Home Children From Where did my Innocent Child Learn the Tetema Lyrics?

From Where did my Innocent Child Learn the Tetema Lyrics?

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Ezekiel Mutua, the Kenya Film Classification Board chief recently announced his banning of some secular songs ‘outside of bars and clubs’. This is because of the lewd lyrics contained in the songs -that have strong sexual undertones.

His move reminded me of a conversation I once had with some pals of mine. We were chatting over coffee in a café when the Tetema song began playing and one of us, Rachel, suddenly went on a rant.

“This song! Can you imagine last week, I walked into my house only to be greeted by my six-year-old daughter singing word-for-word that tetema song? She was even jumping up and kicking her legs in the air, then shaking her shoulders as she danced. From where did my innocent child learn the tetema lyrics and the accompanying obscene gyrating dance moves???” a visibly horrified Rachel exclaimed.

Rachel then told us that her first instinct was to dash to cover her daughters’ mouth with her hands to stop her from tetemaring.

But she was too shocked and just stood there staring at her daughter as she happily sang and danced to ‘oohhh mama tetema… aya twende tetema..’.

“Where did she learn those words from, because it’s certainly not in my house!” She added.

See, Rachel is a born-again Christian, plays gospel music in her home and in her car, goes to church faithfully and ensures her children attend Sunday School and VBS without fail, reads Bible stories with the kids at bedtime, attends BSF and basically leads the Godly life -the whole nine yards. So we believed her when she said that its highly unlikely her daughter heard the song in her house, or in her car. So where could have her daughter could have learned the words from? We discussed:-

The School Van

Turns out that many school vans play music while transporting the kids, so that was a possible avenue because her daughter does indeed use a hired van for her school transport. And the driver is a young dude, so most likely.

The Friends and Neighbors

Well, you may not play a certain type of music in your home, but your child does visit neighbors or cousins, and there’s a likelihood that in that house, that music is played.

The House Girl (and staying relatives)

It so happens that some house girls play trending, secular music on their phones, and they don’t mind the children watching the videos, singing along with them and even dancing to the music. This also applies to older nephews, nieces and other relatives who stay with you.

TV after School

After arriving home from school, most local TV channels air music shows -most of them (if not all), airing secular music. So as the kids are taking their snacks before they start on their homework, they are most likely watching Tetema and the like.


Some children use public transport to and from school, and most don’t play gospel music. Some matatus even play radio discussions that are sooo uncomfortable for an adult’s ears, so you can only imagine the children and what they absorb through these widely broadcasted conversations.

So we told Rachel that of course, as parents we cannot control everything our children listen to, watch or do every single minute, but as parents, the best thing we can do is to guide them accordingly and empower them to always endeavor to be of good standing and character.

What are your thoughts about this issue? Have you ever heard your children waxing lyrical to a song which made you cringe? What did you do? Comment down below.

Mummy Tales is a platform dedicated to empowering its readers on different aspects of maternal and newborn health, as well as various issues surrounding motherhood and women. Read more motherhood experiences of Kenyan moms here. Connect with Mummy Tales on: YOUTUBEFACEBOOK l INSTAGRAM l TWITTER 



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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


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