In late 2014, when I was in Fourth Year of Law School, I became a member of a small circle of chaps and we immediately hit it off. I was friends with them throughout the previous years of campus but it was not until my last year that I really became part of what I came to know as the Gentleman’s League. I used to be a freakin’ snob in my earlier years, or so I’ve been told. Well, actually I was. I came to later note that what brought these chaps together, what we shared in common, was not only a knack for silliness (or umama as we call it), but also a desire to help one another achieve our goals in life. In late 2013, the group lost a brother, Brian, or Mzito as he was known. His death reminds us of the vital gift of life that we often take for granted. This post, written as a guest post by our Kalenjin brother Kibett, is a dedication to Brian and the group as a whole. He says that when he grows up, he wants to write like me. *Brushes shoulders off** But on the real, I’m the one who should write like him when I grow up. Here is Kibett.
Several months after we buried him, Brian left our WhatsApp group. One morning I woke up to the message “Brayo left” at The Gentleman’s League. It was a surreal feeling seeing that notification. It was as though he was saying goodbye to his boys, albeit painfully for the last time. The mood in the group was a somber one that day. His last “interaction”, it seemed, was with the group. You see, there is eternity on social media. You never really die, especially Facebook and Twitter. Brayo is still “alive” in that universe. On WhatsApp, there is a slow death; you finally die when those Silicon Valley peeps decide that you haven’t updated their app in a long while.
We still don’t know what happened that fateful night. It was Friday 13th December, 2013. The superstitious side of me thinks it is because it was Friday the 13th. When things that don’t make sense to us happen, we become more apt to find meaning in anything we can find, to get closure, even in the superstitious. But it was because of what the police are still trying to figure out. Mysterious things. Superstitious things. Sad things.
This post, however, is not about the sad things; it is about the group that Brian left ― The Gentleman’s League. I’m sure among the top three things he misses, is the group. Or let’s say top ten. Who are we kidding, there were exes yeah? But the group was bigger than them. All of them combined. The group is bigger than everyone else in it. It’s bigger than the biggest (I’m tempted to say humongous) member of the group. I am not alluding to Steve, I promise. It’s where we meet every so often. There’s always something to talk or laugh about. When someone’s ex in the group gets married, we meet to rub it in more. When someone’s ex has moved on, and because we know he’s probably blocked on Facebook (we know he’s a stalker), a screenshot will help us to bring it to the table and laugh at that guy. We laugh at how that guy had been “sat on” and things like that. The group is a place where we discuss issues affecting us, where we help each other out whenever need arises but most importantly, it’s where we make fun of each other.
So Brian Left. He left the group and the people in it. Perhaps joined another one up there with St. Paul and St. Peter. And it’s nothing like the one he left. He can’t post photos of some random chick and ask St. Paul: “Hey Man, what do you think?” St. Paul would probably reprimand him and threaten him with hell. Then St. Peter would be shocked and post that emoji with wide eyes. And then Judas would screenshot it and send it to Jesus. Brayo will wish it was the Gentleman’s League and how everything would have stopped for the gentlemen to analyse the chick, how Pato would definitely know her. Because in that group, one man’s past is always another’s future. That group is a house of secrets. A house of gentlemen. And a house of commons. A house that stands on the honourable code of brotherhood.
Brayo will be blue with moments of nostalgia and reminiscence. He’d be wondering what mischief the brothers have been up to the past three years. More seriously though, he’d be musing what they have been doing with their lives. And you know what Brayo? I got you covered in that regard.
You see, we all graduated the same day, on the same square. All of us. We all successfully completed Law School. Then we all went to KSL thereafter, and man was it a crazy year. It was hectic; this Nairobi was not meant for everyone. But the guys stuck together, like old times and we survived.
Charlo now works at a law firm in town. He is still the chairman (or shall I say sheyamani?) of anything meaningful in the group. As you rightly guessed, we are still on the receiving end of those messages. I can tell from your laughter that you remember those ones. “Nyinyi pia mna ufala.” “Muache ujinga!” “Nugu hii.” *rolls eyes.* Chap is still at it man. Still providing that leadership as always.
Kevo found Jesus, or vice-versa. Yes man, Kevo left his ways of the past and decided that the time was nigh. He’s doing well in salvation. Nowadays he ends conversations with “ubarikiwe” and things like that. And because we’ve known each other since those years, it’s not very easy to say ‘ubarikiwe pia’. I haven’t gotten used to it completely. It’s still weird. I work with him, so you can imagine how kubarikiwa I am right now. He started a Morning Glory/Devotion at the office. This time, a different kind of it. And he’s touching lives. This time, in a different way.
