Fighting Firstborns

Fighting Firstborns

If I ever woke up God, the first thing I will do is to abolish the office of the ‘Firstborn.’ Permanently. Parenthood should ideally start from the second born. Last-borns too, they should just sort their drama out, please. Because currently they are on Sumbua Tarriff.

Lakini hapa katikati, us guys we watch out for each other. Si ndio?

For real though. Why do firstborns act as if they are the ones who gave birth to their siblings? Like they were the midwives at their own birth? As if they cut their own umbilical cords. Firstborns think they are Deputy Parents, kumbe ni KYM tu ya wazazi.


When I was much much younger than I currently am, I wanted to grow up very fast so that I can physically fight my firstborn brother, and beat him senseless. Vita vya ukombozi ile ajab.

I wanted to deal with that ‘firstborns’ problem once and for all, so that all the children in the world are safe from the shenanigans of the First and Second born.

My firstborn bro, Rading’ Junior or RJ, once saw me talking to a group of fyn Swahili ghels huko in California. Manze, I was killing them with vibe. Yengs tunayeyuka tu. Sublimation through osmosis, I say.

Imagine RJ just came from nowhere and shouted at me, ‘Enda home, saa hii! Na usitoke nje tena.’ Oi. Mbele ya waschande. Tears left my eyes slowly.  The cute Swahili chics ‘woisheing’ in Swahili sanifu, before starting to left the group.

Si nilikasirika. Nilikasirika. I said, ‘Enough. This has to end.’ I was going to show that young man why chicken don’t susu no more.

Nikajipanga. Nikasema if I practice for one full year, I can show this young man things. Vision is to knock him out quickly with a killer ngoto, and then dash to Queen Mother and ask her, ‘is this not your son’s robe? I am afraid a wild animal may have devoured him.’

So I engaged operation ‘Big Brother Must Digest Fire.’ In preparation to deal with the situation, I start watching Karate and action movies. Practicing with movies was so cool. Those were the days of VCR players and VHS tapes. Bruce Lee akiweka flying kick, mimi ninaweka flying kick. Bolo Yeong akiweka block, mimi ninaweka block.  Van Damme akikulisha mtu teke, big bro ajue pia yeye atakula teke. Cynthia Rothrock kahasho na bronje ajue anaipata kwa left side ya mdomo. Drunken Master akiileta, na mimi ninaileta.

Getting Ready.


I actually avoided practicing with Steve Seagal, Jack Bauer and Chuck Norris movies because I wasn’t intending on killing anyone. Just punishment. But I considered watching them about 537 times.

Let me tell you, that year I instantly became so good at Karate, I was just chopping people left right and center.

One day in primary school, our class teacher said that my handwriting looks like that one of a dead chicken. The whole class laughed. And then the deputy head teacher’s round son brought his mouth to me and repeated it during break time. Ati ‘nyenye nyenye nyenye dead chicken.’

Alisikia tu, ‘WAIIYAAAAAAAA….. CHAP!’ Akakula kibare chop moja moto, ya mwaka. His light skin face turned red imijetly. I try to puliza his face so that it stays yellow. Nothing. She, (I know he is a boy and I have said she), she ran so fast to his dad Mr. Kibe. [I wonder why she did not use that speed to avoid that thitima slap].

Nikatumwa niite mzazi. So my mum came ready to kill me in front of the whole school. She even told me to call my grandparents and tell them goodbye. So I did what I had to.

Teachers have known my mum is bad news, so they are in the staffroom to observe discipline as a work of art.

Mum: Ooohhoooo… so wewe ndio unajua kupigana na watu?

Me: Huyu msichana alinikasirisha sana.

Mum: Msichana mgani?

Me: Si ule nilichapa kofi by mistake?

Mum: By mistake?

Me: Ehe, alinichikoza nikampiga kofi kibahati mbaya.

Mum: Ulichapa watu wangapi?

Me: Mmoja tu, lakini nilikuwa nataka wakuje watano watano.

Mum: (Slaps my hands). Ebu focus. Unajua naweza kukutandika saa hii?

Me: I choose violence.

Mum: (Double Combo pinching my cheeks). Wacha mchezo. Tell me what happened.

Me: This is what happened. The teacher said my handwriting is not quite there yet. This one said I write like a dead chicken. When I reached out for my pen to show him how I write well, I slapped him by mistake.

Mum: By mistake.

Me: Yes. Mum, si unanijua. Mimi sipendi vita.

Mum: Mmmhhh… (that mmmhhh for I am about to bring war). So ukamchapa alafu ukamuita msichana? Just wait, I want to show you.

Mathe calls the chap. Teachers have held their breathe.

The boy appears from behind his dad’s baggy trousers. He is walking as if he is afraid of my mum. As if he had heard something.

