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Gitura Chronicles Gitura 3 – Circumcision and Kabaine

Living in towns is depressing.

You wake up at the same time in the morning, wear plain boring clothes, go to the same office or class, or job hunt – the whole day. Then you sit in traffic for endless hours, or in a bar or cafe depending on who you are, to waiting for traffic to reduce, get home, eat, sleep… Repeat.

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Living in towns is depressing.

You wake up at the same time in the morning, wear plain boring clothes, go to the same office or class, or job hunt – the whole day. Then you sit in traffic for endless hours, or in a bar or cafe depending on who you are, to waiting for traffic to reduce, get home, eat, sleep… Repeat.

Boring life, depressing life. That’s why you have to watch TV and read gossip blogs, when you want to see realities that are a little different from yours. Poking your noses into the private, nay, open lives of Bahati, Kardashian, the housewives, Willy Pozee, and other boring lives that you somehow find interesting. Taimajini, I have a couple of 30+ year old friends who talk about Diamond’s baby-mamas like we did back in high school. Makes me feel like a grandfather.

But I don’t judge them, you have to add spice to your boring city life.

It’s so depressing I am getting a stress attack just talking about it. So, let me take you on another tour of my village!

By now you know Gitura. If you don’t, go read this, this and this. I’ll wait. As they say in our beloved miraa vioski, there is no hurry in Aprica.

Gitura is fun. So much fun you don’t need internet, or TV. Unless it’s Baite TV which talks about relatable village things. Places you know, people you have seen, “si hapa ni pale kwa Ntomwenda?” And then you discuss the feats of Ntomwenda, and his lineage for the next hour. See, fun! Not depressing politics by city political thieves.

You don’t even have time to watch TV, because you are busy socializing. Getting to know about people and caring about their welfare, genuinely. Gitura doesn’t need Nyumba Kumi and all that stuff. We all know everyone else. We meet everyone in the village church on Sunday and there are a thousand reasons and other places to see each other.

Maisha London – you work half-days in Gitura

Miraa work is in the morning, you feed the cows in the morning, you harvest tea in the morning, you fetch water in the morning…and then have the rest of the day to yourself. Sorry, to have fun with others.

Older men will find a spot by the road and talk for hours. Others will go pale kwa Kienj没ku and play nconga as they wait for evening to start discussions of development over miraa and coffee. The not-so-saved ones will go to Kinyago to drink Kaanga chang’aa and burn their livers – si liver ni zao? They will then stagger home later, singing circumcision songs.

Speaking of circumcision, the circumcision holidays are fun. Yes, there are circumcision holidays in my village – in April, August and the main one in November/December. They are proper carnivals with lots of song and dance.

The songs are X-rated… Much more explicit than NWA hip-hop. They are mostly about sex and people that have been misbehaving. You get caught romping in a bush, you become lyrics. You cheat on your husband, we sing you. You forbid your daughters from grooving with young men, they will say you are the one doing the deed with them. It’s all about sex and the songs will describe in detail what you did. Or did not do. Fun, right?

Oh, and during that season, young men don’t starve. You simply enter an initiate’s house, eat and drink to your fill, any time, every day. As the ntaane fattens, so do you (and you have to grow big in that confinement, otherwise your parents will be shamed). It’s a season of plenty. 馃檪

Kabaine

Then a few weeks after circumcision, there is a phenomenon called Kam没卯thia, or Kamontane, or Kabaine, or Waku没, or Mukala. If something or someone has so many names, then you know they are popular. Kabaine is popular, especially with kids and not-so-long-ago circumcised (more like Form 2s were excited after leaving Monocot).

The purpose of Kabaine is to burn the healing circumcised boys. Kabaine comes with a red-hot iron bar, goes into the boy’s k卯anda (ka-house) and burns the penis, right in the wound, to give it a glossy finish that will be admired by girls the world over. It’s a very painful procedure, but you should see the result. A beautiful, glossy, well rounded penis. And a man must endure pain anyway. What are men for?

Kabaine season is fun. Kabaine is not a person. It’s an animal from Ikamba (Ukambani) that looks a little like a man, but with hanging skin that looks like cow hide, a horrendous face, head that looks like a Columbus Monkey’s, and legs that rattle when it dances. It whistles rhythmically (pii-pi, pii-pi! And the assistant T没baine – lamale – and young men following it shout t没thi卯!). Children follow from a distance, because you get whipped for coming close – which is where the fun is, the adrenaline of being chased by a Kabaine. Oh, I miss that. They respect older women and men…but just don’t go close to a Kabaine if you are a K卯roe – circumcised in hospital under anesthesia like a coward.

