Wednesday, 28 November 2012

"I'd rather be safe than stylish". Meet Walter & John, two Nairobi boda drivers.


Partners in crime. Nairobi boda drivers John (left) and Walter (right)
When you live on Boda Boda Boulevard in Kampala, which I'm sure they could rename my street in the Ugandan capital, and spend a large part of your day with your booty on the back of a motorbike, flying into Nairobi is weird. The first question I asked myself on the drive from the airport to my camp was: "Where are all the bodas?" According to this Radio Netherlands Worldwide story, Kenya's Economic A survey indicated that the number of bikes in the country rose from nearly 4,000 units in 2005 to over 90,000 in 2009. I'm the first to admit that I'm staying in the bum ***** middle of nowhere (that's what you get for choosing an Aussie-run establishment - not that I picked my hostel for this reason). But even when I've been into town I still haven't spotted many bodas. I'm also now starting to feel the impact of the lack of bodas in Nairobi versus Kampala where it hurts the most. While an average boda trip to downtown Kampala from home sets me back 5,000 UGX ($1.86), I'm now paying at least 1,500 KSh ($17.44) to get into the city with private hire, as there are no bodas near where I'm staying and I'm not 100 per cent confident I won't get lost on the buses!

Through my taxi driver Edwin, I tracked down Walter Obade, 35, who has been a boda driver for three years.  He was born in Nyanza, southwestern Kenya, and is from the Luo tribe. Walter, who's married with two children, swore to me there were more than a million bodas in Nairobi and surrounding areas. (Yes, I did question him on this). His sidekick, John Oleomo, 42 is a Maasai and has been a boda driver for the same length of time. He has two wives and four children. There are 14 drivers at their stage in Karen, in Nairobi's southwest. Just days before new traffic rules take effect in Kenya, I went to Java House at Galleria Mall to speak to these partners in crime.

Q: The big difference I notice, coming from Kampala to Nairobi for the first time, is that there aren't as many bodas.

Walter: I think Kenyans more than like bodas. In rural areas they are a main means of transport. They like it so much. There are actually about a million in Nairobi and surrounding areas. I think it also depends on unemployment. When the rate of unemployment is high you have to look at an alternative way of surviving. In Bungoma (western Kenya) there is even a female driving a boda.

John: The Maasai like keeping cattle, they like keeping animals. Very few Maasai drive bodas. At my stage I’m the only Maasai rider. They like keeping cattle so they normally follow the animals. That’s the job they like most.

Uganda has its boda king, Walter. Kenya has its boda king, also a Walter.


Walter: The traffic is very congested but it’s an advantage to us because if there’s a flow of traffic our job will also reduce. If you want to rush you town, you are not seeing the jam, you will take the car. But if you want to rush to town, you are seeing the jam, you’ll come on the bike because you can manoeuvre because of the car.

Q: How did you get into boda driving?

John: I was working in security when I came to Nairobi. I saw people riding these bikes and I said "let me also try". A well-paying job needs a complex level of education. Like maybe you are a university graduate. But I did not make that education so the only job I can do which is well paying is (driving a) bodaboda. I can support the family very much. In security I was only earning 400 ($4.65 USD) but with the bodaboda when the day’s good I make up to 3,000 ($34.88).

Walter: I used to be a security man also. I found that security was not paying well, so I bought one bike. Before I left the job I confirmed that this thing (boda driving) can pay better than the previous work. When I found out that I can make 1,500 KSh a day I decided to leave the job which was paying 400 KSh a day. When these things started (in Nairobi) we had to try. 

Masai boda drivers are very rare in Kenya, says John.

Q: How much your bike cost?

Walter: It cost me 75,000 KSh to buy my bike. It was not a lot of money to buy my bike when the job can pay me between 1,500 and 2,500 KSh a day. If you squeeze yourself for one or two years you can manage to get one.

Q: Where do you get the bikes from? 

Walter: They came from China and they were a little bit cheap. These bikes have been here for now around three to four years, the cheap ones. The expensive ones like Yamaha, they were there a long time ago but people couldn’t afford them. When these ones came from China they were a little bit cheap so we could afford them.

Walter's red-hot helmet. On fire!

Q: Who are your normal passengers and where do you go?

Walter: I normally take anybody. From here to town we can charge 500 to 600 KSh. From here to Karen we can charge 200 KSh. The working class. Maybe you’re going to work, you’re late, you’re going to buy something in town and you need to go before the jam so you take the bike. It’s a little bit faster. There are lots of jams in Nairobi, it’s very bad. I have regular passengers. You may get someone who’s working at Wildebeest (a hostel) so everytime he comes to work he calls me. I’m late can you take me.

