#1 Lele Ngoma Performance: Getting There

I’m running late because of a Skype chat I could have initiated sooner than 6:25 p.m. I’d settled on leaving the office in 15 minutes. 20 tops. So much for German timing. The exit was actually made at 7:32 p.m.

Curse of Upperhill traffic and I found myself rooted to one location for 15 minutes. Walking was an option, considering that I had 5 minutes to actually get to my intended destination. Then it cleared up, after much soaking in vile lyrics projected from a cheap husky speaker.
All fingers crossed for miracle at Agip, I got tossed out of the matatu and raced to the actual stop. No motorcycles with smelly helmets and orange reflector jackets. Perfect day for them to head home early! So I let the feet think for me and inched closer to the round-about. Then I spot the lone boda boda and negotiate down to 100 shillings – because I’m only taking this ride since it’s dark and I’m late for a friend’s performance. I think.
Believe it or not, we ask for directions. It takes us less than 10 minutes to get there and my head won’t think to call the people already at the event. I’m not sure I know where the exact spot is. In fact, I am certain that I don’t know exactly where I’m going. Dead ahead, he tells us. Before the tall trees. Good, I think. The tall trees are a few metres away. I ask for change from the nice guy outside selling an assortment of cured meats – mshikaki, smokies and such. The one under my nose overhears and figures he could help since he’s closer. Ah, yes. The age of chivalry returns to Kenya. I smile and thank him and the rider profusely.
The live performance is over there, at the end. I make a call, find a seat and start to slowly take in the dim lights, the noisy chatter, the empty stage in a seductive red glow. Neon light signs reading: Heineken and Rock n’ Roll; the Watch It Live Here! sticker above the big flat screen television set; the cameraman at the corner a few feet away. The exchange bar has offered up a good spot in full view of the show platform.Old memories flood my mental foreground as Aisha and Papa Wemba’s Show Me the Way waft and forcefully put us all at ease. Kofi Olomide comes up a few wonderful songs after.
So this is Choices at night. My mother would not approve. Of the place; the music not at all.

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