Nobody Wins.


Before our “Kenyan winter” set in, I paid a lady to teach my son how to swim. Anybody who teaches children anything deserves to be paid even if they love it and are passionate about it because children can drive you up the wall. It’s worse if they don’t belong to you. She bent down near the swimming pool and said to him, “Heeey, I’m Maggie! What’s your name?” He just stared at her. I said to him playfully, “Say hi, Kim,” which must have irritated him because I already called his name out loud which, I suspected, he might have wanted to keep a secret from her. He glumly offered a hesitant handshake. I have noticed something weird with him; he trusts thick women more – women with big bosoms. In case you are wondering – he was breastfed enough. He tends to be overly friendly to thick women who he just met when I’m with him – he hugs them without notice. He smiles with them. On the other hand, he’s frosty towards slim women. He regards them with suspicion. He probably thinks, if she’s that slim it probably means she is hungry and if she’s hungry she might eat his hand. Or bite off his cheek. Suffice it to say, he didn’t take to Maggie immediately. Or to floating, to be fair. But Maggie is in the business of patience. I watched them in the pool and I thought, I can’t be a children’s swimming instructor. I’d hold their head under water for a bit if I had to repeat myself over and over again.

The man who taught me how to swim was just a boy himself, a distant cousin. When I was only a boy we’d all get packed to shags every April. Back in those days there was never any debate with children; they did what parents wanted and when they wanted. Thankfully, shags was fun. The highlight was going to swim in the river after lunch. The river was light brown in colour and unlike a swimming pool, it moved. The brownness came from the fact that it came down through Kisii, which has red soil. We’d know how heavily it was raining in Kisii by the colour of the river. It was an angry river in some parts and calm in others. There were places where massive trees at the shore spread their branches over the river, throwing mystery underneath. Some parts were deep and others were shallow. Rivers are like people in that sense.

John, this cousin of mine, wasn’t that much older than us – he was maybe six years older. I learnt swimming by the time I was seven years old. Boys would swim in specific spots in the river and girls would swim in other specific spots as a way of segregation. John’s way of teaching you to swim was to hurl you into the deep, raging waters. You had a choice to drown or swim. He’d stand by the river laughing as you splashed and coughed and your eyes popped open in the final horror of impending death. He’d follow your progress by walking by the river as you were swept along, hands flailing, screaming that you were dying. Just when you were about to die, he’d throw one of those 20 litre plastic jerry cans to you to act as a floater, and you’d best catch it. He would repeat this routine until you learned to swim. I must have learned swimming in two days.

John is also the first and last man I ever watched masturbate. He did it after a swimming session. Lying on a stone as he dried in the sun, he did it casually, like it was the most natural thing to do after a swim. I didn’t know what the hell it was that he was doing, but I was 7 then and curious. John could speak French when very few people were speaking French. And he could speak it so well he represented his school in it as their mascot French student. He could also speak German even before the Berlin Wall came down. He was super-intelligent, a genius if you will. Which means he was the kind who could miss classes and still emerge top of his class. He excelled in academics effortlessly.

My father always talked to him with admiration, praising him, giving him endearing nicknames, joshing with him. I could tell he wished John was his son. It made me jealous and inadequate. So I grew up wanting to be John. I looked up to him. I admired him. My mother loved him but she didn’t speak to him like she wished he was her son. He was always respectful, offering to help whenever he was in our shags.

He played football. He also did well on the tracks. He was built for sports. He had a strong build, sinewy and defined. He had big eyes and thick veins running behind his hands. He had a deep, raspy voice. When I was standing in the doorway of teenage he was my idea of a man . When he was in fourth form he would single-handedly burn bricks in shags for pocket money, but also because he was curious and experimental and there is nothing he couldn’t do because, well, with such a brain you could do damn near anything. He built a small chicken pen for his grandmother with his own hands. He would work in the sun without complaining.