John: We go everywhere, even outside town, Mlolongo. Sometimes we are being called. "I am late, can you please take such and such person?" The customers are working people. I go all around Nairobi.

Q: Do people in Nairobi generally like bodas?

John: At first they used to be scared. But as you carry them they become used to it so it becomes normal.

"I'd rather be safe than stylish".

Q: Is driving a boda in Nairobi dangerous?

Walter: For some it’s dangerous but for some it's not. For anything that's moving if you are cautions it’s alright. What causes the accident mostly (is when) somebody takes the bike today, he goes around. The following day he starts taking passengers. He does not know the routes of the road. They don’t go to (driving) school, they just take the bike, they go around, they carry you. After two or three days he knocks someone down.

 Q: Is it easy to get a license?

Walter: It’s not easy to get a license because in school you need 7,000 KSh to get the license. I hope with time I’ll get a car. Then I’ll become a private taxi driver.

The logo on the front of Walter and John's bikes

  Q: Have you had any accidents? 

Walter: For three years I’ve had no accidents. It’s only that one time when I carried an engine. Then I went slowly. It was the engine of a car. It was a little bit heavy. I didn’t fall completely but there was a hole that I nearly went down.

John: There was a time when my bike was knocked but I wasn't injured very much.


A Manchester beanie is an essential accessory for a Maasai boda driver

Q: What's the major problem you face being a boda driver in Nairobi?

Walter: Robbing is a major problem. The criminals do come mostly at night from 9pm but not regularly. Even my friend when in town he parks his bike. When he comes back he finds there’s no bike, it’s gone. It happens. Bikes are being stolen very regularly.

Q: Do you think there should be more support for boda drivers?

Walter: If our government can support us with the necessary equipment we’ll be alright. Maybe they (can give) us these safety jackets free, the tyres, education. We can lecture people how to be safe on the roads.

Q: Do you like the job?

Walter: The job is quite alright, it’s okay. I like it very much. This thing is paying me well, it’s a little bit well paid. 

John: I like the job very much. If you are somewhere where you get some money you have to like it. I think more Masaai should get into driving the boda. It’s a good paying job. If you get into it (and) you see you can make a difference, you’ll just like it.

GET THE KENYA BODA LOOK

"A bodaboda cannot afford rider's clothes because these clothes will be costing 10,000 KSh," says John. "You cannot afford that so you have to get secondhand clothes from the market. I’d rather be safe than stylish."

HELMETS



"We do wear helmets. As a rider you have to put (one) on. When you're caught with the police, if you're not wearing a helmet you’ll be arrested. You have to be careful. You normally get the helmet free when you buy the bike. Otherwise you can buy a Chinese one from 600 KSh.

JACKET
This leather jacket goes for 300 or 400 KSh at the markets. You can afford it. But the correct jacket may be 10,000 KSh. You may not be able to afford."

Sonneti jumper 200 KSh.

Security vest reflective 100 KSh.

SHOES
from 200 to 500 KSh.

TROUSERS
 Start at 100 Ksh and go up to 200.


A shame there's not more female boda drivers in Kenya. These purple heels from Australian label Sportsgirl, which I found at the markets near Adam's Arcade in Nairobi, would look great on any rider. See some more items she could pick from here.






























Monday, 26 November 2012

"I wouldn't be doing any other job". Meet Mike, a Garden City boda.

Mr T

He may be just one of 28 bodas standing outside Kampala's busiest shopping complex waiting to pounce on a customer like a vulture, but Mike Taber, still stands out, especially with his smile and his orange and blue rimmed shades. The 26-year-old, from Mukono district in Central Uganda, has been a boda driver for three years and is now one of my regular drivers. The riders who have their stage right outside the Garden City mall put up with a lot - like passengers such as yours truly constantly jumping onboard with more bags of shopping than Victoria Beckham (well, nearly). In the past I've carried on a boda everything from a massive box of cupcakes from New York Kitchen to three large pizzas (always knew I'd missed my calling as a Dominos delivery girl). Then there was the bottle of wine and eight bags of ingredients for dinner that I tried to get all the way home from Uchumi to Mengo (the vino sadly never made it). The Garden City chauffeurs, Mike included, though are always helpful, understanding, and reliable - and as I mentioned in my last post, will even go to extreme measures in the battle against car mirror thieves. I sat down with Mike in Nsambya and he told me his story:

"I've been a boda driver for three years. To come to be a bodaboda man I lost the (other) jobs. I was schooling and I lost both my parents. I didn't get enough support so I dropped out of school in P7. My friends have their own bike, but I have a boss (who owns the boda). I rent it for 10,000 shillings ($3.76) every day. But I make it back.

