Philosophy and Literature

What Will Become of KENSAP After John Manners’ and Prof. Mike Boit’s Leadership?

(Can we re-enact last weekend at 15 Danforth this weekend?)

By Immanuel Lokwei,

Kensap is not only a hub of intellectual and athletic growth, but is also reputed both within its membership and without for its principled-revelers, the die-hard hedonistic partygoers of a uniquely Kenyan variety. Last weekend, as dubbed by Kate Kemboi on her facebook status the “Epic Weekend,” just confirmed this latter fact. I won’t describe in detail what transpired. But if you had witnessed the 10 am scene — I don’t means the cans and all the messy stuff left after a party — I mean the floor, cramped beds, spaces next to beds and in cars outside, upstairs, you name it, everywhere sleepy souls were reviving from their hard-played nighttime merriments. If you had witnessed this, you would have agreed that the poster in one of the trains to 15 Danforth that read, “Moderation has it’s place and it’s not here” was meant for this scene and even more, that Kensap is the place to be. That scene was absolutely beautiful, that night simply The Night.

I may be nostalgic about this past occasion, but it is not nostalgia that is responsible, that provoked my concerns with regard to Kensap’s future. Of late I have been reflecting a lot on the idea of impermanence, the frailty of human situations and the notion of hope. Older generations give way to newer ones, current perspectives and responsibilities to future perspectives and responsibilities, and so the process goes. Without raising an alarm of treason, there comes a time when a mentee ought to step into the shoes of a mentor and be a guide themselves. Friedrich Nietzsche says, “One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil.” A pupil’s responsibility is not only learning, but it is hoped that he or she may understand and embrace the value of being a responsible teacher too. We will have disappointed the immeasurable work of Manners and Boit, if none of us Kensapers can step into their place and roles. Like a young child trying to put on an older person’s shoes, we may not fit properly and match the great accomplishments that Manners and Boit have already achieved through Kensap.  But is there hope for a future for Kensap?

Well, this question demands an answer from all Kensapers. In the meantime I will just revisit my adventures of the last weekend. But before I do this I will mention that we Kensapers have an advantage. Unlike many African and Kenyan based-organizations whose existence depends on the proliferation of foreign aid and participation, organizations that risk collapse if foreign participation is withdrawn, we Kensapers have basically been groomed for the very task we are asked to take on.

Do I fear a Kensap collapse? If I do, then I must get rid of this irrational fear. I must as Jean-Paul Sartre argues, “act without hope,” so that I may be a fearless Kensaper. By not hoping, I know that the responsibility lies with me and therefore I must act. “One need not hope in order to undertake one’s work.” Julian Baggini adds, “What matters is action, not a mere idea of what one hopes that action will lead to:” So Kensapers, are we ready to act in accordance with our Kensap indebtedness and education and take the baton?

Okay. So last weekend, … Oh the Music, Faces, Beauty, Smiles, Smells, Sweats, Laughter, Discussions (though nothing about the future of Kensap), Swahili, Paradise, Spontaneity (as if the gods had controlled our activities and were throwing the dice), The 6 am bed time, sunrise… So last weekend was full of life, and it wasn’t exclusively Kenyan too!!!

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