Mum: (To the boy). Sasa baba? Ebu kuja hapa, ooohh. Baba yangu, ebu njoo. He slapped you?

Me: (Rolling my eyes at ‘Baba Yangu’ coz that is my official title at home).

Him: (He nods and then starts sniffing in rapidly with tears rolling down his face).

Mum: Ohh… Pole sana baba. (She is consoling him). Ok, you slap him back.

Him: (Not sure). Ati?

Mum: It’s ok. Just slap him.

Him: (Looking at his dad and the other teachers. They nod to him that it’s ok he can do it).

Mum: (Calls me) Simama hapa akuchape. Ama ni mimi nitakuchapa. Na ukihatisha ni mimi nakuchapa.

I move in so fast because this is a second chance at life.

The young man smiles and then swings sooooo hard. He slaps me his hardest. But it’s a tickle, really. I don’t even notice.

Mum: Haya mchape.

Him: Nishamchapa.

Mum: (To him). Hivyo ndio alikuchapa?

Him: Yes.

My mum and I laugh so hard we are rolling on the floor. The teachers are getting uncomfortable.

Me: Ebu nichape tena?

Him: (Doesn’t know what to do).

Mum: (To him). Hivyo ndio alikuchapa alafu ukakuwa red?

Him: (Nods in the affirmative).

Mum: (Whispering to me). Huyu boys wako ako fiti?

Me: (Whispering back). Si nilikushow? Ni chali mfiti lakini kiherehere mob ndio ako nayo.

Mum: Hahahaha… Ameweza aki.

She tells the teacher that she will teach me a lesson I will never forget at home. But her and me both know I have escaped with this one. Because, my mum’s justice is ‘Instant Justice!’

Back to RJ. Sasa nimepanga game vizuri. Huyu msee nikotayari kumkatakata vita hawajawahi ona. Please note RJ is way older, wiser and stronger than me. He is huge, and strong, Captain of St. Mary’s Boys basketball team. The only competitive sport I’m playing is eating, and trying to run away from my mom before a beat down; which never worked really. She always caught me.

In the process of practicing for Blood sport, I encountered one of those backyard gyms. Zile za simiti kwa mkebe ya Cowboy. I meet these four boys.

I am strolling in Calif one day and I hear some guy say, ‘Support. Support.’ Which sounded more like, ‘Sir Pot!’ I chungulia between the wooden fence and I see some guys I know by face lifting weights. Kazi ni kuinua chuma and then flexing to check if ‘bodii’ zimefika.

These guys are the real weidas. Sura na tabia. I approach one of them.

ME: Sasa.

HIM: (Pointing with his hand) Ebu songa kando usiangukiwe na chuma.

ME: Hii si ni smiti.

HIM: Utakula kofi, mkubwa.

ME: (Rolls eyes). Anyway, nataka kuinua chuma pia mimi nikuwe na bodii.

HIM: Kuinua chuma sio mchezo ya wakidii. Hapa kazi tu.

Kidogo one guy is choking because one of the weights has rested on his throat. He is choking, ‘Support. Support jamaa.’ All the guys dash to help him. One almost performs surgery on his throat. The guy I was talking to comes back with the weight that was killing the guy and tells me… Unaona. Kuinua chuma sio mchezo. Hapa tuko serious.

I try to lift that thing.  Hiyo chuma ilikuwa ni ka-paper. Super light.

I am disappointed but not so much. I start leaving, and the first sign that I should stay away from these guys and hangout with Jackie Chan appears. The guy comes back like those hawkers whose counter offer displeased you.

So I just tell him it’s not that serious. I lenga that gym vibe. Continue practicing with Bruce Lee movies as I wait for the opportune time to finish dem boys. I continue practicing with the drunken master among many others.

Bruce Lee action figure.

The day comes. I make sure it’s early evening when mother is around. Also, good time before the chemist is closed in case he may be in need of glucose, Elastoplast and brain surgery on his knee. I have mastered the guy’s movements; I know where to punch and where to duck. I have taken the kiwi shoe polish, war paint ya Rambo right under my eyes. I have also calculated the amount of steps it would take me to reach The Mother’s bedroom in case things become hotter than the current Nairobi temperatures.

Aki huyu ninamalisa leo. It was war.

I wait… and wait… and wait…

Man, the day I was waiting for fix him once and for all, is the day he is going to campus. He comes and explains to me why he wont be around home mostly. He is going to college. I am thinking he knows what’s about to go down, and he is asking for forgiveness. But he really was going to campus.

I was so sad he was leaving. I really wished I had chapad him the day before.


Creative Writer | Photographer | Filmmaker

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Ahaha. This is soo funny

  2. I’ve been laughing hysterically since I started reading this😂

    1. hank you so much Anne. Ahsante.

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