Thursday, 28 February 2013

Fash off with a boda boy in Kla, as Australia Day hat are handed out.

Wanted: one "smart" boda driver.
 After a whirlwind trip taking in the UK, Asia, Australia and South Africa, I've arrived back in Kampala to... a bit of a fash off (do I sound like I spend too much time reading Grazia?) with a boda driver. I'm pretty sure it was unintentional, since he didn't seem to know I existed until picking me up on the side of the road near my new house in Munyonyo this morning.

Wanted: one "smart" boda passenger.

Here I was thinking I was "smart", as the Ugandans say, in my new organge, pink and beige body con dress from Oz with blue Office shoes from the UK, which are now looking more vintage thanks to the dirt. Then along came Hamimu, 28, sporting a Florida State shirt he'd picked up at Owino market for 20,000 shillings ($8.08 USD), teamed with jeans for 15,000 UGX and Nike shoes for 15,000.

Me and my new driver. Slightly matchy matchy?
Hamimu picked up these trainers for just 15,000 at Owino market.
And check out his seat cover. Pure sophistication. Mum would be so impressed.

Okay our outfits weren't totally the same. But they weren't totally dissimilar, either (excluding the orange lipstick). There were several attempts to get a pic of me on a boda, showing off my new dress. Does this remind you of that time up the top of The Peak in Hong Kong when I asked that random guy to take a pic of me, Tamera Lang, if you're reading this?

Does this pic in Uganda in Feb 2013...

Remind you of this pic in Hong Kong in Sept 2006? In a way? Yes? Tamera Lang? (NB: private joke here, see if you can figure it out).

Of course neither Hamimu nor I, although we try hard, are as stylish as Alexandria, 18, a student from Lubiri Girls High who I met at Rubaga boda stage.

It's not raining, but I'm sure Alexandria will happily let you stand under her umbrella ella ella ella eh eh ey.

The most stylish girl on the side of the road.

I loved the rainbow umbrella, which she purchased for just 3,000 shillings in town and her Africa-shaped earrings, given to her during a promotional day at her school. Alexandria, who will start S5 next week, completed her outfit with a woollen hat (3,000 UGX) including feather and bright green blouse (7,000) from Natete Market, boho shorts (a present from her Mum) and sandals (10,000 from Natate). Her burgundy coloured handbag was a birthday present from a friend.

"That's my nature," said Alexandria, who likes dancing and studying (yes she really said this), modestly when I told her how "smart" she was. She may not be trying, but she won the unintentional fash off.

I bumped into her as I was taking THE HAT to William. Yes, that's right. THE HATS have started being distributed on the streets of Kampala. Thankyou Sunday Telegraph. Thankyou Down Under. Thankyou Mum.  
Is that VB? Check out the pout.

This is how to wear it.

No, this is how you wear it.

Prince Wills, although my fave, wasn't the first driver to get a hat. That honour went to Mike, who I saw outside his stage at Garden City, on the same day I arrived back in Uganda.

Nice hat, Mike...

Just three days later, when I saw him again, he was distraught. While driving home his cap had blown off away into the dirt, down a pothole (not confirmed, but likely) never to be seen again.

But little did Mike know yours truly was about to pull off a hat trick...

Until it blows away. But never fear - we knew there was a reason Mum bought seven (seven)!

After Mike told me of his loss, I pulled out another hat, this time a bucket one. REAL TREAT.

Mike's new hat went well with his new Hawaiian shirt.

The new shirt. Groovy.

The old.

Some random drivers also got hats. After presenting Mike with his first hat, I spotted a rider in Makindye wearing a D&G shirt (wonder if it was real?) under a beige vest with sheepskin trim around the collar.

Yes, we can see you look great in your D&G (oh and is that a Burberry vest?) But put a hat on.

I dig your look, I thought as soon as I laid eyes on him. But you could benefit from a hat.

Voila! He was very surprised.

One non-boda driver, my friend Sandra, also got a hat, was chuffed to bits and hasn't taken if off since, or so she claims.

Sandra shows off her new headwear. "The net at the back's good," she said.

