There is a sermon commonly preached to boys. It’s preached to them and then they are bathed in oath to it. Like young boys in the village, they are initiated into manhood. Their rich African skin colour like the black cotton soil with mad smeared all over their bodies as they stand naked before a multitude of men, like the men they are about to be. The men are chanting and singing native songs of bravery, ancestral heroes and theme songs to the occasion at hand, one that is marked to turn boys into men.
Their bodies (the boys) bask in the atmosphere of the day, a mixture of cold and tradition. They stand unmoved and rigid like an erected pillar, except for their penises that will later be worthy to be called manhoods. They, (the penises) have to remain flaccid as if they are in a bag of ice for the foreskins to hang in the air in their fullest length. They, (the penises again, this is the last time I’m mentioning those guys, pinky swear) are like fugitives in line to be beheaded. So they hold their heads down as they await their sentence. But unlike fugitives, this sentence will give life to manhood!
It is in this element of manhood that is preached to them that gives rise to brotherhood. In modern language, this brotherhood is called bro code. They are bound by the knife that cut all of them. And it is from this bro code that the wise among them came up with the slogan, dicks before chics! – that you’d honour the fellow dick you know before the chic you don’t. Only your own kind is able to take care of you and have your back. And a man’s own kind is his fellow brother. The initiation goes beyond the ritual and the oath. Initiation happens just as much when brothers go through the hurricanes of life together.
And now I share the first part of the sermon:
Living with a brother before living with a chic
I’ve heard men of cloth say that before you settle with a woman, live with a brother first, so that your spirit may be worked upon. When you live with a brother, the friction of egos, the collision of bad habits, the embarrassments that come with open correction added on to the hardship tides they swim through together, forms a tough heart like rubber. That’s how a man becomes a man. You may have undergone the cut mjango, but the knife cuts only your … okay I promised I wont say it again – but hardship and discipline from fellow brothers cuts your soul and shapes your heart to look like that of a man. It solders your manhood and burns sissiness, gullibility and naif characters to ashes. In slang, that is what people call ‘umama.’
Every man is born with a level of sissiness in them. It can grow into an untreatable social behaviour in our African society if the figures around him don’t tame him to man up. Nowonder you’d hear social scholars strongly advocate to have the male child grow up in the presence of their fathers if possible or male fatherly figures. On top of that, a way to engrave manhood in a young man is to have his early adult years spent living with a brother(s).
After which, I believe you as a young man will be socially certified to settle with a woman when you are ready to do so. Of course no one will grant you congratulations and a pat on the back. Your system as a man will have stood to benefit silently in the long run because mjango, trust me, not even your wife will want to spend the rest of her life with another ‘she’ man in the house. There can’t be two women under the same roof yet one has balls hanging out his body. I’ve observed some women having poor – under one roof – relations by the way. Ask them why they prefer living alone while in uni.
What women, and specifically your wife will want is a man. You to be the man. Not too much of a man to batter her and treat her like disposable paper with forced submission. That’s a toxic man and you deserve a punch in the balls if you think that’s what being a man means.
When she annoys you, sounds unreasonable, nags over tiny things, becomes complicated and hard to understand amongst millions of other traits that stem from the nature of women, you as man, a man who has had his patience stretched and heart toughened by the experience of living with fellow brothers, will stand a better chance at treating her with tolerance, temperance and patience. You’d look like a fool when she throws a tantrum and you throw a tantrum back.
Anyway, now to the story.
I have had the honour and experience of living with a brother. Okay yes I have biological brothers and I have had sissiness punched out of me with strong words, but in this particular case, I am talking about a brother whose blood is nowhere close to being related to mine but as you know from your proverbial schools, it stands thicker than water. I met him at the end of my first year. He is a man who comes from the world I come from, therefore we speak the same language (not literally).We both left the hostels and rented a house in one of the most famous estates in the town known for housing students.
We had silver linings in our lifestyles but never did they collide. I know of times I suppressed discontentment like times when the cooking had a little too much of something and I’d go to bed with a bruise in my intestines. Repulsive fits from small habits I didn’t approve. And normal disappointments that come about when you live with someone who is not you. Even you disappoint yourself sometimes mjango. In my eyes, all these things are prototypes of normalcies that arise when you live with anyone, including a woman or in this context, a chic! We however found ways to meet midway in the things we shared like food and chores. For instance, I like sukuma wiki steamed and without soup. He likes to leave it to cook for ages. We met midway, wherever the midway of steaming and cooking for ages was, call it finding harmony. It slowly squeezes the humility in through your nose.
