From my social roving, it is apparent that many gatherings can do with accomplished masters of ceremonies (emcees). But many people don’t bother scrutinising the public credentials of the characters they bestow the responsibilities of emcees, ruining otherwise good functions.
And scores of Rwandans, stingy as we are, won’t hear of paying for a skilled emcee’s services and often opt to improvise, by giving the most talkative or worldly-wise person this role with disastrous results.
I have seen many terrible emcees whose strong point is lewdness at weddings.
Often these events turn out to be occasions for discarding all social decorum and propriety with such emcees in control. Everything these people say has a sexual undertone that greatly embarrasses the bride, groom and their parents.
These social tyrants pretending to be emcees routinely make pointed references to the bride’s stiff poise and exhort the bridegroom to move quickly to swell her tummy.
Such crude emcees often invoke pure social horror especially when gifts of beds are being offered: “May the bride now show us how she will be spreading their marital bed?”
And so the newlyweds are forced to enact a bedroom scene as they cover themselves with the bed sheets and so on at the orchestration of the terrorist emcee.
In my social wandering, I often flee from weddings when it comes to giving ‘home making’ tips to the newlyweds. A new emcee, and often a woman, is brought on stage to read through a veritable sex manual.
“When he comes home tired, hug him like this,” an instant practical lesson is enforced. “When he is in low spirits, you have to spice up the ‘dish’!” And then follows a recitation to the hapless and tortured new couple.
Their day is naturally ruined. And this bullying is in front of dozens of relatives, friends and well-wishers whose ages could range from five to 95!
Other uncivilised emcees have made a career in ridiculing many dignitaries at fundraisers. Often they wax lyrical when reading out one’s credentials. But the moment such visitors give their donations; all courtesy is thrown out the window.
“No, I cannot take frw 500,000 from an MD like you!” the gangster emcee may bawl through the public address system.
The visitors are forced to solicit more funds from their friends and companions so that their contributions are accepted. Such people may never attend such occasions again.
Like me, you may have come across the authoritarian emcee who always issues orders as if addressing school children and souring the mood. “I have said that the picture taking session is now over, can we proceed to the main tent!”
But the rudest shock of gambling with a daft emcee comes out at burials. Suddenly the fellows cannot remember names of visitors, distant relatives and other dignitaries and may strut several times to the bereaved for consultations. There are many awkward gaps in their speeches and things proceed in fits and starts.
The hallmark of good emceeing is getting names and titles of people right and treating everybody properly.
A good emcee fills in embarrassing voids and regularly gives the geography of the venue.
But many nutty emcees forget these basic rules as they earnestly demystify people’s characters and make sick jokes. Please invest in a good emcee to save yourself from social grief.