Dear Graduates, From the Eye of Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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The season of graduations is here and I Can’t wait for mine which comes on 16th December.  Graduation marks the end of comradeship and start of hustling and ‘Tarmacking’ but it does not mark the end of learning. Learning is a continuous process.

People join universities and colleges with an aim to come out better and as my mentor Mr. Steve Obuogo used to say, “A university is a supermarket; you are there for a specific amount of time. Whatever it is you want, figure out where it is stocked, how much it costs and how high on the shelf it is.”

Your time in campus is limited and before you realize it, you will probably be out of time. While some come off campuses direct into the corporate world or entrepreneurship ventures, some and by far the majority join the tarmacking world. (walking up and down in search of jobs and many end up giving up)

However, one thing is key in these scenarios: PASSION is the only resource you can afford. It helps you realize your dream as it forces you to keep that dream REAL. During the graduation ceremony at KCA University recently this year, Professor Ngungi Wa Thiong’o, where he was also awarded Honorary Doctorate because of his outstanding literary works, had the following message to graduates:

Dear Graduate, learn the language of innovation

“Dear Graduate, you are filled with excitement. This is only natural after all your years of hard work. You are filled with hope, dreams and ambitions you believe will change our country. You will encounter those who will crush your dreams, deflate your hopes in the name of high unemployment rate. Do not give up. You can be great! Learn the language of innovation

Dear Graduate, you probably are tired of the lectures and the assignments. Relieved to have no more late nights reading for exams. Too eager to get rid of exam papers and embrace that one paper. To hold that degree in your arms. Done with learning you call it. Yes, put behind you the days of rote learning. It is time to unlearn what you have learnt. Unlearn that you need a paper to be great. Learn the language of innovation.

Dear Graduate, you are proud of yourself and as you should be. You can see your future ahead of you. You see the path you want to take. You know what you want…but do you? What do you do when the path winds and you’re no longer certain. When doors shut in your face and those who were once proud whisper in disappointment? When the future you envisioned is no longer so clear? Learn the language of innovation.

Dear Graduate, you will find your way. You will fall, you will make mistakes and you will be scared. You will be uncertain and unsure when challenges come your way. Then after winging it several times, you will get it right. You will find your way. People will be proud again. They will say you have arrived. The money may arrive but you will not have arrived. Never arrive. Learning never stops. Learn the language of innovation.

Dear Graduate, unlearn that your past achievements are what’s important. Learn to create value. Unlearn that you must always have questions so as to give the answers. Learn that you can question. Unlearn that you are entitled to opportunity. Learn to create opportunities. Unlearn that you need to network. Learn to create relationships. Unlearn that the journey is over, it has only really begun for learning is a continuous journey.

Unlearn what you have learnt, then relearn. Learn the language of innovation.”

Keep Going, Keep Doing and Be MORE. Congratulations to the class of 2016.


Written by Martin Kuelekho.

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