Folks born and brought up in Katerero where I, the poor son of this rat and roach-infested Uswaz, was born, along with the larger shores of Lake Victoria are indeed interesting lot. Any time they flock together they divert to their “short wave”.
By this I mean that they regress to their mother tongues with abandon and imagine that the other people surrounding them do not know the language.
My drinking chum, Dr Winchinslauss Rwegoshora (PhD, MA, BA UDSM), the man said to have “chewed” all the books at the University library, is one such character. While the rest of us in this great country consider one another as brothers, this tribesman builds an aura of importance even if he happens to be a mere house servant. Before I admonished Winch, he was the most arrogant type – hurling insults to the likes of Tatu, my favourite barmaid, gloating about his books and what not.
Last weekend, I was so angry that I even entertained the thought of chewing someone alive. Some folks from Muleba on the shores of Lake Victoria were introduced to me by Dr Winch.
The natural thing to do with friends and foes is obey our throats by irrigating at Mzee Shirima’s bar and guest house. The entourage comprised two women by the names Precipititia Kokushubira and her husband Magerantrubius Kamugisha and another woman whose name I cannot recall, for it sounded like the stuff we read in organic chemistry textbooks – something like tetrachlorodiflorohyromethane.
Since my accent and Somali-like lanky figure do not really give away where I was born, they must have mistaken me for a runaway Al-Shabaab terrorist. As soon as beer settled in their heads, their mouths went into full gear.
Precipi-whatever was the first to tune into “short wave” he went on like this; “Ogu ashabiliza amarwa busha tagira mahela”.
The woman replied something like; “oleb’okwalikugagujura nk’empunu.
Translated loosely, the man was saying that I am a bloke who lives off other people’s pockets – I am a freeloader in love with free beer. What the good woman was saying is that “look at the way he guzzles beer like a pig”.
All that time, Dr Winch was trying to change the topic because he knows that I understand the language but in vain for so much had been said. I cut the story short when I ordered beer for them and then retorted in their mother tongue; “ Taliyo kintu kibi nk’okwekor’oshomire, okw’otashomire.”
Loosely translated it means that “there is nothing as disgusting as pretending to be schooled when you have never seen the inside of a classroom”. They bowed in shame.