• Valentine Wairimu

The Elephants Won So Can We

Griot: Story! Story!

Children: Story come!

Griot: Story! Story!

Children: Story come!


This is how our grandmother began story time. She narrated to us fables which were similar to Jean de La Fontaine’s fables. The short stories involved animal characters who would illustrate a virtuous lesson at the end of the story. For instance ‘The Tortoise and The Hare’ ‘The Scorpion and The Frog’ and ‘The Elephant and The Mouse’. Growing up I loved listening to the stories and grasping all the nuggets of wisdom that came at the end. This is how our grandparents and parents shaped our moral principles. These ethical stories shaped our world view to know the difference between right and wrong.


Fast forward to decades later and now we are adults navigating this ‘big bad world’. Currently we are facing a plethora of problems. Globally, the Covid19 pandemic is wreaking havoc. The United States of America is anxious over their next presidential elections and the Black Lives Matter movement. In Nigeria, the youth are fighting for the end of police brutality in the #EndSARS campaign. All over the world there is a fight for safety and justice.


Social media is the main tool that is driving awareness and turning a spotlight on the above mentioned issues. However, as effective as social media is at pushing the narrative forward, it can also be a tool abused to spread fake news. This in turn starts a ripple effect of spreading misinformation which causes anxiety, trust issues and even hatred amongst us. There is a lack of transparency and the truth is twisted and convoluted. We are individually responsible for the kind of communication and energy we release into the world. In our hands we hold the ability to bring down or empower through the messaging we share on social media. The social media platforms are our voices and how we fight. We need to be extremely conscious of how influential that is. We are no longer isolated in our corner of the world but we are one global community. Therefore, no matter how affected we are by all the social issues around us we need to double, triple and quadruple check before we share anything online. It is our moral duty as the story tellers we all are to spread truth. “That which is false troubles the heart, but truth brings joyous tranquillity.”- Rumi.

In these times of uncertainty it is important to make people feel hopeful despite the lies and chaos spreading.


I would like to tell you a story just like my grandmother did. Sit back, relax and enjoy.


Valentine: Story! Story!

You: Story come!

Valentine: Story! Story!

You: Story come!


“Once upon a time there was a faraway kingdom called Tsavo. In this kingdom there lived many animals in harmony. The animals ran, played, ate, slept and lived in this vast savanna called Amboseli. There were all kinds of animals from the tallest giraffes, to the strongest elephants, the fastest cheetahs and of course the king of the jungle, the lions. The animals lived together in perfect harmony until one day a human showed up. The animals were curious as to who this strange person was but paid no mind to him. Unbeknownst to the animals the human was going to cause harm. He fired a rifle at the strongest elephant and killed it. He then cut off the elephant’s tusks and ran away. The human traded the elephant’s life for monetary gain. When other humans found out what he had done they were enraged. They decided that they will protect the elephants at any cost. They created a night’s watch to help conserve the savannah and safeguard the elephants. The night’s watch worked tirelessly day and night until the destruction that the evil human had caused was but a distant memory. The humans and the animals fought together, protected one another and they eventually won. In the end they peacefully co-existed and lived happily ever after in the savannah.” – The End.


This anecdote is a reflection of the issue of poaching that has been facing Kenya for the last three decades. "In the past couple of years, we have managed to tame poaching in this country through the combined efforts of the government, the people and social media awareness towards both the local and global community," Kenya Tourism Minister, Najib Balala reported. “There were just 16,000 elephants in Kenya in 1989, but by 2018 that number had grown to more than 34,000.” Kenya Wildlife Service Director, John Waweru said during a visit to Nairobi National Park to mark World Elephant Day. Fashion brands are also taking a stand against poaching. For example, Loewe created a capsule collection of elephant bags, accessories and even phone covers and had all the proceeds go towards the protection and conservation of these beautiful creatures.


This goes to show that no matter how bad and dire a situation is, as long as we are united and keep fighting it will get better. “Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!” Bob Marley.


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