What you need to know:
- Baba Mona belonged to a movement of men who choose to not simply cheer from the sidelines but to run alongside women.
- He didn’t cheer women just for the sake of it; when they went off track, he was fast to admonish them.
- If society were to honour this great son of the soil, then all people, regardless of gender, would eventually get the same opportunities in life.
Without a doubt, women are their own greatest champions. However, there are also many men lending their support to the cause of gender equality.
I have met and worked with men who actively seek to erase patriarchal bias. Some are raising daughters who will ultimately get good education and opportunities, and will surpass previous generations in their families.
Some are encouraging their daughters to be the next political and business leaders, and teaching their sons to challenge societal notions of male privilege and entitlement.
Others, heading organisations, are ensuring female leaders’ perspectives feature among those that guide business decisions.
I am grateful to all these men and to those who will follow in their footsteps. They view women’s initiatives as an important investment for social progress. Their lives demonstrate these values and encourage other men to do the same.
International Women’s Day comes in a few days. This year’s campaign theme is #EmbraceEquity. Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
For this reason, I want to celebrate popular Kenyan TikToker, Baba Mona, whose name is Kevin Oselu. If you are on TikTok, you must have come across his videos.
“Rit matin, ngoja kidogo, usiscroll, otek matin (wait a minute, do not scroll, things are thick)” was his opening remarks on all his videos.
Unfortunately, we lost him, his daughter Mona, and his two sisters exactly a week ago in a tragic road accident.
I never met Baba Mona, but I was his diehard fan on TikTok. His death is a big blow to me – I lost a younger brother that I never met. Kenyan women lost a cheerleader. He was a feminist par excellence.
He never minced his words and always oozed words of wisdom. He made use of the digital space to champion women’s rights.
His videos, more often than not, encouraged respect for people of all genders. Though feminism is mostly perceived as a campaign against men, Baba Mona’s videos presented it as a movement where people of all genders can be involved.
I celebrate him because he endeavoured to make the world a better place for women by standing strong despite societal norms, barriers and stereotypes. He confronted other men about treating women well.
When a man addresses other men about a societal problem, they are more likely to see it as a pertinent issue to their own life than if a woman brings it up.
Baba Mona belonged to a movement of men who choose to not simply cheer from the sidelines but to run alongside women. He didn’t cheer women just for the sake of it; when they went off track, he was fast to admonish them.
To honour Baba Mona, I wish men would pay more attention to women’s perspectives, reflect on their (men) privilege as men, advocate gender-equitable policies and challenge sexism, among other issues.
If society were to honour this great son of the soil, then all people, regardless of gender, would eventually get the same opportunities in life.
Rest well Baba Mona. Let’s all embrace gender equity. Blessed Friday .