Suleiman’s Goat


I wake up very early on Sabbath. It’s quiet and drizzling lightly outside. Perfect morning; the phone isn’t ringing yet, the people on Whatsapp Groups who have an opinion on everything haven’t woken up yet, the neighbour who plays Dolly Parton is still asleep, the only occasional sound is the gurgling of the water dispenser in the kitchen.

I read a few chapters of Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime then toss my Kindle aside and just lie still for a bit. There was a point not long ago when I was internalising the teachings of Russell Simmons, music mogul, in his book Success Through Stillness, which teaches the benefits of staying still, something I struggle with greatly. In the book is a passage I love:

In meditation we experience the silence from which all creativity springs. The act of creation—whether from a blank page to a poem, an empty space to a building, a thought to a song or film—starts with a void. The more intimate a relationship we can build with that silent void, the more clearly the art can shine through and spring forth. Meditation is the vehicle to connect to that silence…

Well, it didn’t help me because I don’t know how to stay in a void of silence. I want to fill it with things; sounds, words, music, another human voice. But I try to sit in silence once in awhile, especially in mornings like this. It centres you, Rusell promised. Everybody needs some centering, ey? So I lie facing up, hands stretched by my side, and remain as still as a stone. I try to take his advice and empty my mind. Things tumble off the creaky wagon; deadlines, passages that I horde, unstable December holiday plans, mats for my car that need changing, a pending debt that I need to collect, pending client report, a watch I need to pick from the repair shop…they all come chugging out and the void starts coming together.

But just as I’m getting into this zen mode my phone vibrates. I ignore it, but it keeps twisting and writhing on the bedside table. Finally it stops and there is silence. More debris tumbles out of my mind. My eyes are closed. I’m feeling so zen I start thinking that maybe I should stop wearing formal clothes and walk around in robes like Buddhists. I’d throw it over my shoulders at an ATM, gather it to get into the car…but how would I pee? I think in panic, then I realise I’m losing my zen again, my void is getting filled again so I will myself to think of the silence outside the window, and a small gurgling sound of the distant stream not too far from my window.

Then my phone starts vibrating again.

Oh, screw Russell – he’s a multimillionaire, he can afford to stay still for ages. I’m a small cog in a massive wheel, I can’t be missing money calls at 7am because I want to be still. So I reach out and grab the phone. It’s a strange number. Hello? It’s my aunt in shags. First thing she says is “ Abiki? Goch’na!” and hangs up. I’m irritated as hell; these people from shags, don’t they know it’s rude to call someone at 7am when they are trying to get into their void? But it’s Sabbath. I call back with a chip on my shoulder. She’s friendly. She asks how I slept. How am I doing? And the children? How old are they now? Oh, she is a big girl now, I last saw her when she was only three years old! She asks how work is. Do I still write for gaset? She asks if I will be going to church later on. She asks how Nairobi is. She says God is great. We thank God. No, actually she says, “Nyasaye duong”, which isn’t the same thing as God is great, it’s more like God is big, in size and stature. It softens me up a bit, because nobody ever asks you how you are when they call, they just say, “Biko, that book you mentioned that day at Motor Sport, what’s its title?” Or “Biko, what’s up? Listen, what are you doing on 23rd?” Or “Biko, do you have the number to that guy you interviewed who breeds rabbits?” Nobody ever calls to ask, “Hey Biko, how are you?” People are busy with life.

So yes, I’m softened up some. The chip falls off my shoulder. Then she asks for money. By this time I can easily thrown in a pint of my blood as well if she is AB +. And the thing with people in shags is that when they ask for money they don’t ask for much from you, they ask for some ridiculous amount like 500 bob. It’s always an odd number; never 400 or 800 or 200. When they ask I always try and equate that amount to the amount I’d buy a single of whisky for, which is usually 500 bob. That way I feel guilt and send more because whisky you will pee but money to shags, especially to a woman in shags, is school fees, it’s food for a week, it’s a one-off delicacy like meat, it’s a new pair of rubber sandals, it’s money for harvest, it’s money to mend a leaking roof or medicine for typhoid.

She calls me back to say thank you and says God will replenish where that came from a million times and I lie there feeling good about myself and the decisions I have made so far and it’s not even midday yet. I don’t need Russell to stay still, prayers sent your way is the African version of zen.

So I’m lying there under a blanket of her blessings, feeling mighty good about her words, when I think of my mom because she just reminded me of my mom. My mother has been dead for a little over five years now but, relax, this isn’t another sad story. We are not doing sad until next year.

There is this thing I do at least once a year; I call my mom’s number, still saved as “Mum” on my phone.It’s always been mteja [off], of course. I don’t know why I have never deleted it. I like it there. It’s my thing. Grief has died, there is no more pain, just the occasional sorrow and self pity: Oh, look at me, my mommy is dead and I’m all alone in this bad big world. There was a time I went to fetch my logbook from the post office. It had stayed for so long that they sent me to the Postmaster’s desk at Huduma center and this woman gave me such shit and I remember telling her jokingly that she shouldn’t be so hard on me because my mother is dead and I have no one to defend me in this bad world and she laughed at that and my logbook was found miraculously without a bribe. So yeah, sometimes it’s just silly self pity.

