Parenting is very hard when our youth are stressed and frustrated

Wednesday March 18 2020

Kenyan youth are stressed. Too much. They are killing girlfriends with axes and knives, like we saw the other day at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. Look, rejection by a lady is part of life. Handle it. Our young ones can’t seem to deal with that.


This has nothing to do with adult affairs. Even adultery. We’ve all gone through that. However this is different. We are looking at a situation where our offspring are going astray, and we are not raising a finger. They have girlfriends and boyfriends – yes. But we are giving them the leeway to do whatever they want once they get outside of home. They think we are dunderheads, and so do their girls. And their boys.

On a more serious note, what is going on? Is it parental neglect? Is it societal indifference? What is it? We’ve given them the best of life, the much we can afford. In my teenage days, I would hustle to get to church on the day I knew the apple of my eye was attending. And she knew. The good Lord was nowhere part of our thoughts. There was no rape. I also used to go to movies at Kenya Cinema on Moi Avenue or 20th Century cinema theatre on Mama Ngina street. The kids laugh and tell me that I am old hat. These days they stream their movies on the internet. Sawa sawa.

And their relationships? That is where I go on tenterhooks. Ivy Wangeci’s killer had a fairly good job. He used to drive to Eldoret frequently to see her. Then she would put off her phone. Ivy had a great career ahead of her as a medical doctor. It looked like a relationship made in heaven. Too sad, it was cooked in hell. The young, beautiful girl was not killed by a thug, but by a guy she and her family knew well right from when they were kids.



For me, this raises questions about family and acquaintances. As parents, we are fooling ourselves. There is a problem. Let me ask, dear parent, when did you last ask your child about her/his sexual relationship(s)? Do you inquire when s/he asks for two “thao” to go to town to meet “friends”? Who is she going to meet?

I have my encounter every other Thursday with somebody who knows herself. My son is always in the picture, in case I land into a problem or some traffic crap with the law. Will my peers admit we are getting it wrong in how we are raising our young ones?

Our Kenyan youth have become particularly notorious on the internet. If you are an online guy, you must have noticed a group called Kenyans on Twitter (KoT) and another one which is all over Facebook.

They have waged fierce online battles against everybody in Africa — Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa. They leave nasty scars everywhere. Even with CNN, who they forced to do a mea culpa after the network described Kenya as a “hotbed of terrorism.”


The latest I heard of them they had camped on Gambian sites. They are pesky and baaad. And feared. Their targets usually throw up their hands in exasperation.

KoT made my day when they engaged — brutally — the New York Times would-be correspondent to Nairobi, a girl called Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura. It so happened a story she wrote on the Dusit terrorist attack carried photos of dead victims. It is a professional abomination to do that. I know as a journalist that she had no control of the photos that went with her story. That is for somebody else in the newsroom to decide. Never mind, KoT were not ready to be mollified by that.

The New York Times’ photo editor had to tweet a reply saying the newspaper was relooking its photo policy.

The last I heard of Ms de Freytas-Tamura was that she had been posted to London. I don’t know if the re-routing had something to do with the hostility from Nairobi’s online community. Maybe she is safer in Britain, where she is busy writing about Brexit.


Many people have said that our youth have an abundance of talents which our government has failed to tap. They dissipate this energy through their devotion to the English Premier League, a devotion which their parents apparently share.

There is a joke that when the Manchester United football club was playing Barcelona last week, the Sudanese political protesters stopped to watch the match. Myself and my cat, Scorpio, were content to lie on the couch and snooze.

Football, I guess, is a better pastime than the way our youth are getting sexually besotted. We have been there, young people. We have fallen in love. Even getting obsessed. Like going to church not to pray but just so you meet the beloved. But killing in the name of love is a no-no go zone.

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