The Friday night when President Uhuru Kenyatta was announced the winner of the presidential election was a conflicting night for me. Even before the certificate was given, I heard screams and cheers of celebration on the street outside our apartment. The celebration became louder once the final announcement was made. I went to the gate to witness the celebration and it was intense.
I have never seen so many people on our street at night, most of them in red. They shouted, screamed, sang, made all kinds of noises to make sure the message was heard, that their candidate had won. Motorbikes, lorries, matatus hooted as they were driven up and down the street. I did not realize that I live in a Continue reading Kenyan or Christian first?→
‘I’m just wondering why this is happening to us, what did we do wrong? Didn’t we pray enough?’ Those were the words of one of the members of our small church group after we were kicked out of a public park as we were having our picnic. I will tell you how that happened.
As part of our activities we decided as a group to go outdoors to have fun, discuss some topics and just bond. So we went for a picnic in one of the parks in Nairobi. It was a beautiful sunny day and we found ourselves a good shade to enjoy the day. As we relaxed and got comfortable after our lunch, a guard came by and he asked if we had paid for parking fees (one of us had a car). We showed him the receipt and he went his way.
In one form or another most of us have encountered this question; that Christianity is not an African religion, that we Africans abandoned our gods in favour of the white man’s religion, that our traditional religious practices were good enough but then we embraced Christianity because of the goodies it came with.
My real encounter with this question came when I was a 1st year student in Russia. The few Russian friends I had made kept inquiring about my religion and when I mentioned that it was Christianity they would feel like the answer was not complete. They would comment that Christianity was the religion brought by the white man and so I should tell them my ‘African religion.’ I could not, Christianity is what I knew and still know to be my faith. From their comments I could tell that they could not reconcile the fact that I was a Christian, and I later realized that ‘being a Christian’ meant different things to us.