It is the dream of most Kenyans (and other East Africans) in rural outposts to make it to Nairobi city — a hotbed of opportunities. But as Crazy Monday has discovered, once most people get to Nairobi and make money, they neglect their parents, and some even disown them.
It’s sad that the lives of most urbanites, especially Nairobians, are characterised with glamour, pomp and colour, but their parents back in their rural homes wallow in poverty.
It’s amazing how some of these ‘lost’ characters are more than willing to take selfies with fellow flashy friends, celebs and show off on social media, but can never ever risk doing the same with their parents. Reason? They are ashamed of their parents because they are doing badly.
Parents who still walk barefoot
Some parents have to make do with threadbare clothes and others still walk barefoot, for they can’t afford shoes, yet they have daughters holed up in Nairobi with tens of pairs of shoes they hardly use.
Our sister publication, The Nairobian, recently published a heart-wrenching story about one Osmond Sambu Okeroa, a man believed to be the father to Corazon Kwamboka, a high-flying socialite cum model in the city.
Socialite Corazon disowns father
According to the report, Ms Kwamboka, out of the shame of associating with her miserable, frail and long-suffering jobless father, disowned him.
She claimed she had no clue who he was, and that they had, in fact, never met before. Like seriously?! Who does that?!
A disappointed Mr Okeroa told The Nairobian that after Kwamboka began making money, she distanced herself and that the only help he has ever gotten from her was a paltry Sh2,000. What’s more, she no longer picks up his phone calls.
As if that was not enough, Kwamboka, together with her mother (now separated from Okeroa), have incited her other siblings against the lonely old man. They have now disowned him too. Sobs.
No time for bothersome parents
However, as it turns out, Okeroa is not alone. He is in good company. His story went viral just because his daughter is now a public figure. Actually, Okeroa joins the lengthy list of long-suffering parents who have either been abandoned, disowned, neglected or are treated with contempt by their ‘rich’ and relatively successful sons and daughter in Nairobi.
As Crazy Monday has discovered, there are many Kenyans who never check on their parents, never send them money and want nothing to do with them.
Strange as it may sound, there are ‘rich’ urbanites who come up with all sorts of excuses to stop their parents from visiting their posh homes, especially in the city. This is crazy! Look, when did parents, loving people who wiped your bottom when your soiled yourself, fed, bathed, and starved themselves to pay your fees, start being a bother?
These scoundrels eat the fat of the land in Nairobi as their mothers and fathers upcountry struggle to survive. In these cases, most urbanites, especially Nairobians (and more particularly so-called ‘celebrities’) stand accused.
Shock at flashy celeb’s mum’s funeral
Arthur, an events’ organiser in Nairobi, reveals to this writer a scandalous story of a flashy city-based ‘celebrity’, whose identify we have chosen to hide lest we embarrass and disgrace him. The ‘celeb’ drives top-of-the-range cars, lives in a leafy suburb and generally eats life with a big spoon.
But when his mother passed on a few years back, Arthur and his friends got shock of their lives when they travelled to the celeb’s rural home for her burial.
“My friend, when we went to his shags, it was one big scandal. We just couldn’t wrap our minds around the fact that the home had a couple of mud-walled and grass-thatched houses. Would you believe that? This ‘celeb’ was then paying rent of approximately Sh60,000 per month, yet his parents are living in a semi-permanent house,” reveals Arthur, with renewed disappointment written all over his face.
Arthur says, the annoying bit was the fact that the celeb’s father, who looked malnourished, was in this brand new shiny suit, which looked like it had only been bought a day earlier, specifically for the funeral.
Again, the deceased was buried in a relatively expensive casket, which left many wondering where this fool (the celeb) had been when his mother was ailing and suffering, only for him to come and spend a lot of money on her only when she is dead.
He says there was a big contrast between the celeb’s parent’s home and his Nairobi residence so much that the delegation from the city was left expressing their shock in murmurs. “The disparity between these two homes was so huge, you wouldn’t believe that was the celebrity’s parents’ home,” he says.
