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The Last Tribe

Tamms is Luo. So is Kim. But they are also Kikuyu. Which means they don’t belong to any tribe. Tamms aptly calls it, Half Tribe. When you ask her what tribe she belongs to, she says, “I’m half Kikuyu and half Luo. I’m Half Tribe.” I have no problem with that at all, but I wish she could mention the Luo part first – half Luo and half Kikuyu – not the other way round. But I won’t squabble, there are bigger fish to fry. (See that unintended ‘tribal’ pun?)

If you were waiting for an elevator, at say, Rahimtullah Towers, and waiting with you were Tamms and Kim, you wouldn’t be able to tell that they were from a particular tribe. Not even if they opened their mouths and said, “We are looking for our mom.” Even I wouldn’t be able to tell.

But because I’m their dad, sometimes I see flashes of their tribes in them. Brief momentary flashes that anyone can miss. For instance, there is a way Tamms sometimes yawns that can only be Luo. If you watch a Luo yawn, you will see a big yawn coming from someone who takes yawning very seriously, and at the end of it you will hear them mumble something. You can listen for twenty years to try and decipher what they say, but you won’t. Tamms yawns like that sometimes. She has a Luo yawn. Then she has Kikuyu feet. Don’t ask me what Kikuyu feet look like.

There is a way Kim loves warus that could only have come from the Kikuyu side. People always think I make up shit here, but I will illustrate how this boys’ Kikuyu-ness comes out by what happened last Friday. Thank God there was a witness to corroborate this.

I don’t really do much work on Fridays, so I called home at 11am and told the nanny, “Teresa, valisha mtoto nguo warm, nakuja kumchukua.” I picked him up and took him to Westgate Mall to hang out because he likes escalators (A Luo thing, no doubt. All the Luos I know would rather use the escalator than the lift. They love it! And if you happen to be standing near them when the escalator is going up you will hear them hum very silently, “vrooom.”)

We went for lunch at Urban Burger, where they brought him the kiddie burger and fries. Two small burgers, with open buns. Si we started chowing? Who do I see passing by our table? Some boy of mine called Carl Okello who works for Stanchart. So I say, “Hey Carl, bwana!” (Luos will always say “bwana” after words: nango bwana, koro bwana, kech kaya bwana, miya 3K more kanyo bwana…etc etc).

So Carl whirls around and comes back and I stand up and we hug and he touches Kim’s head and says what everybody says, “Hi little man, what’s your name…” etc, and Kim just smiles bashfully thinking, “Your shadow is on my lunch, boss!”  We stand there and chew some fat.

Now I think Kim sees us standing and thinks lunch is over and we are ready to go. So what does he do? I want someone to take a guess. He climbs off his seat and picks that little silver meshed container that contains his fries and he stands next to us holding it protectively against his chest as if to say, “Sawa, I’m ready, let’s go!” This boy left two juicy burgers on his plate and decided that if we were going to cut lunch short then he’d rather leave with his warus. Si that’s just kuyu behaviour?

What is heartbreaking about Half-Tribes, and something that most of us have failed to change, is our kids’ inability to speak their mother-tongue. Contrary to what the middle class who live in Lavington and go for fashion high tea will tell you, knowing and speaking your mother-tongue is actually a cool thing. You aren’t less cool, or less learned a person because you can speak your mother-tongue. There are friends I know who will say very proudly, “By the way, I can’t speak my mother-tongue, well, I can understand Kisii but I can’t speak it.” These people annoy the hell out of me. They imagine that this admission is supposed to be a cool thing. I think it’s like saying you can’t count from one to 100.

At the same time, just because you can speak your mother-tongue doesn’t mean you get to impose it on people from other tribes. Kikuyus are notorious at doing this. I can’t count the number of times I have been spoken to in Kikuyu by taxi drivers, hawkers, even in Mpesa shops and in mats. Kuyus have this thing of just assuming that we all know kyuk. Like it’s something we should have learnt in 8-4-4. Actually the only people who should be speaking to us in their mother tongue here in Nai are Maasais given that this city was theirs. But then again there are only 12 Maasais in Nai and they all spend all their time at Kiza Lounge speaking English. So yeah.

You will go to downtown Grogon to look for a spare part and the first thing a guy will tell you is, “Uhoro waku Gitonga! Ndakuona ndamaka tondu umuthe wina mbeca uhana ta woka kugura meeri, na no tairi cia Ruraya ndinacio.”

And you are like, ‘But why is this guy calling me Gitonga? I’m Biko! And certainly not Biko Gitonga.’ You will hear hawkers calling customers Gitonga and you wonder if they see all of us as Gitonga. Even chics! Felix Kasaine Gitonga. Jimmy Moguche Gitonga. Hellen Wasike Gitonga.  Only much later did I realise later that “Gitonga” means like a loaded guy, like you have mullah. It’s a form of sales flattery. Okuyu yawa!

But what about guys who are called Gitonga? Does it mean that they were named after rich men? Or they are destined for wealth? Sammy, hii swali nyeti ni yako, baba.

I’m embarrassed to say that Tamms only can say “koro” and “ber.” Completely embarrassed. But she knows more Kyuk words because of the reason I mentioned up there; Kyuks will speak Kyuk to you even if you don’t understand it! So of course her mom will always tell them, “Nuu uyu?”. But to be fair my grandmother speaks Luo to everyone, all the time.

My dad always says, “This is terrible. To have children who are Luo and not teach them Luo!” Well, what opportunity do you have to teach your kids your mother tongue when you don’t speak your mother tongue around them?

The person who raises them is a Kisii woman. (Fantastic nanny that lady). The thing with having your children raised by a Kisii nanny is that they get to know all of those dreadful shrilly Kisii songs. Oh and the word, “Obe!”. Kim spills his food, “obe!”. Kim pees on the floor, “obe!” Obe obe obe! And the nanny often speaks to herself when she is jobo-ing. I don’t know if this is a Kisii thing or if it’s her thing. Desmond Momanyi, please shed some light here.

Our biggest failure to our Half Tribe kids is that they will not be able to speak their language. I would like to hear from those who have succeeded, is this something I can change?

But this might eventually be a good thing; having kids who aren’t aligned to a particular tribe. Because tribalism has now become cancerous, especially as we head towards the next election. And nobody truly needs this shit to be honest. I came from South Sudan and saw what tribalism can do and truly, nobody needs this shit because eventually everybody loses.

I saw some social media update by Fred Obachi Machoka, the blackest man in black Africa (You have to say that in that gallant Machoka way) and he was letting rip on how us guys – the young guys – have become so sickeningly tribal. How we have become like the politicians, how we roast each other on social media and how tragic it is. And you feel shameful reading his update because he’s right. You take a perfectly decent person, well learned, well travelled, well spoken and when they write such narrow tribal epithet on social media it hits you right in your gut. Of course most people will block or delete this person as friends. But I don’t. I need the numbers damn it, hahaha. No seriously, I don’t because people will always show you who they are, and when they do, what you do with that information is up to you. When I see someone I follow write such shit, I normally just drop my expectations of them to ground zero. Then I move on.

The truth is that we, the X generation, will not stop tribalism, going by the level of buffoonery going on across social media. We are a bunch of disgusting two-faced hyenas who act sane in public but behind the veil of social media become what we have allowed our politicians to turn us into.

But the truth is, it doesn’t matter. It truly doesn’t matter at the end of the day where you are from. I have a friend, he’s Kyuk. He comes from Uhunye’s village. In fact, he tells me if he threw a stone, it would hit one of Kamwana’s cows in the eye. This guy has a day job but he’s struggling to also run a pub in his hood. One of those makuti places. He almost got auctioned late last year, but I think he offered to sell his youngest son to pay the debts. Haha. Business is shit. He once asked me, “Biko, do you think I have an advantage because Uhuru and I share the same road in shags?”

I said, “Hell yeah, man! At least you have a road! You should come to Kendu Bay!”  

He laughed.

“What good is that road for me, as Jamo, here in Nairobi? How often do I use that road? Do my kids benefit from that road?”

I mumbled a no and stared at my shoes.

“Do you imagine that every first Monday of the month I get an envelope delivered to my doorstep from Statehouse to cushion my bar from folding up?”

I sighed and said no.

“Do you think Uhuru knows me? He might know my grandmother, maybe, I don’t know, but do you think he knows me? Do you think if I showed up at Statehouse and told the guards that I’m the guy who comes from the boma near the president’s, the one with the red roof, Uhunye will andalia a ka-whisky like this and say, “Jamo, how can we make your business prosper as mundu wa nyumba?.”

“No,” I sniffed about to cry.

“It doesn’t matter boss. This shit only matters to politicians in the end. If the interest rates are shit, we all suffer. You and I. If the government doesn’t have mullah, my brother who does tenders suffers. We are all alone. You have tois, I have tois, imagine we all have the same fears. We all want to get ahead and it’s not any easier on me because I am from the big man’s village. Boss, my tribe is money.”

So I ordered another double. And changed the topic.

Tribalism won’t stop because you read this article. Of those reading this, most will have forgotten about it in ten minutes. We won’t change it. I don’t even know if the Y-generation or the millennials will kill it. But we have failed. What’s left for us now is to condition our kids. That’s all that is left for us to do. And to avoid the mistakes our parents made by telling us that Kyuks will kill you in your sleep and take off with your wealth, which includes a bicycle if you are Lunje. That Luos have a weird culture of sleeping with the dead and shaving the bereaved by force. That Kisiis dig up the dead and steal their clothes. That Luhyas eat and eat and eat. Maybe if we raised our kids outside this madness of tribalism it might eventually turn out ok.

Oh, that and intermarriages. Maybe that might help. I’m not asking guys to get second wives from other tribes out of civic duty, but maybe if we all married from other tribes our tribal affiliations might wane. That maybe one day when our children who can’t speak their mother-tongue finally grow up and they don’t care where they are from or what their language is, when all their knowledge of who they are is based on what schools they attended, what malls they visited, what pop song they love and what shoes they wore, maybe we will all get along.

Maybe these kids – the 44th Tribe of Kenya – will save us from this grand buffoonery and unending tribal circus. Because, we have failed spectacularly with our tiresome unending pretense of ethnic tolerance.

Having said that, lakini kuyu guys love checked shirts, sindio?

327 Responses
  • collins
    31.05.2016

    Identifying yourself with a tribe which you belong to is not a bad thing because it forms part and parcel of you. Tribe only becomes a problem once the politicians have added in their half truths which in turn polarizes us

    1
    • Mike
      31.05.2016

      I think we use politicians as an excuse. It’s us, we are all tribal

      8
      • Atieno Onyango
        31.05.2016

        I agree. Politicians only have as much power as we allow them to have.

      • Marie
        31.05.2016

        Too much truth

        • Kiarie
          01.06.2016

          Mike, well put. We all have brains no matter what the politicians tell us

      • Buzunesh
        02.06.2016

        True story Mike, it is indeed us who are tribal and it’s very stupid of us to let the politicians or whoever else fuel the tribalism to inhumanity because beyond the tribe we have humanity in common.

        • KAREN
          06.06.2016

          Half tribes can be tribal too. Tribalism isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself,it could also be an appreciation of our different cultures and our diversity.

      • Migui
        02.06.2016

        Partial treatment of this problem could come from training those licensed,paid and protected to make noise in logic as opposed to characcter asssination of opponents. Those elected in that sector of our Government must be made too accept the dignity,integrity and decorum envisaged in those institutions and debate issues in a manner that is free of tribal insinuations. Such institutions should consider themselves as training facilities on the type of generation that the country needs. After all ii we are operating in a networked world,is it asking too much to call for an ethnically networked country ?

    • Mwaniki
      31.05.2016

      There are so many other basis on which you can judge a person, their personality is a grand idea, their articulation, their humour or lack thereof the same, their stupidity, their maturity or lack of, their determination, their brains, their dressing I would even go so far as to accept their knowledge of the latest socialite/social story/social app/social whatever thing comes up too… Limiting your judgement of a person to just what tribe they come from is simply limiting your arsenal of things to like or not like about a person. I prefer to have options.