Within that period just when we lived under one roof, our love lives which by the way were very rich sometime before – had grown so broken and poor. Tracing through our history books, we had found the so called loves of our lives but I’d rather you call first loves, typically at the same time earlier that year even before we got acquainted. Again, coincidence and shit, around the same time about eight months later, shit introduced itself uncelebratedly into our relationships.
Just like that, things began to fall apart.
That was in August before we moved in together. Now after we moved in, sometime later in October, the crack on the walls of Jericho (let’s assume love is Jericho today) finally gave in. I was present in the house when his wall fell right before his face. It was a hot afternoon. The door of his bedroom flang open shortly after it had been closed. A breeze of heartbreak escaped heavily from the then relieved room. She walked out first with finality written all over her face and disbelief written on my brother’s face.
He was also present sometime later when at around midday, on a Wednesday, when a phone call from an unsaved but familiar number came buzzing through my phone. I was just from class. I stood by the sitting room window with disinterest and antagonism in my voice but timidity and paranoia paralysing my limbs. He must have heard me say, “You’re the one who ended this relationship! All I did was to make it official.” He must have prepared a consolation speech to read for me immediately the call ended. That was how, on many nights in the wee hours, we found ourselves seated on the cold floor laughing to our chic problems. That is how men cry by the way, how we mourn the loss of love – commemorating good old times with the once dubbed gold of our manly souls, reciting that it’s all gone and there can be no turning back until our systems believe it. By also crafting slogans of self encouragement like ‘Watajua hawajui‘ to ‘Tumerudi kwa market‘ to Mejja’s ‘Niko over my ex’. In fact that was our theme song. We finished that off with ‘Me nataka kumeet somebody new’ and ‘Nataka kuexchange number na mutu.’
I have heard him say that if it were not for the consolation from brotherhood, he would have been no different from an injured pig. What we would have done to seek consolation and healing are unconventional methods that only invite more problems. So anyone out there nursing a heartbreak of any kind, this is proof that talking to someone who listens, relates and understands does set you up on a date with someone new called healing.
That was the first phase of hardship. The second phase which was a more frequent face in our mirror, (Which is not surprising that we didn’t have one in the whole house for a long time,) was entitled financial hardships. You’ve heard people say ‘kusota ni real‘ but maybe you haven’t seen kusota eye to eye. I can hold a Bible and say that one time in the second year of our brotherhood housing, my throat was clogged with tears when each passing minute on the clock towards 9pm was drawing us closer to the fact that for the first time, probably in our entire lives, we would sleep hungry! (Stalls close so damn early around the town by the way. Like by 8pm.) We were face to face with that reality because we knew our stock in the house was only full of empty jars and breadcrumbs.
His phone had not been free from fuliza for a long time. It’s actually from him that I learnt how fuliza works. Trust me you don’t want to try it my friend. It’s a trap! Loan apps were our friends too. But only when you’ve got money to pay them back. Our financiers back at home had hit financial icebergs that season too. In past times, we had willingly munched ngumus escorted with tea for supper for lack of appetite. This time round, even the ngumu and tea would save us.
Look at the things that moulded manhood in us. Not to brag that we are strong men, but even we do realise and are proud that we went through things like that. We are smart enough to accept that that’s the training ground of life especially as a boy child. You should be too mjango. Pick up lessons and hopefully you will have notes to refer to when you and your woman are forced to board the hardship boat someday. It’s okay to be beaten up by dispair. It happens. But it is not okay to be the cry baby between you two. Of course, I must admit that women have an underlying resilience we don’t. She’ll be the one to rub you on your back and remind you, her mans, that you got this!
So before settling with a chic,you may walk through fire by living with those who are loaded in their pants like you.
If you were to bulletproof brotherhood or a chic, what would you choose?
My relation with my brother did not lack its testing times. Time and again, the godfather of discord tried to throw butter in between the cords that bound us together. And the common butter, mjango, is none other than chics! Since the exit of our first loves, it opened a highway for new ventures. I say men are like lions. It’s in their nature to do two things: hunt and be territorial. They like to have a pride of their own and they want to be the only lion in it.
I have seen us in settings where we have competed to roar mostly without knowing. I have seen him roar and the lioness bows and I had to let him carry the day. I have seen myself roar and the lioness didn’t bow but instead bowed to his silent roar. I had to let him carry the lioness. But he did so after he, as a brother asked me in good time, whether he had the green light to hunt down that lioness. I let him and I witnessed the shortest chase in the history of the animal kingdom. Like a good brother, I kept my distance from that lioness. I believe any man can feel it in his guts that a particular chic could be a ticking time bomb over his brotherhood.
