I have never liked cats!
Growing up, mama (bless her soul) kept one that, I must add, was no favourite of my old man! For a long time, this particular feline could do no wrong and, unlike other cats, appeared not to go to the loo. Like, never! We all thought it was clean and civilised about its bowel movement affairs.
That was until we discovered that for quite some time, its ‘toilet’ was this huge basin (Why, in the early 90’s, ‘Tumpeco’ made these super-size colourful plastic basins is something I’ll never fully fathom. They’ve since gone out of vogue) that the old man had happened to fill with dried millet that he, perhaps, obtained from a trip to the village, with a view of having it ground into flour for either ‘kalo’ or ‘bushera’. No kalo was eaten, or bushera drunk that year! The old man banished the cat but I guess, since it didn’t speak human, it did not get the point and kept making an appearance at the dinner table!
The story of how it met its demise is an excruciatingly sad one, and quite long too. It involves Kunda Clare gifting it with a large piece of meat at one fateful dinner which it attempted to gulp in one go, Python style, and only succeeded in choking itself…slowly…till it went to cat heaven after about 3 days or so!
Generally, cats have been dead (pun intended) to me since. That was until last night!
Watching NTV Uganda’s “Ensigo Y’ekibi”, a documentary about fake “Men of God”, there was a scene where Pastor Yiga, alias Abizaayo, of Revival Christain Church was being interviewed! I could barely stay attentive to what the “Musumba” was rambling on about. Something about the indigent part of his congregation not heeding his warning to stay home on days that had been set aside by his Church as “sowing” days! I digress. As I was saying, my attention was fixed on this thing on the Musumba’s table. Yes, right on the ‘desk top’ (Pun time: probably because that’s where the computer mouse is! Too soon, Timothy Lugayizi?)
I mean, right there there was a live cat that was the colour of my kindergarten sweater. Right there, on top of this chap’s desk, well within the camera angle, during the interview! And the interviewer was acting like all was okay, asking normal questions, evading the elephant (read cat) in the damn room! I kept thinking they would pass the mic to it for a few deserved purrs but, oh well, you can’t get all the things you want in life.
Then it hit me! The cat seated atop the desk was a sort of device, a dramatic device, a literal device, a tool! The Musumba’s interview and TV appearance were incomplete without the device! Much like the President’s hat, Gen. Tumwiine’s iconic shades or Gen. Koreta’s all weather moustache! The reference to ‘bush war heroes’ and, or, soldiers is unintentional! Or is it?
It does require some sort of super villainy, or as it is locally called by urban youth, ‘kijaasi’, or for lack of a better word, “badassery” to appear with a cat on national TV. The public must then grow to appreciate and believe that the device is part of you. It completes you! Without it, you are nought!
In fact, film history is littered with many a great villain, only made so by a feline character;
- The Godfather I – Marlon Brando (as Don Vito Corleone) in the epic opening scene!
- James Bond 007 (about 6 Bond films in the 60s and 70s, most notably in “You Only Live Twice”) – The Super Villain, Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
- The Austin Powers series of movies – Dr Evil
When I think total ‘bad ass’, one or two of these names come to mind, and it subtly has something to do with a cat!
Maybe the Musumba is a student of literature and specifically, one of film. Maybe he understands that the public audience wants a badass they can revere, be they a congregation or not! Maybe he knows that deep down, we as God’s imperfect little bits of wood need to have something to hate! Just maybe he knows that a prop gets you automatic attention and can sometimes be a mind numbing device as you go on about your ‘reaping’ (what has been sown by others) business!
That said, credit ought to be given where it is due! Kudos to Abizaayo for the effort! Ffe, we have recognised it! I’d surrender a coin or two but I learnt yesterday that you only take 100k and above!