

  113. You busybodies,,,who are you to set rules on how one should speak,the form of transport he should use or the comments about politics he should make?Did we stop you from coming here?Mind your own business!We dont need your letters and comments to survive here!!

  114. thats article is actually mind blowing coz it depicts the true state of affairs kudos to the one who wrote it am a kenyan and always proud of my country

  115. This is a good article,but like many a well written article. It does an even more impressive job of hiding its flaws.While some of what the writer has said is true and very poignant. It goes without saying that there are a lot of generalizations in some of the assessments and the writer takes great liberties in talking about some things that undoubtedly has has no idea. The very fact that remittances home account for a significant amount of income for people as well as Kenya’s foreign exchange reserves should even in the least be a good indicator how important our roots are for those of us that do not live there day to day.
    Some of the things that are referred to here cut both ways,its not uncommon for friends to come visiting abroad with the expectations that we should be able to drop our jobs and attend to them every day and in every way.
    While it is true that people from the diaspora do not do a good job of representing everyone else,it is misguided if not downright wrong to think that surmises what all of us are about.
    Whenever i am home which i manage to do 4 or 5 times a year,i take a matatu, i stay at home and i certainly do not eat at sankara. I am certainly not proud of the fact that i have picked up an accent and i make every effort to speak in my mother tongue and swahili to prevent those “watu wa majuu” monikers.
    As a writer,i think this article should have been narrowed to the realm of your personal experiences and nothing else. You do not understand our political persuasions…some of us are equally disappointed in Barack Obama as we are in our local MP’s and councillors,for you to deem that you can speak for everyone is wrong and downright nonsensical if nothing else.
    I enjoyed the read,but a well written article fails when it is not well researched and the scope is so obviously broad that the very messages it intends to convey is mired in endless clouds of ludicrous assertions not supported by fact or otherwise.
    A bit more research next time will clear it up for ‘us’ in the diaspora and we certainly will learn better decorum of dealing with nchi yako since it seems wewe ni mwenye nchi.

  116. I am not sure where all the hate for the Kenyans in the diaspora has come from. I feel that there is not much one can conclude about a place or an individual just from a few weeks or a couple of months visit. This judgmental disdain for the diaspora is misplaced. Why can’t we accept and learn from each other. The fact is, living in a different environment and being exposed to different cultures will change an individual. It could be for better or worse but this change is inevitable. Why can’t we accept each other and learn from each other coz in the grand scheme of things, no one is right and no one is wrong. As the saying goes, there is more than one way to kill a chicken. If we brainstorm, we could probably discover efficient methods of killing chicken rather than disparaging each other for being different. Diversity is a strength and not an weakness, maneno ya “you people” imetuharibu sana e.g tribalism and now diasporaism. I wonder, is there another group you can identify for a portion of Kenyans to hate?

  117. I have never been robbed in Nairobi but I moved to DC and got robbed 3 times at the same place, on my way to Safari DC. These punk kids would not quit! I can see the authors point but until you walk in our heels you should never judge…try and tell an American that you are looking for paaaaking instead of paRking. You will be there all day long! You pick up the acceng for survival and after a while you realize that it just makes sense…and calling you a Kenyan is NOT racist, negro please.

  118. Biko, I always enjoy your articles but you hit a new low by allowing a hint of jealousy to get the best of you and your writing. It is expected that anyone that resides anywhere other than “home” would develop what would be termed “different” for obvious reasons.
    Human beings can be insufferable; we all work, live and school with a few of them and they aren’t all Kenyans in Diaspora.
    If “that’s just how it is” is your response, I must say that that’s just how it is with Kenyans in Diaspora so you, too ought to learn to deal with it.

  119. …. and oh, I forgot to say that i learned 60 percent of my Kyuk and perfected it here in DC, Nairobians cannot even come close to my kikuyu and swahili proficiency!

    1. I know alot of people, whose mother tongue improved when they moved over here. Hence, attending ethnic churches/associations just to practice.

