Column Squad

Taxi Memoirs: My Kazigo Earns Me Free Fare From A Lusty Old Man

As I settle in my seat after a very long day I catch a whiff of “Mlliangombe” soap.  This blue laundry soap was common in the 70’s and reminds me of President Idi Amin’s days of scarcity. Families who were able to get hold of this foul smelling soap were indeed considered privileged.

Following the scent with my nose like a bloodhound on a hunt, I locate the source of the smell just outside the taxi. The Mlliangombe scented gentleman who looks like he went to school with Shakespeare takes a seat next to mine and greets me warmly. With his Kanta blackened hair, decked out in a white jacket, blue shirt and light blue tie, this is one man who has not slackened in his efforts to stop the ravages of the time.   A large white hankie is on hand to arrest the trickles of sweat that invade him from time to time. When he talks he endeavors to speak the queen’s language with inch deep “Rs”.   This I take as a good sign because riding with a gentleman sometimes has its advantages. I tell you I was not disappointed.

At clock Tower he starts by commenting on the weather and later on how the city is becoming cleaner by the day. And I nod politely. But at Kibuye roundabout things take a sudden turn.  Mr.Mili starts by complementing me on my hair and flawless skin which is quite irritating coming from this geezer. At Najja he tries to hold my hand, which I try to resist by holding onto my handbag. But the geezer will have none of it. It’s clear he is used to getting what he wants. Our man is from the generation before FIDA existed when NO was interpreted as YES.  And to humour him, I let him hold my hand, ignoring my neighbour’s horrified gaze.

From here compliments fall unrelentingly like manna from heaven until am literally swimming in them. He tells me my hands are so soft as a baby’s and I tell him his are as soft, even if of course I have held softer sand paper! He gulps the hook, but he is still not sure and seeks my assurance by answering that most women think he is old. I coyly answer that “people” in love should not entertain rumours and that “ orupapura si mupiira”. This makes him break out inexplicable mirth and informs me that he once dated Harriet the singer of the alluded song and that owned the first gramophone in his village which to this day makes him a village legend of sorts.

However, I am quite unprepared for his next question. Having noticed the gap in my teeth, he asks if it is true that women who have “kazigo” are great lovers.  “The dead are not quite dead then, are they?” I think to myself.  I tell him that I will let him be the judge. At this retort, he starts to shake uncontrollably. He fumbles for his Ka-torch phone from his trouser and decides to take my number and I give him a number along the lines of zero seven, seven, one, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive and he records it to my amazement.

Mercifully Mr.Mili tells me he has to alight at Kajansi and insists on paying my fare which I reluctantly accept. I guess sometimes its ok to be “ekiwala ekinyunyuusi”.


Hey, I am a Ugandan woman who spends a minimum of four hours daily travelling in taxis. Like you, I used to dread the taxi rides until I realized that it is a source of a variety of free entertainment and an interesting study of human nature.