If you live in the city, and you are a man — or rather used to be one — then it’s time you took that long trip back to the village for tips on how to behave like your ancestors.
It is true that in every Nairobi man, some of whom have been around for more than 45 years, there is a child hidden who will not go to sleep unless he gets to play Candy Crush.
So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us, very common in Nairobi. I call it Kiddie-ocracy.
The city has a way of converting men into window-leaking Tom. These men, or what is left of them, have no idea when they last visited their mothers in the village. They will stubbornly put off producing children, and when they do, what comes forth, according to one writer, is a severely overprotected child who is likely to spend half her life in emergency rooms and the other half in therapy due to allergies to gluten, dust and negative thoughts.
The children, all of whom are named after American movie stars like Rambo and Undertaker, are somewhere near catastrophe. The lads cannot even chew sugarcane; it has to be done for them. They are not even allowed to experiment with a nail-cutter because it will kill them!
These children, some still in Kindergarten, will open their Weetabix mouths to educate a surprised Uncle Wafula about the seating arrangement in the house. The spoilt brats will shamelessly chase Uncle Wafula from “kiti ya Daddy na ya Mum”. It’s even worse if Uncle Wafula seats on chairs designated specifically for them. So Wafula will be tempted to tell them that back in the village, seats are reserved for adults, and that a child rests his torn behind on the earthen floor until he finishes University.
Things get worse the moment the devil directs Uncle Wafula to the 32-inch TV . The two terrorists will take time to educate his village brain on which channel to watch. You will hear them say: “Uncle, wacha hapo kwa cartoon.”
Meanwhile, in an attempt to bring the house to order and show that he is still a man, Daddy will master some feeble courage which will escape his mouth like soft female cough. The kids will not even take notice, they are used to Daddy. So he will order them to their bedroom, a request that will be declined with the twin shrugging of the shoulder.
The wrath in the command is diluted because it is issued in English – it would sound more thunderous and forceful if delivered in original Luhya language.
Daddy will say something like: “Rambo, will you please give Uncle Wafula the remote! Don’t’ you want me to buy you chips tomorrow?” To which Rambo will make a fresh demand, reminiscent of a shaggy headed Hollywood movie stars saying: “Sitaki chipo, nataka bike. (I don’t want chips, I want a bicycle).
Meanwhile, the two terrorists who claim to know about children’s rights, will invade Uncle Wafula’s pockets in an attempt to fish out the few coins he has left. “Nipatie pesa,” they will chorus as they climb up and down his little frame. And when they succeed in forcing their hands into his pockets, all they fill is Wafula’s thighs. They will then stand on top of the table — imagine — to make pronouncement, “Trouser yake imetaruka, hahahahaha.”
See, Uncle Wafula has to put up with your man-child antics whenever he comes to the city. He can tell that “Boys will not be boys” anymore. Reason being that the men who left the village to learn the Whiteman’s witchcraft and way of speaking have lost their village heads.
As a result, their children behave like Donald Trump and his team —who I hear behave almost like they’re subjects of study in a course in clinical psychology. This is why you will find a 45-year-old with pierced ears walking along Kenyatta Avenue yearning for the thumb-sucking years.
This type of man will buy a two-door sports car then stuff it with two tonnes of speaker from Kenwood. I mean, the boot of a car is supposed to carry sacks of maize and millet, not giant speakers.
Such men have no intention of marrying, and if they do, then it’s that skinny lass who feeds on nothing but chips, salad and soda.
It is here in the city that you will find countless grown men cowering behind their well-trimmed hedges, trying to avoid getting removed from their friend circle on WhatsApp.
And so I was not surprised when CNN reporter Anderson Cooper recently shut down Republican firebrand Donald Trump saying: ‘That’s the Argument of a five-year-old.” Cooper did this live on air – but Trump, like most Nairobi’s man-child, is immune to embarrassment.
Uncle Wafula will travel back to the village with enough dossier on how town men too keen to prove themselves worthy before spoilt women by “being cool” have ended up lapsing into a universe of video games, sex tapes and sneakers as the official uniform of all things. Meanwhile, Beyoncé and Natasha continue to roll their eyes at the man-child antics of their city boyfriends and husbands.