Thursday, September 19, 2019
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These ‘ooohs’ ain’t loyal

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IMAGE: Artiste Drake's image photoshopped to show him paying Kalenjin allegiance | Image: Courtesy
Artiste Drake's image photoshopped to show him paying Kalenjin allegiance | Image: Courtesy

At the turn of the year, one of my acquaintances set to cross out a certain lass on his hit list. Makumi is his name, so we call him Das. She’s a lovely professional, the target prey, if I say so myself. Working an eight to five in the county capital, entity withheld. Decent residence, judging by the neighbourhood. Intelligence briefs reported that she was most probably single: grabbed a drink in town every random Thursday- ever alone. She’s Sue.

Chimp was also an uncaged bird, so I patted him on the back and said, ‘’Invest, big boy, seems clever. You could even go for the long haul, you know, it’s about time.’’

‘’No way!’’ Snapped Das, ‘’ I’m still on Thrill Avenue.’’

‘’Just remember it’s the females who hunt in the Simba kingdom,’’ I replied.

‘’ Sue me if I get caught!’’ Das defended.

‘’ Sue you!’’

‘’ Fucker!’’

She took him in circles for four months, after which he came back and confessed, ‘’Never seen such. I’m ready to get caught now. Settle if I must.’’

Well, nine months later, Das’ Ndoto has become Lotto, I am happy to report. As a stakeholder in the pregnancy-long investment, I had to ask for a briefing after the summarised report landed at my desk.

‘’So, is it safe to say you are no longer single, Das?’’ I quipped as we sat down to watch football last night.

‘’ Sue is definitely winning an Oscar!’’ Das replied conclusively.

‘’ I…I don’t read, ‘’ I lamented, scanning him for tell-tale signs.

‘’ Those ‘Ooohs’ weren’t loyal.’’ He said flatly, indicating that particular conversation was dead.

I did not ask anything more, because it was a night to talk games, not anatomy.  We watched in silence as Arsenal unconvincingly saw off Doncaster.

**********************************************************************

But Das’ story reminded me of the first time I discovered that ‘Oooohs’ are sometimes not loyal.

I had just cleared form four. I left school on Wednesday, but I could not manage to directly attend a leavers’ bash for logistical reasons. I had strict eyes trained on me, so I chose to sit and wait for Friday.

Come Friday, I arrived at the location which I won’t reveal looking all sharp and dapper. Bash was supposed to kick off at 8:00 pm and go on ‘until you drop,’ but I was there at 6:45. I have never been timelier for any event before or after then.

As you may guess, I had no intention to drop as indicated on the advertisement. My plan was clear: Drink a little to get me mellow and confident, pass a few to the DJ to show appreciation/acquire favours and get some skirt wearer to dance to my tune in and beyond the club. I had saved for the event for a long while in my build up to clearing school, so money wasn’t quite a problem.

Little did I know that I didn’t know!

I wouldn’t until much later, three years later to be precise.

All my plans for the night went according to plan, at least in my eyes. I found me a date and kept her well fed and oiled. We danced and, talked? Not sure. For my generosity, the DJ paid in kind by playing my girls’ requests without frowning. He even mentioned my name around twice through the night. Said I was ‘ndani ya nyumba.’ Major points

By the time everyone was dropping, I and my ‘prom date,’ a fine female who told me she had sat her last paper that afternoon, were still going strong. I should have been alarmed by her stamina at such a young age, but my submission that all things are possible under the sun clouded my vision. We were ready, and all willing ‘ndani ya nyumba ingine.’

By the time I was leaving for home the following day, I couldn’t have asked for a better admission into ‘the world out there.’ The date I had landed had been better than any other I had met in my teen years. Her dance moves and enthusiasm superseded any I had ever seen even in films. I had made a few excesses in finances, but nothing not worth the experience. I however was a little disturbed how Schola- that’s the name I was told she went by- could have such a huge dance floor at such a young age. I had a feeling that her cheers and cries as we danced were a bit over the top.

It wasn’t until three years later I discovered the truth. Well and truly sunken in the real world, I had even lost track of school dates. As I walked into the tavern, I had no idea that it was time for fourth formers to clear school. But then something peculiar caught my attention: A seemingly familiar face in school uniform.

A closer look revealed that it was my ‘prom date’ and she was grooving with the new graduates. I think we locked eyes for a moment, but she looked away too fast. I wanted to believe she was in form one when we first met, but that stubborn little voice in my head kept telling me she had cleared high school way before me, or probably never even been there.

And she was here to welcome another new born.

As Diamond and co. would say, ZIlipendwa! Ufundi Kitandani.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The large Keg Mug at home

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I was as excited as the next Keg drinker when pictures of the country’s CEO flashing down a Keg ka-thate popped up online. For a flirting moment there, I considered that ‘status’ feature that I have never understood pale WhatsApp. But then I remembered!
Scandal.
In the early years of the 21st century, I took to this habit of drinking Keg every Sunday afternoon. Even I don’t understand exactly how I operated, because I also used to play football every Sunday afternoon and I spent quality time with my girlfriend every Sunday afternoon. And there is evidence of all that; a long queue of registered voters willing to testify.
Back then was the only time keg had ‘Bei Poa.’ 👍A 300ml cup went for Ksh. 15 and a 500ml mug retailed at Ksh. 25. Bei poa! 👉 Also, 300ml was 300ml plus overflowing foam, not like today when it is sold as 50ml beer and 250ml foam. And food was aplenty in the country too; patrons never used to chew the edges of the mugs back then.
As a result, the mugs were beautiful and easy to clean and did not require the use of a drinking straw. Unless, of course, you wanted to soup up your drink with a Nescafé sachet to ‘make it a Guinness and chase the cold.’
Owing to the beauty of the mugs, they became treasured souvenirs we all wished to carry away with us. But the mugs at the pub were heavily guarded. If you were served a glass 500 ml mug, you drank with two soldiers standing by you on each side like those guys beside King Diamond in that ‘Salome’ video. Some pubs actually employed guards to ensure the mugs did not leave the premises.
But who were we! The high-security levels only made the treasure hunt more exciting.
So, on this one occasion, I got so plastered and ended up with a 500 ml mug at home. I don’t know exactly how I executed that particular mission, but I woke up to find it among other utensils in the kitchen sink.
Then came my old man, who noticed it like sitting there like a sore thumb while in all my years of existence I believed he never looked at anything in the sink. Upon inquiry about where it came from, my sharp mind came up with the sharp answer that I saw it on our way to a football match at kina Kioko M.Mnthungu‘s place and thought it was excellent to drink water from instead of taking many rounds using small cups.
The look I got, I was almost sure I was getting my title deed that day. That man was jolly proud of me.Instead, the old man fell in love with the mug and made it his own. He never said anything about the ‘Senator’ inscription; it must have had something with the Obama wave that was gaining momentum. Well, he did say ‘you should get some more when you are around there.’
I used to chuckle every time I saw the old fella take a thankful swig from that mug, although I always had a deep seated fear that he was fooling me.
IMAGE: Na kwani lazima uuze na hiyo weave? President Kenyatta banters with a pub attendant. Okay, I have no idea what he was saying, but I'd ask that if I were He | image source:PSCU
Na kwanilazimauuzenahiyo weave? President Kenyatta banters with a pub attendant. Okay, I have no idea what he was saying, but I’d ask that if I were He | Image source: PSCU
Now I am working closely with NIS to ensure the said images of Kenya One kegging don’t go any more viral than they already have.
Cyber Security!🤔🤔
#tbt #iRestMyPen