  120. It’s sad that Kenyans are looking down upon each other. Same script, different cast. People pity me cause I call Nairobi HOME. I mean, I’ve lived in Nai all my life (26years and counting) and I’ve visited shaggz for a total sum of 3 weeks. So why would i call I place i know not home as opposed to a place I was born and brought up in.
    I haven’t lived abroad but I know it’s not right for you Biko and your fellow commentators to bash on other Kenyans. And we wonder why tribalism will never end. Just a bunch of insecure people demeaning others so as to feed their inferiority complex. Man up people and let us unite!!!

    1. I agree with this wholeheartedly! This article may have been meant as some kind of joke from Biko. I cannot imagine that an article with such broad generalisations was meant as a serious piece. And after reading the comments one can see the division, one group bashing the other….

    2. @Rublet: Very true! Let every Kenyan be a ‘true Kenyan’. Style-up and look at things more positively – from a non-tribal and non-diaspora point of view. I do expect the so-called learned and/or élite (learned, prosperous…) to lead the rest into this attitude of being accommodative to one another. It’s the ONLY way that Kenya will grow, develop and prosper, and every Kenyan will be included in this process proportionately.

  121. clearly there is loss of peripheral vision..therefore seeing the broader picture is out of the question. unless you live in the diaspora, better not open your mouth to criticize..you will offend our sense of smell with your bad stench and odour coming from your oral opening.you have no idea what amount of sweat we emit just to send money to our people back in kenya.and yes,we have business ideas but our money sent back there to do business is misused because people think we have a steam plant here that will manufacture money whenever..even the government of kenya depends on funds from abroad to do most of its projects. ata usijaribu kuongea tena..you do not have an iota of idea of what you are talking about.

  122. Such ignorance, such bloody lies you are spreading I feel sorry for you, oh what a pity… Do you hear yourself rant? You seem to be very bitter. Kwani umekosewa sana ukaona utukane watu hawajakosa? and for all those people who think even for one second that everyone in the Diaspora is that shallow, you must be hanging out with the wrong crowd cause as far as I am concerned Kenyans here are very proud to be Kenyans. We embrace our culture, we are proud to say where we come from and we are proud to stand up tall, and yes when I come to Kenya I want to go to masai market, i want to do everything and guess what I do have friends and family who are willing to take time out because we have a greater bond than what you are trying to portray. If they were to come here I would take time out too and make sure they have an awesome time, or when you go out to other countries you hang out by yourself? I highly doubt it. So what if we come home and we have friends who are ready to embrace us, if you don’t feel like doing it then don’t do it no one is forcing you. You haven’t said anything that makes sense at all. So your cousin was scared of going to Loita Street, who gives a hoot? People change because of the society they live in, at least he still remembers there is a barclays at Loita street… OMG!!! You are sooooo ignorant, next time you write an article or a blog DO NOT GENERALISE cause we are not all like that. I love my country, I love it flaws and all…

    1. So the only isuue you have with Biko is that he generalised right? if you don’t have those funny behaviors just enjoy the article and leave at that. Its the same way most people believe that those who marry foreign men do it for the money, the fact is some are geniunely in love, so in the same way some Kenyans come back with an attitude others don’t, this article was for those who do

    2. Lol Valybae i think you missed the sarcasm in this article…remember satire, remember irony…literature class.. hint hint…there you go..that’s wassup! It’s never that serious don’t spew and catch feelings over works of literature especially in Biko’s blog. Umecatch sana, breathe in…out…

    3. Yeah even if she is one of them who gives a damn??And oh! If you guys could stop flashing the Hilarious, sarcasm card when We in the Diaspora decide to give Biko a piece of our mind.He was definitely serious about what he was writing,duh!!(please read this putting on a British accent coz it was written with one)LOL.

