Rushongoza Begumya performing poetry/Photo credit: Tusubira Patricia

He steps on my white sneakers

I ask him to mind where he steps

He says

I am only 12, learn to be patient

I say

It’s not my fault. My whole generation was born running.

He says

This is a concert; don’t you have any good things to think about?

I say

I don’t know. I don’t think so.

He says

Try losing some weight

I say

But you can’t say that: you are fat too.

He says

Not true. Not true. I am losing weight around the arms.

I ask him how he got so fat

He said his father used to buy him chicken everyday and leave him in the car

His father would sit at a veranda of a bar nearby

He says he needed the weight anyway

So that he could carry his heavy school bag

I ask him what he loves about school

He says

The fact that I am not learning

I ask him why he loves that

He says

I find romance in ironies

In congratulate him on his anti-clockwiseness

He says

I observe that you are running out of time to marry

I say

Not quite, I still have at least ten years

He says

No, you have like two. Because after that it’s the war.

I ask

Which war?

He asks

Do your eyes work?

I ask him again

Which war?

He says

The one we are already fighting

I ask him

The one about political change?

He says

Clearly in primary school you weren’t beaten for applying question marks in the place of full stops because my teacher says that’s genocide against punctuation.

I ask him what he thinks of Bobi Wine

He says

Bobi is just like Museveni, but with a better discography

I ask him who he thinks is the best politician in Uganda

He says

Ibrahim Ssekagya

I say

But Ssekagya is a footballer and not a politician

He says

But that’s the point!

 

Vinka comes on stage.

We stop talking.

 

I ask him about his mother

He says

Which one?

I say

The one who gave birth to you?

He says

There is never one birth. Point to a specific mother.

I ask him what he thinks of Uganda

He says

Most times, I don’t think about it.

I ask him

On the other times?

He says

On the other times I am sitting inside a car parked near a bar located near a shop where women go looking for bums, I thought you were listening.

I ask him what he wants to be in the future

He says

Ask me after the war. If you survive it.

I tell him there will be no war

He says

Mention that as a prayer, not a statement of fact.

I ask him if he has a girlfriend

He says

I am still looking for a girl with the right braces

I ask him about his siblings

He says

My brother strangled himself and left a note “I did this for personal reasons”

I say

That’s sad. Am sorry.

He says

He was fat too. He won’t fit through heaven’s gate

I say

Maybe they will put up a tent for him outside

He says

Fair point.

 

Bebe Cool comes on stage.

We sing along.

 

He says

Unlike Bebe Cool, Vinka can really dance. She moves like it’s all a movie.

I ask him

What’s your favourite movie?

He says

None.

I ask

Why?

He says

Isn’t it obvious? They don’t make movies anymore

I say

That’s not true

He says

Every movie I have watched is an old movie with new visuals. Its always Colombian cocaine, trafficking in Asia, hunger in Africa and an American superhero with blue eyes.

I say

What’s wrong with blue eyes?

He says

Blue eyes are for dolphins, not people

I say

Don’t say that. That’s racist, take that back.

He says,

I talked about every movie being about Colombian cocaine and hunger in Africa and you didn’t find that racist and that’s racist.

I ask him if he thinks we will ever have a fair world

He says

Look man, I am just a fat kid who doesn’t believe in germs. Don’t you have any questions for people my age?

 

 

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