The Day I displaced the MB, The Taliban from their seats, plus my advice to Bahati

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IMAGE: Gospel singer Bahati on president Uhuru's chair during the JP launch. The act reminded me of my own displacement of The MB and the Taliban | Image source: News Today
Gospel singer Bahati on president Uhuru's chair during the JP launch. The act reminded me of my own displacement of The MB and the Taliban | Image source: News Today
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?
 
No one.
 
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.
 
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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?
 
#tbt #IRestMyPen

#Timbitii: When I used to have musungu friends

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IMAGE: Black man and white man conversing. | Image source: Shutterstock
Black man and white man conversing. | Image source: Shutterstock
I have told you that around 2010 I was headed for greatness, aye? I was bordering on influential, controversial and philosophical. And now I just realized that I was also building another very important life skill- networking. I had some Musungu friends. Rather, a musungu friend, who had friends.
 
It so happened that we were holding a football tournament at Kigumo, the seat of my grandfather’s heritage, and I was captaining my home team- see, I was edging towards leadership too. Now, there was this musungu crew- let’s call it a mission- that had chipped in with extra coins and gifts for the teams. Very nice. The only problem was that they were on an AIDS awareness campaign, and were encouraging players to get tested. You know the word ‘encouraging’ is synonymous to ‘demanding’ in this context, right? Like when your boss encourages you to dress more professionally.
 
The other bigger problem was that as host captain, the onus was on me to lead the obviously not so co-operative group to get ‘measured.’ Not that I had a problem being measured, I probably was a virgin anyway, but that would have gone against a blanket Embu tribe resolution that two chosen people would NEVER get tested- Muminji Ward rep Newton ‘Karish’ Kariuki and yours truly. So you can imagine the dilemma I had of balancing the burden of society and immediate team responsibility.
 
I could have talked my way out of it, but my Rusungu has always been a hindrance. But then, with leadership skills, all is possible. When I went into the tent, I explained to the testers- luckily there was a translator in there- that I was the captain and needed to first marshal my players to take the test. I assured them that I had undergone the same numerous times so I would be more than willing to be tested when they were done with the rest.
 
Could they hand me a dummy kit to explain to the others what a simple process it was? Yes, of course. When I went back outside, I used the dummy as my own kit, told them that I had already done mine, and convinced them to do it too.
 
As I stood there ushering my players into the tent, a musungu male came over to introduce himself. “Something Martin,” he said, extending his hand. “Yes?” I replied, shaking it- the extended hand, silly. I thought he was asking me something about Martin, but I later learnt he was introducing himself as Fergus Martin.
 
He tried to engage me in a conversation, but, like you all know, huwa siskii kitu wazungu wanasema. So I just stood there answering ‘aah’ ‘eeh’ and yes. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I excused myself, saying ‘let me come,’ then pretending to be busy addressing my team. I don’t know why, but Fergus found ‘let me come’ a hilarious statement.
 
Seeing as the testing queue was quickly winding down, I knew I had to get away fast, so I told Fergus, “Come I show you,” as I pulled him away. He found that hilarious too, the perverted bugger!
 
Football is a one-language game, the language is football, so when I engaged him in a kick-about, we didn’t have to talk. In classic Kenyan version, I told him I could teach him Swahili, and proceeded to teach him a few profanities- my apologies, but I too found it hilarious.
 
Anyway, after the games Fergus invited me for drinks at the hotel they were staying, but the language barrier remained. They had in their pack some beauties, but when Fergus asked me if I could ‘hit that’ I responded with a quick ‘no.’ Only later did I realize what ‘hit that’ meant, na hivyo ndivyo hiyo chance ilienda!
 
Things did not improve in our subsequent facebook chats, because, again, I was among the pioneers of Xaxa Xema [Evidence in first comment of this post] and that proved to be a stumbling block to our friendship.
 
Now here I am, one who had started making connections worldwide, the farthest connection I have ni na huku Mbeere kwa kina Sammy Utuku. Maafa ya kutojua rusungu…anyone know a good English school ya kedo 3 months hivi?
 
#tbt #IRestMyPen

When Church Choir Uniforms were stored in our house, and how they made me an angel

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IMAGE: The Kenya Boys Choir performing at the Congregation Habonim, Toronto, in 2013. I could join the outfit just to get them church-like robes | Image source: Wikimedia commons
The Kenya Boys Choir performing at the Congregation Habonim, Toronto, in 2013. I could join the outfit just to get them church-like robes | Image source: Wikimedia commons

The good thing about working from home is you can pick up bones from last night and re-live the high school days. The downside is that there is nothing left for dogs on such bones, if the bones themselves remain. – Me, today