    4. Sharon what irritating behaviours are you talking about? Asking if a place is safe? don’t act like insecurity in the country is news to you. With the kidnaping issue I heard about recently, the Alshabab saga not forgetting about con men and women in Nairobi that’s on the increase and the old time robbery with violence, thanks to the joblessness that is looming. Nobody wanna get mugged. About the accent thing enough has been said, guess its clear by now ,Heck!_About spending money,damn its theirs, they worked hard for it.We as the Diaspora are not `catching feelings ‘as you guys put it, whatever that means. Anyways,This Biko Zulu guy needs more exposure.

  123. OK, for once Biko is sounding like a typical #KOT by hating for hating’s sake. & what does the article injustice is that it heaps all diasporans under this ‘bad behaviour’ type.

    Just to bring you back home, it has Kenyans who left their ocha for Nai and when they go back home they are already alienated from a life they have lived for like forever!

    When these ‘Nairobians’ go back to ocha unapata wanashangaa venye mtu anaweza kunywa maji ya kisima, venye hakuna pub ya maana, venye watu ni washamba etc Watasema ati busaa ni pombe chafu na hiyo ndio iliwalipia fees ya kuenda primo!

    Wadhii kama hawa hawakosi. But it doesn’t mean everyone in Nairobi is mean when they go back home. Some of us go back home for that busaa and for that shower by the riverside, stuff we cant do in Nai.

    So I agree, kuna njaro zingine za wana but you shoulda singled out wenye hizi njaro. The way it reads ni kama a projection of some poorly behaved relas/friends on all the diaspora.

  124. Ha ha Jackson, You know you can’t pick up a quarrel with KIDs and win. No? Although you used a broad brush, just look at the comments on accent and note the illogical arguments therein – there’s no issue in doing what the Romans do when in Rome (after all, survival is a basic response, people learn it right from infancy), but the issue arises when one demands that, when not in Rome, the non-Romans must put up with one’s Rome strategy. I am not in the habit of quoting my ‘credentials’ to justify my comments, but to quote Oscar Wilde:
    “Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital [emphasis added]. When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.”

    I don’t see why those who do not behave ‘that way’ feel insulted; after all, you family and real friends know your true self.

    1
  125. A good read!
    to the very last detail, currently hosting two Kenyans who have barely spent 10yrs abroad but the torture…aaaaaargh! lucky I got a job and am ‘always’ busy to them!

    1. Here we go again. If they piss you off why not tell them? But no am sure you not gonna do that because you depend on them financially on the period that they are staying with you. And oh yes, I refuse to believe otherwise.

  126. Funny thing is this, Biko. There is aguy who’s responded to you, by the name Mkawasi – http://www.mwakilishi.com/comment/reply/45470. I agree with you on many fronts, and I agree with him on most. Biko, you’ve restated some of my positions, and also restated some of my prejudices. Mkawasi has cured me of those prejudices and reaffirmed some of my positions, very common with most of yours. I must thank you both. You are like great debaters in the Roman Senate, say, Marcus Tillius Cicero and who the hell was that other guy? (I need to go easy on Vodka, my memory is not what it used to be). Anyway, I must say, this is the most refreshing debate I have read in a very long time, but please see the rejoinder too. Gentlemen, take a bow.

    1
  127. Nice pierce…..

    …..a few pointers though…

    The US, UK, Canada, Australia and everywhere else can be home for Kenyans. There’s nothing wrong with adapting another country as your homeland.

    Yes, one could have grown up in Umoja but by coming to the diapora, they’ve ‘upgraded”…nothing wrong with that. After all, that’s why they flew out, right…..:-)

    Other than that, great job.

  128. This is the Greatest Troll Effort I have even seen aimed at Kenyans. Well done Bikozulu- You’ve managed to take trolling to a whole new level. And they all bought it.

  129. ” When you come down don’t drag us to the champagne bar at Sankara and get mild dementia after one look at their menu.”
    Puahahahaha!! Oh The Insanity!!

