CANDID TALK: Dodging a ‘shangingi’ to settle a score over bills

Sunday August 25 2019


By Peter Muthamia

On occasions when my accursed wallet does not suffer acute Kwashiorkor, marasmus, beriberi and allied malnutrition issues, I float around Mzee Shirima’s Bar and Guesthouse, smiling like a Kuwaiti oil sheikh after clinching a deal.

Such situations are not common – for my wallet as my bank account is always on the red. At such blissful times, it means my wallet is no longer doing rounds in the financial ICU and I can afford a beer or two. I can also splurge the drinks without a care.

I know that the more drink goes into my skull, the more liberal I become and the more the likelihood parting with more Msimbazis (real red Tanzanian currency).

I will be flashing money, sloshing my throat and the throats of undeserving – barmaids, loafers, spongers and anybody who as much as looks at me. The final result is that I go home a penniless bloke, all trying to impress – with stupid antics that cannot impress even a monkey.

In such situations, I will be bragging – my stupid mouth will go gaga into a high gear, trying to tell whoever cares to listen to me how great a journalist I am writing third-rate columns like the one you are now reading.

A couple of days down the road, I am most certainly broke and all the “friends” and acquaintances take off at the speed of lightning. That is the sprawling Uswaz for you. They, like dogs down at Kurasini Police Dog Pound, can sniff from a mile away whenever I am liquid.


However, as screws are beginning to tighten, I am beginning to be very careful with money lest I offend my one-and-only Bisho Ntongo.

This is what happened recently; a shangingi (a woman who thrives skinning a man (buzi)) showed up at Mzee Shirima’s joint, praising me to the high heavens.

She blurted something to the effect that I am a deserving award winning scribe, whereas I know that what I write is more like kindergarten doodles.

I was happy and my wallet was happy too. I started parting with my hard-earned coins. The way bottles upon bottles of beer disappeared into her stomach, you’d have thought she had carried a two thousand litre tank for a stomach.

I did my mental arithmetics and realised that if I stuck at Mzee Shirima’s, she would drain my wallet to a clean zero.

The remedy was very simple. I “beeped” my buddy Dr Winchinslauss Rwegoshora, who called immediately. I walked out of the bar, talking on the phone, pretending that I would be back. That was the last time she saw me – I left her with unpaid bills.

She can whisk me to the Uswaz Police Station for all I care. I had settled a score!