When I was young, Churches were conventional. A person’s church wrapped around them like newspaper around meat; you could guess a hundred character traits of a person you just met just by hearing they were Catholic. If you were thrust into a room full of people, it wouldn’t take you more than five minutes to group them into Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists et al. How they sat, how they worded their conversations, how they dressed, how they took their tea…
Not anymore though; nowadays we just have a bunch of churchgoers. Nowadays, saying someone is a ‘true Kathorec’ stands for little. You will find Kathorecs who don’t drink. You will find Anglicans who, when greeted ‘Bwana Yesu Asifiwe,’ answer ‘Amen’ instead of ‘Asifiwe Yesu.’ The only people who have remained so true we can tell them from a mile are Jehovah’s Witnesses. And New Apostolics, who have maintained a consistent church design.
During those days when people belonged to one church Karíng’a, I was a devout Anglican. I was baptised and went to Sunday School and graduated top of my catechism class to get the same confirmation as everyone else. After confirmation, I taught Sunday school and said my confession and joined KAYO and, much later, got elected to the Youth Council. My only transgression was not singing in the youth choir. Oh, and not sitting at the front in church. And leaving church right after offertory….Ai, I didn’t think they were that many!
The main church choir in those days had uniforms. Our Church Choir’s was a blue robe with a bright yellow collar and baggy sleeves that made the singers look like angels whenever they had to lift their hands up in songs like ‘Ngooombúka njúúre…na roho…ngoombúka njúreee!’ (Lov, that’s ‘flyyy away homeee…’) For some reason, these robes were often kept at our home. Many times, I was tasked to haul the uniforms to church on Sunday as I went for Sunday School, or on random Thursdays when the choir was ‘returning’ for some serious rehearsal. (Now you know the truth about that popular theory that I gave farm produce as offering every Sunday, aye?)
For some reason, I was always fascinated by these choir uniforms. There was something saintly about them. May be it was their colour. Or how they were flowing. They somehow radiated the truth of the images in those ‘God Loves Children’ books.
IMAGE: Don't choir members look angelic when they surrender to the Lord? | Image source: notjustchurchsuits.com
Don’t choir members look angelic when they surrender to the Lord? | Image source: notjustchurchsuits.com
As such, I found myself secretly fawning over them when they were stored at home. When it was washing day and the help sent me to fetch them for cleaning, I would bring them in a pile then pick one and wear it before proceeding to sing for her as she washed. There was this one help called Murugi who couldn’t have been much older than me who especially enjoyed my charades, and always told me jokingly ‘unakuwaga na utoto sana wewe.’ Murugi’s story deserves its own article, that doting Auntie…also, your mind requires cleansing.
If you have figured out the era I am speaking about, you might also remember that taking photos back then was also a ceremony. You were informed days earlier that within the week Ben Mbica would be coming to freeze some memories. Within the week, you had to be in good behaviour lest the sponsors pulled out, and on the material day, you literally could not cheza mbali.
But then there were other days that photo-ops came up unannounced. Like when your big cousins from town suddenly dropped by to see your grandmother and, as though they had just discovered a new world wonder, felt the irresistible urge to have a photo taken with her.
When one such day happened, I was sent to go fetch Ben. Starting at Ben’s home, where I was told that he went to the bicycle Fundi to have a puncture repaired. Off to Fundi’s, where I was then informed that Ben had just left for a photo op with teachers who were having a staff meeting prior to school opening.
Quickly weigh which was more important: Avoiding being seen by the teachers (As every pupil was definitely on the wrong, despite being the holidays and not attending that school) or risk it all for the prize of having my image frozen on a photograph. Well, I never was a photo person even back then, and would have easily chosen the former, but my town cousins always rewarded my errands with a good token so I went for the former. At the school, I was informed that Ben had left for a burial across the ridge.
A good athlete since childhood, I was across the ridge in the next five. I found that Ben had just finished his photo session at the burial, but there was still a little hitch: he only had three photos left on his film. Those are more than enough, I said, and we set out on our way, on his bicycle. I successfully resisted the urge to request Ben to let me drive, although I was jolly proud of that newly-acquired skill.
So, two hours later, here I am, with Ben, cameras blazing! I was not even clean when I left home, but you might guess how much worse the dust I had gathered from my shuffling around the ridges, occasionally through uncharted paths, made me.
I don’t think I can appear on that photo, I protested. I am too dirty. I regretted my words immediately.
One look from my grandmother told me that if I declined this photo op, everything was over between me and her. And there was no way I was losing my senior counsel, the one person who told the entire extended family to fuck off even when they had solid evidence and consensus that I deserved to be whipped, stoned, gassed then blown up. So I knew I had to act fast.
Uchafu hautokeagi kwa picha, my cousin Bakari encouraged me. I had heard that before, but knowing the tricks the chimp had played on me before, I said twice shy. Then a Eureka moment hit me: choir robes!
Just a moment, I said, before rushing into the house and coming out donning that oh so heavenly garment. For starters, it was made for someone like twice my height, so a good half was piling around my feet. Everyone thought I looked ridiculous, except Cúcú, who could not cease to marvel at my genius. If Cúcú thought it was fine, all others could travel until one stop past hell.
And that is how, if you peruse my family photo archive, you will notice an angel in like three of the pictures taken towards the tail end of the 20th Century. A closer look will reveal that angel is, well, me. Never mind some people think I have since moved on from my angel days.
Like Cannibal and Sharama, Angel Mboya is still #Bouncing Bouncing.
#PS:
1. I did receive Ksh. 100 from my cousins for my Ben-Finding Google Location skills, and a few more tasks like finding them avocados, mangoes, passion fruits, pawpaws and running half an hour at breakneck speed after a chicken for them to take back home.
2. I have a case against The Man Beater on judgement day for the torment he took me once those photos were delivered and he spotted the angel.
3. The editing crew in heaven- those guys putting together the shows we will watch on judgement day- must have noticed my fascination with choir robes and assigned me a music spirit. Or how else do you explain my persistent urge to drop a track?
#tbt #iRestMyPen
Uhm, because of that story of choir, si you enjoy this one ‘Beautiful Robes’ by KU SDA choir. I don’t feel their robes though…
https://youtu.be/BlJJPN89R0Y

Me, my friend Bad Luck and the Outrageous things we did at Box 1

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IMAGE: See, Wabaddest, and you have not met the Axe Gang yet! Picture that| Photo: Ken Kaburu, kitambo
See, Wabaddest, and you have not met the Axe Gang yet! Picture that| Photo: Ken Kaburu, kitambo

Those who know me from High School know that Bad Luck and I were twins. Identical and inseparable. We ate from the same plate, read from the same page and slept on the same bed. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear some people thought we were gay.

