Hi This is Mix Njombwinjo.
Hi! I am Mix Njombwinjo, first son of my father, Mr Chichayeni Padadzi, literally translating to “hammer it on its bald head” or something close to that. I am extremely intelligent and when I can afford, I am very neat. Smart. I don’t always manage to be neat, smart, because of my propensity to get well paying jobs and lose them soon after. Not that I am a bad worker, no. In fact those who hire me tend to wonder where I was while they languished in search of quality staff of my caliber all over the country.
They soon find out though that I have a dark side to my brilliance, which they do tolerate for a while but soon get flustered and show me the door. That dark side, brothers and sisters, is beer. No jokes here: I can hammer the stuff! And it goes with a twin called women. We don’t choose, aweh! Anything in skirts and on two legs (or even without legs, as was one catch at a seminar in Bangladesh) is ok. The drinking and womanizing have a strange punctuation between them: It’s called dancing. Yes, gule, kudenya, ukushana-shana! Man, you should be there to see us do our thing when we are inebriated. No system. Just dancing whichever way the beer dictates. We can dance with our backsides on the floor, we can dance on our hands, on our heads, name it. The game is called dancing, that’s all that matters.
Christmas time last year ended disastrously for me all because of dancing. I was drank and feeling pretty high, so high in fact I felt sure I was nearing Heaven. I took to the dance floor with real panache.The music kept sounding better and better. I was dancing alone but was literally all over, filling up the space of ten people with my flamboyant dance moves. Wiggling. Wriggling. Jumping. Gyrating. Rolling. Tossing about. All rolled in one, bwana, it was closer to a gymnastics display than dancing. One moment, the right leg has gone up, twice the height of an average-sized dwarf. Then up goes the left leg. Change step, baby! Like an owl, I rotate my neck several acute angles while sinking towards the floor. Feeling higher and better, it’s the turn of my waist to get involved. Man did I turn this lean part of my body into jelly with flexible forward, sideways and backwards moves. Kudenya, as they say back home in Chipata. I am sure I had more fans in the pub cheering me than an average Zambian national soccer team. To please them more, I went on my head and tried to spin, break-dance style.
That’s when all the booze actually came to my head. The stunt backfired and I landed against a table full of Mosi and Castle bottles. A dozen or so bottles went crushing to pieces on the floor. The township lads who had been cheering my foolish dancing didn’t savour the idea of all their hard-earned Christmas beer being lost that way. They had probably spent the better part of last week breaking into homes to raise money for that Christmas beer. They would not let a drunken ‘Some-of-us’ in black suit, white shirt and a stupid red tie around his neck, dancing like an invalid, get away with its loss. So they came literally flying at me. “Iwe kamdala niciani…(what’s the matter, you old man)?” And they wired me in all sorts of ways. Some kicked, others slapped, yet others still banged my nose with their foreheads. Yes, they punched me until I could not feel anything anymore. They took more money from my pockets than their spilt beer was worth. Actual Christmas day, I was booked in the casualty ward at the University Teaching Hospital, my face looking (and even feeling) like a ripe cucumber! That’s me: a complete donkey, I suppose.
I am proud of my father, because he made sure to knock me on the buttocks each time he thought I was exhibiting wayward conduct. You see, he was so strict on discipline. He tried. That I am the nut that I am is not his fault. He even gave me a university education, a rarity in our parts. When it was time for a beating he seldom chose the weapons to use on my small hard buttocks. Any dangerous item nearest to the location and time of crime was good enough. He once viciously tossed a tin of Fray Bentos beef towards my helpless little head as I ran for dear life, after mistakenly buying him the beef when what he had sent for was tinned fish in hot chili. The Fray Bentos barely missed my head and struck a huge tree in our backyard. The force on impact peeled off enough bark from the tree and drew sticky, red fluid out of it. To date I am convinced that had I been caught by that tinned beef, there would have been enough material damage on me for a manslaughter charge against my father, Mr Chichayeni Padadzi.
It wasn’t just his violent tendencies that unnerved me about dad. His looks too. Awkward shape, man. He is small. Very small. With a completely bald head. The shape of his head tended to remind you of a fruit. I am not sure what fruit but probably one with a very hard seed inside it and at least somewhere between oval and hexagon in shape. Probably of a bitter taste too. And his wife, my mother that is, for size, the very opposite: Huge, gigantic woman who was father’s efficient deputy at unleashing terror among us the children. When offended, she preferred to verbally assault you and also take in between her forefinger and thumb the tender flesh located somewhere up, up, your thighs. Then hold onto it like a tick! Her long nails digging deep into your thigh, she twists them for maximum effect and shouts “Sononobitch, will you do it again?” If you didn’t turn into a convulsive heap, crying out “Amama naleka! I’ll never do it again!” you sure were some tough guy asking for more.
Of my own looks, I don’t like it but they say I do bear some resemblance to dad. As a kid, if anyone wanted to start a fight with me, all they needed to do was tell me that I had a head like my father’s. Hey, that used to infuriate me and bring the best punches, kicks and head butts out of me. “Do I look like my father, me?” Kick! Punch! “Do I have a head like my father’s?” Take! And take another! Smash! I lost lots of fights which originated from ordinary situations like trying to grab girls from friends or losing a football match (I was a bad loser and always fought about it). But if you likened my head to that of my father, you could bet your underpants I would clobber you clean.
Away from that, I have had numerous marriages, obviously. Few women can understand the two Mix Njombwinjos. The sober, hardworking, very neat, smart Mix Njombwinjo of the daytime office hours, and the other evil spirit, the uncontrollable monster they see a few hours after sundown. If a woman could manage to lock me up at home all the time, keep me sober, they would have an enjoyable, lasting marriage. Without booze, I am shy. I am quiet. Completely respectable. Let go of me after work, I am the booze master, the sex monster, dancing harder than Travolta or anyone you think can dance. So my marriages break that easily.
Children? Don’t even dare start asking or counting. There are too many from different women. Some I don’t even know! My best friend behaves like me. He is worse where women are concerned. His name is Stakes Chitambo. Because of his hard womanizing, we call him “Girls”. Yes, Stakes “Girls” Chitambo.
It’s 17:00 hours, guys. Get a few intoxicating brews (and it doesn’t matter what because we drink anything), invite a few women, (ages, beauty or such things are irrelevant) and then play the music. I, Mix Njombwinjo, son of my Father, Mr Chichayeni Padadzi, retired headmaster, Republic of Zambia, will be there to do my thing.