I really want to sit down and close my eyes. There is an immediate need for me to forget my troubles, get rest and get my head around. And if possible, no one should wake me up. It is on a Friday night. The whole day has been quite busy and the engine in my head hums in protest. The last activity I did today was passing by Sabina Joy for two hours. I had just parted with Yvonne after the writers’ eklessia.
Sabina Joy is a place where men rest after a heavy day. Not only that, they can also quench their sexual thirst. Promiscuity didn’t start today. And Sabina Joy didn’t start the brothel and bar business. All these shady behavious rolled out long ago, and then, prostitution was very professional and stylish. Listen to me preaching bullshit. I catch a leg, spank an ass, touch a boob, and pass by the bar to chat with a friend of mine who works there. She tells me it is a busy night. We should hook up later in the week to talk more.
I trickle out of Sabina Joy drooling with saliva. There was a strong temptation for a one night stand. It always comes when I troop into such entertainment spots. I get inundated with desires that only a good woman can fulfill. But I always beat them because I’ve learnt what discipline means and what it doesn’t mean. Furthermore, I am a straight man. It’s only circumstances that try to put me in the wrong places.
As I grew up, Friday evenings were spent preparing for Saturday, which is our Sabbath. We could cook, do all the cleaning, and anything that needed preparing. On Saturday, we could just wake up and go to church. It was one of those best days. I grew up respecting the teachings that my foundation was built on. That has not changed. I was raised to be a man of character, straight, disciplined, aware of himself, positive and always on the move.
As times went by, I learnt more. Being an avid reader of books, my brain got stained with knowledge and wisdom edged itself in my mind with time. My beliefs became even stronger. My actions became louder than words. I learnt to shut my mouth when needed and talk when it was my turn. My ears trained to listen. Later on, I learnt to talk the relevant things.
So when I meet someone and tell them I am SDA and they sneer at me, especially women, it doesn’t bother me. Being an SDA guy is attached with so many negative things- being uptight, cross, strict, don’t love fun, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t wear jeans. Does that bother me? NO. It will only bother me if I was meant to be like someone else and I am not. The point is, I am happy with myself. I don’t have to be that bad boy to be cool. Cool to me means doing what I love, not what you would love.
I throw a duvet over my head, whisper a prayer and travel to my world. The only thing that I dislike about my world is the dreams. As you all know, I have been praying to Sir God to take them away from me. I am still doing so. And on Friday, I didn’t get any.
On Saturday, I woke up with my mind bent. It was bent towards the church side until the rains unbent it. I stayed indoors till 11 when the sun somehow started coming out of the hide and seek game. There was some frail light. The showers had stopped. I donned official wear and left for town. All casuals were dirty (I need mama wa kufua).
The afternoon was decorated with an alumni meeting. All went well until only few people showed up. We ended up having a social Saturday in Central Park. This was later dotted with a photography session in the greens of the park.
On the way to Ebony Lounge in Westlands, I get to interact with Mandom. That is his street’s moniker. The beauty of my work is that I get to meet new and influential people every day. These people inspire me, some toss me in a ditch of wisdom, some just talk their mouths off and end up apologizing when I don’t get amused, others fuss around, others smoke some new knowledge into my brain, others leave me empty.
There are these people I meet and feel like I shouldn’t have gone out to meet them- people whose lives have nothing positive to talk about, people who have seen little but imagine they have seen it all, people who have nothing at all to talk about, and some who are so empty that you have to introduce a third party as an excuse for you to leave. Worse are those who cannot put their phones down. Why should I spare my time only to come watch you massaging your pretty ass phone? I also have mine but you’ll notice it only when I take an urgent call. Please do not behave like this if you happen to meet me- let us have a clean talk and then part ways, no phones, no silly silence. I can also listen, but I leave that to a psychologist.
Mandom has short dreads on his head. He is short and wide eyed. He likes Apple stuff. My buddy, Benz tells him I am the writer of the century. Of late he’s been doing that. Which is good because we all want people to praise us. Benz introduced me to blogging.
As we trek to Westie from Central Park, we keep talking with Mandom. He asks me what I do write. I tell him I am a terrific and versatile writer who can write you anything. Just like everyone, he asks where I do write my stuff. It is an important question because people want to know your profession in order to rate you. If you’re up there, your name will be saved in their brain and your number in their phones. If you’re just a 5th generation blogger like anyone who writes on Mzangila, you’re likely to be forgotten quite easily. If you write for the dailies, people will be interested in you, will try to impress you and will even try to be your friends. They will feel wasted if you told them you’re down there, the guy with the dick on the glass.
I didn’t tell him that I do write for Eve Woman or Business Daily or CNN Volunteer, or that I do write periodically for The Guardian. You remember me struggling with Freelance Journalism in London School of Journalism? That is where that course landed me. “I do blog at Mzangila.com. Sometimes I run blogs, write for publications and largely, I am a freelance journalist.” I said hastily.
Mandom writes reviews on Amazon. He is also a social media enthusiast who knows how SEO works. Like the real deal. He explained to me how he uses SEO, by analyzing trends to write and earn from Amazon reviews. There was a point he showed me this graph of how much his buddy is earning. To be honest, his buddy was making cool cash. Last year, he made 1.5million bob. From January to April this year, he made almost twice the amount.
Jayson joins us as we walk. He also catches up with the conversation. From the comments, he understands a thing or two. But one thing he said shook me. “Sometimes I regret why I didn’t do IT.” Jayson was a year or two ahead of me in college. Hustling is what he does. “Out here life is tough. Wale mafriends tulikuwa nao chuo walipotea bana. Apa ni kila mtu na maisha yake.” He mentioned at some point.
