Other Tales


Rights of passage are important, especially when they happen in a rural setting. Young boys in Kenya undergo the cut, traditionally while transitioning from boyhood to adulthood, in Nyanza it’s mostly a different story. Yetu ilikua sherehe, and this Sherehe was also known as disco matanga, and guys out here wonder why most Luos love partying.

So there was this girl in my class, I think I was in class six or seven then. We decided that she was the prettiest just because she had the biggest behind, IMAGINE! She would walk past me and she would Ass-asinate me kutoka kwa mawazo and the effect was instant. I mean, it was a phase of self discovery.

One thing I need to state is no one ever plans to attend a disco matanga. Plus in Luo land there is nothing like invites only. A parte is a parte for everyone. What normally happens is the PA system will be set up somewhere around 9pm and it will be on full blast. This being Ushago and tall structures don’t exist, the echo of the music will be heard far and wide. Like a horn blown in Preparation for a war, only that this time its a call to come and drink illicit brew and smoke weed and misbehave with girls from the village. But one rule remains, come with your own woman. Luo men from the village, I’m not sure if it’s only Luo men or all men. But they are very territorial, Siaya is the only place I know where a man will go to the disco Matanga carrying a knife or a panga as warning not to approach their girl. I learnt this the hard way.. Yet I was in class 6, so much for an initiation ceremony.

So my cousins and I while in bed hear the loud music and without thinking twice we jump off our beds and dress up. Since young boys are normally bundled together in the same house with no supervision escaping is quite easy.

No ever ever knows where the music is coming from so you have to been keen to get the direction right ama utapotea ujipatee 10km away since it’s always pitch dark and finding your way home is always the tricky part.So we followed the music and luckily it was at least 6km away, not too far from home.

Getting there who do we see? Our class hottie with the big bum. Aaar, nilifurahi Sana. Mimi na kimbelembele yangu I jumped at the 1st opportunity that presented itself to dance with her. This was my 1st time and I was very excited!

The only problem was she seemed uneasy for some reason and I felt confused but not concerned. Then I saw her alleged boyfriend show up at the venue but I didn’t care too. The girl was mine and she was cooperating.

Kidogo kidogo nikaskia tu, Mose, itimang’o gi nyako ni? Wuoyi matin abro negi!

So I look at him with this look of ‘bro chill, this girl gets my vybe, leave me alone’, but I couldn’t say this. I was too timid. All this while the girl was still dancing.. I turned round to continue grinding her as we danced to the latest benga hits, bwana niliskia tu nimegeuzwa, ile Kofi nilipigwa na huyo jamaa left an impact for close to two decades. I didn’t have to prove myself further. The next minute nilikua mbele ya mlango, I ran for my dear life. Mimi? Msichana afanye niuliwe?

Never! Ikae

Story by Moses Ouma,

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