For those loyal readers of Visa na Mikasa at, who wonder how come this episode # 15 never came to be, I have decided to fill the void with this Kisa. Probably some of you guys are saying Haya ashafufuka tena. Well…yes! 


There is something in Mombasa that is called Mfungo Sita. This comes at a time when people are doing serious tuning of their Matwari na vigoma. The whole month is dedicated with celebrating the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The official opening of this month is on the 12th of Mfungo Sita, which starts with a Zefe from msikiti wa sakina, all the way to makadara. During my younger days in Mombasa when I never knew of something called handaweya which is worn before you put on a suruwali, this was the mother of all celebrations. Pengine the only place that can outdo the Zefe la makadara is Maulidi ya Lamu which takes place somewhere in mfungo Saba in an island that was named after a letter that comes before mimu. The Zefe is a parade that starts after Asr prayers, and finishes at Maghrib. Then at night there is the Maulidi which starts after the Isha prayers.


 Now that I reside in a country named after a soft drink (a.k.a. Canada) which have possession of some months in which the doors of the freezers (not the fridge) upstairs are opened, I wonder how would my people in Mombasa handle Mfungo sita if it came on the days that the doors of the freezer upstairs are open. I will talk about the Zefe some other day. My intention is not to talk about this mother of all events of Mfungo sita but to talk of one of the many off-springs that take place in many of the mitaa in the island of Mombasa and its outskirts. One of these watoto wa mfungo sita happen to take place in my neighbourhood Majengo alias Ardhi ya kudzacha, or for those who listen to Aljazeerah, they may hear the guy with a kilemba saying something to the effect of Ardhul Kudzasha, as the letter ‘Ch’ is a non existent in the language of the people who harvest oil instead of mpunga. If I can trust the chicha in the medula oblangata of a kifufu that I call my head, here is how the events took place.




This is an event that involves the whole mtaa. Therefore everyone make a contribution of some kind. The Maalim is the one who show the way to the committee and take the role of president, or chairman. He becomes the most important person, since he has put so many ayas from the mswahafu to memory. He also happens to be the local authority on Sunnah na Seerah ya Mtume. One other thing that qualifies him to carry the title that is also carried by the Joji Msitu of the US of A, is the fact that he is the only one who can produce a whole madrassa with matwari and vigoma, at short notice. These are the children who will come and sing the qaswidas, and read the milango, that will make akina yakhe like me once the milango has ‘climbed on our heads’ yaani zishapanda go “swalu ala nnabi” or go for the shorter version of “ NABIY!”  Or the guy with the voice like that of a goat goes “Mtumeeee!” and everyone else respond “Allahu maswali wasalim aleeeeeeh.” Now if someone has these kinds of powers and effect on others, you know for sure that you do not joke with this maalim.


The Wazee wa mtaani have their own unofficial map of the mtaa that the Chifu wa serikali does not know about, and if he does, he does not recognize it anyway. After a quick scan, they are happy to know that Shebe Abeid, the mshihiri who owns a shop falls in the neighbourhood. Shebe Abeid becomes one of the main financial sponsors of the Maulidi. The Wazee would probably go to him and clobber a conversation that may go like this:


“Assalamu Aleikum Shebe Abeid.” The delegation of Wazee and Maalim starts the conversation.

“Waaleikum Salaam. Ahlan Wasahlan. Duka leo nanawir. Yote nakuya pamoya leo. Naam. Nini khidma? Shebe Abeid responds as if he doesn’t know what is going on.

“Aaah wajuwa tena. Mfungo sita ushaingiya, basi twajitayarisha kwa maulidi. Kuna Chandaruwa, mikeka, taa, mapipa ya maji ya mzinga,maji ya mzinga yenyewe( alias pineapple juice, alias Maji ya mananasi),sukari, glasi za maji...wajuwa tena.” The maalim hints and explains the purpose that has caused the kuja pamoja.

“La ihumukum.” Shebe Abeid assures the delegation which means Hakuna wasiwasi, in the language of the people who created a language in Mombasa similar to Arabic that in my dictionary is named Kichagu (Kiarabu cha Guraya).

