JUMA TOTO – Definitive Anthology (Part 4)
Updated: Aug 19, 2021
My greatest of JT songs because verily I say unto you there is no greater joy than remembering happy times.
5. MUSUMBA tho Arieya
JT laughing at himself. In Luo way of life the gap between one marriage and another was the most difficult to fill. And being unmarried had its challenges. It's all captured in the traditional adage "ng'at ma musumba bende idewo wach ne"!
KALANDO Atieno nyaseme
I am not sure of the character if any but Luo Seme ladies have dominated modelling. The Luo word for catwalking is "tondruok". The word Otondi has always been used to describe Seme ladies. There are folklore that go as far as 1919 post WW1. Lupita Nyong'o may be special to the world, but to Seme people she is not new.
His friend that he longed to go and meet.
OBALA (ogul mama omaka)
A friend that came to his aid when he faced the perennial domestic strife. He knew how to say thank you. As he explained, the words sorry and thank you do not exist in most African languages because it is a deed. Never spoken.
The brave Rexona supermodel. She was almost the last to see JT alive until God intervened. Let's just say that it's people in the same industry reflecting on the hazards of their trade.
MON ma nyuol ka le (Man2Man).
The devastation of new structures ripping into the African way of life is well captured by JT. What the West went through in 500 years, Africans were doing in 10 years post-independence. It was a revolution and like any revolution family values and marriages suffer the most if not obliterated.
The duality of modern economics. If there any need to need to question the fall in married families.
The dark side of bad faith. JT was simply prophesying the latter day slay queen culture with its deadly consequences of ghastly bloody murders. You had been warned.
13. Wageni wa Miaka
The decade old fight between the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Mwai Kibaki had previous locked horns with the powerful Attorney General on this issues. There was a divide that reflected the Nyeri Kiambu chasm. JT just picked to side with Kibaki on the issue of expatriates. While Kibaki downright put down expatriates as rejects in their own countries, JT welcomed them but only to handhold local personnel then go back to where they came from.
14. Cele Cele (nyathi yom Ka budh, maama)
Okinyo Daktari Brown Berry, yes, a timeless composition. I stayed away from it because by then there was a disquiet from 'Kadongo/ Baby Touch Me' lot that he should have steered away from, graffiti of "nyathi yom ni ang'o", on account that the chant arose from a tragedy and it went viral just because of vulgarity. In hind sight I should have defended the artistic impression. I now include your nomination in the anthology.
The chant arose from the wailing of a grandmother at the death on Lake Victoria of young footballers crossing the lake to go play football. In typical Luo tragedy defiance it went viral. This literature that records how dilapidated public services in Luo Nyanza were after decades of neglect. The boats that sunk those young footballers were probably there before 1963!
The Cele story is about a yester you/ yester me that is no more. You could easily insert yester Nyanza or Yesterday's Kenya to that.