Ode To The African Man

Okay, the African type also comes with some liabilities, like claiming to be allergic to the kitchen but medicine proves that it’s curable.

[Jackline’s Observations]

Not so long ago, I was in Kitgum for a day or two, and I had an experience that stamped a permanent attitude in my mind: forever to prefer an African man to a Muzungu.

You see, on one of the afternoons, I took the time to accompany a British journalist friend of mine to one of the nearby IDP camps. We went there on foot and on our way, my left sandal got torn—so, you can say I literally went on foot.

Anyway, let’s call my friend John, or David. After helping Dave catch a story or two, with all the resulting fatigue, I simply returned to my hotel room and dumped myself on the bed. Before I could rejuvenate, my phone rang. It was David, asking me to join him for a “cold coke” or something. I told him that I was so fatigued and that if I felt any better, I might consider joining him but if not, sorry. With that, I tried to catch some sleep but I seemed to be trying too hard and it neatly eluded me.

Within 30 minutes, David’s number was flashing on my phone again. I thought: Hey, doesn’t he know anybody else in Kitgum to hang out with? But as a Kitgum home-girl, I decided to be a little hospitable and join the Queen’s boy for a drink so I met him in the nearby shop.
His coke was almost through but I sat and had the lady bring me one as well.

Now, this is the real story: the white brother paid his bill—only his bill. God knows what I would have done if I hadn’t carried any money on me because, as far as I’m concerned, in Africa, if you invite someone for a drink or anything, the bill is on you. That’s what I should have yelled at him but etiquette and the new thing about women empowerment kept my lips zipped.

Later, when I got to Gulu town and Kampala, I couldn’t wait to tell the girls how this guy nagged me to join him for a drink and the best he could do was to pay for share! A Black African man wouldn’t ever walk with his head up if he did something like that. In fact, he wouldn’t dare do that! (okay, my ideal ones).

The girls told me that saying, “join me for a drink” differs from “let me buy you a drink.” Okay, I copy that. In fact, if you gave me a test, I’d get a hundred percent but the wording doesn’t change a thing. The principle matters. That is why I like them indigenous; an African man is it, and I’ll tell you why.

The week following the unfortunate Kitgum coke saga, I was in Gulu. In fact, I was at the King’s palace. Rwot Acana II had his first coronation anniversary and I just had to be there. The last time I checked, it was high time he identified an Acholi lady for a bride but that’s not why I was there.

I simply happened to be a very proud Luo. Besides, I detest the limelight and there was a lady seated by his side. (If I showed you a picture, can someone help Identify her and her relationship to the cute king?) I mean, we the queen aspirants have to know who exactly we are up against! We have to understand our competition! Anyway, I had informed a friend of mine, Matthew, about my intentions of being at the King’s place that day.

Matthew is your typical African guy. He proposed that we meet somewhere on Main Street and go together. That was a good enough deal so I grabbed it.

Earlier on, I had intentions of walking but Matthew suggested we take a boda boda taxi. I wanted the bicycle one because it’s cheaper but he insisted on the motorcycle.  “Damn!” I was saying under my breath, thinking about how I was going to spend more than necessary for a journey I was prepared to do on foot because it wasn’t far anyway!

When we reached, I painfully unzipped my safari handbag (yeah, I had to tell you its make) and when Matthew noticed, he quickly told me not to bother. “I’ll take care of it,” he said with confidence. Did you hear that? Now that is what I call an African man. It was as if he were the Rwot himself and deserved a standing ovation or something!

Okay, the African type also comes with some liabilities, like claiming to be allergic to the kitchen but medicine proves that it’s curable. In fact, I always tell my brothers that they won’t die by entering the kitchen and doing some work on something hot. So, ladies out there, you should thank me – maybe take me out for a cold coke and please pay the bill?

I know that many an African man wouldn’t open for a lady the door or something but whatever the case may be, I have decided that I like them home-bred and indigenous!

The writer is based in Uganda.

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