      3
      • eric
        01.06.2016

        I like. Say it again.

      • FREDD
        08.06.2016

        Excellently written Mwaniki

  • Rael
    31.05.2016

    Oh, that and intermarriages. Maybe that might help. I’m not asking guys to get second wives from other tribes out of civic duty, but
    maybe if we all married from other tribes our tribal affiliations might wane”…well put. http://www.shesatomboy.comm

    • Nick
      31.05.2016

      Nyathi majaber

  • Rael
    31.05.2016

    “Oh, that and intermarriages. Maybe that might help. I’m not asking guys to get second wives from other tribes out of civic duty, but
    maybe if we all married from other tribes our tribal affiliations might wane”…well put. http://www.shesatomboy.com

    1
    • Andrew
      31.05.2016

      It will be a tragedy if we killed our heritage to eradicate tribalism. It’s a lose lose…Tribalism starts is in the conscious level and must be neutralised with the same. Appreciating we are cultured differently but intertwined by one great phenomenal – Kenya http://www.andrewismme.wordpress.com

      • Kuria's daughter
        03.06.2016

        We humans will always find something to divide them if we were all the same tribe it will be height, weight , religion, clans, even the shape of our ears….but I agree, knowing your mother tongue would have been great. I am half tribe and I never learned. Dad said we should learn his first. And he was a horrid teacher. Now I am struggling to learn another language all together cause I crossed the sea, but I always wondered how nice it would have been to know more than “this is the daughter of Kuria and she doesn’t speak Kikuyu, can you imagine?

  • Nduts
    31.05.2016

    I call mine cocktails because just like yours they are half tribe.

    1
    • Namunyak
      31.05.2016

      ROTFLMAO…. Cocktails, that is quite creative. I love it!

      • Nyamweya
        01.06.2016

        Have a nationalistic Madaraka day. Mungu anakupenda ulivyo.

    • Tirus
      31.05.2016

      Haha haha awesome

    • velisa
      02.06.2016

      Cocktails…brilliant

    • Erickovic
      02.06.2016

      Mine are cool as a Kiukamba.

      • Nduts
        03.06.2016

        That’s so cool.

    • anita
      09.06.2016

      hahaha i love it! i am a cocktail who has brought forth a number of cocktails! Awesome

  • The Black Kennedy
    31.05.2016

    Huyo amechorwa hapo ndio Tamms….

    Na wapi Kim….??

    Ama you are a feminist?

  • The Black Kennedy
    31.05.2016

    “If you watch a Luo yawn, you will see a big yawn
    coming from someone who takes yawning very
    seriously, and at the end of it you will hear
    them mumble something.”

    Ichieni….!!!!

  • Patrick Muli
    31.05.2016

    Dang! Am late again 🙁

  • Hellen Ak
    31.05.2016

    Good One. We must shun tribalism, its never too late. change starts with us.

  • Chebet Nelima
    31.05.2016

    There you go!

  • Mumo
    31.05.2016

    Well put biko!! Indeed tribalism is becoming cancerous

  • tom osanjo
    31.05.2016

    All the Luos I know would rather use the escalator than the lift. They love it! And if you happen to be standing near them when the escalator is going up you will hear them hum very silently, “vrooom.”- Yawa?!!!

  • Morine
    31.05.2016

    First comment!!!!!

  • P K
    31.05.2016

    hahahaha Biko you are so silly may God forgive you on behalf of Kim and his Warus. No Kenyans love checked shirts and it depends which year they were born.
    As a mother of Half and half myself; I am ashamed to say they learn later not when young unless brought up in shags. Haiya tumia mimi email yako have some personal axe to grind.

  • oletoirai
    31.05.2016

    13th Maasai checkin in…. ( Eero Biko, kaa doi ijoito?)

    • Sophia
      31.05.2016

      Karibu 13th Maasai….
      Ashe oleng for representing!

    • Aaraiyo,supa doi!According to Biko,you are allowed to speak to anyone in your mothertongue,maa in Nrb.Don’t be like the other twelve of your tribesmen in Nairobi,they are all turncoats with their english speaking ways in some godforsaken hideout.After all everybody knows Nairobi belongs to you guys!

    • Sketchali
      02.06.2016

      I knew a Maasai had to make this comment………anyway I love this countries diversity more than I hate it, as for Kim and Waru kids love chips….its just the way when we were young we loved chapos…this generation is a chips generation…….I was taken to shags to learn my mother tongue, though someone never deemed it fit to teach me how to write it…..so can speak n understand it, but cant write it

  • winnie
    31.05.2016

    obe obe….:-D haha you gotta love kisiis

  • Sally
    31.05.2016

    hehehehehehe yeah Biko they indeed love those shirts

    • bumble bee
      31.05.2016

      You and biko have obviously not been to eldy. Kalenjins adore those checked shirts. I actually thought it was some type of day or uniform.

      • Clare
        31.05.2016

        so true

        • P K
          31.05.2016

          On checkered shirts I actually believed its a Kaleo look. “Iron for me the blue, red, black (or whichever color he feels like) kaleo shirt” is the standard quip from hubby dear. That is when he wants to don 1. (How come he has soo many checkered shirts? He is neither okuyu or kaleo mind!)

  • Mr. Nduta
    31.05.2016

    “Because tribalism has now become cancerous”

    Tribalism is not cancerous ,it’s only the negative tribalism that is cancerous.

    Sometimes,I also wonder whether people are paid to spew hatred on social media, what motivates such individuals?

    • Beth
      31.05.2016

      Me and you both

    • Valerie
      31.05.2016

      You & I both

  • Beth
    31.05.2016

    Spoken like 100 wazees, social media will be the end of us same us politicians…….. si lakini ata jangos love fis, sindio 😉

    • @clif_the_tall
      31.05.2016

      *same as. Donge?

  • P K
    31.05.2016

    Ana qn. Which is the 43rd tribe?

  • Lydia Abiero
    31.05.2016

    “There is a way that Tamms yawns that can only be Luo…..” Really?? hahaha

  • jerry
    31.05.2016

    no comment

  • oletoirai
    31.05.2016

    In deed the battle of the half-tribe, and i dare say, the many who are “half-tribe” by upbringing

  • Stephen Siloma
    31.05.2016

    BIKO!!! “There are only 12 Maasais in Nairobi hanging out at Kiza Lounge????”

    • oletoirai
      31.05.2016

      hii sio hujuma?

    • Wanjiku Ndungu
      31.05.2016

      Add another 12 hovering around with their cows on the highways

      • Suke Francis
        31.05.2016

        And another 12 going round with 5 ltr bottles and plastic bags full of herbal medicine.

        • Kimani
          01.06.2016

          Looool! Am sorry to burst ur bubble but those are kuyos in shukas! Uliza yeye dawa usikie akiuliza mwenzake… “Ino nio ya minyoo?”

          • wambui
            01.06.2016

            Hehehehe….. Ngai, Kimani!

          • Muthoni
            01.06.2016

            Hahahaha!

          • Marggie
            09.06.2016

            ahahahahaha maybe they are cocktail of eros and kuyos

        • Terry
          01.06.2016

          Lolz walking around looking spaced out.

        • Terry
          01.06.2016

          Lolz another 12 walking around looking spaced out.

  • Charlie
    31.05.2016

    Couldn’t have said it better Biko. I’m all for the 44th tribe. However, I do find it disturbing though, that some of the millennials have tendencies to lean towards tribe whenever political issues are raised. I do hope we will get to a point where tribe will become less about political affiliation and more about cultural heritage; a part of Kenya’s collective history.

    • Mr. Nduta
      31.05.2016

      If anything, I think the young generation worse when it comes to negative ethnicity/tribalism. I would wish to know how they benefit from it

  • grace
    31.05.2016

    you make my day…always and yes kiuks men love checked shirts…but dont they look good in the yawa!!

  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    31.05.2016

    *sigh* I feel you Biko. And no shit Luos say vroom silently on the escalators at TRM. Story for another day. I actually feel like writing a very long reply on tribalism but I ahve to perpetuate laziness today so i’ll just say this, culture or say tribal norms make the most sense to the common man and easily normalise prejudice and make lies plausible. Also, we are a product of who or what we sorround ourselves with and this defines our destinities. Thirdly, I know tribal affiliations make the smartest people say the most stupid things you’ll ever hear. That said, there is hope for change in the 44th generation that lacks grip of tribal lines and only integrates on the criteria of coolness. That or mandatry civil education.

    • Cynthia
      31.05.2016

      Well said. Tribal norms normalize prejudice!

  • Mukami
    31.05.2016

    Tribe is beautiful… Our culture sets us apart from the booring West and, to some extent, East. That 44th tribe needs to get us back to that point. Otherwise, we remain empty and boring.

  • Mwaura Mswati
    31.05.2016

    Biko bwana, this one is H I L A R I O U S bwana. “Uhoro waku Gitonga! Ndakuona ndamaka tondu umuthe wina mbeca uhana ta woka kugura meeri, na no tairi cia Ruraya ndinacio.” And whoever taught you that, I salute them. The lesson is timely as well. Tribalism doesn’t solve shit.

    • Lizzy Mugo
      31.05.2016

      That phrase my my day too haha

  • Ndegwa
    31.05.2016

    Ati checked shirts, Ngai!!

  • Loise
    31.05.2016

    When we wake up from this tribal madness is when Kenya will move forward. Politician don’t care if you come from their tribe, hell no, they get into power to protect their businesses not you and me. The sooner we get that in our head the sooner we will stop the tribal bullshit. Give each other shoulder to lean on. Hence vote with logic

  • Debra
    31.05.2016

    YEAH at the end we will all loose if we continue with this tribal banter.

  • Val
    31.05.2016

    Ooooooh Biko you crack me up. Especially on Luos and escalators.
    Anyhow,my kid is also half half and the best you can do is to let
    him visit both shaggs and mingle with others. Its said Kids can
    learn 7languages at a go so dont be worried.But another truth that
    no one tells you is that most kids tend to master their mother
    toungue (literally)-so at this juncture,mimi am safe:-) All the best

    • Sachy
      31.05.2016

      Yeah Val, they can. And even be surprisingly fluent.

  • Miss Atomic Bomb [email protected]
    31.05.2016

    Biko I think we should all learn our mother tongues. It’s like everyone having something to bring something to the table. If I teach you something in my mother tongue I expect to learn something from yours or you owe me big time.

  • Rhoda
    31.05.2016

    All truth here. My daughter is kikuyu, 100%, unless i want to say 50% kiambu and 50% kirinyaga. I have deliberately not taught her kikuyu because i want her to just get along with everyone. I have done that proudly despite what my ol’ lady thinks. It can surely start with this generation.

    • Muthoni
      01.06.2016

      Not knowing her mothertongue does not solve anything. And it’s not cool.

  • Kimani
    31.05.2016

    I wish we can all embrace each other the way we do like in the case of sports or when you are outside Kenya.

  • Jaki
    31.05.2016

    Thanks Biko for putting this so well. And from one half tribe to the parent of another try as much as possible to teach your kids the languages when they are still young otherwise the longer you wait, the more of a lost teaching them becomes.Well being proud of one’s heritage and tribe is a great ting after all these give us roots and something but when we turn it around and use it to lord over others as superior then we have a problem. And I don’t think it’s the politicians who do this to us, it is we who do it to ourselves. If we didn’t entertain the vitriol and bigotry based on tribe the politicians wouldn’t dare. We preach it in our homes, on our pages, whatsapp groups and all those silly messages we forward to each other. I think it’s time we take a good hard look and let’s start with the ‘educated fools’.

  • Miss Atomic Bomb [email protected]
    31.05.2016

    Biko I think we should all learn our mother tongues. It’s like everyone having something to bring to the table. If I teach you something in my mother tongue I expect to learn something from yours or you owe me big time.

  • Herbert Oyando
    31.05.2016

    Otek Biko but wanyalo temo. Translation: Marry outside your tribe please.

