That’s what this is: a thank you.
To who? You. Me. Everybody. The last time I felt this grateful for a year in my life was in 2013, and I thought it would be hard to beat. It got blown to smithereens (and so I’ll need you to remember one thing, I came, I saw, I conquered). Sorry, couldn’t resist that.
Anyway, this little ode to 2016 won’t follow the usual flow and form of other clueless ramblings on here. Let’s buck the trend a bit, and simply list and explain a few things that deserve my outpouring of gratefulness.
It’s funny how my MRF journey started as a not-so-serious backup plan, keen to avoid the unpredictability and bureaucracy of certain changes in Kenya’s legal profession. I barely even made the deadlines (all of them, even after I had been selected). Maybe I just like living on the edge. A friend of mine was pretty sure I would get deported from Mzansi anyway, what with my obsession with South African house. I probably thought I’d be up all night dancing the night away (that happened, just not to deportable levels).
And on 25th January, as the frigid waters of the Atlantic sprayed the gentrified promenades of Cape Town, I looked around a room at one half of my new family. And damn, what a family! This entire post could be about them: the conversations, the parties, the jamming (my first scrappy but worthy playing of the guitar in public), the roadtrips, random laughs and the emotional, mental and educational support. I could go on and on.
Relishing those moments while still steaming head-on through that LLM in the beautiful city of Tshwane gave me a chance to change my mindset on so many things, reinforce the same on others and yet give myself time to contemplate others that I deemed beyond me at the time. My MRF experience was a match to a fuse. I am not the Mutugi Mutegi who almost cried hugging Mum at the airport. I am not the Mutugi who first unpacked a framed photo of my Mum and Dad on their graduation day and promised to do them as proud as ever. I hold mainly the same ideals; altered viewpoints however.
It wasn’t all roses all the way(or jacaranda flowers to be relevant). Unpredictable protest action, a few wrong choices, the vagaries of being remarkably far from home, few wronged people. With each, adaptability came to the fore, moulding each unfavourable situation into a gift or, in the least, a lesson.
I have few friends. Very few. Yet acquaintances are uncountable. I don’t trust easily, so one of the greatest things to have changed this year was the number of people who came into my life but oh-so-quickly had such an impact on me. I need not list them here, considering the backlash I got from some omissions I inadvertently made last year. They know themselves though, having been people behind my greatest adventures, laughs, introspections, lightbulb moments, wake-up calls (literally, human alarm clocks will push you through the dire 3 a.m moments of an LLM, hehehe) and more.
Ungejua ile maneno hawa watu wangu wamefanya in the past year just to get me where I am now, you’d be praying they were yours. Anything and everything was done to ensure I had a smooth year, and even the bumpy sections were stomped upon until I could pass comfortably. And “comfortably” passed I have.
I’ll be stingy with the details. Only thing necessary to declare is each year makes me prouder to be a Mutegi. Remember the name. And a variety of others in the extended fam making waves (tsunamis!) in the most diverse of ways. Remember the name!
4. South Africa
I have been asked several times why SA, not elsewhere. I gave that answer privately. I’ve also been asked why not stay in SA and work there. That answer I will give publicly in 2017.
I think the vanity of youth is essential. It clouds our eyes, fills our hearts and pumps through every single (cardio-vascular) vessel of our bodies and makes us jump head-first into the most eccentric, untested waters that catch our eye. I did that in 2016, and it almost blew up in my face. Almost. And yet here I am, triumphant (almost).
I also got to “understand” a country that is misunderstood, portrayed misleadingly, or some other perspective, depending on whom you ask.
It’s refreshing to see the evolution of a state, in whichever direction people seem to forecast such evolution. It’s shaped my own thoughts about a few things I feel strongly about, which shall be the subject of a separate post (hopefully).
Regardless, Mzansi, you are darn beautiful. Like damn, oh, damn, gob-smackingly beautiful. I’ll be back, of course.
They were many. Oh so many! With each came another curveball, and each time I swung that bat like a crazed Chuka warrior (wonder if my ancestors knew what a bat was). Now 2017 has a couple headed my way, I’m guessing 2016 was the warm-up. But I got gainz, gaaaainz!
From the beautiful singing of a few people I met, to random classical music concerts, to nights out banging to Black Coffee, Busiswa, Kelly Khumalo, Kwesta, Babes Wodumo (but of course), Heavy K et al, it was a massive musical journey.
Also, sanity was maintained by a massive dose of liquid drum n’ bass, Tiesto, Above and Beyond ABGT sessions, and that monthly addiction of Euphonic Sessions. Here, have a listen. You might as well here the sounds of one of the best trance DJ duos that I will turn into the New Year with.
So now I’m ready to get mine. I have a few things planned in the year, improvements and restructurings. New people, new experiences, new challenges. But to Hades with that New Year, New Me nonsense. Still the same old Mutugi Mutegi, kicking behinds in the mornings and taking names in the evening.
Also, I know enough people who had less than exceptional years. Get up, get that dirt off your shoulder, dust your feet, and do you. And where help is needed, ask for it. God knows that got me through this year.
I am content. There’s much I wish I had also done in 2016 but didn’t achieve, yet there’s so much more I never thought would happen yet did. I am content.
Here we go.