  130. So, a couple of months back, when a “friend” from back in the day began to ask me aboutt how safe Kenya is, and how good the housing is, and nini nini, I had this blank look on my face. He’s been in Norway and somewhere else for a number of years, and while he was here he was so ghetto!!! so suddenly he’s bourgee, and all I can say is I’m baffled. could I just shove this great article up his backside?!!!!!!

  131. I totally get where you are coming from,I have had a few friends with such behaviors but some are still as nice as they left.LMAO to that loita street safety.one thing though,i never understand the people who miss their parent’s funerals..i just don’t get how you wouldn’t want to say goodbye to someone you love and send money instead…maybe i will understand someday

    http://thefunshionmistress.blogspot.com/

  132. Biko Zulu!!! You are entitled to your opinion about people living in the ‘diaspora’. Thank God it is yours and those that agree with you entirely. In my opinion….you need to make a new set of friends in the diaspora…..is all I have to say. Good luck bruh!!

  133. Stepping on toes and not taking any prisoners I see. So, does Tz count as ‘Diaspora’? I have tweaked my Swahili, got me a Bongo accent and all… Tee hee!

  134. Being a Kenyan living in diaspora, I find it funny that the author has many egging him on and concurring, yet when I’m in Kenya, I see many Kenyans doing all they can to “enda majuu” even if is it’s the barbaric Middle East. I believe some of this vitriol is rooted to the fact that some of us got a better quality of life the easy way and some didn’t.

    1. Issue here is the irritating behavior of some diaspora Kenyans. It will not apply to everyone, just like not all Kenyans aspire to go abroad. It’s a light read that should form part of our social education.

  135. And the conclusion sums it all up. If it’s broken it needs fixing. The machinery is grounding to a halt. Putting the whole of the diaspora in one basket is for small minds. Some Kenyans have not stepped out of the country but won’t walk to Dodoma road leave alone Mathare or Umoja even.

  136. Nice Read! we kenyans might have our own little problems,our politics might be gangsterish but you know what?its what makes us Kenyans. Don’t go abroad and have selective amnesia all of a sudden! Some of them are there illegally yet they have the audacity to whine! Come back home and put your $1.99 wisdom into action! Facebook and Twitter doesn’t earn you a spot in the political arena neither does it bring about the change you so much anticipate to see…ask P.K!

  137. The issue that most people are raising is that Biko generalised but they aren’t denying the fact that those behaviors exist. This was a light read people took it too seriously and too personally, just enjoy the read, if you live in the diaspora and you don’t have the above mentioned behaviors just chill, don’t bite Biko’s head off, the truth is some Kenyans in the diaspora portray those behaviors and truth be told its irritating.If someone says women are naturally caring and gentle, it doesn’t mean all women are like that there are some very mean women. So if you live in the diaspora and you don’t have those funny characteristics, just enjoy the article

  138. Biko you have done it again. It’s true, the mindset of the “diasporans” must change. Someone had to say it

    ====> “But can you imagine that since you left life also happened to us? Hard to believe, I know. We got and changed jobs. We dated and we got married. We got kids. Most of us grew up and that came with different priorities. Life is a moving wheel. I know it might seem like we have lots of time on our hands back here but we don’t.”

  139. The worst enemy to Kenya and Africa is not famine, corruption, disease, ignorance, war or lack of infrastructure. Its brain drain. We have brilliant minds out there that could help make a difference at a time. But how many are willing to. Few if at all any is the answer.

    1. You make a really good point and ask a really good question. But I have a second question that needs to also be asked …. “But how many are allowed to (make a difference)?”

  140. Biko you have so made my day…clearly this has lead to a lot of readers “catching feelings” hahaha…Truth is your post is on point..Ukweli isemwe!

  141. You are good writer, thats a given, one thing I have noted about you is that you are ever so critical, I hope the criticism does not come from a place of wanting to humble people who you think are above you in any way.

  142. This long letter, I didn’t read it all , but from my inner feeling ,is a peaceful one ,, specially for diaspora Kenya ,and other nations including me from south sudan ,,live in Australia as a citizen ,,,,really our main home land , couldn’t be forget at all, for me as I like me mother land , I just travel a lot to south sudan , because I like my home land ,, and it’s the same to any person from different African or Asian countries .