He joined Kenyatta University to study what I now don’t recall. University was a big deal back in the day before parallel programs. And so John was a big deal. He brought it near. I remember that when in uni he built a bathroom behind his simba and found an ingenious way to tap the water from the stream nearby and made it flow as a shower overhead, and all this without a pump. He was intelligent. He would sit with adults and engage them. He spoke great English. He was a charmer of women. They loved him. When I was in high school I introduced him to this girl I liked whose name starts with B. (Look at me being mysterious). B took French as a subject and when I introduced them I happened to foolishly mention that B could also speak French. So they switched to French and it was exactly how you picture a man and a woman speaking French; showy. John’s big eyes always had this thing when he was talking to a girl; they’d grow bigger and fill with laughter. He’d be drinking up the woman with his big eyes and his words. He made B giggle as he made every girl giggle. A few days later, I saw him kissing B in darkness at a corner in the estate. I suspect he was kissing her in French. I was crushed, of course, but technically he stood a better chance than me; my idea of seduction was saying I had a mix video tape with Aaliyah and Jagged Edge. Surely, how many music videos can a girl watch? With laughing eyes he later told me that B was too old for me and that perhaps I needed to go for girls younger than me, that girls my age were just “too mature.” To mean VHS music videos mean shit in the end. I was 15, wet behind the ears. I still admired and adored him even after he pulled the rug from under my feet like that.

John started drinking heavily in the University, like everybody else. The problem is he never quite stopped. It started as a lifestyle thing, a cool guy thing. Going out. Drinking. Cool friends who drank. Stories of late nights in cool clubs. Having a hangover seemed so grown up, so accomplished. His drinking became worse. He started to cut class then he started cutting whole semesters. Then he’d never go back home. His mom would go over to look for him in some slums near KU and find him living in a bleak shack, drunk half the time, looking like a yobo. He started withering. He started looking haggard – the intelligent and charming John with his big eyes filled with laughter. Word went round that John was struggling with alcoholism. Everybody was worried, some celebrated, I’m sure, because that’s how life is. Sometimes they celebrate when your star child is going down, not rising. His mom never stopped fighting for him, never gave up on him. The faith and dedication of mothers is completely baffling. They will keep trying to fill a cracked pot and they never stop. You can wake up one day and shockingly find a massive mountain outside your house and when you call the neighbour and say, “Felix, what the…? Do you see what I see?! There is a mountain that has moved right in the next compound!! And Felix will say, “Oh, that was moved by my mother.”

John was shipped to shags eventually because Nairobi was too toxic. He started drinking the harder local stuff. My father, the academician that he is, would shake his head sadly whenever he spoke of John dropping out of university like he had lost a son. Whenever we would go to shags I would see John, or a paler version of him. He was still charming even when he was drunk, which was all the time. He was still funny and witty and still knew everything in current affairs. His eyes still danced with laughter. He would get 100 bob off you with wit and charm. I never could wrap my head around this new guy. One day his mom went to his simba to check up on him after another night of ruinous drinking and found him foaming at the mouth. John died an hour later, two days before Valentine’s Day in 2004. Alcohol poisoning.

DRUNK, my book is loosely based on John. It’s how I remember him; charming and intelligent and wrecked. Only John is Larry in Drunk. And Larry is charming, intelligent and wrecked just like most people I know who have a problem with alcohol. Not long ago I was drinking with some friends and one of my friends told this chic friend of mine he had just met that he has a problem with alcohol. She asked me if he and I had ever talked about that problem and I said we hadn’t, even though somehow we both – in an unspoken way- have acknowledged it. How have you acknowledged it? She demanded of me. I kept quiet. Why don’t you want to talk about it? What do you men talk about in bars when you can’t talk about something so crucial? She pressed on and I sat there feeling like she was somea-ing me and I don’t like being somewad, not when I’m drinking. I finally said, “It’s difficult to talk about such things….it’s, I don’t know, embarrassing.” She didn’t say anything more, she just looked at me with what I initially I thought was pity, but later realised was disgust.

We all know that guy, charming, intelligent, and great company (before their fourth double). They are great to hang out with. They make you laugh. They have bright ideas. They know everything about anything…any topic at all. You could be arguing about whether Wangari Maathai was part of the 1960 Kennedy Airlift that the late Tom Mboya facilitated with the Americans to take 800 Kenyans for further studies to the States and he will start rattling out the names of some of the more famous beneficiaries which, yes, included Wangari Maathai. When you all consult Google, Google will confirm that yes, Wangari was in that flight. Of course he’s right and the rest of you are not. He keeps dates in his head, dates and numbers, trivia and all these pieces of information that nobody ever needs. He will say weird things like, “The problem with you guys is that you never attended proper schools… wait…hold on…. stop talking, your contribution here is getting more miniscule by the minute and you will only end up embarrassing yourself further and not adding any more intelligence to this conversation….I want to put it to you simply but in relation to physics…which might not be something you fared well in, in high school. Anyway, put simply, the physical laws of matter, energy and the fundamental forces of nature govern the interactions between particles and physical entities such as planets, molecules, atoms and sub-atomic properties….have I lost you? I’m certain I have, but I will plough on, feel free to grab whatever you can…kwanza where is my lighter?…” He’s a genius, of course.

