There are many tales of the one week mzungu (owm).
Because time is various in Africa, one week can be 7 days, 5 days, or 2 days.
In fact, the Daily Nation had a diary a few weeks ago from a owm. She came, saw the slums, dressed in a khanga, and in her diary she writes she became “an African woman.”
Or, you can see it on tv, on those country swap games. A man comes with his family, spends three hours with some very rural community, goes through some elaborate made-for-tv ritual and proclaims himself to be an elder in the community.
But these, these are minor examples.
My favorite genre of the owm is the EXPERT. Having spent three hours on a matatu, she can expound on transport in Africa; or, having spent two hours at Maasai Market, he can lecture on African art (African, not Kenyan).
Owm believes that being present, no matter the duration, makes one an expert on Africans, so easily known, so little to discover. Thus, one owm who had been here about 6 days announced that we have “no free time” and “no middle class.”
So, we packed up our bags after the meeting and went to Kileleshwa, Spring Valley, Westlands, and Loresho, where there is no middle class. We then watched TV, went for movies, played outside, attended art galleries and poetry readings, went to bars and clubs, read books and newspapers, and lamented the absence of free time.
Some of us react with rage at the owm, most of us with indifference. I do little justice here to what really should be a series.
What is your owm story?