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Why Kenyan men are working hard to an early grave, so women will outlive them

Peter Kimani
 A man pulls a newly built kiosk in a handcart along the Manyatta-Kondele estate in Kisumu. [Phillip Orwa, Standard]

A major survey reveals Kenyans spend most of their waking hours in non-productive work. It states that up to 16 hours is spent on non-work-related endeavours and that men spend more time on self-care than women.

The report specifically concluded that the “time spent on culture, leisure, mass media and sports practices activities was higher for men compared to women.”

Let’s unpack that. What does culture mean to men? Probably eating and drinking their fill with regularity, growing beer bellies and nursing hangover through weekends. Leisure means a repeat performance, with an occasional trip to the barber’s.

There is a similar entwining of mass media and sports: it means betting on matches in the English Premier League, and shouting hoarse over match outcomes. Occasionally, betting-related feuds turn into fist-fights.

For women, culture means norms that are strictly observed, such as family dinners and visits to friends, or attending church and other places of worship.

Leisure means weekly trips to the saloon for grooming, from head to toe, followed by indulgent afternoons in the spa with burning incense, for massage. 

They might retreat home to watch a Christmas movie in July. After all, it’s the coldest month and the closest we get to experiencing snow.

More mass media comes by way of books - because they have book clubs that assign texts each month - followed by more food and drinks. Self-help magazines are their other staple. 

The upshot is that men who survive night accidents from drunk-driving won’t live to old age because their livers and kidneys give way sooner than later, leaving the womenfolk to enjoy their wealth and health longer.

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