We all laugh at his jokes and his off-the-cuff quips and his clever wordplay- the bristiling double entendre, his rabid riposte – and we watch him pour more drinks even when we know we probably should place a firm hand over his and say that he has had enough. But he’s interesting when he drinks, isn’t he? And we leave him in these bars knowing that he drove there and he will have to drive back home in that inebriated state with physical laws of matter floating in their broth of fetid booze. We leave him in those bars knowing that he is a father. We do this every other weekend and we never have that important conversation. The elephant in the room becomes part of the furniture.

Because it’s embarrassing. We don’t want to borach it because we don’t want to come off as judgemental. Or righteous. We don’t want to be the ones who upset the applecart. In the meantime his life unravels in the background. Back at home his wife tells him, those people you drink with, they don’t mean well, and he fights her viciously. He says she’s controlling and nagging and doesn’t he pay the rent in this damn house? Does he not educate her little brother? “Who is paying for your car? What more do you want from me? Why are you controlling me? Why can’t I have a drink with my friends without you busting my balls?” And she says, “Sweetheart, those guys are not your friends.” And he throws his hands up in resignation because there is no use talking to a woman like this, when she’s on this senseless warpath, it’s a waste of time and space. So he says, “Oh fuck this, I won’t be judged and made to feel like a child in my own house. I’m out, see you later.” His car engine, like him, revs off in anger. And we meet him in the bar, we friends who are embarrassed to tell him that he’s slipping and that he needs to get help. We drink with him, laugh at his jokes, we feed off his mind and lean into his hilarious tales. He’s after-work entertainment. We continue to egg him on in this path of destruction because we are embarrassed.

On a hot Saturday morning, before our winter sets in, we stand at the edge of a swimming pool watching a lady we paid to teach our son to swim. The proverbial monkey of irony clings on our backs because here we are raising a boy while we are perfectly okay watching another man, who considers us his friend, fall.

These stories don’t end very well. They end like Larry ended in my book. They end after men have raised their fists at women and relas, and friends have sat around kangaroo courts, and hurtful words have been hissed through teeth, words that will now never be taken back. They end up when doors have been banged angrily and children wounded irredeemably. They end up in ditches by unremarkable roadsides. They end up in cars fatally driven under stationary trucks amidst the sound of twisted steel and the feeble sound of the dying, blood dripping on the cold dawn tarmac like engine oil. They end with heartbroken mothers.

They end with dreams that die at the big feet of talent.

And when they end, nobody wins. Now that is worse than embarrassing.

Ps: The 16th Bikozulu Writing Masterclass is now open. Dates: 5th- 7th Sept. To register please email [email protected] To buy my book, Drunk, please see the banner above for details.

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    1. we are bound by unspoken laws, we walk with heavy hearts, we smile even when life is going to the shitters ……..after all we were raised to be men

  1. Dreams that die at the big feet of talent. A truth that saddens.

    A good lesson here is for friends – especially men – to stop being enablers of alcoholism. We all can somehow tell when that guy is edging off to drunkenness but we refuse to be the first to upset the applecart. And how will anyone agree they are an alcoholic if they think their boys drink equally as much?

  2. They end with dreams that die at the big feet of talent.

    And when they end, nobody wins. Now that is worse than embarrassing.


  3. Such a lost talent (Larry)…We know these stories, we live them. In my circle we confronted the issue- it was hard, painful and almost broke us. But we promised to never let each other drink and drive. The first question is always – did you drive? If yes…youre on the watch list. It works…most of the time.

    1. This is great. Keep at it man. Be a responsible drinker and know when to stop. Am hopeful that you want to be responsible.

      At the end of it all… Cirrhosis will take some and leave some.

  4. Just amazing to read your stories! You literally took us through a journey of the life of 3 persons….your son, John your cousin and the unnamed friend who is drinking himself to death and at the end nobody wins! I love the courage of the lady who questioned what u men talk about. I work with young boys some of them I had to jail them for going into drugs & crime. The rule we agreed on with them was 3 chances and I dont forgive after that…its hard decisions. At times it is so hard to hold back tears but someone has to make hard decisions. Many have reformed and come back home……still I have to visit some in prisons but like my own sons I have seen some fall and rise. Alone nobody wins but TOGETHER We shall all WIN!

