The world would be a very dull place if it didn’t host some hilarious species that made fellow citizens laugh themselves almost to death on account of their strange behaviour.
Strange behaviour is not the same thing as stupid behaviour; though people who pretend to be experts on things that seem or sound the same, may declare that they don’t differ, or are similar. Some things are truly confusing.
Take my case, for instance. I am often not certain when a new day begins, between one second after 12:00 am and when my beloved cock, which I have nick-named Jogoo Kidume, crows, around the time when darkness feels too bored to continue living and dies a natural death, and bounces back to life around the time when thirsty people troop into bars to do justice to their combination of throats and stomachs!
That, I guess, is one of the longest sentences you have ever read since you were born; as I am as sure that my first name has six letters, as opposed to the Madagascan 24-word (sentence?) Razafindrandriatsimaniry, which, courtesy of Mzee Google, means the grandson of the prince or nobleman who envies nobody.
Mzee Chekesha (aka MC) is one of the funniest creatures that I have ever encountered, who I have dug out temporarily from the section of my tiny brain that, by 80 against 20 per cent, hosts near-stupid memories.
MC, whose actual name I never got round to knowing, and which, in his hilarious element, he claimed he had forgotten on account of having ceased to use it for a long time, lived in a part of Dar known as Shimo la Udongo, but which he had renamed ‘Shimo la Matope’, arguing that there was more mud there than sand!
He derived amusement, and amused other souls in the process, by doing and saying things that seemed and sounded as though they were products of a deranged mind.
When it was unbearably hot, making it seem as though the Dar sky had swapped places with its Sahara desert counterpart, the old man wore a heavy suit of the sort that he guessed only about only 10 other gentlemen in the city possessed.
He often boasted that he washed and pressed it himself, because no dry cleaning outlet would accept the condition of paying him 10,000/- compensation ( a hefty sum those days) if it were stolen or messed up, even by a dark spot as tiny as the nose of a baby fly.
He claimed that he went to school when an academic creature called territorial Standard Ten was the farthest most local education seekers stretched.
It was around the time when those so privileged fascinated their village-mates when they went home for holidays from towns where they worked.
They showcased fashions like creating a near-hairless corridor in the middle of the head, as the hair was combed neatly towards the eastern and western edges.
MC told different groups of listeners that, during the immediate post-Tanganyikan independence period, he caused a sensation by prompting a British colleague in an institution where he worked to resign in protest over speaking English better than him.
Those listening to him seemed to be amused as was MC, who thought that they were impressed, least knowing that they were actually shocked by how someone could tell naked lies so confidently during day time!
He also lamented that he sometimes felt like crying as loudly as a thirsty baby does to force the mother to give him milk, whenever he heard some of today’s university graduates speaking English.
He proposed that graduates who “commit willful murder against English” should be jailed. But he rejected requests from young people to speak a bit of English, saying that by doing so, he would risk facing murder charges.
He said they would suspect that he was a British ghost disguised as an African, run randomly in various directions, and end up being run over by vehicles!
At an evening recreation session once, some crafty young men literally planted a friendly British visitor, Mr Gordon, on a table that I shared with MC and a few other friends.
MC addressed the guest: “Oh, our best friendship Mister British person Goridon. Welcome to the very great Tanzania. God injected Kilimanjaro hill to our country, which tourist men and women love most much.
By the road, my home not far from here. I will transport you there once a day. My nice wife will cook you sweet ugali and children’s fish called dagaa.
Most sweet, Mister British person Goridon. And by the road…” At that juncture, our table was encircled by very curious people who were fascinated by MC’s English.
Mr Gordon was so amused that he shed tears of excitement, prompting MC to believe that he was an English language hero !