Now there's just two hats - one cap, one bucket - left (I ate ALL the chocolate Australian money for breakfast one day in Joburg - thanks Dad, I'm sure you're pleased to know I'm eating well. Aren't chocolate coins in the food groups?) I would like to give them to some of my old boys at my former boda stage at Nsambya, but there's not enough to go around and Uganda's been conflict-free for some years now...

All but two (two) of these hats have now been handed out in Uganda.

But wait there's more. The Aussie flag nail stickers. Now whoever gets those is one lucky Ugandan...  

There may be potholes there, but whoever gets these will die and go to heaven.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Valentine's Day boda

One boda has pinned a rose to his gears. Swoon. Thanks to Andrew for pic.

Kampala's roads may be notorious for potholes, but to celebrate Valentine's Day today some boda drivers have pulled out all the stops. Yes, love is in the (dusty) air. We've already seen a Christmas boda on this blog, now check out this smoothie above who was spotted scooting around Ntinda on Tuesday night with a red rose pinned to his gears.

Mr Romance though it seems could be a love 'em and leave 'em type, as he sped off before we could get his details. Thanks to Yawe Andrew Kigongo for the tip off. 
eanwhile Charlie Beau, the author of Diary of a Mzungu, tells me she's heard a whisper of a "wedding on a boda". 
If anyone out there can please shed any more light on Uganda's most romantic rider of My Big Fat Boda Wedding, Boda Boda Baby is all ears.

On a more serious note, according to a report Uganda faces an annual condom shortage, the Daily Monitor reported. Meanwhile Dr Ario Alex Riolexus of Min of Health has reportedly said HIV incidence is highest amongst fishermen, plantation workers, bodaboda riders, and prostitutes, The Observer reports. 

Love is in the air in Uganda.

The last specially-themed boda I saw in Uganda was this Christmas driver, in Gulu in December.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Look what I'll be wearing on my boda back in Kla

An "I ride boda boda" singlet. WANT.

It's a bit naff, perhaps, to wear African prints IN AFRICA, or so I was telling Mum when she gave me my Christmas presents after I'd arrived home in Australia last week. Everything I received had a leopard print pattern on it (I am really grateful, though. Also without Mum readership of this blog would go down to three).

Just like it's a bit naff, perhaps, to get a photo of the London tube map to put on your wall when you live IN LONDON, as my friends Mel and Prash were discussing with me recently when I stayed with them. (Although they're pretty cool).

And it's probably also a bit naff to wear a black singlet with the words "I ride on boda boda Kla+ 256" emblazoned on it especially when you're ON A BODA for half of the day and especially when you're a mzungu, but this is what I'm buying (above) as soon as I get back to Kampala next week. I'm sure that like heels and a little red dress, it's suitable motorbike attire.

It's a tough call, but I think I like this one just a bit more than the black one.

What I normally wear on my bodas. Thanks to Onyait Odeke for the pic - see .

This piece of "art" is the latest offering from Destreet Art, the Ugandan version of Christopher Kane, who will no doubt be stocked in Topshop any day now.

The artist known as Destreet Art hard at work in Kampala.

"In my City Kampala, there is so much trafic and people easily get around on motor bikes as thats the available transport to get you straight to your destination," he says of the inspiration behind his design.

Destreet's latest range includes pieces inspired by the gorillas and Uganda's national bird, the crested crane, below. The designer is currently encouraging Ugandans to "celebrate with me as I lauch my life time favourite imaginative Destreet Art compositions", despite being only about 24.
Eat your heart out Ken Done. One of Destreet's designs.

If he needs any inspiration from Down Under, DA could always look at these toilet blocks in hometown, Murwillumbah, which I liked so much I snapped them last week, below.

The south Murbah public loos.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Happy Belated Australia Day, Uganda

Uganda, you are SO LOVED. Oh hang on, we need to take some of the ST tags off.

Mum was so excited when she discovered that The Sunday Telegraph had put out a special Australia Day hat once again. Not because she wanted to wanted to wear it on January 26th, but because she wanted to send a whole truckload to Uganda.

