Kenya, cool it
This is starting to get ridiculous.
Less than a week after the election, you can't walk 10 feet in Nairobi without seeing Obama's name. This wasn't the case before, but now that he's won, you can buy Obama campaign buttons in the supermarkets, beaded Masai bracelets with "Obama" stitched into them at the weekly crafts markets, souvenir Obama hundred-dollar bills, mini U.S. flags bearing Obama's face, cell phones and other assorted electronics at one store's "Obama sale" (not sure what this means exactly) -- and the list goes on.
I was at an opening Saturday in Nairobi's Industrial Area for a talented young Luo artist named Kota Otieno. (He's the one in the photo below in the security guard outfit, proving that African artists can be just as inscrutable as American ones). Kota, 28, was exhibiting about a dozen original works. At least three featured Obama's name.
While I appreciated Kenya's election-day euphoria as much as the next guy, with the inauguration still 10 weeks away Obama already risks becoming a cliche here -- not unlike the endless Man U and Arsenal logos that plaster all the minibus taxis. This is what's almost happened in South Africa to Nelson Mandela, whose family has tried unsuccessfully to keep his face off of every T-shirt and backpack going. Obama's not there yet, but it's coming.
At least, let's let the man do some governing first.