Disco Matanga is the pinnacle of a Luo burial ceremony. Kids are tucked safely in bed, the widow comes out of her mourning shell for a jig with the community of nations. It is the beginning of a healing process, for the family and the society, who have lost their son. Disco Matanga is one hell of an adrenaline show. No one would agree to be left out of Disco Matanga. Celebrants come from far and wide to commune with the family in solidarity.
Before the burial day, every village surrounding the burial site would send a reconnaissance team of young men to gather facts on the exact place and to map the shortest route to the place. It helped in preparation for the big night, the night of the malleable legs.
Then there are those of us who just went to make the numbers. There is a village in Asembo called Boi. It is the shortest route from Jimo to Nyilima. Boi is the Luo Nyanza de-facto capital of Chang’aa. Anyone going to Asembo for Disco Matanga would have to pass by Boi for a recharge before you proceed to flap your wings the whole night. Boi is heaven on earth. Everyone there is high on their own supply.
Those going to a Disco Matanga must not begin the trek without three people in their caravan; (i) a strong-man, to shield the traveling party from hostile aggression arising from dancing with the most beautiful woman on show; (ii) a time-keeper, to alert the contingent on the need to return to base before daybreak, and most importantly (iii) a weatherman, to brief the convoy on the dress code going into enemy territory. I come from a long line of proven rainmakers, so the weatherman was my preferred role in the Jimo Village Disco Matanga travelling contingent.
Just last week I was telling someone not to leave the house without warm-wear and they twisted their nose in contempt telling me to first enroll in a meteorology class before offering any advise on the weather. It did not take long before the sunshine started being moody and the rain came down. I almost broke the Guinness World Record for the Longest Consecutive Laughter By A Human Being.
To be a designated weatherman, you had to have the strongest nostrils for sniffing the direction of the wind. People think the rain was the Disco Matanga caravan’s worst nightmare but they have no clue about what the wind could do with regards to raining on your parade. If your weatherman read the direction of the wind incorrectly, you would find yourself hunting for the sound of music coming from a Disco Matanga site the entire night.
There was a day we followed the sound of music towards Kamito, in Asembo, only to land in Wagai, in Gem, seven hours later, dehydrated and weatherbeaten. With no energy left to dance and with another two hours on the road back to Jimo, this was another bad day in the office of a Disco Matanga weatherman and I had to write a letter justifying why I shouldn’t be sacked and left home as my replacement was being sought.
Disco Matanga was the real deal.
Article adapted from note by Gabriel Ogada