Monday, April 21, 2008

birds of the same kenya flock together

Last Friday, i saw a cop in a sunda (trouser worn around the tummy instead of the waist) at the museum hill round about. it brought back very nostalgic memories. back in the day when i was in forth form in high school, we went on strike in our second term to demand that the school introduces long trousers instead of the shorts also known at the time as paper bags. many great men had passed through this school and they all had used those paper bags but what drove our quest that time was the fact that most schools around us had introduced the new trouser based uniform, even those schools we considered 'below' us. in short we wanted to fit in! when the new uniform was eventually adopted, most of my classmates came in the high waist trouser called sunda popularized at that time by kanda bongo man and arlus mabele ; great zairean musicians at the time. However my mum went and bought for me a 'decent' Raymonds' long trouser fitted at the waist. even though i didn't want to hurt my loving mum , I always felt out of place.

It was all about the Kenyan desire to be uniform. to do what other Kenyans are doing. sort of crowd mentality. thats why when people are 'investing' in pyramids, all Kenyans do it. when people are getting saved, ditto. thats also why if you open a kiosk on street X today, you will wake up tomorrow and find 100 more lined next you selling the same things as you. I even saw it when it was time for every Kenyan worth his salt to buy a silver Mitsubishi saloon car. they were so many you would have thought they were being given free. even when it was the vogue to sport shiny alloy rims, or watch full seasons of pirated 24 and Prison Break series. i always wonder what happens that the killer fad just dies out on its own like that. like when all nairobi women would put on trousers that exposed their thongs. I wonder whether it was the pressure to prove that they were compliant with the thong fad or the low waist trouser fad.

And if I thought that the crowd thing was only with individuals. i was dead wrong, i was at gaucho restaurant in westi the other day and i discovered that they are very much trying to ape carnivore's meat experience. its really a failed imitation. carnivore is ahead with their unique service. you can see the meat being roasted on swords before carvers walk around with pride serving you till you drop the little white flag. well at gaucho, the meat is roasted elsewhere and you have a little card on the table which you flip to the green side to signal you want meat and red to stop the servers. i saw the same kind of thing at panari sky center but when it comes to 'meating' carnivore still does it for me.

However its not only 'meating' that is being copied, bankelele reports on KCB having already 'xeroxed' equity bank's pay day loan product. just the way barclays aped their roll out in remote and the hitherto 'risky' areas such as jua kali joints, universities and so on. it only tells us that even corporates are truly Kenyan not only young schools boys!


  1. Thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning. Kinda feel you are attacking all the Mitsubishi owners. Of late I have been wondering if everyone in Nairobi drives an X-Trail or a Vitz, they seem to be everywhere you look!

    Of school uniforms, when we joined form 1 we had those 'skirts fleya' but in second term we had made them so tight we could hardly walk in them, thanks to our deputy head teacher and woe unto you if you had cut yours, ur parents had to buy new skirts, damn! Imagine running for mats in them.....

    Carni's service remains unmatched! They should have a slogan, 'you can't me' yaani huniwezi....

  2. @annon, he he, i like the way you put it

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  4. Odegle, Kenyan Banks (other than Equity are nolonger creative. Look at how they imitated Co-op's Jumbo Junior. Now Consolidated bank , KCB Barclays Stanchart etal have just going by other names!!
    After Agwambo and his Hummer look at how many are on the roads and you wonder what's next to xeroxed!!

    Do you remember in the 90s when afteer high school almost everyone was pursuing CPA or C&F without a second thought?
    Then came a time when every young Kenyan decided that its destination US!!

  5. @jakarumba, very true. But say where have you been? its long since i saw you

  6. Odegle, I've been enjoying blogs from the ringside (everyday)!!

    You'll be seeing more of me now.

  7. There is nothing wrong in Biz copying ideas that are in the open.

    If it makes sense, copy it. if it worked for A, it will probably work for B.

    The only poor copiers at the National level are kenyans/African countries. There are all this proven ideas out there that work (in the west, east etc), but somehow we fail to copy and paste them correctly in our setting.

    The ones we copy and paste, e.g. social thingies, mostly go wrong in their application. (e.g, young men growing up in healthy setting in kenya trying to ape the gangster lifestyle and anger expressed by AA growing up in very unhealthy settings; )


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