It’s not hard when you appreciate yourself and ignore the expectations of others…
Typical UG: When you’re rolling solo, it can seem like the whole world is in love with being in love and everyone around you is obsessed with why you aren’t partnered up and pumping out kids.
If there’s a golden rule in Kampala, then it’s for one to never be single in Kampala. It’s the costliest, most regrettable decision that one can take in Kampala. Not that there’s something glorious about marriage in Kampala, but the hell of a single life in Kampala burns more than that of a married life. And here’s why:
- Everyone is targeting the Single Chap’s Money
The assumption is that single people have nothing to do with their money. They have no expenses beyond themselves, and their greatest need is just food. For if someone is not paying school fees or catering to the in-laws, then we assume they have redundant money. When someone is looking for a loan, the first names that come to mind are those of his/her single friends. Because there’s no pressure on paying back. You can even default and the single chap will move on.
As a single man, you have no excuse for not helping your friend with a ka quick 100K. On the contrary, married men have loads of excuses. “I would have helped you, but Mukazi just lost her father” or “I would have helped but you know its school fees season.” The Single man lacks that ability to summon their ‘but.’ The only excuse left to a single man is for him to repeat the magical words; “let me see what I can do.”
When it comes to wedding pledges, everyone is expecting the single chap to outdo herself. The reason they add you to their Whatsapp groups is not because you’re their close friend but because they expect lots of money from you. When people look at a single chap, all they see is redundant money; money that lacks focus, and money that lacks a home. When married chaps make pledges, they make them jointly; “the family of the Car-boot-rahs we have pledged 200K.” Even companies are not motivated to increase salaries for their unmarried employees. They keep wondering; “even if we add him money, of what use will it be?”
- When You Die, You are Completely Forgotten
Okay in Uganda, people are used to making big promises at wedding meetings, graduations and at funerals. At funerals, Ugandans will promise Heaven on earth to the children of the deceased. “Don’t worry, we shall always be there for you. Your father was my best friend. Whenever you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.” A week later, the orphans soon realize that all those were nothing but empty promises.
Unfortunately, single chaps when they pass on, they don’t get that luxury. There are no kids to deceive. No kids for people to fake their generosity. All we speak of is that; “kimbugwe was a great man, but he’s died with his greatness.”
- Food, Food, Food
Ever since Covid-19 became a reality in Uganda, and ever since curfew became a normal thing, it’s increasingly become hard for single chaps to have a proper night meal. Whereas married men are saving space for the home food, single chaps are utilising every opportunity for a free meal. They know the situation home. As a single chap, you sleep alone, wake up alone,
fight your problems alone, eat alone, and in this Kampala, you can’t be fighting your demons alone. Kampala needs one to have a partner just to be sure that Kampala is treating everyone equally. Kampala can make you think you’re the ‘brokest’, ‘unhappiest’ until you get a partner and realise it’s all perceptions in this city. If you are a single chap, you will always struggle when it comes to meals. You will never know what it means to eat after eating.
- You become the Errand Girl or Boy
Single chaps only get to realise at family and office functions that they’re the designated errand personnel. When there’s a missing chair at a family meeting, we expect the single chap to sacrifice his/her chair for that married couple. If there’s something to collect from the nearby trading centre, the single chap better avail himself before he is called upon. And what reward does the errand boy or girl get for his/her services? Nothing. Other than constant reminders to join this trade union of the marrieds.
I also don’t understand why married people outdo themselves when it comes to winning souls from the Singles Trade Union (STU) to the Marrieds Trade Union (MTU). As a single chap, people be encouraging you to find someone. “Just pick one person, settle down with that one. There are no perfect people, you can build yourselves together.” At every wedding, singles are reminded; “you are next.” At gatherings, parents and relatives be trying to set up their single children together. In the hope that some magic could come out of the connection. Perhaps they know, marriage could be a frying pan, but single life is the fire in Kampala.
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