Anyway I don’t know why but I call my mom’s number, for the first time this year. I expect the recorded message saying the subscriber is no longer in service like it has done the past five years…

Only, the phone rings!

Whoa! Whoa!

I quickly sit up and prop myself against the headboard. I’m freaking startled! I put it on speaker and stare at it ring. The playback music is a muslim chap reciting one of those Islamic poems called Gabay. It’s still so surreal, even morbid. I’m calling a dead person and her phone is ringing. I’m thinking, snap, Mom gone turned Muslim in heaven, whodathot? I know I have to hang up, that’s the right thing to do, but I don’t. I can’t. It’s foolish but I want to know if somehow in a twilight twist of things she will pick up and we will have a conversation with lots of static and I will tell my siblings later that I called Mom and she picked and she’s fine, she didn’t say whether she is in heaven or in a holding area but she said she is fine and her heart is no longer swollen with disease and that the chama idea is a wonderful idea but only if some people (cough cough) commit to pay the contribution on bloody time! They will laugh it off and I will insist that I spoke to her. I will swear. They will try my mom’s number and it will be off and they will gossip about me and my mental health outside the Family Whatsapp group and say that perhaps I’m losing it and who would be the best person to suggest psychiatric help.

Anyway it keeps ringing but Mom isn’t picking. Maybe she’s out on the verandah having tea. She loved tea. Maybe wherever she is – heaven I bet – she has kept chicken like she did here now that the new wife inherited all her chicken and her bed and her sofas, and she’s out there at the chicken pen, leso around her waist, scattering grains for the brood of chicken clucking around her feet. Maybe she’s reading the Bible in the bedroom and her phone is in the living room but, surely, why read a Bible when you are already in heaven? I don’t think there are Bibles in heaven, I think once you have made it to heaven you just sit whole day eating grapes and smelling flowers and listening to someone play the harp. Nobody wants to read the Old Testament in heaven, surely.

Then the phone is answered.

I swear I’m not making this up but the first thing I hear is a goat bleating before the voice of a man says “Hello?” I can tell it’s a Somali or Borana voice, which is as spooky as it gets if you have the backstory to this story. Two things are immediately clear; I have not reached heaven, not that Somalis or Borana are not in heaven, but I can tell that I haven’t reached heaven because of that goat. When I think of heaven I never think of a goat being in heaven. I think of horses. White horses. I think of men stroking the hind thighs of white horses in green meadows. I think of antelopes walking around. I’m sorry for cow lovers but I just don’t see cows in heaven. There is milk yes, but there are no cows. It’s heaven, for chrissake, of course there is milk but in heaven milk doesn’t necessarily come from cows. When you get served milk in heaven you don’t ask, “Ala, na hii maziwa imetoka wapi na sijaona ng’ombe?” You just take your damn tea.

So that goat threw me off.

I ask the man, “Hi, what’s your name?” He says he’s called Suleiman. “Nani wewe?” He asks. I tell him I’m Biko.

“Habari yako Suleiman, umeamka sawa?”

“Kabisa, Alhamdulillah.”

The damn goat is still bleating in the background. It’s a needy goat. Some goats are like that, they can’t be independent, self-sustaining. I want to tell him, Suleiman, be a man and control your goat but it’s too soon.

“Where are you, Suleiman?l

“Tana River,” he says.

“Are you Somali?”



He laughs and says nabaath and says something else in that way that Soms speak. He says it fast. Like he’s eating all the words before they become words.

I tell him, “Listen, Suleiman, this might sound strange but that number belonged to my mother. And she’s dead.” He’s quiet. I don’t think he’s shocked by the mention of death, but he must be surprised that someone would call him at 7am on a Saturday morning to tell him that this number belonged to his dead mother while he is busy getting out to attend to his needy goat. I can picture him taking the call in the plains, acacia trees scattered in the background of gutted land. I can hear, through the phone, the vast open space and the blue cloudless sky. I can hear the rustle of thorny shrubs and a bell, probably tied to either the same needy goat or another goat. It’s a nomadic sound, that bell. It spells movement. A bell that now tolls for Suleiman.

To kill the awkwardness, I ask him what he does and he says he doesn’t have a job. I ask him his age (33) and what he’s doing at this moment and he says he is taking his animals to graze.

“How far do you take your animals to graze?”

“Far,” he says.

“Do you carry food for the day?”

“I carry bread, sometimes.”

“What about water?”

“I drink the water my animals drink,” he says.

He has goats and camels. I picture a camel craning its neck to listen to our conversation. Nosy-ass camel. I want to ask him if they name their camels and if so, what name do they give them. Is there a camel called Rambo, for instance? I ask him if he has children and I ask him how many and he laughs and says rather vaguely that he has many many children. “Iko wengi sana.”

“Kama ngapi? Kumi na tano? Ishirini na mbili?” He cackles.

“Wengi tu.”

