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Absent-minded Aunt Agnetta
She is that either physically absent Aunt who you only hear stories about. Ahh, Aunt Agnetta was amazing. But she went to America and she’s just there!
Or that aunty who just disappeared into thin air back in the day.
I had one of those, Aunty Divina, who went to Uganda during the Idi Amin days, and in spite of a decade’s search, was never heard from again. She either went down Lake Victoria, or married a general (who did unspeakable things) and now lives exiled in Norway.
Bad Aunt Bonita
Like evil step mothers or wicked godmothers, they come in many forms. There are those Bad Aunts who are the black sheep of the family, as in they have been isolated by siblings because they don’t get along with anyone.
There’s that Bad Aunt Bonita who, when single, slept with her sisters’ husbands (sort of like a rogue female Ababu).
There’s the one who is bad because your folks passed, and she would buy her children toys, books and clothes, and get you zero. Then there’s Aunt Bonita who chose porno/prostitution as her career!
Country Aunt Catherine
Aunty Catherine (it is never Cate) are those aunts you only get to see when you visit the sticks, aka ‘ushago. She is the shaggy aunty in the boondocks, and the bane of single Eve ladies in their 30s, because ‘WHEN ARE YOU BRINGING MUME NYUMBANI?’
This aunt is like a one-woman NIS, because she has got her business right up to your bedroom. She is the one who sends her different many kids to stay with you, just so she has muchene for the village.
It is like football substitutions. You breathe a sigh of relief when Nyamwamu leaves your crib (after six months’ stay) …only for his sister Nyasuguta to replace him.
She is that ‘Aunty Smart’ all her nieces want to copy (and that all her early teen nephews have a secret crush on).
Usually, Aunt Della will be pretty, with style and glam, easy-going, and breeze in and out of your house on the odd occasion, leaving behind a whiff of intoxicating perfume. She is usually the ‘baby’ of your mother’s family – like when your mom is 42, she is 24.
She brings you small, exotic stuff from all over the world. Only for you to grow up and realise she was cabin crew for some Arab Airline.
Aunt Everywhere Evelyn
She is also your mom’s sister.
But if your mother is 42, she is 50, the eldest child in the family, and tough as nails.
Because the oldest boy, Uncle Evans, is still really a boy at 48 – that is, unmarried, unserious and that fun drunk uncle who loves his alcohol (the way his teen nephews love him coz he’s amusing and cool), Aunt Evelyn is the stern elder figure of the family. You love, respect but also fear her.
Aunt Flo is that aunty who has always been in the background of your life – there’s her head or hand or foot in every family picture when you were young; like an eternal photo-bomber.
She’s also the one everyone called when they needed a babysitter, or when that maid didn’t return from Christmas leave (maid married a boda boda guy in Busia on a whim).
When a nephew was ill, she brought them fresh fruits from the village (Aunt Catherine’s produce) while everyone else was bringing Lucozade to the hospital.
When her brother was dying of cirrhosis, she visited him in the house every day.
And when her sister’s cancer took her, and said sister said: ‘I am so afraid,’ Aunt Flo is the one who took her frail hands in her firm ones and said: ‘Sister, let us pray!’
Aunt Florence is my real-life aunty who passed away last Saturday. My sister Nelly told me that, once, when they were walking in shags, she complained and said ‘Aunt Flo, I am so tired.’
Aunt Flo stopped, looked at her, and said: ‘When you are tired, just put one foot in front of the other – and one day you realise you have arrived at your destination.’ Then she smiled her broad, gap-toothed grin, and continued walking.