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Being rude comes in different forms

ONE thing I love about my beloved Africa is that we take a very short time to be emerged in something new, yaani tunakumbatia vitu vipya fasta sana.

You can see the way our youths dress today, and you know that they have copied it from somewhere else, ujue wameiga tu kutoka sehemu nyingine, and naturally not from the African continent. With the introduction of technology, Africans were quick to go for it, tulivamia teknolojia kwa kasi until the creators of the technology were impressed, kusema ukweli wazungu walifurahi sana.

I think one of the major breakthroughs in technology is the mobile phone, simu za mikononi, kwa sababu when it came to replace the landline, we were thrilled. The frenzy of mobile phones was great, which on the other side of the continent it thrilled the manufacturers, and they promptly modified and increased production, soko la Afrika likawa kubwa sana.

All this is very good, yaani ni vitu vizuri sana, but my quarrel with my fellow Africans, haswa watanzania wenzangu, is that some of us jump on the technology bandwagon without the faintest idea of what is supposed to be done, kwa kifupi tunaingia na ushamba wetu.

Mimi binafsi I believe that the invention of a mobile phone is one of the greatest inventions after the discovery of beer… because now we can do most things through our phones, which means these gadgets can really keep you busy.

When I was growing up, my mum would give me a holy beating if she talked to me and I did not pay attention, yaani anaongea na wewe unafanya mambo yako was enough to send you to bed on an empty stomach.

She used to tell me that it is plain rude to focus on something else when someone was addressing you directly, which carried the same punishment as talking while eating…mama alinidunda sana, but she was right of course.

In our African culture and values, those were things which we knew we were not supposed to do, our parents raised us to respect others, which included paying attention when someone was talking to you, kwa kweli yalikua ni mambo ya kawaida lakini ya msingi.

But then came the mobile phone, and all caution was thrown to the wind, watu wakasahau mila na desturi za muafrika, and instead they now believe that chatting away while someone is talking to you is cool. It is very unfortunate, but today we live in a world where it is seemingly acceptable to be only half-present for the people actually present in our lives, vitu ambavyo vinakera sana.

Siku hizi ukiangalia, most of the time adults and teens alike seem to be constantly interacting with the world outside through their technological devices, mda wote simu mkononi. Kuna wakati nilikua najiambia, perhaps we need a lesson in the real meaning of the word ‘rude’, with the first lesson being that playing on your phone when you have company is just plain RUDE.

And obnoxious….. And did I mention, rude? Kusema ukweli ni tabia mbaya sana na inakera, considering that the younger generation of teens feels completely lost without their cell phones.

It is one thing to be sitting at the beach or in a restaurant by yourself, on a bus, or even on a park bench completely alone distracting yourself with a phone or device, but it is altogether different to be doing this when you have company or are with company, ni tabia mbaya.

Unfortunately, very few people seem to ‘get’ this, yaani hata ukiongea hadi uvue nguo, no one thinks you are making sense, hawanielewi kabsaa!. Kama mnataka kujionea wenyewe, the next time you go to a supermarket, or movie theatre or restaurant, try to be aware of just how many people have their noses and faces stuck down in the phone, watu wamekaa unaona mwanga usoni tu.

Too many people are using their mobile phones too much of the time in too many places. Watu wamekua bize na simu zao kupita maelezo. Chances are, there will probably come a day when mobile phones will be banned from certain venues for the simple fact that they are a distraction, nawaambia kweli kabisa, mtakuja kuniambia.

Yaani unakuta mtu amesimama kwenye mataa, within a few seconds the phone is in their hands, busy texting or reading whatever they are reading, and when the lights turn green, you have to practically jolt them so that they can move. I had an argument recently with a close friend who never puts his phone away when we are in company, yaani yeye mda wote simu usoni.

He is either texting, taking calls or looking at other people’s lives on Facebook. When I drew his attention to it, he was massively offended and told me that only his wife would tell him to get off his phone, but he would refuse to do it for a friend, seriously nilimshangaa sana, but then I said to myself, this is the new world we are living in.

Unakuta hadi kanisani watu wako bize na simu. Just the other day I saw a lady busy on her phone while in church, and I had to whisper to her, “don’t worry, God isn’t going to be calling or texting you during your Sunday service – so you won’t be missing anything important if you put your phone in your purse.”

When you are having a real conversation with someone, the rudest thing in the world is to say ‘hang on a minute,’ to a friend, coworker, family member, or stranger in the middle of a conversation so that you can return a text, comment on a FB status or answer a call, ni kitu ambacho kinakera sana, sijui kama mnajua.

Real people who are around you should take precedence, no matter what happens, unless of course you are awaiting news of a loved one’s death…… mimi nimemaliza, mwenye masikio haambiwi sikia.

‘Good bye Madiba, I will miss you ...


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