The year is 1999. December. This is the final year of the earth, because, come 2000, all computers will shut down, and a big stone will fall from heaven and crush the earth. The stone is called Millenium. Christmas is fast approaching, and mum is showing absolutely no signs of buying us Christmas clothes.
Actually, she has made a public announcement that she does not have money, but who is buying that story? Right, no one! I, with my own two eyes, have seen A LOT of money in her purse that is kept in another purse that is kept in another purse that is kept in a small bag that mum keeps in a big handbag. So, no, tumekataa hiyo story ya serikali haina pesa. Siri yako kali tushagundua!
The Man Beater is not about that ‘new clothes’ life, so we have no higher court before which to present our case. What to do now? In the words of Bob Marley, Get up Stella, Stella for your right. Get up Stella, Don’t give up the fight!
Haha, how do I know Bob Marley at such a tender age? My cousin Nyuki who stays in Mombasa came home with a Biiig Radio, it is called cassette. So big it is powered by 12 batteries! 12 fucking batteries, and they cannot last. He has many compacts which play Reggae and Newton Karish. Nyuki tells us many stories, like how Bob Marley once came to sing in Kenya. On arrival at the airport, he asked for a lighter to smoke his joint, but Moi said No! You cannot smoke bhang in Kenya! So Bob Marley answered “No kaya, No music” before re-entering his plane and ordering the pilot to fly back to Jamaica.
Akina Nyuki and others who were at the airport were so mad at Moi, but no one tells Moi anything. That story left me with so many questions: Doesn’t Bob Marley know bhang is bad? Won’t he be arrested by Moi? Where is Jamaica?
Anyway, to stand up for our rights, I organize a major go-slow. I am careful to distinguish between Mum’s and The Man Beaters assignments, because, we! So the sheep have to be fed. The eggs have to be collected. But there is no ‘kwongania macaki. I, and the other wahasiriwa kids in the village, won’t collect dry grevillea tree leaves for our mothers to make fire. Also, no talking, no eating! The strike will climax with boycotting Sunday school on Christmas day. There will be beatings, yes, but a soldier must be prepared for any eventuality when going to war. Arutwa continua!
Day 1 of the strike: Mum: Why haven’t you collected macaki? We don’t have Christmas clothes. Why aren’t you talking? We don’t have Christmas clothes. Ok, rephrase that to, why am I talking to you without response (No one cares if you are not talking) Why are you not eating? We don’t have Christmas clothes.
Replace that response with ‘I am full’ in case the man beater is around. Day one is successful, there was a little macaki remaining that mum used.
Day 2: Why isn’t there any macaki in this kitchen? We don’t have Christmas clothes. Okay. The hunger is biting, but we cannot fret, lets just do some mangoes as we take milk to various destinations.
Come evening, Kaguri, The Man Beater is breathing fire. Ma ya ngao! It has been reported that we are getting wayward; we are not collecting Macaki and we are keeping quiet when spoken to. Two counts of indiscipline. Haki ya nani! As if that is not enough, the man beater has his own charge. We left a lot of ngava on the ground in our search for mangoes to eat.
So, now, the summons…what did I say about plucking unripe mangoes? Then you bite them once and leave them scattered on the ground. Can you all go out and bring me a rod each!
Hiyo nyumba haturudi, hiyo jiwe ya 2000 ikuje haraka imalize dunia!!
#tbt I rest my pen.