Photo: Courtesy

Some years ago, I knew of this female writer, okay, journalist, whose pieces used to tickle her older female colleagues so much that they started laughing not at her articles, but at her.

She loved to write stories about relationships, situationships more or less and always had the best advice for women —how they should keep the fire burning or stop their men from straying.

Week in, week out, she advised them on how to keep their husbands happy, which should be a good thing because there are so many unhappy men out there, and I want to guess the reasons live with them.

Her older female colleagues, who were either married, or separated, used to find her pieces useless because she was unmarried, and the worst bit was that she was a mpango wa kando, or the “the other woman” and the man used to work in the same company, in the same newsroom I should add. When the man moved to another town, she found something to do in that town, and when the man went for further studies, she found another employer. They were that tight!

She was the perfect marriage counsellor. She knew everything that was wrong with modern families — these modern men and women who fight for sport, and need to be told how to keep the fire burning, or how to give each other the silent treatment loudly.

Looking back, I know why her older colleagues used to find her fake. She could not keep her own man yet she knew all that which needed to be done so men could stay in. They found her useless because she used to pass herself off as that peculiar Kenyan professional: Motivational Speaker. Oh, where did this animal, this prey, this predator come from? It is the most useless, worthless item ever produced. It is a liar, a con who knows everything about life, other people’s lives, and can never sort itself out and live that perfect life it preaches about on social media sites, radio and TV talk shows and in events it organizes to help people improve their lives.

True, experience is the best teacher, but why the heck would you be telling people how to make their spouses happy, and their marriages stable when you incessantly tell people — even those who do not want to know — that your marriage failed? If you thought it is easy to become a politician in Kenya because no prior experience is required, then you have never tried “selling” yourself as a motivational speaker.

You need nothing more than a narcissistic attitude and an empty head. You do not even need to have a good grasp of the English language because you introduce yourself by declaring “my names are...”

Then, you have to moralize on everything. Even a walking style, and tell people how you can motivate them to walk better and succeed in keeping their spouses happy and their marriages stable...oh, remember yours failed — and even if it were an examination, you could have got a Capital F.

Even though Kenya’s pastors who come out of the woodwork weekly are certified cons, you can argue that there are theological colleges where they can claim to have learnt the art of pastoring. Where in Kenya are these institutions where people learn how to be motivational speakers? What is their syllabus like, and which entity, government or otherwise, approves it and ensures that the lecturers adhere to set rules?

Ideally, the “profession” in which it is easy to gain entry in Kenya today is motivational speaking. You just have to appear on TV once or twice, pontificating on some idea, or reading news, and a few days later, you declare yourself a motivational speaker, and add that title to your CV, and on all your social media profiles. “Journalist, Farmer, Motivational Speaker.” I always wonder how they forget to add Idiot to that list.

I would be lying if I wrote that I have never been in a forum where some motivational speaking was done, but I have to admit that it was a male mentorship programme, and we were involved in discussions; we were sharing to be precise. We were not being talked down to, or being told what was wrong with our (love) lives, and then being “motivated” to make them better by people who do not even understand their own lives.

Kenya’s motivational speakers, are in a word, beggars. As a matter of fact they are cons. A bunch of non-motivated people who cannot do anything meaningful with their lives and the only thing they can do well is going around town and on social media platforms looking for vulnerable people to pay and listen to their hogwash.