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CULTURE HUMOUR

Our first Oscar

All and sundry want a piece of the red carpet princess

The past week has been abuzz with one thing. All Kenyans have been schmoozing all over about one thing, something which has granted us an opportunity to showcase, yet again, that almost exclusively Kenyan peculiarity; putting aside all our differences as though the differences never really existed.

Now all Kenyans are speaking with abandon such plural pronouns as ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’. Of course you just have to give us time – the differences will be back with us in no time. But, frankly, we deserve the rest from giving those differences too much attention.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about our differences. No, the thing that all Kenyans have been blabbering about most of these past days is not actually a thing – it’s a girl. Yes, a girl born thirty-one years ago in Mexico City, former Tenochtitlan of the Aztecs, but with her roots in that same place where my grandmother grew up, Seme.

As far back as I can remember, her father, an all too well known politician, has represented me in government, first as Member of Parliament, and now as Senator. A little digression, if you don’t mind; I don’t hold the man in very high regard. But differences aside, now’s not the time, right?

Anyway, talking of Lupita, (oh, sorry I didn’t mention the name up there. Yes, her name is Lupita, diminutive for Guadalupe – Our Lady of Guadalupe, added to Amondi and Nyong’o), you won’t have to wait long for a song themed on her comes from the throaty musicians who claim a similar heritage; the Tony Nyadundos and Onyi Papa Jeys of this world.

Soon, the music shops in a certain city will be ablaze with many a chant of Lupits Jabera na (Lupita my beautiful), Lupita nya Kisumo(Lupita daughter of Kisumu), Lupita Adwari (I want you Lupita) and such themes, regardless of the fact that she has spent less than two percent (probably zero) living in the environs around the adorable Nam Lolwe (Lake Victoria).

All and sundry (the latter being the less creative ones), will want a piece of the red carpet princess. Conversations will flow in bars about everything, from being born in the same place (by the sundry), going to the same school, sharing an uncle to having been in the same traffic jam one day, having a grandmother from the same place (case in point – I said up there that she hails from the same place as my grandma, though that is very true). Children will be named Lupita and Oscar for some time to come in the lakeside city of the Sikh Monument fame.

In the glow of this darling who has brought home Kenya’s first Oscar (though that little statue doesn’t belong to all of us, as politicians have been falling over each other to proclaim), the more money-minded of us will be keen to make a quick dime.

Posters of the short haired damsel will be flying off the street-vendors’ stands (in exchange, of course, of some dimes), before being forced to literally fly off by city council askaris with clubs keen to cause some chaos. There will be lupita hairstyles in the salons, gowns made in Eastleigh and branded Prade (Prada), Gacci (Gucci), D and C (Dolce and Gabbana), with a little image of Lupita sewn into some corner (a very prominent corner, if you know what I mean).

And in all this hullaballoo to cash in on the success of our fellow Kenyan, if you ask that funny-looking vendor with half a twig of miraa half inside his mouth half-standing by the corner selling belts branded Oscar what an Oscar is, he will doubtless not even scratch his head in thought before croaking, ‘soo soo belt’ (belt for one hundred shillings). Then he will shove you aside to serve a more interested customer… Actually, come to think of it, I wonder what would make you ask a street-vendor what an Oscar is.

Well, now for some information to brag about, the award that Lupita won, strictly speaking, was an Academy Award of Merit for Best Supporting Actress. That means that she played the role of supporting actress well enough to be noticed by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, from which we get the name of the award, and nominated, then selected for that award.

The Academy was founded in 1927 by 36 prominent personalities in the film industry of the age, as an honorary-membership organization to promote the arts and sciences of the industry. Apart from the Academy Award of Merit, the Academy also presents six other types of awards annually, which I won’t enumerate here (some of these things, you have to find out for yourself).

I’ll only give you one more tidbit about the Academy Awards: the origin of the name ‘Oscar’ (which is probably the only thing many of us know about this award) has been debated, but it most probably springs from a comment made by Margaret Herrick (one time Executive Secretary of the Academy) in 1931 when she first saw the statue that it reminded her of ‘Uncle Oscar’ (nickname of her cousin Oscar Pierce).

Finally, to close my rambling, let me take this opportunity to congratulate Lupita on her magnanimous achievement. I hope that soon my word processor will stop underlining that name with a ubiquitously irritating red zigzag. You have arrived at the bus station Jaber Lupita.

Now all that remains is to choose which bus you will take into the future, and that decision will be happily seconded by ‘us’ and closely followed (that is, until we remember our differences). Just a little nugget of advice, beautiful – with the full knowledge that many are giving you advice at the moment – keep this one thing in mind; whenever a good deal comes by, after seeing all that it gives you, ask yourself this one thing; at what cost? With those rather sombre words, I pen off my little rambling

Feature image: YouTube.

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