Tight-fisted or arrogant?
He adds: “Where is the pride in living large in the city, blowing up tens of thousands of shillings on food and drinks in one sitting, yet your parents are suffering and have been turned into beggars in the village?”
One wonders whether it’s a matter of being tight-fisted or simply a lack of humility. For instance, early in the year, an A-list ‘celebrity’ who is married to a fellow celebrity had to call for a fundraiser to settle her mother’s Sh2m hospital bill.
Bother bringing up thankless kids
Never mind the gospel singer is among the top earners in the entertainment industry, and has received enough endorsements worth millions of shillings from the country’s leading telco.
Gosh! What do people take parents for? Nags? After all the bother of bringing them up? Starving and selling family property including land to educate them? Folks, some of you will burn in hell!
‘Celebs’ are not alone in this. There are many ‘big’ men and women in Nairobi whose parents are doing badly, financially speaking.
“Most Nairobians are culprits. If you were to investigate some of these big men and women in the city by visiting their parents in the rural areas, you will be shocked by the conditions they live in. Bedbug-infested bedding, leaking roofs, scrawny and malnourished siblings and all. Most Nairobians just don’t mind the social welfare of their parents,” says Tuva, a businessman in Nairobi.
“Don’t be fooled by the glamour, their parents are languishing in squalor. I personally know a politician who globe-trots, flies around in helicopters, but his father dons patched-up coats. I swear, if you spotted him at the local shopping centre and someone told you he is the father to muheshimiwa, you won’t believe. He is ‘just there’,” adds Tuva.
Flashy, flamboyant Luo men
Eve, a hair dresser, alleges that some of the biggest culprits in neglecting or mistreating parents are those iPad-holding, English-speaking and expensive perfume-wearing men from her Luo Nyanza backyard.
“Some Luo men can be flamboyant, showy and jazzy. When you see them in the city, they put on the trendiest of suits and shoes, live at fine addresses and drive some of the sleekest cars. But wait until you are told the story of their parents. Some are poorest of the poor, sickly and left at the mercies of equally struggling relatives, neighbours and Good Samaritans.”
Eve proceeds to add that some of these men who neglect their parents are the same ones who fly their girlfriends out of the country for hot dates, and even buy them property, cars and other gadgetry worth millions.
Starve parents to pamper girlfriends
“I recall a former boyfriend from the lake who always pampered me with goodies and expensive outings, but when I asked about his parents, I discovered he had neglected them. The mere thought of him treating me as a queen as his parents struggled made me feel guilty.
Fearing to date and end up marrying a ‘cursed’ man, I ended the relationship,” she concludes and jokes that Luo men should not, however, be misunderstood because, “Being Luo is not just a lifestyle, but ujaluo pia ni gharama (It’s expensive to be Luo)!”
We all remember a recent story of a pompous Luo man who dazzled an entire county with razzmatazz and a convoy of expensive cars when he went to pay part of his dowry, which was in tens of millions of shillings (Sh15m?). Who knows, his parents may not be doing well, financially or socially speaking. But here he was showing off by blowing millions, all with the aim of pleasing a woman.
Too cool to visit, sleep in village
There are so many people who can relate to this sad story. Tales have been told of proud ‘rich’ men who never visit their parents upcountry, and when they do, they don’t even eat or sleep in the village.
Sleeping in a mud-walled or grass-thatched house is not just beneath them, it is also embarrassing. Never mind that’s where they grew up. They find the place too ‘dirty’ and ‘boring’, thus they wine and dine and book themselves into lodgings or hotels at the nearby shopping centre.
We all have seen those photos of state-of-the-art cars — most belonging to Nairobians — parked next to their parent’s grass-thatched, mad-walled houses in the village. The irony is not only outstanding but annoying.
But, wait a minute, readers, before you start pointing accusing fingers at some of these flashy and pompous Luo men and their ilk, when was the last time you visited your parents in the village? Or even sent them cash? Food for thought, folks.