  • Wanga
    31.05.2016

    If that is Tamms,she has the looks!
    And yes,Okuyu guys love checked shirts.I recently counted nine (9) on my neighbours hanging line. One washing! I also amazed. How now?!

    • Mr. Nduta
      31.05.2016

      You’re evil! Counting shirts on hanging line

  • Carole Nyaga
    31.05.2016

    So what tribe is my daughter? I was born in Kisumu, my mum is Meru(said to be murderers!!), my dad is Mbeere(said to be wachawi!!), my hubby is Kikuyu(said to be thugs!!!, I studied in Eldoret(post election comes to mind) and live in Nairobi. I get so mad when someone tells me we cannot coexist as Kenyans because of all those prejudices we have.Jamo was right, we have common problems and tribalism only rears its ugly head through politicians. Wakenya Tuchanuke! well done Biko, you hit the nail on the head.

  • Zay
    31.05.2016

    The other day, someone who calls himself a ‘public figure” had posted a photo of a banana with the peel. Now he went ahead and sliced a tiny part at one end to signify a circumcised penis. To him it was all fun and games until the comments started coming in and you could smell the stench of tribalism among the X Generation. It was only a photo but it spoke a million words. Its a sad state of affairs, if we carry on like this.

  • M.M
    31.05.2016

    Chocolate man, worry not. They shall learn one of the two by the time they grow up. Or more. I’m “Half-tribe” as Tamms puts it.Kikuyu and Luhya.I learnt to speak my mother tongue coz of the bad habit that kuyus have(you’ve just addressed it)and luhya from listening to songs and my dad Speaking to other people. They never made an emphasis on any because it would end up being biased and they didn’t want the whole “I’m more this tribe than that”. I think it was brilliant. Same way kids learn to speak Swahili and sheng’ from listening to others is the same way they should be exposed to all other languages without a particular inclination. Then they cannot say I’m this because I speak that language.

  • suchislife222
    31.05.2016

    I keep saying that in ten years time we will not have tribes especially in the urban areas. Many folks fall in the “I cant speak mother tongue category” .. And marry the people from the very same category… So really, their kids will only speak English, Kiswahili and Sheng if you are lucky… But until that happens, let us kill this evil monster that is tribalism… By all means Judge people… Not based on the details at the back of their ID card but based on your personal interaction with them…. And if anyone did you wrong, it is not their kinsmen who did you wrong… Its that Individual…

  • John
    31.05.2016

    Nice one Biko! In the end it all downs to us regardless of our tribe. The politicians are the ones concerned about tribes because they need numbers and relevance and of course power. They don’t care their kids are living abroad, it’s you and me you who need the roads that leads to CBD for our daily bread.

  • Muthoni
    31.05.2016

    Coudn’t have said it better Biko. I don’t even look at intermarriages just a basic friendship, you pick out this human irregardless of tribe and their become your friends who are almost family, why isn’t it so easy for people to look at it this way.
    http://www.treatsonabudget.co.ke/nairobi-burger-fest-wet-lounge/

  • Nelson
    31.05.2016

    #I have atleast 10 checked shirts of checked shirts. Great piece Omera..

    • Ranji
      31.05.2016

      He he he

  • Nao
    31.05.2016

    The problem is more about human nature than tribalism. If the Somalis who speak the same language and practice the same culture fought over difference of clans, can we still say that having different tribes is the problem? People move to countries abroad, they get excited and bond when they realize they are from the same country. They only remember their tribes once they are back home. The issue here is more about guys choosing to isolate themselves based on differences. Sadly, differences will always be there. Its time we all got over this.

  • Anonymous CG
    31.05.2016

    For so called ‘half tribe’ kids, Swahili should be the language spoken at home. I think Swahili would be a great unifying tool for Kenya. By tool I mean the language itself and the culture around it. And that’s not to say that we should be walking around speaking Lamu Swahili wearing bui buis and kanzus, drinking kahawa tungu, but it would give all Kenyans an identity outside of their indigenous tribes. Unfortunately our forefather gave English precedence at the expense of Swa and so people will always speak and hold on to their mother tongue because it’s what gives them their identity. English comes second because it is the language of instruction in schools (and apparently a measure of intelligence – smh). Swahili sadly comes third, when ideally it should be first. This is where our founding fathers failed in creating a unified nation. My 2 cents.

    • Wema Ilukor
      31.05.2016

      My half tribe son speaks very fluent swahili couldn’t be more proud and he is four,someday he will learn the other vernaculars.

  • Fortune Knowles
    31.05.2016

    Biko, there is nothing wrong with being Kikuyu, Dorobo. Illchamus or even El Molo. It becomes a problem when jingoism takes over and you start to believe that you are better than others due to the simple fact of your ethnicity. All hail Mother tongue!! Our various ethnicities should be celebrated for what they contribute to this great place called Kenya.

    • Paul
      31.05.2016

      I was sure Dorobo, Ilchamus and El Molo were one and the same, but its a sad day when you dont learn something new.
      Biko, I have believed in intermarriage as a source of hope for Kenya for over two decades.
      I have to Half Tribespeople too.
      Thank you for putting it out there.

      • Paula
        03.06.2016

        But why does is mostly involve the 2 tribes and one of the tribe is the one mostly rooting for it? Do we sacrifice the culture and traditions in pursuit of a non tribal group which to me is very utopian..watu ni kuheshimiana

  • Sachy
    31.05.2016

    “I would like to hear from those who have succeeded, is this something I can change?”
    Yes sir, it is something you can change. Though I must admit I was lucky my better half was so into learning other languages she actually is more fluent in my mother tongue than I am (sigh) and so taught the tois both mine and hers. And no, it’s not say kyuk and kao…

  • Jane C
    31.05.2016

    Leo first commentors are late. How nice. Teach the kids both languages. You Luo and the missus Kyuk.Research shows that the more languages a kid can speak the more intelligent they get. I read that somewhere.

    • Murage James
      31.05.2016

      That is hard, just ensure that at a certain time they will live in Luo shaggs for two months and in Kikuyu shaggs for the same duration; if they are interested they will pick it from there

    • Mr. Nduta
      31.05.2016

      what if you read it in your diary?

  • Alvin
    31.05.2016

    Great read Biko! Fighting tribalism is an individual duty to all of us.

  • abdullah omar
    31.05.2016

    now you have left me with a pwani yawn on my lap!very true those characteristis

  • Loretta Kotut
    31.05.2016

    I agree with you Biko. I am Kale married to a Kyuk. Yes i feel shame that i can’t converse in my mother tongue……i gave up trying. But i would wish for my children not to be affialiated to any one tribe. Yeah, let them be the 44th tribe. They will bring this country back to sanity. It’s bad i tell you, terrible 🙁

  • Susan
    31.05.2016

    Am married to a lunje… they do eat. A lot. My baby can only say obusuma and ingoho.
    On my side she can atleast say 20 luo words. The yawning is true. I think people should intermarry too

  • David
    31.05.2016

    I think not speaking mother tongue is not particular to kids from mixed marriages: it’s a generational/situation thing. Me and my wife are both kuyos but our 4 year old daughter can’t speak a word of it. My older bro’s kids are in their late teens and the only kuyo word they know is “waru” (hehehe). I am a proud kuyo, but that doesn’t mean I get to shit on all the other tribes and belittle them. In as much as I waould like my children to know where they come from and understand their roots, I would also want them to know that the Kales downstairs or the Luhyas from the next block are as human as they are, even if they don’t share their love for warus

  • Ranji
    31.05.2016

    Checked shirts and some funny looking hats…and that storo of warus is true,growing up,mom would put poataoes in every meal she cooked..we grew up thinking it’s a traditional meal…he he he.

    Nice read!So many lessons here!Tuesday made!

    • Ranji
      31.05.2016

      Potatoes*

      • Waithera
        31.05.2016

        Hehehee…warus in every meal. Checked shirts paired with savco. Brown..

  • Mbeya
    31.05.2016

    I am terrified of those escalator things bwana

    • Kadonye
      31.05.2016

      Me too!,

  • Michael Owino
    31.05.2016

    What I dont get is why is this tribal thing so attractive to us as a people? Sometimes I see a learned Professor on telly and the shit that comes out of his mouth…..kwan why did we go to school? Then again my two cents on this tribalism thing is that it will end when we get a leader or crop of leaders who uses the resources we generate equitably so that this matter of ‘eating’ ends once and for all. I pray we eventually get such a leader

  • Muguru
    31.05.2016

    Great piece, if only we took heed to this kind of advice. Read this piece laughing out loud in a mat, no chills. The elderly man next to me was totally baffled, who is this girl???!!! No apologies though, how could I not laugh at Kim and his warus not to mention the stone that would get to the eye of kamwana’s cow??

  • @clif_the_tall
    31.05.2016

    Great read. Tribalism is costing us a lot . We are tribe one, It is not too late to make things right. The humor in this piece is in another level hehehe. Regarding that Bwana thing say no more. It is tattooed in our DNA my friend but again ‘ Luore gi depend.’

  • Esther
    31.05.2016

    I’m also a half tribe. It’s unfortunate that I’m also not fluent in my mother tongue ( and “father tongue” as well…) such that when someone cracks a joke, I hardly get what is said.

  • Moses
    31.05.2016

    Biko it’s Kinuthia not Gitonga,am a proud Kyuk and i always call anyone i dont know a Kinuthia. The guy who does anything and everything, Kinuthia

  • Annrose
    31.05.2016

    Kuyus talk kyuk to everyone, my mom who has lived in this city for more than 27 years does exactly that.My daughter calls herself Adriana Zawadi baba. She is neither kyuk nor Luhya, she is kenyan.

  • abdullah omar
    31.05.2016

    talk to a kikuyu in the office and all goes well until his fellow tribesmen
    walks in and your existence is ignored.i had a last laugh on work colleague a kik
    a kyuk.in walked an enlightened kikuyu and however hard my colleague tried
    to steer the conversation to the mother tongue this fellow kept the conversation
    going in common language you would think the guy learnt a lesson!never

  • Nava
    31.05.2016

    Mmmmhhhhh!

  • Linda Musimbi
    31.05.2016

    I am a Luhya from the Samia community. I don’t know my language. In my life, apart from relatives, I have only met two people from the same community as mine. Plus not many people know that the community exists. I think I relate more to my mum’s side because she named me after her mother plus I know a few Maragoli words. So I tell people I am Maragoli

    • Joy
      31.05.2016

      Enchantée

      • Mr. Nduta
        31.05.2016

        Biko!!!….uniting children of the lost tribe!

  • LG
    31.05.2016

    You guy….always cracking me up, well I’ve seen my nieces and nephews learn both kyuk and luhya, what my cousins did is that theyd leave them in a one shaggz for like 3 months where they even went for tuition taught in mother tongue…the same happened to me….you can’t play unless you ununderstand and kids learn pretty fast…. I came back doing my homework in kyuk and non of my teachers we’re kyuk, my parents we’re very proud.

  • Merci Jowi
    31.05.2016

    Team intermarriage here Biko… so on point. Yes it might not be in our time but for sure a tribeless Kenya will become.

    • There is way to many teams nowadays.There is team mafisi now I see team intermarriage.Guess then that you are teammates with the horse and the donkey too.You know their half tribe child?His name is Mr. Mule.

  • Wanjiru
    31.05.2016

    Love it. Mothering two half tribes…#perspective

  • Thaithi
    31.05.2016

    Teach them both languages so they are able to appreciate the culture their parents come from.It will also broaden their general perspective on todays social issues.I always find people ego speak and understand several languages to be extremely smart.

  • Murugi
    31.05.2016

    wow this post tells me there’s hope for us afterall

  • IRENE
    31.05.2016

    Children from half tribes should carry the identity of the father. Unluckily, Kikuyu mothers supercedes the man’s tribe and start naming kids Kikuyu names. Hiyo ni kukaliwa! Try that in Kale land na utafurushwa

  • linience wambui
    31.05.2016

    i.luved this part’ i wish they could say the other way round am half luo half kiuk lol am alrdy being tribic dnt blame you said that.

