Week of death vs. week of life

A lot has been said and written about the Week of Death by me in this space.

A lot has been said and written about the Week of Death by me in this space.

The WoD is to salaried workers what injury time is in a game of football. It’s the last week of the month before people get paid, a desperate time that calls for equally desperate measures.


The Week of Death is that time when the phrase “have we been paid?” now becomes some kind of standard operating procedure among office and other categories of salaried workers. It’s also the time when the average worker gets the rude awakening that your boss or employer was not heaven-sent to eradicate all your problems.


Yes, the boss is there only just to alleviate your problems, not to eradicate them altogether. This is why the money he pays you at the end of each month always falls just short of your intended budget, hence the Week of Death.


But a lot has been written about WoD in these pages, hence the natural urge to flip the coin and see what’s on the other face of it.

The Week of Life, on the contrary, is the first week after payday. People are still fresh from the ATM or bank teller. If you carried out a spot check of people’s pockets in this week, you would find only the red and alluring Rwf 5,000 notes in said pockets.

This is simply not the time for walking around with coins and dirty old Rwf 500 and 1,000 notes.

Another thing I’ve observed about the Week of Life in Kigali is that almost all social events and entertainment gigs worth their billing are squeezed in there. To this end, local events organizers are almost shameless in the shrewdness with which they schedule their gigs.

It’s as if they are saying that you salaried folk are so broke that you can’t afford 10k for a ticket a week after you have been paid. The result is the precarious situation we have in Kigali today, where all the major gigs and concerts happen between 27thof one month and the first 3-4 days of the next.

During the Week of Life, corporate workers will thank the heavens for the gift of a corporate job, and will actually wonder what it must feel like to be an adult and unemployed in a tough city like Kigali.

Yet, in the thick of the Week of Death, when every penny counts and when there’s actually no penny going around for salaried workers, we actually harbor darker thoughts; we silently toy with such questions as; “what’s the point of working when half of my wages have to go to just putting a roof over my head alone?”

It’s in the week of death when one even gets tempted to compute the total worth of one’s monthly remittances to their landlord, just to know the extent to which your landlord is ‘fleecing’ you off, as though you did not seek out the house voluntarily.

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