There is a popular TV advert involving two characters: Wafula and Koimet. While Koimet is keen on paying his bosom friend Wafula a visit, Wafula on other hand does not seem to like the idea of hosting him at a time he is preparing to have his favorite sumptuous meal of ugali and chicken.
Koimet, however, insists on seeing his long time friend who he last met many years ago. Wafula goes to the extent of faking his brother just to put off Koimet.
While to some people this advert may seem hilarious or humorous, to me and other residents of western region, the depiction of Luhyas as gluttonous, who would rather forego a friendship that has taken years to build simply because of a meal is demeaning and stereotyping.
Luhyas have so much to be celebrated about. They are honest people and diligent at work. Where is Wafula's real place in the society? Where is Wafula's forthrightness and diligence in executing his assignments at work? Why can't the advert depict Wafula as one who refuses to steal from his boss? The real Wafula is contented with the little he gets rightly - That is the Wafula we want to see in adverts.
We often complain of tribalism and profiling of Kenyans along tribal lines. It is, however, interesting to see how those who appear to fight tribalism perpetuating what they consider "harmless" digs at each other in the name of comedy. Tribalism does not thrive on its own. Tribal innuendos camouflaged as comedy, imaginary codified behaviours play a great role in entrenching tribalism. Sadly, media houses which ought to be on the front line in dispelling stereotypes, are the ones through which such messages are relayed.
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Ezikiel Mutua's Kenya Films Classification Board must move with speed and save Luhyas from this national embarrassment and ridicule that threatens their reputation.