  • Gloria
    31.05.2016

    I don’t even know what to say. How do you mantain your funny while making so much sense? Thank you for this one Biko

  • Linda Christine
    31.05.2016

    Ei Biko! its like you answered my question of tribe with a whole article!, but you still dint answer…
    This tribal issue is easy when a child has parents of two different tribes plus a Kisii house girl,
    very easy for the child to learn all those tribes if you speak to them
    and leave english and swa for school….
    ahem… what if the parents are from inter tribes and the maid is mlunje mkisii?
    then here is where the last tribe comes in
    but then if we all spoke one language like the pple of the tower of babel,
    this time if we think again of a crazy idea, we might just all be made mute

  • GG
    31.05.2016

    Why did you pick on Gitonga for God’s sake? There were other names like Mwangi, kamau etc
    And for your information Gitonga means a rich man…equivalent to Rich

    • Mr. Nduta
      31.05.2016

      GG are you by any chance called George Gitonga

      • Furaha
        31.05.2016

        hahahahaha

  • Mwendia Kelvin
    31.05.2016

    The Luo yawn,hahaha that has left me in stitches!!!Great piece Biko.Amazing how you make our days.

  • Wanjuhi
    31.05.2016

    I doubt their love for checked shirts i greater than their obsession with Leather jackets and godpapa hats!!

  • dorothy
    31.05.2016

    I HAT TRIBALISM WITH PASSION.HI,BIKO DID YOU MARRY KYUK TO DISSOLVE TRIBALSIM IF YOU DID SO COZ OF IT YOU BECOME MY HERO.

    • Jay
      31.05.2016

      uko serious?

      • Wanjiru
        31.05.2016

        Haha! Some just don’ get it. And the caps yawa?

        • jennifer
          21.06.2016

          mmmmh! huyu nae hehehe

  • Samuel Kimani
    31.05.2016

    You guy!Gitonga whether he is young or old, he must have Mullah just as the one he has been named after. Wherever we meet now you got a nickname while hanging and buzzing.

  • LG
    31.05.2016

    In uni we did a unit called negative ethnicity by Adams Oloo, and the take home for everyone was how stupid can one be to be tribal coz it’s baseless…. anyhu I figured if such a unit was made compulsory to everyone like HIV awareness it would change a lot….just like HIV then this is a national epidemic. Tribalism is a proproblem if it’s your only identity and that’s why you notice “the lower you go, the more tribe becomes an issue” …..I remember in 2013 I’d message ppl who put up tribal comments on social media,they’d insult and threaten me but a year later they’d message me back apologizing and saying it was stupid… truth is we all have wounds that need tto be healed before moving on.

  • Sintoh
    31.05.2016

    Some of us are cocktails with even more cocktail babies so yeah, 44th tribe inshallah

  • Reyian Risa
    31.05.2016

    Biko bwana, ati maasai are 12 in Nairobi? Clearly you have not been CBD ..!great article,my prayer is that our kids become the 44th tribe and it starts with me showing her the same.

    • Sintoh
      31.05.2016

      I know!We are already 2 on this post

      • Mr. Nduta
        31.05.2016

        Does it mean the other 10 are still at Kiza Lounge?

    • Eric
      31.05.2016

      Mr. Nduta…..hehehe, i’m tired of laughin can it just be 4:30pm I pass by Kiza Lounge

  • Butterscotch
    31.05.2016

    Nice one Biko. Being Half Tribe, I find that some people are fixated on tagging me to my paternal tribe and then I take them to ground zero too.
    PS. What do people mean when they say the bereaved are shaved by force? It’s not exactly like they can resist, is it? Wananyolewa tu….

  • anne kirigo
    31.05.2016

    very well put, tribalism is cancer to this country eating us from within. Maybe the 44th tribe will save this country from tribalism.

  • chiqfleek
    31.05.2016

    Tribalism. Best pill to cure this growing wound in our nation its purely letting the totos not know there kyuks or lunjes or kale etc .Let them know they are kenyans .This mambo of teaching them their culture not sparing the conflict in between will never help us in eradicating this scourge.Amazing article Biko.

  • wayward foe
    31.05.2016

    I don’t usually comment but this touched me. Now I’m one of those people from Lavington who can’t speak Luo but only understand it. You should understand though that its a source of abiding shame. It’s not something I chose and I almost daily wish that my parents spoke to me in Luo so that I wasn’t such shit in it. You have friends who think it’s cool and that’s fine I don’t know them in fact i Don’t know anyone who thinks its uncool to speak their mother tongue. Or on the flip side anyone who’s not ashamed that they can’t. It feels like such a huge generalisation for you to say this. As for tribalism it’s not just you and your generation (I’m 28 so I’m not sure if its the same generation) we have our problems too. When faced with the ballot almost 100% of my friends voted on tribal lines and I did too. When I want to take a political stance I sit for a bit and ask myself if this decision is a function of tribe and convince myself its not with perfectly rational reasons but then go with the popular opinion of the Luo tribe anyway. Not always but enough times that its worrisome. I just don’t know what it is. But that vision of a Kenya where identity is wrapped up in just what the person lived through, a person who doesn’t care about their language is a scary one. That’s horrible. That’s a people lost. A lot of our pride comes from who we are and what our ancestors did. Tribes are important. Lastly speak to your children in your mothertongue. There’s nowhere else they learn it. I talk to my Dad and he wonders why I can’t speak Luo and all I want to do is tell him “this is your fault, why didn’t you speak it at home? I would have learned Kiswahili and English anyway this is the only one that there was a danger of losing and thanks to you I did.” It’s not all his fault of course but how generous are sons to their fathers in their thoughts anyway? So speak some Luo and remember that even people brought up in Lavington have feelings and perharps even those friends of yours are sneering to cover up the shame they actually feel

    • Jay
      01.06.2016

      I don’t think the situation is that hopeless. Don’t forget there was a percentage that did not vote for any of the 02 popular candidates. They were mocked and told wametupa kura but I bet deep down they stuck with that they felt was right. I speak Kikuyu, Swahili, English and a couple of other languages (which I choose to learn as an adult). There are values taught to me as a Kikuyu that I hold dear. BUT I also understand that my identity is not solely based on my genetic tribe. Our ancestors were human, and like all humans, fallible. Hence I embrace the values I feel make me a better human being and leave behind those that hold me back. That’s why Culture is dynamic not static (if I remember my sociology correctly). Bottom line, Wayward foe, you always have a choice. And if more people believed they had a choice, the minority would become the popular. That said, for me, the last tribe is not the cocktail. The last tribe, for me, is the one I choose to create, the one that has people from varied backgrounds who come together because though different, they believe in the same ideals.

      • wayward foe
        03.06.2016

        I agree with you on the concept of choice. But the choices cannot be forget everything about who we used to be or be completely fragmented and tribal. Those are both horrible. They both insist on a loss of identity as Kenyan for one choice. As Luo for me or Kikuyu for you on the other. That’s not a good thing. Tribalism is something that I struggle with because though I didn’t learn the language I heard the prejudices and the politics and the stories. I saw the world through a different lens and so I struggle with it. It could end and I’m optimistic about nationalism in Kenya but I also know that it will only end if people truly struggle with it. It’s not going to be easy. The years won’t wash it away like the pain of a lost love. Only effort can scour it. Also I always believed I had a choice. I was just worried that it was always so predictable when it really shouldn’t be.

    • Dee
      01.06.2016

      I agree with you

  • Evans Ogeto
    31.05.2016

    Not just Okuyus, most tribesmen and women who actually know and can speak are proud of their tribes, well that’s what I think. Hata Kales have that behavior of randomly speaking in Kale to every one and the way its not friendly…People need to know their tribes and speak but don’t affect other pips…I would prefer to name my children funny non tribal names because I fear they might be judged based on their last names….anyway good read.
    http://www.ogetoevans.com

  • Atieno
    31.05.2016

    speaking mother tongue is great . To teach your child,speak to them in mother tongue and even if they respond in English,reply in mother
    tongue . Sooner than later, they catch on. Learning your mother tongue and any extra language is always a plus whatever the state of Kenya
    Today.

  • Caleen
    31.05.2016

    Officially CALEEN Kemmy Gitonga……….Let the money roll in now…..

  • Angie
    31.05.2016

    My daughter (and future totos) is not half tribe, more like DOUBLE TRIBE :), it’s like a superpower, Both, either or neither…whatever she feels like.. Haha.. Always good reading your blog biko!

  • Shiko Gachiri
    31.05.2016

    hahaha,awesome read as always,kuyus and warus haha accurate.

  • Biegon
    31.05.2016

    I would copy paste this to my wall but because of this copyright © laws I wont or I can’t. Many people need to know that at the end of the day we are the locals fighting for someone to get into power look for allies and forget about us for a period of about 3 years, cone back again, campaign then make us hate each other, later vote and the viscous cycle of our lives continues.
    My name is Kevin Kiplangat Biegon and I am a Kenyan. No politics or anything.
    Awesome week.

  • Biegon
    31.05.2016

    I thought Kirubi was the loaded one, Gitonga where thou at?

  • Maureen
    31.05.2016

    Hi Biko…yes you are right it is hard to learn mother tongue in a house of mixed tribe. My mum is Luo and Dad Kikuyu. I belong to the 44th tribe of Kenya so does my daughter. Her dad is Kikuyu who has a grandfather who is half Maasai and half Kikuyu and I still have Kamba blood. I like it being Kenyan. Yes I believe intermarriages can stop all this hullabaloo of tribal/ethnic issues.

  • Its Marcel
    31.05.2016

    What’s your name? Someone will ask…Marcel, I Will reply…then they will get itchy to know my second name..not because they want to convince me that they learnt about binomial nomenclature in high school, but because they want to immediately satisfy their stereotyping tendencies… They want to know if they can send you all those albums of unused screenshots inscribed with tribal memes….
    Meanwhile I will be hoping however raucous a laughter those memes will elicit…they should remain just that..laughing pills. Not a conduit for hypocritical expletives that spurs tribalism and trashy ridicule!

    • Juliet
      31.05.2016

      Thank you Marcel, my second name doesn’t define me and I wish people would just stop asking!

      • Its Marcel
        31.05.2016

        Its a pleasure meeting you on a June’s eve Juliet.

    • Waridi
      31.05.2016

      Well put Marcel. Sort of had a hunch I’d find you here.
      I only wish tribal myths would come to an end already.

      • Its Marcel
        31.05.2016

        And there… your guess did unravel right before your eyes. Lets suffocate that tribal myth menace inside a furnace once and for all.

    • cynthia
      31.05.2016

      Marcel… i hope you write at times..i would read your what you write.

      • Its Marcel
        31.05.2016

        As sure as Kim’s insatiable appetite for “warus”. I definitely write… and just in case you relish satire ..you can pass by https://doubleonews.wordpress.com/

        • cynthia
          02.06.2016

          Marcel… ho my! i read your blog the whole of madaraka day… juicy i tell ya.

  • Maureen
    31.05.2016

    I am learning to speak Luo and Kikuyu slowly by slowly. Soon I will get there because it is a heritage I do not want to miss out on. I love it.

  • El_mechanik
    31.05.2016

    Am wearing a checked shirt! *looks around* I just confirmed it. Am the only one..

  • Yuleyule
    31.05.2016

    Biko ,now that you seem to be an expert you may help answer a question that has troubled me for a long time.Why for the life of me do lio men who think they have arrived always without fail marry kyuk ladies? ,how come i have never seen a broke luo marrying a kyuk?

    • Wanjiku Ndungu
      31.05.2016

      Lol, I have noticed that you said “who think”

    • Solo
      31.05.2016

      Just that you haven’t done much research. They are there

    • virgy
      01.06.2016

      It’s not that they find us “arrived”. we make them “arrive”. We work their asses off until they make it. We take in broke and make them the Kirubi’s, we are the recipe. Get one too and see.

