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Alien in my own country


This morning I was listening to a radio link. My first thoughts were of the American accented girl, whose voice was eloquent and hyped up. I smiled wryly to myself as I thought about how western culture has been so engrained into Kenyan culture even when it comes to the dialect we use when we speak English. Having an American accent is not only a cool thing but nowadays it is associated with the bourgeois class, the upper echelons of Kenyan society apparently should be speaking like a yank. With this in mind then those who speak English with a Kenyan accent are regarded as either strange or from an inferior background. Of course it is not said but it is felt.

I remember about two decades ago when I was a kid and I could watch people practice the American accent either by cramming lines from a movie or a popular rap. I must say even I am guilty of this in the past and man, could I pull it off! Little did I know that years later the urban culture and indeed that of the whole East African region will be determined by old movies, cd’s and magazines cheaply dumped or pirated into our country from the west.

These media products penetrate individual and collective domains of African lives, impregnate their tastes, their reflexes, their modes of thought and even everyday decision making, manipulating people to conform to capitalist requirements and to superfluous or illusory needs.

About Aroji Otieno

Observing - LIVING - Feeling

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