Where lies and bold truths exist, choose to believe the truth. #BelieveTheTruth
Last week we were in a strategy meeting with my colleagues and our GM. While explaining how people tend to assume things, he mentioned a lie that most of us grew up believing or even still believed; that a majority of Kenyans consume alcohol.
“Do you know that only less than 15% of Kenyans consume Alcohol? They just happen to make the biggest noise,” he explained while trying to drive his point home.
I am one of those people who believed that most Kenyans consumed alcohol. A lot young people in my generation do or did as well. This is the image that we portray to young people everyday and they grow up from colleges thinking that if you want to be cool you got to do alcohol and drugs.
Many of us interact with information in the digital space where entertainment writers and bloggers glorify wild parties and binge drinking without stopping to tell us how such reckless action could lead to serious health problems.
Vincent Achuka in an article appearing in the Daily Nation on 7th October 2014 boldly states the truth about the dangers we subject ourselves to.
“Men consume five times more alcohol than women and it is therefore not surprising that they are twice more likely to die of liver cirrhosis compared to women. Men are also six times more likely than women to be dependent on alcohol.They also form the bulk of binge drinkers.”
With the increasing internet penetration in the country which currently stands at over 70%, most of us have relied on blogs to provide us with information. Most of that information is usually very sensational and far from the truth. The decision by Daily Nation in 2014 to include bloggers to its pool of writers was therefore a welcome decision because from the nation blogs; which are also published on the Daily Nation we can now have information we can believe.
Njoki Chege and Larry Madowo who run the columns “City Girl” and “Front Row” respectively are some of these new pool of writers that have boldly come out to challenge some of these lies that we have grown up believing.
One of the other lies that young people have grown up believing is that Shisha smoking is cool. In a very hard hitting article published on the Saturday Nation 14th November 2015, Njoki Chege boldly takes on the vice.
“There is nothing cool or classy about smoking shisha. The pungent aroma aside, you are nothing more than a prime candidate for cancer.”
“Research by the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention shows that smoking shisha for an hour involves 200 puffs in which you inhale approximately 90,000 milliliters of smoke compared to the 500-600ml of smoke inhaled when smoking a cigarette.”
Of course such bold pronouncements come with some backlash at times, but as Gorge Orwel says, “journalism is about printing what someone else does not want printed…” So instead of playing PR and ego massaging, Njoki Chege gives us a dose of truth every Saturday morning.
This is not just about drugs and alcohol, it’s at time about what we stand for as a country and as young people in this digital sphere. While topics such as sexual abuse and rape have been casually treated or even celebrated in the blogosphere, notable voices such as that one of Larry Madowo have stood up to be counted.
While Kenyans were poking fun at a girl who was probably a victim of sexual abuse, Larry Madowo used his “Fron Row” column on the Daily Nation on 11th August 2015, to have us pause for a moment and ask ourselves some important questions.
“How can you reconcile the fact that the same people whose hearts bleed for a brave young man with a will to live also fail to recognize the oppressed young woman’s right to experience pleasure on her own terms?” He poses.
“I asked a male colleague who insisted the recording didn’t document rape whether he would feel the same if it were his sister in the tape. He fell silent.” He adds.
My father worked in a different town when I was growing up. He was the only one who bought newspapers in my family. Whenever he came home for the weekend, he brought with him the entire past week’s edition of the Daily Nation.
One thing though is consistent from the days when my father made me read newspapers that were a week old to today when I can not only buy my own newspaper but have access to digital editions too; The Truth in the Daily Nation.
Believe The Truth.