I think we can learn a lot about different countries from books, movies, and songs, but obviously, we can’t learn everything. I fully understand that this African blogging project has serious limitations, but I also know that I know much more about Africa than I did when I started. And that’s good, yes?
A while back, I bookmarked a New York Times article to include in an upcoming blog post. It’s about the problem African writers face in publishing books that appeal to Africans for the global market. Instead, they write books for the American and European market, and then the books are often so very much the same: struggle at home, struggle as immigrant abroad, overall heartbreak.
Bonyo Bonyo is very much a book for a white, Western audience. It is a children’s story about a Kenyan boy who watches his little sister die and decides that he wants to be a doctor so that he can prevent that from happening. He is now a doctor in Akron, Ohio who raises money for a clinic that he started back in Kenya. It’s a sweet story, but also sad: there were not enough opportunities for him to stay in Kenya.
Kenya is one of the more affluent countries in East Africa, and it could be in so much better shape than it is. It had a (relatively) smooth transition from colonialism, once it became clear to the English that they were no longer welcome. It had minerals, a port, and infrastructure. It was open to the world, with none other than Barack Obama’s father coming to the United States to study and return as a leader. It became a victim of corruption and political infighting, and most of the people in the country are employed in subsistence agricultre. And now, Kenya is left with the dubious distinction of being better than most, not saying much.
Still, there’s potential. The nation’s ties to the U.S. and the England are strong, if only due to history, and the relatively recent election may have stabilized the situation.
Hence, this a country that investors should watch. It has the scale to be huge, if it can pull the loose ends together.