…. And in the Manner of Africa, she was Born: The Story of Chhiko.

So, yeah. My name ACTUALLY is Wanjiku. And while I’ve always liked the name, it was more because of who it honoured and not really WHAT it honoured. As the ENTIRE world probably knows, Kikuyu custom stipulates that the first born girl be named after her father’s mother, and that truly is where my secret love affair with my grandmother began. For a while I loved the name because of how dearly I loved her. Strength, Grace, Integrity, Womanhood, Motherhood, Wisdom; she wore these so well, like a second skin attached to her through the struggles of life but, more of her first skin than the skin she was given initially by the Almighty. THAT’S why I loved my name. But then she died, and the romanticism with which many new ID holders like myself, viewed the world began to die along with her and the realities of life began to unravel before my eyes. That’s when my name began to take on a new, intimate, form. GRANTED, it had something to do with the fact that the name is colloquially used to somewhat identify the vague but oh-so-familiar face of every Mama Mboga we we have within our borders; a way to bundle all these heterogeneous ideas, thoughts, desires, into one stuffy, homogeneous hut. It’s always infuriated me by the way, mainly because it made me feel ordinary? You know? Maybe not but, THAT thought infuriated me further because that was someone’s reality; that mediocre standard of living where yes, the rubber did very literally hit the road. As I began to try and purge myself of my stupidity, I was Blessed to find some solace in the pursuit of knowledge, and the two culminated in a moment that has made me appreciate my name in ways even my mother can’t handle too well.

It is, along with every single African name, an adage in its mere existence – a manifestation of African heritage, identity and pride. Now, I don’t really know why people don’t agree (the number of people that constantly try to attack me when they hear I’m disposing of my “government names” is baffling) with the idea that your traditional name tells more of your story than any other single part of you which precedes your actual presence. I kinda do really think so. Why do I say all this? Because I feel that our biggest failure as members of this continent is our shame; our unabated shame of being Africans. 

I’ve become a fan of Franz Fanon recently; methinks he’s the big brother the founding members of the OAU never seemed to know but so desperately needed. You know, that nigga that’ll chapa that SHIT out of you when you’re dictator-like, retrogressive tendencies get out of line? (Phrasing. Boom.) Anyway, they needed it, as do we, desperately. In the works of Fanon’s that I’ve come across, he doesn’t even try to sugar coat how he believes our leaders were brainwashed and have passed on neo-colonialism as their legacy to us. In Black Skins, White Masks, he used an illustration to show how niggas leave the motherland to “educate themselves” but in truth, just appeal to an exploitative system and thus come back more foolish than before:

“There is a kind of magic vault of distance, and the man who is leaving next week for France creates round himself a magic circle in which the words Paris, Marseille, Sorbonne, Pigalle become the keys to the vault. He leaves for the pier, and the amputation of his being diminishes as the silhouette of his ship grows clearer. In the eyes of those who have come to see him off he can read the evidence of his own mutation, his power. “Good-by bandanna, good-by straw hat. …”

Now that we have got him to the dock, let him sail; we shall see him again. For the moment, let us go to welcome one of those who are coming home. The “newcomer” reveals himself at once; he answers only in French, and often he no longer understands Creole. There is a relevant illustration in folklore.”

With this in mind, I’ve been exploring every single piece of my existence: as a sorta adult female, a recent graduate, a Kikuyu in today’s Kenya, an individual with a set of ideas, and goals, and ambitions – and what those things under MY name truly represent. I feel like that extract describes almost every African I know in some way or another and it’s too true for us to pretend so, let’s just not. I have a colleague who thinks I read too much, and think too much about that shit I read too much. The last time she said it, my heart sank as she tried to cite the advantages of liking Mexican soap operas over present and future space tech and the existence of alien life outside Earth. That’s fine, people see life in the same glass but through different angles; the upsetting part was her stating that there’s no need to be bothered, why know? It’s just better to surround yourself with fantasy. I was slightly dumbfounded by this because, she was quite serious.

This is why this the BEING Wanjiku matter to me has become relevant; I wondered why my colleague had bothered to ever leave the house and get an education then because, she was genuinely and basically wasting people’s time, the most, hers, I believe. It reminds me of many people I know, who don’t ask the uncomfortable questions as African youth and what THAT REALLY DOES BLOODY MEAN and would rather be famous on Twitter. Furthermore, there is a lack of continued questioning of the system: if it quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it is a duck? <the Kenyan electorate. This is not a stance the Kenyan proletariat can afford. It’s even worse for Kenyans my age. I look at my surroundings and realize that things have “changed” enough so that nothing has changed at all. At the point that I realized this, I was very happy being like everyone else, blissfully ignorant as a pawn of the system, believing that my continent’s poverty could be changed if I protested enough or, became revolutionary enough. But, the golden moment arrived: I can’t fucking want change for you, you have to want that change for yourself. It’s something women still don’t get about their versions of Mike Tyson.  As such, forcing it down someone’s throat is a sort of rapey, expensive expedition that no one will really enjoy. I saw that change can only come about if we ALL know what we want to change, why we want to change it, and how we’ll go about it. If you think about it, for even one second, our leaders are not interested in the slightest in this change and you can’t particularly blame them. Niggas need to live in Runda, and wear L’Eau D’Issey – honest rebellious reform doesn’t make this shit happen (and if you think about it, every pursuer of true good you know never smelt that great). The high road doesn’t produce the average Nigerian immigrant’s life and again, vanity is cool. It makes the roads look much nicer, and the lobster doesn’t suck now, does it. The problem arises when we allow these self serving ambitions into PUBLIC OFFICE and expect them to deny themselves. But who am I kidding? The educated know this well but the status quo pays a type of “well” that is transcendent of most, aye. However, this lack of foresight and hindsight will, in the long run, continue to burn. One may say the Bible may very well be pages upon pages of contradiction, but it is still Wisdom beyond measure: Hosea 4:6 really does have a point. Anyway, those of us who aren’t Manu Chandaria are busy struggling for political and well just, genuine freedom, in this day and age where we think we’re free, but have just re-issued our carrot and stick relations in another region via the courteous folly of our leaders. I look at how gullible the collective African electorate is and my heart sinks.