I mean, I could not engage in the least of normal student mischief without getting caught. If I cleaned my portion for the entire week and everyone else failed to do theirs, no teacher would give an eff. Then, if I decided to go the same way and skip my duty on Sunday, the TOD would come out breathing fire and swearing death. If the entire school skipped preps and sat outside, the TOD would be nowhere to be seen for the entire three hours. But if by mistake I decided to just go to the toilet five minutes to the bell, the TOD would again emerge from nowhere bearing the same character mentioned before.

Actually, it got to a point that when other students saw me trying to skive class, they all silently filed back in and made no noise. On the advice of one Justo Justin Justin, I used to attend preps with a bucket of water and a rug, because I knew punishment was due anyway. If I was not caught napping, I would be seen standing or facing backwards and adjudged to be making noise, then…punishment.

At Box 1, I dug so many trenches and trash pits. I split and carried firewood. I washed the school bus. I even fed the cows, though that was an indirect punishment when I was tasked to slash grass. In one particular season, these punishments were so popular that on parents’ day, Jay Thuci suggested that I should stand during the introduction of non-teaching staff! Sick joker, that Thuci.

But I say it was all for good measure. Me and my best friend Bad luck had a lot of fun together too! You see, unfair as it is, nature gives you one precious wild card: Adaptation. Your skin grows thicker as you have more and more thrown at you. When odds stack against you, you tend to push your luck – Bad Luck for me- further and further.

For instance, I learnt to sleep in class in such a way that no one would notice. So good was my adaptation that to this day, I can have a conversation for a whole hour while in real sense I am deep asleep. I learnt to remain calm in the face of danger, so much that today I can negotiate calmly with a gun on my head. Okay, make that a knife, a toy knife. But you get the idea, yes?

Bad Luck taught me to go beyond borders because whether I did or did not, I’d land in trouble anyway. And earned me a lot of friends in the process, how true I really have no time to care.

Like this one time when The Axe Gang contracted me to bless their Madaraka Day Celebrations. Axe Gang was a group of students who used to study and do a number of other extra-curricular activities together. No, they did not have Axes, it was just a name they picked up from one of the movies we watched during the entertainment weekends. I’m being honest, come on, do you want to mean ODM and Wiper literally have that apparel in their offices?

Madaraka day was good enough for us in school seeing as we did not have classes, but the Axe Gang was not one to settle for just that. They always wanted something extra. Why did they come to me, you ask.

No, I was not part of their gang. Actually, I was not part of any gang. Not even Hill Top as was widely believed. I just consulted with each group as and when necessary. The reason Axe Gang approached me to bless their Madaraka was because I had two very crucial ingredients. One, Njamba had drafted me to help with his Science Congress wine making project, and two, my dormitory, whose team I was captaining, was in the finals and widely tipped to win the Inter-dorms goat award on Madaraka day.

Which placed me in the central command of two very valuable commodities: Food and drink

So the Axe Gang approached me with a proposal: Would I mind expanding the Winery a little bit so it could produce something for them to bless their Madaraka. Could I also organize some meat for them from the goat-eating party to round up the merry?

What’s in it for me, I asked.

They would, in return, allow me access to some of their most sophisticated highly classified revision material. They would also cheer us on during the finals, with a little persuasion of match officials if need be.

Nice proposition, I said, but I don’t think I can really grant either request. One, the winery is not mine, and two, the goat meat would no doubt cause abrasion within the Umoja Dorm fraternity even without involvement of outsiders.

But you have a say, they said, people listen to you. You are Mu-baddest, they said.

I am a man quite easy to please, and flatter. In High School, if you called me Mu-Baddest, your prayers were answered. It is what people called me when they wanted me to scribble for them answers to Vectors and Matrix questions on my log table during exams. That’s 20 marks, btw. No, don’t try it now, like Nokia 1110, it no longer is the chit.

So I said, Okay, I can expand the winery, just a little bit. I’m sure I can convince Njamba (I figured I could convince the Chimp we also needed to test the industrial capacity of the plant, for future purposes). On the meat, we will have to see. No promises. If you can cheer a good one, and fetch us more fans, then maybe we can work out something.

Ver good, thanks, we knew you are Mu-Baddest.

One condition though?

(Surprised) What?

Discretion. Any signs like we have something cooking and the deal is instantly off!

Ah, very well, that bargain we can keep!

Expanding the winery proved much easier than I had expected; Njamba was too future focused to see any dangers. That, or he was also excited by the prospect of becoming famous within the Box 1 borders.

The Axe Gang cheering at the final was unrivalled, but I ultimately felt it wasn’t necessary. We were too strong for Madaraka sDorm anyway, putting two past them in each half. Never mind that day was Madaraka Day. I bet the Gang felt so too, for they rallied an even greater cheer lest I tried to say we were good on our own. They got us literally all form ones to do some war chants for us.

And a deal is a deal, ama namna gan?

As I walked forward with Joseh Santos to receive ‘Mbúri meeeee,’ I could swear I saw saliva going down the Gang’s chins.
Due to my cluelessness in culinary affairs, and given I had to have a position, I was appointed head-cook, to oversee all cooking activities. I was however the lead butcher, thanks to my growing up on the farm.

IMAGE: My friend Mbogo says 'Pics or it didn't happen.' here, graphic evidence that I am a seasoned butcher/skinner. In white is my co-killer Njiru Job. White shirt I mean. In white skin is, er, the goat. | Photo: Ephis Mburia, 20something
My friend Mbogo says ‘Pics or it didn’t happen.’ Here, graphic evidence that I am a seasoned butcher/skinner. In white is my co-killer Njiru Job. White shirt I mean. In white skin is, er, the goat. | Photo: Ephis Mburia, 2000 and something

What was weighing me down, however, were the demands. Besides the Axe Gang, the groundsman, whom I had grown close to during my punishments, wanted a share. The dorm captain would also want a private chunk of his own, as would the guys within my circle. Most of these people had no idea- or pretended not to know- how small a goat is.

And that is how we ended up with the worst skinned goat ever, as I left chunks of meat on the skin for the groundsman to discreetly get his share. For the Axe, I had to make return trips to the meat division table and hide chunks of meat in my pockets, which I would then deliver to a waiting member as I made my head cook rounds.

