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 “Hips” of language along Kitonga Hills , ‘Cease’ an opportunity when it presents itself

“Hips” of language along Kitonga Hills , ‘Cease’ an opportunity when it presents itself

Somebody should carry out a brain scan of some of these drivers. I mean, can you be normal, driving a bus with over 60 people and then find it logical to increase speed at sharp corners, at narrow bridges, over narrow strips of the road where one side is a sheer drop to a river bottom down below; and doing so laughing all the way and sometimes talking to your mobile?

The writer of the article we are referring to, seems to have enjoyed his trip, Dar es Salaam to Lake Malawi and back. I did not enjoy mine because it was clear that a small mishap could only result into a serious accident. All the accidents taking place on our roads day in day out are caused in the majority of cases by drivers’ negligence especially over speeding.

The writer was impressed by what he called the Kitonga Hills. We will come back to this in a moment. But, towards the end of the article the writer expresses concern that people cared the least about the environment: “Environmentally, I discovered that the hills were blatantly violated”, he laments and goes on to point to a specific case: “Somewhere ..... lay huge ‘hips’ of plastic water bottles and plastic wrappers of various food items that passengers on the buses had eaten and discarded....”

It is rather strange to relate “hips” to garbage, given that many a male I know of, admire ladies with “hips” (sometimes referred to as ma-hips); ladies who are endowed and could be described as voluptuous. A hip is one of the two parts on each side of your body between the top of your leg and and your waist. Kilometres away from garbage. Our writer wanted to tell us about “heaps” of garbage, although somehow the word “hips” got into print.

Now to what the writer refers to as Kitonga Hills. Those of you who know the place will be impressed by the steep landscape through which engineers had to carve the narrow winding road. My geography teacher, Brother Aloysius would never have called such a landscape a hill or hills. Before we volunteer to say what he would have called it, let us digress a bit into those secondary school days. I cannot recall the second name of this geography teacher but, like other teachers, he had a nickname and was known as “Kazee”, meaning that he was a very old man.

It was common practice for students and teachers to have nicknames. One of our head teachers was nicknamed Chaka the Zulu on account of his liberal use of the cane.I recall a student who was called Rumizi. If you are a Rumizi, you can swallow a whole cow in one gulp! Then there is one who was called Kikokyo. He loved eating the near burnt left overs of cooked rice (ukoko in Kiswahili). There was one called Kikoona. Can you guess what Kikoona means? No? A crow!

The crows of Dar es Salaam which are now facing a relented battle to exterminate their lot will perhaps derive consolation from the fact that a young man in his teens was once upon a time named after them. But why call a guy Kikoona? I cannot fathom the reason but I surmise that he used to “crow” instead of sing during the “seng’ eng’ e” classes (that is how Mwl (teacher) Rutayuga used to pronounce “Singing”).

Mwl Aloysius or Kazee would have called the Kitonga landscape “an escarpment”, not a hill or hills. However we agree with the writer: “Kitonga Hill is a unique land feature and so can rightfully claim ‘it’ place in the country’s annals as a national tourism icon”, although we would have made some amendments to the sentence, thus: “The Kitonga Escarpment is a unique land feature and so can rightfully claim ‘its’ place in the country’s annals as a national tourism icon”.
Another writer in the same paper (p. 7) tells us that: “Growing economic inequality risks to tear nation apart”. He is scary of the ever widening gap: “between the haves and ‘have not’”, a situation which did not exist during Mwalimu Nyerere’s time when: “The crafty guys simply ‘lied low’ and sprung forth with virulent force when Mwalimu eventually bowed out of power”. No. It is “the haves and the have nots”, not” the haves and have not”. The crafty ones simply “lay low” (not “lied low”).
Finally, please share with me this email message that has just found its way into my inbox: “It takes a man of high understanding ‘to cease’ the opportunity when one presents itself. Others filibuster”. For sure the writer of the email had : “seize” and not “cease” in mind. In life, do not hesitate to “seize an opportunity when it arises”.


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