I tell him, I was just calling this number, curious to see if Safaricom has finally given it away and then it rang and here we are talking, that’s all, I come in peace. He says, “Hakuna shida, ndugu, shukran.” Then I hang up. Then I send him some Mpesa because I was feeling some type of way. Plus. I’m sure my mom would have approved. “If you don’t give you will never get.” She liked to say.

I figured Suleiman might find some use for it. Maybe he was going to use it to buy his child medicine. Maybe he had woken up that day and told God, “God, my back is against the wall here, help me with something,” and God sent my aunt to call me at dawn and that spurred my thoughts of my mom and the phone call happened then Suleiman’s prayers got answered. We are God’s pawns after all, aren’t we?

Suleiman doesn’t call to say he received the money. But I call this Somali chick and I tell her, “Can you believe who has my mom’s number?”

She says, “I thought you mom was dead?”

I say, “Yeah, but her number has resurrected, and it’s now owned by a Somali.”

She laughs and says, “What are the odds?”

I say, “I know!”

Then I call my big sister and she doesn’t pick and when I go on Whatsapp to send her a message I find her online (does that piss you off or what?)and I ask her, “Ala, you are online and you aren’t picking my calls?”

She writes, “I’m in class!” (She’s doing her PhD or something, she is always studying, God knows for what. Enough already!)

I write, “Are you in an online class?”

“ Haha. Kinda. What’s up?”

“I called Mom’s number.”

Melvine is typing….


“I don’t know. I just called. To see if it’s working.”

Melvine is typing….

“I don’t think Safaricom has assigned it to someone…”

“Kwani you have called it before?”

Melvine is typing…

“Yeah, but kitambo. So is it still off?”

“No, someone picked. I don’t think they were in heaven because there was a goat…”

Melvine is typing….

Melvine is still typing….

I go to the loo. Take a piss. Come back to find her message.

“Haha. They had a goat on their profile picture or?”

I stare at the message and think, is this chick doing a PhD or certificate in metalwork?

“No, there was a goat bleating in the background. So it wasn’t heaven. The guy with the phone is in Tana River and he is Somali.”

“Hahaaha. Oh boy.”

“I know!”

“Acha I call you after class,” she writes, but doesn’t go offline. She remains online. Maybe she is in one of those Whatsapp groups for women and they are talking about shoes or men or errant husbands. I’m slightly stung that she doesn’t want to hear about my goat stories. Then she goes offline.

I get up, take a shower, wear my running gear and go for this Stanchart event at Parklands Sports Club where people are running with Henry Wanyoike while blindfolded. (Have you registered by the way? The marathon is this Sunday). I want to go to Wanyoike and say hello to him and tell him that I’m Biko and I interviewed him some months ago but I change my mind because I’m thinking he might ask, “Biko? I thought you play rugby?” and I may say, “Forget that Biko, I’m the guy who interviewed you at Sankara remember?” and he will cock his head and say “Ohh” without conviction and I will tell him, “Okay, touch my beard, it might make you remember” but then he will ask, “Did I touch your beard when you interviewed me last time?” and I will say “Eh,no,” then he will laugh and say, “Biko, did you say you are called Biko? It doesn’t work that way. I have to have touched your beard to remember you by your beard.” Then I will say, “Arrh, then why have I been giving visually impaired people so much credit? I thought you have mad powers!” Then he’ll laugh and ask for his white cane which he’ll use to hit me over the head.

So I didn’t go to say hello. Wanyoike if you are reading this, hello!

In the evening I meet my friends at the bar. We are having drinks seated at the terrace, the music is great, the weather is warm and it’s all fun times, right? At around 10pm my phone rings. I’m not those people who put their phones on the table. So when it rings I feel it purr in my pocket and I remove it by its neck and look at the screen, guess who I see calling?


I almost fall off my seat because I had completely forgotten the events of the morning. The last time my phone had rung with the name “Mum” on the screen was 2012! Maybe it’s the effect of alcohol but I was completely thrown off, I stare at it ring in my hands, my brain quickly trying to connect the dots, trying to comprehend whether this is 2012 or 2017. Glenmorangie is working against those efforts.

Hezzy who is seated on my left looks at my phone in my palms and he sees “Mum” on it and he looks at me but I don’t know if he is even aware of what’s going on because he knows my mom is dead but maybe even he is thinking that it’s 2012 because he’d had a few.

I pick the call and walk to the gardens, which is quieter. It’s Suleiman. He’s saying thank you for the money. We make small talk. He asks me if I’m in Nairobi. He asks me what I do. He asks me if I have children too. I tell him “Mingi sana, mingi.” He laughs. I move away from the music because well, he’s Muslim and I don’t necessarily want him to think I’m in a haram place. I ask him if the children are asleep and he says yes, they are, except one, his son. What is he doing? He says he’s talking to his mother. “Yeye anapenda mama yake sana.” I tell him most people love their mothers. I ask him what the poem that plays on his phone says, that poem and he says it’s gratitude to God, for the gift of life.

“Are you grateful?” I ask him.

