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BY HAMZA BABU

There is only one way to make a wife with
feminist tendencies toe the line; get her a co-wife to
walk right across her head.
Wahenga na wahenguzi (our sagacious ancestors)
have prescribed this as the surest way to revert a
woman back to her primal feminine instincts. The
sages insist there is no other way to redeem her
from the feminists they have evolved to become.
One of the patrons of Kahawa Tungu who took this
advice literally is Bwana Makka.
When Kimwana, Bwana Makka’s wife, became too
much for him to handle, his people made him marry
another woman, for as they put it, “Kimwana has
never really ‘belonged’.” So the guy married an air-
headed bimbo and, in a way, it worked for him. The
first wife trained her guns on the new threat, and for
the time being, left Bwana Makka in peace.
He usually entertains us with tales of the battle that
is his household every time he drops by for a drink.
“Basi jamaa (guys), my new wife is as vicious as the
old witch. It’s amazing,” he was telling eager
listeners. I, at once, hurried to place the latest
orders at Kahawa Tungu so that I, too, could enjoy
the tale.
“Don’t tell us she has also found the way to Babu
(witchdoctor)?” chimes in a diehard enthusiast of
Bwana Makka domestic wrangles.
“Those women take all my money to the local
witchdoctor trying to ‘magic’ and bewitch each
other’s existence away,” he answered. “But they
have opened up a completely new battlefront that
even I didn’t know existed,” he continued.
Authority
At that, a few among the audience almost chocked
on their Kahawa tungu. We considered this guy the
authority on domestic divide-and-rule.
With him admitting that there might be an aspect of
feminine wile and guile he has not encountered,
things were not going to end well. “Has any of them
started fraternising with wazungu tourists?” asks
Amigo, the simple guy who is always slow on the
uptake.
“No way you nincompoop.
They are using pets to antagonise each other!” he
announced with the calmness of a professor
introducing a new topic to his bewildered class.
“Ati pets?” all guys at Kahawa Tungu
simultaneously gasped. Bwana Makka took his time
to drown another cup before continuing with his
tale. At that time, business had literally ground to a
halt; the world had stopped spinning as we all
awaited to hear the solution to this unheard of
mystery.

After a deliberately lengthened agonising moment,
he started his narration. “Kimwana has a pet cat she
has christened ‘Hapakaliki’ (hostile territory) while
my new wife got herself a cock and called it
‘Patakalika’ (we have to endure).
Trading barbs
So it turned out that the two women do nothing the
whole day other than feed their pets while talking to
them while in essence, they are trading barbs.
“As the referee, what do you have to say,” someone
was curious to find out. “No foul as yet! Let play
continue,” he declared.
Enough for one evening, “Closing time!” I yell trying
to remember what my wife calls our cat.

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