Kavau and the bad boys of Yore.


I tell you, the boys we found in Nyeri high upon admittance in the year ’97 were bad as stink. Being so was like their hobby, past time and life/circumstancial choice handed down meticulously from those before them. I think it gave them alot of joy and satisfaction knowing that they were on top of the food chain at Kavau. It was something they relished and if it were possible they would have engraved their macabre accomplishments on stone tablets, forever to be remembered.

Nyeri high is an expansive place, but amidst that much acreage there were (am not sure whether anything has changed) ‘hotspots’. Yes, hotspots. No, not Wi-Fi hotspots. Bullying hotspots. Hotspots that to us monos/rabbles were hot soup, Kandahar, Mogadishu and Sobibor all rolled into one.

You know Sobibor, the movie? Remember when they escaped and they are doing that desperate sprint? Running like there was no tomorrow? These hot spots in Kavau were the same; a mono just runs, not looking back, just sprinting for dear life. Run rabble run!

A few of these Kandahars included the space between Simba 1 and 2 dorms, outside Ndovu, ‘corner mbaya’ right before Chui as you approached from the classrooms and the entire track from Twiga all the way to the dining hall. Actually, safe spots for monos were very few and far between; classes and some parts of the huge playing field, the chapel and yes, the staffroom. The staff room was safe. The area outside the staffroom was our ‘buffer zone’! It’s the area adjacent to the phone booth.

Bad boys ruled supreme in these areas. It was a common sight witnessing a mono trapped in either of these places as he is rushing his hungry, grumbling stomach to the dining hall only to be detained for laundry.

I was quite tiny and it worked to my advantage. A bully would hold me up by my neck. Legs dangling like some kind of oversized teddy bear then let me down out of pity. Plus my handler, Tanyai O’ Beast was a mean Homie; i was his ‘cousin’ and that made me almost untouchable.

Funny thing about these bad boys was the fear they exhibited at the mention of S. Maina the headboy in ’97; you would have thought he was some kind of a Chuck Norris-Indiana Jones-Solo (you know him?)-Bruce Lee-Mobutu Ssese Sseko mix. I heard of him in my first night at Kavau, big boys running and jumping into their beds coz he was heading to the dorm. I thought he was a teacher or some kind of a sniper who would shoot tranquilizer darts at disobedient boys. I was in awe.

He was none of the mix above. S. Maina was a humble, responsible, neat, soft spoken straight A student who was…..wait for it……….the C.U Chairman. Yes, born again and used to lead the most emotional praise and worship joints!

He was the kind of guy you would easily trust with your pocket money and new boxers.

On learning that the head boy was the C.U chairman i got born again the following day! He was responsible to an extent i thought he had a wife and kids back home surviving on maize and beans and pumpkins awaiting his completion of high school and campus.

A list of some famous bad boys who showed us hell in ’97:

Murigu: I have mentioned him here before, he was the school team football goal keeper with such theatrics like jumping hard even when the shot on goal was off target, sliding at opponents at times permanently rendering them crippled. He would appear for the next game even after a red card!

He loathed second formers more than he did monos. I met him years later at a mosque in Nairobi where he was leading prayers. I thought it was him, but in my mind i would never had placed him at such a humble, prayerful position. I prayed behind him on 3 consecutive days wanting to ask him whether he was the bad ass Murigu from Kavau, i didn’t.

3 years later we meet in Mombasa. I confirmed it was him and we became good pals. I never asked him why he was that mean in High school. Bygones are bygones, right?

Deputy head boy Wamariu (or a name similar to this) and his 2 cahoots: they were suspended for a reason i cannot recall, i think it had something to do with cham which was in plenty around the area. They were not exactly bad before their suspension, lakini after they came back they showed their true colors. I think the suspension opened their eyes to the fact that Kahia wasn’t their dad and that rules were there to be obeyed.

Timothy of Twiga 2 was another character. I used to fetch his morning tea as he snoozed and wash his shirts and very very dirty socks over lunch hour. There was this one time i forgot his tea in the dining hall; you should have seen the way i was scared. Had to sprint back to the DH praying that nobody had taken it, luckily i got it.

Now, the baddest guys were in Simba and Ndovu; in fact i considered the last cubicles of Ndovu as the ‘Nyayo torture chambers’ of Kavau. All the tryrants and wannabe warlords resided in Simba and Ndovu! My boy Tanyai was in one of these last cubicles and i just might have been one of the few monos who never got harassed there (a round of applause, ladies and gentlemen!).

I would love to hear tales of guys who had it rough in Kavau; makes for good conversation!

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13 thoughts on “Kavau and the bad boys of Yore.

  1. Good writing full of memories. I would really love to meet Murigu now, As a ngiri we used to be in opposing camps with him. You forgot about Githui a.k.a Tosso, Wanjama a.k.a Chinese, Kirima a.k.a Manoma, Dan Kaguchu a.k.a Danish, Kahunyo Paul, John Ndibui who was Murigus accomplice…and had you arrived early you would have met Onesmus before alipigana na Kahia on a closing na “kufunga” shule for good….

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  4. The area outside Ndovu was a hotspot for sure! The most terrifying students in my year as a joka were Turunga, the boarding captain who was short and dark with bright red lips; his slap could be heard miles away. Lance the rugby captain and Albert the dining hall captain were also forces to be reckoned with. There was however one chap in particular, his name escapes my mind, he was a legend. He was allegedly the meanest thing Kavau had ever seen, he didn’t talk to anyone, he had a whole bowl of meat to himself, he slept in Kifaru 1 or K1 as we called it and no one had ever seen him without his sweater and blazer even when it was really hot! Apparently even the principal, “Shiffta” – Mr. S.K Nderitu and the deputy principal feared him.

    Nyeri High Alumnus – Class of 2009

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