If you are Circumcised

uncircumcised-penis banana

“Kama umetahiriwa nitusi tena.”

I was in my village last week. And I took a walk around the village one fine evening inspecting projects of development.

The girls I knew as babies were shyly smiling at me. Grown women who are now worthy of visiting my simba.  One or two now have babies of their own.

Boys I saw being taken home in baby shawls from hospital are now fearsome young laing’o capable of filling both cheeks with taxiies of veve (a feat I have never accomplished).

This is why I don’t go home often. All these people, plus my grandmother asking me if I have tested my masini to see why I don’t have a wife and children… these people make me feel old. Na mimi ni mtoto tu.

Back to my development inspection. I take my rounds, greeting everybody I meet, because, from the smiles everybody knows and loves me. The smiles are very very genuine. I should become a village elder.


Until I meet an old couple fighting. They both look familiar but I probably know their parents. The woman, bleeding and carrying two stones, runs towards me, gets behind me and proudly announces:

Kama umetahiri rushia classmate wangu mawe, choo wewe.”

“Hata mimi Calif ni classmate wangu.” The charging man bellows.

How could these people have been my classmates? I muse, confused. Insults are raining around me and I am the shield. The Man has a slasher, and, like the woman, is bleeding for the face. He must have eaten a few rocks. It’s a bloodbath, literally.

Neighbours are on the sidelines, cheering them like it’s WWE SmackDown.

I ask the woman, “Classmate, what’s happening?”

This kiiji (uncircumcised man) beats me every day for nothing. As if he drinks my chang’aa”

Who are you calling uncircumcised? I’m killing you today! Toka nyuma ya Calif uone.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the worst insult you can call a Meru man is Mwîjî, uncircumcised. It’s like committing suicide. This here was a worse battle than the slasher and the stones. It is a war. And people can die.

To us, circumcision reigns supreme, and trying to insinuate otherwise, especially if you are a woman or a boy can land you on hospital with severe panga cuts.

It’s our ego.  And here is a woman committing this cardinal sin.

Somehow, they respect me, I calm them down, and the woman, now sobbing uncontrollably explains that the man, since miraa was banned in the UK, has been drinking without a care in the world, never mind they have three children in school. If she asks for money to buy food, he turns violent. And now, “punda amesoka. Akinipiga nampiga.”

That’s an empowered woman.

The man simply says, “Mwenda Caliponia, this is not a woman. This is a latrine. When other women are working in farms, she spends the day gossiping and waiting for me to bring her money.”

And he leaves, to the woman’s “mwiji” jeers.

As I walk back home wondering if I will get married and trying to remember if I got circumcised, I wonder what circumcision has to do with anything. In my culture, circumcision is very important. It signifies a graduation from childhood to responsible adulthood.

And it should be… along with whatever your culture uses to initiate boys into manhood.

If you are circumcised, act it, dammit! If you are circumcised take care of your family. If you are circumcised don’t do explicit hip-hop style hits in your mother tongue in your village. If you are circumcised don’t pee and shit on yourself drunk in a mtaro.

If you are circumcised get your ass up and toil for your family like God told Adam at Eden. If you are circumcised don’t beat up your wife. She ain’t your undisciplined child. If you are circumcised, respect your mother and father and everyone their age, and save everybody your crap.

If you are circumcised don’t effing embarrass me in my own village. Or I will help your wife beat you.

Man up.

29 Comments If you are Circumcised

  1. Jedidah Nkunja September 2, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Sawa caliponia…what if I’m uncircumcised?

    1. Jane Kananu September 2, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      Hahaa..caliponia.mi nimesoma nikitranslate.hey village life

    2. Frank Kenyan September 2, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Haha… and life in the village is fun. Full of lessons

  2. Erik Mutei September 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Nateea Calif..trying to mouth that name in the mighty igembian accent….sawa mutaane…day made!

    1. Frank Kenyan September 3, 2016 at 8:52 am

      That is a little secret…. they may read this and come hunting for me?

  3. Kimathi Kang'entu September 2, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    A masterpiece. I love your introduction, though initially I was wondering if you have become schizophrenic of late. It’s unfortunate that our culture doesn’t allow us to talk of some issues as you have done. Very lively and vivid. Kindly do some fiction writing. I knew you since you were a small boy and I can testify that you’ve become more comical and hilarious than I knew you. However this is an enthralling meticulous and chucklesome piece, that portrays the verisimilitude in our villages. I have no doubt that most of the folks down there reading this can patently elucidate the inception and I salute you for biting the bullet. Enyewe wewe ni caliponia!

    1. Frank Kenyan September 3, 2016 at 8:51 am

      Thanks for reading, sir. I love it when you drop by. You know, if something has to be said, it has to be said. I use this as a medium to say anything, whatever… even if it’s misconstrued to embarrass the social fabric. 🙂

  4. Joseph September 2, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Eti… Trying to remember if yourself you were was circumcised hehe…

  5. Zackaerberg September 9, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I love the prose, the simplicity, the turns. This is how a story should be told. Frankly, I have a feeling a veve session with you would be hilarious!

    1. Frank Mwenda September 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Hahaha Zack… Propose a day and place. Nitaleta njugu.

  6. Shiku Ngigi September 27, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Lol. So what if I’m an uncircumcised man? Or was this just for the Meru community? 😂😂

    1. Frank Mwenda October 28, 2016 at 12:28 am

      All figurative, Shiku, figurative. Circumcised=mature

  7. Stella March 15, 2024 at 12:33 pm

    Bt wa siku hizi ni kama hata Hawaelewi hiyo language ya kutahiri they behave all together

  8. Marj March 15, 2024 at 8:02 pm

    😅This is such a funny piece. What better way than satire!


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