One day, I will tell you Kabaine and circumcision stories that will make you want to park your bags and go to Gitura.


By the way, I write about Meru culture here.

Chronicles of my Village, Gitura

The other day I was told of a women group on Facebook rivalling Kilimani Mums… it’s called Vuteni Stool. When a woman says, “vuta stool nikuambie”, know it’s going to be a hot story.

I’m not a woman, not even remotely with this smug face of mine, but vuta stool I tell you about my village. It’s one of the best, most comic places you will ever find.… Continue Reading

Real Men’s Conference

real men don't hide

The other day, I attended a workshop for Real Men.

That’s right, I was browsing the internet and came across an upcoming event for real men. The posting even taunted me – if you are a real man, sign up. I signed up, because I don’t like people doubting my manliness. It was like those Gitura sayings of Kama wewe ni mwanaume umetahiri nikate…And then you cut the person up and face the consequences because nothing is worse than having your manliness doubted.… Continue Reading

Amerucan in America

Denver, US of America

On a certain night last month, I was playing hide and seek with Calla at JKIA to start the longest flight of my flying life. About 26 hours’ journey (of course with the 2 layovers). Destination: the United States of America, specifically Denver, Colorado.

This was the result of a 2 month torturous preparation, getting the US Visa in the confusing times of the Kenya e-Passport.… Continue Reading

Nairobi Initiation 7: Fighting the Police

It’s a fine Sunday evening and I’m walking to Plot 10 from seeing my one of my聽hunnies聽at UoN Hall 5. We’ve been there since we left church and so, it’s been a romantic day – I am walking on clouds with a bounce… and a sweet feeling on my lips, of course. I’m even thinking about the future already, when I will break my virginity and stop kulaing kwa macho.… Continue Reading

Oh Shit… I love toilets!

toilet funny

Is there an award for the person who spends the most time in the toilet? I deserve that award – I’ve realized I spend insane amounts of time in that little room.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I have seen the toilet as an adult. You see, in Gitura where I grew up, the thought of shitting inside the house was unimaginable. Why would anyone want to do that unless they are in a police cell or too sick to move?… Continue Reading

Random Memories 5: My First Flight

FIRST FLIGHT FROGS

We had gotten ourselves a business trip to India, Julie and I, for an e-Commerce and Customer Loyalty conference…

To travel, you need passports. Which we don’t have and the notice period was three weeks. The queues at Nyayo house are long and torturing. And when I get to the front of the queue they reject my birth certificate because it looks “like it was tampered with.”Continue Reading

Yo! Yo! I am a Rapper.

Frankmwenda the Rapper

I am a rapper. At heart, everywhere. And now, it’s time to roga you musically. How do I know that? That I am a super MCee, super lyric buster? I just know… I know my talents and rapping is one of them.

This rap mojo started when I was in high school. In Form 2, to be specific. My Gitura ushamba was slowly wearing off and I was making up for lost time.… Continue Reading

Miathene Mono – My First Day in High School

Miathene Mono Kenya

I have seen a few monos in the streets this week. You can tell a mono from a mile away, you can smell even a mono. You can see it in the clothes, brand new, with ridiculously sharp iron lines, blindingly shone shoes, crudely knitted names on the sweaters, shirts and sometimes, even pants. 聽And the faces, the faces betray monoism, frightened eyes, wildly chewing jaws, bouncing steps (fake confidence).… Continue Reading

Frankline Mwenda Kibuacha

my name is FRANKLINE MWENDA KIBUACHA

and this is who I am

—-
My parents say

I am the most hardworking, ambitious kid who has set mercurial heights for my younger siblings.

My friends say

I am a go-getter who seems to have a solution for everything. If only they knew I don’t!

My former bosses say

I am a creative guy who thinks intensely through things before doing them effectively.

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To My Teachers and all Teachers: I Love You!

teachers punishment Kenya

I am who I am largely because of my teachers. I am even writing this blog, in part, because I don’t want to let my teachers down. They all thought I was going to be a journalist, or editor of some sort, because, English and Swahili were my bread and butter. Oddly, all teachers, both in Primary school and High school; even teachers who never taught me but knew me… They all advised me to be a journalist.

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