So how did the average Kenyan through time acquire his/her notions of sex and sexuality to what can be said to be the Kenyan Sexcylopaedia?
Theres nothing much to say about the traditional era. Custom was life. It dictated everything including menstural cycles. Sex had a subsidiary utility in general and wealth accumulation in terms of livestock and children was the true orgasm magnet. Gender roles placed the man at the pedestal thus, if a couple wasnt getting the baby train running, the problem was probably with Her. Only the "husband" (even in the woman-woman marriages) could ponder about "his" sexuality and yes, the wifes potential was untapped. Not that anyone was complainin. At least at initiation time, boys and girls received "the secrets of the community" and trust me, these sessions were very explicit.
Then here comes Johnny English with the pleasures of colonialism. O tempora O mores! Kumbe the woman had a BRAIN and could think with it? Yay! Western influence gave way to a more relaxed clasp on the womans freedom . . . These baby making machines had to be repackaged to fit into the new game. He now had to spare a few coins or evade poll tax to get her a nyc pleated skirt or them khakis to transform Him to the village stud.
Just like sliced bread,afropuffs, bellbottoms and pumps, the 70s were abuzz with La Revolution Sexuelle.Skirts were to be kept veery short. Dudes also started imitating the bravadoism of the black heros in flicks like Shaftand Supafly. Through the 80s the rigid walls surrounding sexual expression were coming under pressure. Books such as David Mailu's 'Man and Woman' ,for example, which is a tale about a woman "possesed by the spirits of sex" sold like hot cakes to school libraries.
Most of these changes however affected the upper class minority and urbanites. This cartegory was sociologically secluded (except during Christmas when urbanites went to shagz) and to this extent couldnt sufficiently influence the lower class, where customary notions still ruled. A chiquitta who as much as looked at a man risked several ordeals including a proper spankin depending on how shady the dude looked. Teenagers baffled at irregularities in ther changing bodies also kept mum to avoid retribution etc. etc.
The wall finally cracked and broke through the mid 80s to the early 90s. . . Tupac and BIG didnt make it any better and obsceneties were added to the flavour of youthful life. Paternalism was dumped for individualism. All about the Me and I . . . They didnt go to Beijing for nothing!
Soon, we were caught up in a 'turgid cell' moment where we felt the need to add more features to our sexual atlas but still haunted by the proud belief that our forefathers were the best navigators thus undisputable. This was compounded by the majority of the population being in the 18-40yr bracket (yes a lone mzee standing in a bus full of youths who also have a right to sit.Vijana wa siku hizi, tho!).
1996 paved way for liberization of the media.KBC, in an effort to stay relevant, shoved the Bold and the Beautiful through our pupils. By episode 50, we were at home with the idea of a father katiain his sons ex. FM radio presenters became increasingly raunchy, especially the late night ones, teeterin as few paces away from soft porn as was legal. .fun times those.
Fast-foward to present day. Hmmm. . .lemme say its become a free for all Tower of Babel madness. Naked is a possible dressing code. Boys can put cornrows and apparently get a male girlfriend and still get mad love from the parents. Uganda has half a milion recognized homosexuals na what UG can do, Kenya can do much better (exception being the Elgon Cup). Jacob Zuma, SAs potential next president, can tell a packed courtroom that a shower after sex is sufficient to ward off HIV and he still gets standing ovations. Though we take pride in our sexual liberty, the ghost of the past still haunt us. Discussing it is percieved as unrespectable. Even in internet chatrooms and discussion boards where we have the luxury of anonymity, these things are still hard to talk about with a straight face.
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