"It's a good job. In a day I can get 30 people (customers) and make about 35,000 UGX. If it's a good day I can make even 50,000 UGX. I'm enjoying it. I'm (mainly) driving around Kampala. A long journey from here to Jinja  (in good traffic about two hours away from Kampala). There's a few people who go there - costs about 70,000 UGX. I take mzungus (foreigners) going to visit the Source of the Nile. If I get that job I've had a good day. In a month I do that once normally. I also go to Entebbe (in good traffic about 40 minutes away from Kampala) at least twice a month. I start at 8am and finish at 6pm. On Sundays I'm at home relaxing and washing my trousers. In my spare time I watch movies. I like ones like Exit Wounds.

Mike even takes some customers to Jinja, the Source of the Nile

"In Kampala I also take people (passengers) working in an office, others making their business in a market, the others who have shops in Garden City. The average trip costs 2,000 or 3,000 UGX. It's not hard, it depends on where you're going. Someone can tell you (to go from) Garden City up to Speke Hotel and you can charge 2,000 UGX. From 1pm til 3pm is a busy time, people are moving around that time.

"The problems we are getting is that some people are stealing our bodas. They're robbing you sometimes. It's quite common at night or during the day. They (the criminals) can move for you (at night) with a knife. I've never had my boda stolen but twice they've tried to rob me. That's why I've stopped working as night, at 7pm, because I saw it's dangerous. I used to stop at 9pm.

Always smiling

"I've had two accidents. It was not my fault, it was those (other) people's fault. In 2010 I had an accident at Mulago Junction so they (the other vehicle) had to pay for (the damage) to the bike. I had to go to the hospital for treatment. The other time a taxi driver knocked me in town. You know, they're driving rough. That one (the other vehicle) disappeared.

"I'm renting a double room in Bukoto (a Kampala suburb). I'm paying 120,000 UGX a month. But they're (the rooms) not self-contained. This job allows me to pay for it. There's no bad jobs in the country. All jobs are good as long as you're getting little things to feed yourself. I wouldn't be doing any other job."

Who needs a bus called HONEST when you can have Mike?


GET MIKE'S LOOK

Jeans
From Owino market. I bought them when they were brand new for 15,000 UGX in 2011. They've ripped over the time with work.

THE jeans - think Sloanie, Pippa Middleton, only ripped (naturally, not on purpose).

Mike's other favorite pair of jeans come from Malawi.

Shoes
40,000 UGX from Owino.

Shirt
50,000 UGX from downtown. "I bought them because I liked the picture of the lady with the gun on it. The back says 'I'm running short of money'."
The hair - he keeps it simple - and the shirt. Says it all: "I'm running short of money." Anyone for a trip to Jinja?

Sunnies

10,000 UGX from another shop DT (downtown). Bought them brand new.

THE sunnies

If Mike needs any fashion inspiration he could always buy this shirt, from Mr Price in Garden City, to wear on Sunday, his day off.




A reason to love Uganda's bodaboda boys. (Warning: contains nudity).

This story and pic appeared in the New Vision paper on Saturday November 24. Eat your heart out, Daily Star.

They get a bad rap at times for their supposedly dangerous driving and bad hygiene. Only weeks ago one Daily Monitor reader wrote to a letter to the editor demanding "reckless" boda boda drivers be "punished".

This letter to the editor appeared in the Daily Monitor a few weeks ago.


But some boda drivers would really go into battle against the baddies, if it came to the crunch. I know William certainly would. I was reminded of this reading Saturday's New Vision newspaper on my recent flight to Nairobi.

The New Vision reported that one bad egg boda driver was caught stealing a side mirror from a car that was parked at Garden City, one of Kampala's main shopping malls, recently. As it was raining (which it has been a lot lately in the Ugandan capital) the alleged thief didn't think twice about being caught. But guess who was watching him carry out his crime? You got it, the boda drivers.

"He was surprised when bodaboda cyclists pounced on him," the New Vision said.

"The stripped him naked as a punishment. The man ran away as the cyclists laughed at him. They also vowed to undress any other suspected thief."

