This Man Boniface Mwangi!
I have tried to hate Boniface Mwangi, really I tried. I have on several occasions tried – with no success – to congregate my energies around some apparent dubious reasons of hate. I have thought of Mwangi as that mad whirlwind that chases me on the streets whenever am dressed in my little yellow floral dress meant to get me a husband, that whirlwind blows up my dress up to my nose exposing my pale thighs and hole poked underwear for all to see, it is always a struggle to get the dress down and when I finally do, I have to contend with bouts of laughter and jeers directed towards me by strangers enjoying the free show. I go home, embarrassed vowing never to wear my yellow dress again. Two things; even though I never wear the dress again to avoid further encounters with ‘ngoma cia aka’ I never forget the cheers and jeers and what they made me feel, and rummaging through the wardrobe my hands always land on the now forsaken yellow dress, it remains- despite of, it is still there, defiant, persistent, refusing to go away, always reminding me of my embarrassing past, and warning of my ‘unmarried future’ should I fail to wear it again.
I have thought of him as a stain in my brand new white blouse, a stain that ruins everything and simply refuses to fade away leaving me with no choice but to throw away the blouse, or give it away- either way, even if you do not see it, even if it is no longer your problem, the stain remains.
Boniface Mwangi is like that seat on some street path that I set my eyes on when I am having a menses attack, I run towards the seat hoping to finally rest my now crumbling knees, only to get there and find the seat smeared with mud. So I stand next to the seat, angry at the seat for denying me the opportunity to rest my ovaries. I really want to blame the seat for my pain, but I can’t because deep down I know that the seat is not to blame. The seat is only exposing the sins of another, the seat is only telling me – look there is a problem, what will you do. And so I stand there, sizzling like roasting meat, waiting for some fool to walk up to my seat and mess it again with more dirt, I will harm that fool.
There was this one day – a very unfortunate day indeed, I had a shouting match with Mwangi. He was on the Trend going on and on about Uhuru’s inability to fight corruption and I shouted “Achana na mtu yetu” I listened to my echo run wild in the house and shame was quick to rest on my head. Who is mtu yetu? How exactly is Uhuru Mtu Yetu? Is it because Boniface and I share the same clan name? Is it because Uhuru belongs to my mother’s clan? Hell no! If he did I would not be saving up to further my education, and my clan would not be crawling from dingy joints painted with different shades of diarrhea. I expected him to go easy on Kamwana because of his last name, because where he comes from is where I come from, and there lies the problem.
I have wanted – for long- to dismiss his emotional response on National issues, he is always charged when talking about corruption and the need for institutional reforms in the country, I have always wanted to say –Argh, give it a rest man! I have never brought myself to shout him down as he rages on some TV Show. Why? he introduced me to our country’s secret hate. I had heard about it, laughed about it but I had never seen it; Tribalism and its potent effects. He had the nerve to put up a colourful art gallery to showcase the real stuff we Kenyans are made of. I can never forget the black and white picture of a chopped hand, for years I tried to convince myself that the owner of the hand was well and going about his business without a worry in the world, I have tried to forget Mwangi’s annoying art gallery, but he will not let me be, every time I try, he appears with some new problem, some fundamental questions that I cannot answer, some facts that I wish to dispute to save face, but he will not let me forget god damn!
The day he took down the Langata Primary School Fence, I received a call from a fellow Child Rights Activist, Make a press statement against Boniface he said, and condemn his action against the children He Insisted. I got down to writing, shooting all manner of strongly worded phrases against this lone ranger; I still have the final draft saved on my laptop. Before I could marshal everyone I knew in the media fraternity, I remembered my dusty playground in Nyamachaki Primary School, that playground was my haven, my mind was always on the playground and the fun I had on that dusty pitch. I met my first boyfriend on that ground – a shy guy with a set of heavenly dimples, I recited my first poem on that playground, rehearsed all our drama festivals on that playground, that playground prepared me for today, and here I was armed with a press statement that would in effect deem it as a wrong to fight for the return of a playground back to the children, Ichieni!
Boniface Mwangi as I have concluded is my curse, he is my punishment for pretending that all is well in this deeply wounded and divided country of ours, He is my constant reminder that I am to blame for everything that happens in my country, he is my incurable plague that stinks off me exposing my ignorance and lack of commitment in changing my country, Mwangi is that demon firmly planted in My heart haunting me every night, joining all the dots together in a persistent cold whisper in my ear at 3am in the morning, reminding me that my children and I have no future unless I wake up to fight for my future. Mwangi is that scary scene in an overly ambitious Nigerian Movie that I will never erase from my memory, Every time I close my eyes I see him pointing at the blood in my fingers and he is always chanting something new. This week he made travel to Garissa, he made touch their blood, he made me admit that had I not accepted that bribe at the border, Had I voted for real business instead of Olivia’s Pope Public Relations Firm, I would have stopped Garissa from happening and maybe Ruhila Adatia would still be making my days on KISSFM. I know why he always appears on TV dressed in my flag, he is keen on making sure that even though I mute his ‘unnecessary’ conversations on terrorism, corruption, and tribe, I will be haunted by the call for action that oozes from his blaring Red – Black – White – Green, shirt. He just will not stop.
I had a dream yesterday; I dreamt that I was tied up to some pole in the City. I had a tail and pretty much looked like a donkey. I stood there, hungry and worn, watching Nairobians pass me by, only a few paused to take a selfie with me, I was pissed. I had on me – plastered in red paint – messages to deliver, messages on corruption and how it will ruin our country, messages of #tumechoka in reference to everything wrong in our country and no one paid any attention to me, not even to give me a glass of water. I was tired of fake promises, tired of bad leadership, tired of Public Relations responses, tired of misappropriation of my money, tired of misplaced financial priorities, tired of tribe leadership, tired of insecurity (even as a donkey I still feared for my safety) and yet nobody bothered. I cried out of hopelessness, I cried because I knew I was alone, I cried because I felt betrayed by the very same people I was risking myself to save, I cried because I knew I had to go on, to soldier on alone. I woke up and found myself tied up on some pole in the city, damn you Boniface Mwangi and your constant reminder of painful truths!
The only way as I have recently discovered to be rid off the Ghost of Boniface Mwangi, is to become my own version of Boniface Mwangi. To speak out against wrongs I see every day in my society, to question what my local lose canon leader spits when given a podium and a microphone, to interrogate all who come in the name of my County and Country, to support and point out when things are done right and wrong, to yield enough courage for me and my Future Generations in declaring ‘SITASIMAMA MAOVU YAKITAWALA!
That is the only solution.