Editorial: Normalized Abnormalities


In an incisive reflection in this issue of Ukombozi Review, Ngūgī wa Thiong’o and Paa-Kwesi Heto make reference to practices of normalized abnormality. This, they explain, ‘refers to narratives of falsehood so ingrained in a society that individuals hardly see anything wrong with them.’

Mindsets and practices of normalized abnormalities are legion in our midst. How else can you explain an African government going to fight fellow Africans in Haiti on behalf of the USA, France and other imperialist powers?  How else can you explain the King of England, a former colonial master, being received on a red-carpet and accorded a hero’s welcome by a government whose past was forged in bloody liberation struggles against the self-same colonial lord?  How else can you explain government officials  in Kenya speaking from both sides of their mouths as with the current weather, some denying and wishing away as an act of God the super El Niño rains currently devastating the country?  How else can you explain the ongoing massacre of innocent children and genocide in Palestine by the Zionist regime of Israel as USA and other imperialist nations applaud in ‘defence of human rights’?    

Normalized abnormalities are here with us, and will continue to ravage the minds and practices of many, if we do not bring sanity in our collective psyches.  The silver lining is that activists are not resting on their laurels in the ongoing people’s struggles to set right some of these normalized abnormalities. This current edition of Ukombozi Review gives vent to varieties of people’s struggles being waged by activists in various places and spaces. 

Ngūgī wa Thiong’o and Paa-Kwesi Heto rally for the renaming of Ghana’s international airport to Kwame Nkrumah International Airport to correct the normalized abnormality of its current name after Emmanuel Kotoka, a saboteur of Pan Africanism and visions of a united Africa. Gitura Mwaura writes of the absurdities inherent in the cash transfer program for the elderly in Kenya, popularly known as pesa kwa wazee. The legacy of Wangari Maathai as a public intellectual against ecological injustices and state repression is reflected by Gerald Kamau as lessons on deep commitment in people’s struggles. The absurdity of grabbing public land by the so – called private developers is reflected in an article by Monaja and Kamau Wainaina on the land grab of Riruta stadium in the suburbs of Nairobi. Thoughts on the  lethargy of the Kenyan left and their terrains in the protracted struggle for just social order are developed in the musings on a Sabbath by Kinuthia Ndung’u. All these reflections are premised on comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable, a line paraphrased from the Mexican poet and academic, Cesar A. Cruz.

Enjoy this read, and as always, share your feedback, comment, or even better, contribute a reflection of a people’s struggle of your choice. All that Ukombozi Review is about is to amplify, reflect and connect people’s struggles in Kenya and pan-Africanism based on ideological perspectives. 


Njuki Githethwa

Managing Editor

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