While on a training visit outside the country, a Nigerian colleague intoned that Kenyan men were known to be terrible at “treating ladies well…”
According to her, Kenyan men are too rough and lack the kind of charm that ladies yearn for.
Nodding grimly in affirmation, I told her we were about to get worse.
I am no social expert. Or psychologist. But I stubbornly cling to the belief that the way kids are brought up in this country does not augur well for the future of honourable courtship on the one hand, and by extension, the family institution on the other.
Part of the problem, in my view, stems from the fact that Kenya has a disproportionate number of non-mixed schools, particularly in the secondary school years.
The adolescence phenomenon is arguably at its peek when one is in high school. Since many of our schools are not mixed, boys, for example, are often looking forward to some inter-schools event e.g. drama festivals or a sports meet so they can ‘flirt’ with girls.
This is alright but if you speak to the current crop of boys in high school about what they think of the girls, you get a strong sense that males view the females as sex objects, or quarry of a sexual conquest.
A mixed school environment has its own demerits. But I think the advantages far outweigh the pitfalls. The St. Kizito school incident in which male students took advantage of a strike to run amok and rape girls was most unfortunate. But that, in my humble view, was an isolated incident that should not be used as a knee-jerk yardstick with which to condemn mixed schools.
A mixed school environment in high school, especially in an atmosphere like 8-4-4’s in which there are rigorous study demands, offers a healthy atmosphere for the young students to let out their puberty-impelled emotions. Boys will try and impress girls, girls will impress boys, together they will learn better ways of being courteous and respectful to each other and the boys will naturally muster better ways of relating with ladies right (you know, the mannerisms that ladies demand of ‘gentlemen’). Also, vice versa.
This phase is important because it is the period when both girls and boys experience physiological and physical changes brought about during and after adolescence. It is a phase that nature prescribes but which if we deprive our kids of, the end result would be an individual who grows up in a way that is incongruent to nature’s expectation.
In my observed opinion, I find the current generation of youth invariably having despise for the other sex, nearly everything between the sexes is viewed as a sexual contest – nay, conquest – of manipulation, abuse and sexual fantasy outside the realm of real love.
We need mixed schools in early stages of higher learning so the kids can learn that the other sex is not a sex toy but just a different human being deserving respect and love.
When Jamaica’s Israel Vibration reggae group sang ‘Loves Makes A Good Man’, their hunch was right.
When we get more good girls and boys, it shows in society. We get to hear a lot less crappy lyrics in the music of our youth, our ladies are treated a lot better by their men, we have a lot more people genuinely in love and, overall, a happier, character-decent and comparatively more respectable populace.
Love makes a good man. And, by extension, woman. This applies as much in the family setting as it does in school. In most cases, it is hardly expected that a kid brought up in a family of incessantly feuding, fighting parents will be of decent character to other kids, whether boys or girls.