On 28th of February, I will stop what I am doing at 1pm, and together with many other Kenyans, sing the national anthem. For one minute and fourtyeight seconds, I will sing and remind myself of my responsibility to this great Nation to which I owe my heritage.
Last year, when we proposed to sing the national anthem, many skeptics were won over when they sang because of the thing that happened to them internally: that brighteninhg of the patriotic glow that happened within them.
For that 1:48 minutes, I will reflect on what the anthem means to me. I know thisn for example: that the Kenya national Anthem presents me everyday with such a great opportunity to be a better man.
“Natujenge Taifa letu, eeh Ndio Eajibu wetu.” (“Let all in one accord, in common bond united, build this our nation together”)
A good man starts out with responsibility to his country, to his society, to his family, to himself. Why? Because a good man (and woman) is fair, just and committed to the good of all around him – not just himself, his kin or his tribe.
This is a lesson that was not taught in the eighties and nineties when I was growing up. There were few good examples of this. All we saw those days, was grown ups seeking shortcuts to make things work for us in the face of a system that didn’t work.
“Let one and all arise, with hearts both strong and true, service be our earnest endeavour”
Today, the national anthem reminds me to be a good man, who takes responsibility for the good of all, for God and Country. And then, there is a promise that I aspire to every day:
“Kenya istahili heshima”
As I take responsibility for building a better Kenya, then my country will be respected everywhere I go. And I will gain respect among all who know me.
Because the reward for responsibility is two-fold: respect and prosperity.
“And the glory of Kenya, the fruit of our labour, fill every heart with thanksgiving.”