To My Daughter, Natasha

pen-and-paper

Dear Natasha,

First, let me begin by answering the two questions I am sure you have been dying to ask. NO, you did not write any letter applying to be my daughter and, NO, me being your father is not a punishment from God for something you did when you were nothing but an urge and desire in our DNA. Now that we are clear on that, let’s move on to other groundbreaking issues.

A few years from now when you will be a proud owner of a smartphone, and hopefully Facebook will still be rocking, you will decide to take a walk through your father’s ageing Facebook Timeline. All the posts, comments and likes will have gathered dust and at the same time playing host to cobwebs. But because of curiosity, because you will want to know what your father used to ramble about, you will simply blow the dust off and proceed to read the shenanigans I used to write about your mum and yourself.

And I know that these posts will sound like nothing short of character assassination. You will definitely have this feeling that I loved your mum less and given an option, I would have left her for someone else. Well, for the avoidance of doubt, I have had so many other options but I still chose your mum over and over again. Reason? She is and has always been an awesome woman. You see, in this age and era, it’s easy to find a clean politician than land a woman, as beautiful as your mum, and as learned as she is, who would be more than willing to marry a man whose future is as dark as 3.a.m in the morning.

They say that “intelligent” women only marry men with money and when they can’t find one with money they will settle for one with the potential to make lots of money. Maybe it’s true. Because my daughter I can assure you that masquerading as a writer is not an easy task in this city. I doubt it’s easier anywhere else. First, most people don’t think being a creative writer is something that serious. They feel maybe it’s something you do when you are bored. Or because there is nothing else under the sun that you are qualified to do. So you simply sit your idle ass behind a computer and start writing for your own and everyon’s else’s amusement.

So you keep receiving these emails and WhatsApp messages from people who want you to write them things for free. Because surely, it’s not like you have something important to do, do you? Neither do they care that you might probably have a daughter whose school organises for expensive fun trips faster than you get your pay cheques. But still, it would be shameful if I didn’t thank God for the far He has brought me and my family.

Currently, even though you will need a microscope to see my blurry  future, at least we have a roof over our heads. We have food on our plates. You do get to attend school even though it’s not the poshest of schools. And I have refused to give up on your education though you keep insisting that what you saw during your school trip to Mamba Village was a crocodile and not a mamba.

Anyway, at this point, allow me to apologise for things I already have done, and the things I will do in the near future. You see, there are fathers out there who give their children a time out to stand in the naughty corner to figure out their mistake when they turn out to be a pain in the neck. Well, by now you already know I am not one of those fathers. I surely do not have the patience to wait for you to realise your mistake in that corner. Unfortunately, neither does your mum. So on behalf of her and myself, I apologise for our impatience.

I also want to apologogize for the fact that though you are a grown woman now and you are your own person, you still are not able to mention that you do know your rights without attracting sharp stares from your mum and sometimes, a red ear a few seconds later. Which is not that bad because apparently knowing your right as a child doesn’t make you immune to all the disasters that seat in waiting as you stagger in ignorance and wallow in teenage foolishness. Also, early pregnancy and deadly diseases haven’t been acquainted with your rights, and so they don’t give a fuck about these damn rights (ahem, excuse my language).

When I was writing this, there was a Breaking News on TV of another school dormitory kissing petrol which had a matchbox in its pants and, lets just say, the moment was lit. What makes students angry enough to raze down schools is what we are yet to find out. Others blame poor parenting, others blame school administrations, others Matiang’i, others Uhuru and others Raila. Some, secretly, blame Kidero’s grass so we really can’t tell.

What we all can agree on is that for its trouble, the smoke goes up with the future of most of our kids and sad enough, we can’t do shit about it. Or can we? Let me not pretend I am an expert on this… so moving on to the elephant in the room. This is about your future romantic life. Obviously, I am choosing to ignore the one you and Roy are having right now for reasons obvious to everyone. I don’t know how to talk to you about this so allow me to tell you a story.

One Saturday evening, I was seated at Heritage Grill downing a cold Fanta Orange (I know my enemies will say it was Tusker but don’t listen to them) while a friend seated across the table sipped from her cup of tea. The weather was chilly but the rhumba music playing in the background was competing with my friend’s tea for attention— Both were smoking hot.

Not far from our table sat this old black guy with a kitambi. It seemed like someone was still lying to him that having a kitambi was cool. And these must be folks from his village because in the village people will say anything to flatter you and your wallet. So he was seated there, dressed in a checked shirt and a brown jacket which I am tempted to think he bought it from Kapsoit in Kericho. The jacket looked like all brown jackets that all Kalenjins have a pair of, Kemboi Cheruiyot, si ni ukweli? He kept glancing at his watch, a sign that he was waiting for someone.

Two Tuskers down the line (Okay, I was drinking Tusker and not Fanta Orange, can we keep this between us?) and this tall, light-skinned woman with a thin waist, decently dressed in brown official pants and a brown blazer walked in. Her weave rested on her head like there was nowhere else, or rather, no other head it would rather be on. She swayed her hips as she walked to the old guy and the next second she was sitting on his laps, hands around his neck, planting a series of kisses on his lips. Now, I have to tell you that this was a rare occurrence in this place. Since I began hanging out here, I had been acquainted with a mature crowd. Not the one that grinds their crotches on strangers’ asses, trying to show that they know how to turn up!