      • Malik's
        02.06.2016

        Well said Virgy

      • Yuleyule
        03.06.2016

        Contrary i know quite a few who went in with arrival mentality only to generate in to divorced alcholics with nothing in their pockets.

  • G
    31.05.2016

    Am very Kiuk, from the land of Kiambu, n yes I do have a problem with my R’s and L’s, 😀 and I have this weird tendency of hooking up with luhyas,from Bungoma n Kach, and I would love to get married to one, only that it is drummed into my head everyday by mostly my mother and extended family that I can only get married to a ‘Nyerian’, only that n no a Jaruo. Tribalism is very real, and it will be the end of our beautiful nation. That line for Gitonga has killed me, that is a true Kikuyu businessman,:-)

    • Dan
      01.06.2016

      Follow your heart and marry whom you love no matter the tribe he or she hails from. After all, you marry for yourself not your parents or relatives

      • G
        03.06.2016

        I wish I could, I really wish I would, it scares me that I will end up married to a Kikuyu but in love with a Luhya,or someone from another tribe, just to please my people,

        • Nduts
          06.06.2016

          My argument has always been who says that marrying from your own tribe is a guarantee to happiness? How many have married their own tribes and ended up separating and how many have married from other tribes and have a happily ever after? Follow your heart and be firm on your decision.

          • G
            06.06.2016

            I will definitely keep that in mind, and I will follow my heart,I am the one who will live with the guy anyway,not my folks or family,thank you for the advice,

  • Lilian
    31.05.2016

    Lol jeez my poor half kissi half Ugandan kids what language will they speak at least one thing they have in common is the fact that both sides love matoke.

  • Via
    31.05.2016

    kuyu guys love checked shirts, sindio…hahahaaaa
    i love the ending..

    • Danny
      31.05.2016

      He just had to nick that Inn there somewhere. Hahaa

  • Angela
    31.05.2016

    I don’t think it’s a tragedy that the new generation can’t speak their mother tongue. I’m born of two Kikuyu parents who raised my siblings and I in Kitale. Suffice it to say the only tribal thing I have is a luhya accent which has heavily impeded my Kikuyu speaking abilities, and what irks me the most bis people looking at us like we are martians. If our parents didn’t feel the need to cram mother tongue down our throats then neither should anyone else especially when they ask for the surname and immediately switch. Tawe Papa, tawe! Let’s just embrace the metropolitan Kenyan and our lives will be so much easier.

    • Mr. Nduta
      31.05.2016

      Hahaha

  • tabby
    31.05.2016

    but lunjes can eat, waa! i know one n he eats and eats and eats.
    N that big yawn from luos i know it too plus a mumble u cant comprehend, he hee
    then kiuk dudes n checked shirts …lol
    All these makes our diversity intresting

  • katiny/kanini
    31.05.2016

    I am all for everyone to have a language to speak and understand besides english and swa. The problem comes when people group and gang against speakers of a certain language well behind microphones and keyboards with the aim of causing division. That said, are there any more luo brothers out there seeking to intermarry?

  • Njooro
    31.05.2016

    Well I grew up understanding kyuk but not speaking it. I taught myself after Uni. Terrible accent then, n still not much better now. My point being, Tammz and Kim van learn it anytime. But it’s easier for kids, their minds are more flexible and they can hack multiple languages at once.

  • nimo
    31.05.2016

    hahahahahaaha biko you are funny! sigh!

  • Davi K
    31.05.2016

    Having said that, lakini kuyu guys love checked shirts, sindio?

    Great article.

  • jane
    31.05.2016

    I am half luo and half kikuyu….member of the 44th tribe. And yes, I don’t know how to speak both the languages because my pronunciation is kind of altered so I just stopped trying but I can understand a little. The best thing about being half tribe is your terms of reference is basically accommodate everything.

  • Ireneann
    31.05.2016

    “Uhoro waku Gitonga! Ndakuona ndamaka tondu umuthe wina mbeca uhana ta woka kugura meeri, na no tairi cia Ruraya ndinacio.”
    Biko i can see the missus has taught you well. cheers to the 44th tribe, but which is the 43rd??

    • Mr. Nduta
      31.05.2016

      Kenyans of Asiaan,American, European, Tanzania ,Ugandan origin etc

  • Cecilia
    31.05.2016

    Hahaha! That last line Biko…
    Tribalism is a mess especially for people like me who are half tribe like Tamms. I am actually one who knows Jango but can’t speak but can at least speak kyuk kiasi. Anyway Kenya needs an upgrade in this political/tribal fights. We really need to grow and overcome this problem.
    Otherwise nice piece.

  • Njeri
    31.05.2016

    My children (all grown now) are halves as well (Kuik/ Luo) they do understand a bit of mother tongue -spk with an interesting accent. But they did learn Swahili whilst in Motherland. We moved abroad when they were under ten. The Swa was spot on (at least for me) when in public places or used when giving warnings Mbele ya umati ( school/their friends). Among our favourites – Nuu uyu; ndungi shonoka; abiro chwadi; and there is a dirty Rugby song…… The 44th tribe is the way. I now have a grandson Kuik//Luopean/DRC. We are all children of God and must endeavour to live together in harmony!!!!

  • Wabs
    31.05.2016

    checkered shirts, not checked! Pronounced the same though!

  • Ruth
    31.05.2016

    Well done Biko!I always long for that moment when Kenya will echo the words of Martin Luther King Jr,”I have a dream that my little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their tribe but by the content of their character.”This will only happen if we become responsible citizens and abide to our nation’s motto;Peace, LOVE and unity .If we love each other,we will not hurt each other.We can do it folks…..Our dream of saving our beloved country is still valid!

  • Thoughtsonly
    31.05.2016

    It is quite disheartening to see our age mates engaging in trivial tribal discussions. One day, I hope, we will reach the tipping point where being Kenyan is tribe enough.

  • Kendi
    31.05.2016

    Not when as soon as you turn 18 you are given a list of tribes from which you should not date!with talk of mila zao huziwezi.As if I even have a clue what our mila is.Am still trying to understand miraa,Njuri Ncheke and the stabbing thing!!I was almost disowend for dating an amazing young man of one of the tribes.Ooh first love tings.Anyhow,tupatane kesho Uhuru park ama Nakuru!Peace!

  • Blandina
    31.05.2016

    I call mine Kenyans coz am half tribe myself and married into a different tribe from my parents tribes.

  • Nyako
    31.05.2016

    Well,i am a halfcast between a kiuk and a kamba. I can speak both languages, why? Because the kiuk in the house uses her language on everyone but you will never catch me speaking to her in kikuyu. So she speaks to us (the kambas) in kikuyu we answer her in kikamba. I am telling you people find it weird (can’t we have a common ground (language?) but we love it that way. The times i have been told ‘nuu uyu’ and ‘gutiri mbeca’ when i know she is loaded!

  • Joy
    31.05.2016

    That’s all that is left for us to do. And to avoid the mistakes our parents made by telling us that Kyuks will kill you in your sleep and take off with your wealth, which includes a bicycle if you are Lunje. That Luos have a weird culture of sleeping with the dead and shaving the bereaved by force. That Kisiis dig up the dead and steal their clothes. That Luhyas eat and eat and eat. Maybe if we raised our kids outside this madness of tribalism it might eventually turn out ok.

    Hilarious.

    Let us consider others better than we are. Humility, respect and above all love.

    • Wangeci
      20.06.2016

      Hi Joy, were you in Materi Girls by any chance? Class of 2006

  • Hope
    31.05.2016

    Hahahaha.
    Biko i am also half-tribe, my mother being luo(also called Jane, what’s with luos and this name)and my father Taita.
    Tamms and Kim will always have a hard time learning luo, speaking from experience. It is my ‘mother’tongue but i find it so hard and i am embarrassed about it. I avoid my mum’s friends because of that, they assume i know the language but living in Mombasa also has it’s disadvantages you grow up knowing swahili,your grandma speaks to you in swahili, my parents too and you have to learn the language by yourself. The taita i know is the one i hear people speaking all around for that reason i am told “mbona unaongea kitatita cha mwatate?” and am like “kwani kuna difference?”. They look at me like am a traitor, i betryed watatita wa mgange, they would stone me if they were given the chance. Luo is a story for another day but i am trying.
    I can’t tell you how many times i have been told “ati mum your mum is luo ata hukai mjaluo” it pisses me off ati “unakaa mkikuyu”
    Tell Tamms, from one half-tribe to another, to never say that she’s half-tribe especially if “hakai mjaluo” People will never get over it, they would want you to be dark and know places like kochia and karachuonyo, you will be a walking miracle to them.

  • Harvey J
    31.05.2016

    What’s there not to like about checked shirts. They are CHECKED shirts!

  • Kate
    31.05.2016

    This is a topic that we must keep addressing. Thanks Biko. And thanks for making Tuesdays rock 🙂 !!

  • Maurice
    31.05.2016

    Its called kicking put tribalism and embracing the rich heritage in our tribes. Very poignant. Bravo Biko! Bravo!

  • meano
    31.05.2016

    OK. Your friend jamo says he doesn’t benefit from uunye being president.
    When Obako was prezzo, Thika road was built. That benefits him. How long does he take to travel
    to Kiambu?

    • Jay
      31.05.2016

      Yani Thika Road husaidia wakikuyu? Tafadhali fafanua

  • EMILY
    31.05.2016

    The beauty of intermarriages is that makes it harder to air tribal sentiments without a second thought. I am a product of inter-marriage and I know it has bred more tolerance in me. With time if you have to keep quiet to hear what the other side has to say, they might school you.. Lakini najua lugha zote, we used to do 2 weeks in shaggz and nobody bothers to translate so you learn a few things , baptism by fire.

  • Wairimu Wa Chege
    31.05.2016

    Timeless article! This should have over a million shares. Lakini this line tu hahahahaha
    “But then again there are only 12 Maasais in Nai and they all spend all their time at Kiza Lounge speaking English.”

  • Ed Wageni
    31.05.2016

    Half tribe? Not heard that before, but as you said in one of your earlier pieces, only you (and possibly ne) are allowed to create new words.Having said that, having different ethinities is not problem. The problem is the politicisation of the differences.The melting pot of diversity is good, as can be seen to some extent,to what USA is. As one very popular guy put it, where we cone from may have shaped us, but it should not define us,donge?

  • wa KK
    31.05.2016

    my son is half tribe. No English name, a kikuyu and a kale name defines him better. The last statement a bout their shirts; I just saw my Kyuk Hubby woi. chapter closed

  • dyshaun
    31.05.2016

    Tribalism always build up from our homes when we learn whose closer to me and whenever you get neighbors belonging to different tribes and we all learn to accommodate each other without talking ill and building those stereotypes on young minds we build a better kenya a tribe 44 that would definitely be someday border less. otherwise we millennials are already corrupted mind to tribal minds.

  • Nyambura Ndirangu
    31.05.2016

    Biko you have made my day, awesome piece.

  • Isz
    31.05.2016

    somebody please tell me, what does ‘okinyal’ mean..? theres nothing that sounds sweeter when it rolls out of a Luo lady’s tongue..am from Nyeri..

  • Philo M
    31.05.2016

    I’m half tribe but I speak both languages and for me it’s cool. I get to swap my language based on where I am. Be it I want to ask my mum something in front of our Kisii relatives..be it my dad wants to consult with our Kamba people eavesdropping, it’s fun to be able to communicate in a ‘safe language’ when the situation demands it. Btw I don’t have a Kisii name so people get confused all the time

  • naum
    31.05.2016

    I’m a proud member of the 44th tribe. Speak neither my parent’s language although I had the time and chance. I’m 28 yo and very neutral about all tribes in Kenya. You ask my tribe and I say Kenyan. You decide to speak in your local tongues and I don’t mind although I totally miss out on burial stories.

