My sons and daughter are seated at the front row of the congregation. My grandkids seated just behind their fathers and mother. Their wives (my sons) are around the boma running errands. It’s not that hot but the tents are doing well to keep the weather more bearable. The other congregants are old men in vintage hats and walking sticks leaning by their sides. Old women with vitambaas covering their heads that you bet is stricken with grey hair like locusts in Pharaoh’s maize plantation.
They don’t look happy. All of them. Okay they smile occasionally. Probably when someone speaking on the mic before them makes a joke in Luhya. Some won’t laugh, like my grandkids that have been bred in Nairobi. Especially the one’s that are born of my first born son. Like the one in a red marvin.
But the atmosphere is not all sad. Not as it should be. An old lady has been given a chance to speak by the emcee. She is in a maroon dress with a white stripe by the collar and a white kitambaa on her head. On her feet are faded black ngoma shoes- the starter pack for shoshoz in the countryside. She has made people laugh even harder than anyone else has. She has pulled a file about us from back then in 1958. She must have dusted it first by blowing it then flapping it against her maroon dress. She then held it on her chest and walked with it to the podium. She is my sister in law. The wife to my elder brother who, apparently, departed before me a year or two ago.
I am not sad because less tears are being shed. I was 82 years for Chrissake! I’m not sure I lived my best life, but I have lived long enough yoh! I was telling my eldest son, when he last saw me on Monday, last week but one – that I had whispered to the Lord about my willingness to rest. What more was there to live for anyway. All I did was sit helplessly on my old chair and watch the day cruise by through the small bedroom window of my mud house which has now turned into a mad house flooded with mourners.
Sometimes I’d fight my way out with my crutches and sit oustide. I have had a broken leg for God knows how long. At my age, it couldn’t heal. That broken leg was the beginning of my infirmity. I’ve had my agemates; friends and relatives kick the bucket but all I could do was send my pole to them. Sometimes instead of going for their funerals, they’d save some part of it and bring the funeral to me. They’d register my tears and sorrow, probably put them in a kiondoo and ferry my regards back to the bereaved.
You might be wondering why I sound lonely. Well you know life. My partner in crime tapped out before me in 1995, just before my eldest son’s second child was born. I hated the fact that I had to live with that. Maybe I even blame myself but story for another day. Oh! Darn it! There is no other day after today. Rather, after last Sunday when my guardian angel showed up with the grim reaper. He said, “Mjango, your time has come. You’re too old to pray your way out of it. So don’t waste your time.” I don’t remember saying whether it was okay or not, but I know I didn’t fight it.
So back to my wife. Sorry for the digression. It happens a lot at my age. I might say the same things umpteen times in a story without realising. She is the mother of my children. I felt for them more because they adored her.
Right now, everyone’s talking about me or thinking about me. Most likely more than they ever had on any day in their entire lives. That is because a few strides from the tent they are all congregated in, is me. Lying in a wooden box that my children hastily purchased after you know when.
The wooden box is sheltered under a smaller tent. One side, the side my head is facing – is draped with an ankara shuka that shields the sun from shinning directly on my face. (You bet when I was still breathing I didn’t know it’s called ankara.) I mean, who wants to go to Ahero with a sun burn? My guardian angel didn’t pack sunscreen for me. He said the grim reaper was rushing, he had dead lines to meet. Almost like the Kenya Power guy who comes in a Honda to cut the power. There is no sweet talking him. Well, if you can sweet talk him with chai, then definitely not the grim reaper.
I see people look at me through the glass on the wooden box that’s just above my face. Some I know, some I don’t. Some cry and wail. Some just stand there as if waiting to see whether I’d move or see my face twitch. Others talk to me but I’d be in trouble if I responded. So all I do is just pretend to listen. They usually don’t see my guardian angel pat them on the back saying, “There There.”
At times I want to tell them I’m thirsty. Not for water. Come on si you know these things. But my guardian refused to pack that for me too. He said contraband is not allowed in heaven. I could hear my last born sons talk about my thirst strongly during my memorial service today. Sons if you can hear me, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it.
And all of you, fruits of my loins, grandkids, in laws and my country people, for the times we locked horns or my horns pricked your spines, I hope you find peace in your hearts about me.
Because now, my stop is here mjango. I gotta go now. My train has officially arrived. There is a long line there where I’m headed – I’m told. Interesting I hear Rais Mtukufu will be just behind me in line. Grim reaper came for me on Sunday and my guardian angel was right. Kumbe he was rushing to that prominent guy’s place. Funny life huh.
Oh trust me I’ll shake his hand and check whether his guardian angel packed his fimbo for him. I’ll show him the hair cut I got from my nephew. He is a professional barber. I mean, how many people make it to Ahero with a neat hair cut? No brag intended though. So what would you guys like me to tell Rais Mtukufu? Anyway I bet he has heard enough from Kenya. Let the old man rest.
Okay I’ve said enough. I am checking out here just after my eldest son is done speaking. His son, the last born son, the one in the red marvin is the one I’m handing y’all over back to. He is a good boy. (I think.) At least I got to see him a little bit more frequently (than the other Nairobi breeds) while he is schooling in the university in the county.
He owns this space. And God willing, one of these fine days you will come here and find it revamped into a creative palace. My boy, sorry I’ll not be around to see it. But you got this son!
He wants to talk about Rebounds in the next blog. Hehe. Whatever the hell that is. I am too old for some shit. Or would you want to know whether I have ever had a rebound? Take the next train to Ahero and let’s meet Kwa Mama Pima when you get there. I’ll tell you all about it. Though I hear nowadays it’s just called Kwa Mathee. Drinks on me; but essentially I’m planning to get Rais Mtukufu to join the squad and we will have just found ourselves a sponsor for the after life.
For those still around; above the surface, he (Mjango not Rais Mtukufu) is going to be narrating stories from mjangos who are victims of rebound relationships, mjangos who sought for people to be their rebounds, define what qualifies to be a rebound and the juice of it all, why rebound! Whoa!
Reach out to him if you think you have a killer rebound story through: victoralberts5@gmail.com.
Anyway, I guess that’s it.
Wait, so far there are no plans for Disco Matanga in my funeral. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I have mixed feelings. But I thought there was one last night. I felt my ghost dancing in my sleep.
Oh well,
Mjango’s Grandpa out!


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Kimeu Gladys
Kimeu Gladys
3 years ago

Rest well Mjango?.You must have been a good joke cracker or I say a comedian?,well where’s the difference let’s meet the other Mjango in the red Marvin for more details well it’s him we have here now?.
Amazing ⚡?

3 years ago

Nice story over there

3 years ago

Rip grandpa! Gotea Rais mtukufu…

3 years ago

Well, we are still stuck with you?. Great piece.