But that is neither here nor there. So I am watching this woman who is about 25 years old at most, grinding her ass on this man’s laps and I truly felt sad. I am serious. I felt sad for her and her folks. But her mostly. That scene was the most disturbing thing I have ever seen in my life, and I have seen way more disturbing things.

You know, I am one of those people who believe that every person is entitled to their own life choices. That is none of our business if young women decide their browsers will be browsed by bony ageing fingers and their tabs clicked on by ugly looking cursors. That if young women whose parents pray for every morning when they wake up, and every evening before turning the lights off, asking God to look after their girl and makes them successful —so that they can shame the neighbours who whispered among themselves how stupid it was to educate a girl child— spend their weekends in bed with married men doing things these very men would never wish done to their own daughters.

You know, I get it. When Angel Gabriel will be standing at the gate to heaven holding a large book with the words KITABU CHA UZIMA printed on its hardcover, reading names of those who will make it to heaven, my name won’t miss because I saw a young woman doing bad manners with an old man. But still, it made me sad. It made me sad because as a dad, I felt that that young woman could be you in a few years. It made me sad because it is nauseating to imagine your daughter in such a situation. Not to think of what will happen to her come the judgement day.

And sweetheart, the judgment day will be brutal. You will be standing on your heels, your weave threatening to break your neck when Angel Gabriel will say, “Okay, Babylicious Natasha, who was that man you were with at Heritage Club on 16th July 2016? Your grandfather?”

“No,” you will mumble.

“Your great grandfather perhaps?”

“No.”

“Uhm,… let me see…Your great grandfather’s brother?”

“No.”

“Okay, I am running out of options here Natasha, who was he? Because he looked way too old (and ugly) to be your father!”

And then your friend, the one who was always jealous of you and who will be so desperate to go through the gates of heaven that she would do just anything, including snitching on you to redeem herself,  will appear from the crowd and walk to where Angel Gabriel is and whispers things in his ear, all the while gesturing at you with her long ugly nails. And then nodding his head, Angel Gabriel will turn to you, grinning.

“Okay, Natasha, I know Jimmy Gait in his song Yesu Ni Sponsor, alluded to the fact that Jesus is the real Sponsor but no, Yesu si sponsor.” Then he will point to the gate leading to hell and say, “But you can be rest assured that you will find your sponsor and many other sponsors there. NEXT! Nickson Otieno Onyango, step forward. Bwana, What did you say you will do to those people opposed to Baba?”

Hahaha.

But seriously, the sponsor thing irks me. I may not know this for sure, but being an African I can tell that most of us do not come from well to do families. Our parents broke their backs to take us to school. The same way me and your mum are breaking ours to see you through school. And then because your chest is all grown and ass well outlined, you decide to live a borrowed life?

You know, you may say that while writing this, I was just a broke bitter young man and you may be right. But the day I will hear you saying you are dating old men because they are matured and they have their lives all figured out, I will kill someone. And to give you a hint, that someone’s name starts with an N & ends with an A…just saying. Why would you want a man who has it all figured out when, clearly, your haven’t figured out yours?

In short, sweetheart, what I am saying is that our courageous grandmothers who dared to stand up against the norm, and the countless Women Empowerment Groups, did and do not continue to go through all the trouble so as women can get educated and empowered, only for them to end up with old married men for survival. It’s like spitting on the face of whoever invented weaves after all they have done to make sure that some women no longer hide in the house during the day, and only show up in the dark because their hair looks like something you would use to clean a sufuria with. I hear that something is called steel wool.

That’s an insult to these women’s efforts. If you haven’t figured this out yet, I will have you know that your rights for education were fought for so that you can be INDEPENDENT. Get your degree or Diploma Oor Certificate or whatever you will get, and then go out and get a job. Hassle like  other great women and set a place for yourself on the high table. Find a man who complements you and whom you can complement, preferably not a man older than me, settle down and raise your kids if you are blessed with any.

If no man comes around, I can assure you there are a lot of single mums doing great things on their own.  I know this because, as I assume you know, I am a copywriter and one of the blogs I write for has everything to do with mums and newborns. I have researched and talked to mums, married and single mums, and I can tell you that if there is a man out there who still thinks women can’t do without men, then they need to have their heads checked. So if you end up as a single mum, I will still be proud of you.

To cut the long story short, all I am trying to say is get your priorities right. Do not get worked up over things that matter less. My good friend, your uncle KC, once told me that finding a sponsor is like finding a job. No employer gives you a job because deep in their heart, they want to make you rich. It is for their own benefit. Your sponsor will be your employer, they will buy you cars in their names, rent you houses, and when your value depreciates, they will kick you out.

Now, I am not saying that you go ahead and get married to a poor man. I am just saying get married for the right reasons.

I know I have written enough already. Your mum seems like she has something to say to you in the kitchen, so why don’t you take a break and go find out what she wants, then we will continue this some other time? When you come, we will talk about God because we both know He deserves a whole blog post. Sounds good? Sawa. See you then.

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One thought on “To My Daughter, Natasha

  1. PETER PRINCE

    Talent at work!!!!!! But, am one of those who would stand before Bensouda and confess it wasn’t and would never be a Fanta orange. You can take that to the bank. hahahahaaaaaaaa….. Fanta orange ni wewe

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