One reason to like the boda boys. I take bodas from the mall between my home and Garden City multiple times a week (including Mike, below). Way to go boys.

One of my regular drivers, Mike, outside his stage at Garden City. (Profile coming soon).
Oh and to anyone else contemplating stealing car mirrors at Garden City, remember it's not only the bodas who will be watching. It's the dinosaurs.

No, it's not Jurassic Park - it's the famous dinosaurs of the Garden City mall in Kampala.

Prince William. Anyone who goes around stealing car mirrors may have this boda to answer to.




Saturday, 24 November 2012

HAVE you seen Herbie?

Pics by Onyait Odeke
I spotted Herbert Nizeyimana while I was driving around Kamwokya, Kampala, one day on another boda and loved his sunnies. It may not be best practice to call out to another boda when you've already got a driver, a bit like two-timing someone, but I just had to find out where he got his glasses from, and neither party seemed to mind that I was getting his number. I went back to see Herbie another day and with the help of Onyait Odeke and William, get some snaps. Herbie, 26-year, later told us over a hot chocolate at Cafe Javas Mengo how he got into the trade:

"I've been a boda driver for three years. After finishing primary school in Kisoro (western Uganda) I was making chapattis for a living but it wasn't benefitting me enough so I got a loan and bought the bodaboda for about three million shillings ($1,128 USD). After 13 months I'd earned enough to pay it off. I have a wife and daughter and work six days a week from 8.30am and am back by 6pm. I earn on average 45,000 shillings ($17) a day but can get up to 70,000 ($26.50) on a good day.

He manages to look cool even when filling up.


"I'm doing it because it's the best thing I can do at the moment given my level of education, but if I had an alternative I would opt out. The best thing about my job is that I'm self-employed and I work for myself. Because of this I've been able to build my own house and take care of my wife and daughter and that makes me happy.

City Oil is where it's at.


"Bodaboda riders are killed all the time and have their bikes stolen. The road laws don't seem to recognize them as road users. The taxi drivers don't recognize them as road users and don't give us space on the roads.

"I had an accident once and hurt my leg. My wife and baby both go on the boda. I know it's dangerous and they can get knocked off. The doctor advised me not to have the baby on the boda.

Ready to take off again.


"If I had more money, I'd actually become a proper chauffeur."

Chasing Herbie on the road with the help of William and Onyait

This was also the day that your truly combined a red Topshop dress with a pair of Bata heels on the boda . GREAT shot Onyait!




The boy who gets bums on bodas. Q&A

Brrrm rmmmm

He continues to pull off the unthinkable: getting bums on bodas in busy Kampala. And all while looking stylish - although Walter Fahd insists he's no slave to fashion, that his look is all really about practicality. For today's blog what better to feature than a Q&A with Uganda's boda king, who now runs popular motorbike tours taking in the highlights of the country's capital? Fahd, 26, is from Busia, southeastern Uganda,  but now lives in Kampala. I haven't been on a tour yet, but had the pleasure of him running me back to my place yesterday and although I "reached safely, as Ugandans say, the ride was anything but dull. I didn't convince Mum this time round (she wouldn't even get on a boda with William), but she did take home a tour brochure and say, "On our next trip..." I sat down with Walter at Prunes cafe in Kololo.


Q: Let's get straight to the point, is taking a boda risky?

A: Bodas aren't as scary as people think. If you have a good driver, you're protected and you're wearing a helmet I think it's not that scary. (However) you can buy your bike today, go on the street and say you're a boda driver. Me as a customer can meet you (and) can jump on your boda, you've been driving just two hours, then the minute you crash they (people) start saying bodas are dangerous. Some of them drive in a crazy way because they get drunk or whatever. But they're not really as dangerous as people think. To get people convinced to sit on a boda is the biggest problem (I have running the tours). But when they're sitting on it an hour later they're like 'wow, this is so interesting, safe and fun'. People like seeing places in 30 minutes. People say bodabodas are dangerous, but I always say bodabodas are only dangerous if you take risks - your head is most likely to be the problem. People die because they don't wear helmets.


Q: When did you first go on a boda?

A: Nearly three years ago, a couple of months after I came to Kampala. By then I was jobless so I got a job as a gardener. I'd been living in South Sudan. My boss had a business in pharmaceutical equipment there so I moved there for four months, but quit and came to Kampala with the help of a friend. He was driving a boda. I bought a bike for nearly three million Ugandan UGX ($1,128 USD) and paid it off so I could own it fully. I sold it off later and bought a better one.



