Journeyman Reads Her Roots, by J.J Lanji Ouko



Journeyman came home with this book but I wasn’t too sure if it was really his kind of literature. I pointed out that it’s for young ladies who are looking for guidance as they become full-grown women. He conceded that I was right, went out shopping and came back wearing a knee-length skirt with a scandalously high slit, a pair of red heels and a blouse that showed just enough cleavage to make you wonder.

All that I could do was shrug. Dressing like a woman will not get you into the mind-set of a woman. It isn’t until you’ve had your ass grabbed by a bunch of strangers in a nightclub that you’ll know what it’s really like but I let him be. Maybe the book would point that out.

Journeyman sat in a reading nook by the window with his legs crossed and flipped through Her Roots while mentioning the hot points. I noted down his interpretation of Lanji’s struggles and I found that I didn’t need to wear a skirt to relate. The summers of 2012 and 2013 were fueled with so much alcohol that I can’t even be sure if they really happened. Lanji and I started University at the same time a couple of miles away from each other and we even met once or twice. I can proudly say that I’m not mentioned in Her Roots because the things that were happening around us on the few occasions when we were in the same room together were not things that we wanted documented. Not even by our brains.

At the time we were all so convinced that life would be easy. That we could just drink ourselves silly every night and everything would be okay. We didn’t realize how few of the people that we were partying with on the regular would be with us when it came time to collect those glorified report cards. Thankfully for some us, we realized early enough that shit had to change. Nothing puts the fear of failure in you quite like having to resit a resit. It’s like being chased through a field by a maniac with a flame-thrower. For most of us, that maniac was a man that we called Dad.

“Jaribu kurudi kwa hii nyumba bila hiyo certificate uone.”

My father has never spoken a lick of Swahili to me my whole life but that was the message that rang through my head every time he looked me in the eye after another alcohol-fueled binge, conveniently forgetting that I had resits to read for. We were lucky to make it through just for real life to let us know that we weren’t done yet.

When you graduate from university a whole other mess of issues start to take over and Lanji does a fine job of laying them out. She tackles all of the major themes in young adult life that shape our futures. Feminism, marriage, why Kenyan women hate their men so much and all of the other things that proper young ladies are supposed to discuss. I’m tempted to be a kiss-ass and agree with everything that she said just for the honor of licking her platinum boots but I had to take issue with a few points. Men are dogs, no argument from me there, but she’s got it wrong when it comes to marriage.

She’s selling these young girls false hope, just like Disney did. If you young ladies of this generation want to get hitched and stay hitched, you have to make marriage an attractive option for him. Forget about learning to cook and clean. We’ve got machines and take-out for that. What you need to remember is that while Disney sold you dreams of happily-ever-after, the guys of your generation were being sold an entirely different dream at By the time these guys reach marriage-age they are convinced that if a tiny girl like Lupe Fuentes can take 9 inches in her ass then there is no reason why their potential wives should not. If you can only take 7 inches then you’ll get a congratulatory pat on the back and get shown the door. Almost does not count. These ambitious young men will only accept the best. Keep in mind that if you have the skills to handle all 9 inches then that is just the beginning. After that he will expect you to invite one of your hot friends into the bed that you two share and if you balk, NEXT! Ladies, you better pray that he doesn’t own any horses because you know how that’s going to end.

Still want to get married in this day and age? Then you’re a fool but even so I wish you all of the best.

Journeyman skipped through the pages on religion and feminism because he’s a misogynistic heathen. Finding God is all well and fine but he finds it difficult to talk equality of the sexes with people who wear heels all day. He’d been wearing a pair for barely a few hours while seated and he already wanted to tear his own feet off just to be rid of those damned things. But he had to admit, they made his ass look fine as hell.

When he reached the last page Journeyman stowed Her Roots away in his library and made to be on his way.

“Don’t you want to change out of that outfit before you go outside?” I asked him. “It’s a bit risqué, don’t you think?”

Journeyman flicked an imaginary lock of weave over his shoulder, popped his hop and placed a hand on it.

“I have to stay in character,” he said. “According to this book there’s an exclusive meeting for the top female minds of our generation going on as we speak. They call it Crevit Mulier. I’m going to infiltrate their secret meeting and find out what plans these women have for world domination.”




Final Thoughts: When Her Roots first released Journeyman refused to buy it because he’s a stubborn git who believes that print is for cavemen. Thankfully an electronic version came out which you can now purchase here.


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