By Wandia Njoya
Today a cab driver opened our conversation with “wewe ni kabila gani?”
When I asked him.why he was asking, he said “unajua, wakikuyu ni wazungu wa Kenya.”
Eventually I told him where my people are from, and he went into an enthusiastic praise of Kibaki for his work and Muigai for being such a good president, bringing SGR, and how nice BBI is because Muigai has united Kenya. I never know what to say when people who don’t know me tell me that. And I get it quite a bit.
So he continued: unaona… ndiyo nasema wakikuyu ni wazungu wa Kenya.
It was a sad conversation. It felt like he was treating me like how I see us Africans falling over wazungu. I didn’t get the feeling that he was being malicious. He was genuinely trying to be nice, but he felt he needed to be safe.
So I told him that I get what he means, lakini sisi tunataka kila mtu awe mwafrika katika Kenya hii.
He clearly didn’t expect me to say that, so we went back to the regular harmless chit chat that everyone expects in a cab.
My husband says that that conversation comes from the trauma that is Kenya. I was not angry at the man. I was sad at what Kenya is.