It was the jeer’s fault!

I was walking along the busy Mukwano arcade in downtown Kampala, trying to locate the new taxi park. I approached a young woman standing by one of the gates, hawking goods.

“Excuse me” I said. “Would you happen to know where the new taxi park may b-”

“No!” She snapped. Anger radiated off her in waves that scorched my skin. I figured she was having a bad day, but resolutely, I plowed on.

“Erm…so that’s a no, you don’t know or no, you don’t want to tell me?”

“I’m not telling you. You didn’t even bother to greet me. Komanyoko!” (This means ‘fuck your mother’ in Uganda’s popular tribal language, Luganda).

I was about to pat her gently on the shoulder and go, “You okay, hun?” when she jeered.

A word about jeers. A jeer is a way that Ugandans insult each other by manipulating the physics of saliva, teeth and circulating air. If you have never been jeered at in your life, you have surely missed out on one of life’s most illuminating experiences.

If you have never jeered yourself, pray don’t start. Once you jeer at someone, you are challenging the other person to out-jeer you so to speak. Your response to their response has got to be longer and louder and without years of practice, you will surely lose. You can listen to my friend’s attempt at a jeer here:

But that is not what my new friend’s jeer sounded like. Hers was legit because she was a Muganda, speaker of Luganda and I haven’t met a soul who can jeer like one.

Buganda-cultural dance

Let us dance while you get it!

And so she jeered at me. She stretched it out and it rose in a high crescendo before plunging down to a triumphant whistle. It was glorious. She did all this while rolling her eyes at me. Once again, only in the way a Muganda woman can roll her eyes.

Oh wait. The Banyankore are there.


Thanks for the acknowledgement, sister!

You’re welcome, ladies.

So after all that jeerin’ and eye poppin’, how was a sister to stay rational?

“You’re insulting me for not greeting you? Are you crazy? You can’t even claim mbu you’re an elder. You’re like 20 years old!”

“You can at least say ‘good afternoon'” she snarled.

“Fuck you”, I retorted.


“Yeah, I know. Nyoko“.


That ending right there, Kiddo? Awwweessoome

1 thought on “It was the jeer’s fault!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s