In a few days we will throw everything off and run around the streets celebrating liberation from British rule. We will sing redemption songs and do the monkey dance. Our chests will swell with so much pride; we would have to wear extra jackets to stop ourselves from catching that chest-pride disease doctors speak about on Youtube and in sleazy videos in other places that are not Youtube. In our state of reckless abandon, we may not stop to think how some things that are part of our heritage, the UG fabric if you will, came to be. Well lucky for you, I’m fairly advanced in age and I know these things. I was there. How did boda bodas come to be?

One day, a very long time ago, Mustafa was awfully late for work and he knew without a doubt that Patel would fire him on sight. So he tried running to his workplace. He was no Kiprotich so he soon tired. He noticed Abdu riding by, whistling, on his way to work. Abdu had a goat at the back of his bike. Mustafa begged him for a lift. Abdu, a dear lover of his goat which he took everywhere with him, did not want it uncomfortable from sharing a seat with someone else.

Mustafa withdrew a portion of his life savings, which he carried around with him since there were no banks those days, and offered to pay for the ride. Abdu was unfazed. Mustafa pleaded some more. Abdu scoffed and moved to ride off into the sunrise. Mustafa pleaded even more. He then offered to teach Abdu how to dance the Macarena.

I will digress briefly to say that the Macarena was a funky dance that only the cool people knew how to do and they chose not to teach anyone else how to do it. This worked until the song’s video was released and the cool people’s iron grip on the dance was loosened.

After a lot of ado, Abdu conceded; Mustafa could come along on his bike on one condition-he carried the goat and sang for it all the way. It is because of this that early Boda boda riders carried goats and all passengers had to sing to the goat. Soon there was a scarcity of goats so riders would reluctantly let passengers come along without a goat. Eventually people started enjoying boda boda rides without goats…the goat smell remained though.

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