Happy Good Friday and death of Lenten tales

There is no love lost when would-be lovers have a fatal embrace

In Summary

• Last in a series of Lent stories narrates the story of Kasee and Kariz

A bus burns after an accident
A bus burns after an accident
Image: FILE

Kasee had two jobs before he decided to die. If you are Kenyan, then you know the best fowls mauled by humans in Nairobi hail from Ukambani. Kasee was not a fowl lover but Ukambani was home.

He came from a place on the shoulder of Mount Kilimambogo. You see this gentle mound to the east of Nairobi. It looms large on the right side of Thika Superhighway if you head north of the capital city. 

One of the hotspots on this majestic highway, a mere 20-minute drive north, is the Githurai 45 Roundabout. It is here where Kasee found himself as a fowl vendor by day. His job included tolerating the rancid stench of raw and rotten blood in a long ditch. He made it using his jembe.

It flows northerly into the small river separating Githurai and Kahawa Garrison, a stone's throw away from the railroad from Nairobi to Nanyuki. He slaughters most fowls by breaking their neck slightly above their ears. He had gotten used to the slight tack noise the necks made as he surgically harvested the lives of fowls. 

The blood. Sometimes it turned black when the sun of here blazed without respite. Sometimes it cakes and cracks then hosts a million flies with colours of the world. Some have eyes that look like the head of a nail.

Kasee found the green ones curious. When assaulted with hunger, he had a penchant for their eyes. He snacked them. His belly was now used to the oddities of Githurai. 

Muslims. They insisted that their fowl handpicked from the coop of his kiosk be cut. Haram. A fowl killed by mugging. Preferred. A fowl butchered by a knife or panga. Kasee used a machete.

The sheer force with which he chopped six fowls in a row made him earn the nickname Skata. This is the name he adopted for his other trade.

Those who found him at night at Kwa Gacagwa knew him more as a one-man guitarist. He belted out cover versions of many songs before he decided to die.

He was the only Kamba in Nairobi who could sing in Kikuyu, Taarab and Dholuo beside his own language of Kilimambogo.

All over Githurai, Skata as a name means terror.

It is here and at night that his nickname became synonymous with lynching. To be lynched in Githurai is called “Kupigwa skata”. To be given much pain with sheer force.


Kariz felt the pain in the mouth shoot to his heart again. The tooth was relentless. The usual brawl each Friday had turned against him last week.

Damascus is known across this sprawling slum for the artificial violence that the owner inserts there from time to time. It is like spilling millet among fowls from time to time.

It arouses the adrenaline of men and boys hard hit by the economy. It makes them heat up and hit each other for extra fun, apart from dousing their livers with pungent drinkables.

In one lodge with a door that locks not, it is written: to wince is manly, to groan is heroic!

I remember the brawl. I lost my specs in the melee. It happened as Skata belted the Nthi Ino Ni Ndetei song of Maima. He crooned the entire tune with eyes closed, his waist gyrating like a hula loop, his asthma at level three. His entire band wept at the beauty of this unique moment — me, too. Kariz remembered, too.

Kariz had extracted the shattered tooth with a pliers in his bedsitter. A premolar fragment remained untouched though. To touch it even with his tooth shot pain across his manhood and farther. He felt as if his two eggs were talking with noise.

He stepped on the fuel and the bus lurched forward at 90km/hour. It was evening and he was in a hurry. He was almost meeting his boss’s set target of 5,000 bob.

He only needed to drop these hustlers at the roundabout and speed back to River Road for the final trip. He would then wrap the day and go to Eastleigh to have his mouth healed.

The passengers watched the world whiz by on the Superhighway as Kariz hit the 100km/hour mark. His head was heavy and his mourning heavier.

The tooth ached but not more than his heart. He was getting more and more jealous with the attention his neighbour Skata was getting from the women, especially the new, bleached gay dancer from Mtwapa.

He would have to stop at the roundabout and open his heart up once and for all to him, he thought as he sped past Kasarani police station at breakneck speed. The pain was making him delirious.

He could see the chicken kiosk where his crush broke fowl necks already, two miles away. He accelerated. A man farted next to him. The conductor clutched the fares and coughed. Kariz accelerated!


Those who saw the accident later said three things. One told the bike traffic cop that the bus lost control after hitting the final bump as it entered Githurai via the service lane. It plummeted through several boda bodas like a major rock.

The Roundabout pastor claimed he had prophesised it all. The bump threw the driver out of the windscreen. The headless bus bounced all over like the headless chicken that Kasee slaughters nearby.

However, a hermaphrodite urchin high on shoe glue, with a shy beard but dressed as a damsel, said: It is their haram love that killed them. S/he then vanished into the crowd.

At the scene, the cop noted in his pad:

“Ten commuters dead, including driver and a chicken seller, who tried with a machete to rescue him from mob justice. Both the driver and the chicken merchant had no heads as I arrived. Their bloody bodies were dancing still, but feebly, hither and thither, near a small ditch full of stale blood — holding each other, like a love-making couple.” 

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