Friday, August 19, 2016

Happy Birthday to Someone I Know Well

I turned 56, today, Friday August 19, 2016.

Happy birthday to me, David Onyango Oloo.

It was not always obvious I would live to see this day-and for that I say thanks.

I could have died in a hail of GSU bullets on Sunday, August 1, 1982, when as a very naïve first year University of Nairobi undergraduate I was among a throng of enthusiastic students trooping past the police headquarters fists shaking, arms waving, screeching pambana! power! at the top of our young hope filled lungs.

I could have passed away at Kamiti Maximum any year between 1982 and 1987 when I was incarcerated for “exciting sedition and disaffection against the Government of Kenya by law established”.

Who knows? I could have gone the way of Githirwa wa Muhoro, my fellow political exile who died in Toronto in February 1994; Mwakudua wa Mwachofi another comrade who died in Wisconsin in July 1996; Kariuki wa Gathitu, Gupta Thiong’o, Njuguna Mutahi, Bantu Mwaura or many of the dozens of my friends and comrades who have rejoined the ancestors in the intervening decades.

So once again, I am grateful to be alive today to celebrate my fifty sixth year on planet earth.

Two and a half weeks ago I was at the open grave where a beautiful, ever smiling intelligent twenty-three-year-old third year Moi university student was being lowered to her final resting place having finished her battle with leukemia. 


Linda Oloo-

my niece, daughter of my younger brother was given a very teary, fond farewell  by my sisters, cousins, aunties, uncles and other relatives, while her two sisters were crying their hearts out, writhing on the red lateral soils of Luanda Dudi village, determined to depart to the afterlife with Linda while their father Washington Oloo, stood stoically, clutching a cross and a bunch of flowers, waiting for the inevitable mound to cover the casket  of his beloved second daughter lying next to our father, our sister and two brothers, Linda’s mother and sister who proceeded Linda.

Last week my mother-no, not my biological maternal parent who was claimed by breast cancer on December 9, 1980, but the eighty-two-year-old mother of my first cousins Ayieko, Okello, Adhiambo, Oloo, Mudhune, Akumu and spouse of my late father’s late eldest brother Omole was interred in Yala, Gem

I still cannot forget 


how she wailed and sobbed, weeping uncontrollably, with her daughters, my late mother’s brother Walter Ombiro Wandolo and my father’s youngest sister Joyce Ohwenya next to her on that cloudy day in November 1982 when her nephew David Onyango Oloo was whisked off by baton wielding askaris to begin his five-year sentence.


So today is kind of sour and bitter because just yesterday I received a text message from Opondo Kakendo on the outskirts of Sega, Ugenya that his thirty-four-year-old son was found near Ukwala murdered by unknown thugs. I spent years at Kamiti with Opondo who was an ex-military man jailed by the Moi regime in the aftermath of the abortive coup.

Still today just underscored the under ending cycle/circle that is life.

I was musing the other day with my younger sister, the Durban based Janet Okeyo ruefully as we recalled the birthday parties we never had or knew from our doting father and devoted mother- parents who would rather put us in the best schools, buy us the most expensive text books rather than throw away good money on something as frivolous as a birthday bash. Tomorrow we are converging at my youngest sister’s Ruth Awuori’s house in Donholm where my siblings are throwing a delayed dinner bash for their big brother’s fifty sixth earth day occasion.

I am mighty glad that I am still a militant radical and committed socialist today. I did not go the way of other former Marxist-Leninists who are today disciples of 


Fukuyama and 


Reagan worshippers of



Spivak Chakraboty and 


Michel Foucault at some post-modernist pagoda, dreaming of evolving into Kenyan versions of 

Dangote and Buffett.

I am proud that Jukwaa- the online discussion platform that I founded eleven years ago and the Kenya Democracy Project, Masharikki, Kenya Sizzle and the plethora of blogs I started in WordPress, BlogSpot, Tumblr, Google + and other social media places are still going strong.


Offline I still hold fast to the activist web mail provider 


Rise Up which exhorts all of us to get off the internet and spill on to the streets.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oloo said: 'I am mighty glad that I am still a militant radical and committed socialist today. I did not go the way of other former Marxist-Leninists who are today disciples of ....'

My 'present' for you is this idea: Give us a set-piece 'Oloo digital' on what you think the prospects of socialism in the East African Economic Community are. Of course you noted I did not say the African continent nor AU. All world powers are now capitalist, even Red China. But conflicts galore and intense --South China Sea, Saikaku Islands, Japan and Germany's exit from their pacifist, world war II imposed constitutions, America's Asia pivot. Does it ring a bell of some past centuries when there were several world powers all competting for colonies, market zones and sea-lane dominance?

And how it ended!

But conventionally too, happy birthday to ya!

Jakaswanga, Jukwaa.

woolie said...

This was a poignant piece. So many good people who fell before their time. And life goes on. I silently followed this blog from way back in the Toronto days and the time of the Dunia Show and perhaps even before that. Wishing you many many more birthdays, sir. Thank you.

Alex_Rums said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex_Rums said...

First of all, i’d like to wish you all the best, May all the rest of your days be healthy, wealthy, and filled with love. Happy Birthday, David Onyango Oloo!
There aren't many true socialists that left. Nowadays democracy it’s the same capitalism where only rich people have their rights to be respected. Now money and social ties is the exact measure of a personal place in life, especially in politics, like this one https://tuko.co.ke/185286-mp-isaac-mwaura-reveals-the-bitter-truth-that-he-told-raila-before-leaving-odm.html</p, so I’m glad there is still someone who has enough strength to fight for the socialism and for the nation!
Thank you for your blog and happy birthday!

Ksana Feldman said...

I was tired to tell how it is disgusting to rape minor children. But these happens more and often...I have read one article about it again - https://tuko.co.ke/200497-bungoma-headteacher-jumps-out-of-the-window-after-having-with-12-year-old.html. How people knows about it? Because 12-years-old girl was pregnant. Her headteacher made it. I think it's psycological sickness and people who has a few features to it should be under treatment.
Anyway God bless this young lady.