Muthoni Likimani has been observing human behaviour for the past ninety some odd years.
One might think that after seeing so much of life, including having lived through a revolutionary anti-colonial war in which she was a Mau Mau detainee herself (and writing the book Passbook Number F47927 to prove it), Muthoni couldn’t be shocked by anything anymore.
And yet her newest book, My Blood Not for Sale, is an indignant account of everything from child trafficking and modern-day slavery to fake piety and the crafty efforts that crooks can make to cruelly cheat poor people keen to escape poverty by any means that they can.
It’s a work that’s been described as fiction, yet Muthoni has done her homework and researched human rights violations that both come very close to home and also extend to the far edges of the earth. They’re places and problems that she, like a wise global watcher, strives to see and understand. But like a modern-day Jeremiah, she doesn’t just see.
She passes judgment and challenges her people to wake up, pay attention and not allow the immorality, hedonism, greed and materialism to continue unchecked or simply ignored.She’s a woman writer who, despite inching towards her own centenary, is still a vigilant critic of corruption and human cruelty. In My Blood not for Sale, she’s particularly incensed over the treatment of children, many of whose innocence is robbed from them when they’re either trafficked into slavery and prostitution or ripped from their families and thus deprived of the essential love, affection and understanding that every child deserves.
Muthoni tells the moving story of a grandmother, Mama Tina from whose lips come the book’s title. It’s an especially emotional moment in her story after her teenage daughter dies in the childbirth of twins.
The twins survive and she chooses to take charge of them after being implored by a rich baby-dealer to give them away. The fat mama will make it worthwhile financially for Mama Tina. But that’s when the grandma screams, her blood and the blood of her offspring is “not for sale”. She says it’s better to “bring them up in poverty but with love.” (p.78)
Nonetheless, for all the granny’s integrity, she’s not able to stop the deception, theft, trafficking and treating of children like chattel.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s introduction to Muthoni’s poignant, impassioned account of the modern-day evil affecting children worldwide is spot-on. Muthoni’s a crusader for justice and freedom for society’s most vulnerable, the children who deserve a fair chance in this life.