As I Await My Turn

As I await my turn I can’t help but think of all those who came before me and whether they arrived at this state I currently am in, torn. As I dread the day society dictates I cast away my values, set aside my religion and conform to this charade which resulted from sprinkling age-old tradition to this beautiful religion. The grand Swahili wedding.

I notice that I fall short of the cash I need to stack away for this 3-day affair. An affair that is most probably going to drown me and the rest of my family in massive debt. A debt we’re going to spend generations repaying. Everyone else seems cool with this though, so okay. I guess this is part of our culture now, first the student debt, then this. Embarking on this new life, unsteady.

As I await my turn I think of all the horror shows of the past, an innocent girl who’s been forever taught to hide it all in is now expected to flaunt it all out for all manners of strange men to see, as she dances to music she’s been taught not to listen to. Her caked up doll face, 2 kilograms of extensions on her head and this massive cleavage. Show the world she’s a woman now. She’s now supposed to forsake her beliefs and trim them eyebrows and bleach that skin because for some reason brown is not beautiful enough for a bride. They’re going to subject my better half to all this! The whole institution of marriage is supposed to be sacred, look at this mockery we turned it into.

These huge lavish weddings have become our trademark as coastal people. It’s what we’re known for, right there at the top with being “chill”. Yeah, be chill like the Swahili. That’s an actual saying, look it up.

So as I’m awaiting my turn, I’m praying not to be among those deluded by beauty which they later couldn’t stand being around. Which prompted them to getting more creative in their excuses to stay out of the house so as not to tolerate any more of her nagging. I think one of my deepest fear is finding someone amazing ma shaa Allah and her people brainwash her into this materialistic psycho on the quest for stuff.

You see the thing about weddings is; they’re supposed to be the beginning of something so pure and beautiful. Two families coming together and forming this bond supposed to last for lifetimes. But It’s different in our case, where the wedding day is the peak and everything goes downhill from there and most often than not things fall apart. The marriages are short-lived. Oh, how rampant divorce is!

In my opinion, this is the most confused generation ever. Despite having all this information at our fingertips, it’s like we have no one to guide us through it. Our elders assume that due to the internet we’re these know-it-alls without considering where we take our information from.  So the confused boy embarks on this new journey having no idea of the specifics expected of him while the poor sweet girl is expected to adopt this useless child as the rest of society calls it a “marriage”. Livid is too mild of a word to describe how I feel about this phenomenon.

I’m boiling with trepidation, having no idea how it will be for me to be honest, I guess I’ll have to wait and see. So as I sit here waiting, contemplating, promising myself to be different, I feel that there is need for champions who would go against this ailing system. As Muslims we’re failing in half our religion. As coasterians we’re compromising values we’ve always stood for. We’ve made marriage so difficult that our kids are finding it easier to engage in all manners of promiscuity. It’s upon us to fix this. Let’s be better.


change, coasterian, deep, dread, everything wrong with society, experiences, growth, identity, inspiration, lost generation, millenials, Mombasa, progress, swahili, thoughts, torn, trepidation, wait

Hassan Kassim

Hassan Kassim is a Mombasa-based Creative non-fiction writer, recently longlisted for the Toyin Falola prize, blogger and translator of Kiswahili work. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa and the European Union(E.U), and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management. Hassan writes about the ill-documented Communities of Coastal Kenya. His work has appeared in Writers Space Africa; his 2 non-fiction stories published in the anthology 'Twaweza,' a collaborative effort of 12 African writers on the African identity and set to appear in the forthcoming anthology for the Toyin Falola prize.

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Hassan Kassim is a Kenyan-based Creative non-fiction writer, blogger and translator of Kiswahili works with over 2 years of experience. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa, and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management.


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