Are you a Hero (Shujaa)?

Men rescuing a terrorist attack victim in Nairobi Kenya. Photo Courtesy of Daily Express.

A few years ago, a wave of terrorist attacks wrecked the air. A rallying call for unity sounded from all and sundry. We had a common enemy, we had to fight him from within and without. Security apparatus were marshalled with a single objective; that of ensuring that our country was safe and lives safeguarded.

In the ensuring days, our attention was on the security teams. For a moment, we forgot to look at them as the greedy men in uniform who would leap on any opportunity to squeeze you of some bribe or accuse you falsely for the sake of stamping authority.

We trusted their decisions and movements. We trusted the security men and women with our lives. They did their work with devotion and soon we had gone back to the normality of our lives. But before we could forget, we celebrated the them as our heroes.

Praises were sung to them. Poems were written and every effort we could manage was geared towards making sure that these mean and women who sacrificed their lives for ours at the very least felt special. And that is who we are as Kenyans. Being a shoulder for a brother.

Towards the end of last year, the first case of Covid-19 was announced in China. We didn’t fear it that much because we believed that that was a Chinese virus. Kenya, a small country somewhere in East Africa was far from being a victim. So, we simply concluded that it was a white’s virus.

We could be proven wrong when three months into the new year, the first case was reported in our country. We panicked and laid all our hopes on doctors. They held the keys of our destinies in their hands and so we breathed cautiously hoping they would figure things out.

Truth is that they have tried. They have been in the front line of duty and others have had to pay a heavy price for their work with their lives. It is the reason why a lot of citizens celebrated doctors and nurses and all health care workers last week as their heroes.

So in celebrating people given the circumstances at hand often goes unnoticed especially with the aspect of time. Perhaps the people who helped in the 1998 blast were the heroes of that year. Soon they were forgotten or so they disappeared into obscurity. It simply means that our celebration needs to be more than sensational.

Our heroic celebrations need to be equated to those we use to celebrate friends as well as family. Last week I observed a lot of people celebrating their parents, friends, brothers, sisters and close friends as their heroes of the day.

This simply means that their relevance is always in season. Our parents will always remain our parents as well as kin. The only changes that often happen have to do with friends. Occasionally we change them, other times we lose them but then we make new ones.

One fact remains though, that even if we lose some friends, their impact often remain with us for ages and we end celebrating some as our heroes even after we lose them many years after. This is the way to go when we want to celebrate heroes. Celebrating them for posterity.

Try and ask yourself, are you a hero? I asked myself if this very question when I started writing this piece and by the time I was finishing putting mind on paper, I discovered that I was a hero depending on how I looked at it and based on what angle I was approaching the whole issue from.

For instance, in this year’s Mashujaa day, I was celebrated by only two people. In the last year, it was more than that. In fact, last year, more than 10 people celebrated me as a hero. The issue with the change, maybe I think, is because there has been a change in the taste and value of the day. People feel that those who are celebrated often don’t deserve the celebration.

It doesn’t matter to me if I am celebrated out there, what matters most to me is that I am celebrated by the people who matter to me. It matters that my family, loved ones and friends celebrate me as hero and that I celebrate them too. The mutuality is what matters.

So don’t worry that you were not celebrated. Let it not bother you that the president or even the chief has never read your name in the list of people who have immensely contributed to this country or your village. Let it matter that your loved ones appreciate your value to them.

Remember, you can never be a hero to everyone all the time. But you can be a hero to someone at some single time. Truth is that you matter and that you are a hero. Once again, I will ask you my beloved reader, are you a hero? How you answer this question at this level determines your esteem.



Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at
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