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How to be … a Kampala hustler


survival guide: The hustle is real in Kampala. Ian Ford Nkera guides on how to keep ahead of the game

The Kampala hustle is real. It has shaped some of the strongest minded men, you will ever see around and also engulfed some of our folks. The Kampala hustle is certainly not our friend. We either choose to embrace it and negotiate our way around it or have ourselves looking at the ground from over 100ft of a building and considering the worst alternative of them all, which is to take the jump.
Whatever problems you face my friend, the Lord shall prevail. If you have found yourself in calculations of survival always pondering the next move, you are a hustler by default. The streets will surely teach you well, whether the hard way or the harder way. Until you find yourself drinking water packed in kaveera as you munch on maize, trust me you have seen nothing yet.
If your bank account, Yaka metre and water taps in your house have something in common with the number zero and you still make it through to the next day, you are an earthly Jesus and a hustler in that respect. Clap for yourself. For some people, the hustle is addictive. They make it out but are still about that life. No clear job but still live a decent life. If you want to be a Kampala hustler, here is your guide.

Businessman tag
Everyone these days wants to call himself a businessman. It’s a safer way of saying you are not quite sure of what you do and are shy to tell the world you do nothing. Call yourself a businessman and own the tag with confidence. If potential clients insist on what you do, hand them a business card with bold inscriptions “I do everything”. Those three words will have ushered you into the world of the hustle. If anyone needs anything, you are their guy. Remember to always give your company a name such as Sebuliba General Supplies. Make sure you are always available because a deal could find you taking a bus from Kampala to Mawokota.

Multiple phones
Having more than one phone is simply a principle for any hustler. A guy with two phones is ordinary, another with three is a hustler and one with four phones is probably a thief. The fourth phone is normally the stolen one. The Kampala hustle requires that your landlord’s number and potential client are on different sim cards. It helps you prepare for action. A guy who has all the networks on his business card, is the ultimate hustler. To be like a Kampala hustler, you must be ready to have sim cards for all telecom companies. Obviously you will lose your head in the process, but give it a try. And before I forget, have a ‘switch off phone’ time policy. Loan sharks will have you on speed dial, so learn to keep them off your back.

No address
If you want to be like a Kampala hustler, carry your office in your palms. Why bother with an office when you can find a client in their place of convenience? When a client gives you a call, insist on finding them wherever they are. A client will interpret this as good customer care but let’s be honest; Jennifer Musisi’s flower gardens could be your address. Your office address should always be where you are situated at that moment. When a client insists on visiting your office, give creative excuses. Maybe the offices are under renovation or that you shifted and are still setting up. As a hustler, it buys you some time.

Resourceful Phone book
If you are going to be a very good Kampala hustler and eventually survive, your phonebook should look like it can save you with just a phone call. You should have as many lawyers as your phone memory can occupy in your phone. They are somewhat evil but we need them. You should have the land broker’s number and the guy in the custom’s office. These are basic contacts. At least have someone you know in any of these government agencies. Whether its KCCA or even PPDA, have your guy in check. Ohh! Before I forget, if you don’t have a contact from the Uganda Police Force, at least have a money lender’s number who will always sort you out with bail money.

Befriend a hustler
If you want to perfect your hustle, make friends with veterans. There are some people who are bonafide hustlers. If you have a friend who is a broker, trust me, those chaps know how the streets are run. If you are a lady who wants to learn the hustle, contact any of your friends that owns a boutique. They know the hustle life. Property brokers and boutique owners are the Godparents of the hustle. Not forgetting car dealers.
There you have it. Go ahead and be like the Kampala hustler.

This is a humour column and the views expressed henceforth may not neccesarily be an objective assessment of the individual.

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