The Kenyan matatu touts in this case. I don’t know whether you will believe me when I break it to you
that I have ever been harassed by a tout, not once and not twice. Well, maybe you are thinking of how
that is possible for a mwanaume like me. Your blogger for that matter! Mjango, things happen, haiyaa.
Okay it’s not as if I’m saying it’s something that should happen to wanawake. Not at all. (In fact speaking
of women rights, I sided with the feminists and campaigners of My Dress My Choice. Round of
applause? Though I didn’t wear a mini and a pair of heels to show my support. Or was I supposed to?
Gerarahiaa. Lol)
And it’s not as if my body size and looks could tempt a hell-sent mjango to bully me. It’s just that when
you are a grown up man, in this case, responding rather verbally or physically to an impending
harassment from such mjangos will only insinuate an unintended call for violence; a physical exchange.
(We both know that men are like lions. They would fight to death only to prove who the head of the
pride is. Yes! Men, but not GENTLE-men. Get it?)
I was in the company of two she-types one very promising Saturday on the streets of Nairobi at around
midday. (Excuse me dear reader. You might have noticed my mentioning feminine company mara kwa
mara. Soon you will know they are she-types of substance, not less than that. Let it just prove to you
that I am a straight guy for now Kapish? Argh! What is there to justify?) Being rather conversant with the
street journeys through town than both of them, I led us through Ronald Ngala street; one of the nosiest
and perhaps precarious streets according to high life uptown mjangoz. We hurriedly shove through the
moving and slow moving human traffic, to the extent of coming close to touts who would sing louder,
the riddim many matatu users depend on but have never appreciated. Call it the Matatu Riddim. So for
us, we heard this version, “Githurai mbao … Githu Githu mbao mbao…. Kalia kalia ..Githuruai
kumikumikumekumekumeee.” And there I am, minding my own, or is it our own pedestrian business. I
can only accept its part of their job.
Let me not fail to mention that I pitied my pretty comrades from the look on their faces which were
undeniably humble and of course, naïve to the street buzz. It’s understandable. Though I might have
heard them silently think-out-loud, “Where is this mjango taking us? Isn’t there a better way through to
wherever we are going?” “No there isn’t!” I would reply to the mocking bird in my head who amplified
the illumined think-out-loud again and again to make me feel screwed.
Then hell opened a portal, at the wrong time, when I’m with the wrong people. “Lord spare me this
trial.” If only I remembered to mumble that short prayer, maybe things would have been better. One of
the touts came after me to persuade me into his beat ride. He might have interpreted the seriousness
and unwillingness from the look on my face, (some empty-talkers call it ‘Ego’.) He retreated. Thankfully.
That was to end that way.
Ironically enough, the mjango pursues further to my side, to my two pretty comrades. The Matatu
Riddim was still the same, only that he did away with the rhythm and added some lyrics, maybe it was
the verse to the song, “Githurai mbao warembo. Mbao tu. Kalia twende. Come mummy. Gari fiti
madam….” Blaah Blaah Blaah. I expected them to say no to the persuasion as we walked. Okay the kinda
did, but ladies please. Many of you if not all, the humility and softness (for lack of a better word) that
you were packaged with during creation, is good, uphold it. That’s how it’s supposed to be. But
tafadhaali, work on your assertive NO if it’s no, or YES if its yes. I’m not asking you to be manly but, aah
mtafanya nilie nikijaribu kujieleza apa. Point blank: I could have lost a tooth or won a black eye from the
mindless, insolate, seemingly violent mjango who doesn’t even deserve the title ‘tout’. It’s too good for
him. Eish manzeh.
The level of persuasion.
He gets hold of one of my comrades on the arm, pulling towards his side right in front of me? Mjango?
Even a coward would at least try to help that situation. Okay, I’m not a coward, that’s just a figure of
speech. “We were not interested.” Besides what is there too difficult to decipher if the reaction was
already negative?
The level of indecency.
Wait! Am I the only one who is seeing this or what? I said he was pulling her arm!!!!! ‘Daah! Some girl
power here? Feminine-comrades? Anyone?’
The three of us were a team here, and if there was anyone who was to stand up and do something, it
should be the ‘lion’ amongst them. Right? So without any intention of disrespect, I simply try to gently
push him away. It was the least or the best I could do to show him, “Mjango, you know what, please
back off. Will you? If we wanted your ride, we’d come over ourselves.” (Or if I should have done it in a
better way, please let me know.)
Wallah! It worked. He let go. But don’t celebrate just yet. Nyuki alichokozwa. No, alichokoza ndio
achokozwe. The hunter became the haunted. Yes you’ve guessed that right mjango. What I’m about to
narrate openly proved that the mjango was really nuts. Or not. He is a TOUT for crying out loud! And
that is what they do. Seems I had to learn it the hard way huh. (Not all of them are like that though. I
shouldn’t be misquoted. I respect their job title. Don’t we say in Kenya that Kazi ni Kazi? So there are
some we will cross paths, others we will shake hands. Mmmh..) The mjango turns over to me, throwing
unpalatable words. [Those words that when our government leaders call each other in the line of duty,
the aftermath is usually seen on them, walking almost half naked in torn shirts and trousers. As if the
physical exchange became too hot, they couldn’t help it but air themselves out. And ouw, the bleeding
noses too.] Somehow clinching my shoulder shouting, “Kijana cheki, me hutaniambia kitu. Umeskia?
Naeza ku..” Roger that soldier. I got you right and clear. Io kitu, enyewe ata sikuwa nikuambie. You don’t
deserve it.
His voice dimmed as we ignorantly walked away. Feeling very protective of course. My pretty comrades
frightened to the roots of their hair. Thank Heavens it didn’t go beyond that. Or else I could have been
blogging my lifetime embarrassment here. A thorough beating. Who knows? I was surprised that I could
afford a smile.
Instead of straining the muscles of my fists and arms on drilling dents and painting black eyes on touts, I
decided to pen it all down to every mjango. Yes life is demanding things from us. Sometimes we have to
persuade people. But quit interrupting their space. That’s not your playground. Even if they can’t do
anything to you, don’t behave like a tout! People have the freedom to do what they want, when they
want. Forceful persuasion is annoying. You can face charges for it. The lawyers will help me out on that.
And every mjango agreeing with this say Iiiiii….


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Rae Rae
Rae Rae
6 years ago

True true.. enough said.. you always know how to hit the nail on the head.. big up yow #toutout

Brian Anyona
Brian Anyona
6 years ago

Well said bro

Theophilus M
Theophilus M
Reply to  Brian Anyona
6 years ago

Funny…and ofcourse captivating.
Nice blog 😉

Joan Naitore
Joan Naitore
6 years ago

Speaking lots of sense yet in a humourous way. Nyc.

6 years ago

Hahaha…..on point msee kma speech za pLO

3 years ago

Am saying lii