No hugging mum: 10 memorable things about old-school fathers

It is that time of the year to celebrate fathers. There are many things to remember and celebrate about fathers, especially the generation that ruled over their brood with an iron fist like patriarchal dictators. Today’s in-house brats might have no idea about domestic dictatorship.

What with the banning of corporal viboko in school and the onset of children’s rights groups that can sue for thrashing your kids with bathroom slippers!

In an age now sadly gone by, fathers were laws unto themselves and when they unleashed a beating you remembered it into your retirement. Here are 10 things to remember about them on Father’s Day:

1. Power seat

He had his seat at the corner, facing the television and you only sat on it when he had gone shagz for the weekend to bury your long-suffering aunt Truphena.

Daddy’s seat was of a different colour from the rest and was wiped quickly when his footsteps were heard from a distance.

2. Okombe ya daddy

Daddy had his own utensils secured in their own section of the cupboard and covered with a kitambaa.

Only mummy drew out daddy’s utensils when serving him when he came and removed his shirt to reveal muscles from a bulging white vest.

3. Sinia ya nyama

There was ugali and sukuma, or githeri and uji for the rest of the world, but then there was meat for daddy.

He was served half a kilo of meat from the kilo he brought home at the end of the month, leaving the other half kilo to be shared between 10 siblings and not a few cousins (brats of the aforementioned aunt Truphena!)

4. Likofi la baba

The old man was the text book discipline master. One slap, likofi la ng’ombe, from an angry daddy, though it came once a year, could cause paralysis and ringing ears, lasting several hours.

It was better to let 10 teachers roast your beef for a week than endure daddy’s military slap.

5. Silent treatment

If you got expelled from school, or a daughter got pregnant, dads would give them the silent treatment. It was torturous since you never knew when he would get angry and decide to give you a beating.

Some disappointed dads never ever in their lifetime spoke to their pregnant daughters about who got them in the family way.

6. School visiting day

Unlike modern daddies, the old-school father did not visit your school for that visiting day out of love. He often said, “I was passing by,” as he left you with nyama choma, the smallest toothpaste, two packets of milk and that big ‘family size’ bread that’s often taken to shagz for relatives during Christmas besides pocket money and that day’s newspaper!

7. Remote commander

The television’s remote control and the transistor radio belonged to daddy who was the only one who knew where the ‘switch’ was. If he was absent, there would be no watching videos on the VCR machine.

 You wouldn’t dare touch even daddy’s kinanda ya kucheza wimbo ya sahani without his permission.

8. Cheza na nyayako!

While it’s normal for today’s children to play with their fathers, in those days when Kanu was baba na mama, your father was your daddy, not your friend or playing played with other kids, your mother, your cucu and sisters, but never the in-house dictator!

9. Homework kabla kulala

Old-school dads cared about education which was mostly the only inheritance they left their kids. There were no two ways about it in dad’s house.

You either went to school, or left his house. And woe unto you if you came back with poor performance on the report card, yet he had cleared your fees...or if teachers complained about your homework!

10. No hugging mum

Old-school fathers paid rent, school fees, repaired the family car and all bended shoes, but you would never catch him kissing, hugging or showing any mushy puppy love to your mother.

He was the portrait of masculine resolve never to show weaknesses like hugging kids. He only hugged his car while washing it!