  • Jon
    31.05.2016

    Diversity of any sort is not a bad thing and its something to be celebrated. Our tribes and various cultures give us (as Kenyans) a wide diversity and its uniqueness that we need to celebrate. If it were not for the diversity, I wonder how we would celebrate our runners if they didnt come for RV, or the 7s rugby team if it all comprised individuals from North Eastern for example, or how would we celebrate entrepreneurship if the Kyuks werent there ? We need to embrace our diverse cultures and make that work for us as a country, instead of concentrating on the negative stereotypes that the politicians want us to believe. Quick question btw, why it is only mostly Kyuks and Luos (sometimes Kales) who are discussed when the issues of tribalism are being discussed ?

  • Julius
    31.05.2016

    Quite profound…

  • fyby
    31.05.2016

    i love Kim, hehehehehe
    Great article,

  • Milka
    31.05.2016

    I’m not asking guys to get second wives from other tribes out of civic duty. Lol!

  • simalo simiren
    31.05.2016

    Representing the 44th Tribe of Kenya…we need more of us to stop this disease in our country.

  • Ythera
    31.05.2016

    There’s nothing wrong with coming from this tribe or the other. It’s part of our unique culture as Africans. The problem comes in when we allow ourselves to be divided along tribal lines. We are educated and we know better. Just make wise decisions and refused to be tagged into someone’s agenda.

  • Carol
    31.05.2016

    Hi Biko, am one of those kuyos who speak kiuk to anyone and nope at times its not even planned. You just find yourself inserting a kiuk word, ok, statement without even planning for it. You should see my friends laughing when I do that coz sometimes the story bambas so much unajikuta tu.Btw, dont mind anyone speaking to me in their mother tongue. Would love to know other local languages.

  • Manna
    31.05.2016

    “When I see someone I follow write such shit, I normally just drop my expectations of them to ground zero. Then I move on.” That is all.

  • the Goose honk
    31.05.2016

    The saddest of it all is the generalization, hawa wanakuaga hivi. The whole is reduced to singular elements.

  • Lolo
    31.05.2016

    I’m 100% Kao but i’m one of those people who cant speak my language but I can understand it…well I can speak some of it but any attempts to do so only elicits laughter from my parents because i totally don’t have the accent. I don’t say it proudly but it is a good thing because I don’t identify with any of the two virtual divisions of this country. That said, there is beauty in diversity and people say that I look like a Kikuyu, eat like a Lunje and have an ass like a Luo so I’m every Kenyan. 🙂 I truly believe that we the Y generation/ millenials/ 24th tribe will be the breath of fresh air that this country needs. Hopefully by 2022. God bless our beautiful country Kenya.

  • Hon Ongoya
    31.05.2016

    We will divide ourselves along the tribal line, then the tribe will divide itself along its clans. Then the clan into families and finally to individuals. A house divided against itself can not stand. It was once said by the Jewish philosopher

  • CheQxx
    31.05.2016

    Lol, checked shirt gang. I buy shirts at random tho. The fact that most of them are checked is a complete coincidence.
    So is my user name. 🙂

  • Sandra
    31.05.2016

    I’m a half tribe. Here’s the thing, Biko:
    1) I can’t speak any vernacular. I would have loved to learn both.
    2) People I meet tend to be fixated on my tribe because my features are mixed and my name doesn’t help. It’s really annoying.
    3) We should learn more than just our mother tongue, we should learn 3 or more Kenyan vernacular languages. Doesn’t matter if you belong to that tribe or not…maybe then, we will truly be Kenyan.

  • Vincent
    31.05.2016

    Who wants second hand checked shirts? 🙁

  • wamrose
    31.05.2016

    I am a pointy of a Jango and a Ugandan . My Jango iko chini ya maji while my Luganda is non existent. The only way you can tell my ethnicity is by looking at my big legs.

  • Mumbi
    31.05.2016

    Perfect timing with this piece Biko. We all suffer under bad leaders as Kenyans, why those who are tribal amongst us can’t see that, it’s beyond me.

  • Karimi
    31.05.2016

    Biko , thank you for writing this piece.My soul has been weary the last couple of weeks as I watch the current events in our country.This post has given me a flicker of hope.Maybe just maybe our country won’t burn after all.
    Yours truly, a half tribe like your kids .

  • Njeri
    31.05.2016

    “knowing and speaking your mother-tongue is actually a cool thing” and the choir said AMEN!!! on the real though, tribalism is stupidity. I have friends from other tribes who are more reliable than my Kikuyu friends and yes, Kikuyu men are bananas about checked shirts hehe!

  • Martin Fundi
    31.05.2016

    Good read, nice message.

  • Victor
    31.05.2016

    Most people who were born in towns and cosmopolitan urban centres will tell you they didn’t know the difference hitherto. I didn’t know about tribes until after PEV 2007/08 and subsequent elections. In 92 n 97 I was too young to fathom what tribe was because all my schoolmates and playmates were just that. Schoolmates and playmates..Let’s not blame politicians for tribalism. We are to blame. How you describe your next door neighbour, the mama mboga, the fishmonger, the watchman, the plumber, the Fundi WA Viti in front of your kids is what’s likely to make them conscious of our different identities either positively or negatively.. Kids born out of intermarital unions will grow appreciating the difference in mum’s and dad’s languages and will grow up proud of their background..

  • Emmanuel Dennis
    31.05.2016

    A great read especially for the tribalists to begin to rethink their position on other tribes. Our kids will only become what they learn from us. We are the best role models that our kids have. If we are trully interested in a tribeless Kenya, we will begin to nature those seeds in our kids. Every one of us has a responsibility. The choice……….

  • Karis
    31.05.2016

    Our problem is the lack of a world view. Attending the village primo, village day school, county constituent college of a National university, you are hired by your county govt. And then how we socialize our children using tribal stereotypes.

  • Joe
    31.05.2016

    Just when I was about to up and go do my civic duty you crap all over my intentions!

  • Lewis
    31.05.2016

    Tribalism is a vice that’s killing this country. We should learn to appreciate each other as well as our differnces. Not judge upon the basis of tribe but rather on merit and character. Let me cook some potatoes.

  • Alvin
    31.05.2016

    Tribalism is killing us …the irony is we blame politicians for this..and yet we have a choice….and yes we luos have a distinct yawn. but do we say!

  • Mauly
    31.05.2016

    Great read.

  • Gichuki
    31.05.2016

    TRUE – The 44th tribe will completely destroy what ails the 43………….but it will succeed in doing this thanks to the ka-quater culture their parents are very busy helping to create……..
    What their parents have scaled to measure and permitted is BET at it’s intelligented……Sema raising & creating Kubaf’s.

    From allowing for rogue manners, accepting irresponsible thinking and positively, influencing the chasing or foolishness and incompetent heart choices in seeking to be a good dad/uncle and or a favored mum and aunt.

    – “Dad, I don’t like math”………
    – “Son, it’s ok….I hated it to…..Infact I hated all math teacher’s……even mum failed in math (hehehe)……just do what you like, we will deal with math later”
    – Thanks Dad 🙂
    – “Your welcome……..I Love You”

    The creation of an idiot by another idiot.

    The 42 tribes before them, their parents being the 43rd, don’t understand the 44th tribes lack of common place, common sense and discipline.

    Yesterday, many years ago, it was one child who’d run in or out of the church during the service……..only one child would manage to force the parent out of a meeting………only one child who’d have a foolish looking haircut……….only one child who’d be sug’n (This, only because he forgot to put on his belt)
    Only one child among us knew the lyric’s to the song “Bitch This – Bitch that”………only one child among us would think he’d make it in music with such lyric’s……….
    That said, there was no child among us who’d think to ask his Dad or Mum for the car as though they were obligated to lend it out………..And where did sincerity in the word’s please and I’m sorry go to?

    ………….and at the rate church is rubbishing itself (And here I’m pointing at it’s current ‘management – most of whom are the same parent’s of the 44th tribe)
    Whereas they will clearly miss the ‘chance’ to congregate tribally thanks to the denominational structure that is Church’s in Kenya, they will, without a doubt in my mind, destroy the little, if any church, their good and favoured parents would have left………

    Let’s not hide in the media creation that’s called Tribalism – Yes it exist’s, but more as a media topic than a living we, who are not in public office face on the ground – I don’t know the name of most whom I get services from let alone their tribes (What’s the name of the guy who pumped gas into your car yesterday?……….The security guard in the next court?……….Your kid’s bus driver?…….Their deputy head teacher?………The President?….(Shame on You…..You, you 43rd tribemate……”Bure Kabisa”)

    Kenya won’t go tomorrow – “We are busy killing it today”!!…….and what’s left won’t need the achievements of vision 2030.

    I think I need to get an earring…….. kid’s have them……….Even the chief justice has earrings.

    ……..”Mashuja” – The 43rd Tribe that killed Kenya’s tribes, tribalism and the country’s future using it’s children……….A few mummy and daddy strokes and vuala – New Kenya

  • Judy Nyabera
    31.05.2016

    i have them, the half kids whom i adore…. half Luhya and half Kiuk. my dad was half Kiuk half Masaai. myextended family has everyone kind of a mixed grill. Luhyas, Muhindi, Americans, Tanzanian, Ugandan, Ethiopian, Meru, Mkamba… thats a family we proudly refer to as United Nations…

  • nico
    31.05.2016

    Checked shirts

  • Min JJ
    31.05.2016

    Biko!!! Thanks for this article.I agree with you on the waru part. My son speaks a little bit of both kyuk and luo or shid it be luo and kyuk :-). Our planned trips to dala are accompanies with tutorials of questions and answers. The same happens when we aw going to my hood..a question and answer session. My son has luo names despite some people asking why I never gave him a name from each side! He is loud, direct and loves his warus…funny thing is that the waru part starts from when they are in the tummy. Another sibling is on the way and by the time I am done carrying them,I usually have eaten over 100 acres of warus. .

  • Napster
    31.05.2016

    My paternal grandmother is Luo and her husband was Luo. My mum was Kisii. I was born and raised in Nakuru, a cosmopolitan town (up until the post election violence i.e.). In my opinion, as much as devolution came with loads of benefits, the guys who were at Bomas also did us a great disservice – by introducing the 47 counties! Ethnicity has taken another insane dimension. My two cents, they ought to have let the previous eight provinces remain but with a rider of course – merge parts of Meru and Isiolo with Nanyuki, Nyahururu and Nakuru. Wajir and Garissa ought to have been conjoined with Garsen, Mwingi and Kibwezi. Kisumu and Kakamega and their environs should have been merged with Lodwar and Loiyangalani et al. That way, KENYANS from different tribes, living and working in the same geographical area, would be coming together to elect a governor from one of the several tribes. What we have now, truth be told, is total chaos! Case in point, you go to a club and the DJ starts playing this ethnic numbers and one can easily tell what tribe the different patrons are from the sneering and/or yelling and singing along. Go to the locals and it gets crazier, there’s one for Kisiis, Luos, Kalenjins, Kikuyus and the irony is, they are all adjacent to each other. NTV Jioni comes on and if you happen to be at those taverns along the Eastern Bypass and Baba’s figure happens to appear, some guy in a cowboy’s hat with a leather jacket on clicks and literally forces the bar tender to switch on to a different station. The reverse also applies if one happens to be in a different geographical area, when it’s faces of individuals from the other political divide. The long and short of it is, it’s a messed up society we have got going right now! I fervently look forward to the day when I’ll go into a government office or even at a local in Githunguri or Maseno, and upon introducing myself with my first name, individuals won’t stare at me in limbo waiting, waiting for my surname with bated breath!

    • Napster
      31.05.2016

      *her husband (paternal grandfather) was Luhya…

  • Serah
    31.05.2016

    Very interesting piece here..I am a fruit of half tribe…cant speak any of my parent’s language..Peple aroud me always think I have missed a lot coz i can’t speak any vernacular…but it doesn’t really matter.I am fine the way I have been brought up.

  • Jo
    31.05.2016

    Nice piece. I digress. Listened to you on KBC radio (while waiting to listen to Sundowner) and I must you are as smart, beautiful and intelligent in speech as you are on paper.

