Tuesday, 2 April 2013

My boda boda friend Matiya. GUEST POST by Kenneth Kimuli aka Pablo.

Photo courtesy of Kenneth Kimuli.

After cuts and bruises last week (I'm now facing rehab for iodine addiction following my boda accident) I was thrilled when Uganda's "undisputed king of comedy" (according to his bio) Kenneth Kimuli aka Pablo agreed to write the next guest post on a con artist driver. "Those guys seem to know everything about nothing," he said. Pablo caught my eye earlier this year with a very funny column he wrote for Uganda's local Observer newspaper on a bus ride which he took which culminated in a goat going into labour.  Bodaboda Baby loves a good dose of comedy - in fact before relocating to the 'Pearl of Africa' she took a comedy course in London, as she felt these might be good skills for Africa. Pablo started performing Stand Up comedy in 2005 and two years later was invited by legendary actor Robert Redford to the prestigious home of theatre, the Sundance Theatre Lab in Salt Lake City. In 2010 he was invited to perform in Nigeria at the Comedy Club Live in Lagos. 

Among other achievements, his plays One Night Stand and Madness is Coming, which went to Uganda's National Theatre in 2006 and 2008 respectively "received a nod from the Uganda National Cultural Centre", Pablo's bio brags. He's the production director of a radio serial drama, Rock point 256, which is recorded in five local languages, and aired on 13 radio stations in the country. Pablo also starred in Last King of Scotland as Emily's (Kerry Washington's) bodyguard (she played acted Amin's wife). Phew. 

You can next catch Pablo in the act on April 25 at The Hub, Nakumatt Oasis Mall where he'll be hosting the first international female comedian from Africa Mandy Uzonitsha from Nigeria. Tickets for Pablo & The Continental Comedian are 50,000k single and 80,000k for a couple. "We'll have funny man uncle Bob as the opening act and acclaimed band Bonafide to spice up the show," he promises. But first to Matiya:

"It's only in Uganda where you have to look both left and right before crossing a one-way, with some crazy boda boda motorcyclists who have no sense of direction on our roads.

They have taken it a notch higher by even parking on zebra crossings. I used to wonder whether they were mentally dehydrated and then I met Matiya a boda boda cyclist, a father of 17 and expecting the eighteenth next month. He doesn't trust family planning methods but that's beside the point. Matiya has a high self-esteem. I had never met a man who confidently exposes his ignorance with a lot of enthusiasm.

It was a Monday morning and the traffic jam was annoying. I had to abandon the car at a nearby supermarket and mount a boda boda if I was to be in time for a meeting with the minister. Yes, the minister of the word at Full Gospel Church ( I wonder if there are some that give half the gospel). This man of the Lord has a good relationship with punctuality so I couldn't afford to be late for the appointment.

Matiya was the only boda boda cyclist in sight. I asked him how much it would cost to my destination and he told me to get on the bike. "We'll discuss that as we move, time is business," he said. I had no time to bargain so we started the journey.

A bit of a Matiya?

Matiya immediately started telling me how he's disappointed with the society that brands them (boda drivers) as thieves, thugs, cheats, noise makers, rough riders, forgetting that they are also tax payers and entitled to use the road. He warned that one day people will wake up to a country being run by a boda boda motorcyclist. "People don't know that we also watched the black board. I have a diploma in custodian affairs from Makerere University," he bragged. 

The look on his face was so convincing but my conscience was clear that this guy didn't know what "custodian" meant let alone "affairs". I asked him what exactly they taught in "custodian affairs". Matiya authoritatively said, " They teach you how to be steady, and sure." Indeed he was steady but not sure of what he was saying.  I then asked him under which faculty is "custodian affairs" and he boldly replied, "Lumumba Hall."

I picked keen interest in Matiya's tales. He is a jerk of all trades and a master of none when discussing  politics, sports, farming, witchcraft to mention but a few. He even had classified information. He told me that president Gadaffi was related to Saddam and that they are the only ones who knew the formulae of making pink tear gas.

The author of this guest post. Photo courtesy of Kenneth Kimuli.

He happens to be an Arsenal football supporter. He told me how he had been frustrated by  the team manager Arsene Wenger and vowed to make changes in the team if Wenger doesn't take his advise seriously. He claims to be the only one with Wenger's private cell phone number.

Matiya made me laugh when he claimed that the jigger's in Busoga region were a ploy by the opposition to fail the National Agricultural Advisory Services  NAADS project. How jiggers and NAADS are related, only Matiya knows. I couldn't get the details since we had reached my destination. I reached out for my wallet and gave him a five thousand shilling note. He refused it, saying it was his birthday. I had to double the price and give it to him as a birthday present.

The author of this blog fancies herself as a bit of a Pablo, after doing a comedy course at the Covent Garden Walkabout in London (yes, really).

The stories Matiya shared with me in the ten minute ride were enough to make a 5,000 page best seller novel on fiction."

Do you know a Matiya?

You can follow Pablo on Twitter here

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