There are certain habits that are peculiar only to Kenyans. My opinion is not based on recent activity but from way back. To be more specific between 1980 and early 90’s. This was way before KTN, cellphones and the revolutionary internet. Remember when KBC (formerly VOK) was the only television station and radio station? Television was only watched in the evening after 5o’clock. The National Anthem was the first item on the agenda, then the news then Kiini Macho…ring a bell? For me the most significant thing about this time frame, the whole neighborhood would be empty. All the kids who were playing outside will have showered with Lifebuoy or Sunlight, applied Vaseline or Rexona or LadyGay, whichever their parents fancied. Thereafter you would all sit on the floor in front of the T.V and watch the one hour of cartoon. Then KTN exploded on the scene and everyone was doing the moonwalk, MTV was the programme to wait for and if you were lucky enough to see a music video by Ace of Base,UB 40,Micheal Jackson you had your five minutes of fame. Birthdays were a communal affair. All children attended and no formal invitations were required. As long as you live in the vicinity you are invited. Cake rarely had icing and was probably baked at home. Eclairs and Tropical sweets were in plenty. Fanta Orange, Fanta Apple, Fanta Pineapple and Fanta Blackcurrant, Cream Soda, Tree Top Juice and Mirinda were the soft drinks to have, no party was complete without them. The ultimate was if the birthday boy or girl received a brand new BMX mountain bike as a present!! Every child would rejoice with the same joy as the host. The following day 90% of the neighborhood would be lining up outside in anticipation waiting to break in the bike. Then radio soon got with the program. Metro FM was giving Sundowner a run for their money. With an eclectic mix of pop, disco, rap and techno the radio station was soon playing in all households with an FM radio. The Sunday Nation had introduced a section with lyrics to all the popular songs. Every girl in primary, and a few boys, had songbooks with lyrics of every song on the radio. Enter the modern world and some habits are only found in Kenya. When Safaricom introduced the “Please call me”, it was out of pure necessity. Too many People had become “flashers” or “Flash Gordons” as I have come to call them. Then again there is the breed who will call you with their last cent asking you to call them back because they do not have airtime!! Before cell-phones, everyone was collecting 1sh and 5shs coins to make phone calls. If you had a date you agree on time and place in advance hoping the other person would show up. By the way all dates used Kenya Cinema as a meeting point. Public Holidays and Christmas were the best days of the year. No party would be complete without Chapati, Pilau and Maandazi. To date, the tradition still lives on, of course with additions like chicken and Nyama Choma. Christmas was also not complete without a new outfit and a new pair of shoes. I could go on and on about the past but it will not change a thing. The one factor all these habits have in common is a sense of socialism. Despite the differences in age, race, tribe, social status all these habits are common to every Kenyan. Is it the product that makes us one? Is it the rituals involved in all the above situations? Is it affiliation to the brand of products? Whatever the reason, all these things only happen in Kenya!

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