  • Deogratius
    31.05.2016

    I am a proud half lunje and half Luo and i speak both languages fluently,great piece,quite an insight on negative tribalism

  • Tonton Tosh
    01.06.2016

    Awesome read.
    Let’s celebrate who we are but also remember we are all one. FYI I have a few checked shirts and and some hats!!

  • Claire
    01.06.2016

    My son is a half tribe too. Am Kikuyu and my man is Luo. He may never speak both languages very well but as you say I hope this 44th tribe of Kenya will save us from the sickening tribalism. I also hope all Kenyans got to see Uhuru meet with Raila and other CORD leaders. No stone throwing or name calling.Plenty of handshakes and smiles,whether it was an act or otherwise.

  • Marits
    01.06.2016

    Not really, intermarriages is not a solution to end tribalism. Infact during the POE, marriages broke as husbands disowned wives. The wives were being touted as Son snatchers and therefore girls from particular tribes could not find their “own” tribesmen to marry because they had been snatched by other girls from other tribes. The solution lies in empowering and cultivation of open mindness. Yes you and Jamo are cool friends, you can even shelter each other if the worst happens but the Biko and Jamo down there mashinani could could not do the same, they would instead rise against each other with machetes and axes because each believes the source of their problems and lack of basic needs is this other guy from this other tribe that is different from theirs. Then the politicians and their relatives rubber-stamps this believe to propagate their evil agenda. O-o and sycophancy too..

  • Mikeinioluwa
    01.06.2016

    Tribalism is deadly. It’s killing my country here, Nigeria. Tribalism is killing Africa. And I also believe that Inter-marriage can help fix the shit. But for that to happen, you have your mothers to deal with. Nice story, Biko.

    theinspirationalsquad.wordpress.com

  • June
    01.06.2016

    Drop all expectations to ground zero. And move on.

  • Ex-Ghost Reader
    01.06.2016

    On point Biko (as you always are!) The real tragedy is the fact that our formal eduction ain’t helping much. Ironically, those who are more learned tends to be more tribal. I am a kiuk and I went to uni in Jango land after that 2007 shit and sometimes I had to walk out lectures when I couldn’t stand the tribal bigotry being peddled by old men who held big titles of “doctors” and “professors”! Some of my fellow students were not any better.

    I have so far blocked a number of them on twitter and facebook! Our only hope lies with the 44th tribe…..how I wish I will live to witness tribalism die. And may the politicians and the gatekeepers of the status quo die with it!

  • Nafula
    01.06.2016

    It is power and hegemony go to Kisumu and they behave like everyone is luo speak badly about baba and even the educated luo will try to kill you the only people who dont know tribe are luyias because they are too confused and jealous to hero worship any one , and women see what happened to Waiguru no kirinyaga elders came to support her and even Gema guys and gals hate her poltiicans always rule by dividing people look at the US or the british colonialists , marginalisation creates hatred and power creates arrogance that is why they say give a man power and see how corrupt he becomes it is the same with tribal groups the only solution is laws and implementation after disruption happens but even that does not change things much speak to the Ethiopians all their languages are official thye have devolved government and strict laws but tribalism still thrives and in Tz too let us have language schools for all 42 tribes let have implement laws that have quotas to ensure all have opportunities and rule of law but then also cultivate tolerance it is utopia but may come one day

  • Mwas
    01.06.2016

    There are truly only two tribes in Kenya. The HAVES and the HAVE NOTS. We are all Kenyans until politicians remind us that we are supposed to group ourselves into communities, all for their gain.

  • Petro Muluha
    01.06.2016

    Lovely storo by Biko (as usual).

    Just need to point out something … do we have positive racism? I don’t get how tribalism can be positive. And for those of us who have ‘cocktails’ of children, their heritage is across tribes. They literally have no tribe. As a father, I could force it on them, but genetically, they are neither totally yours or hers.

    I don’t think there is such a thing as tribalism. In Europe, they had tribes – they don’t exist now; all they essentially have is nations. I think we need to move there. The history, our personal heritage will never go, but we need to consider one tribe; the last tribe; KENYA!!!

    Happy Madaraka Day. I love checked shirts lakini and I am from Lunyeland 🙂

  • Elvis Ngaji
    01.06.2016

    Nice read Biko, indeed we should work on this Tribalism thing, Am a proud Luo and can say proudly that 68% of my close friends are from Central Kenya. Thanks to Jkuat. Many Kenyans only use politicians as a scape goat but Tribalism is something we can really fight among ourselves. Wakenya tuwachane na ukabila

  • mildred sakina
    01.06.2016

    what I constantly find sad is the slow death of our mother tongues. I wish i could speak my mother
    tongue, it pains me that one day some languages will be extinct because it was never taught to their offspring.why is it that yo can spend an arm and a leg to learn a foreign language and make no effort to speak your mother tongue?
    For me there is no one to practice with so Biko I get your predicament with Tamms and Kim…but they are young, they can start learning simple conversations 🙂

  • mildred sakina
    01.06.2016

    forgive the typo yo* is you:)

  • rufus
    01.06.2016

    tribalism makes me so sad,it seems every kenyan decides whether a point is valid by the last name of the person who makes the point

  • Isaac
    01.06.2016

    I think Kenyans get along just fine, its the politics that feeds us a bitter taste then we resort to tribal overtones in social media platforms.
    Until the day our leadership will stop tribal allignments, nepotism and corruption, we will still be in the same boat. Our children will still belong to tribes, not the Nation, Kenya.

  • Beatrice Awange
    01.06.2016

    Good one Biko, and yes, I have been spoken to in Kiuk because I am a light skinned Luo,and the Luos have gossipped in Dholuo about this Nyar okuyu. I hope there will be an end to this tribalism.It is a sad state of affairs, and we should be the change we want

  • Laura
    01.06.2016

    We need to deliberately unpack our hidden tribal prejudices to give this a chance. It has to start in your heart so you can un-convince your mind about things as you know them.

    • Henry
      02.06.2016

      Well, my tribe constitutes to 0.3% of Kenya’s population. All the same I’m caught in this tribal whirlwind. Hopefully, we can change this narrative.~concerned Y-generation member~

  • The KMASH
    01.06.2016

    this is such a good piece for all of us half tribes. Oops! Those of us with no tribe. Our tribe has been confusion for soo long

  • Christine
    01.06.2016

    People are not tribal because they know their mother tongue. They are tribal because they choose to see life through the glasses of tribalism. They are well aware of the fact that their own being on top does not change their daily life to a great extent. But when it comes to making decisions with national consequences they rush back to their tribal cocoons. Why? Only God knows. So we live in a world determined by our own choices and the politicians are there cause we unfortunately voted for them

  • Nyox
    01.06.2016

    This is a brilliant piece! Thanks, Biko. Talk about addressing the “elephant” in the room. Let’s keep this conversation going…and reflect on our tinted lenses. Let us change the nation’s narrative. It always fills me with shame when the tribal tramp card comes to the fore. This is not how it has always been…I’m a generation X and grew up never defining folks by their ethnicity…then the tide changed…in a slow but subtle way. Now this? Why? And for what?

  • harriet owalla
    01.06.2016

    the half tribes..well written..i also get irritated when a kiuk talks kiuk to you and they can clearly see that you dont understand the language…i think we need more half tribes in the country and luos too should start learning their language…i love the article

  • Rosemary Muturi
    01.06.2016

    I loved reading this. If I had a way with words like you, Biko, this is what I would write about my darling half-tribes. For the longest time, they grow up without a thought as to what tribe they belong. Then, usually in class six, they begin the questions because for the longest time we allowed them to be whatever tribe they chose to be. One was Kamba for a while then Kisii (his best friend was Kisii). I’ve had a Maasai for a while and a Kikuyu. My youngest once saw a Luo traditional dance troupe perform and after the impressive show she asked, “Mum, where do those people come from?” I mindlessly replied, “They are Luos.” My then six-year old carefully considered this information and loudly declared, “Daddy akikuja nitamuomba ruhusa tukue waLuo (sic)!” Actually it’s their names that betray them and confuse them (and those who wind up asking them their tribe) as they bear names from each of their heritage tribes. I actually miss the time their innocence allowed us to belong to any tribe and nation.

  • wamucii
    01.06.2016

    I like the 44th tribe a lot. That’s who my kids are

  • Great post! Yeah..people should stop being so tribalistic. I think for some it’s deeply ingrained especially if they haven’t been exposed to a cosmopolitan setting. It will take a huge mind-set change or generations of inter-marriages to break the tribalism so prevalent in Kenya, where people rush to establish your surname, and even after they’ve established that, they press on to find out from which part of Luo-land you actually come from because they think a certain way about folks from South Nyanza, or Nyar-Seme or Nyar-Alego etc…they essentially do all that to put you in their silly little boxes.
    I don’t think it’s cool not to be able to speak the language..everytime I’ve spoken in Luo to my relatives, you bet everyone has broken in laughter like I’m cracking a big joke…they still tell me to learn it. I don’t think it’s cool not to speak the language fluently.. But I try. I actually admire those who can easily lapse into other tongues.

    • With all the mixed blood my daughter has..I can say, her luhya blood tries to work overtime..put a plate infront of her and she’ll always pick the chicken up, eat it to the bone then begin on the other food, or loudly proclaim “she is full..” Never understood that..:-)

  • Solace
    02.06.2016

    I’m a half tribe. I And I can’t speak either language
    My sister can though, success story?
    Haha…. Tribalism.. It’s all in the mind. And until we turn culture into into the beauty it’s supposed to be, it’ll only be as poisonous.

    Being in China, I can only associate with one tribe, Kenyan. That’s all that counts at to the end of the day. You see a black guy and you hope they can speak swahili.

  • Untamed
    02.06.2016

    Biko! How about ending it this way. ….lakini ‘bwana’, si kuyo guys love checked shirts. But seriously, show the middle finger to tribalism.

  • Henry
    02.06.2016

    Well, my tribe constitutes to 0.3% of Kenya’s population. Though I feel the tribalistic whirlwind. Especially on social media. Hopefully we can change the narrative. ~concerned Y- generation member~

  • Yella
    02.06.2016

    the other day I unleashed my githeri at the office lunch room to eat…not because I eat githeri every other day..but because its the few times I had made some..but because I am okuyo..it suddenly became a topic..and everyone gathered around my lunchbox to wonder why okuyos put nyama in their Githeri…because I had nyama in mine…reu ree..atiriri..now how I make my food is representative of the whole tribe. good grief!..and somehow they got pissed that okuyos putting nyama in githeri is too much protein..eish.lol

  • Nancy
    02.06.2016

    What a nice way of speaking about tribalism/ ethnic tags! I agree with you on that “pretending not to know your language is a cool thingie” It’s really annoying, you know. There’s also another group of people who are terribly annoying; Folks who act like speaking Swahili means you are a low class/Folks who pretend not to know Swahili. I’m sorry to say this but journalists, especially 9 P.M Newscasters are notoriously known for this. I hate when I see them say “My Swahili is not good/ I can’t speak Swahili.” I’m like wtf man, you were born and bred in the 254, how do you not know Swahili now that you are in the media industry? Really sucks.
    Also, that final line in your piece… lol. Checked shirts. haha, that’s hella funny.

  • oseko
    02.06.2016

    Tribalism gives us a false sense of belonging,that so and so is ‘your own’.In all cultures people will tend to allign themselves to people they identify to.Take the US for example,blacks will rally around a black politician coz they feel he/she understands them better.Here since we are are black we resort to alligning ourselves with someone from your own tribe.Is it bad,definetly,will it change…iam not sure,but it all boils down to poor leadership…the truth is if Turkanas had a president for sure life would change around Lodwar,more resources would be allocated to them and thats the naked truth…thats why we as kenyans are tribal

  • Susan
    02.06.2016

    The tribal hatred spewed via social media is disturbing! This is one thing, same as watching porn, that my conscience has completely said NO to!. I am a staunch believer of the saying that “if you always think evil and malice of your fellow human, the problem is you not them”. The so called crusaders of hate speech on social media are persons in dire need of help.