He then continues, “Sukkar,mayi ya imzinga na shandaruwa yuu yangu.”  These few words uttered by Shebe Abeid produce a relief to the group that even Joji Msitu of the US of A could not come up with during the hurricane Katrina. The old man then decides to throws a question to the effect of,

“Nakusha bleka khabari hii kwa  Suluum, na Awadh Bisbaas” meaning if Suluum, the other Mshihiri who owns a butchery and Awadh Bisbaas, who owns a stand in the market, selling among other items, a type of pilipili that when chewed makes hurricane Katrina looks like something in the neighbourhood of dhihaka. You start sweating buckets even if your name comes from the land of a man called Gandhi, who is believed to have kicked out the Mwingereza in the manner of non violence. There is a conspiracy theory that is going around suggesting that what all wahindi had to do was release all the pilipili they had and the mzungu could not stop scratching those eyes of his, until he thought it would be wise to leave this pilipilistan  to its rightful owners. As for the people who own an airport on top of the kifufu that they keep referring to as head, like yours truly, I will leave it to the imagination of the reader as to the kind of mafuriko that pours out.


Sulum and Awadh Bisbaas, contribute whatever they could and one way or the other, the finances and material for the whole event gets covered. You see, those were the days when there were no credit cards which carry names like rotten eggs, alias viza or Bwana Kadi alias Mastercard. Those were the days when everything goes along the line of kuaminiyana. With everything in order, the tangazo of the big day is posted on the door of the masjid. One thing that has gone missing these days is that the announcement of the big event is posted on the masjid in Kiswahili with Arabic script.



The day of the event:


Now the big day arrives. The Chandaruwa is raised in the place where the maulidi will take place that night. The chandaruwa also takes the roll of billboard advertisement in letting everyone know that something is going to happen tonight. For those who never indulge in local affairs of the mtaa this becomes a very good reminder. You may come across one msabasi who would like to know more than one is supposed to. You see this is the same character that is always hana taymu whenever the wazee ask him to do some volunteer work for the event of the mtaa. Now that the chandaruwa has been risen, he would demand to know which madrasa will read the maulidi, who will be the khatibu baada ya maqaam, etc.


 Magharibi arrives, and darkness hits the mtaa. A very long wire is passed from one end of the chandaruwa to the other, and filled with so many bulbs at intervals. When lights are lit, the whole neighbourhood glows. The mtaa has never been this bright at night. Around seven o’clock at night, the majamvi are spread around. The place is getting more and more tayari. One of the most important guys for the event shows up. This is the guy who comes with the loudi spika, Swahili version of loud speakers, alias microphone. He puts the two big ‘ears’ referred to in the language of our mothers as “vipaaza sauti” on the opposite sides of the chandaruwa. The unwritten rule is that once that is set, the only job remaining is to test the spikas and see if they are working OK. Here is where I want to narrate this kisa.


There was one Mwamadi whose name was changed by as many wazee na mabibi on that particular day to baradhuli because of what he did. Here is what he did.


When mwenye spika appoints you to be his assistant, then you better listen thoroughly to everything he says. On this particular day, mwenye spika was on a ladder trying to fix those ears. He therefore asked Mwamadi to go and test the speakers. There is a ritual that all wenye spikas go through, and that is, they will hit the microphone with their index finger to see if the sound is magnified. If they are not satisfied by that they may go and give it a ngoto. For those who are not coming from the island that ardhul Kudzasha is located, ngoto is when something is hit by the knuckles of your fingers. This could produce a louder and clearer sound than when the spika is hit with the finger. Somehow, in the world of wenye spika, this is never enough. They have to talk to the makrofoni too. This is when you hear to the likes of, “testing...testing…1, 2, 3, testing… testing… testing 1, 2, and 3.” I always wondered what will happen if mwenye spika decided to speak to the makrofoni in any other language other than the one of the malkiya Elizabeti. We will leave that wonder for another day. As for now, let me go back to Mwamadi.


Mwamadi was told to hold the spika and talk to it when he is given the signal. Mwamadi somehow thought that he must be very special to be picked by mwenye spika to test them. He thought that this could be the day that he should shine. When mwenye spika cued Mwamadi, with the words, “Haya jaribu” Mwamadi went wild. He held the spika to the likes of akina Michael Jackson, and caved backwards and started very loudly, “Na aje hapa tuhangaike nae… na aje hapa tuhangaike nae…”  He then pulled himself back and started to dance, and do some moves the way those guys do the moves in a programme that used to show in the TV by the name of Solid Gold. He then started kukatisha and go Mamase mamase mamamakosa! And did that shrieking sound that MJ use to do in his early songs in a video called Thriller. Mwenye spika almost fell from his ladder rushing to stop Mwamadi. A number of wazee came out of their houses with the laanas and bakoras, shouting “Bardhuli gain tena huyu.” Mwamadi knew that he was in matatizo ‘grandfather big’ yaani matatizo babu kuu. He dropped the makrofoni and ran like one of those guys you see in the Olympics. So this is how one Mwamadi came to pick the name barudhuli in mfungo sita in Mombasa.


As for maulidi itself, we will leave it for another day.


Said Nuweisr