A couple of days ago, Kenya's newly appointed Chief Justice, Dr. Willy Mutunga declared that from now on, lawyers are allowed to appear in court wearing ear studs and dreadlocks. This announcement was met with varied responses from the Kenyan public.
Dr Willy Mutunga
If you live in Kenya, by now, you would have surely heard about the chaos that surrounded the nomination of our new Chief Justice. For those of you who aren't in the loop here's what you need to know; Dr Willy Mutunga wears a stud on his ear. His stud carries symbolic and religious connotations, he explained himself (not that he had to) by stating the following;
“I have two ancestors. A man and a woman. They both had earrings; and in 2003 as I prayed to them they instructed me to wear one so that they can protect me.”
This did not bode well with the conservatives within our society; and mind you, they just happen to form the majority, so you can only imagine the uproar that ensued. Long story short, his impressive qualifications and expertise earned him the title of Kenya's news Chief Justice. Here here.
For decades now, the Kenyan law profession has been know for its strict dress code. Lawyers are discouraged from wearing brightly colored clothes, flamboyant jewelery, or loud attire. Power suits and "tame" hair are the order of the day. Self-expression is unheard of in this and many other similar professions. This of course is understandable; there is a certain need for (and I use this word carelessly) "seriousness" in this line of work.
Chief Justice Mutunga rocked the boat with his recent declaration. Studs and dreadlocks are permissible? Surely this must mean the end is nigh!!? Women and children first!! SAVE YOURSELVES! No really, this is a HUGE deal for us. We continued to follow the European standard of culture post independence. As such, natural hair (dreadlocks, afros etc) has always been frowned upon especially in the workplace. Corporate organizations, institutions and many professions have encouraged men and women to be smart and presentable... Smartness in this case often means power suits, smart heels and hair tied back into a ponytail - preferably relaxed or straightened. Chief Justice Mutunga's new regulations are pretty much pissing (pardon my language) on that train of thought... Could this launch the era of acceptance for natural hair in Kenya? The thought excites us.
The Chief Justice didn't stop there... he also added that judges will no longer wear "colonial wigs and robes". He welcomes suggestions from the Kenyan public to come up with a simple robe that can be worn over a suit. Something that we can call our own.
The quality of a man (or woman) is not on what he/she presents on the outside, it is what inside that counts. Can you deliver? Do you have what it takes? Do you posses qualities that make you the perfect person for the job?
Don't judge me by the height of my fro or the sway of my locs. Know that I am more capable than ten of you will ever be. How do you like that?
But that's just us... Have your say in the comments, we would love to hear them.