By Clive OLERO
A friend confided in me that before she left home to come to campus, a whole family meeting was summoned to counsel her. In that meeting, every member of the family including her younger siblings had some words of wisdom to give. It did not matter that she is an adult or that she is the first from her family, let alone her village to have come to university. The deep reverence she commanded was the reason everyone wanted to give a piece of advice. Her qualifying to university was a good foreboding that the family future could be bright. Her family wanted the best out of her because her breakthrough signified the end of the morass of hopelessness and despair that had engulfed her family. So she came to Moi University knowing too well that she owed everyone her life then, today and in future.
But while in Moi, she somehow forgot all the counseling her family gave her. She began living a life of indulgence, drinking and changing men like clothes, all in the name of comradeship. Her ‘roomie’ was perhaps the first to have contaminated her otherwise good orientation when she exiled her on her first night on campus. Then in a dare-devil determination to revenge, she resolved to bring men to her room with reckless abandon. If she did not spend in her room, she would spend in a man’s room. There, they did not sleep as a girl may with her brother. They did as a wife would with her husband. And this became the norm.
Her story reminded me of the many others I know of; of students who take the spirit of comradeship to another level. Imitating everything their friends, roommates or classmates do. Another good friend residing in Hostel M told me the other day that many respected men and women have been lured by the snare of ‘comradesheep’ pressure into smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. Interestingly, some of the comrades who have been victims are those the students’ fraternity holds at a very high esteem. You would doubt some of the personalities; Very powerful and influential but unable to influence themselves positively. You would pity their sorry situation. Very unfortunate.
Well, one would argue that on campus, one does what one wants. Which is true, but then a comrade ought to care about what another comrade does or wants. It is called comradeship. On the other hand, you could argue that what the group does — whether acceptable or not — is good for the individual and is worth copying.
The latter is what I can refer to as ‘comradesheep’. The former, comradeship admonishes you when you go astray. It teaches and corrects. It stands for the rights of everyone. It advocates for the common good. It riots and demonstrates to communicate dissatisfaction to an authoritarian administration . It does all that for the good of all. The other one, ‘comradesheep’ is silly and subtle; fashionable and classy; pleasurable but dangerous. It makes you do something because someone else does it. And you fail to reason. You just do. You forget all the teachings and the pleadings of those who truly care. You just follow, like a sheep.