He says “Alhamdulillah,” and then repeats, “Alhamdulillah.”

I want to ask him about the needy goat and if it’s asleep but he might think I’m not a serious Kenyan and I want him to think I’m a serious Kenyan even though I’m not so serious a Kenyan.

We bid each other goodbye. And hang up.

I go back to our table and I decide that I have to delete my mom’s number even though I have memorised it. You don’t forget your mother’s number, do you? But then I don’t delete it. I can’t delete it on the Sabbath, I will delete it in the morning, I tell myself.

In the morning I don’t delete it. I lie on my bed instead and I wonder how Suleiman’s goat slept.

The registration for the writing masterclass is still open. Email [email protected] to lock down a slot.

You can also buy my book here… or on Amazon here….

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  1. ‘……..he might think I’m not a serious Kenyan and I want him to think I’m a serious Kenyan even though I’m not so serious a Kenyan…..’ Which is which?
    Great article, as always.

  2. I laughed at most of the nuances in this piece because I can sorta relate with the crazy thoughts of a writer. I bet you could feign a whole conversation with a goat. And because the goat won’t care any bit about you it will be all “ehe…”, “aha…”, “oh really…”. But here is a plot twist. Suleiman is an alias for Kamau who slaughters goats in Naivasha and never wanted to disclose where he is and then had to play along to his storyline!

    You honor your mother in a good way. Bless her soul.

    1. Only Biko can make a goat feel so important in a story. How he does it, I can’t… but it surely left my ribs worn out.
      I’ve never thought of the Bible and heaven: Biko could be right…all what we read happen in reality; ukiwa na swali unauliza Mungu na Malaika realtime.
      Great read Biko.

    2. Been crying throughout the month then this…” is this chick doing a PhD or certificate in metalwork?”

      Biko your mum is proud of you…

    3. how did i miss this story?lemmi read sasa..btw guys am trying to trace tht story where a guy wasnt getting an erection na washaenda honeymoon..pls remind me

    1. Thank you Biko for setting me free. Periodically calling my late mother’s phone number has been my “guilty secret”. Yippee! I’m not mad!

  3. quite a beautiful story here. Thank God no sad stories.
    I have a few replies.

    1. Buddha, After a long spiritual search he went into deep meditation, where he realized the nature of mind. He achieved the state of unconditional and lasting happiness: the state of enlightenment, of buddhahood. This state of mind is free from disturbing emotions and expresses itself through fearlessness, joy and active compassion. For the rest of his life, the Buddha taught anyone who asked how they could reach the same state.

    2. I have this friend who’s mum died when she was in primary school. She talks about her every single day in such a hearty manner. They say the best way to keep the memory of a person alive is to talk about them. She is very alive in her daughter, like your mum is very alive in you.

    3. I don’t think of white horses in heaven, I think of Unicorns. Fine, smooth, and beautiful ( in ever sense of the word) Unicorns.

    Ion; Cliff, Biko once asked you to reveal to us how tall you really are. But you replied you’ll tag him in your picture on IG. My fren’, we are all interested in knowing how tall you are. So I took the liberty to find out if you actually tagged Biko in his tags ( I know, I know, I should take up stalking as a career) , I went all the way back to tags from 2015 and not even in one. So, how tall are you really?????

  4. Wow!!What a read!!It has taken me through a roller coaster of emotions!!Biko,may your mom continue resting with the angels….

    Oooh,also got me thinking if indeed we will have cows and goats in heaven…well,who will clean up their mess??the dung and all!!Let’s stick with the white horses!!!Yeah?

  5. BIKO no matter what we will never seem to forget our lost loved ones.Their prints are engraved in our souls forever.May they all RIP

  6. Suleiman’s goat. Hahaha! Such a catchy headline. Biko, your fascination with the goat, I still don’t comprehend it but you’ve definitely made my day.

  7. wow! You never fail to amaze me.. I would love to meet up with you one of these days…. just to put the face to the stories!!!

  8. Death is inevitable but if this is how it will feel, I don’t want it, to bad it’s not a choice. It’s hard to face the fact that on day I’ll tell my mummy goodbye. With that said, let me call her and say I LOVE YOU.


  9. This is a fresh one. I am always looking forward to reading your stories. On the meditation, I too can’t get my mind blank. I find it so hard I stopped trying so you are not alone.

  10. My friend was murdered one year after Highschool. I kept her number and wished her all the wishes that come around in a year. The messages were undelivered but i hoped that she saw them wherever she is, i hope it’s heaven because High school we didn’t sit well with God.

    Three years down the line am idling on whatsap when i see that her profile picture had changed. I really hoped it was her but Safaricom had given out the number.

    I think maybe i should have sensed something wasn’t right with this Hot guy, maybe i should have told her he was bad news, maybe i should have been with her when she broke up with him.
    I hope we are still friends even though you are not around anymore.

  11. Good read. I always look forward to reading your stories. I too can’t meditating. I can’t get my mind blank at all. I gave up trying so you are not alone.

