Ferk Mastermind.

Meria Mata

Village Chief
#1
After finishing seco in the mid 80s I was young and carefree without a care in the world, we had moved from ocha afew yrs earlier to the fast growing Githurai 45, the area was a wilderness, a huge expanse of savannah grassland extending to the horizon, the clayworks company owned by one Njenga Karume was still in operation then. Before we get to the hekaya let me tell you how Githurai was settled. Jomo had given the expansive piece of land to one Ngala Mwendwa as a present for a political favor, Jomo could afford it as he owned all the land along both sides of Thika Road from KBL HQs, the hotcake land in the 60s was the white highlands and as GEMA gobbled up the farms in the white highlands and in the Rift valley then subdivided it and gave it to members, nobody wanted the lower central Kenya plains which were perceived to be dry. All this land that nobody wanted ndio Jomo alikwachu. He gave a slice where K.U. stands today na Ngala akaangukia na akapewa Githurai yote. Apart from KBL, GSU HQs and Kahawa barracks sifikirii kurikua kitu ingine Thika rd. (I stand to be collected). Fast forward 1983. Kenya ikashinda rights za kuhost the All African Games na serikari ikaanza kutafuta itajenga kiwanja ya kimataifa wapi, mdogo mdogo they zeroed in on Ngalas land and as he was in gava he got wind of the story, he swung into action without wasting time, hived of his land into several parcels and sold it to land buying companies like Mwiki, Mwana Mukia, Mwihoko and several others, he reckoned that watu wakiwa wengi hawawes nyanganywa and he was right.

The various companies bila kusileki coz of the urgency wakakatakata mbuloti haraka sana na wakaanza kuuza, in early 1984 a mbuloti was going for 5k hapo karibu na barabara na huko ndani, yani ndaaaaani ndaaaaaaaaani kabisa was 3k and that’s how Meria in his early teens found himself in Githurai.

In the early days 84 and 85 life was tough in Githu, no running water, no electricity, hses were few and far between na insecurity was the order of the day, infact kulikua kwaitwa Githurai Chuma, hardly a fortnight passed without a murder by thugs. BTW jina 45 came about coz of the KBS bus number 45, nikiwa jiji mtu akiuliza nilikua naishi wapi nilikua namwambia Ruiru or Clayworks coz Githurai had a bad name. in the late late 80s karibu mbuloti zote zilikua zimeuzwa and settlers were coming in by the day, kazi ya mjei ilikua nyingi sana na ulikua unachagua ile site utafanya kazi, pay was 40 bob per day. Hii ilikua pesa nyingi sana ukilinganisha na fare ya kwenda tao which was 1 bob. Come payday on sato and I would be walking on air, I had no responsibilities and all that money was mine to spend as I wanted,nilikua nala chakula nyumbani, sikua nalipa nyumba, sikua na bibi, sikua na kunywa phombe wala kuvuta sigara, sikua na mpango wa kando, it was just me and my 240 shillings. 140 used to disappear under my mattress na bakia na 100 ya kushukuru mwili. There were only three bars in Githurai, 1. Blue congo, 2. Miruri, hapo kwa railway crossing and 3. Gateway club.

Gateway was the place to be for a young man, walikua na modern discotheque na huku ndio nilikua najipata every Saturday and Sunday dancing to funk and what you now call soul, kiingilio ilikua ni 3 bob unapigwa stamp kwa mkono. I was yet to discover other discotheques in town like Visions, Boomerang na Hollywood ( @wildfrank you missed this).

It so happened that on one weekend a new tobacco company was in town, the had hire our disco na kiingirio ilikua free na unapewa pakiti moja ya SUPERMATCH cigarettes, they had this beautiful girls ware walikua wanakufungulia pakiti na kukuashia sigara and like always when I puffed a sigara those day nilikohoa sana na nikachekwa. During the night amid the music and smoke there were various contests and games and guess mshindi alikua apewa nini? ….. Bufa ya sigara as a pack with 20 packets was called. All contestants in any game walipewa kitu, sijui siku hizo promotions mbona hazikua na t-shirts, kofia, bags or umbrellas. All we got were cigarettes and more cigarettes, nikienda home around saa saba ya usiku I had more than 100 packets of supermatch.
(nikifika hapa hua na kasirika vibaya sana, gojeeni nijicompose nitarudi kumalizia hekaya)