I was thinking of an epic write up to end 2009 and start 2010 with some sort of unique foresight but before I could think of anything to write I checked this paper’s hypothesis of the past as well as outlook for the new year. I started terribly in the exercise by reading first, Pan Butamire’s “Let’s Explode the Myth of ‘Baringa’!Ó
While giving a concise explanation of Baringa, a Kinyarwanda verb for a certain type of shadow dance, the writer almost captures the meaning of a related word (Mbariga) in my first language.
Mbariga in this case means a person’s feet face sideways instead of facing in the direction straight of the body.
When such a person walks the strides resemble a flat ground broom, the feet are like wings! In fact there was legend in my neighbourhood that people with Mbariga never walked, they were always flying.
They were also said to face difficulty in walking and keeping in straight lines. As such when an individual lost direction or knocked something to the floor while walking about, a person with Mbariga would be blamed or they would be reprimanded with the statement; “Stop walking as if you have Mbariga.”
Baringa and Mbariga aside, Butamire does a wonderful job by starting his ‘explosion’ with the idea that most people in the media predictably, are currently giving their treatise of the past decade, and as such there is no need for all of us to take more ink and pages of the paper talking about last or new year.
His cynicism ensured that my own take on the end of the year was thrown to the dustbin of the computer.
The computer itself is what I had come to consider as the centre of my “end of year analysis” as it is the single most important idea and object that defined the decade.
Yes, the good old computer brought me the third street Nigerian movies, the internet, mobile phone, DVD, reality television and most importantly UTAKE.
Had it not been for Butamire’s note I was going to fill this space with more mambo jumbo of facebook, google, Obama, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and all newsy crap, but no, Mbariga is important and it also needs some coverage.
This is because the ailment is not given serious thought by officials in planning sectors. But problem is that Mbariga is not so controversial and while one is writing about such topics as Mbariga, it is generally advised that they listen to such songs as:”These are the times” by Billy Joel. Because frankly, what is so inspiring to write about Mbariga?
Mbariga is a minor natural physical disorder at the lower end of the human body and happens when the feet face a parallel direction to that of the body which they carry.
It can be corrected with gradual practice such that the feet face straight ahead of the body, just like a poor alignment of the teeth can be made good by the devices placed in the mouth whose name I don’t know.
But because the feet are hidden away in closed shoes or in dirt, their problems are not taken with the aura of other ailments on other part parts of the body.
And as if speaking for the less fortunate parts of the body,Tanzanian hip hop artist Professor J raps in his song Nazeeka; “ “Ukitaki ku’juwa muhimu wa matako jaribu kukaa’ria kichwa.”
Loosely translated, “If you want to know the importance of a bum try sitting on your head.”
I ‘suffered’ from the Mbariga disorder myself exactly 10 years ago and can witness recovery from the thing. The cure of Mbariga, if there’s anything like that is walking.
Walk, walk, walk and just like the way the actor of Forrest Gump runs in the movie, walk without end until the feet start to face straight like other normal feet.
So with this ailment I spent many days and sometimes nights walking. I would walk to events, to class, to town, to the market and sometimes to community ceremonies.
Other times I invited myself to all the ceremonies that happened to be in the chosen line of walking on any given day and time.
One time, like so many in my neighbourhood I was in a national stadium where some important people had organized a prayer crusade to usher in a new millennium.
The world was reportedly ending at some second of that night and the Son of God was returning. And even if the important people never publicly mentioned it, the prayer crusade was organized such that if Jesus was coming back to mother earth that night, he would find ‘us.’ (Us being me, the crowd of the neighbourhood plus the important people in prayer.) Does the guy have to come in the night by the way?
There had been concerns about a millennium bug that was eating into all kinds of machinery and computer chips and at some second some of these collapsed, but we the humans made it through.
So as Billy Joel sings in his melody:ÒThis is the time to remember/’Cause it will not last forever,/These are the days to hold on to /’Cause we wont although we’ll want to./This is the time/The time is gonna change./ You’ve given me the best of you/ And now I need the rest of you.”