Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Who Got The Swag?

The snivelling pimpled faced boys who study at SMACK, Budo, Namilyango and Mwiri and who have never ‘gotten some’, would like to us think that it is they who invented swag.

They prance around town with their jeans almost round their knees while they show us their tattered and unwashed boxers – if not their butt cracks. And another thing about their swag culture is that they see no need comb their hair.

And for their efforts, I don’t see the ready-to-burst zit faced girls flocking round them. Whenever I see them, they look unsure of themselves. They walk about in packs of four and they hold each other’s hands. Hmm!

On the other hand, take a look at Breakdown Boy. Breakdown boy has swag. There is something about the way he stands on the back of the breakdown truck as a car is being towed. With his stance, the message his body sends out is simple enough to interpret. It says: “Had it not been for me this car would still have been at the accident site.” And with that, he adjusts the toothpick in mouth and pulls down his retro pink sunglasses that he bought from Hawker for sh2,500. If he had a name, it is probably Younger – the preferred name these days for taxi conductors’ boda riders and mechanic assistants.

In a traffic jam as the breakdown truck chugs and spews out a cloud diesel smoke that does no good for the ozone layer, the girls in the white hats and green aprons – Food Messengers as we call them stop serving and collecting plates to look up at them.

They look at Breakdown Boy with real pride. They see the swag in him and when he gets back to base, Food Messenger will have a plate of food with the best cuts of meat waiting for him.

However, Breakdown Boy has competition from Music Advertising Boy and the baleebesi (hangers on) who hang about in the back of a truck laden with huge speakers – the trucks that drive through neighbourhoods advertising music shows. While the chap with the microphone takes centre stage and gets most of the attention, it is Baleebesi that show the swag. Despite the searing afternoon heat, they wear ski hats, thick winter jackets, black sunglasses and high top boots which, gives them the edge over Breakdown Boy.

They show their swag not to Food Messenger who are the preserve of Breakdown Boy but to Waitress and Salon Girl. Waitress will even forget the drinks order as the truck passes. As she looks up at them in admiration, she will have her knees firmly pressed together lest she loses control of her sexual glands, while Salon Girl will abandon her customer’s braids to stand at the entrance to the salon in the hope that she gets noticed and who knows, get herself a free ticket to the show.

The real winners though in this game of swag are the baleebesi who hang out with Bobbi Wine, Bebe Cool, and Butcherman et al.

Their swag is simple enough to understand - booze, ganja, women and sex. As long as they have dreadlocks, can slip the word ‘jah’ into every other sentence and portray an image of having spent the best part of the day at Kabaka’s landing site in Munyonyo drinking a five litre jerry can of Kasese, smoking ganja and fondling the fishmongers wife, they are the rude boys, the bad boys and they have the swag that the snivelling pimpled faced SMACK Boy, Budo Boy, Mwiri Boy, Breakdown Boy and Music advertising Boy can only dream of.    


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