They say a lot of truth is said in jest, and Makmende is proof of this fact. Long after the jokes about how the KRA pays him taxes and the fact that we drive on the left because he drives on the right and we were in his way, it is hard to deny that this man has hit phenom status. He is more than just a person, more than a meme, and by far superior to a mere local hero. Makmende is now a movement and a sign of the change of times.
What change, you ask?
The change we earlier alluded to. Except that last time, we were focusing on the negative aspect of this change. The shift towards socialitetis(for those with tribal hinderance, that’s pronounced “So-sho-lyt-it-is”). This is that social syndrome where people become famous for the sake of being famous. For example, Arunga will be more sought after for her notoreity than her ability. And in Makmende’s case, I know quite few people who STILL can’t remember the name of the group or the song behind his stardom. Yet I can’t think of a soul that doesn’t know him.
I also can’t think of a reason why he should be this famous.
At this point, three quarters of you are contemplating scrolling down to comment about how blasphemous I am for saying that. But bear with me.
What remarkable ability does Makmende have? Not a particularly great actor, nor is he a novel idea.
In fact, minus Kenyan bias, I favor Black Dynamite to Makmende any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I won’t even get into the part where Makmende seems like he was traced from Black Dynamite. Oh, not. I wont dwell on that. Instead, I’ll skip to the cold hard facts. See, Michael Jai White(“Black Dynamite”) actually holds 7 legitimate Black Belts. He really is a dangerous mo’ fo’. Plus, he acted as Spawn. He was in Universal Soldier. He acted as Mike Tyson. Mike “Kick your kids in the nuts so they can feel my pain” Tyson, yo. Michael Jai is a certified badass. Black Dynamite is twice that bad.
Chuck Norris, who Makmende is most compared to, is another dude who’s in his own league. Chuck has THREE 8th DEGREE BLACK BELTS, yo!!! Read that again. You know what that means? He can kick your ass in ways you wouldn’t even understand until you show up at the Pearly Gates with your left foot half way down your throat and both your hands in a Gordian knot shoved up your ass. You’ll be hopping on your right foot, pissing out your ear, wondering where your shoes went. Plus, he fought Bruce Lee. In real life(not just in the movie)!! He might as well have moonwalked over water with Michael Jackson and Jesus while he was busy building that list of “Things normal people will never do. Ever.” And he acted. A LOT. By the time the Chuck List was coming out, he had about 40 movies under his belt. 40 badass movies.
The most fictitious semblance to Makmende I guess would be Jack Bauer. But even that is a no contest. Ever heard of the Jack Bauer Kill Count? Google it. A number of people are trying to keep track of how many people Jack Kills. Of particular interest is the first 10 minutes of Season 6 when he killed someone with his teeth. HIS TEETH! To date, Jack has killed 238 people, 13 of which weren’t even during regular programming. 20 some aren’t documented because they were off-screen That’s more people than Rambo and Commando put together.
And then there’s Makmende.
At this point you should be getting a decent feel for what I mean about him cowering in comparison. So why so famous? Well, in 2 words: excellent marketing. There was a need amongst the people. A need for a Kenyan hero. An icon Someone to rally behind. So they threw him together and served him to the youth with a dope soundtrack and an infectious back story: yours. You made this man. You built the legend. This is the president you never elected, the teacher you never chose. The role model you never looked up to and the person you don’t see in the mirror. Your best friend, your lover, your whatever. YOUR Makmende.
Makmende’s a brand, a symbol. Too big to be called a marketing ploy, but not enough to count as a generational landmark. Which is why I don’t complain when I see him as a trending topic on Twitter for 4 weeks straight, but I have to raise an eyebrow when I hear CNN is doing a feature on him.
Not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m just saying….