So the Nairobi governor went to the funeral of another VIP and decided to spill the beans of an out-of-wedlock child. For us in Kampala, we could have ignored the story, writing it off like all those other crazy stories that come from Kenya.
In any case, what is the big deal of a man dying after sowing a few wild oats? The outing of ‘other children’ after a man’s death is not a big thing in these parts.
When Christian colonialists overpowered our traditional leaders and outlawed polygamy, the practice did not die.
It only went underground and is alive and well.
In fact children of such unions between a married man and a woman other than his wife have several names.
One of them is ‘children of two o’clock’. Usually that is the time we carry a dead man from his house for the last time to his grave, and the children who are not from the official family must be declared at the time, so that they escort their dad to the grave.
That way, nobody is supposed to discriminate against them now that their father is gone. The woman in the home otherwise called the main wife, is the only unhappy person about that. The production of the ‘two o’clock’ children is supposed to lighten up the mood as mourners nod in approval that the deceased did some work outside the homestead.
Such children actually attract more sympathy from mourners as they try to underline their resemblance to the deceased, repeatedly saying “bambi!” or “banange” which are general expressions of sympathy.
Then why did Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s ‘announcement’ catch our attention? It is his name! Sonko is a common Ugandan name. It means a snail’s shell, a structure that protects delicate content.
Some Ugandans with that name spell it with double ‘s’ and others with a single, but the meaning is the same, natural armour.
So Kampala society felt a double association with the story, for the guy who made the news sounded like a home boy, plus the topic was one most of our families associate with ease.
Who hasn’t been shown new brothers and sisters after the old man passes on?
Now these brothers and sisters acquired at a late age can be interesting –it can go either way. They can be welcomed with open arms because they kind of compensate for the loss – you lose a father and gain a brother or sister.
If they are old enough, it is an automatic addition to your social and hopefully business network.
But it can also be a nasty shocker if your pre-occupation with the old man’s passing is about inheritance.
Even if the man left an impeccable will, the other offspring have a right to challenge it in case they are omitted.
Then endless journeys to the administrator general and the courts begin. So you can never know how the two o’clockers will affect your life. But there is a good chance that they will turn up when good old papa pops.