The older the sugarcane ages, the sweeter it becomes

I’m not very good at watching celebrities, as I rarely watch television. However, the recent marriage between a young man in his early 30s and a woman in her early 50s kind of piqued my interest.

Predictably, the wedding caused a social media storm that essentially coalesced into two groups. On the one hand, there’s that progressive lot that responds to such social dilemmas with the cliché “as long as they’re happy.” If a man refuses to marry and instead adopts the rare Himalayan mollusk, he will respond with the same common phrase, as long as he is happy and the mollusk is happy. Pray to say; How to tell that a mollusk is happy? Anyway, too bad for this lot.

The second batch is the pro-ethnic group who postulate that it is against our African mores for a young man to marry his mother. These African keyboard warriors will angrily type using their Chinese phones on an American social media site while wearing ex-British suits that they refuse anything foreign because they are 100% African. Interesting lot, this one is.

At the time, I was part of that group that argues that we Africans do not allow marriages between older women and younger men. Until one day my cousin Kamaley came home with a buxom woman old enough to be his aunt but still young enough to wet his wick, as he would say. She was hot enough to cause global warming in the hearts of many men and cold enough to trigger the ice of envy in the plain Janes of the village. What she did from the start.

The Mothers’ Union brigade, consisting of my mother, several aunts and other aggrieved parties, immediately formed an ad hoc commission of inquiry into this serious matter. After much deliberation in which a large amount of tea was consumed, they raised the price of the bus so that one of them would go to town and tell Kamaley’s father – my uncle – that his son had married a woman old enough to be his mother. However, the report reached the uncle is that his son had married a witch old enough to be his grandmother.

After a few weeks, uncle goes down to the village for a weekend, throwing a kilo of meat on one side. He went to his compound and saw the buxom, pleasing woman going to fetch water from the river, her hips bobbing up and down like the ebb and flow of passions in a man’s heart.

Soon after, she mumbled home, her ample behind almost eclipsing the sun. The uncle pretended not to have seen her and talked around his cows, but his eyes were elsewhere. My aunt, who was now fidgeting, reminded him that his only duty in coming to the village was to chase away the “old woman” he was now glancing at. The uncle, who was now sitting on a stone noisily nibbling sugar cane, stopped, stuck his machete in the soft earth and asked him:

‘Nikii us! Don’t you know that the older a candy cane gets, the sweeter it gets on the bottom? Then he resumed his chewing, his mandibles going back and forth in a steady rhythm.

About Laurence Johnson

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