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Everybody knows that Majimbo was born during a heavy downpour in the middle of the night, a starless night, a freezing night. It is said that his mother’s labour was a burst pipe, a raging river breaking its bank that made her scream and scream. That her screams were more powerful that the rains, and thunder. The defiant tar-black Majimbo, arrived violently, urgently, recklessly. There was no time for a midwife and his mother did not even have a shawl to swaddle him, nor did she have the ash for the newborn to lick.
Majimbo was a thunderstorm:
Majimbo came, did or went whenever he wanted, anywhere his heart or nose led him and nothing stopped him. When he wanted sugarcane, he went ahead into a farm even if it was guarded by ghosts or men carrying power saws. If he saw smoke, he presented himself and that is why he was aware who was dead, who was getting married and who reared snakes. If he thought the politician would give him money, he pushed and shoved through the crowd, trying to reach the podium. He was a fearless, reckless child. Majimbo was unstoppable. Often, he left people in stitches or angry when his presence was unwanted. Just like a storm, he left behind destruction. When denied food, he shouted, calling those hosts name, embarrassing them. Sometimes they beat him as he tried to run away or followed him home and beat him. His mother watched as people descended on him and said, Add three more punches on that rock-hard head.
He was the boss to his age mates and had the final say. He rumbled orders and struck those who tried to oppose him. He was lightning; scary and suddenly. One time when playing mchongoano, Lumbasi told him that they were too poor until cockroaches were moving out of their house. Majimbo jumped on him, beating him, trying to strangle him and even when his friends rescued him, Lumbasi was nose bleeding. The game ended prematurely with everyone dumbstruck. When asked later he said, abuse me, not my home or my family.
But above all, he was violent and temperamental, smashing things that threatened him, things that were too weak and things that just had not wronged him. He swept, he carried away. His brothers were fierce and built and often told him, you are such a girl, and so to keep proving himself, he had to act like a man and beat other kids over small things. One time, Sifuna caught the biggest grasshopper which Majimbo had also targeted but Sifuna outran him. He was so furious and felt short changed and pushed him in a thorny bush, almost blinding him.
But even storms in the end, bring hope. They eat away the dust and the bugs and the unbearable heat.