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Days when retirees were sent off with a plough

 Photo: Courtesy

In the days gone by, employees rarely hopped from one job to the other. Most employees would stay at one company for years, for so long such that the companies became part of their surnames. It was not uncommon to hear names like ‘Mwangi wa Barclays,’ ‘Onyango wa Posta’ or ‘Mutiso wa Kanjo.’

Then there was ‘Kimani wa serikali,’ the civil servant who got everyone passports at the Immigration Department. These employees rose through the ranks while seeing their children grow in the same City Council flat until retirement came calling at 55.

Today, not many companies dish out long-service awards outside government, as the ‘mahewa generation’ hardly imagine slaving in the same place for more than two years.

Back in the day, it was not uncommon to retire after working for the one and only Department of Fisheries from where you fished your future, now the long-suffering wife and mother of your brats.

Upon retirement, a party was held — at the parking lot — and among other gifts, a retiree who had clocked 30 years would be sent off to retirement in Kanyam Kago village with a bicycle, wheelbarrow, a long service certificate, calendar and wall clock with the company’s logo. But few gifts beat the ox-pushed plough. Kurudi mashambani was mandatory for retirees who became farmers in shags!

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