What if Meghan Markle was a Kikuyu girl named Múmbi

I watched the Royal wedding on high def Sky news channel – it was an all-day event. Then, my phone pinged, and I got a meme (one of many that were to flood my WhatsApp in the course of 24 hours); the meme showed a picture of Prince Harry and a Kenyan runner, whose name I’m not sure and I won’t google. The caption read, ‘Kenya missed it narrowly’. I couldn’t help but think, ‘what if Meghan Markle was a Kikuyu girl named Múmbi Gíkúyú.’

The announcement

First, she would have told her family that she was dating a white man. Her uncle would have asked, “is he well off, or are you dating one of those poor souls who have to sell their houses to afford a safari?” He would have been sarcastic because he lived in America for a long time and knows a poor white man when he sees one. “No!!” she would have answered indignantly. And then she would gather the whole family and announce: “His name is Harry. He’s the grandson of the Queen of England!” No one would have said anything for several days – the news would take a long time to digest. Their soon to be family-in-love being none other than the Royal House of Windsor. Pandemonium would have been inevitable.

The engagement.

This would not have been valid until the proper Kikuyu dowry negotiations took place and the proper bride price paid. Relatives, who in the past wanted nothing to do with Múmbi’s family, would come out of the woodwork demanding to be included in the negotiations. They would claim to have done ‘something’ for her to secure their rightful place at the negotiation table. The sarcastic uncle would be at the centre of this operation. His word would be final.

He would claim, perhaps, that Múmbi’s father was a deadbeat philanderer who did nothing but beat on his wife. Her father would ignore this little tantrum and demand to be represented in the negotiations; he would enlist the help of elders to negotiate on his behalf. Múmbi’s sisters, brothers, cousins, friends, schoolmates, village mates and nearly half of Kenya would be busy selling everything they owned to afford a ticket to England for the forthcoming nuptials.

Her father’s philandering ways would come to light soon enough because half-sisters, half-brothers, half-cousins and half-relatives would emerge from the dust cloud and claim family. Múmbi would slowly but surely be losing her mind. The obligatory pastor, who years ago presided over the fund-raiser to send Múmbi to the UK, would automatically become the chairman of any and all events relating and/or leading up to the wedding. He would handpick the traditional dancers- no relations of – Múmbi, to be fair. Relatives would be expected to behave like dignitaries in the presence of royalty and celebrities.

Rumours would soon emerge of how Múmbi’s family was half Maasai because that would undoubtedly raise their profile in the eyes of the British public – being Maasai makes them authentic and exotic. Prince Harry would have to visit the family to ‘kúhanda ithigí otherwise a higher bidder might surface. He would be accompanied by his brother and father because the groom must be present at the negotiations but must appoint a representative to speak for him. Among the items the mother of the bride would ask for might be – a borehole because almost all Kikuyu households need one.

In a strange twist to the Royal Wedding many Kikuyu elites would claim to be related to Múmbi in one way or another, so they too could attend the wedding – the British Embassy would be inundated with visa requests from every Kikuyu and some Luos who’s brothers or sisters have inter-married. Múmbi’s mother would want the President and First Lady of Kenya to be invited – this too would raise their profile. The President would decline the invitation because he would have more important things to do – like run the Country. His daughter would find a way to represent the First Family. KenBrits, who previously couldn’t give a rat’s arse about Múmbi, would suddenly have plenty to say to anyone willing to pay a few bucks.

The arrival of the bride’s family to the UK.

Let’s just say, Kenyans in England would have arranged an out of this world welcoming party for Múmbi’s relatives. The M4 to Heathrow would be congested with cars blaring their horns and sporting the Kenyan flag – you’d be forgiven to think Kenya had won the world cup or something. The air would be filled with ululations, song and lots of booty shaking. The family and relatives would fill the economy class of all flights from Nairobi to London in the weeks leading up to the D-day. Of course, there’d be those swearing not to leave the wedding without a prince of their own. What they would not know was that every male present would be accompanied, and the only singles would be women – also hoping to snare a prince.

The wedding

The song and dance would have started the day before the wedding. Auntie Jemima with her entourage would have organised professional traditional dancers who would be wearing traditional Kikuyu Regalia, and those not of Kikuyu descent would wear anything bearing the red, green, black and white of the Kenyan flag. The distinguished guests [those that don’t bring concealed Tupperware for leftovers] would be adorned in African print dresses and matching shirts for their husbands. The bride would get off the Queen’s Bentley at least a mile from the church so the women can escort her to the church with song and dance, and she would walk on brand new lesos or sirlongs that would line the streets from East London to Windsor.

The extremely drama obsessed auntie Jemima, (who can also be a little prurient), would have deluded herself into thinking she was a blood auntie to the bride. She would have no problem telling Kay Barley where, when and how it happened. After the bride enters the church, another self-appointed chairman of the singing committee would be left organising people – those who would go ahead and start the welcoming party at the castle, and those to be left behind to keep singing and ululations once the newlyweds emerged from the church.

Not to hurt anyone’s feelings, Múmbi would have decided to go without bridesmaids or maid of honour. Only her mother would walk her down the aisle. And only her blood sister would be invited to the church, the luncheon, the reception and the after party. The sarcastic uncle would have to think of another way to raise his profile. As for KenBrits, anyone willing to remain her friend would have to undergo an enhanced CRB check, credit check and have their immigration status re-checked and re-verified. Needless to say, she would have fewer and far between real friends.

As soon as the Queen announces the newlyweds as Duke and Duchess of wherever, the Chief of Múmbi’s little village would also announce them as Duke and Duchess of Múrúngarú.


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