“This mukimo guy looks kinda blond and dumb”, read the first tweet I saw while on Larry Madowo’s #TheTrend. There were more. Mostly questioning my cognitive abilities.
Never in the history of blogging has a blog rallied a whole community against a ‘dumb’ blogger than it did last week. I was tremendously overwhelmed. A while ago, a very senior Kenyan summoned to his office and warned me that I should be careful about what I write, for I never know who my ‘strong’ language may offend. I should I should have listened.
It all started last Wednesday morning. I had not done the week’s blog. So I sat and decided to punch a few words about food. My idea was that I will come up with a series that will basically hate on Kenyan foods. Save for the Coastal people, the rest of Kenya culinary landscape is just a joke. So I will start with Mukimo. Go to the Luo’s Omena. Go to the Luhyia’s mrenda. Go to the Kisii’s extremely bitter weeds that pass for vegetables that strangely people think have a medicinal value of clean blood.
So I uploaded the blog and left. Four hours later, I checked, I had 200 clicks. That was fair. Because the blog is for my small army of friends, mainly those I went to university with. In deed those I schooled with and those familiar with my Retrosexual column in The Nairobian are familiar with my style and did not find the blog as mildly offensive as the people who stumbled upon the blog for the very first time.
24 hours later, the blog had gone viral. It is every blogger’s dream, to write a blog that goes viral. Only that the blog attacked the sensibilities of a people of the House of Mumbi and the feedback was negative and offensive. There were three kinds of responses.
The first category was that of Kikuyus and others who saw the humour, laughed it off and went back to work. Way to go. The second category saw ignorance and decided to educate me. Thank you. I have learnt that the worst Kikuyu food is not mukimo, it is pilau ya njeri. Even from the name…I have learnt that every district in Central has its variant of Mukimo and those from Kirinyaga have the most original Mukimo. I have seen the word irio bandied about like it is the aphrodisiac version of mukimo…
The third category is the annoying lot who see everything through their ethnic lenses. So defensive and protective of their communities even it is not necessary. You write anything negative about Gor Mahia, they say you are attacking the Luo community. You complain about corruption in the government of Uhuru, they dismiss you as bitter loser.
I saw people I respect so much; some journalists of great distinction dismiss and discredit the blog as an overt hatred towards the Kikuyu. Imagine someone claiming that I’m capable of causing a genocide…Come on the only genocide I’m capable of is if I masturbate and throw away a million sperms that have the potential to be humans.
Some thought that I dated a Kikuyu woman who cooked bad mukimo hence the beef. Or a Kikuyu woman left me. Yes, the three most beautiful women my heart has ever hankered after were Kikuyu. One was an intelligent light-skinned lass who decided after three months, to give me her friend zone estate to manage. I quit. The second one, well, I did not have the balls, she was too alpha for me. Overambitious women are a turn off to me. The third…well, that is too much information. Thing is I have never had a problem Kikuyu women. Not a disagreement. Not a spat. I enjoy a healthy relationship with all my Kikuyu buddies.
So amidst the heat and as the blog was shared in all social media platforms, Larry asks me to appear on The Trend. I sack at public speaking. I stutter and my Kisii accent gets in the way. I pondered about it. I ask the missus. She is opposed to the idea. She calls me an attention seeker. I vehemently deny this charge. But given she is a bright woman; I give her the benefit of doubt. Sometimes we don’t know much about ourselves as we think.
Anyway, I show up for #TheTrends having psyched all my friends on social media. At NMG, I share a lift with Ciru Muiruri and take it from me, she is hot, too bad she claims she has sat on someone’s chapatti, but we have a date. Anyway at the lobby, I’m with Sabina Stadtler before my homeboy Ringtone shows up, all geared up to expose the rot at the Music Society and Copyright Kenya. At first I didn’t know who Sabina was and I kept wondering who is this garrulous, hot girl? Until I run into my junior in Campus, Edmond Nyabola, NTV sports anchor, who helpfully calls her by name and it hits me that she is the lady we sent to South Africa for a week to represent us at Big Brother. But I don’t watch Big Brother at all, at all.
Anyway, as Sabina goes to the studio, I’m set up in the newsroom, earphones, tablet, cameras…it is all systems go…
When we came live, I was tongue-tide. I was nervous as freak. I was sweating from every orifice. I knew that I was going to make the biggest ass of myself on national telly. Given I was going to argue with Ciru Muiruri, I was lost. She is combative. She is bold and never afraid of to speak her mind. So I freaked.
Verdict: 90% decided that I came out as naïve, nervous and rather too dull. I’m sorry. And to that lady at the beginning, I was blond and dumb. She is entitled to her opinion, I will not resort to abusing her.
Sadly with that catastrophic appearance, advisors in my head have decided that I don’t appear on TV until October 2046. For the new readers, I welcome you to my blog. Learn to laugh. Drop your ethnic or gender lenses, here you come to read for entertainment and it is never that serious.
Tomorrow, I will publish a response from the reader titled, “How to Prepare Mukimo” to wind down the madness. Monday, we resume the normal banter.