to Kenya. They’ve
managed to do in 40 years what the English have never achieved.
The photo was there in Monday’s
newspaper. A national
costume with an ankle length robe and long cloak for women while men
get a shirt with slashed collar and a cape across one shoulder.
Since the Guardian Newspaper photo was in Black and White I
went onto the web to find a colour picture of the costumes that come
in the colours of the Kenyan National Flag – Red, Green and Black.
I was sadly disappointed. The
Guardian had no picture at all – nor did any of the Kenyan
newspapers – and the small picture on the BBC
website did it no service at all.
– although, maybe I shouldn’t get too excited as the national
costume doesn’t seem to be too popular.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, the cost – roughly three months wages for the
majority of the population – secondly, the large trade in cheap
second hand clothes from the west.
strange quirk, perhaps, that the average Kenyan prefers
to dress in western clothes. Patricia
Mbela, one of the design team, believes there is another reason for
the lack of enthusiasm. She
says that “that the British did such a good job on us that we’ve
forgotten our culture and heritage”.
with that thought I pondered on my own national costume.
Within the British Isles, the Welsh have theirs, the Scots are
proud of their kilts – but the English?
One joke that goes around is that England is what’s left when
you take Scotland, Ireland and Wales away.
It has no real identity of its own – national costume or
is why identity is perhaps becoming such an issue.
I was up in Yorkshire last week.
Now there’s a place with an identity.
people know it for its literature – Jane Austen – or more
recently, James Herriot. Others
know it for it’s cricket. I
love it for its beauty – from the rugged northern moors to the Dales
with their granite built houses. A beautiful place – and a place
where people have character. “There’s
Englishmen, and theirs Yorkshire men.”
They are a different breed, and it’s a skilful Yorkshire
woman who can control and direct the life of her headstrong Yorkshire
the debate up there was on regional government.
There’s to be a referendum this week.
Should the North of England have it’s own parliament?
Views are divided with apathy being a big contender.
report I heard on the radio this morning thinks that could be the case
the country over – and possibly a Europe wide distrust of politics
and politicians leading to increasingly low turnouts on election days.
Watch out Tony Blair – it’s less than a year away!
a few days away for George W Bush, and I’ve been amazed by the media
frenzy this side of the Atlantic concerning the race to the
Whitehouse. It’s been
interesting watching the debates – including the very political
prayer letters I’m increasingly receiving from various US based
I’m only one quarter American so don’t get the chance to vote for
either Bush or Kerry – but I kind of like the advice my uncle in
Washington State sent out, --- vote for the one whose wife you trust
do have a responsibility in politics.
And for some it takes courage to stand up for that
Daily News in Harare tells me that, in the Mashonaland Central
provincial region of Zimbabwe, religious leaders are being told,
support the party, or move out. A
difficult choice – and yet Christians through the ages have made
such choices – opposed slavery, campaigned for the vote for women,
demonstrated against injustice – or for example, have become Mother
campaign in one British
Newspaper caused controversy not just in the USA, but across the
world, as, tongue in cheek, it asked its readers to write letters
to US citizens in Clark County, Ohio, to encourage them to vote.
I enjoyed reading the write up of that campaign but I can’t,
and won’t tell you which way to vote in the US, Afghanistan, Kenya
or anywhere else. What I
can encourage you to do is to use your democratic right, however small
an action that may be, to influence your government, and your country,
to make choices for good. And
do it on a broad range of issues.
Some Catholics in America argue – you can’t vote for Kerry
because he is pro-abortion. Yet,
as Gary Leising of the Cincinnati
Enquirer points out, you can’t exactly call George W Bush
pro-life when he supports the death penalty – and I’m not even
going to get into what Leising says on Iraq.
then, on a preponderance of issues.
Choose the candidate whose policies will make the world a
better place. Use that
slip of paper to make a difference.