Friday, February 9, 2018

A CHAT FROM LONDON : On this Valentine’s Day – the 14th of February

Fredy Macha is a writer and musician  based in

Fredy Macha is a writer and musician  based in London.Blog,www.fredymachablogspot. 

By Freddy Macha

A few days ago I was forwarded an advert from Dar es Salaam. I thought it was some joke. April fool’s Day is still two months away.

Is this an error message?

“Nope. You should attend Freddy. It is your birthday too.”

The advert promised a dinner “to remember” (ten courses), luxury car ride, massage for couples, plus many other offers. Plus. Plus.


A night to remember.

Yes I am personally a Valentine, it’s true. But to fly all the way to Dar es Salaam, to a huge hotel for a “night to remember” worth 10,000 US Dollars? 7,000 UK Pounds? Over 240 million shillings...!!!

Does such super rich folk exist in Tanzania, these days?

My. My. My.

Valentine, indeed.

In my younger times and celebrating my birthday, I never knew what Valentine was. I just knew I was born on the 14th February. Full stop. Come to Europe, and it is akin to Christmas. Lover’s day. Eventually, after trotting around the globe I learnt lovers’ days differ from country to country. In Brazil for example, it is 12th June- Dia Dos Namorados. “Namora” the Portuguese verb- stems from Amor or Amare; love in Latin...

These sorts of things are world relative.

Reflect on Friday 13th – considered an evil day. Bad luck day. World relative too. Spanish people treat Tuesday the 13th (“Martes 13- El Dia de Mala Suerte”) with disdain and superstition. Day of bad Luck.

Third century Romans

Valentine Day has roots in third century Romans. According to myths, from 13 February, sacrifices of goats and dogs were made. Their skins would then be used to whip women. Young women would line up to get beaten. Belief was the skin lashes would make them fertile. By 14 February, courtship was on – love and party time.

St Valentine’s Day.

I do not recall celebrating St Valentines in my younger days in Tanzania. So it is indeed mind blowing seeing 240 million shillings paid to celebrate love on a European festival. How times have changed! Global warming, globalisation, global love. Age of Aquarius.

This week the Valentine euphoria is swinging, already.

Metro- the London travel journal I mentioned last week has the theme on its Metro Talk page. Rush Hour Crush. Things you see while commuting. Text messages sent to the newspaper to express secret love yearnings. Let us look at three.

“To the handsome guy with the golden retriever (a retriever is some kind of dog), who got off at West Brompton. Everyone was stroking your dog and all I wanted to do is stroke you. Fancy a drink?”

The female identifies herself with a colour of what she was wearing. Here we see the cultural values. Pets and dogs form part of romantic attraction among London folks.


“You were wearing a brown, sheepskin- style jacket... (Description goes on, till we see the shoes, trousers etc, then...)...we both got on at Tooting Broadway on the evening of February... (Date is mentioned)...we sat opposite each other and exchanged glances... (And last words?) ...I would love to exchange those glances again but actually talk this time.”

The guy gives his name.

Next one is from female to female. Public homosexual feelings are a normal set up in this part of the world.

Holding on tight

“Friday evening on the No 31 were with a friend. We talked about the silly bus message and holding on tight. You had skin as sweet as toffee (I remember when we used to “fight” to buy toffees in the 1960s and 1970s Tanzanian shops!) and big Cat boots. You told me you have a good night when I got up to leave. Would be better if we have a drink!”

Rush Hour Crush is an exciting daily thing, but in this instance there is that Valentine Day mood.

That is the magic of love and Valentine. Attraction. Flowers. Romance. Communication. Copulation. Of course minus the whipping of ladies in the third century, Italy.

Sending text messages such as we just witnessed in Metro Newspaper- is the closest to find someone.

End in marriage

These days many across the world complain it is easier to meet a lover online than face to face. Sites like Match. Com, are slightly expensive but tend to have successful stories that end in marriage. Match .Com; assist in suggesting romance through genuine compatibility. Gone are the days when you saw a person, liked them and told them and hooked up. Right now eyes might be too glued on phones to notice a special Valentine. Text and glass screens “rule” Planet Earth.

In five days, next Wednesday, it will be St Valentine’s Day. Try your best. If you have 240 million and live in Dar es Salaam- you are very fortunate...