In line with my previous posts, my PhD Viva was held, coincidentally, on my birthday; the 3rd of October 2008. In response to the overwhelming congratulatory messages from my family, close friends and colleagues, I felt that I must summarise my journey leading up to the triumphatic feat that was achieved. Indeed, many have asked how it must feel to shine on such a momentous occasion which in its own unique way, has cemented my academic foundation and ushered in a new era in my life. Since being awarded the doctorate, every moment has felt like a quiet afternoon with the fresh air forming some summer saxophone note, rising and falling on a warm breeze. With jewels in my heart, it is heaven here and the light that glows inside my heart feels like the salvation that will hopefully free my soul and brighten many others.
But as with most sweet victories, the road I travelled up to this point was not always smooth. Firstly, it was not always easy being an E-student at Mangu High, one of Kenya’s leading national secondary schools. And being constantly reminded that I was a kumutha who got into Mangu through the ‘back door’ was particularly unwelcoming. But my newly acquired status as an academic and a Doctor of Philosophy means that few will now refer to me as the boy who got his admission through his dad’s pocket. I can still hear their whispers back then as they dined with their fellow intellectual giants. Yet ironically, it is such dismissive talk, mixed with the rich culture within that great school that continues to shape me and strengthen the man that I am today.
In particular, being in the ‘Panthers’ Basketball team, which was coached by a man that believed in winning against all odds, certainly helped me to believe that success is created in the mind. No wonder that despite being rejected by most Kenyan universities due to my modest grades, the utmost belief in myself later enabled me to attain a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Kent with honours. And to further silence the sceptics, I later achieved a Distinction in the LLM Public International Law and attained an Award of Academic Excellence from the University of London. But it is the subsequent grant of a full Scholarship from the University of Sheffield that led many to start seeing the fuller picture what was destined to emerge.
Overall, in considering my purpose on life, I see myself as an idea that must find expression. In the very least, I hope that my story peels away the layers of doubt that covers many of those that are discouraged by exclusive and bureaucratic systems. Anyone, and everyone, deserves a chance at the shot. And I must thank all those that have supported me throughout my academic expedition. Everyone should have the chance to see what I said on very first post of this blog; 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. Therefore it is important to stay close to the personal dreams that befriend you. In my own journey, I can safely say that the willingness to pay the full price for the cost of my dreams and to take responsibility for my life continues to act as an incentive, as well as reward, for my complete personal maturity.