43: Kwakoe

posted in: Season 3: Amsterdam | 15

Chapter 43: Kwakoe.

Kwakoe was a multicultural festival of the ethnic minorities from Africa, The Caribbean and the old Dutch colonies of Surinames and Antilles. It started in 1975. Kwakoe usually started in Summer month of Late July or Early August.
The activities in Kwakoe included Cultural Musics, food, football and Dance.

It was at the Kwakoe that i met hundreds of Nigerians that i never saw in Amsterdam. It turned out that there were people who never ventured outside for the fear of being deported. They would stay inside the house and call for drugs which would be brought to them.

The set up at Kwakoe was usually for groups who paid up the amount asked for by the government.
The Nigeria alone usually mounted many tents. Enugu state, Anambra, Yoruba and many more groups had their own tents.
Foods and drinks were sold. Musics blasted from each tent while people danced.

Football teams from Ghana, Nigeria, Suriname, Antillean and many more countries competed.

On that Saturday after watching football in kikenstein field, i went home and prepared for Kwakoe. Kwakoe usually kicked of around 4pm on Weekends. It was a 6 weeks programme.

I had found a plastic seat and sat behind the Enugu state stand. I was drinking a bottle of red wine with Pius Ikedia, a Nigerian footballer.
The Ogene music was blaring from the speakers. It had attracted many people to the Enugu stand.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder and when i looked back, it was a man of about 40.
”Are you The guy that writes the jokes” he asked.
”What if i am” i asked too trying to find out why he asked before commiting.

”Someone wants to see you” he said.
”Tell the person to come here, i am with people” i said.

”She is with people too. She said she is from Italy and has come for the festival” he said.

A quick thinking reminded me that i didn’t invite anybody from Italy. The only lady i knew in Italy was Maria but since i changed my phone number, i haven’t talked to her.

Since it was a lady, i excused myself from Ikedia and followed the man to the Yoruba stand.
It was Maria.
The African Bulletin Newspaper were being distributed in Kwakoe. Maria had gotten one and had seen my picture  below my column. She had asked people if they knew me and someone had suggested that they go and check me in Enugu state stand.

”Surprise Surprise” Maria shouted as she got up and jumped on me.
The guy sitting with him had changed his face from suspicion to anger; i didn’t care. I believed instantly that it was him who invited Maria to Kwakoe. People usually invited their friends and relatives to the festival.
Peharps i would have invited people as well especially Audrey from France but the circumstances surrounding me wasn’t conducive for pleasure.
Ify and Samson depended on me, not just financially but they also needed my presence which i believe gave them so much strength and hope.

I recalled that before i embarked on ”operation Nando”, i had given some €2000 to Robin and told Him that it belonged to Ify and Samson. He had tried to find out why i had to give it to him to keep but i only gave him the excuse that i would spend it if i keep it myself.

”When did you come here Maria” i asked.
She said she arrived from Napoli with Easy Jet the night before. She introduced her friend to me as Bola. Those Yoruba people never use other names except their tribal names, which was very good in my opinion.

As i shook Bola’s hand, he said he knew me. It was from the African Bulletin Newspapers ofcourse.

”I am with some friends over there at the back, you can come there whenever you want” i said to Maria.

She asked me to give her my phone number. She gave me a strange sign after taking the number. I didn’t know what it meant but i know that it must be related to the man sitting with her. Whatever it was, i would find out later.

I walked back to the Enugu stand and joined Ikedia with some other guys. We continued our drink.

News about what happened between me and the Nandos were being spread like wildfire. People were doubting the authenticity. Some said that i wasn’t capable of such thing since they never saw me quarreling with anybody. Some said that since i had the mind to write for a newspaper without Holland resident permit, i could as well do anything. Nobody was brave enough to approach me at kwakoe and ask about it. Everyone just peeped at me every now and then. I believed their usual Isolation would follow but i didn’t care. If things got difficult for me in Holland, i could easily move to another country. Secondly i could easily survive in Amsterdam, all that was required was just to calm down and plan something.

At about 8pm, Maria called me. She asked where i was and said she wanted to come there.
”How about your boyfriend” i asked?
”He is not my boyfriend” she said.
She went on to tell me that she was in Bijlmer for business.

Since it was weekend, i told her where to find me.
She took a Snoder and came to my place in Kikenstein.

”Why did you change your number and refused to send the new one to me” Maria asked as soon as she settled down in my sitting room.
”I got involved with a pregnant girl and i had to concentrate on her” i said.

She asked if i was responsible for the pregnancy.
”It is a long story” i said.

I explained everything that happened with Ify and Ikenna. She almost pitied me when i finished.
”I want to see them” she said.

We had planned to go to the Sinners Nightclub in Amsterdam central, therefore, we took a cab first to Bulewijk.

Samson was still awake when we arrived.
I had introduced Maria to Ify. They greeted and talked while i carried the baby.

Ify was definitely jealous and scared because when we were ready to go out to the club, she called me back into the room and complained. She said she wasn’t comfortable seeing me with the girl.
”You don’t have to worry, if i intended to sleep with her, you won’t see her here” i said.
I didn’t mean what i said.

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15 Responses

  1. Kankem

    Zuby I normally dont comment when I read blogs but this your story has not just earned my admiration but also my respect. This is especially so as you haven’t yet chronicled any qualifications that gives you such literary dexterity. I think you should turn this into a “paper-back” I for one would buy. When you have earned fame and money from the work, you can write Ify,Robin or Marias story as a sequel.

  2. lari03

    Oliver twist here is asking for more Zuby. Also is it safe to assume that the year is 2008, considering you left Nigeria early 2007?

  3. validruns eunisam

    I didn;t want to comment but the maria episode has been on my mind since she left Nigeria.

  4. Hamza

    bonjour,..got ur trail on forum nairaland. Storyline rhythmic though got a bit bored on the Nigerian episodes, you could enhance your grammar a bit.
    Celebrated writers from Africa have something in common running thru them, its simply written artistry of the African environment alongside its adventures and travails with a blend of western flavour in adventure, experience and grammar.
    Nevertheless, i must commend, for a nigerian author ‘u doing great ZUBY’
    Have a nice day!
    From a fellow strgln soldier-born n ‘breaddd’ in lagos..

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