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Friday, November 9, 2012

Death in a Mat, Bikozulu, Kenyan Middle Class

So I have been distracted with life, work, making money (well, ok, chasing some and catching some, and chasing some more) and running marathons. And the forum is quiet. And cold.
And out here, things are kinda slowing down now that December is approaching and the new year is beckoning. Kenyan politics is lack lustre because Raila is yet to make a big move. Uhuru is paying MPs 100K to accompany him to those meaningless trips to say "hallo" to heads of states from poor, underdeveloped countries that almost mean squat in global politics. Will Kenyas vote in ICC indicted persons and risk Kenya becoming a Zimbabwe because of tribal politics? I will have to see that and record it.

My writing, which has been lying in a wasteland of neglect, has stirred awake, stretched stood up, and has began moving with purpose and serious intent.
And I think I should get back to completing Death in a Mat. So I reviewed it and I am ready to continue from where the narrative fell off the cliff as I struggled to keep some balls in the air while some fell at my feet.
To inspire me, I visit and These are fine writers. They don't write anything heavy but they write very well though Bikozulu lets some modernist perspectives seep through his writing.
Aaanyways, since we had a discussion about middle class recently and blankets and wine, its interesting to read Bikozulu's take on Middle-class "adoption" tendencies and shallow attempts at decolonizing themselves.

He writes regarding Sauti Sol:

"...the reason I didn’t really get wowed by them was because I associated them with Blankets and Wine, and we all know how I feel about Blankets and Wine. That association for me compromised how I would view them. I felt like they had stopped being artists and were now mascots of social (arty) liberation propagated by the bourgeois. I felt that they were a creation/belief of the middle-class, one that they pushed on forums that they most found comfort in; twitter. And so I thought of them as a Twitter-band, with a musical character that you would simply review in under 140 words. A single-layered band.
The reason why I associated them with middle-class is because the middle-class in Kenya it at a point where they realise their triviality in lauding foreign ideologies and bodies of work and so to appear conforming to their African pride, they look for “causes” to support in the arts and business. As it so happens, Sauti Sol was nearby because they sang better than most local bands and so the middle-class adopted them, making them their “charity” of choice. You know? Something to save their shameless faces with. A redemptive move. And taking Sauti Sol under their wings is also the same reason the middle-class now sees it proper to drop their English names and use two “African” names like Kimotho Gachara, Odongo Otieno, Wekesa Wanyama etc. Don’t be fooled that this is a sign that we are entering the long-awaited era of African reinnascence. It’s not. It’s just the middle-class amusing themselves before their own gallery.
I guess another reason I couldn’t embrace Sauti Sol is because I just couldn’t just get past their pants."



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