He has seen me hunt and build my pride in the same way I have seen him hunt and build his. We clapped for each other. We have taught each other about the dynamics of hunting because fact is, lionesses are complicated. The common lesson was how to make sure we are not taken for granted by the chics in our individual lives. At the same time, how to not take chics in our individual lives for granted because, like the back of our hands, we knew that they don’t like feeling used, desperate, unappreciated and undervalued. They thrive where they are appreciated.
We have sat in the sitting room turned secret banker for classified information – drawing strategies on how to hunt down particular targets. Today would be him helping me figure out the best strategy and the next time it will be the other way around. This is something men do by the way if at all this is catching you by surprise. We pictured it all like a football match. He supports Chelsea and surprisingly maybe, I support Liverpool. Some days, I’d walk into the house with a bag of good news. Okay maybe in the bag there would be a ball because I, dubbed Mo Salah of Liverpool had scored a hat trick and won the match we had been strategizing for hours on one night. On some days, he’d be the Diego Costa of chelsea, seated before me raising a glass of juice (we called it jus) and saying, “Cheers to a win for Chelsea na kutoka kwa market.”
I did my best as a brother to stand behind the lines of enmity that would commonly arise from as little as walking in another lion’s territory. I’d stick to handshakes only with the chic I knew he was roaring over day and night. I’d build a wall around me in the presence of the chics that I knew meowed over him day and night.
Such that sometime this week, a mutual friend of ours probed me over what had come to be of our friendship (her and I) which was budding quite well in time past. In my mind, the only reason for that was that after she got acquainted with my brother, I have been aware of her advancements on him. I got no problem with that. But the fuse of any man in my shoes would short circuit over a chic who does that. Things cannot really go back to how they used to be.
The place of a chic in a man’s life should not be undervalued at the expense of brotherhood. They should be treated like two trees that are connected by their canopies. You need both trees. But one tree bears the roots that join with your roots. And your roots mjango, is brotherhood. The slogan ‘chics before dicks’ is best applied in the event of impending discord as a result of a chic standing between two brothers. The brothers should recite to themselves that they shouldn’t let a chic be the reason to allow brotherhood take a kick in the balls. That they surely can come to a win win situation or even if it cannot be a win win, they should introduce humility which is the only bullet that can take down egos.
Of course sometimes it will not be as easy. But look at you, two grown men who have conquered so many armies together but are just about to lose to a one woman army. If only you can shave your egos, there will definitely be a way to pronounce harmony.
Sit down and go through every piece of reality together. Emotions aside. Let everyone give his case in regards to the chic in contention. Maybe even have a neutral brother mediator between you. (Don’t risk it if you’re not sure he will be neutral.) It is within those account both of you will give that in my opinion – will lie the source of the problem. It’s not obvious, but diagnose to see whether the chic you both so badly want is the one pulling the discord strings and playing with both of your manly minds. In the event you will have to be the one to step down your pride, please do and embrace forgiveness. Ask for forgiveness if you’re the one who made a move on the chic after your brother had called dibs on her. Shake hands and call a truce. A miracle I have seen with my own two eyes comes when you humble up. You will be blessed with double mjango. So picture that. Blessed with a better chic (that suits you more) and you still get to keep your brother.
In simple language, don’t be quick to drown your brotherhood just so you may win a chic for yourself. As they say in slang, “Sio vita.” Just value brotherhood too much to stand and watch it die because of issues about a chic.
Either way, I believe you have a better shot at striking harmony with a brother in the face of discord, about a chic, if you and your brother are genuinely brothers. Si you know about this world today and fake people. Click!
However, these days it feels more like chics before dicks. Brotherhood seems not to mean anything to most men (or boys in grown men’s trousers.) It has even gone as far as dudes competing to see who will shag whose lionesses more. Some do it to settle scores, others just don’t care whether brotherhood is a thing. We all know these tales. We’ve heard and seen them transpire around us. Some don’t even know or care to know that bro code in terms of chics does apply to your brother’s exes. This is not to say if you have an eye for a chic that was once ranking high in his pride you should set your balls on fire. But as you tread on those grounds, as long as you’re hunting behind your brother’s back, you’re stabbing bro code on the neck with a pen!
Men who have no regards for brotherhood will one time come to find out that when you crash into hell, your best bet of help is your brothers. Don’t get this wrong. If you’ve found yourself a loyal woman, stick with her. Even the good books says:
Rejoice with the wife of your youth.
It also says,
He who goes into his neighbor’s wife, whosoever touches her shall not be innocent.
Well, but still the facts out there are the sense of bro code has been jerked off to meaninglessness by an unseen hand that feels selfish and egocentric in its grip!