By now most of you know my stand on the debate about whether Kenyans read or not. A lot of the mainstream conversations claim that we do not but I am of the contrary opinion with regards to the matter. I believe Kenyans read. Or rather most of the Kenyans I know are avid readers. We can also expand this demographic if you include social media (as a micro-blogging platform), blogs and newspapers/magazines. If you bring all these to the table, it is ignorant to assume that Kenyans do not read. But…
Yes, there is a but there. * no puns intended *
My main issue is with what most Kenyans, especially those active on social mediums, read. Reading is meant to increase once knowledge base, among other things. It is a powerful tool for education and information. Unfortunately as much as we might read a lot, most of us do not give thought to what we read. Just like what we listen to.
I will start with the Kenyan newspapers. I do not read or watch a lot of the mainstream news channels for obvious reasons. My view is that Kenyan newspapers do not offer me a candid, and sometimes educated, view on matter of importance. They, as well as some blogs, propagate the same stereotypes and misinformed opinions that I am fighting to avoid. Take a look at how they cover political issues. The only place I would go to read any political conversations in Kenyan newspapers is in the opinion’s section. The bias is evident and the patriarchy shows from the cover to the back pages.
Also there is too much negativity and gossip for one person to handle, let alone a whole nation.
The other platforms that ire me are some of the popular blogs. I struggle to understand whether it is the fault of the content developers or the readers. It is a chicken and egg conundrum. Who are the shallow ones? Is it the writers or the readers?
Do we seek content that is shallow and that propagates the stereotypes we have so ingrained in us. Why would you rather read a story talking about a certain socialite “flaunting” herself rather than seek content that talks about the emancipation of women and the feminist movement.
For me, these are pertinent issues that require a sober discourse and proper thesis. Yes, Kenyans read but does what we read really inform and drive the conversations we should be having.
Originally posted on 24th October 2014