Home The Base: Of Men, Women and Art

The Base: Of Men, Women and Art


Casanova? No, I wouldn’t call him that. He’s just good with the ladies, very good. Maybe mostly because he’s tall ,dark and can sing himself out of anything … apart from knickers. Those he croons into.

“…manze sijawai rada mamanzi…” He says that while cutting up a fish finger, the fork pierces it cleanly, then he lifts it up, slowly, eyes fixed firmly on mine, “Na sidhani nitawai…”

You just have to understand how good it is to hear that. No man understands women! None. Not those who’ve been married for 50 years, not gynecologists, not conductors,  not VCT counselors and, evidently, not Manu.

Manu is my brother from another mother. We’ve been hanging out since first year, seen lots of the campus crap; crammed for exams in the morning, gotten high, worked hard for shows, staged amazing performances, staged terrible performances, gotten conned by event organizers, laughed our teeth off, never cried, disagreed, plotted the world’s takeover and discussed women.

That last part has always been constant like the K in one of those high-school subjects. Why? Because every conversation between two guys may, at any given juncture, turn into a conversation about women. Any! Funny, sad, professional … let us look at an example, shall we now class?


“Look man… there’s no need to… we can talk this through…”


“I’m sorry for what happened Bro, those dimwits weren’t supposed to rob you man … they defied orders and…”

“We are not negotiating shit here! I trusted you man! Like a brother! Helped you build your fucking empire and you send your goons to my home you bastard! we are not…”

*phone rings*

“Imma take this one, don’t you even think of shifting an inch … Hello … yeah it’s me … yeah … no! no! I’ll be there.. just finishing up business … Oh she’s there already?! … keep her busy, I’m on the way … bye”

“Still dating Lillian, huh?”

“Yeah man, still going … supposed to meet some Faith friend of hers and my sister tonight.”

“Better go Bro, women don’t like being kept waiting … especially Faiths… I dated one once…”

“Not a Faith Kendi by any chance…”

“Shit! That’s her! Crazy woman that, a week into the relationship and had a threesome already …”

“You’re kidding!”

“You know I don’t! With her best friend, a chic named Risper or something …”



Present day:
We’re sitting in some random restaurant near Biashara street, around thirty minutes ago, the surprise Nairobi rain decided to descend. We took cover at the at Nation centre for about 15 minutes before  sprinting and ducking in here. Look, his surname is Lang’at, I deserve some respect for sprinting next to him. Anyway,  we moved because; 1. We’re waiting for a lift that is taking quite some time arriving and the rain is too much. 2. In the those 15 minutes, he’s seen three women he knows and I … well … Let us just allege I’m new around.

Lots of folks know this guy, especially women. This is why, he is part of Taifa Muziki, an awesome all male choir which has performed all over the city. Corporate events, weddings, graduation parties, all that shabang. Remember that “The Kwaya” competition on TV some time back? They came in second. He is also a solo performer. Around two weeks ago, he was part of a musical shindig celebrating the 50 year anniversary at Kenyatta University. My other wing man, Tonny was part of it too. He sang in front of more than 9,000 folks. Manu that is, Tonny can’t even hum without being off key. Thirdly, he’s a great conversationalist. The fellow speaks as if he’s been around from before Mary Magdalene got into puberty. Pulling engaging topics off the air with such ease that you’d mug him for them if you’re one of us people with conversation issues. He was hugged as a child I guess.

You’re popular in campus if you’ve performed WELL before almost everybody. Now, Manu is the kind that knows almost everyone who knows him. Again, especially ladies. If he doesn’t know her, she either just reported to school, doesn’t show up anywhere apart from exams or is not worth knowing. Trust me …eeerm.. him on that.


That Kenya at 50 gig has earned him stalkers, he tells me and the fries+fish fingers. I’m listening, sipping espresso. I ordered the damn coffee because I read, so I assumed three things, that I’m cultured, that coffee is cheap and that it comes in a big container. I was wrong in all accounts. So I take the 7th sip from a cup I would have downed in a single gulp. Yes, the cup included. It is so small, I could wrap my pinky finger around it. TWICE! …okay, maybe I can’t, but you get the picture. The handle is so minute, you hold it with your finger tips, like a pen. Next time I’m sticking to my shagzmondo lanes and ordering soda.

Stalkers. That is where we were before I skidded off track. Manu is trying to make me understand how annoying it is to have women calling, giggling and clueless about what they want to talk about. And I can’t understand. Look, you can’t either! If you’ve been chasing tail all your life, you can’t comprehend the opposite. In my case, I guess it is majorly because I can sense my dryspell tip-toe to a corner, dejected, and thinking about it’s mistakes. I figure singing can get you laid, poetry won’t. *moment of silence here for all the rhyme, assonance, imagery…* It might, once, after you’ve published the second anthology and released an album. Or from your girlfriend, and that doesn’t count. Singing will have lays falling from the clouds like manna.

Commercial break:  are you a voice coach? Please leave contacts at the comment section, I need you. Classes commence tomorrow.

Manu is complaining about stalkers and I haven’t heard Tonny (a poet and narrator) talk about even a single wrong number call. And they performed before the same audience, kwanza Tonny did his thing throughout, Manu came in halfway. I figure he can’t that bad looking you know. Like Manu, he’s also that cliche tall, dark and… well… bristle haired. His hair grows in evenly distributed tafts, like on those hard shoe brushes, but that can’t be the reason. I mean, the guy can rhyme! hehehe. That is their difference though, he narrates and recites, the other fellow sings.

This is how we got to stalkers: I’m part of a team that will be organizing a series of events next year, similar to the one he performed at. Being the the critic he is, I was sure I’d get straight opinions on the hitches and glitches. Also about his experience as an artist. I didn’t. I’m a lousy interviewer,  we started with  the annoying (read interesting) parts and before we could switch, our lift had showed up.

The pilot event for the series happens on the 14th of this month from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at PAWA254, off Statehouse Crescent. Yours truly will be joining Ogutu Muraya, one of the greatest storytellers walking in these streets. His stories are so good, you get tempted to frame them, build a shrine and hang them there. Also performing will be Band Familia, dudes whose voices I can’t describe without sounding gay. You can get more info about the event here.

In the meantime, I’m trying to convince Manu to get the stalkers to buy tickets and show up for the gig. He might have to leap off the PAWA254 roof to save his life, but you never know, some may switch their interest to me… or, most likely, the Band Familia guys. Damnit! Voice coach, are you there? I really could use your services.


5 Responses

  1. alex witty says:

    Ngartia,Ngatia, brain or whatever the name…stick to the pen..your brains are well painted in sheet…you brilliant man..”i dint have to say that,as in you know and guys too..lol

  2. TheNgartia says:

    Thanks man. I shall stick to the keyboard too.

    1. hellenmasido says:

      Oh wow! Ngartia plays the keyboard too! *swooning in amazement*

  3. hellenmasido says:

    “Manu that is, Tonny can’t even hum without being off key- ” sooooo true! hahaaaaaaaaa! sorry Tonny. stalkers on Manu? heeeeee! Sema kuringa! Cant wait to see him at the event though #yours sincerely- NOT A STALKER 😀

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