President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi during the Mashujaa Day Celebration 2013. Source, Daily Nation
On Sunday 20th October, Kenyans turned up in large numbers to at the Nyayo National Stadium to mark Mashujaa day. The day, which was presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta is a day set aside to celebrate Kenyan heroes, mostly those who fought for this country’s independence.
The most remembered heroes during these celebrations have always been those who took part in the liberation of this country despite some being completely forgotten by incoming governments. These heroes continued to play a very important pat of our country. Their efforts to deliver us from the hands of the colonial masters are what put our country to where it is today.
As our country continues to grow, more heroes continue emerging and more still will continue being identified. Across social media sites, Kenyans posted on their timelines on the people they regard as their heroes, from their parents, friends, sisters, lovers among others, but the question still remains, who is a real hero? Are heroes just the people who fought for independence or our celebrities, sportsmen? The answerer is no.
According to ‘’Modeling Heroes’’ a website that talks about heroes, a hero is a person who deliberately and courageously overcomes obstacles for the benefits of others without regard to personal consequences. The website further says that conquered obstacles are the only qualifying credentials of heroes and a measure of ones true leadership.
The Oxford advanced learners dictionary on the other hand defines a hero as a person who is admired by many people for doing something brave or good or a person you admire because of a particular quality or skills that they have.
As Kenyans, we need inspirational heroes as role models for our lives. Many of our today’s heroes are often sports persons and celebrities whose lives have always been laced with controversy as well as frequent appearances in our ever-crowded courtrooms. Where as Kenyans can we find true exemplary heroes with proven values demonstrating value for humans? They are there, they exist among us and you are one of them. You are the hero the country was celebrating on Mashujaa day, you are the true Shujaa.
Joseph Campbel once said, ‘’A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself’’ what did he mean? A hero is me and you who toil hard to feed our families and even our government through our taxes. Despite everything, increased food prices, you are able to feed your family, pay rent for that house you live in, go to that farm and toil hard to make sure you take your kids to school. You are the unsung hero the country was celebrating on Mashujaa day.
Christopher Reve also said, ‘’A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles’’. That truly defines you, the ordinary mwananchi. Despite the high food prices, the insecurity situation in the country, we have always and will still continue to be one.
As we continue to grow, let us maintain the heroism spirit, you are the Kenyan hero among other Kenyans and we are also the heroes of our own story because we are one.
Nixon Kanali, Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC), Nairobi