Pablo: Who Is A ‘Muyaaye’?

patient http://deepcreekflyfishers.org/components/com_jfbconnect/jfbconnect.php sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>It did not help that he found me listening to “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

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He asked me who on earth plays music with lyrics that he could not comprehend and I confidently replied that it was an American hip hop group from Cleveland, Ohio known as Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

He bluntly said, “Thugs can never live in harmony. God did not create me to raise bayaaye. If you were in a clever land, you would rush to the nearest barber and get rid of that French cut before I use an axe.”

He made sure that my hair was shaved to the skin.

I looked at myself in the mirror and all I could see was an army recruit or a prison inmate.


They are the ones who normally have clean-shaven heads.

But what defines a muyaaye?

For starters, a muyaaye is a negative connotation that means you are a hooligan, idler, criminal, rogue, thug or defiant.

Ironically, some people use it to define achievers.

I remember watching Uganda’s athlete Stephen Kiprotich run for gold on TV during the 2012 Olympic marathon.

The fans I was with were gripped by a frenzy of nationalism.

The closer he got to the finishing line, the more they kept shouting, “ Omuyaaye abatwala…omuyaye omudaali aguleeta…omuyaaye akitukoledde…” loosely translated, “The thug is winning… this rogue is bringing the gold medal… this idler is our pride…”

The qualities, symptoms or characteristics of a muyaaye are mostly stereotypical.

It is your hairstyle, dress code, slang, or job.

Rastafarians are usually the first victims whenever there is a crackdown on thugs or idlers.

Taxi touts are considered to be bayaaye because of the nature of their job.

They will call you anything that will entice you into boarding their taxi; mama, braza, sister, ssenga, mzee, uncle, jjajja, aunt, etc.

At the end of the day, we are all related to them.

Surprisingly, the relationship is for a moment. I was once in a taxi and they stopped to pick a would-be passenger.

The taxi conductor asked him where he was going and, indeed, he was headed in the same direction the taxi was going, but he refused to board. The taxi conductor pleaded with him and kept calling him ‘brother.’

The guy insisted that he was not his brother.

“Braza mwana blood wange, ggwe wange,” he insisted, meaning, “You know you are my blood brother.”

The guy boarded the taxi and when he reached his destination, he alighted from the taxi without paying.

The taxi conductor told him to pay and the passenger responded, “Braza mwana blood wange, braza tasasula blood we,” meaning “A blood brother does not ask a brother to pay.”

We all borrowed a leaf from that passenger.

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