“He was a most peculiar man
He lived all alone within a house
Within a room, within himself
A most peculiar man ”
It is narcissistic and myopic how people in their wisdom (or lack of it) hastily think they know others, even those existing behind a façade. Granted, man is a social animal who is expected to adhere to certain norms which are compatible with the accepted way of life of his neighbours. However, I don’t deem it a duty which I owe them to introduce who I am, because I may not be who I proclaim to be. I grew up in an unconventional family in different hoods for the better part of my life; constant moving from point A to point B, the children I played with at the age of eight years were not the children I played with at the age of eleven years. I attended three primary schools two of which I didn’t even last two years in each and also tried being in high school for as long time and circumstances would permit. I was loud but in essence I was introverted. People knew me by what I talked, not by who I was. And they always assumed they knew me in their sincere ignorance. Most of the kids I attended school with never knew where I lived, but most of them thought they knew. All this was simply based on what I told them. I was a jovial hombre throughout my primary school education; it was only in classes seven and eight that I never made it to the roll of honour of the noisemakers list. This was simply due to the fact that the school I attended the two classes was modeled on a family setting system. My bedrock principle has been using talking as a way of concealing myself and that’s why what is supposedly known about me is mere speculation.
I remember while I was in classes seven and eight we used to live in the same hood with a guy with a calm demeanor who was just about my age, for the two years we were next door neighbours, I don’t recall us talking to each other, and no, it wasn’t that there was animosity between us, each of us just minded his own problems. Several years later, we met in the hood while some vociferous guys were talking about how they had seen me come to the hood a few months earlier, the guy didn’t chip in to tell them how we had been neighbours while in primary school, or what he knew about me or my family, he just shut up and let them continue with their yapping. And so did I. This guy’s conduct taught me an invaluable lesson, that sometimes it is better to let people make mistakes, to show their knowledge ignorance. Like the supposed smart alecs in the school labs who would mix potassium with hydrogen and oxygen to show how much they know about reactions……just move back and watch their “reactions”!
After I walked out of high school, I occasionally used to hang about in the hood, and different people knew a different Uhuru. They had a penchant of recreating me. What surprised me most is that none of those people bothered to find out who I was. They were at home presumably knowing me based on hearsay. To some, I was an array of several people fused into one, a conman without a victim I had bilked, a school drop out, to some a college student, a Sudanese refugee, to some, a person who had a connected relative but none of them really knew who I was. When I moved into my own house, at a fairly young age, in size, in years and in youthfulness a boy, my mental frame was of a man. I had not sat for my KCSE, did not have a national identity and thus my family joined the long list of people who knew me not. It wasn’t that I lived based on a life of deception or duplicity, I just lived my life. A life in which I stood alone and charted my own course with no one to show me the beaten track. I led a life full of responsibility and less on privileges, and up to this point, I think my performance is exemplary.
When I started hussling, politics, selling music discs from my backpack in Westlands and Kawangware to matatus, I was deferential in social intercourse some leading some to assume I was either a drug peddler or a pickpocket. I vividly recall an instance where cops from Muthangari Police Station were “tipped” that a pickpocket was having lunch at Mississippi Hotel in Kawangware, the cops traced me to a pool house, they wanted to take me to the police station for questioning concerning my “pick pocketing”, I stood my ground and asked them what had prompted them to brand me as such, the crowd was gathering as they were surprised that a “pickpocket” had been hanging out with them in the pretext of selling discs. The cops informed me that a certain “mukorino” guy (a driver) was the source of the devious shenanigans. He was later to claim that he believed I was a pickpocket because he had never seen me “work”. I was later made to understand that for him, work meant physical work, not unseen work like selling music discs. The cops had to leave with an egg on their face, minus their supposed suspect.
Upon joining the world of politik in the 2000’s, in order to among other things grow and develop my sociopolitical thought and ameliorate my condition in life, I had to present myself to gain the trust of the people from whom I was to solicit votes and policy opinions from through political and emotional calculations. It was not a long shot for the plain reason that and I stood for those means which would give the greatest good to the greatest number and not a select group of few. Charisma and sense of wicked humour always had a way of appealing to the masses. There were instances where those who were not capable of winning the debate of ideas or felt that I was not “known” would raise issues with my identity; one incident comes to mind, sometime in October, 2007 in Pathway Hotel along Ngong Road an aspiring councilor raising issue with my presence in a meeting for aspirants whereas I wasn’t one of them. I felt constrained to reply to him against the advice of the convener who had asked me to engage him in a joust. In the words of old Abe, “in this I have received from some a degree of credit for having kept silence, and from others some deprecation. I still think that I was right”. His fears were obviously unfounded. We were later to develop good working relationship with the person during the electoral process and even after he went on to miserably lose in his quest to be a civic leader and thrust to political oblivion awaiting 2012. I believe this is as it should be, don’t judge a person based on your inhibitions, prejudice is ignorance.
Communication with my family is and has always been limited, but some busybodies with idle minds always found and still find time to regale my family about my extra curricular off pitch activities. Mostly it has been about my carousal indulgences and relationships. I really don’t understand the excitement that people get when one gets a child or children (unless of course the parents are unable to pay the maternity charges or buy diapers for the newly born(s)). If a person willingly drinks to his death or spends his nights under the stars dancing, it should bother another who has not been affected. The accepted wisdom that a child belongs to the society should be done away with. I find shades in construing this kind of reasoning. It gives the correct meaning of a farce. A child belongs to its parent or parents, full stop. And so it has been with me, with some trying to count the number of children I have, in a way trying to know me better perhaps through my offspring. I conceal the information based on the life I have led and might lead. I don’t lead a “conventional” life, but I am not paranoid. It is because of the security of the children that people keep them behind curtains. Because they are vulnerable. If I fell out with a person and he/she wanted to exact a painful revenge, a child would be a soft target, and the results would strike right at the heart. This I learnt when aged sixteen, not from experience but from word on the street. I also learnt about not acknowledging close relatives in public, all for their safety. With this in mind, I will cleave my tongue to the roof of my mouth. Those interested may even try genome decoding, but I ain’t about to open up.
I have had opportunities of working in several places while I still had the opportunity and energy to work, where based on my name; people have professed their knowledge of me through the instrumentality of their feeble minds, people have fought to jettison me out of hate for my supposed political incorrectness. What they want is a squabble and a fuss about my genesis, but too bad, I cannot afford to placate. It baffles me how you can know a person based merely on a name or facial features, or upright posture. It apportions shallow a deeper meaning. For if upon mature reflection they would reason, they would know that I am still an unknown, a sojourner in the gnothe seauton race imploring the assistance of divine providence for my identity consciousness, a work in progress, and to be sincere, I am not vain enough to think that I know exactly myself in the sense that I am known. Truth is I is a portmanteau of several lives, peoples, pasts, cultures and nations and not the putative person I am thought to be. I ask that the hand of the LORD be upon me.