Sunday, December 13, 2015

Time To Celebrate - Oba?

Somewhere in the lyrics to Celebration, Kool and the Gang belt out: “Come on now, celebration, let’s all celebrate and have a good time.., celebration, we gonna celebrate and have a good time...

We all celebrate for one reason or the other – birthdays, wedding anniversaries to passing exams. The celebrations can take the form of a boat cruise, going out to dinner, a mega bash or simply going down to the kafunda for drinks. While we are supposed to ‘celebrate and have a good time’ as Kool and the Gang tell us, sometimes the celebrations hit a flat. Peeps might decide to crash the party, ice runs out, melee’s kick off or at the worst, Umeme decides to load shed midway into the party. However, some celebrations don’t even get off the ground and are over no sooner have they started.    

In 1993, when Arsenal beat Sheffield Wednesday in the final of the League Cup at Wembley Stadium, one player – Steve Morrow, didn’t get the chance to celebrate by walking up to the royal box to collect his medal or hold the trophy aloft. Moments after the final whistle shrilled, with the team celebrating on the pitch, team captain - Tony Adams, in his excitement clumsily tried to hoist Morrow onto his shoulders. That didn’t happen. Instead Morrow capitulated onto the pitch, broke his arm and left the pitch with an oxygen mask clamped to his face and off to spend some days in hospital.

When my daughter Natal was born, of course there was just cause to go and party. In the dead of the night, as I drove to pick OPP and rounded the bend just past Chogm Pork joint in Bunga, it all went wrong. I think you can guess where this story is going, but just in case you are not with me, the Pajero took leave of its senses and direction and drove me into the swamp.

I didn’t panic. I merely engaged the four wheel drive but the desired effect didn’t happen. Instead, the car began to sink prompting an SOS call to OPP.

OPP did swing into action and promptly took charge of Rescue Pajero Operation from sinking. A boda was dispatched to Clock Tower to bring a breakdown and by the time it arrived, all that was visible of the Pajero were the windows and roof. The rest of the ride was submerged. The breakdown – a clapped out Isuzu truck, at least did the needful and hauled the ride out.

After spending almost three hours in the swamp with Uganda’s finest mosquitoes drawing more blood from my veins than I have ever donated to Nakasero Blood Bank and while watching my ride almost sink, the last thing I wanted to hear was Kool and the Gang belting out “... celebration, we gonna celebrate and have a good time...” Instead, it was straight home – all sober, and very muddy to no lighting and a cold shower because Umeme had done the needful and into bed.

In 1990, Lieut. Mwamba Luchembe staged a coup against then Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda. By all accounts, the coup was successful and Zambians took to the streets to celebrate. But the celebrations faltered almost as soon as they started – not just for the ordinary Zambians, but for the coup leader Luchembe as well.

While on state radio and after giving his reasons as to why the coup was necessary, rather than leave it at that, he went on to send “celebratory greetings and love messages to Girlfie and her mother.” The love talk greetings enraged senior army officers who had initially supported the coup into switching allegiance and promptly had him arrested.     


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