  12. I’m feeling so zen I start thinking that maybe I should stop wearing formal clothes and walk around in robes like Buddhists. I’d throw it over my shoulders at an ATM, gather it to get into the car…but how would I pee? I think in panic
    Really?? quite amusing

  13. Thanks for this article, Biko. Sometimes, silence causes unbearable reminders of what needs to be forgotten. This thing lodges in my throat, so I switch off the silence.

  14. “Tenda Wema nenda zako” This is usually very true. Biko Walk a blessed man.

    PS; Second time same venue and I missed spotting you. ( I have your imaginary face) 🙁 PinkMan Lake Elementaita and now the #RunWithHenry in parklands. God knows how much i want to put a face behind all these great writings.

    1. Angie, being that I am such a millenial, I am thinking, “Why don’t you just google him?” Sorry Biko, but there are a couple of his photos online. I stand to be corrected though.

  15. On my bucket list is to know how to completely center myself to my zen (for me it’s my state of being), I too hear and know that life streams from that place of stillness. Try listening to ‘The 6 Phase Meditation’ by Vishen Lakhiani, it guides well. Kumbe I am not alone in taking a long time before deleting such numbers!

  16. ‘I stare at the message and think, is this chick doing a PhD or certificate in metalwork?”..haha


    I almost fall off my seat because I had completely forgotten the events of the morning”…I cant imagine the shock..haha

    Ey Biko!!!!Its been so long since I laughed this hard…Awesome article right there..

  17. “Prayers sent your way is the African version of zen.”

    It’s true, I know; my grandma and Mum still still send prayers my way. Keeps me “centered”

    Great read….


  18. “At around 10pm my phone rings. I’m not those people who put their phones on the table. So when it rings I feel it purr in my pocket and I remove it by its neck and look at the screen, guess who I see calling?

    Reminds me of that time, a month or so after my dad passed, I received a call from ‘him.’ I was so shocked and shaken to see ‘Dad’ calling. I immediately edited the number under my brother’s name. Each time after that, whenever I called home, I always felt that sense of deep loss and a vacuum, when I got to talk to everyone else but had to hold myself from asking to ‘talk to him.’ Then the dreams, just like old times and in one of them, he hugged me as he told me everything would be alright. I miss the clean smell of him and sometimes can sense that smell..of a crisp shirt under the hot iron and I often wish I could leap into the past, and talk to him one more time. But also very often, angry thoughts pop up, I am still upset that he slipped away and we had so many plans and I didn’t even get to say goodbye. It’s been 11 years and each day is a little more adulting.
    When friends pass on, I will for a period go through their messages and most of their posts as a way of closure. then whisper my goodbyes as I delete their numbers, and unfollow them on facebook and instagram.

    1. my cousin passed on in the line of duty in the army, months after i received a notification on my phone that today it’s his birthday, i was so confused, we were close, so in the ‘whats app groups’ i asked my cousins, some were still shaken, the thought that crossed my mind was about how the wife to the late took the same notification,
      i did contact Facebook team to delete the account.

  19. I have laughed my lungs out, as always. I really relate with this piece because I also still have my Dad’s number saved on my phone and coincidentally, it is now owned by a young Somali guy. I know because I check his whatsapp profile often and try to see if he has any similarities with my father (well, the last time was a year ago. I stopped). I used to call the number for whatever reason as well and it was always mteja until one day I saw that a whatsapp profile existed for it and did not try calling anymore. They may be gone but they will never be forgotten. I wonder where they are now.

  20. Melvine is typing….

    Melvine is still typing….

    I go to the loo. Take a piss. Come back to find her message.

    “Haha. They had a goat on their profile picture or?”

    I stare at the message and think, is this chick doing a PhD or certificate in metalwork?

  21. Sitting in silence is hard. The priest would say we have a five-minute silence to let the word speak to us and my mind literally takes a walk.Saitan.As I was reading I could picture Suleiman just eyeballing as you told who the line used to belong to.Shagz are so horrible with the concept of time but I’m glad that your Aunt and Suleiman called back to acknowledge reciept of the cash. Most shagz folks develop amnesia the moment the cash hits their Mpesa wallet.Your Sister though..hehehe.. That is an epic way to handle those who suffer from the blue stick syndrome. Cheers to happy stories because it’s the freakin’ holidays. Suleiman’s needy goat better watch out.If I ever call the number of my loved one that’s no longer here I would freak.I would think that I have stepped in the third dimension then I would be waiting to hear Forest Whitaker’s spooky voice,,Whew!

  22. I used to call my mum’s number too until they reassigned it. When I found out, I cried for days. like it finally hit me that she was gone and I couldn’t leave her voicemail messages anymore.
    Anyway, most comments on this posts are lines from the story.

  23. I think you should visit Suleiman with your watoto nyingi for adventure sake… If I was in your shoes I would have done that I kid you not… Just know you may have saved Suleiman a good one with that MPESA

  24. wow! nice and funny. Atleast its not a tearjerker….weee past few stories have been…hhhhmmmm difficult. Damn I always forget to heart

  25. I read somewhere that we die twice. The first time is when we get put in our graves and covered up and the second time is the last time that someone on this earth says our name.
    It’s great how you write about your mum, Biko.

