Food cannot be ready before 3pm…
Still on lockdown: This Christmas will go down in the books as the second pandemic Christmas. 2021 has also been the day when several couples took Azawi’s prophecy seriously. The number of weddings in 2021 have scared the Singles Association in Uganda. Never had we realised that it is possible for singles to become extinct in this country. Nonetheless, we soldier on, and for the sake of culture, we hereby confirm to all the younglings that these are the things that make up a Ugandan Christmas.
You know it is a Ugandan Christmas when chicken is a must have on the menu. If you go to a place and chicken features nowhere on the menu, that does not count as Christmas. Chicken must surface in all its forms; roast, boiled, deep-fried, baked, name it all!
There is also one rule about Christmas food – it cannot be ready before 3pm. Forget about all the other chaps that are killing the culture, but Christmas food is only served after 3pm. Resist all the pressure from the greedy vagalantes of Najjera and Bulindo, for those of us who identify as Ugandans, if it is not 3pm, it is not ready for serving.
There must always be that one person who does nothing yet appears to be doing everything. If there is no one playing that role in the kitchen, then it does not count as Christmas food. Somebody ought to be confusing everyone, issuing out instructions, advising others on how to stir, how much salt to add, while moving from one saucepan to another. It is not Christmas until you have that one person who will delay everything and everyone. Their sauce will be prepared last. Again, if your family does not have this person, then it does not qualify as Christmas in Uganda.
You know it is Christmas when there is one uncle who has specialised in running errands. They do not own a car of their own, but they have decided to compensate with energy and effort. When the drinks are running out, they take over the keys and rush to the nearby shop. When there are people to pick from the trading centre, they are around to play that part. This uncle is everyone’s favourite, they are the party plug.
Christmas Day in Uganda is when people first introduce their future lovers. It is not just Christmas, it is also audition day, it is vetting day. If you plan to marry in 2022, this is the day when you bring over your potential wife as a good friend. This is her time to shine. This is when she gets to officially meet the vetting committee and answer their queries.
The village trek
If you are in the urban centre, there is a high likelihood it does not count as a Ugandan Christmas. In Uganda, the countryside defines us. If our village mates approve of us, then it is proof we have made it in life. With the UBL series of number plates out on the market, this is the time to cruise off to the village and showcase the new number plate. This is the time to spread rumours that thanks to your consistent service as an alcohol patron, these numbers have been reserved for loyal drinkers.
You must make a village trek this Christmas. That is the only way it counts as Christmas in Uganda. Forget those things of travelling to some exotic location. You must go to a Nkokonjeru and let them know that the son of the village has arrived. Go around greeting every village neighbour, tip them with some 2K notes and promise to solve all their problems.
The church service
The Church service is a fashion statement. If you are showing up for this Christmas service for anything other than making a statement, then you are doing it wrong. You must showcase that hair, that new dress, that new suit. If not on Christmas day, then when? This is Jesus’ birthday for goodness sake. This is when you ‘Bamba’ and ‘Chill with the Big Boys’. When it’s time to tithe, stand up and let the devil hear that stiletto, let the perfume scent spread out like incense. When it is time to sing, let everybody hear that accent, and confirm that nobody knows the songs better than you do.
Once service is done, take your time. You must keep around, greet other families and secretly rate yourself against them. Ask them about the achievements of their children. “Where is your daughter now?” Listen to their replies. Then exaggerate the achievements of your children. If he says the daughter is now a lawyer. Worry not, tell them that your son is now working with the embassy as the strategy consultant. That he is too busy, every company is struggling for his services.
It is all about perceptions, it is all about finding happiness by convincing others that you are doing better than them.
You must scare your competition. If you no longer have a job, tell them you are now focusing on your businesses. That you got overwhelmed by the demand, you chose to quit the job and focus on the business.
If the money you have cannot solve your problems…
You know it is Christmas day, when you forget about the future. The children can always survive on porridge. If you remember one thing, remember the words of the great Ugandan philosopher: “If the money you have cannot solve the problems you have, eat that money!” And there is no better day to live by that adage than on Christmas day.
If you are in the village, this is not the time to worry about transport money for your return to the city. If you are a mu-summer, don’t worry about your return ticket, you can always float that iPhone. Don’t worry about the landlord, rent will always sort itself. This is Christmas, in 2022, you can always dey run kiti kiti and dey run kata kata.
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