  143. Biko was right! They are all whining despite the fact that he asked them noto to! All the comments from Kenyans in the diaspora are long-winded and defensive. If the advice is relevant to you, take it and change, if it is not, read it and laugh. Just spare us the whining. Well said, biko

    1. It is not clear who you think Biko is but it seems like he is a disgruntled ne’er-do-well. Were you expecting Kenyans in the diaspora to agree with him or did you have a scripted template you wanted used?

  144. you have looked far. It starts here in Kenya. sample Nairobians when they go back to the village. Even those of us who grew up in the village will arrive there with different mannerisms,pretending like we cant do or have forgotten the local dialect, cant go the river,we have to hire someone to fetch weter for us…and so much more. I think it is something inborn or just natural and people have to learn to hide it. otherwise it just shows.

  145. We have realised that the only way we can fight these politicians and their endless plunder and greed is through the mighty power of Retweet! So don’t judge us, not until you walk 140 characters in our tweets. ‘

    What clever word play in this paragraph!!!!! Are we ever going to see a book from you Biko?

    1
    1. Clever wordplay? Um, NO!! I bet he pulled it off Google!! Especially since it negates his prior assertion to the effect that politicians will never read tweets from diasporians…what gives? Please negro, get real!! The boy’s mind is twisted!!

  146. Interesting. However, you lost me the moment you decided to homogenize all Kenyans outside the boarders of Kenya (well, actually those in mid-high income countries: SA and not UG). Anyone who has actually traveled the world will simply laugh at your microscopic view of an entire subject on global migration. The simple fact is that once anyone gets into a plane and jets out of their so-called mother-country, many factors come into play in determining how they respond to the “world out there.” Most frankly, the fact that they are “Kenyan” is only a single variable in this. In other words, how do Ugandan’s behave when they visit Kampala from Nairobi? Or Mexicans visiting Guadarajara from DC? This article has so many fallacies of consistency that it is only worth reading for fun. In other words whatever you are saying doesn’t make any sense, if you think about it.

  147. If we could all take this article as it is intended,to show the idiosyncrasies of the Kenyan abroad albeit tongue-in-cheek,appreciate the funny,acknowledge the not so funny…then the conversation here would not be an us-vs-them…we are all Kenyans…no matter where we are,none of us is perfect,neither are there those that can claim to be more Kenyan than others despite their current residence,your country of birth is a birthright…just as much as you cannot change your mother who gave birth to you…you celebrate her strength,and help her where she is weak… some of the Kenyans abroad also have not so good experiences with their friends and relatives and vice versa and i can attest to that…so little of the vitriol and more of the love…it is a given fact that there are Kenyans abroad who would love to come back permanently and there are those in Kenya as someone said who would take the first green card out of here…none is superior to the other…my take would be for a diasporan to do the same and bring to light their side of the story….because whats going on here is enemy combatants on a virtual battlefield notwithstanding that they fight under the same banner….KENYA…

  148. @Miki, get cob out of your ass. There is no generalization here, if you take time to read this post it does not say all. Lucky you fall in the category of the polished and whatnot…..8 in every 10 can relate to what our beloved Biko is saying.

  149. Best read in a long time and every element in it is spot on.
    The satire is to die for….You are my Denzel Washington when it comes to writing. Kudos Biko!!!