As the song goes, "Don't look back in anger..." No road rage from this driver

Q: How did the tours start?

A: I started meeting new people, mostly white people (known as 'mzungus' in Uganda), then became their regular drivers. Through meeting these white people they kept on recommending me because I was their safe, reliable boda driver, kept time and so on. I realised there was something that I could do that Kampala didn't have - and that was tours by boda. Most of the other attractions were long trips like safaris and gorillas. I started taking people and showing them places and they loved it. I kept on saying (to myself) 'okay, okay I can develop this'. Then I made it my business. That was in August last year. I started doing the tours through word of mouth.

Q: How many tours do you do a week, who goes on them and what are the highlights?

A: I do around ten tours a week. I try to do at least two a day but I can do up to six. Most of them are people coming as tourists and others that come to visit their friends or parents who come to visit their children who are living here. Some expats living here have heard about the tours so they send their parents. People also come over to write about me for different forums.

We tell the history of all the places we visit. One of the highlights of the tours is Gaddafi Mosque. We explain the history behind all the sights, from A to Z. People love it because they're getting to see Kampala 360 degrees but they're getting all the explanations about the sights.

Negotiating Kampala's gridlock

Q: Where do you get the helmets from?

A: We provide a clean helmet, not fake Chinese helmets which most people wear. These are not protective. Over the months I've had friends who are coming form Western countries. I can tell a friend (from overseas) 'buy me a helmet'. I also buy them from expats leaving the country, some of them come with very strong helmets. There's a shop downtown near Katwe where they do mechanical works that sells strong Japanese helmets, too.

STOP. DANGER. Never fear when you're in this boy's capable hands.


Q: Where can we read more about the tours?

A: People have written articles about my boda tours in newspapers all over the world. I've been on blogs such as Trip Advisor, in publications through people who kept on writing reviews about me and the Air France inflight magazine. Volunteers also come and write blogs about me. I'm mentioned briefly on Wikipedia. There was also a Dutch TV show that I acted in.

In his mirror, none other than yours truly

Q: Tell me honestly, have you had any accidents?

A: Not on my tours. We've been lucky we haven't had an accident before. But with accidents you never know what will happen. You can be the best driver and something happens. But at least if you take care of yourself earlier you can avoid it. We check all our bikes, I inspect them and all ten drivers who work for me.

Q: Would Uganda grind to a halt without bodas?

A: I think we definitely need bodas becaue even sometimes when I'm driving my car I get stuck in the traffic and I just have to call one of my drivers and say 'okay come I need your bike'. I leave the car there or I park it somewhere else. I always move with my helmet in my car. I think bodas are the only way to go. The car is the back-up plan in case it starts raining.

THE shoes


Q: Who are the nationalities most sacred of doing your tours?

A: I can tell you some elderly people from Britain, the US and most of the Western countries, some of them are really scared. When it comes to really crazy people I think Holland is up there, they don't mind going on bodas.

Q: Last but not least, is style important?

A: I tell my drivers you have to look professional, you have to look smart because other people say bodabodas don't shower. You sit on the bike and it smells horrible. You have to wash all your jackets, you have to be clean. All our helmets are very clean. For sunglasses, it's easy to buy them on the street. But most of the time it's not about style. The drivers are actually afraid that the dust is going to enter their eyes.

The famous hair that gets done once a year. Who said boda drivers were metrosexuals?

GET WALTER'S LOOK

Sunnies - 5,000 UGX from Owino

White t-shirt - 4,000 UGX from Owino

Necklace - from a Masai family in Tanzania

Jeans - normally between 10,000 - 20,000 UGX from Owing

Shoes - 25,000 UGX from the markets in Kenya although often also gets them from Owino

Can you believe this hair only gets done ONCE  year? Sooo low-maintenance.

Hair - 265,000 UGX once a year. The hair I started growing it three years ago and I've never shaved it off. I get it done once a year at the hairdresser. I wash it every two days though so it's not dirty. It costs 265,000 UGX ($100) but I have a saying - 'I hate buying cheap things'. I get it done then forget about it. It takes 12 hours to do - sitting in a hairdresser for 12 hours takes up so much of the day!

Walter's Boda Tours start at 38,000 UGX and go up to 80,000, depending on the size of the group and the type of trip. To see more click here here. You can also get in touch with Walter via walterfahd@yahoo.com or on 0791880106. Walter also now runs tours in Arusha and Moshi, Tanzania.

