It is official, the next time I write on this page, I shall have submitted my PhD thesis in Law entitled: African Regional Peace and Security under the African Union’s Constitutional Framework: Conflict of Compatibility with the UN and International Law? Indeed it has been a most fascinating expedition. And now, more than ever, I know that amidst life’s daily struggles, pain and endless enduring hurdles, there exists colour and beauty and that the world is both colourful and beautiful. My thesis has led me to analyse and re-analyse what it means to be me. It led me to question where exactly in the universe that I find expression. And the most fundamental truth that I found is that I am inextricably linked to the independent souls of other individuals, which in turn, are related to the community and other societies. Though forming an autonomous unit of my own, I represent only part of a structure embedded within a wider web of humanity.
My studies have not purely been an academic exercise. Indeed, the submission of my thesis means more yet another law degree in the bag. It is yet another step on the way to the podium. I have always viewed myself as an idea that must find expression. But then it also means finding that which makes me who I am. Like many others, this is a question that I have to face again and again. Almost everyday, my perception of the world compels me to ask myself whether I identify myself first and foremost with my family, my ethnic tribe, my country, my region or my continent. My parents grew up in an African village called Ngethu in the Central Province of Kenya. I was born in the city but grew up in the village where we speak ‘kikuyu’ only to go back to the heart of Nairobi for college. Now I find myself in Sheffield, far away from the motherland. The overlapping contrasts and similarities of the environment that have been part of this life’s journey have shaped me and become part of my identity. The experiences of Ngethu, the drumbeats in Nairobi and the technological advancement in Sheffieldhave all become part of who I am. But so have the few glimpses of the stop-overs in Harare, Amsterdam, and Kampala amongst others.
The natural unity of brotherhood with peoples from different backgrounds and the few phrases of French, Chinese and Italian that I have learnt all add to the Swahili and Kikuyu that I was taught as a child. My family is now composed of people I consider my best friends and my ethnic tribe serves not as a complete description of my identity but only as a critical component of it. My country is a mere geographical location in which I was born to be blessed and it is the interaction with its peoples that adds to my identity. There is no doubt that I am an African and proud at that. However, one thing remains true, that identity develops and adapts to changing environments. I was born in African to have an international identity.
With the submission now eminent, I find myself right on track literally by the years with the personal dreams that befriended me, the dreams that due to my past could only be shared with my parents and close friends. But now I can safely say, I have come of age. All my beliefs principles and all that I stand for in this life are coming together. So everyday, I pray that tomorrow comes. And I dream as a child that one day I shall be one of those that brighten African cities and villages, to inspire hope and preach the rejection of fatality. And although I am insignificant from the skies, the submission of my thesis is at least a page of history that an African wrote for the continent and the world.