Nyoka, an interesting name to give an African child not considering the torture he will go through growing up. From primary school, I have been called different species of the snake kingdom, from black mamba, python, cobra and recently friend just make the hissing sound “ssssssss” because saying anaconda is too mainstream. Maybe it's because “sijakonda” (not slim). I have to emphasize though that I don’t prefer being called Nyoka loudly in public. The first and last time this happened I was sitting next to a tree with a group of churchmates waiting to play soccer. This classmate of mine approaches yelling my name from far and pointing at me. Since my churchmates did not know my third name then, you can imagine how they sprinted for their lives. You could think they are running to ask Eve to come and pick her friend who she left behind at the tree of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
When I got to know my real name in class eight of primary school, I made an effort to educate people to pronounce it the right way. The “o” in Nyoka is prolonged according to my parents. So you say “Nyooooka” but I guess this just brought more confusion and attention to the name. So the name-calling continued. Everyone endeavored to be unique in the nickname they gave me. It was as if they had trademarks to these names because no one else dared to copy and speak.
At a certain point I started asking around for the legal process to change my name, but being a 12-year old kid, living in a sugar cane plantation, who had to carry a basin of “Sukuma Wiki” on his head every day of the week after class, to generate Kshs 20 (Kshs 20 was a lot of money then), this was not something that was going to happen. My elder brother, however, managed to get away with it when he intentionally used a nickname in his KCPE exam papers forcing my parents to add it in his birth certificate otherwise his marks would have been canceled. Knowing my parents I doubt he got away with it. He must have been served several strokes of the famous black “nyaunyo” (whip) that single-handedly kept us in check growing up. Its hiding place was never known.
I want to leave a mark in the Universe and seize the bull by his horns while implementing all that I’ve learned from the deeper holes that I have dug. I’ve become skilled at a whole heap of tricks-n-treasures; thus filling my bottomless basket with treats full of passion (and a SOLUTION driver of some fashion). In other words: I take action, am a Daniel-of-all-trades
If you can’t beat them, join them. Am sure you are very conversant with that saying. I had to embrace this name otherwise I would grow up to be a very bitter kid lashing out on anyone that called me anything other than my other nicer names. I, therefore, started learning about snakes.
Did you know most snakes are harmless to humans, but developing a healthy fear of them has kept our ancestors from getting squeezed to death or suffering a painful—and occasionally lethal—bite. But we may want to fight this ingrained phobia. (I mean, who needs it anyway since some of us spend the weekend tucked safely in our homes watching Snake Man?) And we should definitely rethink our urge to kill these reptiles—if only because they help keep us safe from another scary biter: the tick. That’s right, a recent study finds that snakes help halt the spread of Lyme disease. I know you have not been moved even a little by this statement. The fear of snakes is real. I think am scared of my own name.
Am not here to give you a lecture on snakes but who Daniel is. So as my brand statement goes “I want to leave a mark in the Universe and seize the bull by his horns while implementing all that I’ve learned from the deeper holes that I have dug. I’ve become skilled at a whole heap of tricks-n-treasures; thus filling my bottomless basket with treats full of passion (and a SOLUTION driver of some fashion). In other words: I take action, am a Daniel-of-all-trades”.
I strive to be different and bold, to always speak what’s on my mind. I put on suspenders and bow ties and sometimes colored khaki pants during the week something that made me the first employee to earn a record verbal warning for dress code within three weeks of my employment. Colour brings out life and I love life. Am a cartoon because laughter is the best medicine and my stress-relieving mechanism. Whenever you hear people laughing, Daniel aka python must be around that group. I feel at home in organizations that have a combination of crazies that believe they can change the world. Is there a better place to be for a corporate crazy like me who still dreams that one day he will have wings and supernatural powers, other than amidst a group of his own?
That is the true Daniel Mainye Nyoka aka Python. I warmed up to that one “Python”. Always learning to be better than I was yesterday, striving to make a difference and create a legacy that will live long after am gone. To defer odds and make the world I stay in, a better place than I found it. In a way, I am a true snake.