Segelde.

An old memory.

When I was a kid -old enough to form memories still young enough for people around me not to notice was forming memories- we were up-country for a holiday with the family. While out in the field my older siblings and mother were helping with the harvest (a lesson in hard work courtesy of mummy) however, I and my asthma were there to provide moral support. I do not remember the specifics of what I said but I remember very clearly the response ‘Segelde wewe’.  It was not a complement. It did not apply to boys. It was said with a twisted lip and critical tongue, kinda like when someone says “you’re a feminist aren’t ya?”. I asked what it meant and my mum exchanged a look with my sister that said they knew what it meant but didn’t know how to explain to a non-Kalenjin speaker. The closest they came was in Swahili ‘mujuwaji’ which loosely translates to ‘know it all’ but not ‘knowledgeable’.  This is the earliest memory I have of being uncomfortable with being myself.

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