Dashiki Dialogues: Ke Dezember Boss!

2011-12-16 12:45

The slight break in the music sends us all gasping for breath in time with the bassline – like the selector knows we needed it. I mean, ke Dezember Boss! and we’re celebrating.

And just in time with all our exaltations, before we can ask for encores, Fela Kuti rips into the air.

First the ebullient roar of the tenor and bass saxes, a few beats ahead of the percussive factor that marks our heartbeat.

There’s the collective howl of song as kith and kin are led by the speaker box and the boom-boom.The chorus is unmistakable and infectious: “Water ... you no get enemy ... if you wan’ cook soup, na water you go use ... ”

Now, to me, this rapport, this indiscriminate electricity connecting us all, was the first sign of a special day.

It’s marked also by aunts and mothers working magic in the kitchen.

The young nieces are there too, learning that magic first hand. The chicken has been marinated and fried, the chakalaka is already in the fridge next to the grated beetroot and other salads.

The green peas and tuna fish with lemon and mint have also found unity in that alchemy.And there’s also enough space for thunderous laughter.

The year-end foolery and embarrassments are remembered as events.

This culinary caucus is occasionally disturbed by that uncle in overalls and smelly worker-boots looking for a beer in the fridge.

He keeps asking when the food will be ready. It’s always the same, sharp, matriarchal retort: “Hey, wena, go outside, do you want to cook?”

Put back in his place, he goes outside with a frosty brown bottle in his hand.

To spite his expellers, the old timer makes sure to smuggle out an ice lolly from the ice box for his favourite grand-nephew ... its poetic justice for the tipsy old man.

Just as he sits, and the soundtrack having moved a few tracks further, he discovers a sweet revenge in song.

With one hand on the chair for balance, he gets down, singing along with a defiantly raspy voice: “She go say ... ah be lady yo ... she go say a no be woman.”

It’s a comical moment of personal revolt. Everybody reads this as such and laughs out loud. It’s part of the grand dialogue of the delightful family.

Ke Dezember Boss! and all dashikis are brightly coloured.

» I’m on Twitter @Percy_Mabandu

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Debtors/Creditors Supervisor

Century City
Pro Placements Recruitment Agency
R10 000 - R12 000 Per Month

CSR Inbound

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
O'Brien Recruitment
R14 000 - R16 000 Per Month

Graphic Designer

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Creative Sourcing
R7 000 - R9 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.