Unlike back in the day before Kenyans fell in love with litigation, insults were used in some cases as greetings! For instance, you would hear someone say, “We fala, niaje (you idiot, how are you)? Others used to insult each other by comparing them to disliked or looked down upon animals.
For instance, to make one look stupid, you called them a sheep (kondoo wewe!). To express their distaste for a particular politician and the degree of his stupidity, you would hear Kenyans swear how they would vote for a goat, were it to compete against the disliked wannabe leader.
Greedy individuals were called hyenas, in reference to the animal’s thoughtless greed and clumsiness. Today, randy men teasingly call each other hyenas! To dismiss and infuse some sense of inferiority in an individual, you called them chicken (wewe ni kuku sana)!
But at some point, people began feeling that calling a foolish individual a sheep was being unfair to the poor animal. Similarly, it was felt that telling a confused fellow that they were behaving like headless chicken was such a harsh insult and being thankless to the best dish Mother Nature ever served humanity, and began insulting each other using names of private body parts.
You’ve probably heard an enraged man derogatorily call another “testicles” or his mothers’ privates, or a furious woman refer to another as “buttocks”, nasty as these words sounds in Kiswahili.
But fast forward to today. Hurling around insults has increasingly become dangerous, as one 30-year-old boda boda operator from Nairobi’s Pangani estate rudely discovered the other day. Michael Njau was hauled to court and charged with insulting Kennedy Musau Onyango that his face is wrinkled and resembles an old vagina.
Denied the charges
According to court documents, Njau created disturbance with the intention of breaching peace on February 20 by insulting Onyango that he looks like the said private part.
Allegedly, Onyago was baking mandazi outside where he lives on the material day around 11pm when the accused arrived with his motorbike to make a purchase. It was claimed that they had a small disagreement, with the Njau accusing Onyango of seducing people’s wives, including his (Njau’s), by giving them mandazi for free.
A protracted verbal combat ensued. So enraged was Njau that he cleared his throat and spat copious amounts of saliva and mucus on the mandazi the complainant was cooking. When he felt that was not enough punishment, he rushed to his house and came out with a panga, threatening to cut Onyango into pieces, as he hurled the aforementioned insults at him.
The police were called in after Njau dared the shocked locals who retrained him from slashing Onyango to report him to the authorities. Njau was arrested and a reigned at Makadara Law Court. He, however, denied the charges and the matter will be mentioned on March 8.