When Guns are more Friendly than Books

response to NTVkenya’s report on the shooting of four children aged 5–10 years during a gang fight (and because no one else is talking about it)


2006 Gang Violence Rises in Nairobi Slums
2015 Four children shot in Nairobi gang gunfight

I’ve seen guns,
pointed at kids’ faces as they baked sand cakes
the bullets became the yeast grains that puffed their bodies once full of dreams
Life’s not a bed of roses when you’re dreaming of guns
Life and death are sure to marry on a valentine with a bouquet of bullets
on these streets
here guns form friendships faster than books
so kids fall off family-trees never to sprout
or leave colored-pencil-smudges on worn out collars

On these streets
twerk videos get more views, re-tweets and reviews than societal matters
flus and small-sized boobs
are far too serious than STIs and aborted fetuses
On these streets,
the leftovers in yesterday’s lunchboxes are emptied beside wombs
wrapped in plastic bags
suffocating breathes even before they made contact with infant lips

Polished barrels reflect off the eyes of dying sons
As brothers fasten their belts, adjust dark tint pop-fad Ray Ban’s glasses
Thrift Versace t-shirts do match a young boy’s skin
when laced with just enough melanin to blend in with his low lit dreams and “cool kid” smudged Supras

Four is not a small number when counting children as casualties of a gun fight. It’s even worse that all this takes place in broad daylight (3pm), the police are aware of the gangs and it’s youthful individuals being recruited.

Just a few days earlier a 17 year old Form Three student, Boniface Makau, was shot dead during a robbery as he was returning home from a tuition class at around 11am. Now, this bit wouldn’t have made it to the news if the four weren’t shot at…how many more go unnoticed in silence.

Small boys in big cities shouldn’t fall this way.