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Daily Nation : February 11th 2014
DAILY NATION Tuesday February 11, 2014 Opinion 13 ROAD TO SUCCESS | Ng’ang’a Mbugua Lupita has shown the way, talent can help the youth achieve their potential underestimated in a culture that emphasises achievement in education, as happens in Kenya. Yet, the role of education, ideally, ought to be to nurture all-round individuals in the sense that they are functionally literate and can conduct their affairs in relative comfort because they have the requisite skills. In the Kenyan public culture, O however, education has been touted as the only key that can open the doors of prosperity. This is true for a vast majority, but it is not the whole truth because, as many individuals in business and sport have demonstrated, one can get ahead in life purely on the strength of a talent, a special capability, or sheer discipline. Because achievement in education has taken a largerthan-life role in the public psyche, children are compelled to regard it as the only arena where success and achievement are considered worthwhile. Therefore, those who do not make it, even when they are endowed with other talents, are made to feel like second class citizens as their parents agonise about how to get them to secure places in the next level of education. Yet in other cultures such ftentimes, the role that talent plays in self-advancement is lost or Lupita’s story of tenacity is akin to the legend of the man who became “an overnight success” after many years of struggle, invisible for all the time but celebrated in his hour of glory. She is a product of Nairobi’s Lupita Nyong’o as in Canada and some European nations, the role of the teacher — and to a great extent the parent — is to identify a child’s strongest areas and build on them from early in life so that by the time they are young adults, they have achieved a measure of success — and financial independence — largely or solely by exploiting their skills and talents. And this is where Lupita Nyong’o, the Kenyan actress who has conquered the film industry, comes in. Through her industry and many years of staying the course, Lupita has made it to the big stage. She may not be the first Kenyan to have gone in search of greener pastures in Hollywood, but she is now without a doubt the most visible. National Theatre. Until the East African Breweries said it would spend some cash to rehabilitate it as part of Kenya’s golden jubilee celebrations, the theatre was run-down, thanks to a combination of factors, including impunity, corruption, and neglect. But because it has produced an artiste who has made it to the very top in her field, it ought to attract renewed attention as a place that can nurture future stars and help many others to earn decent livelihoods from the arts. Because of the nurturing that the theatre provided, and also because of her own industry and determination, Lupita has made it possible for Kenya to dream about the possibility of one of her own winning an Oscar. The first time it happened in India, when Slumdog Millionaire won, or when the South African film, Tsotsi, achieved the same feat, the success appeared to be dreams made in another world because they had not won in the foreign film category, but in the main- stream after competing with the best that there was. Now, Kenya could have its moment of glory too if the gods of creativity and achievement smile on Lupita. But the point that needs to be taken home as we wait with bated breath for that big day is that there are numerous souls — many of them young — for whom this dream is not too far. All they need is encouragement. But before they can become world conquerors, they will need to prove their mettle at home, just as Lupita did. And for them to do that, they will need to be involved in more productions. Of course, a lot of invest- ment needs to be made for this to happen and it must be accompanied by public education campaigns aimed at getting the viewing public to be willing to spend money to watch a local production instead of choosing pirated DVDs. The bottom line for poli- cymakers is that we need a system that makes it possible for talented individuals to profit from their skills and a willingness among those who are entrepreneurs to invest in such ventures. It has happened with the music and boxing industries in the US. Will it happen in performing arts? firstname.lastname@example.org A parent assists a form one student carry her belongings. DISCRIMINATION. This year’s Form One selec- CONSERVATION | Mark Simmonds are left in the wild. Somewhere in Kenya at least one elephant is killed every day of the year. This is not simply an environmental problem. With 25,000 elephants poached globally in 2011 and 22,000 in 2012, the illegal wildlife trade has become a global criminal enterprise with the power and reach to halt economic development, drive conflict, sustain terrorist groups, and mire the poorest people in poverty. Poaching devastates communities across Africa. There is vital work going on every day across the continent to respond, from groundbreaking conservation efforts in Namibia or experiments with the latest technologies in Kenya. This work exacts a terrible toll; more than 1,000 park rangers have been killed in the past 10 years. Africa is leading the political re- sponse, with Kenyan leadership in Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), the steps taken at the African Elephant Summit in Botswana last December, and the efforts of Gabon to raise this at the United Nations. Kenya is leading the way in terms of its responses on the ground. The new Wildlife Act is a clear signal, from the very top, of Kenya’s