    1. What’s the oldest of the boys you’ve worked with? I think I’d need your help with such for a friend of mine…

  5. One of the sad facts about life is that on most occasions nobody ever tells you the truth. You could get lost in a moment yes you feel your drowning and they can see it too but its never as fun when you miss the party. Then you keep drowning and drown some more …then depression kicks in because you hate your life…then you drink some more,mess up some more.Maybe sometimes we should tell each other the truth because this stories dont end well.
    Nice Read Biko

  6. We have so many Johns in our lives today, more over we have this one friend we see he is falling into the drinking trap but we dont always tell him.probably because his company while drinking is so enjoyable that you wouldn’t wish to see them not drinking.Others have sweet and Charming words to defend themselves incase you tell them that their drinking is out of hand and you end up helpless and keep drinking together..great read

  7. ‘The trouble with drinking today is that the flesh is willing but the spirits are too strong!’
    Yes, nothing beats the ‘faith and dedication of mothers’. The last person I want to offend is my mother!
    If there are ‘drunks’ among us readers and fans, I hope we are all listening!
    Do you miss your cousin John, sometimes, Biko?

  8. It was an angry river in some parts and calm in others. There were places where massive trees at the shore spread their branches over the river, throwing mystery underneath. Some parts were deep and others were shallow. Rivers are like people in that sense.

  9. It is sad but true that we have never thought of talking to that one friend who we know has problem and we are afraid to say it as it is. And yet we will gladly continue to even buy them more rounds or even let them buy us more rounds despite their suffering.
    Good story Biko. These articles always awaken something in me that I thought had died or was forgotten…

  10. 7 Aug at 10:40
    “But he’s interesting when he drinks, isn’t he? And we leave him in these bars knowing that he drove there and he will have to drive back home in that inebriated state with physical laws of matter floating in their broth of fetid booze. We leave him in those bars knowing that he is a father. We do this every other weekend and we never have that important conversation. The elephant in the room becomes part of the furniture.”
    The drunks you call friends whom you are too embarrassed to call out their downward spiral are not just fathers…they occupy bigger spaces than that; they are also brothers, they are sons, they are husbands, they are grandchildren, they are uncles, name it; just one person but so many, and when they bleed out their lives on the hard tarmac, what is irrevocable is that so many other lives will be tinged, dragged along that darkness that is grief, probably for the rest of their living days, while their ‘friends’ will just attend their funeral, post RIP on their facebook and go on with their lives, and with meeting new drinking buddies. Go figure.

  11. We have so many johns in our lives.. some we love dearly. When we try to call the elephant in the room by its name we become enemies, we are even avoided. Alcoholism is a disease, its their in our families, friends, it starts small and becomes a demon. We think they like partying, we invite them to drink with us because they are the life of the party, slowly they start drifting and being controlled by the bottle. You talk about rehab and you become the enemy, you try to counsel but you are not heard. How do we approach this subject without hurting the ones we love.. they say that they cannot get out of it unless they accept they have a problem… how do we let them know they have problem without being cast out of their lives… This illness alcoholism!!!! #SMH

  12. Powerful – nobody indeed wins. As the Swahili say, “hii pombe uliipata hapa na utaiacha hapa tu “

  13. This is sad. Sad that we all know someone like this. Sad that we know someone who had a bright future but now lies in some trench in the village. Sad that we all know someone we like to call a functional drunk. Who we all tolerate and never see the point of telling them to go easy on the bottle coz they seemingly have their shit together. So we imagine they are not alcoholics because they are not lying in a ditch. I hope that we could all do better as a society in future and actually call out our friends and help them get help.

  14. Is it embarrassment or fear? We pseudo-friends don’t want to lose that teneous relationship because we just can’t come up to them and say John we need to talk. We know it will end badly. We will lose a “friend”. Perphaps it is better to lose the pseudo-friend and save a friend so we’d better have those uncomfortable conversations. Karma will repay us over the dissolved relationship because hopefully our words will sink in and they will accept to see the light.