As a wise fellow, I retrace his steps back. “Listen bruh, even if you had studied IT, if it is not your thing, life would have been equally difficult. I know you see some IT people making money and you’re not because you are a business guy. Just do your thing man, you’ll reach where you want to go. Things don’t come easy. It is a long journey to both financial freedom and happiness.”
It sinks. We all agree that I was right. No regrets. And it is never too late you know.
At Ebony Lounge, there are a few others who had arrived earlier. The crowd consists of youths. Lolani Kalu of NTV is painting some sacks. Peace wordings. He is dressed in a way that you can easily confuse him for a gateman. I shake his hand so tightly that I almost send him to the ground.
“Thought your handshake was as strong as your Swahili.” I jest. He laughs as the rest greet him. There is Dr Jeff Kaluyu, a presidential candidate and Walj, a mhindi contesting for the Westlands MP seat. Kaluyu is cheerful and mingles with the youth who ululate and cheer him up. If only he knew that these youths weren’t going to give him any vote, he wouldn’t be laughing with them this way. I tell myself.
In a pack of youths, everyone wants attention. A girl will swing her ass in front of everyone because she wants to be noticed, a photographer will be showing off his photography skills too in some corner, a guitarist will occupy another corner and jazz some ladies with his mastery of the strings and sweet voice, a muscular guy will wear a mean smile and stand staunch like a bouncer to get his muscles noticed, the rest will be taking selfies with waheshimiwa.
I, on the other corner, I’m being tortured with long calls from pissed customers. Since I am in the branding business, I do acquire huge tenders to print posters, business cards, banners and such. Some of the work takes days, while some take hours. I have been doing this for several months now. At times, things fail to go as planned. Deadlines pass, work gets finished late, machines break down, the operators get emergencies, life gets twisted and you’ve to face angry customers. Enduring abuses, discontent talk, pissed off language, all sometimes become my daily snack. I eat several of these snacks on this evening because the work is delayed.
I join others as we take group photos with waheshimiwa. As a photographer, I’ve never known how to pose for a photo. But I can sure direct one on what to do when I am behind the camera. I shout to Benz and Kinyua that they look for my face. It has to appear there or else I’ll truncate their necks, I tell them.
Inside, the space is not that big. But we all fit. Ebony Lounge is a bar/club. I take to a leather couch. A few others join me. Mikasi seats next to me. He is a poet and he’s been working on his album. Will be shooting soon. I told him that I should not miss in his video or else we won’t be friends anymore. Mikasi calls himself Philo the poet on Facebook.
The setting and lighting is that of a club. Dim and dingy like. The music is loud. Kafeiz Mazrui (brother to Benz) is the MC assisted by Lolani Kalu. I am not much excited because I like it on the other side, the panel. I like being on that side. Answering questions, commenting on topical issues, oozing wisdom, being different, acting mature and feeling important.
Dr Kaluyu and Walj make brief opening remarks. There is some young dude seated there, I didn’t get his name but he is of Ghanaian origin. He is in the mix. I don’t take him seriously because who is he? To be taken serious, you must be somebody. That is the rule for journalists.
Since it is a peace event, you don’t expect much from politicians. No dishing out cash, no poli-tricks, nothing. A lame taste. Esther Lianah, with too much make-up, takes to the stage first. She says a few words. Oh lawd! What is with women and feigning foreign accent? Man, she literary ate every word. When someone does that, my left brain periphery which I use to listen gives them a wide berth.
Never have I ever seen uncomely waitresses like the ones in Ebony Lounge. Boy, they are so unattractive that you feel like shouting “no I am okay” from a distance because them coming close will leave a distasteful feeling in your mouth, gut and stomach. You can throw up. What happened to the rules of the game?
The muslim lady on the decks knocks herself out with stogies. A girl smoking! The hell. Although I don’t like the idea of people smoking, but a girl smoking bothers me more. She has all the rights to smoke just like a man, but I wouldn’t want to marry a woman who smokes. I have seen some of the effects it can have on babies.
Nowadays, the police have been allowed to pursue talent. A karao who calls himself Karao na swag hits the stage. He makes me get up on my feet and dance. A guy with so much energy, pumped up with positive vibes and good with the crowd. The crowd identifies with him easily and get singing along. I like this. He concludes by saying, “Sisi wote ni raia, ni venye tu nimevaa uniform. Mimi sim-different from you. Ni nguo tu, so msituone ati sisi ni wabaya. Tunago through life same na Kenya moja.”
A certain young man with a voice of a girl takes to the stage. He speaks so softly that you wanna shout back, “awwh!” If I raise Mzangila Junior only to become a girl, I’ll for sure hate myself to death. He is weakly, sleepy eyes, soft chin and generally has an appearance of a girl. He has a guy who plays a guitar as he speaks along. What I like about him is that he has content.
He finishes off by saying, live love.
I am an early bird. The event is supposed to last the entire night. But as soon as waheshimiwa leave at around seven, I also get on my heels. My Papa taught me never to stay out too late. The ungodly hours make people do things they never thought they could-people drink, people fight, people kill each other, people drive into ditches, people steal from each other, people see black out, people put mchele in people’s drinks, women become prostitutes, men become philanderers.
I never want to be caught in the madness. Let me be caught in a mess during the day. Even as I leave, this message, live love, keeps hitting me. Why love? Why not anything? Why live it? Which is this love?
As I board a matatu home, the thought keeps disturbing me. I take as seat near the window and lean on it while I look out in a daze. What if we loved ourselves? What if we loved our neighbours? What would become of the world if we lived the love that we preached? Probably that is the point, living what we preach.
We shall be breaking for the elections, we shall enjoy one more piece before we break.
Love Mzangila Snr
Where shall we go? We wonder in this wasteland, in search of better selves.