determination to hold those Kenya and Britain partner to halt poachers W e are facing a crisis. A rhino is killed by a poacher every 10 hours, fewer than 3,500 tigers The illegal wildlife trade is now a serious criminal industry, worth billions, and has the potential to destabilise regions and threaten sustainable development responsible for trafficking to account and to deter those who wish to use Kenya as a transit country. The Kenya Wildlife Service is increasing the number of rangers and working innovatively with organisations like the Northern Rangelands Trust to improve security in national parks and beyond. And public awareness of the crisis is at an all-time high. But poaching and the illegal wildlife trade are global concerns. The illegal wildlife trade is now a serious criminal industry, worth billions, and has the potential to destabilise regions and threaten sustainable development. The international community must not leave Africa to face this problem unsupported. The UK is committed to playing our role in helping to stop this trade and solve these issues. It is our responsibility to support the leadership that countries such as Kenya in Africa and elsewhere are showing on the issue. We have recently adopted a cross-government action plan to tackle the illegal wildlife trade. We have also announced new funding of £10 million (Sh1.4 billion) for projects aimed at tackling poaching and the illegal wildlife trade and will release details soon on how we will spend these funds. On Thursday, February 13, we will host governments from across Africa, Asia, America, and Europe at an international conference on the illegal wildlife trade in London to galvanise international action. Our focus will be improving law enforcement to catch and punish those responsible, supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods in areas affected by wildlife crime, and reducing demand for wildlife products. We hope that the governments at the London conference will join us in setting out the highest political commitment ever to tackling wildlife crime and helping those states affected to fight back. We simply cannot wait — because, if we do, it will be too late to save these iconic species. And if, together, we cannot save them, then we will face a real uphill struggle to protect other lesser-known species from the same fate. Mr Simmonds is the UK’s Minister for Africa tion has been unfair against candidates from private schools and yet their parents also pay the taxes that run the national high schools, moans Joanne Ndirangu. “Children who scored 219 marks in public schools have been admitted to national schools at the expense of their counterparts from private schools, with 350 marks or more. This is discrimination of the highest order. Something should be done about it.” Her contact is email@example.com. NIGHTMARE IN THE DARK. A resident of Thika Town, Arthur Rubia, is upset that his neighbourhood has been without electricity for over a week now and this, despite reporting to the local Kenya Power office immediately the problem started. “As a result, we continue to languish in darkness in the evenings, but worse, some of us have medicines that should be kept in the fridge. Kindly restore our power supply,” pleads Arthur, whose contact is Tel 0722507750 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The account number is 2460727-01. ABSURD ‘SOLUTIONS’. Government officials are going overboard with ideas on how to curb the carnage on the roads, some of which are ridiculous, says Ruth Gituma. She is particularly surprised at the proposal to ban people over 50 from driving heavy commercial vehicles. “How does one’s age affect one’s driving skill? Some older people are better than many younger drivers, who cannot handle a manual car. So what will happen to older people who have their own vehicles? This is out of line with what the people expect from the government.” Her contact is email@example.com. Have a rational day, won’t you! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Watchman POB 49010, Nairobi 00100 Fax 2213946 THE CUTTING EDGE BY THE WATCHMAN HELP THESE KENYANS. Foreign Affairs min- istry does not care much about Kenyans overseas, especially when they get into trouble, charges Peter Njuguna. He claims he has contacted the ministry on behalf of Kenyans languishing in Saudi Arabian jails such as Malaz Prison in Riyadh since June last year, “most of them on false accusations”, but the principal secretary, Dr Karanja Kibicho, just keeps promising that they will look into the matter, but nothing happens. For the details, his contact is email@example.com. LAND OF SCARCITY. Against the backdrop of the hunger and starvation ravaging the northwestern regions, Devere Mwangi says he has been thinking about the many bean bags he made while in primary school. “Our teacher would ask us to bring bean bags and we would boast about having the biggest. Today, it’s unlikely that any child would ask his mother to give him beans to make bags. What has changed our country from the land of plenty to one of scarcity?” His contact is firstname.lastname@example.org. WE’RE NOT THAT BAD. Nairobians are a pretty friendly lot, says Alnashir Walji, rejecting the popular belief that the residents of what was once fondly referred to as the City in the Sun are “stubborn or snobbish”. He adds: “They will lend you a helping hand in a crisis, politeness is their hallmark, and they have no scruples about queuing at the airport and in supermarkets. Save for the high crime rate, we could grow into a cosmopolitan society that would be the envy of many in the West.” His contact is alnashirdwalji@yah oo.com.
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