The graduation list came out at the dusk of last week. I was at work when someone posted something on our Facebook Class Group. It said; “Congratulations to ndugu”. Immediately I knew what he was talking about. Ndugu is what we called a dude in my campus. His name Omoke Morara. He was fond of calling everyone ndugu. “Ndugu, hii siasa ya CORD unaionaje?” “Ndugu, ule msichana anatembea funny.” “Ndugu, si twende hapa Wambugus tukunywe kamoja tu?” “Ndugu, sasa ni nani ameanika ngodha zake kwa window jameni?” and so forth.
Ndugu is slated to graduate with a first class honurs degree. Perhaps it is not a big deal for those of you reading this from your hostel in Main Campus, because First Class honours is common in Bachelor of Hides and Skins. If you are reading this from your room in Catholic University or Multimedia University or Strathmore, you are probably wondering why I am making a fuss about this, because First Class degrees are your every morning makeup and body lotion. If you are in USIU, with your American slang, you are probably wondering was First Class is. It is what you lofty people call ‘summa cum laude’.
In the University of Nairobi, School of Law, graduating with a Second Class Honours (like yours faithfully here, ahem!) permits you to walk in the clouds with a loud speaker, telling people that you are the man. I went to campus the other day, and guys were patting my back saying congratulations, asking me ‘how did you do it?’. What did they want from me? To write a thesis on the subject? I asked why the enthusiastic reaction to my average performance, and some girl said; “But Magunga you were a joker! You just spent most of your time playing pool and siasa.” Another dude called me to say “Magunga, if you can get 2nd Upper, then anyone can get a 2nd Upper.”
It is always interesting to find out what people honestly think of you deep inside; especially when they think you are a joker. As if they do not know that proper UoN law degrees are earned by simply cramming your way through a series of tests for four years; all the while getting wasted at Wambugus and crowning yourself with a title as pretentiously sublime as learned friend.
Getting a First Class makes you a demigod. Ndugu has become a demigod. The last time people heard of a First Class in UoN School of Law was what, at the dawn of industrial revolution?
In hindisght, I see why Ndugu has made it. In second year, he demanded a remark for a particular subject that he got a C from. At that time, he had gotten As and Bs in all the other subjects. That C was a weed. He got his remark, but I don’t know if he got his desired grade. At that time, that C was manna for some of us with grades as humourous as a young writer’s bank statements.
I envy him with his First Class. That title of honour. He dismisses odes with the well-meaning courtesy of an accomplished athlete, downplays his glory because success is just one of those things that happens in his life every God blessed day. It is humility really, but I know deep inside he wears this moment like an expensive watch.
I am envious of him, mostly because I am vain and therefore I feel a little green about all the attention he is getting on Facebook (Justus Omollo, don’t even act like you wouldn’t want this, you are just human). All those congratulatory messages must really make Ndugu proud from where he is pushing papers in some top tier law firm in the city.
Secretly we all wish we were like him. It is not like Ndugu used to spend his entire day reading. He had a meaningful relationship with a girl and he even tried his hand in politics- he failed marach jowa. Our God is a fair God who gives and takes. He does not give you everything. For the failure in campus politics, He made good with a stellar transcript.
This post today is an ode to Ndugu. Hongera. Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down. Now we need to get you a crate of Guinness and a pair of Russian strippers.