As everybody was drawing banter and overzealous reactions from the now settling Bahati-on-the-throne incident, mine was a whole different reaction: shock.
I was shuddering and cringing inside as the kid took the president’s seat then started nyemelearing his wife. Wa-Isiraeli! When the kid got on top of that kametha, my heart broke.
The performer’s act may have been right or wrong, depending on where you stand. For me, I cannot do such a thing, ever! Not if the president himself asked me to do it. My conscience cannot allow me, because, Handú hau!
Let me explain.
In the tail end of the last millennium, I had carved myself a niche in the art industry of the seven ridges; widely sought after to perform in social functions of all types and stature. I was an integral part of the ‘Small-choir’ [so called not because of its size or quality of performances, but because of the tendency of members to disappear into the ground while performing] I was also a public speaker, introducing the choir before performances and presenting gifts of the choir (read basins) to the newlyweds (read bride) But my main specialty was poetry.
I had made a name in poetry, and I was so good at it I could perform 15 seconds after waking up. My two major hits were ‘Psalms 121’ and ‘Dot Com.’ …waroria kérítu ka ndoti koomu….You may have heard them somewhere.
Now, there is this day my mother’s workmates had visited her at home after an illness. As usual, I was called to do a performance, and I delivered Psalms 121 to a standing ovation. But then it went into my head.
As you can guess, I had no seat of my own at the time. Back then, artistes were not appreciated as they are today. You were expected to be lurking somewhere in the shadows, seen but not heard, but standby to perform at any moment when called upon. Then disappear again. But following my performance and the thunderous clapping, I lost it.
As I signed off, The Man Beater rose to say something, and guess what I did? Right, I planted myself square in his seat. Everyone was shocked, and the look I got from The Rose informed me not even an Oscar could give me the right to do what I had just done. The MB, wondering why people were not paying attention to him, just looked at me and smiled.
So I did the next most honourable thing; I slid off the seat and disappeared. The MB did not say a word about it, but The Rose, never the combative one, did warn me against the same in future.
Artistes forget quickly though. I found myself in a similar situation during the launch of the M’Kori family Annual Get Together, which was themed ‘Familia Tukae Pamoja.’
After belting out Psalms 121 and Dot Com in quick succession, everyone was abuzz with how I had a bright future…the family light blah blah blah. In the excitement, I started to feel important, and when my grandfather- The Taliban- rose to speak, I just planted myself on his chair. No one else had been spotted sitting on that armchair, which had an uncanny resemblance to the modern day president’s chair for events. (It recently emerged that Ben the photographer had kina Bakari sit on it and take photos while everyone else was in church)
Everyone threw me a shocking look as I sat there, but I was feeling way too important to notice. I mistook it for awe and admiration for my performance. And that is how I did not move even when The Taliban finished speaking and came back. Ever the diplomat, he just sat on the arm and let me bask in the limelight, all the while rubbing my scissor-shaven head. And all was well, the event was a success.
Until evening when we got back home and the Man Beater summoned me, demanding to know why I had taken the big man’s seat without permission.
Why did you displace your grandfather from his seat? Bellowed the MB
(Nothing, I don’t know and silence were not valid responses in the MB’s court, mark you. But how could you respond in this case?)
Nothing. I replied.
Nothing, huh? And the other day you also took my seat…who are you going to displace next? The bishop? The chief? The president?
For traumatic reasons, as a recovering post-traumatic stress victim, I will not narrate what ensued, but let it be known I have never, and cannot sit on some chairs to date. Not gonna happen, Ever!
And so let it be known that my reaction to Bahati’s actions was not really anger, but a cringe at the opening of old, traumatizing wounds.
My advice to the kid? Forgiveness comes once; whatever brief you got on that day, don’t get carried away again.
In the words of the singer of the song, there are things we do that become threats in our lives….You cringe every time you remember that thing or place. Muturi Wa Karuguti na Purity Wawy, si you play for these people Handú Hau?