However, I would never want to be a member of any other state, well except the Hellenic Republic, I’m proud of my dark skin, hard ass hair, and inherent fleshiness. I am proud of the, Kipchirchirs, Mumbis, Swalehs that are all over this continent (I don’t know common names in kina Nigeria to be honest) and sit here with my nappy ass hair and my MAC (yeeees, beech!) eyeliner and continue to think aloud……

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… And I stalked you from afar

The moment I walked through that door and saw you for the first time, you already had me with THAT look. Alert, shy, decisive, secretly wild – I unconsciously in that moment, wished you would give each of those parts of yourself to me. I wanted more and yet, I was tortured by the thought of even an ounce added on. And then, that moment happened again, and again, until I started to wonder if this was more than just a hyperactive, involuntarily celibate imagination? Because in these moments of my inexplicable vulnerability, I was sure that I was slightly senile, slightly energized, just like Superman in the sun… or something.  But then this moment was always present in our infrequent interactions and I realized that, OI – you MAY have felt the same.

Now these “mutual feelings” or whatever inexplicable absurdities they were, were expressed in such short, silent nuances, almost silage; abstract in their present but so nostalgic before and after. Especially after. I admit, I would replay the precious seconds of the encounter; how I spoke, how you shyly and wonderfully clumsily responded. These moments, slowly led me to an event that I lightly assumed we could achieve, but obviously just in my head. Now, I use lightly liberally; I never thought you even were interested in my foolish clumsy jabber until I noticed you in your clumsy actions. I was captivated in ways that are obvious and yet, have led my mind slightly astray. And so I began to “read the signs” and follow the road I thought, we may be taking. This is why I use lightly. Being a young adult of my stature (more importantly, lack thereof), there is much to be learnt, and misconstruing slight awkwardness for mutual attraction after such a short time is slightly stupid in the least. I didn’t even feel like we would happen, like…

” WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT EVEN COMES CLOSE TO MAKING SENSE WOULD THIS BEAUTIFUL CREATURE BE INTERESTED IN YOU AND YOUR SELF DESTRUCTIVE, WEIRD, CONFUSED, NAPPY WAYS”.

Besides,  I don’t even know your name. But, after Mary Lavelle, who knows, who fucking knows. And so, I somewhat lackadaisically began to fall for you… or something. And for a while I never saw you, but I could never forget, those moments were slightly electric in memory even when I was alone, especially when I was all alone. I think I could have lived very joyously like this; it was all sexy mystery and no crushing truths. I was a blissful ignoramus. However, these things never happen the way I calculate or perceive and so, the chaff on my hungry desire would soon become a little more pronounced. It happened on a bright, lazy afternoon, and it just so happened to be her birthday; she and I had began to see similarities mirrored in the other – it wasn’t obvious, or discussed, but we knew it and slightly began to indulge it. I thought her interesting and just dramatic enough to capture my attention. And so when she stuttered past your relationship with her, I was stunned. Well, not really, I was just BRUTALLY, SHIT STUNNED. And it was at that moment, that the word ”lackadaisical” fell of out any thought I could henceforth have in relation to you. I genuinely think I was more excited by the silage of you (by this I mean, the scent of your individual manhood, the inkling into what you could be) than I’m man enough to admit and, in my feminine grace, have had to be a man about it. Now I am not PARTICULARLY sure that you find solace in her bosom but, the evidence is just solid enough for it to matter, and considering the little I know of you, I may be stretching it. It? Wtf is IT? I don’t even know what is there to BE stretched; all I know is that it’s mighty horrid that now I can never have something that I never really did think I wanted. But that’s why it pinches so, because I think we could have made something of each other, secretly, wildly, shyly, profoundly.

I should be cross, I think I am. Not JUST at you but, her, the laws of attraction, happiness and now that I think of it, Daft Punk can fuck itself also (Discovery is a special place for me) but I digress. I shouldn’t have expected more, but I did. And even though it kinda does hurt, I think I still do. 

Let the Love Grow, like the Love between Two Lovers….

Last night you changed my world and, not even with much but, with your friendship eternal; it transcended this, these painful externals…

It is all I wish I had ever called my own.

Last night you changed my life,  and not even with much but, your loving divine, supplemented by that look in your eyes; fixated, concentrated,

Like my cess pit, ratchet truth was actually worth the time.

Last night you won my love, nothing like a Crusader but, yes, almost violent, incessant, just like, THE genuine lover of my soul. I now know what love means, because it spills so generously from what I behold,

As, the greatest thing one could ever be shown.

My heart will never be able to express what my renewed spirit now knows but this love, it grows; day and night, loyal even out of sight – like the love I wish unto you…

Deep within, silent and secret; everyday, it manifests more and more, just like that barely restricted, manifest of true love, 9 months from the shore…

And when this love matures, I will know that you and I are forever, and just like the irrefutable phenotype on the birthed product of Eros, it will erased, well yes – never…

So maybe one day, my words will grow, full and robust, like we all once were; pure, and unadulterated. And like the love between the two lovers, 1 second into the beauty of the shore, you will know what I feel, about you and this journey we’re on and know, I am glad I continued traveling on…..