HUMOUR : “The Origins of my Name”

This may sound strange but the truth is the truth, no matter how sour or sweet it is, it is the truth and nothing else can change that fact.

This may sound strange but the truth is the truth, no matter how sour or sweet it is, it is the truth and nothing else can change that fact.

To the new readers of this column, I am obliged to introduce myself to you, my esteemed readers now and again. 

I received a letter here and another there, from a number of persons who sometimes get perplexed as to the origin of my title “the villager” as well as my name “Mfashumwana”. 

I can definitely assure everybody out there, that, there are no other Mfashumwanas except me, if anyone happens to bear that name, then, it must be “inherited” from me either by marriage or descent.

In other words, that name can only apply to my “chain keeper” and children and maybe, the children of my children and their children’s children and of course their “chain keepers” respectively. 

To cut the long story short, I was born in a tiny village called Mfashumwana, at that material time, the village was “baptised” that same name as a result of my existence.

The riddle of my name and that of my village is just like that of “the hen and the egg, which came first?”

As I was saying, somewhere near the “mountains of the moon”, some decades ago, a young man was born, this young man was destined to have a fate never had by any other person except him.

Those were the years when the “Jogo box” (read Juke Box) as the villagers used to call it, was a must have in any bar worth its name.

That device was as common as the DSTV system in any bar of today. 

The difference between the Jogo Box and the DSTV is that, the former were normally owned by a few individuals who distributed them strategically in several bars and they would come to collect the money these giant music machines were collecting from unsuspecting drunkards.

The Jogo Box was an electronic music system designed to hold very many vinyl records that were held on a spindle.  These would be accessed by inserting a coin into a slot, the coin would activate the system and the owner of the coin would proceed to select a record of his choice.

This would be played for all to dance.  In brief, the revellers would pay for each and every record that played in the bar.

Now, what has the Jogo Box got to do with me?  I suppose, if there was no Jogo Box, then most probably I would have had a name different from what I have.

First of all, I would like to categorically state that, what I am about to say, I do not guarantee its factual and substantial correctness as I was only told of it several years after it had
occurred.

The facts are as follows, one evening, as the Jogo Box was busy playing its sound could be heard from several kilometres away.

One young lady who had just given birth a couple of weeks ago, decided to not to be left behind, she wanted to go and shake her body to the tunes blaring from the Jogo Box, but because she had a baby, she decided to take the baby to the neighbour’s place and in vernacular, she requested her neighbour’s lady, “mfashumwana” translated as, assist with the baby, the locals of the area simply decided to name the village and the baby (me) by the same name.

Sadly, I was told that, some overzealous politicians have now decided to rename the village from Mfashumwana to Kyererezi (light in the local dialect), their argument was that, the
name Mfashumwana has long outlived its usefulness.

I suppose, they took advantage of the fact that, I had abandoned the village and was now living in the comfort of Kigali city.

Mfashumwana@fastmail.fm

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