  15. The Sad Tales of Bikozulu (sigh)… The week before last; before you went to Zanzibar you had mentioned that apart from the lady who was featured in Business Daily (awesome article by the way, she had sooo many gems! I saved the article) you had met another interesting person and wanted to share info about them…

    On the real though, there are too many alcoholics walking around and the worst thing is, it has reached a point of normalcy, i.e., A starts liking alcohol and then A likes alcohol too much. A suddenly cannot do without alcohol, inatoa lock, he says. A becomes a full blown alcoholic. A goes to rehab. A comes out of rehab, is clean for all of two seconds and then has a relapse. A wilts away. A dies.

    All in the full glare of his/her friends or people who should be acting like they are his/her friends. They attend the funeral. They shake their heads. They cry. They laugh. They have only but nice things to say about A. They each throw a handful of soil on his grave. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust…


  16. Men do not egg each other on in this path of destruction because they are embarrassed. They do it because they really don’t care. Think about it. They don’t care enough for each other to help each other out when it matters most. Then when their friends fall apart, they abandon them like rats from a sinking ship, Men have to do better by their friends.

  17. “Pombe sio uji”. My brother used to quip to my late brother.
    The other side of the coin is that the more you when the more they receed. Believing that you hate them or don’t like them being happy out there with their pals. My older brother turned 40 and died. His drinking buddies came to bury him while drunk and the trend continues. They castigated the family claiming we didn’t treat him well because he drank… There is another side. Sadly whichever side you are there is nothing as bad as not being able to raise the dead. Even for one more story. Because unlike John/Larry, my bro was witty when sober. Very intelligent when sober. Very well put together when sober. Don’t let the drinking scourge take away your loved ones. Take me to rehab. Take me to a drying out place. For heaven’s sake fight for them.

    1. I have someone who’s gone to rehab- came out worse than she went in…she does harder drugs than just alcohol. We have tried all we know- we are not sure what to do anymore. She refused to go back to her parents’ place, claiming she’s an adult and all that.

  18. I find myself in between the sentences of this story.
    Campus drunk.
    Dropped out of campus (later went back)
    Drinking cheap hard liqour in village.
    I obviously never died.
    But, with help, I regained my life.
    Started the Journey to recovery. One day at a time.
    I regard myself as an alcoholic, but in recovery.
    There’s hope.

  19. There is no drinking problem in this country…this is not an alcoholism crisis-alcoholism is a symptom, not the inherent problem. Any addiction is meant to numb the real problem. So as we address the alcoholism issue, let’s also try to find out the underlying problems as well. Silent screams fill Nairobi bars. Addressing only alcoholism stifles the screams. We need to figure out how to process the pain and address the issues that cause the screams. Also, peer accountability, peer accountability, peer accountability.

  20. Biko you are right.

    Sometimes, and those times are many- we just watch our friends fall. I remember reading about Larry and just shedding tears. I cried for his mother. It’s like you were telling a story of someone i know. It’s time we actually make a conscious effort to reach out to those drowning and not give up even when they have let go- we must keep pulling them up.


  21. I hope that I be that kind of friend who can be trusted to tell the truth as it is.
    “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” MLK

  22. beautiful piece as usual, sadly i relate way to well with Larry’s/Johns situation, alcoholism is a nasty disease, i am seeking help, and if you are going through the same thing, reach out, speak out, get help. godspeed y’all

  23. I am currently handling a John. Only that he is not a cousin but a tight pal I consider a kid brother. As I was reading this I could picture him. My John just escaped from a rehab centre early this morning. Hoping that like some debris in the ocean, he will wash over before dusk then we have a talk. Which has become some kind of a circle. crazy!

    1. Find out what the real problem is. He could be drinking to cover some really deep pain like a failed relationship that he/she never recovered from. When you address the real problem the symptom will no longer matter.

  24. Some of us do talk but these guys are know it all. I once told my friend that he’s drinking a bit too much and he asked me ,”You think I don’t know what I am doing?”. How do you continue from there?

  25. “We all laugh at his jokes and his off-the-cuff quips and his clever wordplay- the bristiling double entendre, his rabid riposte”

    It may be alcohol or gambling or women or men or affinity to debt – any of a million little addictions – we all have someone like this in our circles. Or are we the ones?

    We have to start winning somehow, anyhow, by engaging in the embarrassment of the conversations or whatever it is that they make us feel. If only to pay back for all the laughs and great cheer served by these geniuses. But we must.

    Nice read, very enlightening.

  26. Good read. I hope this sets “friends” on the right path to bravely speak up and stop the the downward spiral.

  27. It’s my sister’s graduation in a couple weeks Biko and she’d like your book as a present?
    Any chance I can get it autographed for her ahead of purchase?


