The interface generation

As I watched the ink from my last post on 19th January 2015 dry, little did I know that the next couple of weeks would be so enterprising to the extent that they would literally starve me from any pen-to-paper ‘zeit

In that downtime, not to unwind but to focus on other work related stuff, I have been immensely uplifted by every, ‘it’s a while since you wrote something’ and ‘you didn’t post something this month’ message. Such inputs to my output do not go unnoticed and are appreciated. However, I hope to write more regularly.

While on a trip to Kenya Pipeline, Kisumu, a concept was explained to us which has, for a long time now, been the motivation for this post. For those of a curious nature, four petroleum products (super, diesel, kerosene and jet A1 fuel) are transported from Mombasa to the different end points in a single pipe. For every changeover from one fuel type to another, we have an interface which is a mixture of both fuels. This interface fuel is taken to a separate tank, after which it analyzed to establish how many parts of each constituent fuel it has. It is then carefully dosed, in small amounts, into the tanks containing the majority of the composition. Like a single drop of oil in the ocean, this ensures that the overall quality of the fuel is not affected.

Juxtapose this analogy to the current generation and to you will not need to wrinkle your face in concentration to identify stark similarities. We are an interface generation, torn between conservative cultural traditions and modern trends. We are at the boundary between these two contrasting generations and fittingly, we have been put in a separate tank, ready to be dosed in the generation of our choice.

In a dilemma, the best of us go about their daily activities and social relationships not sure in which generation they want to fall in. Do you want the woman who can cook, clean, till the land and still maintain a white collar job like your mum does, or do you go for the career oriented one who probably makes more money than you and will prompt you to buy a machine for everything? Do you want the macho man who won’t step in the kitchen, will not share provision roles and will not care if you work or not as long as you submit and his word goes, or do you go for the soft spoken one who will hold your hand in public, open car doors like the Mexican Alejandro, carry your bag and hold the ‘mwiko’ with you in the kitchen as you discuss your recent promotion? Whichever the case, it is clear that this status is affecting how this generation is perceiving relationships.

Some of our questions, precisely

Some of our questions, precisely

A good solution would be mentorship. However, there is the slight problem that most of our mentors are not in this interface generation and consequently, have probably not faced similar challenges. They will therefore happily recommend the conservative, traditional nature that they are accustomed to.

Change is inevitable and like Professor Francis Imbuga (God rest his soul in eternal peace) wrote in his play, Aminata, “The time tested ways of our people are best, yet oh Lord, make us wise that we may accept change.”

I think we must accept that our women will probably not treat us like our mothers treat our fathers (and vice versa) and move on. We must be brave enough to walk these uncharted paths, demystifying and clearing them, with the hope that in the end, we will have done enough to ensure that the succeeding generation is not an interface one.

Till next time,




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