  26. Biko you are just too hilarious. Your inner thoughts put in writing is so excellent.
    It’s truly hard to delete the number of our gone loved ones it reaches a time you think of them and all you do is search for their number or pics. It is sad but a reminder that they forever stay in our hearts.

  27. Quintessential Biko. Finally. Had missed the humor with all the sob stuff going on here lately.
    Mums are so special- May yours continue to Rest In Peace

  28. “So I didn’t go to say hello. Wanyoike if you are reading this, hello!” …………but biko tho

    i do that sometimes, call my late mums number & last year safaricom finally gave it out…..I feigned a wrong number tho. Did not have the balls to keep talking….

  29. I always enjoy reading your prose. Concerning the masterclass, do you have an online class? I live in kampala and interested in taking one, if I can afford it and be able to attend.

  30. I stare at the message and think, is this chick doing a PhD or certificate in metalwork? Lol!you killed me right there wow

  31. I still have my Dads number as well, he passed away 3 years ago and i called his number after reading this….its still unassigned… no Somali on the other end of the line…Yet.

  32. hehehe. as usual.. you bless me with laughter..
    Funny how i lost my boyfriend and tried his number last year and the number had been sold to a lady of somali descent.. Its very scary when that call goes through….
    Good read and God bless you Biko.

  33. Nice read as always

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  34. When I saw the title Suleiman’s Goat, I knew this was another sad story of a goat with cancer or one whose lover got lost 7years ago and Suleiman was has been through hell to keep this goat hopeful. I was prepared to shed tears. Thank Biko for taking a break off heartbreaking stories.

  35. Is this chick taking a PHD or a certificate in metal works ? Hahahaha .. Am just thinking of how she will read that, kasirika kidogo, but like every other sibling will be back in your embrace not so long after.

    1. Brothers for you! Sounded so like my own who asks me silly things like “who is your mother?!” “Where the heck did you go to school!”
      But he still is my favorite human being.

  36. I am so tempted to call my mum’s number after reading this…. But too scared of the disappointment I might feel if someone else picks…I will wait for tomorrow 🙂

  37. Nice read. It’s comforting to know that I am not the only one who has kept their mum’s contact intact long after her demise.

  38. I have laughed so hard… I lost my mum 14 Years ago. Some things are true; It doesn’t get easier….you just get stronger; no one forgets their mums number and heaven is not the sad bit, its the missing them in death…. thank you Biko.

  39. My dead father’s number was also reassigned to a muslim (she wears a hijab in her whatsapp profile pic). I find it unsettling though, it irritates me that the number belongs to someone else now. I’d prefer that it remains dead like it’s (previous) owner.

    1. I totally understand you there.. I know there is a day I will call mums number and it wont be mteja anymore.. that scares me just a little bit…

  40. Couldn’t stop a tear, not because the story is sad-it really is great- but because today, by coincidence is Mom’s 26th anniversary, since a careless driver took her life. And I have this letter that i keep writing on every anniversary. A summary of life that year. Sometimes it’s only a paragraph.

    So Biko, you might now delete her number but somehow, time never eases the loss. Just teaches you how to live each year, with it. Save as Suleiman. Maybe join my letter to mom…

  41. From the gloating of that goat BIKO, was it a she-goat or a he-goat ?????? (you can always tell the difference if you have a woman in your life)
    I wanted to buy one from outside Kenya. In the meantime the tone of this article is incredibly awesome .

  42. Some lives tend to form a perfect circle, others take shape in ways we cannot predict or comprehend. Loss has been part of my journey but it has equally shown me what is precious. I lost my mum 22 years and 6 days ago. It was a cold, drizzly, Wednesday afternoon. I was nine years old then. Funny thing is, that day is one of the five concrete memories I have if her. Others are just bits and pieces, here and there. Life tends to pass by like the scenery outside a car window. One is left to watch with a breaking heart as the memories fade away. Most of my teenage years, I was seemingly lost without her. I was soulless, a drifter without a home, a solitary bird in a flight to nowhere. The beauty about grief, crazy as it may sound, is it toughens you over time. It makes one endeavor to find their purpose. I might not be fully there but love, family, friends… have made me realize that destiny can hurt a person as much as it can bless them. So, here’s to Suleiman, his son, his goat, all those who’ve gone before us and to the winds of destiny that blow when we least expect. At times they gust with the fury of a hurricane, sometimes they barely fan one’s cheek. But the winds cannot be denied, bringing as they often do, a future impossible to ignore.

    1. So, here’s to Suleiman, his son, his goat, all those who’ve gone before us===

      Sule, the goat and his sons are still with us….

  43. I absolutely enjoyed reading this piece. I think I needed a break from the Sad heart wrenching ones – as much as they are full of life lessons.

    And by some divine intervention, we were spared the ‘First to comment’ comments… Dare I hope that this will continue?

  44. So there’s this book, Girl Boss.These are the vibes I am picking from this post but of course in terms of the male equivalent.
    My nephews school of thought is mentioned here too.I can’t wait for him to grow up and read how goats are small horses, just maybe they are.