Walter says, "wear a helmet". Yours truly has always worn a boda helmet right from the start (Mum sleeps well at night).



Friday, 23 November 2012

Prince William, my original boda, in his own words

Prince Will. My Original Boda.
I first met William Ntulume, my original boda driver, in February when I was living in Mengo, a Kampala suburb. Sporting his trademark mustard bomber jacket, a H&M t-shirt he'd bought at Owino market for 10,000 Ugandan shillings ($3.78), aviator shades and crocheted cap, I could see from the moment he waved to me that he was THE KING of his boda stage. Already popular with mzungu (foreign) customers in the area, he soon had my details on his books and he was so reliable and never ripping me off (or taking me for a ride, metaphorically speaking) that he soon became known as Prince William. In fact I'm now like part of the family and one day he even took me to his house in Lungujja to meet his family (including the adorable Baby Diana, see below). My parents also met him when they came over to Uganda - and Mum approved. Now I've moved across town I have some new drivers, but still call on his services every now and then when I'm looking for a very trustworthy driver. Here in his own words, William, 30 tells me about being a boda driver:

"I used to work in a garage but needed to supplement my income. I bought my own boda for 3.5 million Ugandan shillings ($1, 324 USD). I have three regular passengers (speaking at the time when yours truly was one of them) and the rest I just find. Most are business people who just call me and say come and pick me up. I make up to 50,000 ($18.93) a day. If I wasn't driving bodas, I'd be back in the garage. I work every day from 6am until 6pm then go home to my wife and four kids. They all go on the boda.

Aww, in the good old days when yours truly was a daily customer.
"The best part of the job is that it gives me an income. There are two things that I don't like about the job. The first is that fellow riders don't respect the job and as a result are dirty and have bad hygiene and as a result riders of bikes are seen as people who are dirty and don't take a shower. That's not good for business. The other thing I don't like is that taxi drivers don't respect us as proper riders.

Check out those shades. William picking me (it's never "picking up" in Uganda, just "picking", that's how cool they are) one morning.


"I blame the government for making narrow roads. Everyone's looking for the best part of the road and that leads to accidents. A permit (to drive a boda) is 300,000 shillings ($113.56) for three years. Accidents happen all the time. I have one or two small accidents a year. If a customer calls and says "come now" someone might bump into you. It's the nature of the work."

Thanks to Onyait Odeke for translating this from Luganda to English.

A formidable line-up. William and his mates at their local stage in Mengo.
Earlier this year I met some of the family.

Proud father with Baby Diana.



William sporting the Australia hat that Mum brought over for him when she visited Uganda. William's response (later): "I've got some African drums for your parents." Mum: "I'm sure Australian Customs will love that. I should have bought him a new cover for his boda instead."


  COMING SOON: WILLIAM'S EQUALLY COOL BODA FRIENDS.










Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Bling bling bling

A regular driver was taking me past Nsambya Hospital near home on my way to Prunes cafe in Kololo where I sometimes go to work. We were driving on a road being tarred (a friend recently described it as "the dark side of the moon") when I spotted Topher. "PULL OVER," I screamed out to my chauffeur.


The sparkliest thing I've ever seen, this bodaboda boy would give J-Lo a serious run (make that ride) for her money in the bling stakes. After quizzing him to get the particulars, much to the amusement of several other Ugandans watching me, the 25-year-old modestly revealed a friend (not Paris Hilton) had bought him (soooo Beyonce) his oversized sequined jacket, which had the words Paris, New York and Rome emblazoned on it, gold beret, worn backwards, for a mere 60,000 UGX ($22 USD) from local Owino market. A quick pull at the tag of the latter, worn over jeans, revealed it's from the Diffusion label. (NB: Check out the good reflection of yours truly in his aviator shades).



And as if I hadn't already been blinded, check out the ring. Another 10,000 UGX ($3.80) from Owino courtesy of this trendy taxi's stylist.

But wait, there's more.


Ring ring. I mean bing bling. Even his PINK phone had diamentes on it.

But what I loved mostly about Topher is that despite all this bling up top, down below he keeps it simple.



Topher didn't know the brand of his shoes and I didn't want to pull them off his feet and have a look because we were standing on the dark side of the moon, but the photo speaks for itself. Could they be Mr Price?



A total Tina Sparkle. Look out - if you see him on the streets of Kampala you may need the sunnies yourself.