Who is King Kaka?
King Kaka, the popular Kenyan hip hop artist who is also known as “The Rabbit” struck many chords with the release of his recent song Wajinga Nyinyi in December of last year. The 32-year-old hip hop artist who was born in Nairobi Kenya as Kennedy Tarriq Ombima is known for addressing social injustice and governance issues. Before we talk about such issues, lets us understand who King Kaka is. King Kaka started his musical career after completing his secondary school education. Before diving into rap and hip hop, King Kaka was known for his spoken word presentations. Apart from his success in hip hop, he is also known for his entrepreneurial skills and business projects. Over the years he has developed projects targeted at nurturing the talents of young people. He has done all these while offering entrepreneurship, talent development, community development and mentorship lessons. One particular project which stood out was his empowerment campaign for menstruating girls which was held in 2019.
As discussed, King Kaka is one of the select few Kenyan artists who speak on the various social and political issues that threaten the Kenyan community. In some songs like Mwizi Mkubwa and Wajinga Nyinyi , King Kaka addresses corruption in the government, and the responsibility of the minority Kenyans.
In Mwizi Mkubwa, King Kaka talks about the corrupt approach that politicians use to navigate the election process. His protest music is not only directed towards the politicians, but it is also a reminder to the people about the role they must play in building a better nation. Another musical project by King Kaka with a clear political message is the song Wajinga Nyinyi, which I would be analyzing today.
Although the song is in Sheng language, the English translation allows me to understand the picture that is being painted. Hence, I would be referring to lyrics from the subtitled English version for better clarity.
The title of the song is Wajinga Nyinyi which means “You are Fools” in English. In this piece King Kaka addresses the current political situation of Kenya. He talks about the corruption of the Kenyan government, unemployment, misappropriation of funds and social injustice. He refers to Kenyans as blind and deaf since they have refused to put the government in its place. Issues such as the empty promises that political parties provide during rallies, the failure of the government to improve education for their citizens, and financial exploit scandals, are discussed. He accuses members of the government of using funds meant for the citizens for their personal purposes. He also claims that most of these politicians have offshore accounts where they save looted money and refuse to pay tax, but yet they increase the tax that the minority are charged.
Other groups of people including pastors, women representatives and the police, are not left out of the accusations. By mentioning specific names associated to various scandals, King Kaka provoked some people. For example, from the lyrics of his piece, we see that King Kaka accuses Pastor Nganga of lying publicly, and “kissing ass”. He also accuses the women representatives of stealing the money meant for the “Girl Child Campaign”, and, then accuses the police of supplying thugs with weapons. Kaka talks about notable scandals such as the NYS scandal, laptop multi-billionaire project, the KQ debt, and the Maize scandal which were not appropriately addressed .
In one line when King Kaka says “Na story ya NYS tulisashahau, Biro Moja alibuy 8 thao, Biro tunanunuanga mbao? (And that we, Kenyans forgot the NYS scandal, She bought one biro pen for Sh8, 000 and yet we buy it for 20 bob only)”, he is referring to Anne Waiguru who was the Governor of Kirinyaga County. Although she was accused of fund misappropriation and money looting, she was not investigated nor punished. Hence no one was charged for the NYS corruption scandal.
In addition to this, we see King Kaka refer to Kenya as the Republic of China when he says, “Karibu to Kenya, the Republic of China” (Welcome to Kenya, the Republic of China). In this line, King Kaka is referring to the amount of power that the Chinese government now claim over Kenya. This is not only because Kenya is in debt to the Chinese government, but also because many massive Chinese projects which utilize most of Kenya’s resources, have been introduced into the country.
King Kaka blames Kenyans for not holding the government accountable. He says that they are considered fools for not electing the government based on credibility, but rather based on tribe. He further explains that the decisions of Kenyans, have led to the inclusion of non-performers and corrupt people in the government. In summary, this protest music is not only directed to corrupt authorities, but also to the Kenyan population, and this dangerous piece provoked reactions and even alleged death threats.
Although this piece stirred up reactions, it was not surprising that soon after, all the issues discussed seemed forgotten. In conclusion, we need more artists and activists to produce both protest and combat music, which would drive a revolution and mobilize citizens in these African countries to take some form of action that pushes everyone forward.