‘CHIP OFF THE UNNECESSARY’ By Mwangi Ndegwa

The Kisii are a community found in the south western part of Kenya. They are predominantly farmers owing to the favourable climatic conditions. This area also boasts...


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The Kisii are a community found in the south western part of Kenya. They are predominantly farmers owing to the favourable climatic conditions. This area also boasts the presence of a rare type of rock known as soap stone. Owing to its soft nature, it’s a favourite of sculptors which is the other occupation of the Kisii community.

Mr. Magara is a descendant of the sculptors which is a trade handed from former generations. Mr. Magara was a man with few friends, a trait he had inherited from his father. This always intrigued many people most of all Moraa, his last born daughter. When she could no longer contain her curiosity, she decided to ask her father why he was like this. Her father promised to answer her question but that was to be done at the soap stone quarries. So early the following day, father and daughter left for the quarries which were not very far from their home. Her father was a well known man owing to the fact that his father, Moraa’s grandfather, was the pioneer of this trade. He took his daughter to where the sculptors were doing their work. One thing Moraa observed was that the sculptors had a special tool they were using to chip away piece of stone from the main block.

As they did this, the block became smaller and smaller but at the same time, a shape was emerging. After some hours, an identifiable shape would form. Moraa was still confused, how did what she was seeing and her father’s few friends approach connect. As if reading her mind, her dad held her hand and walked a distance away from the sculptors. They sat down on an irregular block of stone and her father told her these words.        “When I was your age, I had so many friends. I used to spend so much time with them sadly doing nothing profitable. Your grandfather, through eyes of wisdom, saw the path I was trending and where it was leading. He sat me down the same way I am doing with you and did a proper analysis of all my friends. I was shocked to see that none of them were profitable to me and ultimately my life. If wanted to be successful in life, I had to make a critical look at the company I was keeping. I took his advice seriously and one by one, dropped almost all of my friends. There were also some habits I had picked up along the way that were messing my life. These too I purposed to drop. This is the point that my life made a turn for the better and this far I have come is because I only allow the most important things and people in my mind and and ultimately my life.

As you have seen the sculptors do which is to bring out those beautiful carvings, they have to chip off huge chunks of stone leaving all that was important.”

This is the simple advice Mr. Magara gave to his daughter and it is the same that I will share with you.

“Most of the people, things or habits we have in our lives add no value and most often they take away what we already have. It’s just excessive baggage which slows us down. We need to periodically do a check on all that we have and anything or anybody that’s not adding any value in our lives needs to be dropped off. Remember that in life, it is not the number of friends that we have that matters but rather, it is the value they add or we add to their lives that matter. To read more posts by Mwangi, click HERE

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