Ever since the fateful GHC lesson when Sifa revealed to Junior the otherness of his face, the boy had been distraught. He resolved from then on to spend the evenings with Olé Kaparo, the twenty-four-hour security guard at his mother’s. Junior refused to go to school, and Wanja couldn’t muster up the courage to tell any of the three potential fathers about the sad situation, not even the Reggae Man. The fact that he was spending the evenings with Junior, who refused to go to school even though his mother wanted for nothing, gave food for thought to our friend Kaparo, who’d previously suggested that the teams at Donholm Catholic School play heads or tails to settle their vexing H & T problem.
Instead of keeping watch and shooting at anything that moved, Kaparo spent many sleepless nights thinking about how to help Wanja solve Junior’s problems. One evening, when he was outside under a full moon and all the stars were visible in the sky, even Nyamuhiribona, the North Star, Kaparo recalled the time his younger brother Mollel had visited. When he introduced Mollel the Tanzanian to his boss Wanja, they’d found her in a jovial mood bordering on delirious happiness, after a missed rendezvous with the Reggae Man. She’d had a few sugary drinks!
Kaparo had left his younger brother in Wanja’s living room. He hadn’t for a moment imagined that a lightning visit to Nairobi could be an opportunity for him to “plant the spear” and sow his seed for eternity. So he decided to invite Mollel to hop over to Nairobi and see Junior, who was his carbon copy.
Mollel soon turned up with a small traveling pharmacopeia, believing that Wanja’s son was seriously ill. Mollel had been at the party where they “brought out the child” and the Reggae Man introduced the Hutu ballet troupe from Nairobi. He’d helped set up the tent and performed various tasks to ensure the party was a success. Neither he nor Wanja, nor for that matter anyone else, considered the possibility that Mollel might be Junior’s real father. When he arrived in Nairobi, Kaparo was not at home, and nor was Wanja. Junior was playing in the yard with other children. It was the Christmas break, and anyway, Junior refused to go to school. Mollel watched the children play, then called Junior over to leave the pharmacopeia with him.
Junior looked his father over, briefly rooted to the spot.
“I’m leaving with you today,” Junior told him.
“Wait until your mother gets back,” replied Mollel, overcome by a feeling of fatherhood.
He had to go home the same day, and he agreed to bring Junior along, and to bring him back to pursue his studies in Nairobi, which was considered by Tanzanians the London of East Africa.
Translated by Louis Greenwood Lüthi
3 November, 2023