29.11.05

Grownups

Stay tuned for High School pt. II. Can’t say I have fond memories of high school, kwa hivyo my subconscious has dharaud a post entitled ‘high school pt II’ until badaaye.

Is it just my perception or are Kenyan men and women shorter than they used to be? Niaje na protein deficiency au is it just that as you grow up the way you ona other grownups changes. When I was a kiddo anyone over 18 looked and acted like a grownup. Maze those days men/women used to wear suits, skirts, blouses, na kadhalika. Women would tengeneza their nywele like Margaret Thatcher (kumbuka that perm/hair rollers combo) and men would aspire for a pot-belly. Haiya there was a time when a beer-belly was the epitome of a mdosi – hah-hah mnakumbuka Bogi Benda, that cartoon strip? He used to kunywa pombe everyday and his mke would raramika. I also kumbuka women wearing headscarves esp if they were endaring to shagz or the rough sides of tao.

Lakini siku hizi niaje, you cant really distinguish an 18 year old from a 25 year old, yenyewe they all look the same. Hakuna mambo ya suits na ties, yote ni baggy jeans pekee. Aah that’s not the way grownups used to be. Back then kiddos would call anyone over 18 “Auntie” and “Uncle” and the purpose of kiddos in the hao was to be tumwad hapa na pale: “get my handbag” “bring my slippers” “tengeneza chai” lakini siku hizi labda you bribe the kiddo first ama you lipa them a salary.

I used to dream about what I’d be when I grew up. I planned on buying a hao near central tao, driving a Peugot 504 (heh-heh kumbuka those cars they were so popular back then, they were like a saloon car with a kisogo) and vaaring mamsuits, blouses, etc., Lakini when you fika the umri of being a grownup you find that actually you want to hold on to your youth, na hizo masuits unavaa reluctantly – and who in our generation would vaa that Maggie Thatcher hairstyle or weka those Kaunda Suits that were popular with budehs?

One of the things about being a grownup in Nai is, now when people address you hawasemi “msichana” or “kijana,” they sema “huyu Auntie” or “yule mwanamume.” In the 80s I kumbuka all women over a certain age (esp if they were married) being called ‘mama’ lakini now chicks would be like “weeh, I’m still a youth.” Hakuna mtu ambaye anataka kuwa old anymore. It’s a shame yenyewe, maybe one day the prezzo of Kenya will be wearing a ngepa and jeans or thong nyande.

Personally I used to think ati the faida of growing up was having the independence and the bakes to do what you wanted. I planned on kulaing ice-cream for breakfast and chibos/milkshake for lunch everyday, lakini now I’m like weh hizo zina cholesterol na saturated fats, zishindwe kabisa. Back in the day hakukuwa na any mambo of cholesterol, in fact I kumbuka that if someone was skinny they were enjoyiwad and if they had big madiabs/ hips the teenies would fuata them. I kumbuka people kulaing with bidii so that they could have a figure “8” (kaa binti alikuwa na figure 11 alienjoyiwa kabisa).

The economic situation in Kenya back then wasn’t bad at all if I kumbuka correctly. I think it’s mostly to do with the lower population level in Nai back then, siku hizi cause everyone heads to Nbi hakuna majobos mingi. I kumbuka my cuzos finishing in Nbi Uni and getting jobos bila shida yoyote, now they own a hao and a gari (+land for some). Lakini siku hizi it’s much harder for kina 20-somethings to live that grownup life in Nai. Back then people used to move out of home when they malizad their education lakini siku hizi 8-4-4 has held people back.

I remember an ad in the ‘80’s that had different kids saying “when I grow up I want to be..” There were aspiring pilots, engineers, doctors, lawyers, the whole stereotypical shabbang. Lakini when people heard ati med training involves handling maiti they were like ‘ai basi hiyo hatutaki.’ Kina business-type careers became popular and yenyewe 844 ensured that we somad ‘business education’ – I kumbuka balancing profit/loss accounts in std 6.

Kila mtu aliassume ati prosperity awaited them when they grew up provided they somad - remember the song “someni vijana/ mfanye kazi yenu na bidii/ mwisho wa kusoma/ mtapata kazi nzuri sana.”

Another feature of Nai grownups was their rights with regards to bus seats. Yenyewe you could wake up early to board the bus first lakini when the thing got packed a grownup would either ask you to simama or they would look at you intently until you simamad. Lakini the same principle was applied irrespective of age (so grownups stood for elderly people). I heard a storo about a packed Kenya bus into which a mzunye tourist climbed, then an old cucu stood up to give him her seat (ai, jameni!); the mzunye kubalid and sat down. Weh-seh! He was mobbed sana ati doesn’t he have any heshimu for a mzee.

Na je these days, what does it mean being a grown-up in Nai? Si you’ll enda Bubbles (was that its name?) or Carni and kutana with akina form 2s huko ndani hanyaring like there’s no homework to complete.

15 Comments:

At 2:21 pm, Blogger Adrian said...

hehe, i remember that song. i think even being lectured by some grown-ups, they would refer to that song.

when leaving grown-ups a seat in the mat, i appreciated those who offered to carry my rucksack. yani the way mats would be congested at rush hour and with all the books we had, it was hard to move around without getting some angry stares (and the touts would always be: wee kijana, songea hapo...)

guilty of sometimes still dressing like a teenager, especially in summer.

i sometimes unleash that one of sending my little sis. her reaction always leads to me telling her how things were when we were kids back home and that she's lucky i'm just sending her within the house, not like us: "kimbia kiosk uje na kiberiti ndio niweze kukupikia chai" :-)

i could go on and on, but i need to stop this business of blogging at your place. thanks for the memories...

