My friend, Joan whatsapped me in the evening of Thursday last week.
Have you seen the #ifikiewazazi?
It’s best if you see it for yourself. You really need to see it.
Haha. Okay. I say in response along with some laughing emojis.
I love the laughing cat emoji especially. Not because I love cats. In fact I hate them. It’s just on Saturday when one sneaked into our kitchen through the window and ate our dog’s breakfast. My mum was furious like a bee that had just found a bear on its hive.
“Mjango!” She called out. “Imagine kuna paka imeingia hapa kitchen! Ebu come and hit it very hard!”
Now I am not sure who is supposed to be more furious than the other. Is it the dog or my mum? Because this is the second time the dog’s food had gone missing and this time, we got to know why. My mum said the first suspect in the missing dog food case was a rat. Now the last time I heard a rat being mentioned in our house was when she said she prayed until they all left. Don’t ask me how that’s possible. All I know is those prayers worked. But now, ironically though, it only seems that when the rat’s away, the cat will play. However we didn’t have to go through the trouble of telling our dog that her food was eaten by the cat. We didn’t feed her that morning and she seemed to know why already since she didn’t throw tantrums and strangle herself with her leash. Maybe they had a deal.
Like, “Hey. My master threw me out of their house. Her name is Kendi. Our mother gave birth to four of us. None of us died, so we grew and became a burden. My sister and I were thrown out and my other brother given to another master.” The cat said.
“That’s so sad bro. Whoof!” Our dog said.
“So what do you say? I hear they call you who, Meto?” The cat asked.
“Excuse me it’s Metro!” Our dog says while rolling her eyes and caressing her whiskers.
“Meow wow! What a name. So what do you say you help me now? I haven’t eaten in four days. I think I am going to die if I don’t eat anything by morning. Just one meal. No two meals.!”
“Okay you can have my breakfast. But only twice!” So maybe that’s how our dog gave out her food. Just like some pretty human beings in our midst have endeavoured to show that they are very passionate about exhibiting their skin for who knows who to see. Food for the eyes I presume. So bon appètit mjango.
Anyway, Joan texted back saying, you won’t be laughing after you see what it’s all about.
I won’t lie. I did find myself in stitches but not because of what it was all about. I was cracking because of the comments Kenyans on twitter make as reactions to various posts on the hashtag. I mean, when the rest of Kenya is serious about how teenagers have undressed their manners in the same way they have started undressing their bodies in the name of art for photoshoots, some mjangos have found that as a platform to become comical. And yes they are good at that, unless I still have a problem of finding humour in things that other people don’t. I have been embarrassed on several occasions because of that. Like during a sermon in church.
So I remembered twenty four hours later that she had asked me to go check what the hashtag was all about. And good Lord where did your cane of thunder and lightning go! My oh my! I guess this are the kind of things that make my mum give me lectures as if I am among the perpetrators in those pictures that were flagged by concerned Kenyans. I just have to listen anyway. Listen to how she will try to explain what she has seen in those pictures. Pictures of young people, definitely as young as I am – in a collabo to show more skin than what ‘my dress my choice’ campaigned for. She will obviously not succeed in even explaining half of what her eyes have ever imagined they’d behold in her entire adult and Christian life.
She’d say how much in their times it was even a violation of respect boundaries to hold hands in public. Public display of affection was not in their terms and conditions of relations and associations. But now, the society has allowed the holding of hands saying “It’s just hands.” The just holding of hands graduated into a belt-like affair, where both hands act as belts that go around the waist. The belt-like affair, mjango, like we know of the affairs of today, they are never fully loyal. So the belt-like affair doesn’t get enough and what do we know, it becomes a hug. Just a hug. I hear there are different hugs for different people and situations.
