I have concluded that we Kenyans have become a nation of fakeness and faking. Faking the Big O does not count since it is standard operating procedure. We are masters at faking relationships and especially friendships which under normal circumstances should count for something – in Kenya they appear to count for zero. I came to this realisation after attending and watching a number of funerals recently. There is something comi-tragic about how we Kenyans like to behave when it comes to sending off our deceased ‘friends’. There is usually a mad rush for all and sundry to parade and celebrate themselves in the name of giving tribute to the departed. Where do I start? You have the brigade of ‘friends’ who do ridiculous things in the name of showing their tightness.
Some go to great lengths bulldozing their way into giving speeches/ tributes and becoming pallbearers and MCees.
The new fad in town is dress code manenos where the self-seeking ‘friends’ insist on showing up in some selected palette of ‘dress code’ that comes complete with dark shades. A place in hell should be reserved for once again those ‘friends’ who plant themselves on stage and insist on performing some horrendous rendition of what they claim is the deceased’s favourite song.
Given that the deceased has now been muted for eternity, it is virtually impossible to establish the veracity of these dramatic declarations. What I find interesting is that sometimes these PR-speaking mourners often have scanty details on their ‘bosom buddy’.
Some have their faces so far up their moment-of-fame seeking behinds that they cannot tell us truisms about their ‘beloved’ deceased.
You see, I have concluded that friendship means little or nothing to most of us - well, until the said friend dies and voila! Friendship becomes a visible charade.
It is common knowledge that friendship, just like all relationships, thrive when they are constantly nourished and checked on. But you see we Kenyans like to say we are busy and always pressed for time; never mind that we are notorious for showing up late almost always. We are busy people indeed - look at how active we are on KOT or how brutally efficient we are in forwarding nudes, messages and fake news on WhatsApp. These activities keep us so busy that we find it virtually impossible to check on our so-called friends. We thrive in being active on WhatsApp groups but somehow find it impossible to call and message our real friends - those who have been part of our lives when it mattered most.
I suspect why we Kenyans are lousy friends is because we are ill-equipped to deal with tough situations - we like hakuna matata moments but flee at the first sign of real matata. When times are good, no Kenyan is allowed to be short of people who quickly declare themselves to be friends. We Kenyans are good at sniffing friendship opportunities that come packaged as friends with good jobs, grand houses, good connections and who seem to be enjoying good fortune.
We happily drop everything for these people, so that we are present when the good times are rolling and when the champagne is flowing. We are often so consumed by the good times that we overlook the usual administrative side of friendship - like finding out what our so-called friends are really all about.
We do not care where our friends get their money, where they really come from and we dare not even venture to find out about their pains, hurts and fears. Friendship for us is for ma-fun times only.
Despite our penchant for showing up late, we are quite early and on time when it comes to running away from our friends who happen to bump into any of life’s headwinds and turbulence.
There seems to be a uniquely Kenyan phobia for trouble and strife.
It is as if we fear that these two are contagious and must be avoided at all costs, even it means forsaking our friends. We refuse to talk to, walk with or be seen with our friends in distress.
Somehow this is when we embrace selective amnesia and forget to return messages and phone calls.
The weirdest contradiction is we still make time to pontificate about the life choices of our once ‘ride or die’ friends.
We are shameless in abandoning our friends in times of need and many of our so-called friends even meet their demise without hearing from us.
Yet we are devoid of shame and guilt as we diligently show up to participate in what has become the funeral dance.
We overlook all the times we failed our friends, and instead extend our bullying ways to give teary Oscar-worthy tributes, getting the right pair of shades to match the dress code and arranging the now ‘mandatory’ post-funeral drink up.
Unless things change soon, we shall be the nation of fake friendships that hardly ever stand the test of time.
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