Celebrating East African Writing!

Mwananchi by Wainaina Kimani


Like many Kenyans, Fridays are the most vital of weekdays. I would welcome the idea of an Elephant or two. This especially on the end month Fridays, when my wallet is in good moods.  And so this Friday, I kept my tradition of wetting my throat after a long dry season of a month.

Having quit my working desk, I hurried towards my metallic metal nicknamed Volkswagen. As usual, I always park it on a slope since its starter had died shortly after the KANU regime. I released the noisy hand break, the act which gave it a momentum followed by a few kicks on the clutch. It sniffed several times before the engine accepted my request to start on. The streets are usually congested in the evening and I was not lucky to dodge the hooting and the long wait in the traffic jams. Just a few turns here and there, at times pleading with the metal to be like Usain Bolt and I was there, at Club Wananchi. I killed the noisy engine since I didn’t want to lock horns with the NEMA fellows in case they were around.

Few of the brethren had arrived. They were seated in strategic corners where darkness was prime, and only murmured with low tones. I think it beats the logic, when a man exposes himself, especially while violating the ring on his finger which suggests that he has a legal Eve at home. That is why I didn’t want to bother them.

Having made my way to another similar corner, I tried to search for a bar helper though in a poorly lit room. I had to do my throat a favor and in as much less time as possible.  I was wary of my Eve’s questioning, on my arrival home when I am   late.

The waiter availed herself. She was a tall, brown skinned Kenyan and she wanted to know my brand. I told her to organize a direct transfer of two Elephants just for a start. From the way she looked at me in confusion, I knew she thought that I may be a day scholar of Mathare hospital. So I had to clear her doubts, I pointed at the counter where Elephants were, and that is when she realized that I was in love with the Tusker Brand.

That was done. As I was ministering on the first bottle, the disk jockey commanded Madilu to embrace the air. I welcomed it with an internal clap since the hit had taken my soul way back in time. It was then followed by another song which had no dancing style I could visualise.

A good Samaritan who happened to be passing near my table told me that the music belonged to the youths, who have strong muscles and flexible waists, no wonder its instrumentals were running and the singer shouted as if he had taken the Jamaican cash crop for break fast. This made me realize that a generation can only be counted, after a life has been lived. I didn’t concentrate much on the new generation music, since I was in conflicting loyalty, between listening and moistening my throat.

One stranded Eve gained courage to gate crash at my table. She saluted me and I answered back. My mother had taught me good manors as far as visitors are concerned. She told me her name and I was happy to know. She also told me that she was alone and she would not mind helping me to clear the Elephants on my table, a request I didn’t decline. One elephant was also transferred to her all courtesy of my wallet. More elephants replaced their colleagues. She told me many stories. I narrated a few in return.

Finally I was bored of her girlish stories, and it was my time to leave. I briefed her about my departure. She suggested if all goes well we shall meet,  if not in the same place then somewhere else. She also asked me to assist her destroy her lungs; I purchased two cigarettes for her. I rose up ready for exodus. The elephants had corrupted my oblongata. I felt many Tsunamis in my head. The first step forward was successful, but the second one was interrupted by two backward ones. That is when I realized that the effects of the Elephants I had swallowed were as large as those ones in Tsavo, or Amboseli.

At last I made it to the metal. I wrestled with the lock until the door flung open, and I downloaded my self inside and started organizing the operators that compels the metal to drink petrol, hence making the engine to take commands. Shortly after the engine started coughing, I felt a cold Iron on the upper part of my neck. It was followed by a brief speech from the Iron owner. He assured me that he had authorities to turn me into a soil relative, if my mouth fails to behave and starts shouting.

I quickly understood the subject matter of his short lecture. That is why I co-operated. He was joined by another local government who kindly requested me to move at the back seat. They banged the doors and drove off with an indescribable speed. On transit they asked me to give them anything that can be turned into money or money itself. I tried to explain how my wallet had been struck by an economic earthquake, but they declined saying that they were expecting my lies. They kindly by force separated me from my valuables. The man who was giving commands to the metal made a sudden halt. They dropped and embraced the darkness.

I reached home few minutes past new day, according to the white man’s way of telling time. I parked the metal and quickly walked to the door. The local authorities had caused the Elephants to disappear from my head. I always knew what to expect from my inheritor’s mother. With her night dress, she stood at the entrance and immediately as if she was sitting on a land mine, started summoning me with equal gender courage. In less than a minute I hade been accused of more than ten marriage crimes. All of which I denied, but still she could not let me in. She only stopped when she opened her eyes just to see I had only a short and pair of socks. I explained to her the reason as to why I was wearing very few clothings. I told her about the local authorities who had made away with my valuables. I even told her that I was lucky since the fellows did not decide to turn me into a soil relative.

As if my explanation was noise making, she launched other accusations on grounds that I was lying; maybe I had a quarrel with another Eve at the bar, and as a result of failing to pay her well she attacked me and took my valuables. I had a right to remain silent since it seamed my defense was to create evil imaginations in her head. She threatened to remove the ring on her finger and set our marriage documents a blaze.

But a sheriff arrived to rescue me. It was my inheritor. I heard him say in their language.

“Mother Lengana na mbuyu amechoka siunacheki.”

He then turned at me and said. “Mbuyu usiwe na tense. Mother ataelewa.” He took my hand and led me in. I thanked him and proceeded to the bedroom, where she followed me pouring out more broadcasts.


If you would like this piece to be the Story of the Week, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. The numbers will be tallied on Friday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.


3 comments on “Mwananchi by Wainaina Kimani

  1. bosire
    May 31, 2010

    Your car reminds me of an old bus we had back in college that we had to pack on a hill to avoid sleeping where we had packed it. The comic is fine but the end seems hanging.. I give it 7.


  2. chrispus
    June 5, 2010

    a good piece though the spelling mistakes are glaring.however the suspense cultivated is not reaped as the story closes typically


  3. Teacher Douglas
    June 10, 2010

    Humourous, a bit of more originality cld do, 7.


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