Happy New Year everybody! Whereas I was lucky to be in the company of heavy spenders over the Christmas period, I suddenly found myself lonely on New Year’s Eve. I tried beeping everybody but for some unknown reasons to me, they just refused to answer their phones.
They were not in a mood of oiling Diaspoman’s ever thirsty throat. I could have linked up with Mfashumwana the villager but the guy is still enjoying the snow in Washington DC! Anyways, since I was left isolated with a few francs in my pocket, I decided to visit the shanty parts of Kabeza to drown myself in cheaper booze.
This joint in Kabeza brought back memories of the mid 90s when Aggrey and I used to visit Auntie Béa. She used to own a famous bar across the payage. This of course was at Kiyovu of the not-so-rich. It was ironical during those mid 90s, seeing the rich people drive from Kiyovu of the tarmac to our dusty Kiyovu across the payage.
The rich left their glittering and shiny pubs for our very own club. Béa was very good at marketing. She decorated her two roomed darkish bar with rolls of colored toilet paper. Then she endeavored to spray the room with some low cost perfume in order to lure clients in.
Of course, this part of Kiyovu has since been transformed into a superb urban development project with new well-lit tarmac roads crisscrossing the area.
Anyways, Béa would then perch a loud speaker in a corner and proceed to blast Congolese music. Those were the days when Kwasa Kwasa music was giving way for a new style of dance popularly known as Dombolo. Béa was always at the forefront with her team of barmaids to receive customers with a very wide and white smile.
Whereas big shots pulled up in their Mercedes Benzes and Land Cruisers, Aggrey and I simply strolled from our modest house to the pub. The distance was very short. In most cases, Aggrey and I would be in a cashless situation. That is why we were often seen frequenting our immediate neighbour called Waraje.
Waraje was a proud owner of a dilapidated Peugeot 504, which had changed its colour over time. It was neither blue nor gray. Its colour changed in the same manner as that of a chameleon. Sometimes, the car would appear green at sunrise. By midday, you would realise that the bonnet of the 504 was turning purple, whereas the rest of the body would be turning brown.
That was the magical car that Waraje used to operate as a taxi. Everyday Waraje would make some money that would see him refuel the Peugeot and some balance to enable us visit Béa’s joint to refuel our empty tanks.
So, when Aggrey and I found ourselves in a cashless and indeed thirsty situation, we would go for our usual plan A. This plan involved singing praises for the Peugeot 504. We would go to Waraje’s compound and raise our voices so that he could hear us praise his junk car; “Wow, do you know that these cars are manufactured in France?
This is the best product to have ever been manufactured! Forget about our Toyotas and Nissans. Men! Look at its headlights”. Then Aggrey would also chip in; “Wow, I like its colour. It’s a mixture of silver and gold. Do you know that people would be fighting to buy this unique car?”
At this point, the drunken Waraje would open his window and pretend that he never listened to our conversation. Deep inside, he would be glowing with pride over his 504. He would then ask us whether we had any problems to which we would respond; “Neighbour Sir, we were just admiring your car and we think we would be honoured if you gave us a lift around town”.
Before long, Waraje would be whistling his way through to his 504. He would then ask us to give him a push in order to start the engine. Within a few minutes, the 504 would be carrying us to none other than Béa’s pub.