A long time ago, around the time that Trust Bank went under with our terminally ill neighbour’s life savings, I used to be flat mates with a lovely young lady from somewhere down south. She was a stunning black beauty (a deep-black gem a kind rarely seen in Kenya those days).
One day she said to me, ‘Tam, I’m sexually and emotionally starved, I need a boyfriend. Why do the ‘half-caste’ girls have all the nice guys?’ Fact is some black Nairobians equate biracial (aka ‘.5’ or ‘pointi’) with superior social and economic status placing them somewhere in between White and Asian people. These snobs, usually wearing emerald-colored contact lenses, like posing in roach-infested nightclubs combing tobacco-stained fingertips through the tangled blonde weaves sewn on their heads. I replied in a lisp because I used to wear teeth braces back then: ‘Join the queue thithta. I know how you feel because I too desperately need a boyfriend but any caste will do.’ Anyway deep in her mind she was convinced that the reason she didn’t have a steady guy was because she was pitch-dark in complexion. You’ll be amazed the number of people who have self-image issues.
So Janice went out and bought some skin lightening creams which came in yellow tubes, it’s not legal to sell them any more. I said please do be careful you don’t need that poison, you really look amazing just the way God made you, however if you must then don’t leave the tubes lying around in the bathroom I might confuse them for that cream I use to treat my piles. Her mind was made up to attempt to dilute her blackness and nothing would stop her. Well, the results in a few short months were extreme. Soon she looked yellow all over even difficult to ‘treat’ areas like knuckles, knees, ankles, and elbows. She felt vindicated when she shortly hooked herself a nice guy who loved to show off his light-skinned catch.
One Saturday night we were all at the flat jus’ chillaxin’, too broke to go anywhere listening to Musical Youth, ‘how does it feel when you’ve got no food?’ when the boyfriend chanced on a photograph of a younger ‘old’ Janice in the drawer where we used to hide our stash of weed (highly illegal in Kenya make sure you never get caught or they’ll make an example of you unless you have friends in high places – lol!). He asked aloud, ‘Who is this?’ Janice looked spooked but she recovered quickly and lied: ‘It’s my cuzin from bek home.’ The boyfriend looked at the picture again and said, ‘Your cousin is one deadly chick’ but he didn’t mean she had chlamydia (now that's deadly) that’s just the way we used to talk then. Then we carried on passing the spliff on the left hand side.
A year later I was overjoyed to learn they were expecting a baby. When baby Tandy finally arrived she was an original dark copy of her mother. 100% African.
Sting in the tail is that the boyfriend left them because he felt cheated to discover that he had been dating 'local' all along....