I have been a huge fan of Potash’s writing since back in 2007. No one in the East African blogosphere has been able to articulate, with such biting humor and eloquent, self-righteous indignation, the cynical, almost apocalyptic, nature of the times we live in. His writing is imbued with a tragic tone, a sadness at the way our leaders, and it has to be said with our complicity, are leading us to the precipice of cataclysmic disaster.
Here he is, at his lacerating best, capturing beautifully, and with some anger, one of the defining milieu of post-colonial Africa, the life and times of the development worker:
“My name is Kamau.” That was the lanky English volunteer introducing himself to me. He was wearing authentic maasai bracelets: beads from Brazil and craftsman from Kikuyu-land, on each arm, the ubiquitous Bob Marley T-shirt and what I call Volunteer Denim (Jeans so perfectly worn out and dyed an even shade of dirty.)
His hair, as is common with that of mzungus who try to go the dreadlocks way on a backpacker’s budget, was caught somewhere between dishevelled Merino and Dagoretti Market’s official madman.
About him was a lingering smell of pussy- black pussy- and the way his squinty eyes lingered on and caressed every swinging backside (said backside being clearly swung for his exotic attention) on the dance floor told a tale of the taste he had recently acquired. After eight months (never mind the prolonged periods of Rest and Recuperation spent lying on top of a local bitch… sorry, lying on a local beach) of drinking warm beer in the intrusive heat of Kakuma where in his sober moments he was expected to palpitate the distended bellies (though he could swear by Hippocrates that breast cancer was the bigger risk that he should have been examining for) of refugee girls, he had acquired a taste for the distended backsides of local women.
“I love the way people, wherever you go, give you a new name.” I responded.
We swigged our Tusker Malts then looked into each others eyes, smiled and nodded in unison. At that moment I knew that if these had been our great grandparents, his ancestor would have asked mine that they be blood brothers and soon after asked him (he that couldn’t read or write) to sign the deed of blood brotherhood- a deed that the quick passage of time would hold as evidence of his signing away all our ancestral land from here to EnoKumamayo.
“So, yourself, have you been places?” he asked. “Been given a new name?”
“Yay, mmmhh…of course,” I mutter a wee bit distracted by the red headed Canadian who had moved to the seat next to mine and was trying to tell me something. “When I went to America, Kamau…” I began, “When I went to America they called me Crow. Jimmy Crow!”
That wiped the avuncular grin off his face and while he fumbled in search of a vacant spot on the bar’s walls to stare away his embarrassment, my ears staggered closer to the cutely perky mouth of the Canadian. But if those home made gaffs she is smoking taste as awful as they smell, I thought to myself, then there is no way I am kissing this chick.
“I hear you write.” She stated. “So what do you write?”
“Words, mainly,” I answered. “Sometimes I get lucky and manage to write sentences and even paragraphs.”
“That’s so cute.” She laughed pursing her lips and clogging my nostrils with acrid smoke.”
“Not as cute as you are…!” I choked and managed a wink. Of course I was winking at myself for having managed to have a corny moment. (The Word Smith needs those to avoid taking his trade seriously and calling himself a writer id est: a boring fellow with an ego inversely proportional to his ability to use words.)
“Thanks. You are so nice.” She responds and I marvel at her ability to swallow my non-garnished lumps of corny. Though it is rather early in our conversation, I cannot help approaching the conclusion that she is one of those girls who are so stupid it is cute. Like really, the kind you want to shag as a service to mankind because you once read in a respectable journal of Sexology that: Ceteris Paribus, intelligence can be sexually transmitted.
“Oh, Potash writes a blog.” That is the German guy interrupting. He is still nursing his first beer. Maybe he cannot afford another- the poor guy is a UN Volunteer. What surely can one do with that 100 USD a day stipend? This business of saving the millions of Africans living on less than a dollar a day is such a thankless pursuit. Only heroes like our friend here, Individuals blessed with a great spirit of volunteerism can get that work done.
“Hey, you are Potash…Like, The Potash… Potashius Nairobus?” A Belgium girl buggers into the conversation and suddenly I realise that I am the only local on the table. The strange feeling that gives me can only be shared by that Savage Woman with her engorged pudenda flung wide open to the scrutiny of the civilised world. Noble (savage) Potashius put upon a pedestal; representing at this moment every African from Cape Town to Cairo- even though he has never met them.
“I cannot believe I am meeting you… you know, like this. Like when you said your name was Potash, I thought it was a common Kenyan name…” The Belgian rambled. “…But really, I love your blog… and when I was planning my trip to Africa…”
“Hehe… vintage Potash.” She laughs. “Kenya, I mean. I was planning my trip to Kenya and I was thinking: I want to meet this guy. I want to be a character in his blog…”
“But it takes lots more personality than you have to be a character in my blog.”
“Oh, that’s great! Now you have gone and blown away all the chance you had of getting laid by me.”
“Oh, and you just took away- from a world already devastated by the effects of Britney Spear’s hair cut on Global Warming- a most anticipated moment of succour: The sequel to the White Maasai!”
Please go read his blog. It will be the most provocative and challenging read you would encounter today.
(Image: The front page header of The Kenyan Urban Narrative)