Kenyan Man Head Mask 1

The most we Kenyans know about Halloween is that it’s a festival where people dress up in costumes and children collect candy. Most of this we get from movies and it is rarely much of a festival in Kenya. Even so, it seems nothing goes unnoticed in the online sphere as was observed with the online reaction to a certain sale on Amazon.

It all began with the sale of a realistic halloween Kenyan man mask on Amazon under the title “Realistic Black Kenyan Man Head Mask Latex Creepy Costume Party”. The costume was made to depict a Kenyan black man but had a somewhat resemblance to the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga thus sparking a debate online about it. A discussion ensued after the Stream, an Aljazeera program, posted the picture on its Facebook page. Some claimed it was racist with others saying that it showed poor taste.

This comes after the drama last month after a container was found with realistic human skeletons with the said container claimed to belong to a prominent politician. Question is whether there is anything wrong with mask being sold? Are people overreacting? Or is it because it almost bared a resemblance to a public figure?

Kenyan Man Head Mask 3

We have seen latex masks of prominent personalities in various spheres and occasions and with this there is always an indication to which the resemblance may lie. So why did the proprietor on Amazon generalize it as a “Kenyan man”. Also I would like to question why it had to be a Halloween costume. As far as we know, Halloween is mostly in relation with scary costumes. Thus the mask was intended to show that the ordinary Kenyan man’s face is scary/creepy. Isn’t this insulting, racist and perpetuating racist stereotypes? Why would Amazon allow such an item to be sold on its platform?