SOMETIMES I wonder whether God created Africans in a different way or Africans decided to become different from what God created them.
I always ask myself this question because there are some things which I believe happen only in Africa, which can never be found in any other place in the world.
One of those things involve the nature of trying your level best to know things which do not concern you, doing your best to get anything you consider as juicy stuff that involves other people and their private lives.
For people like us who live in Uswahilini, there are so many things which happen there which if you ask me, they are not even common in most parts of Africa, but they are normal occurrences in our neighbourhoods.
A few days ago I was strolling in my neighbourhood after the collection of metal I call my car refused to start and to show that it meant business, out of nowhere oil started oozing from beneath the junk.
In Tanzania we have a Swahili saying, ‘Akufukuzaye hakwambii toka’ which means if someone is fed up with you, you will see it in their actions, that is why I came to the conclusion that my sorry excuse of a car was fed up with me.
I decided that because God did not create me with any disability, it would not kill me to take a walk and see how my neighbours are doing.
I was passing Mzee Tumbo’s house which is near Zakayo’s Pub, my local watering hole, when I came across a group of people, mostly women.
That is the place where Oscar the Hawker, that fellow who has a reputation of knowing about people’s wives more than their husbands lives, and I saw that he was the one who was addressing the gathering, but in a not so friendly manner.
The group consisted of mainly his neighbours, including the wife of Mzee Tumbo, who is notorious for chasing boys who are young enough to be her grandchildren.
“I am tired of living in this neighbourhood, which is full of hypocrites and parasites, people who are just interested in digging where they are not supposed to, instead of concentrating on serious issues,” Oscar the Hawker was screaming.
I thought to myself that if my memory serves me right, Oscar the Hawker, as I told you before, was one of the nosiest people in the neighbourhood and I believed he should be that last person to preach against nosy people, because he was their unofficial chairman.
From what I gathered, the fellow was mad at his neighbours because a few weeks ago, burglars broke into his house and walked away with his brand new flat screen TV and antenna….it was just 7pm at night and no one saw the intruders.
The previous night, he tiptoed to his house at around 3am with a pretty girl he had met at a certain bar and almost all the neighbours knew what transpired, that is why some of them took the liberty of calling his wife who had gone to her village to visit her sick mother.
What irked Oscar is not being caught red handed with the girl, but the fact that when the thieves broke into his house as early as 7pm a few weeks ago, no one witnessed anything, but he was surprised and angry that those who were fast asleep at 7pm managed to notice when he sneaked with a forbidden fruit at 3am.
One of his neighbours, a woman who looked like a confused chameleon because of his poor attempt to bleach his skin was whispering to another neighbour, a fellow who looked like a retired thug, something to the effect that Oscar has no taste in women.
“Yaani huwezi kuamini, I saw with my own eyes the woman he sneaked in with, she was ugly I tell you and she was wearing a very cheap wig and fake eyelashes,” she whispered to the retired thug.
A woman who was behind the confused chameleon whispered to another woman who was staring at the retired thug the way a cat looks at a lost mouse in a dark alley.
“Huyu muhuni sana, kwanza I saw he was wearing the shoes he borrowed from my husband and I saw that he has already stained them, simply because he went for a shapeless woman,” she whispered to the other woman.
I wanted to tell Oscar to save his energy because these things only happen in Uswahilini, but I decided against it because on numerous occasions the fellow has nearly ruined my marriage because of his nosy character.
There was a time he saw me talking to a client in a restaurant and he went and told mama Boyi that I had married another wife behind her back, and as they were speaking, I was in the process of introducing her to my family.
I don’t need to tell you that mama Boyi almost sent me to my ancestors unceremoniously when I arrived home and came face to face with her greasy frying pan, that is why I have to admit that I did not feel sorry for him.
Closer to home, I am a veteran of what Oscar was going through because my wife can sleep through a noisy storm full of scary thunderstorm and lightning, but will be wide awake the minute I tiptoe into the bedroom late at night.
I remember the first time I returned home at those hours when the cocks are still debating whether to wake up and make the usual noise or add a few more minutes.
I opened the front door the way a veteran burglar opens a door that is fixed with a serious alarm system, slithered across the living room in full darkness, making my way towards the bedroom in a way that would have made a decorated commando go green with envy, using my senses as the guiding light.
With my shoes in my hands, I pressed myself against the wall as I inched closer to the bedroom door, my heart pounding so loudly in my chest I was afraid my children would hear it in the next room and my hand reached for the door handle.
I was about to turn it slowly, but suddenly the door opened and I came face to face with the mother of my small clan. I have to tell you, that was the first day she landed the greasy frying pan on my head.