A one hand hug is for friends who shouldn’t be less and cannot be more than friends. Moreso friends you haven’t known for so long, but they qualify. There is a one hand hug that goes through the back to the opposite shoulder that is administered when both parties are standing adjacent to each other. That is a hug for acquaintances or even exes and every other mjango you don’t relate closely. I call it a ‘just for the hell of it’ kind of a hug. Now there is this kind of hug that belongs to good friends. Long term and still loyal friends. Friends whom you’ve been through shit and stones together. A friend you consider as a lovely one maybe because of their personality, cuteness, handsomeness, beauty, abs or curves. Both hands go round each other to a perfect lock of embrace. Point to note, if it’s the kind of friendship stated, then the hands don’t get inappropriate. The waists should never get in contact and for my fellow men, watch how much you lean your chest to hers. If anything happens contrary to that, you might as well be called a perv when gossips about you begin to catch fire. And finally, the hug that belongs to lovers. This is the hug that has no limits in the space between the two parties. This is the kind of hug that would get inappropriate but wouldn’t be called so because you know what, it’s love.
Because of love, many acts that would be deemed indecent outside closed doors if we are to be sober and unbiased, do go without any judgment at all. We have become so used to dismissing what we see of people’s displays to the assumption that “Maybe they are lovers” until it doesn’t cross our minds anymore that it is actually indecent regardless of what stands in between them. Now look at ourselves putting hashtags on teens who have only grown in the wombs conceived through the fusion of all our compromises and assumptions. They are only doing what the unseen demon of compromise that we entertained in one way or another – taught them to do.
Mama would go on to say that the respect that women had for their bodies was one stronger than any ritual. What of now? It has become like a competition about who will show more skin. The reaction of the young ladies who had their ‘famous artistic’ photos whistle-blown for social media criticism wasn’t as surprising either. We expect these girls to say that they knew what they were and perhaps still going to keep on doing. We expect them to say that it is none of our businesses and we have our bodies as well as they have theirs; which we have an independent choice on what to do with them. Mjango what do you know, that is exactly what they said and guess what, I agree with them. I agree that they are wise enough to show all the skin they have on social media platforms but conceal ‘the parts that matter’ even if it is with an innocent pineapple and that, as a matter of fact doesn’t qualify it to be called porn. Oh hell yeah I agree that is a choice!
Even to them we had a choice to look at those pictures or not. See your surprised faces when I say that you chose to look at them just as they chose to take photos of themselves doing what they feel they want to do with their bodies in the name of entertainment and art. (Okay everyone else chose to see them apart from my mum. Her tablet has been having a hitch over the past week. Without it, she’s locked out of internet digitalism and updates. Even the groups she is in… Okay that’s enough. So trust me she didn’t see what caused some parents I know – to go blind last week.) So the rest of us are guilty of choice making, especially those like me who went running all over social media to see every single picture under the hashtag only so we’d know what it is all about. After which, we started throwing stones at them for the sins they display on social media.
In that case, pick up another one and stone you and me because nobody is justified. Not you, not your mjango here and not the new skin models in town and the mjangos they bend the laws of morality and decency with. And neither are their parents we quickly rushed to hashtag like saying, “See your kids and do something!” Some mjangos probably reposted the skin models’ pictures not out of genuine concern but fascination. Congratulations to them. Ishafikia wazazi. Then what? It’s clear now however, that gone are the times when the indiscipline of one child was a fault to the entire society.
Just to make it clear for the mjangos who were caught on camera doing what they think God gave them as a talent to do with the skin models. I’ve ever heard mama say, “The only way a man will know that a woman’s body is to be respected is only when the woman not only tells but shows the man that she deserves to be respected.” In my own words, this means that men have a playing along characteristic. As long as the game is on, a man will play along. Though in my experience, a good man will not take advantage of that.
Don’t tell me. I know I have troubled the waters.
However much we should hold ourselves accountable for such defects in our world, the greatest accountability and fault should go the particulars involved in such a height of indecency; the showing of too much skin. There is no degree of explanation that is enough to justify that trend. It may not be our business yes, but in the same way I have already pictured the pain, trauma, disappointment and regret my mother would go through if my face was shown anywhere for all the wrong reasons – so should you think of what that trend has or will do to your mothers as well.
My friend, Joan whatsapped me in the evening of Thursday last week.