Days ago, The Standard broke a story of Ian Njenga, a 404 at Bahati Boys Secondary School who got expelled from the school. Reason? He is an artist and his drawing had drawn attention from the headteacher who thought they were demonic, alleging that the boy was showing allegiance to some demonic faith. At least that’s how a letter of expulsion, signed by the headteacher, read.
Njenga is alleged to have drawn a scorpion on another student’s shirt, and the school ‘thinks’ that he is recruiting other students into a cult. Well, nobody within the school authorities (or even the students) can substantially claim to have been recruited/ or seen Njenga recruit a student into the cult.
Is it not sad? How the authorities make an assumption, reach for a decision based on the same and punish a young talent? In a country where the constitution guarantees everyone freedom of worship, do you have to be punished for a belief? Besides, the young boy denies any affiliation to any cult, saying that he just draws inspiration from other artists in the streets and books. There is not a single trace of any demonic activities (leave alone the assumption from the drawings).
Such occurrences are not only wrong, but they also cripple our efforts to rear talent. Art is one of the greatest contributors to global economies today. Skulls, bones, hawks and all that are some of the most common ingredients of art. Have you seen Picasso’s drawings? Michelangelo or even Da Vinci?
The ministry is working hard to change our education system from purely academic-paper-oriented to knowledge and art-based and discouraging creative minds from pursuing their passion and dreams is not the way to do it. The Director of Education Nakuru County Isaac Asebe has ordered the school to re-admit the boy, but is that enough? Will the boy be free to do what he loves at his free time? How will other students look at him when word has gone round that he is recruiting his schoolmates to a cult? The ministry should do more.