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LIFE BY LOUIS: My first disco.

figure By LOUIS MUIRURI The kind of merry making that you are seeing with our youth today was not invented yesterday. My first time to really hang out, if you may call it that, was after I joined college and I was just slightly above the legal age for drinking.

My uncle had graduated from a prestigious public university along Thika Road and the whole clan had accompanied him to the university to receive his powers to read and write.Those days the powers were only conferred by the main Chancellor of all the universities, who also doubled up as the main headmaster of this country.

We arrived with pomp and pageantry in several buses, although only two people were allowed into the graduation square. The rest of us were parked about two kilometres away where we remained stranded in a traffic gridlock until the ceremony was over.

After that, we returned home late in the afternoon for the festivities. There were endless speeches from distant relatives who did not even know my uncle in person.

This was accompanied by generous servings of the signature stew from my village that comprises of boiled rice with cabbage stew, carrots and potatoes. There is no ceremony in my village if these delicacies are not in the menu.

AFTERPARTYMy uncle and his boys had organised a disco as the after-party. Those village discos were the real deal and could rival any modern day mega concert by a visiting international artiste.

The only radio cassette player in the village was swiftly sourced for. The owner, who was well respected for owning such an asset, got free entry to the disco and insisted on operating the machine himself.

No one was allowed within five metres of the radio cassette player. He also came with an old car battery for powering the system, plus big external speakers, overturned on a big cooking pot, to enhance the bass effect.

Everyone else came with their cassettes and a pen to rotate the disks so as to select their favourite songs. The owner of the cassette player vigorously vetted each cassette in order to ensure that it did not mess up his treasured equipment.

Half them did not cut the minimum entry requirements. We selected another of my uncles cube located outside the main compound as the venue.

Other interested revellers paid five shillings to access the disco.The floor was earthen and dust was blowing like a freshly dug quarry with every dancing movement.

At some point my uncle gave me a horn of traditional brew. It was brewed from honey and local herbs and fermented in a big pot.

It was very potent and had a kick. It came with a few real bees floating on top as a mark of quality, and some traces of bee wax inside to confirm that it was not a counterfeit product.

I received the horn with gratitude, and soon went for a refill.The effects must have caught up with me later.

I remember dancing to a song called "Yeke Yeke" from atop a wooden table to everyones amazement. VILLAGE GIRLSSoon the village girls arrived.

They had to wait for their parents to sleep so that they could sneak out undetected through their bedroom windows.Although I was just above dating age, I was still unlucky in love.

I salivated as the bigger boys danced closely with the new arrivals. The boys who were of legal dating age were allowed the privilege of leading the girls outside to more secluded corners where they held hands and spoke in low tones.

The party went on until the wee hours of the night. Sadly, the girls had to return to their bedrooms through the same windows before the village rooster cried for the second time.

They had to ensure that they were well tucked in and snoring loudly by the time their parents woke up to milk the cows. I do not quite recall how I got home after the party, but the following day I woke up to the midday sun peeping through the open window.

My head felt like it had been stuffed with mercury. I told my uncle that I was feeling unwell and he explained that what I was experiencing was a hangover.

He swiftly organised for some soup, water, painkillers and mint and told me to return to bed. I woke up late in the afternoon feeling better and took a stroll around the disco venue.

The bushes behind the disco house looked ruffled and disturbed. Related Stories
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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jul 10, 2018
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