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A Letter to A Young man

Dear young man,

I hope this finds you well. I use the word hope with a heavy heart because chances are you might not be doing well. I watched the news about our brother from Nairobi school who was almost killed by his colleagues during a bullying incident. I also recall the ruckus around Alliance High School a while back. I wonder what could be happening to you in that low-profile school if the same brutality can occur amongst the brightest minds in our education system.

It is a worrisome system I must say. Those who have gone through that system are now adults; they are someone’s abusive husband, someone contemplating suicide, a failed businessman, a terrible father, because more often than not, this is what that violent system breeds.

You joined the same high school your elder brother and soccer buddies went to. Even your father already knew you would be joining that school long before you finished the eight years of primary school. You are indeed a bright young chap full of dreams and energy but, all that positivity can be taken away by the dreaded bully. Who are you then to go against culture? Many have passed through the same system. You would boldly read in some alumni group on WhatsApp how children of nowadays are just weaklings. They are not strong enough to persevere the system. “Nilikuwa bullied hadi nikazoea” “huko, you just learn to survive” “I decided to become a prefect hata mimi wanijue” They all say.

They are often referred to as cops, makarao, the feds or mambanga. They are deemed an elite group of individuals whether elected or appointed. You are also quite amidst the suffering because you are learning to be a man and apparently a man does not show weakness, does not bleed, does not tear and thou shan’t seek help. But you are a human being who happens to be a man. And, physical or psychological pain knows no gender.

On the flip side, I also imagine that you could be the oppressor, I have a feeling you are not to blame for that vengeful turn of events but that is no excuse. The system is flawed and it is not too late to change it. Speak up, because you need to be heard, because we are battling for the safety of our gender right now. The battle may be scary but you will conquer, starting with the false notions on what it means to be a man.

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