The wannabes: We all have that crazy aunt

The crazy aunt Photo: Harry

We are now just four weeks away from Christmas, and for many Nairobians, that is the only time they will get to interact with their many extended wannabe relatives, during the season of Yuletide and good beer (unless, of course, you are a goat or chicken, then there isn’t much to cheer about).

There is always that wannabe crazy uncle, who gets much drunker than everyone else, then depending on what his ‘Rich Tot’ (ya Kot Kot) shows him, he can say and do anything, up to and including the time he once slept with ‘Mama Njeri’ (who just happens to be his bro’s wife) in 1983.

But Crazy Uncle can be fun, unlike Aggravating Auntie Agripinna, the ultimate wannabe who wants to be the family gang leader and pokes their nose into all your affairs like that Auditor General into ‘gava’ tenders.

This is the wannabe aunty, who two months ago during your cousin Naliaka’s wedding, conducted an utterly humiliating monologue speculating on why you are not married, yet you are already 34 years old.

‘Sasa huyu Cheryl, alimaliza college in 2004, akapata kazi, akafanya sijui ‘Masters,’ aka pata kazi poa zaidi. Amenunua gari nzuri, lakini hakuna mwanaume analeta mahari nyumba hii. Mtoto pia hana. Wanaa! Ama kuna mchawi na wivu familia hii amemfungia mapenzi na pia ...’ Here, the word that hangs in the air is ‘barren African woman.’

Cheryl, under her breath, is praying that the next funeral she attends will be for Aunty Agrippina.
Then there is that ‘loser’ brother who is the plague on the household.

This wannabe is the one who has stayed home with mummy and daddy, well into his 30s/40s.

If you are particularly unfortunate, he will also be a drunkard, or even worse, a drug addict, and the smell he gives off is of cannabis and cheap brew, as the sweat seeps through his unbuttoned shirt.

This sibling wannabe is the brother that is always being bailed out of police cells on Monday morning for being busted while loitering, drunk and disorderly.

(By the way, as we once told a posse of police when we were in Campus and totally plastered, it is perfectly in order to be drunk and orderly).

Then there is the competitor sister, that wannabe who always wishes to show she is not only an angel, but doing better than everyone else.

She will send money to daddy via Mpesa and stay broke, then say in the family WhatsApp group how no one else cares for the old folks.

She visits and sees your new furniture, and says hers is in a container from China.

It is like she’s running for female rep at the family level.

Don’t forget that wannabe cousin from the boondocks who acts like he was sent by the village branch of the KGB, to spy on you and your family, or if single, your lifestyle, and report back for gossip at HQ.

Then there are all the wannabe extended family members who are as vicious as ‘hauko uhuru kuripa ushuru’ crew. It is like their lives are always in catastrophe, and you cannot dare to call out ‘phony.’

This month they have malaria, next month you need to send a bundle for Xmas, in January – school fees.

And the thing is they only call you up when there is an emergency and they need cash, but it is as if their whole life is being lived inside an ICU.

When they call, you can almost hear the wailing sirens in the background.

Lastly, there is that ‘mystery relative,’ the blur in the wedding picture, the shadow in the fringes of the funeral. If your relatives are mostly ‘wannabe,’ this mystery pop-in-pop-out-disappear relative is who you want to be.

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