  45. Mystery solved! I have these somali ladies who keep calling my number. Happens like every once every three months. I can’t get a thing to the extent of getting annoyed but I am a decent young man (My mum says so) so I just speak swahili until she hangs up.

    I now think they (3 ladies uis what my mind says) are sisters to Suleiman. Safaricom moved on too fast and gave me their mum’s number. So they keep calling when they can’t handle the needy goat anymore. And since what goes around comes around, you got to call Suleiman. He will tell them about it. And suleiman will call me.

    I once read so crazy piece about Heaven by The Rackster. I still laugh at the Idea of an angle clad in rugged jeans. Ridng a high horse.

  46. Maybe she’s reading the Bible in the bedroom and her phone is in the living room but, surely, why read a Bible when you are already in heaven?
    Haha #whodathot

  47. Moms are special. Really special. Your story is heartwarming. I bet all moms in heaven hang out together laughing at things their kids did.

  48. So, there’s this chic on Biko Zulu’s comments section who is very nosy and a stalker too. She comments on and replies to people’s comments every day. Every time. She’s ever present (I know I see her comments too because I go through the comments sections to read reader’s views). Anyway, I always like her contributions. Very reflective, well articulated and sometimes a bit iiish iiish. I donno. She is Bumble Bee.
    Another common and somehow favorite commenter is Wesh-Peter Wesh. Now, this guy can also write when he’s in the mood. Sometimes his comments are always full of vibe. Full of teachings and full of inspirations, especially when Biko decides to do the sad stories. However, Wesh can also lack words to write. I think when he does not take his Muratina, he is not creative.
    He is Cliff the Tall or so he describes himself. The problem with virtual “gang members” is that you don’t know them or get to interact with them physically. So, this Cliff guy claims he is super tall. Soo Taller that he cannot fit in the frame of a profile picture for a full body size photo. Nigga, be tall then! He doesn’t talk or rather write much. He will pick a favorite line or phrase and say sometime about it then leave for next week. Maybe he stays at Rusinga Island and gets to catch ferry every Tuesdays to access the internet for Biko’s weekly dosage.
    There are these “First commenter obsessed readers” who will marvel at the sight of being the first to drop a comment. They only pride in commenting first, not reading. They are boring, idle and less of wisdom or homework to do. Some even comment then close the link. They don’t know shit about what the story entails. I hate them. I hated them most when Biko did the sad stories on the man-eaters in Congo forest, the black prince and the 40s series because they could comment with” woow nice piece” about sad stories. The other group is the one-word commenters. All they do is drop wooow, great, awesome, hehe and very sad comments then leave a boss.

  49. Awesome piece….after reading this, I also went ahead to call my mom’s phone number and it rang safaricom has already given it to some else. My mom passed on eight years ago…its interesting but at the same time sad..

  50. “Oh, screw Russell – he’s a multimillionaire, he can afford to stay still for ages. I’m a small cog in a massive wheel, I can’t be missing money calls at 7am because I want to be still. “, I agree .rib cracking piece

  51. I finished reading and tried to call my mom’s number as well. My mom’s dead too…it’s been almost 2 years now…still so surreal.It’s still mteja Safaricom haven’t assigned it to someone else yet. But thanks to you Biko now I know how to steer that convo when someone eventually picks up at the other end of my mom’s line coz I’m keeping it and will keep trying to call it…just to see who ends up getting her number.

    1. My dad passed away in 2011 but like Biko i have never been able to delete the number. i try but it hard and i just move on. I hope it hasnt been asigned

  52. Glad to know I am not the only one who keeps calling Mama’s number…8years on and still counting! May all the departed Mums rest in eternal peace!

  53. Okay so when you were calling your Mother’s number, where was your wife? and does she know about this? If yes, what was her reaction?

  54. There is this thing I do at least once a year; I call my mom’s number, still saved as “Mum” on my phone.It’s always been mteja [off], of course. I don’t know why I have never deleted it. I like it there. It’s my thing. Grief has died, there is no more pain, just the occasional sorrow and self pity: Oh, look at me, my mommy is dead and I’m all alone in this bad big world..

    I also dial my mum’s number to this day I have her Sim card with me and carry it everywhere in my purse, still saved as Mummy.. almost 3 months after her passing and I am not deleting it…. even when the number gets recycled. That number will always be Mummy’s number..

  55. You know Biko, whenever you talk about your mum I tear up, coz I relate. Yesterday was Mum’s 6th anniversary, she is also Jane like your mum.. So, I also have Mum’s phone number still saved. I can’t bring myself to delete it. For the longest time it was mteja, until this day I noticed on whatsapp that “her” profile had this hideous photo 🙁 and it hit me Safaricom had recycled her number. I was hurt! May be I should call that person too….

  56. I know we are not talking about sadness or sorrow here but why have i teared up??you talk about your mom in such a deep way ,this gives me more reasons to love my mom even much more….

