Dear Millennials,
Let me elucidate this for you, because you didn’t experience it and so you are prone to being misled
In the 80s and beyond, everyone walked barefoot to the village primary school
It wasn’t a sign of chronic poverty but a matter of lifestyle
Even those with shoes would leave them home, and only wear them on special occasions, either church or some long distant journey

Shoes were for safari, as we referred to these special occasions
All your parents walked barefoot to school, only that they’ve not found a reason to keep yelling about it
My first pair of shoes, called “marina” in the christmas of 1988 or thereby and latter in 1992 I as a proud owner Lawman shoes
The marina, also called chomelea twende, was an interesting one. In case of a tear all you have to do is heat a panga and weld it together using a rag from an old shoe

Who remembers that pair of shoes called “shoes?”
This was the predecessor of sandak, the all popular plastic shoes. Nowadays, even neonates have shoes, in fact children own shoes even before they are born

That was the order of the day and anyone telling he was raised in a extremely difficult environment that they had to walk barefoot to school is being dishonest and taking advantage of you being naiive


Joel Obwengi: I remember my mother forcing me to wear shoes one Friday, all my friends come bare footed, I had to hide them in a tea plantation, sadly coming home later in the day i did not find them. You can imagine my scenario that evening

Ogut Awinyo Ja-Deep State: In my days, your peers could laugh at you for wearing shoes until you decided to leave them back at home. My elder siblings who attended primary school in the 70s also told us how some teachers could whip you thoroughly for going to school in shoes. Why they did this was later confirmed to be the fear that some pupils may wear shoes of higher pedigree than theirs. You were therefore not supposed to “compete” japuonj in wearing shoes.

Nick Katta: As much as I’ve never experienced walking bare feet, even now as an adult I can’t walk bare feet in the house let alone around the compound…what you just said is 100% true. My mother is the daughter of a doctor, but in child hood they used to leave their shoes at home to walk bare feet to school just like the rest of the village children.

Ben Kibali: My first pair of shoes was bought in 1983. The popular black Sadak which were won under strict circumstances. Sun was our number 1 enemy since miguu could turn mahindi Boilo. Nevertheless all my classmates uses to walk barefoot even headmaster’s son. Wearing shoes to school was sign of disrespect to then egocentric teachers.

James Angana: Nostalgic indeed, our Sunday best or clothes for visiting were our school uniform [it used to be one] we had to use it carefully as we were being watched by everyone after all we belonged to the whole community

Jax M. Mutua: Actually up to date my feet have never been soft due to friction on the ground as i walked mguu chuma. Ungedungwa na mwiba na hata ukose kujua.

Fred Akello:
I grazed cattle , got rained on but never melted or caught malaria ; at lunch , I would drink colostrum with sweet potatoes ; the milk mug was permanently on the lid of milk pot for all to share at will. The family ate from a common plate ; someone would sample soup by drinking the whole of it. Meat or fish was for the king ( father ) if it was little, children are ugali and just stamped it onto the empty soup plate ! If one had rich neighbours , the smell of frying meat or fish emanating from there would enable us eat and finish our ugali dry ! We never saw tea , it was iji. We wore shorts only ; long trousers were worn for the first time in Form 5 ( Higher) , if one passed Form 4 with distinctions. There were no exam leakages ; exam results were genuine reflection of one’s efforts and abilities. There were no shortcuts. Everything was genuine. Things from China had not reached Kenya , except very few like Tatung fountain pen. Things were original ; jeans like Levi’s , Wrangler and Lee made in U.S.A. England , France, Italy and Germany. There was only one university , U.o.N ; one would only join it if one had passed ” A” Levels ( Higher) with distinctions . There were no parallel or online or holiday degrees like today. Graduates were few and jobs available. One got employed even before graduating . And anyone who reached even Form 2 and sat K.J.S.E.would get employed and earn reasonable salary. Things were easier. Secondary schools and teachers were few and rare ; the few teachers were housed in schools very comfortably in well – furnished staff quarters. Teaching was still prestigious , a call ! Men were handsome even if they didn’t have money ; it depended on the gift of one’s mouth ! ; if one could lie well during seduction , one would marry a very beautiful wife ( that’s how your ugly grand father married your then beautiful granny 1f606 - Dear Ruto, don’t misled millennials, walking barefoot in 80s was a lifestyle, not a sign of poverty). University or college or even secondary- going girls couldn’t be dated by manambas because they were not crazy about money or chopo 1f923 - Dear Ruto, don’t misled millennials, walking barefoot in 80s was a lifestyle, not a sign of poverty ! Children and wives belonged to society ; cases of indiscipline ere dealt with as such. Wives respected their husbands as kings ; they had very few rights ( the bedroom one only, probably). etc.

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