The Beautiful Game

Our children give us plenty to brag about. As immigrant parents from Kenya and Nigeria, we trust that we have distilled the essence of all that is special in our heritage and poured it into their souls. In our household we have always raised questions like: Do you know what Utu is?

It is the embodiment of you. It captures where you come from, your intangible source of strength. The God in you. Your Chi (Ibo).

We have taught them that their birthplace, America, must not dilute their heritage. I addressed this in my very first post here.

Our beautiful ones. A compassionate young lady, a college graduate currently employed as she anticipates graduate school. A handsome hard-working freshman in college. And our kitindamimba [last born], a bright, athletic fourth-grader, who loves the beautiful game.

As you can see, he demonstrates incredible pace and skill in this video (he was only 5 here). His father says that this one of the special things he has passed on to him. Labda?? [Maybe]

The beautiful game. I don't think there is a sport with more zealous fans!

Beginning today, the footballing world will be consumed by the South Africa 2010 World Cup and African Cup of Nations 2010 qualifiers. Nigeria and Kenya are in Group B, with Mozambique and Tunisia. You can watch the Africa qualifying matches LIVE online beginning today, March 28, here

Today, Kenya takes on Tunisia in Nairobi.

Let's Go Harambee Stars!

Tomorrow, the boastful Super Eagles of Nigeria travel to Maputo to take on Mozambique.

On July 6, Nigeria will host Kenya. On that day, our household will be divided for the first time, because if Kenya dares to draw against Nigeria, my husband will not speak to me. Petty, right?

My guess is that because our oldest two do not like losing, they will support Nigeria from the get-go. Our kitindamimba will be sensitive and support Kenya with Mama. When reality sets in, I'm okay if he switches his allegiance to Nigeria - the overpaid braggarts.

At the end of the day, I hope my Harambee Stars will do what they must, to make it to South Africa. That will be a major accomplishment. If not, I'll be okay with Angola 2010, because the truth is that for Kenya, Angola is the target (African Cup of Nations 2010) and South Africa is the dream.

Oleeee! Ole! Ole! Ole!
Champions! Champions!

Oleee! Ole! Ole! Ole!
Africa, Africa!

Mama Shujaa.


  1. Love the video .. looks like the boy had the skills to play under-16's! Maybe even prop up the Haramee Stars in a few years. [They lost 2-1 to Tunisia]

  2. You are a kinderd spirit, Hana. Raising children here often exhausts me here. Sometimes I find it so hard to preserve my culture here for my children. When I do, people here often take it as me not accepting the culture here. Oh, what a difficult journey it is, indeed...but that all changed when The World Cup was hosted here. Every nationality wore pride like at no other time and no one questioned it, all cultures were celebrated and the respect for sportsmanship was the first true multicultural experience I've had in Germany.


  3. OH . . .and come by my site to pick up your splash award.

  4. That boy's got skills! Thanks for sharing that video, and your beautiful words about heritage. We could all stand to love ourselves and where we come from and our people like that!

  5. Mwistar,

    Kenya sure did have a bad start today :-( but I'm going to stay optimistic against Nigeria.
    Yes, the boy has grown and now at 10, he's played a year up for a few seasons...says he would like to be a professional footballer one day. I say, keep the grades high and we can work on that.

    Mama S.

  6. Optimistic against who? Ha, so pigs really do fly in Kenya.

  7. Rose-Anne,

    Be encouraged dear sister. I find that even what you might consider the smallest communication of your heritage empowers the children, instills in them a pride in their "otherness." All three of our beautiful ones learned my childhood bedtime prayer in Kiswahili, a nightly ritual that included brilliant quiet moments of comprehension...

    There are ways to dilute the outside forces that would seem to sabotage your efforts.

    Thank you so much for the award...I will be by shortly.

  8. Anonymous,

    I'm guessing you are a Super Eagles fan?? Well, you never know...check out today's surprises - Togo beat Cameroon and Gabon beat Morocco in Morocco! Let's see what happens tomorrow between the Super Chickens and Mozambique.


  9. Denene,

    Sometimes I feel that our moments of instruction with our children serve to strengthen our core beliefs; to steer us through life's many journeys.

  10. Your son is quite the attacker! It’s fun that your kids have inherited your passions. They understand the national rivalries as well as family dynamics.

    My kids never took to baseball, basketball and American football, but they love soccer/football and cricket. That they inherited from their English father. I’m rather clueless about sports, but I’ll cheer for our kids. I did teach them to ski.

  11. We've had some troubles in the past in our football fields but nothing lasts forever. We shall shine. All the best to our stars.

    Our little friend in the video knows his steps so well. All the best to him and the rest of your family.

  12. The video is worth to watch. It's awesome seeing kids playing. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Sarah: You taught them to ski? Very cool that you have that wonderful weather and space for skiing up there in Maine!

    Shiko-Msa: Yes, you are right, The Stars still have an opportunity to beat the Super Eagles in June, considering the lackluster performance of the Eagles this weekend...I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    Cacainadjourney: Thanks for visiting and for the kind comment. Karibu tena.

  14. Beautiful boy plays the beautiful game - loved the video, Mama, and I don't even like football much. Goes to show, you gotta know 'em to love 'em, right?

    I've lived in all three countries - Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa - so who do I support? Well, all three I guess.

  15. What a beautiful post. It shows determination in keepng one's roots regardless of where we are. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  16. Tessa: absolutely right on that one! Thanks.

    A Cuban In London: Thanks. It is so important.


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