Going on some of the gear the Ugandans had been spotted in previously - Australian beach cricket XXXX Gold and Socceroos tops (which a colorful feather duster seller below had been sporting) - the east Africans clearly had a love of Oz and were going to GO NUTS WHEN THESE BUCKET HATS LANDED ON THE STREETS OF KAMPALA. Even though most of the time they got Australia mixed up with Austria. I'm sure I'd seen a freebie hat from one of the papers Down Under at local Owino market before.

Spotted roadside in Kampala: a Socceroos jersey.

The hats set you back $1AUD once you had a coupon you could get out of The Sunday Telegraph, which you could buy for $2. That worked out to be the equivalent of 8,191 Ugandan shillings. For the same price, you could probably feed an African family of five for a year. But that didn't stop Mum.

"I've got seven. Is that enough?" she emailed me anxiously in the lead-up to Australia Day.

Do these look like they come from Dinky Di Discounts? Check out the Australian money.

I told her I thought it would be, for the time being.

So Mum got seven hats and, because we didn't want the Africans to think that we didn't truly love them and we hadn't gone to Dinky Di Discounts Murwillumbah and forked out money for more expensive ones there, she cut all The Sunday Telegraph tags off them. She promised to glue them all on a shirt for our favourite Sunday Telegraph reporter Jmo, so they wouldn't go to waste.

A Cricket Australia hat being flogged in Kampala during Uganda's Golden Jubilee Independence week, of all times.

Dad threw in some money (chocolate Australian coins) for the Ugandans. He'd always said he didn't have much money, that was why you should be careful not to get kidnapped by pirates in Africa as he couldn't pay much of a ransom. But it turned out Dad had a few bob after all.

Crikey, at local Owino markets they're even selling the Fitness First backpacks.



Monday, 4 February 2013

BREAKING: Bodas still accessorizing well in 2013

Wouldn't mind the hat. Wouldn't mind the zebra, either.

AS IF. Is it breaking news that Uganda's bikies are still stylish? NO. It's always been the way.

But in case you need a reminder of this check out  Kalamba Isihaak, 27, originally from Masaka, sporting a black beanie snapped up at local Owino market for 5,000 Ugandan shillings ($1.87 USD)

"It's my smartness. I want to be different. It's not too hot," Kalamba explained to me modestly recently.

He justified his sartorial choices during Kampala's warm weather, stressing he wasn't  just thinking of fashion.

"It (the hat) won't let the dirt come in," Kalamba said.

The driver's shirt set him back 5k, while he forked out double that for his trousers. But looking this good must come at a price as Prince William, who was with me when I met this rider, noted. (Coincidentally, while we were speaking to Kalamba we also bumped into William's grandmother and cousin. What a treat to meet even more of the family. More on this later).

Close-up. Check the compulsory shades.

Love the bike - nearly the Ugandan flag colors.

Some riders are preferring to pay more attention to their bikes than themselves.

John Kennedy (yes, he swore that's his real name), has gone all out and stuck a colorful plastic windmill which he purchased at a Chinese supermarket in town for 4k.

"I bought it because it makes it (the bike) look nice," JK said.

Will the WOB (windmill-on-boda) look take off this year?

"It is very, very attractive. It has done me a very good job since I got it. Customers are liking it, especially children."

A good look for spring? (Depending what hemisphere you consider Ug to be in).

When asked if he liked his job Kennedy, a boda driver of eight years, replied: "What to do? I have to do this because I have no other job right now."

Meanwhile I caught this boda below, sporting a High School Musical beanie with England jersey, outside Garden City and told him I thought he "designed well" as the locals say (translation: you are stylish).

LOVE the TV/sport combo. Who says bodas are all tough footy-watching bikies who don't appreciate culture?

Like your combo.

I'm now Down Under, and while I haven't seen any bodas here I did ride a bicycle (a proper bicycle, blue and with a basket on the handlebars) out to drinks at North Burleigh the other night.

Look very closely. This is the closest I got to a boda during my recent visit to Londres.