By Ted Malanda
I wish to bring the attention of the big men at the Standard Group that a grievous breach of African traditions is about to happen, right beneath their noses.
There is a building coming up behind the Standard Group Centre. According to my investigations, the contractor is about to roof it. It may, however, be in everyone’s best interests that management moves with speed and sets things right.
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Whereas all the building materials are on site, and the roofing is about to commence, I have noticed with great alarm that no chicken has not been slaughtered.
This is not a laughing matter. In Africa, and Kenya to be precise, no self-respecting fundi roofs a hut unless a chicken has been slaughtered. This age old custom has nothing to do with eating (ha! ha!), but having blood sip into the ground to cleanse (whatever) and ensure the roof ‘sits’ properly.
Don’t ask me what correlation there is between a dead chicken and a roof ‘sitting’ properly. Matters of elders are not spoken of casually in the market place before women and children.
It is, however, not too late. Should the powers that be consult me, I would be quite willing to arrive with a live chicken (at their expense of course) and arrange a small ceremony. I guess I would need to paint my face with chalk and perform a little dance and then do the honours.
There would be a small price to pay in manner of stiff fines to the gods — say a fat ram, which I would drag into the boot of my car and take to yet another cleansing ceremony in Ngong Forest. This particular ritual is critical because it cleanses the danger of almost having roofed a building without slaughtering a chicken. Serious offense.
Of course I would not eat the ram. That would be sacrilege. It would be roasted whole and left for departed spirits in charge of ensuring that roofs ‘sit’ properly. I would only take the tail, which, for reasons that are none of your business, must be buried on the spot where the chicken was slaughtered, but facing east. Direction is critical.
One key ingredient in this ritual is that I must scatter Sh5,000 in crisp bank notes in the forest as a binding token to the gods and also employ the finest honey beer for libations.
Well, well! State corruption didn’t begin yesterday. Men of old began ‘Anglo Leasing’ chickens, goats and beer from hapless peasants long before John Githongo’s great grandfather was born!