You’re having your drink at the counter. You like it here, much as you’ve to strain to hear what fellows seated next to you are saying, for the music from the speaker just above your heads is so loud. You had requested Prisca the ‘‘akaunta’’ cum resident deejay to reduce the volume to no avail.
“The boss wants the volume high, when we reduce it he storms inside here and increases it… I don’t want to lose my job,” Prisca had explained.
Anyway, for most of us ghetto residents, loud music isn’t an issue, generally. Actually, we cherish huge noise because it makes a person drunk faster. However, when one seriously considers the grocery a place one can exchange ideas with fellow drinkers, this is a place to shun.
Good thing, though, is that the noise doesn’t interfere with anyone’s vision. Like today, when you notice this young woman seated quite some distance from the counter. She also notices you and waves, and you wave back.
The young woman (call her Nancy) doesn’t just end it with the waving, because a couple of minutes later, she meanders her way to where you’re seated and gives you a hug; yes, a very warm hug accompanied by pecks on the cheeks.
“Dad, how have you been…it has been long, eh?” she says. A non-M’bongo would quickly conclude that you’re indeed this lady’s father, given the way she effusively addresses you as “baba”.
She’s the talkative kind, for, after she’s done with the hugging and kissing, she “introduces” you to two counter mates she found you talking with, kind of. “Huyu ni babangu kabisa, kanilea tangu miye kiduchu.” Well, well, you’re a typical African and so, naturally, you consider all children your children; more so those with the courtesy to call you “father”.
After a few minutes of the usual chitchat—the ear-splitting din from the speaker notwithstanding—she excuses herself, “Let me go back to my friends, dad.” Using the thumbs-up sign, you tell her it’s okay.
As she walks back to her table, your neighbours who, with eyes, had escorted her all the way to her table, pat you on the shoulder and ask, almost simultaneously: “Is she, indeed, your daughter?”
“Well, why are you asking that?” you ask back.
“Just to know, mzee,” says the guy to your left.
“Okay, the child of another person is your child too,” you say as you hail Jacque, one of the barmaids, to take a beer to Nancy.
Jacque returns to you almost immediately after delivering the drink. “Mzee, your daughter says thank you, but she asked why you discriminated her two friends; she says they also drink Windhoek.”
The kande eating born economist in you is just about to explode when the guy to your left tells the barmaid, “Hey, leave our mzee alone; take to the three girls two-two and make sure you tell Nancy the beers are from me, okay?”