In Kigali, the circles you chose can determine your life and career, the right set of friends can propel an otherwise mediocre career into the stratosphere.
Not in a corrupt nepotistic way, but who you know determines what you know and increases your possibilities of getting chances. When you get that chance, you are on your own and you have to deliver.
In Africa what looks like idle drinking, is actually a bonding exercise that culminates in deals being made, Godchildren being blessed, families marrying!
These little cliques are formed over time, they are often fluid and fringe members change but the core members stay the same. You end up referring to these cliques by the core-members, “the John’s” if the leader is called John for example. Here are some (stereo) types.
The shot-callers – these are the cream of the crop, they lord it over all the minnows. It is not how much money they have but their access to money, till they don’t even need money.
To enter such a circle you have to be of strategic value to them, the first question is “what do you do? You just write articles?” one said.
The guy thought of a money-making angle to that. “You could write about me!” Maybe I wasn’t so useless after all. These guys are always from different companies and workplaces; they all form a network of future corruption and secret debauchery.
You try to guess which one will make it, because you know that they will all stab each others backs in the end.
The ballers – these are merely concerned with a having a good time and looking good while having a good time. They have no high ambitions except getting high; they crave money more than status. However, the level of money they want is low compared to the shot-callers.
They are young bachelors with middle-income jobs who can still afford a lifestyle of whiskey, ladies, flashy cars and abandon. First question is “how much money do you make?”
These are the dream guys for a Kigali chick, their flashy lifestyle could make them comfortable, if only they didn’t booze too much.
The one-one jammas – these are neither ballers nor shot-callers but people who found they neither had the money to ball or the power to shot-call.
Over time these misfits become a gang of stragglers, as ever there are core members and affiliates. These groups occupy the lower segment of the pyramid, they cannot afford to eat a whole goat like the shot-callers, nor can they afford the whiskey needed to attract “good-time” girls.
They drink cheap beer, share a brochette 5-ways, and often have to beg for midweek credit at the bar. Their prospects are not immediately evident but they are the future shot-callers.
The holy-boys – these don’t drink but the rules of social drinking still apply as the fantas build the bond until they get diabetes, instead of liver failure like the other 3 groups. Food takes the place of alcohol as they meet on Saturday’s to gorge on obscene amounts of greasy food.
They require anyone in the clique to be sober and morally upright. Prayer groups and cells become like these drinking circles, networks of trade and connections.
Loners – Yeah these prefer having girlfriends, because being a member of the other 4 groups will make it hard to have a girlfriend.
A shot-caller is usually married, ballers wanna have fun, one-one jammas are not what women in Kigali are looking for. So when you get a chance you leave these fraternities behind and settle down.
So guess what the topic is next week? Yeah can’t wait.