    And the Tana River GUY you need to have an interview with him …. at least for him to see this man who was in a Haram place on a Sabbath day mmmh..

    Good stuff…

  57. I love all your stories, the sad, the funny ones and even the plain ones.
    Suleiman’s goat is a plain one….and puts a smile on my face…

  58. Biko,last time I checked Wanyo was blind. So hajapata salamu zako,ama you also write in braille for the blind people? Just wondering

  59. I think it’s a cultural thing. Not stating the number of children you have. It was tantamount to telling God you had enough. Same principle held when it came to stating your wealth. In my culture, you say you have many children. Or you give their names. Or if you have 4, you say you have more than 3. You never say the actual number. That’s why it’s erroneously believed Mumbi had nine daughters.

  60. Hahaaaaah…didn’t see this coming. Meditation, your mum (RIP), Suleiman and his goat…
    This life; crazy, weird yet we find some humour in there, somehow…

  61. I keep my mothers number as the second line on my twin sim just so that I never call it and it rings and I die of the shock. So I put credit on it then transfer make random calls just to keep it active.. I’m not ready, I don’t know if I ever will be but its been a year lets see.

  62. I used to do the number of a loved one i lost.i guess its not so abnormal after all.your lucky u found a good person.maybe it wld have been some bitchy slay queen.God is just

  63. Good writing Biko, i also called my mum’s last year, who passed in 2015 February and it’s received by a guy who first questioned why I was having the claims that the number was my mum’s.,… Safaricom do us a favor,. you don’t have to give the numbers of our lost loved ones too soon…..

  64. ” relax, this isn’t another sad story. We are not doing sad until next year.” Thanks for this, yeah lets do away with sad for now..
    Nice piece there…..

    Your mum is your ever watching angel up in heaven,……. Stay blessed..

  65. Haha! I like the way you panic when you realize peeing will be interesting with all those shawls covering you being buddha

  66. First came the merino sheep story and now we have the needy goat story….
    Next try and honour the cows even though you don’t picture them in heaven or producing milk for heaven tea ..
    You’re too funny Biko!!!

  67. my dad passed away in 2011 but like Biko i have never been able to delete the number. i try but it is hard so i just move on and kid myself that ill do it next month. I hope it hasn’t been assigned to someone else

  68. Biko save the number as Suleiman you never know when you will go to tana river or when he might appear in Nairobi and ask where you could be to deliver a goat

  69. Meditation actually helps a lot.I tried it first time after struggling with insomnia for a decade or so.downloaded an app called calm and slept a compact 8 hrs without waking up.That day ,I really believed that miracles do happen.So go on and try some guided meditation.

    It’s my mum’s 13th anniversary and I still break down in tears once in a while remembering her .I guess this feeling will just never go away..

  70. So did your sister call back??
    So Mr. Biko, how are you? How are you doing? when are you going to visit with the auntie? And by the way, how was the stanchart marathon ??? On the eve of the next new post, can’t wait to see it has anything to do with being a grandfather…

  71. Somalis have great stories to tell,I bet you should find time for them and visit NFD
    It has been a great read Biko

  72. Biko, may your mother rest in peace. I like how you honor her. As a Somali I totally relate to so many things in this post and Suleiman. The Gaabay you referred to is a Somali poetry rather than Islamic poetry.
    May you continue being blessed.

  73. Hey Biko,
    The exact thing came to me. I kept my mamma’s number and after 4 years I called. Someone answered. Shock. I told them sorry and hang up. I felt much grief all over again and guilty. I had betrayed my mother. Like if she came back, she’d be disappointed we allowed her stuff to be owned by strangers who now called it theirs. I have never called back and regret why none of us kept the number in the family. Coincidentally we all had the same last digit in our numbers; 8. It makes you feel the number was meant to stay.

  74. My sister lost her phone, or rather her phone was stolen by some chap!!
    She managed to call my mum and let her know her phone was stolen.
    I told my mum, thank God your number has never changed since time memorial, we can dial it in our sleep, because well, you never forget your mum’s number! 🙂

  75. More than a month later, and I still wonder how Sulaiman’s goat is. Will he survive Christmas “slaughter season”? I assume it’s a he goat seeing females aren’t as needy.

  76. “..I stare at the message and think, is this chick doing a PhD or certificate in metalwork?” I have laughed so hard 😀

  77. how did i miss this story?lemmi read sasa..btw guys am trying to trace tht story where a guy wasnt getting an erection na washaenda honeymoon..pls remind me

  78. I read this back in 2017 while I was in my second year and I just thought it was mad great,narrated it to my sister and made sure she read it also,and today am here 18th/04/2021,thinking like heeeh enyewe life is just a mistery because apparently my sister later on died in 2019 and I still have her number saved,Ive texted on several occasions……anyway Ill forever appreciate your writing Biko,,hoping someday Im gonna afford to buy one of your books,big ups.

  79. I have never read anything better than this on a Saturday morning. But anyway, “We are God’s pawns”. Aren’t we?

  80. Never read your stories till today wanna ask how much it cost to join your school of thought. Really love the monologue what a great piece