Safari Rally offers opportunity for road safety, value-based education

Masai warriors welcome 2023 WRC Safari Rally winner Sebastien Ogier at the end of the Wolf Power Stage in Hell's Gate, Naivasha on June 25, 2023. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

The Safari Rally week that just ended brought with it what for the last few years has become a pilgrimage to the town of Naivasha. Young people and even older folks look forward to the event not just to watch cars compete but also an opportunity to socialise.

I remember as a young boy the rally cars would pass through my rural village in Asumbi. Whether in the morning or at night, we would always rush to congregate by the roadside and wait for the cars to speed by.

The thrill of watching the cars, for us, maybe the only vehicles we would catch a glimpse of for a long time, was a sight to behold.

The times and nature of the rally have changed, without losing its fundamentals as a sport and a source of entertainment. I hope those who got to Naivasha had as much fun as we used to for the few minutes that the Safari Rally was in our rural neighborhood. Car racing is huge business as evidenced by Formula One and its huge attractions, even here in Kenya.

My kids are perennially glued on television whenever there is a competition and have details of all the top competitors in the sport. It is a sport worth nurturing. The government’s continued support for the event is thus welcome.

As we enjoy the sport, it is important to use the opportunity to underscore a few lessons. First is the importance of road safety. The Safari Rally is a competition based on speed and skill.

It is important that those who watch the event not just get caried away with the high speed at which the vehicles are driven but learn that speed without skill endangers lives and kills. Consequently, speed limits that are put on roads should be adhered to by all. A lot of young people are excited abut fast cars, sometimes from what they may have watched from such races.

Secondly, during such events, there is a lot of merry making. This is good for the economy of the country as visitors who flock to the event get to spend some money. In doing so, we should reflect on the importance of moderation, especially amongst the youth.

The Ministry for Youth should seek in the future to link promotion of sport with other essential life lessons. In doing so we will be able to promote sports, and also ensure that values are instilled in young people. It is by adopting innovative approaches to value-based education that we can shape the moral content of our young people.

As we prepare for next year’s Safari Rally and other sporting events, it would be helpful to see other sectors of society seeking to partner with the organisers with a view to using the the event as an a avenue for spreading positive messages that can help shape the future of our young people.

The writer is a law professor at the University of Nairobi.

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