For my crew, I just openly gave them the ‘Captains’ share’
I then had to ensure the remainder chunks were chopped into very small pieces so that everyone got something. Those who showed open discontent were promised ‘ a ticket to and a little drink at the after party.’

And, just like that, everyone was happy on this particular Madaraka Day, with some going to the extent of getting merry. We managed to convince the Dorm Master to allow us to have the music system, although he insisted we must play music at a low volume. We danced a bit, and the teacher ignored the faint smell of alcohol in my breath. It was, at the end, a #HappyMadarakaDay

PS:
1. The only downside is that I smelled like a goat for the entire week. No showering or changing could wash away the smell. Madam Elsie, my oh so lovely English teacher, teased me endlessly about it.

2. Humans forget easily, and have no gratitude. The beneficiaries of my goodwill took advantage of my smell to give me goat-related nicknames, which I won’t mention. They also made the me-eee sound whenever they saw me. Vackass!

3. Now that I have written it, I think this story depicts how resources are shared in this country. Like for, example, how trains will be classified in SGR’s #MadarakaExpress

#Timbitii: When Shitting required a little more pressing creativity

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IMAGE: Welcome to team GhushGhush: When your tissue gets finished within the first two school weeks | Image source: etsystatic.com
Welcome to team GhushGhush: When your tissue gets finished within the first two school weeks | Image source: etsystatic.com
********************************************************************************
To understand this post, I will require you to do 3 things before you start reading:
1. Pick a piece of writing paper that you won’t require anymore (or newspaper)
2. Hold it like you hold a cloth when washing and do a mock cloth-washing motion
3. Write down the sound that paper produces
*******************************************************************************
When we joined form one in the early years of the 21st century, the school system was largely in a transitional period. It was coming from the dark days of rotten mistreatment of form ones to one where the juniors would be treated as equal students.
 
Now, anyone who has been around long enough will understand that transitional periods are equally confused periods. Like with the 2010 constitution, case in point the 2013 general elections where well-read individuals spent sleepless nights deliberating which seat was more beneficial to run for- MCA, MP, governor? No, senator afadhali. No, governor. Can a man run for women rep?
 
Such was our case in form one. If someone molested you, you were not sure whether it was actually molestation because word around was that ‘monolization’ had been banned in schools. Similarly, the senior students were not sure where elderly authority ended and monolization began. The same problem faced teachers, especially those who had been around in the dark times and to them what was currently happening was just ‘shadow.’
 
And that is how we ended up being one of the most monolized groups ever! Okay, I was not there in the dark days, and I have heard of cases of death, I am not negating all that. What I mean is, we were the most vulnerable group. While past form ones may have been on alert from the get go, we were made to drop our guard by the promise of changed times and admin protection. Am I even making sense here?
 
I will not go to the graphic incidences, because they were traumatizing, and also we were taught to forget when we forgive. I forgave all those who did traumatizing acts, so I cannot tell you what they did, because, as you may guess, I forgot. I will instead tell you of one monolization practice that I can look back to and laugh; it was a dire human rights violations no less.
 
The Gushughushghushghushghush
 
You remember the instructions at the beginning of this story? I will bet you got a sound similar to this one, yes? Good.
 
Now, if you went to any of the four form one classes at around 8:30 pm two weeks after opening, this sound was likely to greet you at the entrance. If you were keen on your way there, you would have noticed many pages of the day’s newspaper missing from the noticeboard on which they were pinned every day at 4:20 pm.
 
You have probably joined the dots by now, but in case not, the sound was coming from students trying to make newspapers soft enough for use as tissue paper during the 9 pm short break.
 
Let me explain.
 
You see, for many of us who had attended day primary schools, we had no idea how much tissue paper was supposed to last you until the school broke for midterm. Again, our parents were trying to teach us to be thrift, so budget was tight. On top of that, from the same budget, we had to factor in unaccounted costs like writing pads et al. So, by default, your ordinary form one opened school with how many rolls of tissue paper? Right, two. White Tena or Toilex if you were lucky. Blue Maisha if you were facing a severe budget cut, like yours truly often did.
 
Now, for every form one with two rolls of tissue, there were two seniors who reported with none. And who was to take care of their sanitation needs? Right, this form one. And that is where the monolization came in.
 
You would be kneeling on your upper deck bed arranging your box at around 4.30 pm after classes (I never understood why form ones always did that) when a random third former would walk up to you and non-chalantly announce, “Mono, TP.” By then, his neck would be stretched that he had a view of everything that was in your box, and there was no way you could flap it closed without trapping his head in. Somehow, we slept on the same bed with our boxes; it didn’t matter how tall you were. People like Josiah Langi had a really tough time.
 
Not understanding if this was mistreatment or brotherly co-existence, you would pick your toilex roll, with 1001 thoughts going through your mind, roll out 1…2…3…4…5 boxes and hand to your unwelcome visitor.
 
The third former would then shoot you an insulted look and pose, with utmost entitlement, “Mono, did you just hand me five boxes of TP? Do I look like my hobby is holding shit?” Of course by now you would be on the very verge of peeing on your pants, overcome by fear. If you were lucky, he would order you to add more. If he was that authority-yielding type, he would snatch the entire roll and do one of two things, which were equally devastating.
 
One, he might disappear with the whole role, leaving you with a rude announcement “You go use those five boxes you wanted me to use.” Or, sarcastically, “This now belongs to us. When you need it, come get some from me.” Like you could even dare, in the very unlikely event you knew where he slept.
 
Or he would order you to get on the floor. He would then take you to an open space and announce, “What you catch is what belongs to you,” before setting the roll out rolling in the direction opposite where you were standing. You, the teary helpless mono, would set out after the rolling dear Toilex as fast as you valued a decent shit, looking like a clown all the while. It was a double loss, because if you managed to catch up with the depleted tissue, there was a high chance of returning to find your box, which you probably did not lock when you were ordered down, ransacked.
 
Both ways, you would just sit there, with so much pain inside, wondering what to make of it. Is it really worth reporting a tissue paper incident to the authority? Probably not. And fighting a senior was out of question. Totally.
 
Only one thing would you be sure of at that moment. You had effectively been condemned to the Ghushghushghushghush Movement.
IMAGE: Look at your life! When you finally get inducted into the ghushghush hall of fame! | Image source: http://mothership.sg
Look at your life! When you finally get inducted into the ghushghush hall of fame! | Image source: http://mothership.sg
Oh, and you were also sure you wanted nothing more to do with that school. Then you would start thinking of how to execute an exit. Write a letter home? Too bureaucratic a process. Feign sickness and ask for a leave-out? The school nurse will probably have killed you with painkillers before she lets you out.
 
