Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Kiswahili for herbs; traditional or indigenous plants used for healing. Mitishamba is what you would take if synthetic is not your thing. Ok, more bluntly (haha, bluntly), it's the origin of medicine. Nothing came before the origin so it makes Mitishamba the essence. I can begin stating the many synonyms to Mitishamba that are obvious but I'll only choose roots. Roots are the essence of life. There's an adage that states 'to kill a tree, destroy its roots' that magnifies my former statement. The origin of life is in its roots, as is its sustenance. Without roots, a tree becomes a product, usable for things such as paper, lumber, or slavery. African slaves had their roots destroyed and who can argue the results? My name is Mitishamba and My Roots is the theme. It's a theme I've attempted to champion through another blog (, but I got lazy and fell off. With the shackles of laziness off, it's planting season, lets get some trees growing.

This theme is about embracing that which makes you, you. It's a subtle and sometimes overt call to the fortunate sons and daughters of Afrika that are enjoying the convenience of living overseas to not forget the responsibilities that come with it. Besides only taking advantage of ample employment opportunities, also utilize their abundant universities and technical schools. Freedom from boarding schools and parents means that the responsibility given is to use it wisely and not wastefully. Wasting that freedom keeps you trapped in dependency because of the stagnation that comes from not utilizing these advantages. Complacency is the son of convenience given birth by the conceivable reality of living paycheck to paycheck with no desire for growth. The ease with which life happens around you makes it even easier to ignore the elements that kept you alive.

Lack of growth in any element of life means a lack of nutrients. Its no secret that the most nutritious continent in the world is Afrika with its nutrients having served the growth of many a nation. The fruits that the Afrikan tree bears to the world has been tasted and appreciated by everyone except Afrikans. It seems as though the only people that readily reject Afrika or their ties to the great continent are Afrikans themselves. To kill a tree, destroy its roots. Its also not a secret that Afrikans the world over are second class citizens. Some, even in their own country - as South Africa quickly comes to mind. We deny the source of our nutrients, our roots, and wonder why we become products in our own forest. With no roots, we become products of our own being - just an African living abroad as the only achievement.

As the topmost branch of the tree that gets to bask in the sunlight, it is your responsibility to see the forest as a whole and not just your own photosynthesis. A metaphor that to the astute has morphed from Mitishamba to roots, to roots from which we came. I come from Kenya, born in Uasin Gishu county where my fellow Kenyans tried to cut down my tree, but they never uprooted me. Kenya is my roots so my photosynthesis can't be far from it. I'm Mitishamba and I continue to focus on my roots because they keep me alive.

'gone green'