Eddy went back to Kerugoya after Law school. We don’t know what he’s been upto. Rumour has it that besides working in a law firm, he farms potatoes and cabbages. He probably owns a pick-up truck by now. Dude still has bad handwriting though. Maybe its even worse now, tilling land can take its toll on a man’s hands. It was a permanent problem, it would seem. We are actually juggling with the idea of patenting his handwriting so that children will be taught on how not to write.
Pato remained in Rongai after we all moved out. We suspect he probably impregnated a Masaai chick and may now have a family. Same old Patrick. Still wears green and pink trousers. He wants to be featured in a Willy Paul video. And Sadolin adverts. Go Patrick! We believe in you!
Yoshi works at a firm too. He quit booze; almost two years now. Imagine man. He did. What is not possible? Imagine this: Kevo found Jesus, Yoshi quit alcohol, Miguna is vying for Governor of Nairobi, Trump (some bat-shit crazy chap) may become President of the US― what is not possible anymore? What the hell is happening?
Ronny Boy is still up and about chasing life. Chap works somewhere in the government. Maybe “Eurobond Department”; you should see the kind of cars he rides in nowadays. Machines. And takes a flight everywhere. He’s on Instagram, that’s how we know. I bet he’s on Snapchat too. Oh Snapchat. Jesus is coming soon. In there is every sign.
Willies is still witty and political. He hasn’t declared his interest in running for some office in Kisii County. Yet. Works somewhere (no one knows) in town. Somewhere. We hope he’s doing something legal. We really do. He only shows up in the group when there’s a football discussion. And when Pato is asking who could be Salome’s (Pato’s ex) baby daddy to raise his hand. Yeah man.
Kedo? The boss; he is the only guy who had a log-book (Mitsubishi something) when the rest of us had only work-books doing pupillage. Terrible stage of this profession we chose. He works in a bank, finding his way up the corporate ladder. By the way, Chase Bank is on receivership. The phrase “You can take that to the bank” now has the extension “..except Chase Bank” at the end.
Obegi is still the funniest guy around. Still does crazy things and comes up with weird slang. Still a clean freak, that guy. Still plays rugby. We would need a day and several others to update you on him. He dresses like Harvey Specter but walks like Koffi Olomide. He still wears designer loafers and carries that leather bag. He still starts every sentence with “Buda sasa..”
Aress finally joined the group. When piracy died and terrorism was becoming huge, we had to find someone to keep us in the loops. We are trying to find him a place in ISIS so that we are safe even in places we will never be. Our group might join the terrorism business if this law thing doesn’t work out. And we have it all figured out. Aress works at the Ombudsman? Somewhere there. He has stopped wearing skinny jeans and now wears suits. He has a blog and it’s getting huge. When I grow up I want to write like he does.
Richie went back to Eldoret after law school to get married. We suspect he is married with kids and has kept us in the dark. Still with the same girl, since 1st year. Same one. Imagine how many times these chaps here have overlapped him. No names.
Jackso remained in Nairobi when everyone else thought he should have gone back to Kisii after school. He was their only redemption. He’s here to stay that guy. Finding his way too, like we all are. And trying to catch up with Steve, in size. He still doesn’t have a girlfriend. Don’t tell him this but an intervention is in the works.
Steve is in Nakuru. Works at a law firm too. He’s doing well. He’s still fat, or is it big? I don’t know, find a word. He’s a big shot in Nakuru, according to reliable sources, but he denies it. It seems he finally found his rib. The pun is definitely intended. But he is still short. You get what I mean. He still plays rugby, which makes it difficult to understand all the fat.
See, I started going to the gym too. And my first day there I was particular about what I wanted. Or what I did not want. So I asked Nicko, the gym instructor that I don’t want to slim. Or be thin, like Yoshi. I said I was looking for fitness. He told me it is possible to lose fat and not the mass. So in that discussion, some f.. some fa.. some fat.. No, let’s say big. Some big lady (still sounds mean), joined in to ask how it is possible to be heavy and fit. So I suggested to them that when you work out to gain mass and lose fat, you should be called ‘massive’, because previously you were called ‘fat’, yeah? They found it appropriate and politically correct. And funny. But I dropped out soon after I realized that I was way fitter than most people I met at the gym. I was discouraging them somehow. So, where were we? At stevo. Stevo is massive, not fat.
Who else? Me. Nothing to say. Except I quit Facebook. Two years now. That phrase, “happily ever after”, that’s my life right now. Being out if it sometimes feels like freedom of some sort. Your account is still up by the way. Perhaps people still post on your wall on your anniversary, on December 13th, when you left. Or on your birthdays.
That’s all about the chaps. Cheers man. When we all finally Left the Gentleman’s League, we shall re-unite in another league.
(The Gentleman’s League turns three today. Three years since it was conceived by Yoshi and Charlo (not what you’re thinking) Happy Birthday to the group.)
Image source: thegentlemensleague.net