What now? Escape? Yes, brilliant! Tonight!
 
I know the practice would be maddening to many parents, but the reason I am saying I can look back at and laugh –and the reason I am writing this- is because I just realized there is no tissue in this house and outside it’s raining like what is this. No, I know about planning, but I had unexpected guestS- emphasis S- and…ah, you get. I am contemplating old survival tactics, but I am telling myself no! That was the past, you are no longer the you you were then. Okay, but if push comes to shove, (haha) gazeti ni ya kufunga nyama, ama ghushghushghushghush.
 
#tbt #iRestMyPen

#Timbitii: How I almost didn’t qualify to run for Governor

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The better part of the online week has been about people calling out the people they went to school with, lest someone turns out in their days of hopefully more glory to dispute their academic journey. The sudden online re-union was fuelled by KNEC’s alleged nullification of a KCSE certificate purported to belong to the sitting County 001 governor, Ali Hassan Joho.
 
I have been silent in all the furore, for what some mistook as my dislike for politics. Others might have guessed I was applying the #NjegeWaithanje principle- Do not talk about stuff you know not about.
 
But no, it was for neither of those reasons. Rather, it was out of an overwhelming feeling of relief as I thought, ‘phew! That could easily have been me!’ You know, that feeling, yes? Like when you see you friend absolutely destroyed by Sportpesa, and you remember you almost placed the same bet with your rent? That is me, in the face of Joho’s tribulations.
 
Let me explain.
 
Sometimes in the first decade of the 21st Century, I gave up on this shit. Absolutely! My grades had taken a certain tumble, and I was not on the best of terms with the school administration, or a section of student merchants who felt I had been a less-than-straight-up partner in more than a few instances.
 
Personally, I did not have a problem with my grades, because I always felt I was Kemboi-ing in the race build up, such that I could deliver a finishing kick in the last lap. But my Wings To Fly foundation, The MB (very) Ltd, was keen on results. Very. So was The Rose. You might thus understand the pressure that caused me to arrive home with a decision of ‘Enough!’ at the end of my third year of High School.
 
Of course I did not tell anyone of my decision, not even Njo or Musoki Mkenya.
I had thought out the decision in the free week after end-term exams, and had the clear picture in my mind. I would quit school and leave home without getting noticed. I would not go to any of my relations, because I could see none of them who would be bold enough to hide me from the Man Beater.
 
I would go to some town, and start some reja reja business, then watch it grow. Sign writing for example. Or water hawking, then once I had saved some, graduate to some bigger venture like selling ‘colombo’ trousers to high schoolers. My vision was clear.
 
One little problem stood though: Which Town would that be?
Nairobi? No. I was too scared I’d end up a chokoraa; those cunning city people would cheat me out of my capital. I may land there someday, but, for now, I am too raw.
 
Meru? No way. I have too many relations on all towns dotting that route; I would be discovered on the very day I set up shop, and hauled back home together with my stock. Then…no, stop even thinking along that line.
 
Nanyuki? Hold on there, just may be.
 
Mombasa? Too far off for now. By the time I get there, my capital will be depleted. I’ll get there sometime; it will be my last base before I move to Nairobi, but not my start.
 
So, where?
 
Then I counted my money again. 2,335 in all. A considerably large sum by my standards, and partly the reason for my frozen relationship with the traders’fraternity. And a little Nokia phone, which from my Commerce classes I counted as a fixed asset; to be liquefied in the event of unforeseen bottlenecks.x like someone who was refusing to burn bridges at the termination of a relationship. I had, for some reason, been ‘advised’ by the administration to carry my box and mattress home on closing day,
 
Then I counted my money again. 2,335 shillings in all. A considerably large sum by my standards, and partly the reason for my frozen relationship with the traders’fraternity. And a little Nokia phone, which from my Commerce classes I counted as a fixed asset; to be liquefied in the event of unforeseen bottlenecks.
 
I then packed a few clothes into my A-Point, still with no idea where I was going. The time was 3 pm, the journey to exploration of fate was scheduled for early the following morning. Early dawn, such that my parents would leave thinking I was still asleep, and thus I’d have a whole day to get away before suspicion arose.
 
I made sure to attend football practice, spend some time with the guys and be present at family dinner that evening, just so everything would appear normal. I could put on the face, or so I thought.
 
When everyone went to sleep, I sneaked out of the compound and planted my bag strategically inside a bamboo thicket at the very end of the MB’s farm, where I could pick it on my way to my next life. It was a cautionary measure, just in case someone noticed me sneaking. It would be easier to explain what I was if I did not have a pack on my back.
 
That night, I couldn’t sleep. The getaway was not my problem, neither was it guilt for eloping. But where was I going?
 
6 am. The hour of reckoning.
 
I knew I had to leave, with or without a destination.
So I got about, made my checks to ensure all was clear. I checked on The Rose who was making breakfast. I tried to make small talk. Unusual. I asked her whether The MB had woken up. (Very unusual) She said no. I told her I was going back to sleep (absolutely unusual), that she could just leave my breakfast in the kitchen and I would serve myself when I woke up. (unusual) Then I told her to have a good day. (Guilt)
 
All systems set, I was sure The Rose could not come around to the front side of the house. The MB was still asleep.Set, set and…go!
I left the compound in my usual stay-at-home clothes; I would change once I was a safe distance away.
 
WALAKINI!
 
As I hurriedly rounded the very first bend beyond our compound to take the stretching clearance that would see me give my back for the last time to The Man Beater Farm, I ran into…
 
THE. MAN. BEATER. OF. TSAVO!!
 
I was sure that what I was witnessing was the devil himself in action. I must have lost my mind as I ran straight into my old man in classic ‘unataka kukimbia na hauna breki’ fashion.
 
Where are you going this early múndúú?
 
(With every last effort of a man who is not breathing) To the shop
 
(With Githu Muigai eyes i.e betraying zero emotion) Okay, don’t be long. There is something I want you to help me with.
 
(Hurriedly) Okay
 
The MB then made his way back to the compound and let me be on my way.
 
