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Monday, March 29, 2010

The 'Why' Of Makmende!

As i write this, someone somewhere online must be adding another Makmende-ism such as 'Makmende ordered Pizza in Kenchic AND GOT IT!'. People have speculated why he has become such a success and some have attributed it to Just-A-Band's innovation as a group, which is true but to me, I daresay, that isnt the whole story.

The underlying story to Makmende's success (I add again, according to me) has been his function in the eyes of the young people of today. As Kenya's first super hero, he represents what many of us hope that our own leaders would. The term 'super-hero' was coined in 1917 and as per Wikipedia, is used to describe 'a type of stock character possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers" and dedicated to protecting the public'.

So far, none of our leaders have portrayed this character trait, thus the need for Makmende. Super-heroes are mostly needed in a time of great crisis, which is why, starting with 'Superman', they became really famous in American literature of the 1930's. The Great depression had hit; crime, bootlegging and the whole 'man-eat-man' philosophy was on full swing.

Being a lover of all films old, the first time I watched the 'Ha-He' video, I was reminded of Bernie Casey in 'Hitman' and the 70's era of Blaxploitation when films were made to target Black America. They either re-did films like 'Get Carter', 'The Defiant Ones', 'Dracula' or they wrote their own like Shaft, Super Fly and Detroit 9000. Films were so made because despite the amount of quality that came out of Hollywood during its undisputed Golden Age, the black community still felt left out because they were still being raised to look up to the white man - which didnt help, considering the rampant racism then.

Makmende, therefore, is this to us; our very own 'Kenyasploited' super hero. A man who has stepped in and filled the gap left by statesmen such as Tom mboya and JM Kariuki. A man incorruptible, sticking to his own moral code that all young people identify with.

On the flip side, one may ask 'How is it that someone who once went to the British Virgin Islands and left them called the British Islands can suddenly become a role model?' This is where our colonised history comes into play. African stories have heroe's. However, our heroes are born heroes and aside from the very small majority, remain heroic throughout their lives. This is because our stories had purpose. They were deliberately instructional. The majority did not factor in the inherrent human ability to be flawed because we needed to raise our children with a perfect ideal because, unfotunately, failure did not just involve them but rather, they had to shoulder the responsibility of knowing that their actions reverberated through the whole community. European education brought us a culture different from ours. From Macbeth to Falstaff and even the Greek heroes like Oedipus and even the biblical Samson, were all men who as Africans, we were taught to hate but because we are all fundamentally human, we grew to love because despite their flaws, they worked at improving things in their little sphere of influence.

We look up to Makmende not because he is of such high moral character that he is incorruptible, rather, he is so bad that corruption is below him! He does not have a large following because he is a stand up guy, rather, because he has such a short temper that not following him is just not an option. we trust our wives, girlfriends and daughter with him not because he has taken a vow of celibacy but because he knows he is such a good lover that he is picky over who he chooses to 'bless' with his ability.

At the end of the day thats who we all want. Not a man (or woman) we cannot identify with because they do not have any flaws, instead, a person who despite their flaws, works through them to attain the greater good. Remember John Rambo? Clint Eastwood as Blondie? Lwanda Magere? Batman with all his inner demons and even recently, Hancock?

We all love Makmende because he shows us that if we applied ourselves as he does, knowing we are full of error but not focussing on them, we could actually find ourselves becoming better people.

I hope an MP reads this.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sojourner Documentary and Short Film Festival : Call for Entries!!!

Sojourner Documentary and Short Film Festival (SDSFF) is a one-week annual event to be hosted in the month of August. It one of the activities of Sojourner Ltd whose aim is:

-Showcasing distinct African points of view through quality, engaging visual media narratives (documentaries, experimental film, animation, short film and video productions)
-To foster mutual understanding between cultures
-Heighten awareness of the art, craft and business of filmmaking
-Midwife networking, training, sponsorship and distribution opportunities for both upcoming and established practitioners and stakeholders in visual media.
-Have a strong hand in the development of an arts micro-economy in our area of operation
The festival is also an important debuting arena for upcoming documentary and short filmmakers in the East and Central African region

The innaugural Festival, which is scheduled to take place from August 10th - 17th at the Kenya National Theatre, Nairobi, KENYA, has launched its call for entries today. We are looking for documentaries and short films created between July 2009 and July 2010.

Details of the submission terms and conditions can be obtained here as well as the Festival Submission form. The early submission deadline is June 1st 2010 and the final deadline is the June 15th 2010.