  • Great piece Biko.Tribalism is a disease,very viral too.On another note,your ‘friend’ who so happens to be kiuk,told you ”my tribe is money!”Ooh ookay,I see!Reke tuumanwo Gitonga,ndakuthaitha!

  • Django
    02.06.2016

    This is so what I was telling my mom the other day. I am proudly part of the 44th tribe and its true. Distancing oneself from socio-tribal conditioning is the only way to beat this thing. Biko that friend of yours is a realist. This thing of voting for ‘mtu wetu'(even though I’m yet to vote) is so misguided. Complacence and material greed transcend tribe. And people know this. Huko juu hawawatu ni mabeshte. But it’ll get better. When I’m 50 in the 2050s and my peers are the politicians then, I don’t think it’ll be a problem. Ati ‘the luo vote’ or ‘the kikuyu vote’.No one will know their tongue. I don’t know though.

  • Kelly
    02.06.2016

    Sometimes I get convinced that the only way out of this tribalism menace in kenya is if there is a complete sweep of the generation that is today. We are deeply into it to a point where it is hard to return. But we can’t rule out miracles and I also believe that it will take a miracle for us to get help. I personally have experienced the tribal hate on social media and being half luo, it is hard to hear the name Moses Kuria with a sober mind. Trust me, I try. If only kenyans would stop exalting their tribes and only see it as a cultural aspect of their lives that adds up to the beauty of diversity.
    Anyway, nice piece Biko. I am also a half tribe (Luo and Chaga (tz)) and i grew up without a tribal identity. I can’t speak my mother tongues, but it was in campus that i began to feel a strong need to identify with my luo side. So, from my experiences, I think your kids will one feel the need too.

  • Carol
    02.06.2016

    I wish people would know that not knowing your mother tongue is not a sign of civilization.

  • Noni Ngure
    02.06.2016

    I’m *half tribe too (Kikuyu/Kamba) as Tamms would put it. I then grew up in rural parts of the coast. I can’t speak my mother tongue(s), though I understand them. Interestingly, I can speak Digo and Duruma very well which baffles many. I honestly wish it was the other way round. Still, my father reminds me and my siblings that our tribe is Kenya and this kind of upbringing was intentional. To make us appreciate our diversity and the people we live around.

  • munari
    02.06.2016

    first time to comment though i have been a regular reader.One, a good read.Two, ati kisii’s did what haha..why do they annoy you..I am one typical and proud kisii.Again, marrying from your tribe doesnt endeleza maudhui ya ukabila just because intermarrying helps to curb tribalism ama?!

  • Willis Odhiambo
    03.06.2016

    Nice read. Life is dynamic, culture is dynamic. In the near future tribes and culture as we know it today will change. There is no need to stick to the past in the name of heritage. Heritage is what you make it. Just because someone many years ago came up with certain ideas amongst your tribe people can not mean someone today can not come up with new ideas! How about we create new “culture” for our descendants!

  • QS Vosty
    03.06.2016

    Intermarriage is a very efficient way of ending tribalism. i however think that mother tongue and culture should be preserved at all costs. the world today is taking up some vices and accepting things that were unacceptable in the past. the case of sponsors and socialites for example. Tribalism will not end by lessening our differences but by appreciating those differences, respecting our differences.

  • Telo
    03.06.2016

    Lol all tribes where checked shirts.

    http://www.dynamicevents.co.ke

  • Lukanyagah
    03.06.2016

    My tribe is kenyan n my half tribe kids will grow up as kenyans.Great job,Biko!

  • Shillah
    04.06.2016

    Hehehe obe! Obe!obe! Gotta love kisii’s. Tribalism will end when we use brains and stop letting politicians think on our behalf. I pray that it will be soon. We should embrace diversity.

  • Peter
    04.06.2016

    Good read

  • Ythera
    05.06.2016

    Really interesting read Biko. I’m a 23 year old Kiukamba (Kiuk+Kamba) myself.Growing up, I always admired how my dad(Kikuyu) could speak Kamba very fluently and my mum (the Kao) was also very well versed in Kikuyu. My parents would always try and speak the languages to my brothers and I. Albeit,it was always more of Kiuk than Kao(You know how they say that a child belongs to their father’s tribe). I’d often confuse some words from the two dialects, seeing as they’re not too far apart, and somewhere along the line I apparently decided that I didn’t want to learn the languages anymore (this is according to my parents , I have no recollection of this). Maybe it was as a result of peer pressure, me thinking that learning two languages was too difficult, disinterest, among a myriad of many other reasons that I really don’t know and can’t explain. So anyway, fast forward to the present day where my knowledge of my mother tongue(s) is very limed (just enough ya’ kuomba chumvi’,at best conversational with broken sentences ) and I’m really trying my best to sort of catch up with my culture . I’d say my parents really did try to instill this in me, maybe I was just not as receptive as I should have been or as I am now. So all is not lost. Teach them when they are young. Possibly take them to shagz often so they can be able to immerse themselves in the language and culture of their people. Teach them the importance of cultural diversity as well. I think the coming generations are the ones that will save us from tribalism, we need to preach to them that there is unity in diversity instead of dividomg and aligning ourselves against tribal lines .

  • Mariga
    06.06.2016

    I think that misinformation -or no information- is the problem, we have fashioned stereotypical ideas based on colonial biases.
    I found a book in the archives on my supposed culture ( no points for guessing, I am a mother tongue speaking okuyu)
    100% of the stuff they did I no longer do,even their githeri seems weird,no warus or mbembe. hehe.
    I can’t say I am ‘Gikuyu’ so i can’t hate.
    can you name one thing your great grandpa did that you still do?
    Teach Tamms and Kim both luo and okuyu, so they will be comfy both on the slopes and on the shores.

  • Asila
    07.06.2016

    Thanks Biko I got to know about urban burger on this one 🙂

  • Liz
    07.06.2016

    I sometimes imagine if I was switched at birth and maybe i was given to a Luo parent…well would i have ‘kikuyu-Embu’ branded on my forehead? absolutely NOT! We’d better drop most of this shit and live as one Kenya!!!

  • kay
    07.06.2016

    I cant believe am coming across this today. Oh man!!! If you go by African culture there is no such thing as half tribe. The children belong to the father. If you are Luo your kids are Luo. If you are luhya your kids are luhya.At the end of the day your kids are treated(especially in Kenya)by their last name, no one will know they are half this or that.But tribalism sucks.I was raised in an army hood where we had kids from different tribes because of corse the army recruits from all over.to me it was a non issue growing up, i learnt some kiuk, kale,luo,kao..etc I only came to interact closely with tribalism in 2007, I am also a culprit of not knowing my mother tongue(hides),not proud of it, but am “half n half” but I still try to learn my fathers language, just to shut up judgmental pple who keep asking”how do you not know your mother tongue”,yet their own kids o not know it.yes that includes you Biko!.Kwani knowing mother tongue is an SI unit for being Kenyan?sigh!

    • Angela
      09.06.2016

      Someone from my dad’s side asked me how am supposed to get married without knowing my mother tongue i was like i forgive your ignorance

  • val
    07.06.2016

    tribalism can only end if we find humour in other aspects of life other than making fun of each others ethnic groups.

  • Collin Atuti
    08.06.2016

    Nice piece. Yeah,it’s a hard-learned fact that our tribes are who we are,they’re not the problem…just taking our problems out of context, our past mistakes and dumping them on another tribe, see that’s the problem…I’m part of the new generation and maybe we’ll learn from our mistakes…and yes kiuks love checked shirts…Nakuru all day haha

  • Elvince J
    08.06.2016

    I get you man. I have a kid. Two kids actually. Chelsea (3) and Amor(1), their blood, a cocktail. I am a Luo. Well, at least three quarter Luo (father) and a quarter Rwandan. Their mother is half Kisii and half Kamba. And until last week they had a Kyuk antie before she took off an announced. My house is a completely different tribe. But unlike your ‘spoilt’ kids who can’t speak their mother tongue, Chelsea knows words like “ang’omatimi? , adhi Kanye?nang’o” well, I’ve heard her say THAT Obee, Thiga phrases once in a while but to me, the fact that they can speak a few Kikuyu words like ‘niki mani, mbeca’ satisfies me… (well I used to have problem fighting for the remote with my domestic manager who used to get heart attack whenever we failed to watch Inoro TV) I don’t know the mganga Macharia used to rogaa Kyuks ndio wapende hizo stations. Well, inter marriage may jot solve our problem entirely, I believe it can play a big role in uniting us. Furthermore, it helps us (Luos) win more followers for Baba. In my house, you have no option but to like Baba, it’s part of the interview for domestic managers.

  • VioAnne
    09.06.2016

    Another half-tribe parent present. Prepare for: 1) when you need to tell off your child “confidentially” in a public place and can only do it in English; and 2) when politics is reflected in a school fight … “all the Luos were cheering Tara and all the Kikuyus were cheering Njeri but Stacey and I did not know who to cheer so we went to the staff room”.

  • Angela
    09.06.2016

    Woohoo! A post about the life of a half tribe. Am a half tribe my dad is Kao and my mum kyuk so i call myself a cucumber and yes i know its cool *wink*.
    I have had to learn both mother and father tongues hehehe but they always interfere with each other like mu kyuk sounds kao and vice versa. I love that my complexion is confusing i have been confused for a lunje, a nandi and a taita.But true we have used our tribes as an excuse for hooliganism and corruption and that mess is getting old. We need a resolution.

  • Mockingal
    13.06.2016

    Yes I agree… We are all tribal but some tribes would take the cup home… This comes a time when I was dropped by this Jango guy because his family won’t see anything beyond me being kyuk… I always thought that being cheated on would be the worst thing that would happen to a woman but what hurt me most is the fact that this guy hides behind the tribal reservations of his family… He should have had the balls to admit he’s tribal!!!

  • Matt
    14.06.2016

    Dammit, I have a checked shirt on right now!

  • Joyce
    16.06.2016

    Kudos man…i think you have captured it so well…saying anything more will water it down…just wish more people shared the same thoughts

  • Msomi
    16.06.2016

    Cultural diversity is what we should appreciate and use for our advantage not for selfish acts. Nice article.

  • Keem
    21.06.2016

    That’s true, everyone is to blame

  • jennifer
    21.06.2016

    A lot of truth.

  • Geo
    24.06.2016

    Interesting Article.

  • kamiti
    28.07.2016

    Ma half-tribe tuko wengi. Our tribe-based politics is the main reason why many Kenyans still care about their tribe

  • vivian
    01.12.2016

    i’m eighteen turning nineteen in a couple of months and yeah i dont know my mothertongue.its not something im proud of at all. i used to blame it on my parents but now its all on me.

  • PAULINE
    22.02.2017

  • Gythuka
    24.03.2017

    Spot on Biko. Tribe has absolutely nothing to do with tribalism/negative ethnicity.
    And the thing on speaking your mother tongue is also true. My kids are half-half too (kikuyu-kisii)andI’ve long insisted they learn both languages plus Kijaka – their mom is fluent. Most people think that mother tongue interferes with the development of language skills in English and Swahili; but in detect no issues in your grammar and you at=re fluent in Luo (Am presuming here).
    As for me, I speak Kyuk fluently and my Grammar is not too shabby. To have an economic revolution, I’ve long thought that weneed a cultural revolution. China, Singapore and most of the Asian tigers had one before they saw stratospheric economic growth.
    Let the Luo, Luhya, Kikuyu, Kisii and the rest of the Kenyan peoples bring the best of their culture to the table and we shall have the same.
    It is not fair to rob one’s child of the opportunity to learn an extra language. The same parents who don’t teach their kids mother tongue clamour for them to attend Chinese, French , etc language classes.
    We need to uncolonize our minds to appreciate ourselves more and stop worshipping at the altar of all things foreign. The mind set being ” Imported is good,Local is poor quality”. God help us all.

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