A True Taste Of Our Village Dance

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Every time I watch secular music on telly, I'm obsessed by the captivating love songs that I see. And this is not because of the tom tom they create in my heart but because of their impressive stage presentation and the accompanying sexy-sassy dancing routines in them where ladies gyrate as if their bodies were boneless.

It is those erotic movements, the accompanying incredible speed, the style and the dynamic footwork that uproots and sweeps my soul away, carrying it into yet another world.

But this has little semblance with the experience we had at Jacaranda Farm, Naro-Moru. Our life was less about hope and more, much more about adversity and struggle. We led that kind of raw life where this type of dancing would not only have been termed abhorrent but also evil. At least that was the thinking then.

Therefore, ours wasn't close to today's hard-edged decibel, computer driven type of music that my daughter relishes. It wasn't also played along those ubiquitous boiling liquid guitar lines that we are all familiar with. Not a single person had the hint of converting even the stalest of our Kikuyu tunes into the modern up-beat record breaking disco renditions they have become.

We didn't enjoy our dances under those globes that send sparkling multi-coloured beads across the dancing hall with guitars and programmed drums thundering out of the PA. We instead had a tin lamp hanging in the middle of the room's king post , it's orange frame casting our up and down bobbing images moving against the round mud wall.

Fasto aka Kanga'sha, that mean looking white farm owner, allowed Njege the only box-guitarist for miles around to entertain us only once a year.  And that was every Christmas Eve when coincidentally thousands of fire-flies flew about, blinking and making myriad sparks all night long.

Right in the middle of the village stood that groovy grass-thatched shack which served us as our prayer house, a static picture film theatre, the entertainment hall and our inoculation centre whenever there was a disease outbreak.

The guitarist, Njege, was a flabby and melancholy bachelor who tapered upward to a pair of narrow, not quite level shoulders and had an oblong head. He would extoll us with his songs, reiterating that immeasurable bliss awaited us here at Jacaranda.

We loved his voice. Both electrifying and loud enough to drown our voices put together, it was his most attractive feature and with it he really wowed us. And when he strummed his box-guitar at the same time regaling our ears with the then popular Kung- Fu or Twist ditties, our hearts surged with incredible feelings, turning elements in our souls. His singing would gradually scatter into peals that soared beyond the hall and into the black night.

Since this day marked our biggest social occasion, the teenage girls paired with men and wobbled their enormous bosoms, moving their legs in time to the rhythm of Njege's guitar, dancing sinuously to his music till the hall was filled with a copious concoction of perspiration from a variety of sickening loathsome smells. The men would at times bump the girls' hips with theirs, quickly turning about to dance with them close enough, making sure they had very intimate contacts with the top halves of their skirts.

Then from time to time, Njege would stop playing the guitar either for a jockey banter or to prompt the audience to stuff coins into his box-guitar or even his shirt pocket till the money formed a fluttering fringe amid wild cheering,  outbursts of catcalls and ribald laughter.

At such times, some of the ladies would deliberately bend forward and push their behinds out, wanting caresses from men. Actually, this was more or less the village pageantry when people had come to either stare everyone else, in the most discreet manner possible, or else be stared at.

The young ladies blushed and waggled their bottoms in nylon and chiffon mini-skirts that really squeezed them, some with slits as long as your arm. No doubt, they knew the language of their hips was more piquant than that of their lips.

Walking on four-inch "platform" heeled shoes, their skimpy tops left their necks and a hint of their shoulders bare. With their breasts not entirely hidden, their midriffs and outlines filled the men with indescribable excitement. They would bob their heads every time a lady who had most likely spent a whole day grooming her hair into an afro hair style by combing it with a red charcoaled tin comb walked in. Watching the sway of her cute buttocks they would openly adore her, complimenting her on her beauty. Enough tongues would wag. Eyes would pry.

Therefore, every man wanted to dance with the prettiest girl in the village, the one who moved her hips with soft, sensual faith of a creature who knew she could seduce everyone she wanted.

I happened to be in that hall one such evening when the village bouncer, Wanduru, on seeing me acted carefully, slowly and circumspectly. All along, he strove to continually but without success, establish a conversation and expatiate on the value of why he eyed me and me alone.

I did not want to talk with him. I knew that my natural beauty made every man want to win me though in my moral standing I had remained morbidly uninterested in sexual matters.

But this man Wanduru, absolutely filthy in thought,  word, and deed, spooled me over into the dance floor and with a tremendous lurch he fell all over me, a rash and reckless action which made me the centre of male attention .

"This is the most monstrous piece of impertinence I've ever had from a man. Emphatically ... I'll not dance with a beast like you!" I shouted.

"Mine is a friendly proposal to you but your ingratitude chafes me beyond endurance," he reacted, uttering oaths terrible enough to palsy anyone's tongue.

Then, a group of people who couldn't be allowed into the room for lack of the entry fee and who listened to the torrent of the music from the open window scrambled and crammed their heads in the small window, openly drooling.

Our village had its growing bumper crop of hooligans and Ngari was one of them. He took pleasure in upsetting other people and warned Wanduru that he would drive a knife through his gut if he dared dance with me.

Throwing up in envy, he walked past the liveried bouncer, shot straight into the darkness and walked in back again in a while, dancing frantically  across the dusty room before he hurriedly walked out a second time.

Then there was coughing, sneezing and weeping from every side of the house though Njege boomed on regardless, badly out of tune as the people acrimoniously rushed out into the darkness in pairs  where an atmosphere of subtle excitement, of tingling anticipation - that indescribable feeling of romance, lay in wait for them.

They walked linked comfortably arm-in-arm, conducting love making conversations where at first the ladies would refuse but when curiosity and camaraderie prevailed, they soon found themselves making houses for themselves by flattening the tall dewy grass along the edges of the village paths in the star-spangled canopy of the night sky.

Meanwhile, Ngari would be veritably bursting his gut in laughter and delight wiping mirthful tears from his eyes. His powdered pepper had perfectly worked.

 

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