Kenyans freaked out by Halloween cargo

Doesn’t look weird to me but… cultural relativism.

Standard Digital News – Kenya : Bizarre cargo impounded at Mombasa port.

Horror and fear struck the port of Mombasa Thursday when Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) inspectors uncovered a container with bizarre looking implements, masks and trophies.

The cargo imported from China sparked apprehension in Mombasa, where belief in occult and clairvoyant sciences is strong as port officials linked the cargo an unnamed senior politician.


As you may assume, Halloween is not popular in Kenya. I came across this opinion piece while looking to see if it was celebrated at all.

Capital Blog » It is comical to mark Halloween in Kenya.

The rate at which Kenyans are adopting Western culture is alarming. In fact, practices like Halloween with no benefit to the spiritual and moral fabric of our society are being celebrated like any merry holiday. In our urban centres, there is a big shift in the modes of dressing, communication, and general attitudes especially from young people.

These negative social transformations have caught our society by a storm, which is a negation of the values and tenets we need to uphold as a God fearing nation. In fact, what I see in New York, Los Angeles or London is exactly what’s happening in the City of Nairobi.

I fail to understand why we’re failing to maintain our societal norms and only accommodate foreign habits which are of no benefit to our lives. Our people need to be reminded that foreign is not necessarily good or applicable in our society. Just because it’s working elsewhere, it doesn’t mean it’s suitable for Kenya.

Our people are wrong by embracing events like Halloween which has its roots in the US, Canada, Ireland and Scotland. Most homes looks like graveyards with human skeletons dangling on doors, as children and adults roam around in frightening costumes.

So, they just aren’t used to that and, if this person is representative of more, they don’t want to get used to it. I’m pretty sure they don’t get the aspect of fun that Western nations (U.S. especially which goes OVERBOARD for the holiday) enjoy from this fall festival. But I do wonder what the intent of this cargo was for…

  11 comments for “Kenyans freaked out by Halloween cargo

  1. Chris Howard
    October 11, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    This reminds me of coming back to Indiana, after visiting my father in California for summer breaks, back in the early eighties.

    All the kids in Indiana would want to know what all the cool new fashions, and trends were. That doesn’t happen any longer because of the internet.

    I’m guessing that the internet is spreading in Africa, and as such spreading different cultural aspects, which are viewed as threatening to the dominant culture(s) there.

  2. spookyparadigm
    October 11, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    This is reminiscent to Westerners weirding out over society’s masks, pyramids, etc. in museums (and why we mark museums as haunted in our pop media). Though it is also part of that impulse to collect the weird and terrifying and put it on display, an impulse I believe to be directly related to affluence and increased emphasis on youth.

  3. October 11, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Sadly importation of another culture’s superstitions, extremely garbled in translation, when already the local shamans, & charlatans are using all sorts of old superstitions, & myths to try to regain their status, & of course eliminate a few opposers, & make a fast buck along the way. Will concede, though reluctantly & grumpily i didn’t mind too much, when the US pumpkin invaded the UK & Ireland – ever tried carving a lantern out of a turnip, hard as rock? Needs another push for the US Halloween to convince France. The day before Halloween here is a traditional day to visit graves & have a yarn with the departed, but a more restrained & sombre affair. Back on the old sod, Ireland, it is when “the veil is thin”, & communication between the living here & now have better chance of communicating with the ancient ones & ancestors. Don’t subscribe to any religion (after what is supposedly done in it’s name in N.I., which again is something used as an artifice for gangsterism), & try not to be superstitious, but i still say hello & salute the Magpies, daft bugger i am! Multiculturalism has great benefits & great downfalls at the same time. As you have continually reported recently the manipulation of old superstitions & warping of myths, especially in Africa, is approaching epidemic levels. Mass hysteria in schools, witch burnings, ritual killings, etc, is shocking in this day & age, especially when the population, educated or not, is not stupid. Soz rambling again. Living in country where don’t speak language that well, spend too much time in my head – it’s dark, scary, & damn weird in ere!

  4. Chris Howard
    October 11, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Hey Paul,

    In Texas our Halloween is a mix of German, Czech, Mexican & Scott/Irish traditions.

    It sounds like they have a celebration in France that is similar to Day of The Dead, is that true, or am I reading too much into what you’re saying?

  5. October 11, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    No Chris you’re right, very much like several “Day of the dead” observances in several countries. Bit surprised when my French improved enough to read the online newspapers, & read they often take picnics in the cemetary, when they go for a chat with the departed. The bigger commercial American style Halloween is more for the younger generation, looking for another excuse to party, but they don’t really get the original connections. Having been brought up in between British & Irish traditions, Halloween isn’t such a big deal, as the superstitions & lore were all around me, year round.

  6. October 11, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Kenyans terrified of change? Sounds like there are Republicans in Kenya too.

  7. October 11, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Sadly & unfortunately this sort of thing invading more & more into African politcs. It’s totally false,but being pushed on the electorate by charlatans. Wasn’t that long ago in ’70s & 80’s Republican & Unionists politicians in Northern Ireland were coming out with crap like your ancestors will turn in their graves & rise up to haunt you if you don’t vote for our party. Only a few decades since the dead were banned from voting! Old political advice was “vote early,vote often”! Politics in northern western hemisphire has severe problems,but mon dieu, in Africa & Indian sub continent is very warped by superstition,pressure,& intimidation. The caste system in Indian sub contintinent doesn’t help. Education does help,but still the superstition,lingers & nags in background. Don’t discriminate when foreigners come to live in your country & profit from your education & university system. You are more likely gaining allies & someone who will go back to their own region & laud the system. I’m not a military lover or believe all the press releases, but read closely-in all military forces are service men & women from other countries who make as many sacrifices for your armed forces as natural born troops. many become naturalised. Ben ere in Frogland 2 years & will eventually take dual nationality when time comes. Would volunteer for military but hit the half century, & only good for target practice.speak lingo,like bulldog chewin a wasp, & southerners visited in Bretagne, to stay with beautiful crazy sis in law to be thought i was a northern Ch’ti (careful how you prounounce it) & the Ch’tis thing i’m a docker from Marseilles at times.

  8. eddi
    October 13, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    In Kenya people still believe in the things that modern Halloween has reduced to children’s entertainment. Witches, demons and other monsters of the Id still walk the streets of Mombasa, even by day. No wonder they look at this load of junk and fear it.

  9. October 13, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Eddi – did you read Scalia’s interview this week? It isn’t just the people in Kenya who believe in witches, demons & other monsters from hell are real.

  10. eddi
    October 13, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    @busterggi Yeah, I read it. My friends talked me off the ledge, again. Don’t fret, it’s a ground floor window. I’m just making a gesture, not trying to hurt myself.

  11. Julie
    April 24, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    Not every Kenyan represents this remark, my family and friends have been celebrating halloween for as long as I can remember (since I was a child). Sometimes we have to remember that we come from very superstitious cultures. The guy or lady who is so concerned about the uptake of foreign cultures says we’re a God fearing country yet the concept of the bible came from foreigners (not that we didn’t pray to God because we did). He’s too terrified of change that he thinks it will ruin his culture but if he takes the responsibility to raise his children right he has no need to worry. My parents always encouraged us to experience other cultures but never forget where we are from it’s a nice fresh breath of air to experience other people and their cultures, it’s nice to be knowledgeable

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