I wouldn’t have remembered if someone didn’t mention ‘Kenyan slave’. The true story of what happened in the years while I lived in the eastern parts of Africa.
Back then, one of the most lucrative jobs was cattle herding. In Nigeria and other parts of West Africa, cattle herding refers to the job of leading cows and bulls to green pastures, making sure they find good water to drink on a regular basis. That was quite different where I spent the first 20years of my life. Herding cattle referred to taking the 212 giraffes and 37 kangaroos I owned to nearby stream. The typical Kanuayadans had more kangaroos than giraffe but I was fine this way. Did you ever hear that lions are scared of giraffes? This was why I prided in the knowledge that giraffes are actually the kings of the jungle. Not only could they render a fully grown lion jawless with their kicks, they were also the tallest animals. They could see far beyond the horizon, knowing at a glance when trouble was coming. For me, this was enough security.
Once in 3 weeks I get to sell a giraffe to passing travelers who loved the sounds of giraffes when they yawn at noon. If you’ve never heard them yawn, I think you should. In present day times, it’s like the sound of a vibrant singer on auto-tune.
Yes, I owned giraffes that stood tall. Yes, I stood tall also. I had no option but to stand tall as Dafon was the only man with giraffes closest to the number I had. He had 92.
But this story is not about my pride, or the number of giraffes or kangaroos I had. This story is not about my 21 years in the east of Africa. This story is about the last day I remember in this tropical land.
Kedunore, the lousy craftsman had a slave called Samudi. Samudi was obsessed with giraffes with blue spots. I heard of this first from the girls who gossiped about his prowess but then where would you find giraffes with blue strips? “Oh these lies men tell women to woo them”, I thought to myself. Then I noticed Samudi started eying my giraffes.
The days before the Ankuri festivals, a 12 day festivity, I had to take my cattle 135miles to the Odan-nr streams because the closer ones were said to have lots of flees which drove cattle crazy.
Then I noticed him in the distance! How could a man with his own business to mind follow me 135miles in the thick midday heat! One second he was visible, the other he was gone. I chose to ignore him. Same thing happened the next day. And the next day I was still seeing his footprints.
The night of Ankuri, I had turned in early. I was quite excited about this event because I was going to be the first to dance. I waited all year round to show these people that where I am from, we don’t shake our bodies for just for the fun of it. I hadn’t slept more than 10minutes when I heard a voice in my shed. The shed where my giraffe stood to sleep and the kangaroos rooed in sleep’s pleasure. I heard a man’s voice, slowly wining the animals.
Tip toeing in the dark, there I saw him- the stout signature figure of Samudi! He was there bent over by the front-left hoof of one of my giraffes, saying sweet nothings to this giraffe! In the reflection I saw the blue spots on this giraffe which happens to be my favorite. In anger I scoffed out his name, “Samudi!!!”.
In fright, he got off on his feet coming toward my direction.
That’s all I can remember. It’s been years now. If not for the word Kenyan Slave that I heard today, I wouldn’t have remembered a bit of this event that happened years ago.
I am glad that today, I am seated in front of a computer instead, reminiscing about the cool shades of Antihga, a story for another day.
Y’all should have seen the first one I wrote. This is the silliest thing I have done in a while.