Last week’s ‘alliance of the maid’ reminded me of the one time I had a ‘house boy’ myself. I’ll indulge you; it is Sunday after-all.
Two years after my graduation with a degree in journalism, I was in the employ of a daily newspaper in the Citi, 2007 to be exact.
Having been appointed as a staff writer of a first street daily newspaper in the Citi, I moved ‘up’ a suburb, a bigger house and even a busier schedule.
‘As such’ I could not cook my own food nor wash my own clothes leave alone clean after my self. I acquired the services of a ‘mU’boyi.’
I met Olivier after a frantic search of two weeks. We agreed I was supposed to pay him the equivalent of 20 USD per month on top of full board living. He would basically clean after and cook for me in exchange.
The first night Olivier spent at my house, he locked me out and I spent the night on a verandah. When he woke the next day, he said in defense; “Bosi it has been a longtime since I had a good sleep.”
As a student I had been a senior editor of a campus newspaper and during that time, I met so many people that have turned out bosses today.
I have met bosses myself; in fact I made a career out of meeting bosses every day. Olivier apologized and convinced me not to fire him, a few weeks later he simply picked $100 from my drawer and disappeared. I was left laughing at myself and the folly of development.
Yet two weeks ago, when I introduced the encounter with the maid of a prospective Old Italian landlady and her cheating ways, I remembered the moments when I have met with the equivalent of mU’boyis in my life.
At the time of writing, many households in the Citi have the services of mUboyis, the same can be said of many cosmopolitans neighbouring the Citi.
As a teenager, I had met an old lady in her 50s, she had left her own family 150 miles away in another region.
She was the first ‘housegirl’ I met and many came and went in all places I have lived. I also remembered the times when I have discussed with a house girl, as I did with the one who works for the Italian landlord and thought the next revolution would come from her kind, the alliance of house girls.
Upon acquiring a job, many of the people in the Citi had a predictable scale of preferences; top of which was to have a house, a car, a butler, a wife/husband and other items.
The people involved in the descriptions of butlers at a time ensured they were youthful boys and girls, every successful person (elite or illiterate) in the Citi employed a butler.
Sometimes three generations in one family had a butler, parents, children and their grand children.
Today In my home town, entire legends, songs, poems, and plays are dedicated to house girls. As a result, the ‘butlers’ are important enough to be a regular point of reference in the media there.
As a young journalist, I was just beginning to climb the Citi’s hierarchy of needs. Many more before and after me, had these butlers who cleaned after them and cooked for them in exchange for meagre salaries.
As such, whenever there were serious crimes in a family a house-girl was normally an important and prominent witness.
The best movie in The Citi was made by a man who had worked in the services of a butler! History was very cruel to the butlers. After all, were they also not present during colonial times?
It was said, that the people, who served the colonialists at their dining tables, are the ones to whom independence of the Citi was bequeathed in the 60s.
House girls/boys are very important in the Citi, the most successful Citimen/women were said to be working in western countries as butlers. They were given a vernacular name which translated to ‘sweepers’ in English.
Now the Citi had been reported to be in a cosy affair with Dubai, woe to both. The Arabs were said to have a budget of 230 million US dollars to invest in the godsend industry of butlers in the Citi.
As it turned out, the Arabs were selling feathers of white ants. In a dramatic turn of events, Dubai pulled out of the investment which had ensured an entire neighbourhood had been hustled out of their homes in the suburb that was meant to host the butlers’ cathedral.
The Arabs in Dubai were a good inspiration to the Citimen. Having formed their country 38 years earlier last Sunday, Dubai was promoted as a planning country and their specialty was in the services of butlers., they also had very many ‘Sweepers.’