THE DAY THEY ALMOST STOPPED REGGAE: PART 2: The Chos and Choice Edition


BY: JUMA HEMEDI
12/03/2020

Over the next few years since Oyundi and the brothers tried to stop reggae at community Hall, with 'mafuta ya samaki' life continued well. The only problem was the smell of fish that continued to smell in the hall as we went to watch TV at the hall after paying "sumni" (50 cents). The TV was a red 14inch screen, that all of us would crowd around.

For our parents they would come to watch news and know what President Moi had been doing the whole day as well as know how the weather would be for the following day, courtesy of Wandimi Mucemi or Nguata Francis. Sometimes these weather guys would place "manyunyu na rasharasha" on top of "jua kali" that would be somewhere in Garissa. I guess it was as a result of the glue that they would use to try and 'stick it' that sometimes failed them.

As for us ghetto kids we would be huddled around the TV waiting for the wrestling show of "big daddy" to start. Never mind we sometimes would sleep before the show even began due to exhaustion. They once left me there sleeping (but that is classified information, I’m not supposed to talk about it until I turn 65 years).

Anyway, all other reggae shows that ever came to Community hall had some incidents that involved Oyundi, Jumbi, Marcos later on PU, Hezi or some other guys. Starehe, Majengo and Biafra has never lacked its fair share of the people who have tried to stop reggae even as they were madly in love with the "roots and culture music"

After gaining years of experience in attending these sessions together with my neighbour and friend "Govish" (whose nickname we had corrupted from the safari rally icon by the name Joginder Sing) and then later teaming up with "Junior Delgado" who today continues to be an excellent reggae MC, we decided to be entrepreneurs and started promoting reggae and bringing different sounds in Thika for shows.

It was when we were seated with my brothers from another mother by the name of Dani and Timo at the Red Cross as young volunteers when I floated the idea of how big reggae business was and that we can look for a small capital to organise one at Chos and Choice.

We approached Davy Mbugua for funding and he agreed after we had assured him that all will be well. I contacted Dread Brothers promotions AKA "Shashamane" to come and "Papa Davies" agreed.


All systems were ready and on the Friday we were all waiting to begin charging the entrance fee. The hall was quarter empty by around 9pm, then all hell broke loose outside the entrance, some guys had snatched some wallet from a passerby outside the stadium and police with their mahindra and "mariamu" were nearby.

Within minutes everyone was running everywhere as others would be loaded into the "mariamu" (by the way where did the name mariamu come from?) and others disappearing into the darkness of "Government Quarters" (gava). Nduati managed to squeeze himself in without paying.

We were wondering what would happen as no one now was going to come for the show since the police and their "mariamu" was now stationed outside the Thika Stadium gate arresting everyone and loading them into the "mariamu" , when we heard a commotion at the DJs deck. We went to look and found Nduati threatening to disconnect the machines while reggae was playing and the DJ "King Monday" was daring him to.

Nduati tried to reach for the turn table, but King Monday threw a right punch that landed squarely on the left or right eye of Nduati and he fell on the ground,  he tried to rise up but went down with the effects of the punch. "King Monday" was a very slim guy compared to Nduati that’s when I realised "usidharau wembamba wa reli"........

It took several weeks maybe months for Nduati’s swollen eye to finally reduce. And we had failed dismally at our entertainment attempt. But with or without people and with the police outside we continued with reggae "chanting down Babylon, tila mornin time'

We can’t fail to make money and fail to enjoy reggae. 'I was born and brought in the ghetto'...... Continued the reggae song.

We now had a problem of how to explain to Davy Mbugua that we did not even make back his capital, because "kimariamu' became our enemy of development.

...." And who the cap fit, let them wear it".....

Peace, love and harmony maaan.

Ras  Juma Hemedi

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