  150. @Valybae, breathe or take a chill pill. It’s never that serious. You clearly have never heard of satire and I don’t blame you. I would hate to share any space with you. Take some time before this winter to have a chat with Dr. Phil…

  151. “I’d rather be proud of what I am, rather than desperately trying to be something I’m really not, just to fit in”. Poverty of philosophy by Immortal technique.
    some real set of facts Biko.Respect

  152. The tales of Have and Have Nots!!!
    Bikozulu Vs Mkawasi

    Who speaks for the indigenous Kenyans who don’t have acquaintances abroad and In Nairobi?….. Having read both articles reminds me of Kenyans Living in Nairobi & Kenyans Living in the Rural Areas

  153. @Biko,

    MY GOODNESS WHAT DID YOU DO?? YOU HAVE REALLY PISSED OF OUR RABBITS OR ARE THEY BUNNIES……..All in all you might just have unearthed a new crop of writers going by the length of comments here.
    Hehehe this is by far the article with the most comments i have seen…

    1
  154. When I grow up, I want to write like Biko. And… Here comes, ladies and gentlemen… the next *clearing throat* the next B… Watch this space!

  155. LOL!! great article. i couldnt stop laughing as i had a mental imagination of each relative..!!
    very informative for all the people in diaspora and/or recently back, we didn’t stop living when you left, we r busy face-booking. hahaha!!
    #goodstuff

  156. Okay what is the main issue if someone has an accent, because when you get to Kenya you get critised a lot.. its something some of us have grown up with and live with in this countries so I don’t get why people make such a big deal if someone has an accent, yes I do agree some people do take up a notch but not everyone mate.

  157. He he he Keep your pants on and have a good laugh Diasporas, laugh at yourselves and learn. It’s supposed to be fun, not a fire breathing dragon. These facts here are so stingily true in a typical Biko Zulu satire and from the reaction, this seems like it is really crawling up your pants, the responses My God!! I can see the frustration of a horny Chihuahua trying to mount a German shepherd!! But its literature.. As he would have it, that is how it is!! It’s a meal for all of us, sukuma wiki, and from this side I must say Biko did a nice meal, the Diasporas find it bitter and unpalatable either way nobody is picking on anyone YAWA!!

  158. Bikozulu, my friend i think you have machungu with people in diaspora. now first and foremost, thanks to google, Mikhael Gorbachev did not issue that quote. Secondly, you seem to have a bent that is becoming prevalent with kenyans against their friends and families in the diaspora. Haven’t you noticed that Kenyas three past leaders and the current one lived in the diaspora for a while, as a matter of fact UK worked in burger king? check your facts.

    Secondly, accent…. do you realize you have an accent? whether be it nairobian or the journalistic(which i consider hilarious though). so dont throw mud at others you will end up loosing ground.

    thirdly, haven’t you heard of dual citizenship? so wambua of dallas, georgia( jooja is the way the accent calls it), is indeed an american and is considered so by the US government!

    KFC? i dont even eat there! i cook my own ugali, pizza hut?? have you wondered why kenyans still look skinny after living in the diaspora after all these years??? theres nothing like a home cooked meal.

    Now since you are considerate enough to talk about money, the diaspora is slowly owning kenya and we are taking it back from the neo-cons not Sankara(i hope you are talking about Thomas Sankara, coz if so then check your history….. he was the man who brought prosperity to burkina faso by introducing measures to keep foreigners out and making the common man better, and yes he wasnt rich).

    Well, i guess you are looking to make your name or cut a niche’ in the journalistic estate. if so, leave the diaspora alone. Find dirt to write about land, CBK, IEBC or other initialized group.

    1. Relax Mesh,

      The commentary was meant to be satirical and not what you turning it to be. And for the record u so off key on Sankara. Try google Sankara hotel

      You seem to have so much machungus

  159. A well written piece – literally genius I must say. Well done Biko… I will be following you after reading this. Your humour is a big plus… the issues you tackle are real – very real!

  160. “…wondering who else was being buried in his absence…” 🙂

    Great writing as always.

    And diasporians should take a chill pill.Acting so defensive and all.

    Relax! It’s never that serious.

  161. No need for feelings. There’s lots of truth in what’s been written. Everyone here has a personal example they know of any of the enumerated behaviors. Good read.

  162. Biko Lolest, thanks you made my day. I have always known they clean toilets for the whites there and when they come here they behave like white hose cleaners he he!