Friday, March 17, 2017

Totally nduthi-fied

I hate nduthis.

OK, that sounds a bit excessive. Let's just say, then, that I think that nduthis are the two-wheeled equivalent of the motorised scum of the universe known as the Forward Travellers, Embasava, Utimo and Umoinner sacco.

Nduthis, especially the ones pretending to be potato-potato of the 45°, air-cooled, 88 cubic inch Harley-Davdison twin cam engine, are a menace. They are loud. They are slow. They are ridden with an aggression that beggars belief. And their riders, almost to a man, are splendidly filthy and shifty looking that it is a wonder that some of them have a clientele at all. But they do. And that, never mind everything I have written, is pretty neat.

A decade ago, when boda boda was the word in Western Kenya, who would have believed that nduthis would have conquered the streets of Nairobi so thoroughly? They are everywhere and they have a dedicated following. They are fast, safe-ish, reliable, and, the only reason that matters, cheap. If you're paying fifty shillings for point-to-point transport, the last thing you will quibble about is the general dishevelled, slightly sweaty, mostly reckless movement from "A" to "B" without even the acknowledgment of the High Code or the Traffic Act.

Of course the story is scarily different if the point-to-pointing is done on the highway. Major hospitals in all the towns in which nduthis dominate have wards set aside for the victims of road traffic accidents in which the nduthi riders' balls sucked away all the blood needed for rational decision-making. All those interns that are about to be released into the medical profession by Kenya's university pipelines can specialise in orthopaedic surgery and they can all retire by the time they are forty-five for all the business the nduthi-fied Evel Knievels are about bring to them.

In Kenya "hustle" doesn't have the same pejorative meaning that it has in the United States; in Kenya, "hustle" is the one quality everyone wishes they had, everyone admires and everyone thanks for making them their millions or billions. Heck, the Deputy President revels in his description as "Hustler"! Nduthis are the perfect hustle and if you avoid the more reckless aspects of nduthi-fication, one can make a decent enough income to escape the poverty trap.

Yeah, I hate nduthis, but I also think they are absolutely awesome.

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