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TONGUE-IN-CHEEk; so I hear a village chief all the way from ‘Bondo’ was caned with a ‘Bakora'(walking stick) by a ‘deranged’ man in Kwale. That’s nothing,compared to what my Grandpa unleased on a hapless village tyrant.

By Bernard Wainaina
CEO,Profarms Consultants®

One morning in the 1970s, my grandfather was
warming his ancient bones outside his hut, his
trusted bakora by his side, when a high-powered delegation sauntered into his homestead.

The delegation was led by the sub-Chief, a tall,
powerfully built man who had fought white people in Burma during the Second World War.

Among his entourage were the local headman, the sub-Chief’s special assistant, and a retinue of askaris, in effect a band of red-eyed hoodlums who served as a VIP security escort in exchange for crumbs, read chang’aa, from the high table.

Grandpa sniffed trouble, big trouble.

Not that he was frightened.

With one cry, he knew his youngest son would have rushed to the battlefield to bring his spear, if he noticed the ammunition in his father’s walking stick running low.

And we are yet to factor in the battalion of bigger sons sired from his loins that was watching the events cautiously from a distance.

To say that he offered them a seat would be a lie, because he had none to offer.

The only furniture in the entire homestead was the very stool he was sitting on.

And being someone who thought very
highly of himself, there was no way he was going to stand in his own home, in the presence of his wives, for another man.

So the sub-Chief and the old man pretended to have a conversation – about each other’s wives, children, livestock and the weather, the big man standing, the old warrior seated.

They each understood the agenda for the visit, but in Africa, it is disrespectful to get quickly to the point like a mannerless mzungu.

Down to business

“So, we have come,” the sub-chief finally said, his voice dripping with authority.

“I see you,” the old sage responded and said nothing more.

After a long, pregnant silence, the chief coughed.

“Well,” he began, “You haven’t paid harambee
money for the polytechnic and my headman says you chased him like a dog when he came around to collect…”

“Look, I am a jobless old man. Where do you expect me to get three shillings?” grandpa retorted, spitting into the grass with contempt for the effect.

The slur caused a bit of commotion among the chief’s Recce Company bodyguards, but he held them off by raising one hand, one eye watching my uncles who were getting
equally agitated.

“I don’t have time to waste. If you have no money, then I must confiscate one of your properties and sell it,” the sub-Chief declared.

The old man thought for a while and, with a
mischievous glint in the eye, said, “Fine, take that – take that bull. Sell it, take your cash and bring me change.”

The party wasted no time making a beeline for
‘Ngichu’, the family bull who was not for very good temper in presence of stangers and women.

They quickly untethered him knowing they would make a killing, selling it for Sh60
and giving the old man, say, Sh20.

But just as they were exiting the homestead, ‘Ngichu’ whipped round, stuck a battle-hardened horn under the sub-chief’s backside and heaved.

As the village tyrant fell, ‘Ngichu’ tore into his entourage and sent the entire party scampering for cover including his bodyguards.

It was the last time we had of the sub-Chief calling on Grandpa again for whatever other issue.

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

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