Technology on our phones has tried to solve so many life puzzles that these days it is the reference point for almost anything. You ask a friend what schizophrenia is and they will not accept that they don’t know. Instead, they will just say, Google it.
Sometimes if I can’t trace a place in the ever changing city of Kigali, I go to Google Maps and find the place as I go there.
In other parts of the region people don’t take taxis or cabs, they hail Uber on their phones. Complaints are no longer thrown in suggestion boxes but tweeted for instant responses. In the club people no longer have to trade punches after failing to agree on who sang a particular song they consult Shazam or SoundCloud.
So before you reach for your phone, I have a question? Do you know that besides your country’s anthem we also have one for the East African Community Anthem? Have you heard of it before? If the answer is yes, can you sing this anthem? I am bringing this up because my Kenyan friends have been told that they will now be expected to hoist the East African Community flag and sing the EAC Anthem alongside the Kenyan one.
A cabinet meeting in Kenya held on Thursday approved and directed with immediate effect the hoisting of the EAC flag in all government offices and public institutions. I noticed some Kenyans expressing shock that there is even such a thing as an EAC anthem. For some reason, hearing this anthem in Uganda has become quite the norm although the scarcity of Swahili language fluency often leaves many just waiting it out.
I have not heard the anthem being sang in Rwanda and I cannot authoritatively comment on its usage in Burundi or Tanzania. What you need to know though is that it does exist and we should all make an effort to learn it. I am glad that the Kenyans have made this a directive that will be enforced in schools because this is the best time for one to learn an anthem anyway.
The argument is that all this is aimed at boosting East African integration. And this is quite obvious after all don’t we all feel like one happy family when we all sing to a song by Sauti Sol, Chameleon, Diamond or Kidum? If we can all put in the work and learn the words and practice at the different national events and the young ones practice at school then we can be sure of having a hymn that we all love singing with pride.
I am very happy that the Kenyans have taken this stand because I have said several times that this thing called EAC should not just be about presidential summits or something we remember when at border crossings. We should aspire to have more and more of EAC in our daily lives.
I am only disturbed that right now the main story coming out of Kenya regarding schools is the spate of school fires. By the time of reading this it is estimated that about 114 schools have been torched since the year began. If this is not disturbing then I don’t know what is especially when fingers are now pointing to sabotage and links to the crack down on examination malpractice.
I have been watching different documentaries on how countries that excel in academics run their schools. And I find it annoying that instead of picking ideas from some of these places we are just speeding down the road of passing exams. Now this road has even reached the point where schools are being set ablaze like a pile of trash.
How did we get to this point where we do not see the value in these institutions? Everyone seems to be pointing a finger at another. The kids blame the teachers for not listening to them; the teachers blame the parents for raising spoilt brats who are so rebellious while the parents blame the teachers for not doing their job.
Away from the finger pointing you have the myriad of excuses doing the rounds. It is indeed a crisis and as Winston Churchill once said: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” So I believe this is time we need to seriously reflect on the type of education we want for our children. After all it is this very education that will determine our place in the global scheme of things.