  28. “We are raising a boy while we are perfectly okay watching another man, who considers us his friend, fall.”………..

  29. I like the way you articulate your issues with real life experiences, i wish we can learn from the many examples.

    A Bikozulu Fanatic.

  30. Depression that causes alcoholism that causes depression that causes alcoholism that causes death (vicious cycle) is a real pandemic and we shouldn’t shy from talking about it. Thanks for the enlightenment and for pointing out the irony of raising up a boy while watching another fall.

  31. One of the librarians in my Uni was a John, very smart. He was able to help with any research well, that was between the hours of 10:00 am when he had sobered up and 5:00 pm before he indulged. After 6 he was a different person. I remember meeting him outside school with a friend of mine, I honestly had not recognized him. He was in such a bad state, shaking, shivering and all curled up and I told my pall that guy looks sick, he laughed, then asked if I didn’t recognize (mwas (not his name)), well I was sooooo disappointed and disturbed. Later the institution offered to take him to rehab and he would keep his job if he agreed to it, he broke his leg escaping rehab, and I would see him limping drunk after that. I died a thousand times inside. It’s been long since I left Uni, I honestly don’t know what happened to him

  32. Sobering …truth is not easily spoken or embraced. But if you know you could be the one supposed to speak it (truth), there’s some creeping hope or is it fear, that there’s still tomorrow to confront it. Until it is too late, when the moment is gone, for good. Tragic! It’s best to say it, no matter how hard.

  33. One day I will make it against all odds and buy this “Drunk” book by you. I have gone down to zero it takes me to even buy bundles for someone just to read your work

    1. It’ll be well. Being down is seasonal, been there now coming out of it thanks God. The place you withdraw 50/= from Mpesa. Just been keen to pick the lessons when in your wilderness so it doesn’t become a cycle. Virtual hugs to you.

    2. Keep your head high pal. Ups and downs are part of life and so long as you keep the faith and be steadfast, the storm will pass

  34. Drunk;still got this burning feeling in my stomach that’s a mixture of trepidation and deja vu, so much that I’m yet to get clarity on what soundtrack the book goes with. Will get back to you on that one Biko.

  35. Great post Biko , can totally relate. We all have people around us who cultivate some ‘fun’ habits that are hard to stop. Sadly most of them think they know what they are doing and maybe one day they will save themselves.. seldom happens.

  36. The conversations we are always too afraid to have, of the monster in the room……buried an uncle last week, he was intelligent, a charmer but his story too did not end well.

  37. Truth be told, There is no one who starts off as an alcoholic… Its one drink today and two tomorrow and eventually More than enough per night…

    May we truly be the friends who speak out and rescue our friends from the gutter before they drown…

  38. We all have or know a person who is dealing with alcohol and it is no longer a cool thing it is about time we speak up . Discussing drunk in our book club was very emotional and eye opening and a conversation that we need to have as a country.

  39. So so so sad..
    Unfortunately, quite a number of us men have seen this path in some of our closest circles and we let it go. I am a victim having lost a brother in-law this year. I hope with this lovely piece of read, we can now start openly speaking more and openly about it.

  40. Funny thing is that your replacement is ever there to take after you in the drinking game. And these are what we call sad statistics with a human face and many looking up/ down on them. Lesson learnt

  41. I have an uncle. He’s John in our family. His is a case of something deeper than alcoholism. But his wit and charm is unmatched in the village. He is considered to have the best opinion about any topic. It’s impossible beat him in an argument even with you holding a smartphone. And where he doesn’t know anything about the topic at hand, he will sit out of it trying to find the logic. And even then, he is still capable of proving you wrong.
    Peter Muthini Mbevi is his name.

  42. Hey Biko, i have been trying to look for an article you wrote “a tenant at will” but its been in vain. How can i trace it please?

  43. Hello Biko,
    It’s a sad article, but great writing as always.

    I am trying to access your archives but there’s a problem: the calendar program at the bottom of the page isn’t capable of going back more than a month. Please pass this issue on to your webmasters.

    Thanks and I can’t wait for your next blog.


  44. Hey biko,
    Out of context, i couldn’t help but ask.By any chance could you have written a certain article and you went by the name Calvin Rock???….because i am pretty sure that was you…anyways all your stories are the bomb.always looking forward to tuesdays…and more calvin rocks

  45. I missed this Biko, real and raw. Feel like it’s been a while since you wrote like this. I love it. it’s almost nostalgic. That aside, I think we need to have a campaign to start getting men to talk, because this is scary.

