It’s common knowledge that whenever a luo dies or passes on, whichever way you may chose to call it, or kicked the bucket as it is colloquially referred to, there is always music played. Maybe it’s meant to cheer up the bereaved family and make them feel that the whole village is together with them in mourning. Whoever came up with this idea was very thoughtful and sentimental, but youths are somehow abusing it.
All my life, I have never attended a Disco Matanga , or even dreamt of going to one. The idea of jumping around with boys high on illicit brew, chang’aa , carrying machetes and clubs (otugo diep, odar) has never been my way of having fun. I’m always a humble guy who never enjoys brawls or any kind of violence. In fact, through my childhood, I can’t remember a time when I ever got into a fight. It’s never my style. I’m a smooth operator. Many are incidences I ever saw boys who lost their limbs and others even lost their lives foolishly at this village discos, some ended up with lifelong scars. I wasn’t ready to risk my life.
However, over a year ago I almost became a victim of such. My cousin had just passed away in a tragic road accident. Naturally, I had to attend his burial, it was supposed to take place somewhere in Ujimbe-Gem(The late Benga Maestro, Kabasele’s village). As is the tradition, there was a disco after the burial. I had other cousins around and we kept chatting as the night passed on. As time went, it grew colder and our jackets were not helping at all.
At the beginning, there were only a dozen boys jumping up and down, but as the night grew the number had swollen to include ladies. Some danced in the light while others took positions in dark areas away from the light, mostly in pairs. My cousins too joined them one by one until I remained alone. How they synchronized their moves with the rhythm of the music blaring from the speakers, was something that awed me. They just swayed effortlessly and I couldn’t help but marvel. Where had they learned all this moves? I always felt like I had two left feet and I couldn’t embarrass myself in front of such a crowd and worse still, with ladies present.
I was keenly watching the different moves on display, and practising them on my mind. The urge to join in the dance was very strong. I felt my heart leap, then the moves got active in my mind, my head nodded once … it just happened unconsciously … to one side and then to the other. I don’t know what took over me coz my head kept moving on and on as the rhythm and tempo of the music changed. I felt the wave travel down to my feet, I was tapping and shaking my knees (still seated). It’s like a spirit was taking over my entire being, what a feeling!
I don’t know how I got to my feet, or even how I got to the front of the speakers blaring loud! I found myself making moves that I had never practiced before, all eyes were on me. I now understood how people managed to move effortlessly. It’s as if by some magical powers, your body just synchronized with the beats and you just can’t stop.
Out of nowhere, some lady came towards me swaying her hips from side to side, it was with so much ease that one would imagine she had no bones in her waist. I was in the light so it was easy for me to scan features and I can say she was fair. She was whining and rubbing against me, and at first it was a tad difficult task coping with her moves, but I gladly caught up with her soon enough.
I was enjoying every moment of it, when two guys came from the darkness and pulled her by her arm and they disappeared back into the darkness. I didn’t understand why, but I assumed they were leaving for home so I continued dancing alone. After a couple of minutes, she reappeared and we continued. Suprisingly, another boy came and pulled her back then some two more came next to me, gave me a cold look and walked away. This arose my curiosity, so I walked towards the direction they had gone to find out what was going on.
“Ni madharau gani unajaribu kutuonyesha, Fiona?(Why are you trying to disrespect us?)” I overheard one of the boys ask her. She was in a group of about five boys. Fiona was her name, atleast now I knew.
As I dance-walked to my earlier position, someone grabbed my arm from behind. On turning, it was her. She held me so tight and said something but I didn’t hear due to the loud music. I since she was my shoulder height, I bowed my head so she could talk into my ear…
“I love you!”
At least that what I think I heard, to my dismay. Before I could respond, she made to kiss me on the lips but I pushed her back. At this point I noticed the group of boys I had seen earlier, standing all around us. Something wasn’t right! A keen scan, I noticed two of them had knives; we were away from the darkness. I was right in the middle of the gang, the lady now holding me so tight. I wasn’t ready to sleep in a hospital bed nursing knife wounds or better yet look handsome in some mortuary being shoved left and right. I was no hero and I didn’t want to be humiliated trying to be one. Trying to act smart with knife-wielding boys around you, was something I only saw in movies.
I looked at the boys one by, and their faces meant business, no child’s play. One of them was now puffing on weed and blowing the smoke towards me. My knees shook but I couldn’t let them know I was chickening out, I had to do something. I didn’t want to let the lady know I’m a coward…
“Please don’t let them hurt us,” She whispered in my ears.”I don’t want to go with them!”
I’m so skinny if you know me, and how she expected me to scare away the gang was beyond my comprehension. I looked again at the boys, this time in the eyes, one by one, trying to put on a serious face and tightening my fists as if to indicate that I was ready to handle them. Deep inside I was dead. One of them tried to make a move towards me but someone pulled him back, it was one of my cousins. It’s at this point that I realised my cousins and a couple of boys were standing behind the gang watching, watching for whoever made the first move. I had not been alone all along. The gang sensing they are outnumbered, walked away. Each giving me a cold stare as they walked away.
How thick can this village boys be? Now it’s clear to me how people end up being stabbed to death in the village discos. Very silly reasons like dancing with a lady one of the gangs was eying, is enough to send you into an early grave.
Posted by Mr. Jagweng