Turn Up in Kigali

Turn Up in Kigali

So, January is here. January is like that moody kinyozi guy – you got to learn how to treat him right, but still you aren’t sure if he’s going to mess up your hair or not. I mean come on, you can’t expect someone to cut your hair nicely if you don’t keep them interested in you. Nobody knows what interests barber Jan, so you can’t just depend on football and politics. You got to be wiser, deeper and careful – because Mr. Jan can smell bullshit from a mile away. Try too hard but don’t try too hard.

I was in Kigali a couple of weeks ago in December. December is that nice barber everyone loves. The guy has a way of making you trust him. Trusting someone with your hair is one of the hardest thing to do. But Dec has your back. You just sit back, relax and unwind. The guy flows with everything – football, politics, heck the guy even knows about swimming.

I had never been to Kigali before so when my boss told me I was going to Kigali to get drunk and write about it, I said why not. The plane was full of Kenyans headed there for festivities.

Kigali Airport is nothing compared to the busy JKIA. My taxi guy was waiting for me, a dude called Patrick something.

“So, what do you do? Are you a businessman?” Patrick spoke English with a French accent.

“No. I’m actually a writer.”

“Oh.” The look on his face was full of disappointment. Like he didn’t expect a Kenyan writer to look like this.

“So, you write for the big gazettes in Kenya?”

This guy started every sentence with ‘so’ but I wasn’t going to tell him. What arrogant writer corrects people’s grammar? Atop their grammatical high horse. So I let it go

I won’t tell you about the beautiful, clean and hilly streets. Come on, you’ve heard all that from somewhere.

The dude at the bar – Peter – in Serena was a Kenyan chap. It was like meeting a long lost cousin. I headed straight down in my shorts and hairy legs and got a bottle of Jameson while getting all the stories from Peter. You might find it hard to get stories for your bar guy but trust me, get a Jameson whisky and a fellow Kenyan behind the counter in a foreign land and you’re good to go.

I only had 4 days in Kigali. Some Rwandan journalist – Jojo who I met in Nairobi years back was hosting a party. He was surprised when I updated my WhatsApp status saying I was in Kigali. One text led to another and I receive an invite for a party.

You don’t show up to a party without alcohol. It’s just simple party etiquette which we were going to follow even in Kigali. We got three bottles of Jameson – one for us, two for the people.

We showed up at Jojo’s house in a posh neighbourhood at around 12.30 a.m.

“Is this a party or a meeting?”

“My guy. You know Rwandans don’t party like Kenyans. You guys are too loud.”

“Well, today you have not just one, but two Kenyans in your house. We might as well bring a piece of home here.”

If you go to Rwanda, don’t expect to see people drinking themselves to death like we do. I told you, they are slow. Slow in a good way, but in a bad way too.

Three bottles of Jameson later, coupled with some Kenyan music and charm, the whole place was different. The ladies my friends. The ladies! I woke up hammered next to this fine lass not knowing what time it was.

Just yesterday, I get a text from Jojo asking me when I’m going back to Kigali again. He is now a Jameson whiskey guy and has Pete for a slice of Kenyan company.



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