You never say ‘bye’ while leaving a Ugandan party…

What you need to know:

Just go...lest all the forces conspire against you.

Experience: When you are a young man, you are not sold to the theory of experience. As you grow older and less stupid (since it is harder to grow wiser), you begin to appreciate experience. You begin to realise that only age could have taught you something.

Who knew that there would be a time when all our degrees would expire? Who knew that the grounds would be levelled? It is like we are all playing this game of life, and someone just waves a magical wand; ‘start afresh’. Guess that is what we need as a country - a reboot. We need someone to restart us. We have over rigged each other; the best way is to declare amnesty for everyone, and we all start at zero. Just a reset! But then, as with all Ugandan problems, there is always something that pulses us every month. There is always something. If it is not bodyguards, it is the expired degrees, if not expired degrees, it is our lovely potholes. We hope June can bring better pulses.

Off to the more interesting things. When it comes to Ugandan parties, and everything around celebrations in Uganda, you never announce your exit. In Uganda, you just go off the scene. It is against the norms of a good party in Uganda for one to formally announce that they are leaving.

Of course, this rule has its own downsides. Many years ago, a one Herman Basudde suffered with ‘Eggwala’ of Busega for reasons related to this rule. Basudde had assumed the good lady had followed this rule to the dot, only to wake up to her presence in the home of the main bae. Despite the downsides, this rule, when upheld and adhered to, will always save you from many a sloppy path.

Because the moment you announce that you are leaving a Ugandan party, all the forces will immediately conspire against your decision. The sponsors will awaken from their graves and declare another round. They will start reminding you; “what are you even going to do at home?” They will remind you that the next day is even a public holiday. Others will go the extra mile and fake google map results showing the heavy traffic jam that awaits you. As you are still questioning your conscience, another person will order some nyama choma.

You will question your decision. Because what is home after all? Isn’t home that place where vibe resides? Where all the gangos reside? Is home not more than just the beds and chairs? As these questions rage through your mind, a waitress will bless you with another drink and you will be trapped. By the time you stop her, the bottle will be open. And the friends will cheer; ‘naawe, just that ka one.” Then the sober friend will even offer to drive. “Kasta I stay on the same road, I will drop you home. Just relax. Even Tracy is on her way here. At least leave when she has arrived.” I am here to announce that it is all a trap. There is a reason the legends introduced this law; ‘never announce your exit from the bar, or party. Just disappear.’

It is for this reason also that the Baganda introduced the beautiful saying; ‘Kankomewo’. Kankomewo means ‘let me come back’. You can come back the next hour, the next day, the next year. Next time you are in a bar and a Ugandan says, ‘let me come back’, believe them for their word, but there is a caveat, they could be back next month. This philosophy has been carried to the phone calls.

These days, Ugandans do not formally end phone calls. They have found better ways of going off. From statements such as ‘let me call you back’ to ‘first hold on’ or better, just faking a network issue. Ugandans will always be Ugandans.

In other news, yours truly was ejected from a kafunda group. There was no democratic process followed in the execution of this decision, yours truly woke up to the news of being removed from the WhatsApp group. I did not know that part of membership required cheering the head of the liquor store, and that part of membership required weekly attendance and purchase. But then, how do you get ejected from a group that you did not seek to join?

It seems when Ugandans cannot tell the next steps of an idea, the first thing they think of is a WhatsApp group. When family members meet and realise they have been absent from each other’s lives, they create a WhatsApp group. Now that degrees are expired in Uganda, the next thing will be a WhatsApp group of expired degrees. The moment an idea in Uganda goes into a WhatsApp group, there is a high chance it will never resurrect. WhatsApp groups give the illusion of motion, that you are doing something about the idea. And for my kafunda group that rejected me, I will make an appearance soon!

 Twitter: ortegatalks