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Eligible bachelor? You are the village curse!

By By TED MALANDA | December 2nd 2013


KENYA: If there is one thing elders frown upon, it is a man who has refused, or for one reason or other, is unable to put a woman in the house.

That is why when our sister publication, The Nairobian, published a list of what it termed Nairobi’s most eligible bachelors, I was shocked that they were taking about men of means and status. Back in my village, the tag ‘eligible’ would not refer — they would practically be outcasts.

In the old days, a village’s survival depended on numbers. You needed people to till the land, herd the cows and fight to defend your women against that silly tribe across the ridge. And with the diseases and famine that snuffed out entire generations, the more babies everyone made, the better.

It, therefore, amounted to economic sabotage when some idiot refused to marry.


By the time he was 18, it was expected that he should begin showing a robust interest in the opposite sex — a bashful girl or two tiptoeing out of his simba in the wee hours of the morning, you know. When he didn’t, his grandmother began asking suggestive questions.

If he didn’t catch the hint, she would trap him before his peers and rudely ask whether that thing of his worked, to shame him into taking decisive action.

Of course there was always one oddball who refused to do the honourable thing. He would be derided at every turn with comments such as, “Who are you to speak before men?” The rider here was that to be considered a man, you had to have a woman in the house, a bit perplexing because women were ‘mere children’.


Even when he got to his senses and got himself a nice wench, elders didn’t think much of him until he married a second or third wife.

And in drinking dens, they would order the man with one wife to sit near the door.

The reasoning was that if a man with one wife sat far away from the door and news came that his wife had died, he would in panic jump to his feet and run — in the process breaking the hallowed beer pot. But a polygamous man would instead take a deep pull on his drinking straw and ask, “Which of my wives is dead?”

Anyway, when a man idiotically refused to get hitched, upon his demise, elders took a few steps to ensure that curse was removed from the village forever.

His remains were not removed through the main door as is the norm, but a rude opening was demolished at the back of his hut. A stick was thrust in his urethra to block the bugger from spawning bachelors in the next world.

In some communities, I hear, ash was stuffed up his rear to block that curse from wafting out of the grave and infecting village boys.  Oh… and to this day, some communities never bury men in innerwear.

They also ensure to unzip their trousers first, so they can go forth and multiply in the other word.

Are you reading this, eligible bachelors?

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