The Single Story

The personal narrative: if ever there was a biasing of events. There are quite a few sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth (your truth, my truth) are just some of them. This last part is the tricky one because it is something one has to determine for themselves, after walking back and forth between the extremes of yours and mine.

It is only human nature to paint ourselves in the best possible light: the hero, the good-intentioned victim, the savior. Seldom do we hear from the villains and the oppressors, the heartbreakers. Everyone is holy, every action is justifiable. The Swahili equivalent of this is: msema pweke hakosi. And herein lies the fallacy: I like you so I’ll believe that you’re blameless, I’ll take your side, ready to defend your honour, leaving the other to suffer my silent rebuke. It is all too simple to condemn someone before you’ve heard their side of the story.

Similarly, it is all too simple to take one’s side without seeing the complete picture, hearing it from all sides. In every interaction, all parties have a responsibility for the outcomes. No one is totally blameful, no one is totally blameless.


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