By Onyinkwa Onyakundi
One night, at a restaurant many years ago when i was a student, a girl who was neither my girlfriend nor my relative slapped me hard across the face in public, in front of our friends and for no justifiable reason. It stung real bad, not as much out of the physical pain as out of the humiliation. And this sent me into a rage. I was literally trembling, just trying to contain my anger, and had i been Caucasian, my whole skin would have turned red, but that night, only my eyes did.
I stretched my left arm forward, shoved her outta my way, walked over to my Motorcycle, threw a leg over it and rode off into the night. What shocked me the next morning though, is that my reaction shocked those who witnessed the incident. Most ~ some of them girls ~ expected me to have slapped her right back to manners. One ~ a Kisii ~ used the words “Ekware gokabugia” which loosely translates to “You ought to have made her make a sound”.
This left me a little disturbed. “Am i wired right? “, i wondered. This was the very first time i was living and having close up interaction with a truly diverse population of Kenyans, but this was already the second time that a bunch of them had me wondering about some deeply ingrained and internalized belief that i held. “Is it okay in certain circumstances to connect a well aimed upper cut to the jaw of a woman who crosses the red line?”, i queried my conscience repeatedly.
There weren’t any easy answers, but that was only until i sat down with a different bunch of guys who were shocked that the other guys were shocked that i did what ought to come naturally to any man ~ never raise your hand against a woman. This restored my faith in this principle. And it ain’t even something i was taught by my parents or teachers, it is one those things i had always thought is learned by instinct, and which i took for granted.
I guess all i am saying is that Edwin Sifuna was raised right, and deserves a pat on the back for holding himself together in the face of the extreme provocation he was subjected to through Aisha Jumwa’s uncouth, uncultured and thuggish conduct of violently snatching a microphone from him as he addressed a gathering at the Coast. His refusal to be dragged down to her level, and comprise on this noble principle is indeed commendable.