What now, I thought. I could just go ahead and vanish, leave The MB to help himself with that thing he was talking about, or I could hold my horses and delay my exit.
 
Option one was most appealing, but one little omission in the MB’s speech made me completely unsettled. For the first time in the spinning universe, I had told him I was going to the shop and he had not asked what I was going for. I was sure he was onto my plan, so I decided to hold my horses.
 
My fears were confirmed when I got to my thicket and lo! My back pack was not there.
 
So I just walked to the shop and foolishly bought an exercise book and pen, then shuttled back home trying to normalize my breath and await the verdict.
 
That day, The MB took me on a drive and we had a man to man talk. Again, he displayed zero rage, which scared me even more and I ended up laying bare all my plans. Except the amount of money I had of course.
 
That would have been a cause for further proceedings, going by the amount of story making I had to get to in order to justify my having a phone- how we owned it as a ten man chama and took turns to have it during different times. How we had bought some girls a similar one and we used them to communicate in a secret circle of dating teenagers, you know, like that party teens were organizing juzi, what was it called?
 
I don’t think The MB bought that last story, but like me, he appreciates a clean and creative lie, and he let it lie. And we talked like a man to another, and he managed to convince me I was making zero sense.
 
I think that is the first story we jointly held from The Rose, bless her living soul, whom we jointly agreed was too far gone with blood and heart conditions to take that.(Going by the investigations I have seen TR dive into, though, I doubt there is anything she cannot take.)
 
And just like that, The MB refrained me from walking out on education. Any different case scenario, and no one knows where I could be this very minute. I could be anywhere, literally…Grave, jail, abroad, in parliament, living on the street,….or faking certificates.
 
Definitely, kina Samuel Kariuki, Luke Oluoch Jack Jack Arnold Linga Nzyimi Nyika Shaylor Mwanje Flavia Kassamani Cynthia Awuor Wendy Boit et al would never have gotten to know me. Neither would the prettiest of them all!
 
#tbt #iRestMyPen

Timbitii: How Njove killed the culture of taking wedding gift suggestions in The Seven Ridges

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IMAGE: Swaziland's King Mswati has made it his business to marry every now and then | Image source: dn.static-economist.com
Swaziland's King Mswati has made it his business to marry every now and then | Image source: dn.static-economist.com

I am going to a wedding this weekend. In the city. Nobody weds Anybody on Saturday at 10.00 am at the Glory Outreach chapel, and I happen to be invited. I was actually part of this wedding preparation Whatsapp group, where I just followed stuff silently. [Sheria people, Daisy, Pamela, give me a term like ‘pro bono’ for a person who follows Whatsapp proceedings without making contributions, financial and otherwise]

Anyway, Anybody and Nobody did send us a list of items they would like as gifts, and where we can get them. Once you pick an item, you cross it out so no one else picks the same item. That way, they won’t end up receiving six TVs and not a single TV rack on the big day. Logical, isn’t it?

Except I won’t be taking any of the listed gifts.

Why?

Because that is taboo where I come from, in the slopes of The Seven Great Ridges.

Let me explain.

Many years ago, we used to do it like it is done today, back in the village. Anyone with a wedding would list what they wanted, and we would deliver gladly on their big day, in song and dance. Except there were no fridges and washing machines back then, so we used to gift newly-weds with farm animals, sofa sets and solar panels.

Until one day, Njove’s wedding.

When Njove’s list of preferred wedding gifts came out, it was one of the weirdest things we had ever seen. Not a single item of your usual wedding gifts. No sofa set, no goat, no cupboard, no table, no mattress.

The only thing which looked wedding-ish on the list was ‘Two Atlas or Avon bicycles.’

The rest of the list read 1-bale baking flour- Uncle Munyi, 1- bale jogoo flour- Tata Maria, 50kg- rice- Cúcú Gorreti, 50kg cooking fat- Úmau Múgo and such like bizarre stuff.

The Ridges were thrown into confusion. Why would a man want such gifts, we wondered. It was discussed in numerous fora, from house-mudding to bean-whipping, but no one could come to a logical conclusion about it. Eventually, we agreed that Njove was a ‘greedy, short sighted fool,’ who was solely guided by his stomach. His wife-to-be, Peni, short for Peninah, also agreed as much, but could not speak much, as it was custom for would-be-brides to show a certain mannerism in those days.

That said, however, we had a strict village culture of never knocking a comrade down from their pedestal, so we let Njove be.

And we bought the gifts, every one of them, as outlined. The two bicycles were bought by combined effort, one by the bride’s family and the other by Njove’s own family. Njove’s outdid themselves by going beyond the stipulated Avon and Atlas to get him a Phoenix bike, complete with two top tubes (míkon’gori)

And the wedding came to pass as one of the weirdest ever. You see, our wedding songs were tailored to say specific things about our conventional gifts, like how ‘we are giving you this bed because [insert your mother’s name here] is a woman of class and we don’t want her to be born on a mat. Naughty fellaz, those villagers of mine!

So you can imagine the creativity it took to do ‘covers’ of those songs to cater for Njove’s weird choice of gifts, yes? Like, ‘we want you to eat this ugali and be a warrior, because your father is a warrior and we don’t want a weakling named after him.’

Suffice to say Njove was largely elated to see the gifts trickle in. He wore a certain smile, one I have over the years learned to define as ‘goofy.’ The same cannot be said of Peni, who appeared embarrassed throughout the entire ceremony. To his credit, Njove was able to cheer her up significantly when they disappeared for an hour- or so, no one was counting- during the after-party.

The wedding weekend over, we settled back to our normal lives and waited to watch Njove fall from his greedy pedestal.

Except he didn’t.

The immediate week after the wedding Njove used to teach Peni how to ride a bike. You can call it honeymoon, because they were like kids all week, holding and helping each other up, and shouting at each other then making up.

On the second week, we were surprised to see a lorry drive into Njove’s compound, and pack all his gifts in it. As it drove away, Njove hopped onto his bike, Peni onto the other and followed. That was around noon.

Later that afternoon, handwritten fliers and posters started appearing at different points within the villages of The Ridges:

‘Welcome to NjoPeni Foodstuff and General Stores. Located at Jasho Building, Kararerí. For the best prices for your household goods.’

Ayayayayayaya! Njove, what have you done to us? You mean you used us to set up a business!

