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Kampala nightlife is dead, and pastors are silent

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Nyigos is how bonds were formed

KAMPALA: Nothing killed the Kampala nightlife like the lounging nonsense. In those days it was unheard of that you leave your living room only to go into another living room. There was no need for a reservation. You came and we fought for the dance space inch by inch... Those days, us with the dance moves would easily flex with those that had invested in the gym.

I have always thought of myself as a ninja, moving in the nights, observing everything through the darkness. There is something about the dark, the best and worst of things happen in the dark. You never know a city, a town, until you do ka overnight in the place. And you see, the friends you make in the night, those are the ones that really know you. Forget those other corporate friends, the ‘actually’ people, now obsessed with sustainability.

The way everyone now adds the word sustainability to everything in Kampala. Mbu it is sustainable financing, simanya sustainable marketing. Trust Kampala people with chasing the trends, this ESG craziness will not leave them behind. But as we discuss sustainability, something has surely gone amiss with the Kampala night scene.

It all started with that madness of the lounging scene, when bars thought they should also serve as restaurants. You see in the good old days, you ate some hard katogo first, then went and partied the night away. It was the mosquito-no pass dance floors. You had to get someone of your own. Those were the days when ‘nyigos’ were nyigos. In those good old days, when men were still men, and ladies were still ladies, you put money where you saw. Until some fellows thought themselves too clever and decided to mix up restaurants and bars. And created that thing of lounging.

Nothing killed the Kampala nightlife like the lounging nonsense. In those days it was unheard of that you leave your living room only to go into another living room. There was no need for a reservation. You came and we fought for the dance space inch by inch, dance move on dance move. Those days, us with the dance moves would easily flex with those that had invested in the gym. It was all fine, every man fought with their best tool.

As the churches held the overnights, we would also hold the party moments alive. And every street had something going, you could start the night in Wandegeya, climb up through Lumumba Avenue, check out the streets around Kampala Railway, then proceed kko to the Centenary Park, move up to Acacia, check into Bugolobi, run to Ntinda, and even check on Mukono. Kampala never went to sleep, everywhere, people were sleeping in their shoes. Then one day, we woke up to cushioned places, and restaurant menus in the bars, and some funny music that required people to nod heads and shake their bu shoulders from their seats. And just like that, the ka nightlife disappeared. Now it Is all dead.

You can find some life in that ka dusty town, that ka hub, but elsewhere, it is that same distinct sound, house music to simply nod your head, look over your shoulder to see which table is bringing kajanja, and the whole atmosphere is purely about pushing bottles. Nothing about the experience of the revellers. When the revellers have been zombified, all on their smartphones, shooting videos to confuse those at home mbu they are enjoying. No, they are bored. You see the dancefloor is where all the demons of sadness would come out. On the dancefloor, you spoke with your body. On the dancefloor, your ka boss back in the office had nothing on you. It was the dancefloor. That language of dance is what went out of the roof from the Kampala night scene. For what is the night scene without nyigos. Nyigos is how bonds were formed.

But then the pastors are all silent about this dead night scene. Where else do they plan to find customers? You see the bars and churches had this mutually reinforcing relationship. They kept feeding each other. The bars brought the testimonies, the churches balanced the boat. But maybe it is also this dusty town, they have dug up everywhere with no sign of fast-tracking works. And the high kicks have not helped the night scene. Those bu CCTV videos just keep scaring people off the night scene.

Anyway, over the week, I found myself at some burial in Luuka District (formerly part of Iganga). A relative had lost a brother-in-law. Well, I was reprimanding this relative for picking his wife from so far, from the land of sugarcanes, but I had to take back my words. The Basoga welcomed us with so much care, it was greeting after greeting. Although we were at a funeral, we were treated to VIP service, with a house dedicated to us. When time for food came, we were tortured with lusaniyas of all rice, matooke, nyama, and the rule was clear; ‘no food returns. You should have seen my ka sleak handsome size fighting with the mountains of food. You see as a Bachelor, wherever you find food, you eat as though it is term egenda. I thus ate my lunch, supper and food for the next day. At this rate, I could be shifting my wife surveillance from the hima land to the Busoga land. Ayee Omusoga afumba!

Twitter: ortegatalks