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Smelly T-shirts


There’s nothing as refreshing as leaving the digs at 7am and watching as the world sets off for the day. It’s beautiful at that time; the orange sunlight, the cool breeze and the assortment of people you meet at that time, from Mama Mboga opening her joint to a secretary in a short skirt who has to lick someone else’s grown-up parts to get a promotion. And then there’s me. You’ll see my ilk. A student beat up with life heading to an 8am class. He will be wearing a t-shirt (preferably black) with some khakis, polo shoes and probably those caps kids are wearing these days, you know, the ones 45 year old Kikuyu men wear. Apparently, it’s trending in fashion now. His hair will be longer because that’s just what his age demands. It may be unkempt too. The t-shirt will have a hint of sweat, not so much that will irritate people around him. No. Just a little that only he can feel ‘cause it won’t be the first time he’s worn it that week.

He will board the matatu with you. Maybe even sit beside you. You’ll like his shoes. You’ll match them to the khakis you bought at Ngara and the shirt babe bought you a month ago. You’ll want to compliment them but you can’t. (Unwritten public transport rules dictates that you don’t compliment you’re a fellow male neighbor. If you do, you’re either: 1. A thief 2. A gay man. And for both, you might end up getting lynched.) You’ll want to wear them to church. It’ll be the first thing you text babe that morning.

Babe, I saw someone with shoes that would go really well with that shirt you bought me.”


“A guy. Don’t be insecure.”

“I’m not.”


I digress though.

He will look at you subtly with the side eye (you won’t even notice) and judge you. You with your suit and tie and polished shoes. You with your nice watch and expensive perfume. He will think your life is better, that because you’re laughing to Maina and Kingangi’s show, you’re living the utopian life. Poor him, he’s naivety blinds him. He doesn’t know what he has. He can’t see it. A classic example of that “nyani haoni kundule” maxim. He can’t see all he has to do is study. That, and probably a little marijuana to keep him sane during those intense exam days. All he has to focus on is assignments. He shouldn’t worry about rent, bills et al. All he has to do is see what he has and freakin’ study!

As is what is life today; always looking at what we don’t have. And not because we need it, but because a neighbor has it. Jealousy and green runs the world today. It’s depressing. Especially with us young people. We want everything now. No patience. We want the gain without the pain. We are hungry. Hungry for money. Hungry for power. Hungry for fame. We dumped patience in the toilet and flushed it. And when it didn’t go away, we flushed again. And this time, it went for good. We did the same with morals, respect and sheer hard work. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard, “Na hawa watoto wa siku hizi…” from the older generation. Sure, sometimes it’s not justified but most of the time it is. It’s a conundrum. We have lost our way. We’re drinking and smoking everything that can be drank and smoked. We’re sleeping with anything with fanny parts. And we’re repeating these everyday because… wait, there’s no reason. It’s just bad influence. Debauchery has left us as shells of beings. Diseases are on the rise. Unplanned kids are roaming the streets and it gets worse, we have no regrets. Given a second chance we would repeat all these.

Just so you’re thinking, “This phony here, preaching water and drinking vodka…”, I’m not attacking us millennials. In fact, I’m glad I’m a generation Y. Those stories our parents have told us of ati walking 15 km every day to school and back made me feel lucky. I’ve been caught up in this malicious web too, the partying and all. I’ve decided to give it a break more times than I’ve watched corruption scandals on TV. And I have, at least for a while and then I fall off the wagon, back to square one. I know, don’t say it. It’s just influence. And I tell you the influence is strong. The need to sway with the majority is overwhelming. It goes beyond our (my) control. I try to fight it though. A lot and hard. And I think that counts for something. It has to. But as for now, I’m off the wagon. I hope to get back on it soon and to bring in a few people with me in too.

Join me?

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King is a mad writer on the loose. He is suspected to have lost his mind a few years after he was born. Since then, he has been writing his mind almost everywhere he can put his pen on. Someone – a government, a state, a police force, a parent, a teacher, a rabbi, a president, a sacco, a doctor, a deranged ex, a church, a therapist, or anyone with a bit of power bestowed upon them – should reprimand him and help him.

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