I have this uncle Bob. My uncle Bob. I think he might be gone. Lost his mind. And he does those things we do not like. But it wasn’t always like this.
He used to be the guy we run to when we were in trouble. He was always there for us during our dark days. Helping us and protecting us from those who bullied us. He gave us a roof over our heads and told us it will be okay. He wiped away our tears when it hurt. And whispered that one day we will be strong. Strong enough to take on the bullies. Encouraged us to stay strong and face the bullies. They might beat us up and it felt like they always won. But he knew we would get stronger and stronger, and one day we will beat the bullies.
He made us strong. Took us into his home and helped make us strong. Our other uncle Ken just stayed up the road. And the two of them always looked after us when the bullies kicked us out of our homes and threatened to bully us to death. He trained us and fed us. He made us strong. We loved him so.
He knew what he was talking about. He used to be bullied as well. The umlungu’s used to beat him and beat him. But he always went back. Knowing that he grew stronger each day. And each day people believed in him a little bit more. And then one day he was strong. He stood up to the bullies one more time and beat them down. And he was the king in our eyes. He was the man we wanted to be. He beat the bullies. He showed us it could be done. And he showed us how.
And his house was our house. And his house was everybody’s house. He looked after every single one who ever got bullied. He didn’t forget about all the people who got bullied. No he didn’t. He looked after them. Gave them hope and gave us hope. He gave his family houses and land and water and hope. He was our Uncle Bob. The man we wanted to be. Not always right, but always fair and always strong.
And then we grew up and we grew strong. We beat the bullies. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. They knew we grew strong. And they knew our Uncle Bob will never let us be bullied forever. He was with us. And with him on our side we beat them down.
We got our house back and we looked at our Uncle Bob and his house we loved. We knew we had to be like him. Strong, but fair. That, just like him, we had to show the way forward. Bring our house together. Make our people sit around the table together and share a meal. Just like our Uncle Bob.
But now our Uncle Bob has gone. He is there, but a shadow of the man he once was. A shadow of the man we loved. It is his head you see. We don’t know what it is, but he lost his mind. He thinks it is the forefathers telling him he is the man to lead them all. We think it is just voices in his head.
He forgot the bullying. He forgot how we all suffered from the bullies. How they beat us and beat us. And what we needed to do was to stand up to them. But now he bullies and he bullies. And he doesn’t beat the bullies. He beats his children. The ones who loved him and followed him. The ones who fought the bullies by his side. The ones he once loved and protected. The ones who loved him and fought the bullies for him.
This old man we loved so much is now just an old, bitter man. He doesn’t want to go to the old age home. He doesn’t want to stay in his house and let us look after him. He says he doesn’t want us and he doesn’t know us. He sees ghosts everywhere. He thinks they are following him. He sees the bullies in the shadows. Everywhere. But it’s just his children.
And we don’t know what to do. He stays family you see. And your uncle stays your uncle. He is in our blood and he is from our blood. And we just don’t know what to do. My uncle Bob. He is crazy, you know. Do we love him for the man he once was or hate him for the man he has become. Is the man of yesterday still there? Just a bit? Or does it just talk like him but gone forever. My uncle Bob. He loved us once and we loved him back. He is crazy, you know. I think the real uncle Bob is gone. I can see it in his crazy eyes and hurtful words and his pounding fists. My uncle Bob. He is gone. He is crazy. You know.