 
At 6:31 pm, Anonymous Msanii_xl said...

ha ha dreams of driving a 504...that car had umbuyu written all over it.

and yes iw ould not be caught dead in those kaunda suits.

Yup you hit the nail on the head being grown-up is completely different..the sought of fearspect we had in the day in no longer there, ..

great post as always memoire

 
At 9:53 am, Blogger Prousette said...

Being grown-up is associated with financial independence, now most of us at 18 were just out of high school and kedo 4 more years of Uni so you really didn't fit the bracket of grown up.
Somewhere early nineties it became a bad thing to be old and we started seeing age defying activities, lotions, exercises, and also emergence of the youth culture.
that song used to play after 8 oclock news on radio and I was made to listen to it very keenly.
lovely post

 
At 5:05 pm, Anonymous Memoire said...

@ Adrian: that song was embedded in our psyches yani even 'junior quiz' that KBC progi had it as its theme tune. I'm the last born so I never had anyone to tuma, I was the one being tumwad constantly. Feel free to share all memories, no space limit here :-)

@ Msanii_xl: ha ha ati 'fearspect' - yani it was kawa for a grownup, any grownup, to take it upon themselves to discipline (read beat) anyones kiddo!

@ Prousette: so true, I always thought that Kenya wouldnt buy into that youth mania. kumbuka when tv celebs typically were 40ish (kusema hivyo Cathleen Kasavuli is still glamorous and she was there in the 80s)

 
At 4:54 am, Blogger Keguro said...

Maybe youth culture, maybe laziness.

Jeans: wear them for 3 weeks without washing them.

Suits: dry clean only.

Living in Nairobi: endless dust.

dirty jeans: fashionable.

Hmm, maybe I've been away too long--last time I was home my mother was on me about my "ndagari" dressing; I call it student-chic, she calls it "ngiko."

 
At 3:36 pm, Blogger nick said...

1.oh my word i still have those bogi bena carton books that i'd get bought if i had behaved
2.them days of stone-wash jeans...
3...aint no pain like the realisation that uni education willtake u places far and wide?

 
At 1:48 pm, Anonymous philo/2000 said...

the worst affected group is the public uni group.After clearing about 5yrs in Campo you find thatyou are 24,with no jobo,and you cant access cheap campo commodities like Alsop lager.Lakini worst of all you cant just hanya hanya like kitambo coz uko bado home or with relas.

 
At 5:45 pm, Anonymous Memoire said...

@ Keguro: dressing down/however is truly a must before one starts jobo. Personally nilidress crazy stuff just to enjoy whilst in Uni - I shangaa at some extra baggy traos au skirts so short ni kama belt lakini yenyewe youth is youth.

@ Nick: aahh maze stone wash... Hands up any teenie who suguad new jeans with a stone to get that stone-wash look. Hebu Dr. Nick tell us if it's true y'all practiced dentisry on maiti ama it's just mambo fitina?

@ Philo/2000: For real, I think there is way too much pressure, yet the actual opportunities haziko mingi. And that one of being kitu 24, moving back with relas or jamii and they're like 'where were you? what time are you coming back' aahh and vile mtu ako grown already!

 
At 6:17 pm, Blogger Poi said...

I'm not too sure anymore what been a grown-up in Nrb is now associated with? Just may be the independence ama? I can't tell really.

Nice read though. I mos definetly kumbuka that song kabisa now it's even going on in my ka-head.Hhhehehhe But I also kumbuka peuogeots were bigtime them days sana.

Thanks for memories Memoire lols you take care and bring on some more of you very great reads.

Happy week, tena :)

 
At 6:17 pm, Blogger Poi said...

Loving every minute of your been back...

 
At 4:51 pm, Blogger nick said...

in first year a group of 7-10 are given one full cadaver for the whole year to study gross anatomy for dissection...thats way before dentistry even starts...the brain is the most interesting part and the hardest

then in 3rd year we start practising cuttin cavities and root canals and crown on teeth either extracted from patients or from cadavers in chiromo..then we are unleashed on the public sho i guess after we're thru with them are maiti's ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

 
At 5:27 am, Blogger HASH said...

Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah... My goodness man, I can't stop crying from laughing so hard!

 
At 12:09 pm, Anonymous Memoire said...

@ Poi: karibu sana, thanx for visiting. After Peugots were Toyota Corollas - remember them, na je that ad ati "Kenya is my country, Datsun is my car" ha ha talk about shrewd advertising!!

@ Nick: whioooo (long whistle in shangaament) - na kusema kweli didnt you guys get scared or get bad dreams? That can be a plot for a horror - "zombies strike back: dental school pt I"!!!

@ Hash: werocam, karibu, and feel free to share your memories

 
At 6:09 pm, Anonymous acolyte said...

A great post.Watu wamekataa kuzeeka nowadays!I remember ppl who were like 30 them days were mathees and fathees in the way they acted and the things that they did lakini nowadays I know 30 year olds who dress and act like they are 20!Oh well I guess things had to change....

 
At 7:30 pm, Anonymous dani said...

d@niet: ati..siku hizo watoto wako kama wazazi wao..asin me naisha in canada na mama yangu ako na hight kama mimi...sry i don get the purpose of this comment...iight..peace out :-)

 

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