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a different type of beat
By morris austine mwavizo
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Not rated by the Author.
a story about two generations and the negative impact of westernisation
A different type of beat
By Morris Mwavizo
In a small village like the one that I come from, going to the university is regarded as a very big achievement, so when Mark and his twin brother Jason were admitted to a university in Australia the whole village was excited. To get to university is no mean feat and admittance to a foreign one was a dream that most of the villagers would have not dared consider.
The sending off ceremony was held in the village hall, the twins dressed in black trousers and white shirts (their Sunday best) stood straight not capable of hiding their excitement. Their father had slaughtered a goat for the celebration and more than half of the village inhabitants were in attendance at the ceremony presided over by their secondary school head master.
Two years later, the twins came back from Australia for a summer holiday. This time the mood was even more exciting than when they had left. The boys came back into the village stooping and swaying like the American musicians in video clips, fully dressed in sagging designer jeans, with big baggy shirts and earphones that seemed to cover half their heads. They seemed to have forgotten not only the Kiswahili language, but the English they spoke was so hard and foreign that their secondary school head master stopped trying to talk to them after he clearly looked silly when they laughed at his pronunciation of some English words.
Despite making a mockery of their former teacher, they were still the village heroes and everything they did was looked upon as something to be emulated. The old men from the villages wasted no time in telling their sons that they would be good for nothing unless they became more like the twins. The crowd that followed them become bigger and soon the village kids started sagging their school shorts like the twins. Young naďve village girls tried to attract the twins’ attention, as their mothers would approve of these young men. A new fashion began to emerge with most young people changing from speaking Swahili to English (well something close to it from the sounds of it).
Of course, the twins made friends, but they also made enemies and apart from the head master the only adult concerned with their return was their grandfather.
Although he wished them well, he could not stomach the loud gangster music they played next to his house every night. When he voiced his grievances, many of the villagers brushed them aside asking him to leave the boys alone.
And despite the old man pleas to have the music played at a lower volume, the boys continued to play their music at the same level every night for days on end. After three weeks of perpetual, loud gangster music at night, the old man woke up one morning, removed his dusty drums and started playing them. The twins who spent most of the mornings asleep and usually woke up after eleven, raised themselves from their rooms in anger.
“Grand pa,” one of them started in an angry tone. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Chasing away evil spirits,” he said and he played the drum for a good thirty minutes. Nobody wanted to displease the spirits so they left the old man alone. Every time the young men would try to sleep during the day, the old man would resume his work of getting rid of evil spirits.
That evening the twins who had spent the whole day awake were too tired to play loud music and went to bed early.
After this, the old man continued to chase away evil spirits the day after the twins had a loud music session. After a while the twins completely stopped their loud music as they tried to get sleep when the old man slept.
“Sleep before the old man decides to talk to his ancestors,” they joked. Surprisingly enough, when the twins started sleeping at night the evil spirits that the old man had been chasing away also disappeared.
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