Monday, September 25, 2017

Kanges of Nairobi

'Yo mathree za two three Westi, two three za Jeri, Jerusa na Outer, fourty six Hurli, Kile Ongwaro, Mogaka piga left hapo nakucheki. Forty four Kahawa na Githurai, Wano tuko pamoja for life, Fifty eight Buru ongeza mahewa man.Thirty three Emba, number eleven south B south C, Omosh weka matuta.Number eight Kibich, nineteen Koma na namba nne, namba tisa: Eastleigh Calif mzima, Gitonga na mwasa see you.Number fifteen, l-gt punguza mahewa makarao wako kwa horizon. Mathree za Gandoch, one ten Athi River,asanteni kwa kumfikisha Waire safe one love'-Neccesary Noize's Kenyan Girl Kenyan Boy 

Matatus are a big part of the Nairobi 'culture'  so much so that if one visited Nairobi and didn't get in one would they even be able to say they have had the true Nairobbery experience?. It's like visiting Coasto and not going to the beach.I assume there are people who will visit a coastal town for the food and cultural experience and will be really happy without the beach,same way there are guys who visit live in this city and have never used a matatu. Matatus have a bad reputation; LOUD music,you could get robbed in one if you aren't too careful,notorious for changing their final destination, if you get in one and they find out their route is at standstill, passengers are given refunds of their bus fare and told to find ways of getting to their final destination.I have seen it all with matatus but the worst thing that could happen is the matatu hitting/scratching another car in traffic: This one time a matatu I was in scratched the vehicle of a female motorist and I remembered this Biko Zulu story and chuckled because the lady acted exactly as Biko described.

It's not all negatives though for matatus as a means of transport: you can read in a matatu,even have mini book clubs with other readers if you are lucky, like this one time I sat next to a girl reading Elif Shafak's 40 rules of love and we had such a good discussion on the book because I read it late last year and she was just about to finish it, catch up on sleep (I never thought I will be one of these people) but sometimes in the evenings I actually sleep in a mat what makes it work? my stage is always 'mwisho wa gari' otherwise I would get lost on most days, listen to really loud music to drown your thoughts because who can think in loud music?  and there are days your thoughts are the scariest place to be. The thing that makes matatus winners in public transport is they are really pocket friendly as a means of transport, waaaaaaaay cheaper and safer than boda-bodas and we are for saving our coins right?

A day at the office-somedays I think they have it really nice: travel, music and meeting new people all day,every day
With Matatus comes makangas.There is no code that guides how they behave and they are very diverse therefore it is safe to say are no two makangas that are alike.These are the types of kanges I have encountered, are they still called kanges? or are they now called konkodis :-) :-). Seriously though if your sheng is upto date what is new name of makangas.

 The Flirty Kange

Beauty is very relative and what one finds beautiful might be different for different people but for the flirty Kange all girls/women are beautiful.They have learnt that women love being called beautiful and they are a business,therefore to attract more women they call each and every female mrembo.Does this work? all I am saying is I once got on a matatu that took a considerably longer route because the Kange had these really neat dreadlocks and he charmed me by calling me a mrembo after a crazy ass long day 😝😝.

Woe on young female motorists they flirt with them endlessly in the jam.''Ahh Mrembo,mbona hivi? pia mimi naweza kuwa sponsor mbona unanilenga?'' and sentences along these lines.

The Kind Kange

Every morning I see a lot of children on matatus, the person who brings them to the bus-stop hands them over to the Makanga,some of these children are really young and would therefore need someone to help them get off the matatu,what do you know, the Kanges take the role of care-taker to many children and they show so much kindness towards these kids.The winner of the kind kange for me has to be this one Kange: There was this one time a disabled lady who is a beggar was helped into the matatu by someone she had paid to carry her(really sad) and I saw everyone look at her with pity but nobody did anything..............when it came to paying, the Kange totally refused to take her money as in TOTALLY even after she shoved it in his hands, he gave it back and looked out the window so that she doesn't talk to him.

The Political Kange

We have been in political campaign mode for an extremely long period of time and if ever you didn't know what small talk to make with a stranger just ask 'hii story ya IEBC unaonaje?"and depending on wether they are NASA or Jubilee you will hear their thoughts and to avoid issues just say good things about the side they are leaning towards-clever right? No? because how can you hide you opinion? sometimes there are more important things than your opinion.In this case the only place where your opinion really matters is the ballot box, outside that peace is more important.

The political kange feels strongly about the side they support and everyone in the mat is their audience.They are varied and each of the political parties have some that support them,the more vocals one though are definitely the supporters of Baba, these people do not hide their allegiance.

 The Angry Kange

This is the opposite of the flirty kange and calls all women mama(women hate being called mama,why,I do not know), shouts at you if you say give him 500 bob and the fare is 30 bob.Who they hate the most is policemen,the vile things they say when they see traffic police!! If the police heard, they will spend weeks in jail for sure.One time this angry kange told a lady who had issues with her knees and was slow getting off: 'Ni uzee nini?' that lady attacked him verbally and made our day that day 😆😆.

The Female Kange

Why is this a category on it's own, you ask? because what a man can do a woman can do better right? and if performance in national exams is anything to go by, girls will run this country in a few short years. The job of a makanga is a hard job and the women who are doing it must have a story, like how they have tried so many things,failed and this is their last resort. I could be wrong though,maybe it's a lucrative industry and they wanted in. Women Kanges I have seen so far are no nonsense and do not smile at all.Which I think is a defense mechanism for them.Maybe there are smiley ones out there it's just that I haven't seen them yet.

The honorary kanges 

This is anyone who uses 111 matatus.111s do not act like normal matatus that stop at bus stops and allow passengers to get on.No, they speed by and you have to find a way to get on without hurting yourself and each day so many of us get on and thank God that we did not hurt ourselves.The more you do it,the easier it gets.I can now easily shadow as a Kange thanks to the 111s.

Which kind of kange have I left out? we can all be honorary kanges, get on a 111 at Railways just once and your matatu experience will be 85%.