  46. Hey Biko, This sounds hell a lot like me.Went to a national school.Aced my KCSE,joined University then fell in a bottle of “Makali ” looking for a happiness.I quit University in 2016. I’ve never been able to get a float and grab some air.It got all messy, I broke up with my family {Figuratively}, I live in a shack and ooh boy I still love my bottle…….My birthday is coming up, this month.Am turning 26……….I’ve this resolve of quitting. I don’t know if I will manage , for with every passing minute sober , the demons yell louder….the hearts beats faster….the legs grow restless and ………

    1. I’ve not totally fallen -Yes- but am certain soon I will.
      The urge is irresistible. If any of my friends is reading kindly slap me the next time I’m entertaining you at Choices. Just please. I don’t want to end underneath a parked actros.

  47. I have always appreciated reading your blog. This post tops it all, the paradox, that is. Somehow I feel that this son of yours was cheated: somehow everyone is making decisions about him but no one has ever asked him what he truly wants. He has to swim but is an embarrassment for what the swimming results turned out to be. It is like expecting someone to behave the way you want without telling them about it in the first place but blaming them for the resultant failure. An analogy being the BBC investigation into the Malawi ritual murders but the sleuths are mistaken for killers.

  48. Just finished reading – Drunk. Alcoholism is an elephant, a humongous one…that always leaves in its wake collateral damage. My heart bleeds for the Larry’s of this world. I hope this will be a wake up call to this nation that can be easily billed as a drinking nation.
    BTW.. get a copy. It’s a riveting, gut wrenching read!

  49. ‘Here we are trying to raise boys to men while we watch another fall ‘ Boom! Finally we see ( and hear) how thinking men think hope there are more of you who can come together and talk to each other frankly – WATER in hand ( or the famous Kenyan tea)

  50. I want a copy of Drunk. And……… the nagging wife here is me. Only that I am paying the rent and paying for my own car and I’m several years younger than him. That means I loose in that conversation even before I start talking because apparently I am feeling superior. C’mon, men should talk about embarrassing things as well. Fewer women would be branded as feminist.

  51. I never really comment .Lets say each time I read your posts I need like an hour to get out if the trance they set me in and I never come back to give my thoughts. But this, this touched me. It’s a story so common yet so tragic. We constantly watch our friends go down the drain but my oh my we do not want to seem judgemental ,like we poking our nose in someone’s business. We do not want to seem like we acting all holy. But that’s why they are our friends. In one way or another we poke our nose in their business, say when you keep on enquiring and asking questions about the girl he likes. And aren’t we judgemental when we tell them not to engage with such or talk to a certain person say when you give your opinionated view on a person hoping that it will alter their perception of them. And friendship is full of us judging this and that questioning that. So don’t be too scared when it comes to being a true friend and place your head on his shoulder and tell him he has had enough that night. He /she will thank you one day and if they dont fate will. And if you never get thanked it’s still cool .What are friends for anyway?
    Also what do men talk about in bars if you do not mention such. I felt the ladies look of pity and yap it turns to disgust .

  52. Great read. My bro was a John/Larry. Went to remand, rehab and finally prison. However, this Monster overcame him. R. I. P. Timo. You were the best bro ever. Till we meet again. Shalom.

  53. Wah…you were describing someone I knew..I didn’t get roping themselves with the alcohol line!He was my husbands friend,& boy could he drink!!he could out drink anyone under the sun!the days would roll over to became a blur..& life’s events,such as death of loved ones,divorce,loss of finances due to dubious deals(agreed on when drunk)just fed into the alcoholism.
    Funny thing is there were two groups of friends, those who enabled him,still gave him cash on credit,brought the drinks to his house & then those who even paid for the rehab process.
    But as someone mentioned, to men its just embarrassing to even discuss the silently it just ate him.Until death grabbed him after a month in hospital, the liver gave up& so did all the other organs.
    Drinking is just not a way of life.

  54. We all laugh at his jokes & his off-the-cuff quips & his clever wordplay – the bristling double entendre, his rabid riposte….. Knowing very well that he’s wasting away… Very sad bunch of friends

  55. People drink for a reason and if the reason is not addressed then the person continues in the downward spiral…. so as drinking is addressed then the reason for drinking too should be addressed ……