On ‘WHAT IS YOUR IDENTITY’ By Mercy Karumba

Writing this from a point of understanding of the Kenya youth Survey conducted by the Aga Khan University, 40% of the youth...


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Writing this from a point of understanding of the Kenya youth Survey conducted by the Aga Khan University, 40% of the youth identify as Kenyans first, 35% as youth first, 12% with their faith first, less than 5% with their ethnicity and less than 1% as East Africans. This shows the great variance when it comes to identity issues among the youth.

I would say this is not an isolated problem among the youth, at one point or the other, each one of us has had an identity crisis, whereby we struggle to define who we are or where we belong and why we identify with that. This is especially true in the adolescent years. As we grow up, however, we become more inclined to our unique identity and can easily define ourselves. In your current age, what do you identify with first, and how does this affect your view on different issues?

Looking at it from a gender perspective, the same survey reveals that females strongly associated with family, freedom, and faith, whereas males gravitate towards work and wealth. This is an interesting revelation as it proves that females find their identity in concern and responsibility, whereas males identify more with a transaction and material benefit. How true is this? Is this the reason why females identify more with their family and relationships such as being a mother, sister, daughter etc. while a man will identify more with being a manager, owning a business, being in this position etc.?

What you identify with first greatly determines what one prioritizes. One who identifies as a Kenyan first may be more patriotic and fight for cohesion compared to another who identifies with their ethnicity. One who identifies with their faith will create more time for religious duties compared to one who does not. Females will spend more time with family and in the religious centers compared to males who will spend more time in work/business meetings.

As a man/woman, what is your identity? Lack of a clear identity is detrimental in the same measure, as one can easily be swayed by the crowd depending on the situation. How do you introduce yourself? Who are you? What do you identify with first? To get a male perspective on this, read Mitch’s post HERE

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