By Njeri Luseno Osaak
“A mothership is a ship, aircraft or spacecraft that carries one or more smaller military vehicles. Examples include converted to carry to altitudes where they can conduct their research (such as the carrying the ), or ships that carry small submarines to an area of ocean to be explored (such as the carrying the ). The mother ship may also recover the smaller craft, or may go its own way after releasing it.”
Caroline Mutoko is a mothership. She is strong, successful at what she does, opinionated, seemingly fabulously wealthy, bossy, famous, admired…and yet for the same reasons, she is misunderstood and…intensely disliked by many! I do not purport to know her well enough to write in her defense (she does that all by herself very well and doubt that she needs my help with that!)…nor am I a fan of her radio show but, her personality and place in the public eye (she is a celeb!) and the way she is perceived by many leads me to want to say something about her.
We constantly complain about our empty debe or air-headed celebs who usually have nothing of substance to say past the talent and money they have and yet when we suddenly get one who has an opinion and is brilliant enough to articulate it, we are quick to want to dumb her down. As if we want her to just shut up already and “eat” her money quietly! In fact, we all tend to sound like witches who wish the worst calamity on her…her offspring and anything associated with her!
I just think most people…and that includes some women… just don’t really like successful people…and its two strikes if they are women. Add a third strike if there is no successful man in the picture! Caroline Mutoko is strong and mirrors our weaknesses.. or tends to remind us of our failures…or what we will never have or be! She speaks her mind, says what she likes because she is her own woman. We are such pessimists that we tend to not see her as a positive influence, a mentor for us to emulate or set our goals by. We give up before we even start and end up setting ourselves on fire consumed with hate and dislike for her success. Most of us cannot understand how she has not crumbled under the repeated onslaughts from the general public and so we keep on bringing up all sorts of sordid stories about her.
But she has refused to let the public write her narrative. In fact…it is these same stories that seem to make her stronger and a mystery that we continue to hammer at hoping to “kill” her and then look for the next victim after burying her in the heap where we send people (Nancy Baraza comes to mind) that we have made capitulate and brought down to their knees with attacks such as these. Caroline is always taking one for the girls because she encapsulates the strong woman who likes the mother ship, carries all of us with her as she sets sail in uncharted spaces where others have dared and fell. She is a mentor, a philanthropist and constantly speaks out asking young women to stand up for something and not be content with mediocrity.
I would at this point hasten to ask…So what if she was the mpango at the home when the mighty Iroko fell! What does that change and what abomination did she commit that Kenyans are not already famous or infamous for? Caroline can never be let off the hook! Even after she offered (unconfirmed media sources) an “alibi” for where she was when Mutula died…she was at hospital condoling a friend and workmate, a lady, who was admitted in hospital…comments after the rumor carried by a daily rag went something like…”Why was she at the hospital with the lady overnight? Is she her husband?” Another chimed in response to that thus…”Caroline does not like men!”….of course insinuating that she might just be a dyke!So they sort of accepted her alibi but still wanted to lynch her and open a new platform on which to continue attacks on her!
So incessant and urgent is the need to cut Caroline down to size that an FB lynch page is open for all “members” to jump in and vent any time she speaks and they, in turn, need to respond and add their two cents (which is really usually nonsense!). I think this is what helps her to grow. Every time people post insults in response to her she actually gets more material to keep her radio show going. This is all good fodder for her. All these people need to listen to her everyday or play catch up and listen when an issue is out there. All this hullabaloo drives traffic to her radio station. Consequently, no amount of kelele from the baying public will make her bosses sack her. It is all symbiotic…you feed on her, the radio station gets its traffic and the bosses are happy. I think that balances the equation!
And while we are at it…the baying wolves…(nipping at her heels and spending so much time in which they should be doing other things to better themselves)…should remember that she has a big platform from which she is able to adequately respond to all her critics at once. And it is no skin off her hinny because it is her job and she would actually enjoy doing that!
I like this talk that she gave and I hope the young girls there were listening. She was not speaking out of her hat and had prime examples that she mimicked complete with the sound and idiom of how we sound when making excuses for the bad decisions and choices we make in life.
(Watch the video here… Caroline Mutoko speaks to Eve Sisters about Relationships and tells Sisters to quit average attitude if they want to succeed. FAST FORWARD the video to the 6th minute to watch and listen to Caroline’s warning to girls. :)
If you watch the video and the camera panning on her listeners as she speaks, you will notice the nervous laughter and looks on their faces as she tells the biting truth. It is either the young faces are already caught up in the scenarios she is describing…or they were contemplating a life no different than that. I particularly like the scenario she creates of a lady who happily goes for a date at Kwa Njuguna (who is the owner of that joint? He gets a lot of publicity each time girls talk about a bad dating experience! ). So if you set your standards so low, why do you expect the guy to treat you any different?
Going to Njuguna’s is fine and fun as she says. But that should not constitute the entirety of what it means to have a good time. Well-to-do men often go to masandukuni to drink and eat nasty mutura every once in a while but they later retreat to where they think it befits them on the social ladder…and where they also hope to meet the future mother of their children. The same applies to ladies who can opt to visit seemingly seedy joints with their girlfriends to eat, drink, catch up on stories and gossip and just like the men do, they also remember what their goals in life are and move on back on track!
I live in the US where there is no limit to what a woman can do if she wants to be successful and independent at that. Fundamental of which is to value yourself and also get a good education. Learning self reliance at an early age is crucial and moving away from the belief that a woman’s history is etched in stone from the time she is born…to the time she bows out of the stage of the play called “this life”.
Despite the fact that we are given a western education, some of us remain tethered to the ways of our long gone mothers, fathers, aunties and uncles that insist that a woman is nobody if she does not get an additional tag to her name…as in a husband. Caroline alludes to this when she mimicked ladies who despite having a good education and job have as their dream, the hope of “ensnaring” a good husband and then quitting everything to become a stay at home mother. That needless to say will be the first step towards committing harakiri…strangling yourself socially and emotionally.
I am happy to say that at this stage in life I have wonderful, strong and independent women friends who have done marvelously well on their own. I love it when I travel to the homeland and we gather at a “hen party” where we talk about almost anything under the sun…our children, careers, husbands or non-husbands, love found or lost…with food and wine flowing copiously! And yes some people have said all there is to say about us the “Hens” (when I was last home a gentleman we knew from our college days approached our table of girls at Impala club and greeted us saying…”Well well…If it isn’t Grace (our host) and the Pips!” Hahaha!)…but believe me…It all does begin to sound so yesterday that they give up and begin to respect you for who you are.
Why does dependency appeal to us so much? Is it the psychological misconception we have that our mothers who stayed at home had a good life?..an easy life? Did we ever stop to think that our mothers may have not had the benefit of an advanced education and the chance for the new-found freedoms that we have increasingly get with the changing technological communication and socio-economic environment. Why do we fear to be alone just because society will label you a loser, cheap, immoral etc…just because you do not have a husband? What is wrong with being single, a single mother and being a success at it and especially if the man responsible has abdicated their irresponsibility? In my eyes, all single mothers are the unsung heroes…Ask all those guys who go by names like James Wa Maria!
Ladies, you should talk to your mothers and you will discover that most of them want you to have a better life than they did. That does not necessarily mean living single or getting married. It just means that you need to be making sensible decisions guided by whatever situation you find yourself in…and that includes having oodles of self esteem and putting yourself in front…putting yourself first…and letting the kingdom follow….Like Caroline the mother ship does!
©njeriOsaak… Is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.