I had never given much thought to the ‘wamlambez’ song except that it is a meaningless chant that is way too interesting under optimum conditions that can only be attained by consuming a mzinga of Konyagi. At that point, your faculties have since ceased any attempt at intellectual diagnosis of the song. Of course, it is singable, even a reasonably bright cockroach can master it, without any exertion, and still sound better than a politician promising to wipe out corruption. That does not mean kids can sing it. Neither university graduands, on their graduation day, and worse still live on national television.
I was completely wrong. Yesterday, Moi (pronounced as Woi) university students found it extremely fitting to chant Wamlambez, and, to our chagrin, thundered back ‘wamnyonyez.’ I pitifully looked at an old mama who probably was thinking it was the height of intellectual endeavor, only comparable finding the cure of cancer, or at the very least, corruption.
Do we blame these kids for such chants? No. These kids, mind you, endured arduous intellectual journeys full of obstacles such as emergency pills and the worry of STIs, drugs, gambling, and general lethargy that tends to afflict university students. Of course, these students endured minor inconveniences in the form of class attendance (in case no one can sign for them, especially during CATS) and exams. In my opinion, I base these generalizations that a university student would rather be anywhere in the world – even an ebola-affected region – than be in a lecture room.
It follows that a village’s GDP somewhere in Ol Kalou can drop to zero when they hear that someone’s daughter somewhere has achieved the coveted degree. A busload of villagers join the vehicular fray in expressing, with pure joy, how they can clog roads wherever the graduation is taking place. Trust me; there’s no fun as getting stuck for hours on end as each car tries to get out first. Even if graduation was to be held in an expanse field, say Chalbi desert, people, through sheer imagination or lack thereof, will still find ways to get stuck in a jam.
The other thrill is sitting in the baking sun as a billion names are read, whereby a distinguished man (who may or may not have stepped in a classroom) declares them officially unemployed. Haha. Of course, this does not happen. The chancellor (the aforementioned distinguished man or woman) gives these students the power to read and write. At that very moment – as graduands symbolically toss their caps in their air or chant wamlambez –, with a powerful microscope, the power to read and write isn’t the kind of power that courses through their brains.
First, the kind of power these graduands want, you can dispute this, but you’d be irrevocably wrong, is the kind that affords them a six-figure salary and two six-month long vacations every single year for the rest of their lives. Or until they overdose on drugs. And you wonder why many people are lost in gambling. Gambling promises that kind of power.
Second, giving someone the power to read and write is a mockery to their more than eighteen years of schooling. I personally remember when I was fatally flogged for writing a composition that didn’t make sense and being unable to distinguish between ‘there and their.’ For the latter, my guardian angel was probably intoxicated when, smack in a single sentence, I had to read the two words. It still gives me nightmares – those two words. As for my writing, you can judge from this article that I never did quite improve. I guess you can now understand why giving people the power to do what they’ve been doing all their lives is nothing short of a complete mockery. It is like giving someone the power to breathe when they turn eighteen.
It remains to be the thrill of parents that their sons and daughters are finally graduating. The main reason is that the parents can finally, without spending a dime, pester their children through aunties and uncles, to repeat the same mistakes they made which is marry or get married, bear kids and ferry a busload of villagers as a final sign of washing hands. Some even throw parties despite the glaring fact that all the money could have been used meaningfully to fund projects such as another song in the same genre as ‘wamlambez.’
On a serious note, congratulations to all Moi University Graduands. For those whose fathers own companies that have the ability to fail remitting taxes in a billion and upwards, you can go and buy a luxury yacht and hobnob with celebrities across the world. For those with the same blood as cockroaches, better learn how to write that cover letter or, better yet, sing extremely meaningless music and get rich kids to hobnob with you. That takes time, barring blood transfusion in the form of 2022 vote.