Many Kenyans are firm in their belief that Baba Giddy played a major role in misleading the leader of the official opposition Uhuru Kenyatta into entering the history books for all the wrong reasons.
But today I want to tell you a story. Before I tell the story, let me mention the fact that on several occasions last year readers left comments here saying that Uhuru should not be held accountable for the sins of his father. Hold on to that thought for a moment and enjoy the following tale first.
Joel was a master of the musical instrument called a lead guitar. He was a professional musician, which in Africa mostly means a life of struggle where you do it mostly because it is something you really love. And Joel loved the guitar. His fans said that the guy could “talk” for hours on end with his guitar as his slim fingers rapidly flew across the electrified wires, sometimes caressing them they way you would a woman and at other times slapping them into line violently. But whatever he did, he did with a passion.
Joel had just one son whose name was Baraka. Baraka hated his father with a passion and all that he stood for. And with good reason. He had grown up watching his mother struggle to put food on the table as his father entertained and enjoyed life at clubs all over the country in the company of other women. Most of all he became keenly aware of his father’s promiscuous behavior (expected of musicians) and it was said that Joel had sired hundreds of children countrywide. Joel saw how his father’s promiscuous habit ate into his mother’s heart and soul (thank God that HIV Aids did not exist in those days).
So Joel grew up determined to live a very different kind of life. He studied hard in school and ended up at the only national University in his home country. On graduation, he quickly got a very good job with a government department. It looked like Baraka was all set to make his dreams come true. But fate had different ideas.
The president in his home country was forced out in a violent coup of sorts and that was the beginning of serious turmoil in that country. One day a man who claimed that Joel was have an affair with his wife arrived at the club where he was playing with many soldiers. They took Joel away and he was never seen alive again. Rumour had it that he was killed and his body dissected into so many tiny pieces which were then fed to hungry crocodiles in the main river that went right across the entire country.
Baraka barely escaped with his life from the turmoil and went to a neighboring African country as a refugee. Suddenly it was a struggle to eat. After much suffering a colleague of his late father got Baraka a job at a club where he played music regularly, as a waiter. The group playing at the club was in fact remnants of Joel’s old group. Baraka felt humiliated by life because what he had hated most is exactly where fate had led him into.
One day the lead guitarist of Joel’s old group didn’t turn up and the other guy who could have filled in was arrested by cops for being in the country illegally. To make matters worse, it was a weekend. And patrons had already filled the place in eager anticipation of being entertained. Somebody in Joel’s old group approached Baraka and convinced him to fill in. He ignored Baraka’s protests that apart from the time when he was very young and his father the maestro himself gave him lessons, he had not touched any musical instrument for years.
To cut a long story short, the minute Baraka stepped onto the stage at that club and strapped the electric guitar on his shoulders, another power took over and he started playing like Joel himself would have played. Swahili wise men have a saying; Mtoto wa nyoka ni nyoka. (the son a snake is also a snake).
Today if you go to that club where Baraka plays you will be able to pick him out of the crowd easily. He is the lead guitarist and a very serious womanizer, just like his father, Joel was. Many people have arrived at the said club in the suburbs of a major East African city late and night and very drank and some have even passed out on listening to the lead guitarist outside before entering the club; Kwani Joel Alifufuka, (Did Joel the guitarist resurrect from the dead?) they ask.
Oh and he thinks much more kindly of his late father these days.
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