To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.
Thomas Jefferson

I have looked for the most inimitable and fascinatingly witty way to start this in vain so I will just hit it in the head:  GO TO SCHOOL!

I know a girl. She is young, talented. To every song, no beat is left unattended. The first time I watched her dance during an audition for a club in Campus, my lips hang loosely for minutes! A girl can boogie like a leaf in the wind! I know another. Her acting skills are unmatched. She swallows scripts into her mind; each and every line is mastered. I have seen her on stage; I have watched her on screen. In her is the ability to be herself and seventeen other people, all at a go. These two have taken their art seriously, and have decided to make money out of it. However, the story becomes a tragedy when these two drop out of campus to take their art as a fulltime career. I weep! This is where they die

I write this post out of an observation of a trend rampant in the entertainment industry in Kenya. This is not about writing but art in general. There is talent, then there is school. The assumption seems to be that as long as you have one, then you are good and ripe to go. Radio presenters are quitting campus in their third year, musicians, actors, writers…all are doing the same.

In a country that does not have much reverence for art, even with the little reverence that might be budding, one cannot afford not to go to school. Unfortunately, fame and money gets into our heads. I asked one of my friends who quit school in his second year to go into full-time acting and he said “I go to school to learn how to make money. If money comes before I finish school, what will I be doing continuing?’. How superficial!

My lecturer the late Dr. Ezekiel Alembi always told me to ‘iron my craft’ with a good education. I might sound like old auntie Redempta talking about school, education and all, but tell me…have you met a musician whose talent is so ironed…sharp like a knife, but what lies beyond there is a clutter of brainlessness? The one who can only hold a conversation about his upcoming album and the age of his dreadlocks only? For what use is the sharp flair of photography on your plate if you cannot hold a straight and civilised conversation to at least sell your work? What use is my writing if I am not informed about the world around me? The write I’m writing about and for?

I respect talent. I do. I respect those that have discovered theirs. I hysterically wail for those who do not know what they are good in yet. I also respect the idea of honing your craft, backing it up with something stronger. Even more respected is that person who discovers what they are good at and takes that talent to school to sharpen it there by studying a related course.

People, let’s go to school. Knowledge my friend. Knowledge and schooling!