the making of a ‘modo-rome’*

September 25, 2008 at 6:50 pm | Posted in greatmen, he-motions, life | 3 Comments

above the roar the river Chania, Gitahi* rants, rattles and his tobacco-cured voice hits monolithic rocks in the banks, resonating into a scary echo.

it is who circumcised the tortoise!

it is i who removed the flea from the elephant’s crotch…

it is a freezing september night and am standing erect like a statue, numb, scared, tentatively dead from the ice cold river water am immersed in…when the fading echo of his rant is re-awakened by a dull pain. my fixed gaze is shaken and i catch a glimpse of the man ruthlessly nibbling at my foreskin.

despite ‘natural anesthesia cold, the pain was unbearable…but i had to stand still, unmovable. i was being ‘made a man’

man or mouse?

sometimes when i look back, i think i was almost a made a murder statistic rather than a ‘man’. it is a night that is indelibly etched in my memory. a test of endurance that should never be done in one day!

….but manhood, manhood…what really separates men from boys?

local news have been awash with news on circumcision, with ‘Raila’s word’ on it making hundreds in the larger Western Kenya  to flock clinics for that ‘cut’ – in the name of  medical reasons.

“has Raila himself been cut? ” someone loudly wondered. i have no idea too, but i would care less about that.

see, if you are a newshound, this campaign started like 2006 when ‘Wild Bank’ was to pump several billion dollars into Africa for this cause.

” ah, hiyo dough yote itapelekwa Kisumu” /the money will all be channelled to Nyanza/ i participated in the conversations too.

factually, it’s true,  but what is really the connection between the ‘cut’ and manhood that many people have been stereotypical about? especially self-declared ‘real men? those who have gone through the gory rites,  would bitterly say there MUST be a difference. partly, i can agree because the rite is no joke or child play – but does that make one lesser-of-a-man if lenga it altogether?

culture. it come naturally in here. for the sake of my INS classes, i would say that no culture is superior than the other and thus, we should respect what others hold on to as beliefs- because, the same that has had us made us men is what has made others what they are.

but that is not my battle. my query is: who is really a man?
A Zain advert tells of an African proverb,  i have never heard of, that it takes a whole village to raise a man. another quote says that as girls grow, society molds boys to men…so many philosphies, that i cant say deviate from the truth- but mostly, ends up as mere talk (picture the boy child, at the verge of extinction-?)

a man is made, i believe. the making, to the point where is ‘is a man in full’ is mostly a journey.

am a sojourner. circumcision was just a rite- wrong passage to others, but meaningful nevertheless. it cannot be the only scale a ‘man’ is be weighed with.

come to think of it. the many men we see around- unfaithful to their wives,  break down their homes deserve,  grown up men who rape their daughters, those who disrespect ladies, pludge a whole country into ethnic chaos and bloodletting….that whole BAD list, i know you have your own, CAN  we call such a man?

manners maketh man. a man is his character, i’d conclude on that.

STILL, as man and a man in the making, i learn like any other human being. from observing, exposure(media and information) and experience(hapo juu zaid zaid).

but some of these avenues have been torn down.

A story in kwani?04 titled the ‘Kikuyu Dialogues’ chronicled the lost relation between the Kikuyu father and his son. Tribal thoughts and bias aside, it is sadly true, even across other cultures.

girls learn to cook, use pads, hold a baby from their mother-who is there to nurture the boychild?

as a sojourners, i have learnt to observe ‘men in action’. man talk is rare with dad but i have learnt a mantra from watching him make all ends ‘meat’ for us:-a man must try. on the other hand, from his hallowed status, i’ve learnt three core things; never apologize, never contradict, never explain! otherwise, besides many accomplishments, ‘they’ may forget who roars and wears the pants in thes house.

sometimes, i picture life with a ‘modern-thingy’ (which i will hopefully marry)  and i speculate that with some attitudes, she would start calling those ‘professionals’ with names that have a silent ‘p’…but hey, this aint a hollywood flick, it is what the society made me.

well, it is a path that am treading on, sometimes careful, at times with blissful ignorance-i am one hell of a man in the making. woe unto thou that maketh me their object of affection….hey hey, suitors, i take that back, we can always meet at the center, right?

*modo rome means man.



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  1. I haven’t met anyone in our generation who became a modo rome the hard way, so I salute thee.

    i salute back

    There is a general assumption in society that boys ‘grow like trees’, hence the neglect of the boy child we see today. Everyone has concentrated so much on empowering the girl child, that they have forgotten the boy. To make matters even worse, in the family set up girls are guided, while it’s assumed the boys are ok. Sad, yes,but I guess it’s up to us to change that.

    i think the campaign will have the boy child so neglected by the time they look back, he’ll be extinct…its time we looked at this, change begins with you..and me.

    ‘never apologize, never contradict, never explain! ‘. Wow! No Comment 🙂


  2. Aaah man, this is deep. I particularly love this part: ‘am a sojourner. circumcision was just a rite- wrong passage to others, but meaningful nevertheless. it cannot be the only scale a ‘man’ is be weighed with.’

    This is certainly the best post to ever come out of this blog, if you ask me!

  3. You actually faced the knife literally? Courage it took, I must admit though that you are right, it is not that that makes a man.

    I am glad women now have choices and do not have to live to society’s plans for them. When they say it took a whole village, they mean the village dictated your life, who to marry, when to do this, what to eat, how to act, it was not easy being an individual those days, it was always society

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