‘Adam Kok was a fascinating scoundrel’

Last week I introduced a man’s philosophy before introducing the man himself. I did this because it is his philosophy that makes the tales of Adam Kok worth telling. Now I would like to tell you about the man himself. I must stress that I myself do not subscribe to his philosophy. Though he was my friend for a long time, a comrade in the struggle, I have to say that not only did I not subscribe to his philosophy, I strongly disapproved of it – and his lifestyle.

But the tales he used to tell me provided a fascinating insight into what I would otherwise have been ignorant of. For an intelligent observer of life who wishes to acquire wisdom, it is important not to have a narrow mind. And so I have decided to share the tales in his memory. They certainly do tell a lot about human nature and it is always good to learn about human nature, is it not?

So let me briefly introduce you to Adam Kok before I tell you some of his stories.
Any history student will immediately be intrigued by Adam’s name. Adam Kok was a very well-known personality in the history of Southern Africa. He was a chief of the Griqua people and did his best to stop the Europeans from stealing his people’s land and independence. So to this day, though the land was eventually stolen, his name lives on inasfar as the capital of Griqualand East in the Cape Province of Kokstad – Kok’s City.

Adam’s great-grandfather was the chief’s close ally and confidante. It is rumoured they were so close to such an extent that he knew Adam’s wife just as much as Adam did. As a result, he respected the Griqua chief greatly. He wanted to keep the great man’s name alive by naming his son after him. He therefore changed the family name from Kleinbooi to Kok then called his son Adam.

From then on, the first born son in the family was called Adam Kok – and that is how my friend got his name. In this way, Adam’s great-grandfather left his descendants a dual legacy – the name of a great man and the insatiable appetite for other men’s wives.

We were both in the struggle together and at a certain point we were forced to flee the country. He was posted to Dar es Salaam and I to Luanda. However, both of us ended up in Zimbabwe after some time.

After Nothando left him, Adam met a Zimbabwean girl and decided to settle down. Having had his heart broken by a Nothando, it was not a comforting fact that the name of his Zimbabwean bride was Rudo. For those of you who do not know the languages, both names mean ‘love’. However, I am happy to say that Adam had learnt his lesson. Although he betrayed Rudo on numerous occasions, Rudo was always number one and so she never did to him what he did to her and what Nothando did to him. They were still together when he was laid to rest a year ago at Granville Cemetery in Harare.

Personally, I was lucky as my grandparents had visited the then Rhodesia at a time when my grandmother was pregnant. When the baby — my father — showed signs of coming before his time, they decided to stay until he was safely born. This way, my father was born in Bulawayo and as a result when I was born I was able to claim Zimbabwean citizenship. That is how Adam and I ended up in Zimbabwe.

Adam was a journalist. His editor, Mr Ngulube, put him onto human interest stories. He was so good at them that he stayed on them for the rest of his life and soon came to be very well known, especially to the fairer sex. In the process, he met, interviewed, visited and was visited by many different men and women  almost always separately and, if the truth were told, mostly women. The combination of their all too human lives and his philosophy produced the fascinating insights into human nature that I am going to tell you about.

Kok Tales is all about these insights. Despite my disapproval, I have to say that week after week in the years before he died he shocked, mesmerised and puzzled me with his stories of what men and women get up to in this lovely land we had both settled in.

The stories are too educational and intriguing to go to the grave with Adam and so I have decided to make it my business to see they don’t.
Adam Kok’s tales are full of betrayal, passion, illicit love, cuckoldry and adultery, prostitution, philandering, jealousy, lechery, love triangles, crimes of passion, soft hearts and cruelty, torture, bigamy, polyandry, marriages of convenience, incest, wills and inheritance, the list is endless. The personages involved are like the pilgrims on the way to Canterbury in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” , you should read it if you haven’t already but it is advisable you read it in a modern translation as the Middle English might not read very much like the English you and I are used to. Chaucer’s pilgrims were a real cross-section of society, as are the protagonists in Kok’s Tales.

There are the holy and the wicked, political heavyweights and hwindis, civil servants, farmers, kept women, saints and ladies of the night, celebrities, businessmen, chiefs, nuns and abusive headmasters, bishops and playboys, granddads and grandmas, mothers and daughters, sons and their fathers, sisters, brothers – in short, the human race as it is to be found in the land of the Houses of Stone. The first tale I wish to share with you is not the first one Adam told me. In fact, he narrated it to me just a few months before he succumbed to a heart attack – which given his lifestyle and philosophy had always been on the cards. What he was doing at the time is a closely guarded family secret and his wife Rudo would be very upset with me if I divulged it.

This story is about a very rich sekuru and his playboy son. The sekuru wants his son to get married and give him a muzukuru to inherit his wealth and ensure that when he is a mudzimu there would be descendants to consult him from time to time. Unfortunately, the son is enjoying life far too much to let any woman tie him down. But the old man is not old for nothing. He is wise. The story tells of how he outwits his son and gets the grandchild he wants – in a very unusual but fiendishly clever way.

My job is to let you hear the stories from, as it were, the horse’s mouth. In other words, I shall get Kok himself to tell you his tales as he told them to me. I will content myself with butting in every now and again when I think that what he says is just too scandalous to let pass without a comment or too topical for me to resist relating it to something going on in the here and now.

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