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Hidden ‘talents’ emerge courtesy of coronavirus

Sunday May 10 2020


Banana bread with mango ice cream. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Like most people, I have been spending more time on social media since Covid-19 rudely invited itself into our lives and took a seat it shows no sign of giving up any time soon.

And my, what a revelation it has been! People are discovering ‘talents’ they never knew they had, left, right and centre.

For instance, there are people who have discovered that lo and behold! They can cook, and not just fried eggs, they can even bake the banana bread that the whole world is obsessed with right now, with people magnanimously sharing their recipes.

The newly-made chefs are really having a ball, posting their meals “made from scratch” on Instagram and Facebook — I bet people that have cooked all their lives are sitting here wondering what the fuss is all about.

I get it though. These are strange times we’re living in, and a distraction, whatever form it takes, removes us from this gloomy and uncertain reality for at least a few hours each day.

That is why I am readily giving friends on social media a thumbs up when they proudly post the shapeless sweater they have been knitting, (and which they will never wear because it’s unwearable) since they were forced to shut down their business or start working from home.


It is also why I am giving a ‘like’ when others post pictures of the wobbly stools and chairs they are crafting.


We all need some cheering up and need something to do with all the time we find ourselves with, and if it comes in the form of creating things no one would ever buy or cooking food your guests would cringe at, then so be it.

But something else is going on, on social media. Something far removed from cooking and other skills that we’re showcasing on our social media pages. Something unpalatable.

The insensitivity seems to have gone 10 notches higher. It is as if people are holding their smartphones day and night feverishly waiting for a story with the slightest hint of scandal to unleash the pent up frustration brought about by this virus.

A story that comes to mind is that of the tragic death of Tecra Muigai, the daughter of Keroche Breweries’ Tabitha Karanja.

The fact that the young woman was dating a man in his 50s, and who, even worse, wasn’t of her ‘class’, has elicited all kinds of insensitive comments and conclusions, never mind that most did not even know this woman existed before her death.

There is also Ruth Matete’s story — the rumours and innuendo that started flying around when her husband died could consistently light up a fire for a year.

But that story is water under the bridge now, the latest story that is being mercilessly dissected and conclusions reached is that of the 36-year-old man that burnt to death in his car in Buruburu Estate.

Could this insensitivity simply be a matter of desperate people latching onto any news that takes them away from the daily depressing news related to this crisis or has this pandemic and the sackful of challenges it comes with, made us meaner and more inconsiderate than usual?

The writer is Editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation; [email protected]