Word spread fast of Njove’s ‘betrayal,’ but there is nothing like negative publicity. People were raving that Njove had done wrong, but I was of the opinion that we had given him the best gift ever, a steady start to an economically independent life. Not that all that prevented customers from trooping to NjoPeni’s fair priced store.

Lakini watu unawaita kina nani?

Needless to say, the culture of choosing wedding gifts died an instant death. I don’t think it should have died though, or do you?

So I am not taking any listed gift on Saturday, not because I think it’s bad, but because, you know…mwacha mila.

Blame it on Njove, the most prominent businessman on the Seven Ridges today.

What is your take on wedding gifts? Tell us in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, enjoy these glorious wedding videos: [Source: YouTube]

https://youtu.be/GTyrC7kPOEU

Lakini hii hapana:

https://web.facebook.com/Sir.Collinsky.C.K/videos/10205534818129270/

 

#tbt #iRestMyPen

#Timbitii When I almost became a musician

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IMAGE: Studio mic
Image source: http://wallpapercave.com

I often say some words in passing, but I have come to realize that most of these words have a greater permanency than the advice lectures I give with my most serious face. Recently, I was speaking to Musoki Mkenya, and he revealed that I was part of the reason why he never made a career in music.

That’s preposterous! I objected.

So, he mentioned a very brief conversation we had one day long ago.

Let me give you a brief background.

Around the turn of the 21st Century, Radio Taifa KBC was your main radio station, and as such, one of the nation’s club bangers was ‘Wakulimaa, Ongezeeni Kilimooo.’ At least according to me. I later learnt that you could catch Jeff Mwangemi on Yours For The Axin [Where is that bugger by the way, he needs to be brought in for pioneering the xaxa culture] and another one called Sundowner. But how could we, when both the Man Beater’s and The Taliban’s radios were only turned on during news bulletins?

Even ‘Wakulimaa’ we only caught when we could hold out long enough after Edward Kadido or Omuga Kabisae was done with ‘Matangazo maalum halkadhalika ya vifo.’

Then came the millennium, and with it the first icon of media revolution: FM Radio. KBC blessed us with Metro FM, which for a long time Njove [Not the one of wedding gifts] convinced me was using the slogan ’24/7 Horse of Reggae.’
Next up was a crop of local musicians, and John ‘KJ’ Kiarie in his ‘Head on Korishon’ segment in The Sunday Nation [Another xaxa pioneer] prophesied Kenyan youth would soon be pursuing music more than college degrees. Then, KJ was following his dream, before he later broke off to follow his father Waweru Ngéthe’s dream.

Then E-Sir happened, and with him the onset of KJ’s prophesy coming to be. Fortunately, or not, probably, Mkenya was one of those caught up in the music business craze. He teamed up with Alex Ndume who was also working with Patrick Mbogo and they started spending most of their free-and prep- time writing music. I don’t remember their stage names, I’ll work on that. Any money they saved was used to make trips to town in search of a recording studio.

All fine and proper; to each their own.

Except they started trying to rope me in. Mkenya specifically did the asking. He began by asking me to check the written lyrics for him. Although I had no music experience, I did that like a good brother and opined about a few rhymes I thought could be tweaked here and there.

Next he started inviting me to their practice sessions, and I tagged along as a show of support. Then they started asking me to give it a go. To this I said no. Categorically. But who do you call Mkenya!

He then started dropping subtle comments that the money I was wasting on Football-and other- magazines could go a long way in helping ‘our’ recording. I was tempted to tell him that his music business was none of my business, but I didn’t. I have no idea why, because it definitely wasn’t wisdom.

Then came the straw that broke the camel’s back.
One day I was on the desktop computer the Man Beater had acquired helping the chimp design a poster for a show they had coming up, trying to get creative and stuff. Somehow, they had managed to have a show in a neighbouring school on the eve of closing, and they were even allowed to bring in outsiders. I have to give it to them, I have no idea how they managed that. I must admit that for a split second I even mulled over the benefits of becoming an artist.

So we are there trying to come up with catchy phrases and, inevitably, ‘Wasanii wakali ndani ya nyumba’ came up. On it, we superimposed an image of the then famous ‘Simba Saloon’ lion that was used to advertise nights at The Carnivore on newspapers. Problem arose when we came to put in the artistes’ names.

IMAGE: A snippet of a Simba similar to what was used in Simba Saloon ads | Source: Kenyabuzz.com
A snippet of a Simba similar to what was used in Simba Saloon ads | Source: Kenyabuzz.com

After listing the three key performers, Mkenya slyly asked me to insert my name as a fourth performer. I was very alive to his cunning, but I just replied to him casually, ‘Hii ni ya wasanii wakali ndani ya nyumba, mimi nitakuwa msanii mkali hapo nje.’ [I’m not sure I got non-Swahili speaking readers. If there are, please notify]

Hahaha, hapo hujaniambia poa. Mkenya replied, and we got on with designing our poster.

The poster was dope; people loved it. I attended the show, and it was a relative success. The physically handicapped kids, part of the institution where the show was held, were elated. I felt happy- and a tinge envious- for Wasanii Wakali.
Talk of me joining the group never came to the surface again.

Eventually, they did split and went it solo but none of them pursued the dream much farther. And the music story went under. Until recently, when I told Mkenya I was planning to record a song ‘just for fucks,’ and he grumbled, After successfully killing my career!

That’s preposterous! I objected.

You remember when we were designing that poster and we came up with that killer phrase Wasanii Wakali ndani ya Nyumba and you said you would be Msanii mkali hapo nje?

Mmmh…yeah, I think I do.

Man, you really killed me with that. You blew out my candle.

Whoa! That was just a casual statement! You are blaming me for your little ambition.

Casual to you. Little ambition it was yes, it needed some support to fledge…

Okay, let’s stop getting emotional here, shall we?

Okay…

And just like that, the son of the soil failed to become a hit maker because of something casual I said. So now I’m here drawing images in my mind of how we could have become great [I definitely would have been the manager] and toured the world and given Sauti Sol a run for their money at the MAMAs.

Or just become a bunch of drug and alcohol imbimbing brats like…need I start listing?

My track is coming, soon.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave this one here for no reason at all…

IMAGE: Mufasa move faster. Image source: Pinterest
Image source: Pinterest

#Timbitii #iRestMyPen