I was recently stunned to see some junior employees grovel in front of their boss in a social place. The chaps were enjoying some special michopo and roasted potatoes when the big man stumbled on them.
“Welcome sir,” they invited him. And true to the Rwandan pub culture, the boss sat down to ‘politely sample’ a few pieces of his juniors’ meal.
But the fawning juniors pushed the platter near him and adjusted their eating speed downwards to give the newcomer a head start! This embarrassed the big guy and gave me a topic for study.
If you peer hard enough, as I do, you will notice that even youths working with any of the big companies easily win fawning followings, any time. With some cash to flaunt, such youngsters routinely order grownups as they wish. “I will pay for your services, you know!” such geeks may say.
Like me, you must have seen that any financially challenged man who does not match others in buying drinks is often relegated to servant status in social evenings. “Please, on your way to the gents, find out why our brochette has taken this long!” After an interval the orders become less subtle, “Can you check if our vehicles are still outside?”
Such marked men are often asked to take mama or a slew of girlfriends home and bring the vehicle back. In some cases, such servants for the occasion may be asked to liaise with the resorts’ kitchen staff and get bones for Rexy, the dog! And these are not village louts but one’s classmates and colleagues!
With all due respect to religion, some clergymen and women seem to cherish the furthering of social segregation.
You may have seen some of them leave crucial personal tasks to the handiest followers, explaining the problem with the scantiest of details. “This car could do with a wash, brother, and God will bless you abundantly as you do it!”
It does not matter whether or not the ‘brother’ is a teacher or local area leader with dignity to protect. Other clergymen direct their flock to take care of their wives’ medical bills and see to it that they are discharged from hospital.
In many rural homes, often the educated and employed siblings sustain the cottage industry of high social status. “I have said that I can only take Fabrice and Mutoni to my house!” they may say and take only the educated siblings with them to serve as househelps.
Often nobody complains because they get the occasional cash handouts and hand-me-down used clothes and shoes.