The Kenya Forum | Kenyans put materialistic concerns such as money, status above education - The Kenya Forum

July 11, 2013


What do Kenyans want? A Consumer Insight survey states we value money, status, other materialistic concerns highly, even above education.

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Kenyans put materialistic concerns such as money, status above education

Kenyans put materialistic concerns such as money, status above education

Gone are the days when children were a symbol of wealth in Kenyan communities and everything that mattered was family. Money, status and social networks are what matter the most to Kenyans at the moment, according to a survey titled MAISHA, by Consumer Insight.


Knowing people really counts in Kenya and it’s almost a guarantee to get things done, whether it’s for business related activities, a job placement or just connections in higher places.

“I always bank on the huge connections my uncle has in the police force anytime am on the wrong side of the law”, says Martin Karanja a businessman in Nairobi, who then adds that he also relies on his social networks for business.

According to Maryanne Kaloki, a communications student at the United States International University (USIU), in today’s Kenya, you might not be an influential figure in the society, but the people you surround yourself with can make you influential. “If I have connections with the whose who in Kenya, people will definitely respect me”, she says.


If this is anything to go by, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that Kenya was listed as the fourth most corrupt country in the world by a report released by Transparency International yesterday. The first three positions were occupied by Sierra Leone 84%, Liberia 75% and Yemen 74% respectively.


The internet was  also cited as the most used technology (100%) while ATMS was on top of the list (49% of those surveyed) of things that made life better, according to the study conducted online throughout 2012 and involving 1, 8889 respondents.


According to the researchers, the three factors (money, status and social connections) are correlated within the context of what they call ‘the hustle’— the never-ending search for money, networks, and status.

“Social networks are today part of money-making, with many people selling their wares online and striking deals. This is why they featured prominently in the list of devices, technologies and services that influence their life the most,” said Mr Ndirangu Managing Director, Consumer Insight


Another study conducted in May this year by the same firm, revealed that the majority of Kenyan youth aged between 15-25 years old would prefer to become wealthy at the expense of their education. More than 605 of the 1,301 respondents expressed their desire to become rich regardless of the mode of acquiring the wealth.

Nairobi senator and philanthropist Mike Sonko was the symbol of wealth to most of the young people, who desired to be as wealthy as he is and to also own expensive cars as well.


Besides providing for business connections and the rest, social connections have also been proved to have an impact on the health of people. According to a study published a year ago by the journal PLoS Medicine, researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina found out that people with poor social connections had on average 50% higher odds of death in the study’s follow-up period (an average of 7.5 years) than people with more robust social connections.

The research pooled data from 148 studies on health outcomes and social relationships — every research paper on the topic they could find, involving more than 300,000 men and women across the developed world.


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