Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Faked Accents

This accent thing has gone too far. I know I do have an accent because some people have difficulty in comprehending what I am trying to say.


Upon my return from England many years ago, Mark Muyobo, who is a tight, introduced me to the delights of Ntinda and especially Yakobo’s. I like my pork and made it a point of going there whenever the opportunity arose.

Often I would go with Mark – if not other Tights. On one occasion when Mark and Tights were not available, I took myself there and did the needful. In those days, I used to drink Bell beer and when it was time to go, and had asked Waitress for the bill, she said: “No problem”. However, upon her return, she didn’t have a bill but a bottle of Bell. I was puzzled and for one reason or another I took it as being ‘Yakobo’s giving back to the customer’. Two beers down the road and this time, I stood up and gathered my stuff and that is when she presented the bill.

There was nothing like ‘Yakobo’s giving back to the customer’ for I had been billed for the extra two beers I had taken. I later found out that whenever I said the word ‘bill’, they heard beer. Since then, I ask for a receipt to avoid any confusion.

Ugandan’s want to have accents but, they don’t like their regional accent. They want to talk like a Briton or an American and to an extent a New Zealander or Australian.

Early this year, I went rafting with Adrift. The New Zealanders, who run Adrift, have been very good in that they have taught the local boys how to raft, how to be instructors and taken them to Canada and beyond for rafting competitions.

In return, Local Boys have not only been loyal to them but have adopted New Zealand accents. When Local Boy was giving us instructions on what were we supposed to do, I didn’t click a word he was saying. In fact, one of the real New Zealander’s whispered over to me that he can barely understand a word he (Local Boy) says whenever he opens his mouth. “He makes such a bad attempt at a New Zealand accent, but I let it pass” he said.

Then there is Moses. Moses comes from a small town called Rushere which, is about an hour’s drive from Rwakitura. To the best of my knowledge, Moses has been ‘abroad’ three times – the first when he left Rushere to come to Kampala, the second when he went to Entebbe airport and the third, when he went to England for a ten day conference.

Upon his return from England, surprise, surprise, he had an accent and it was a bad accent at that. Have you ever heard a Munyankole speaking with an English accent? Absolutely awful! Even if they lived in England for twenty plus years, they would still not get it right. But Moses persists and each time he persists, he goes from bad to worse.

On the other hand, Greg Petzer is South African and has been living in Uganda for the past seven years along with his family. He and Lee Ann have three wonderful kids whom I met days after they landed in Uganda. In the course of their time here, I have seen their accents change from an Afrikaans one to our Ugandan/English. It can be quite freaky when you hear them speak but can’t see them and you assume they are Ugandan kids. And when they pop round the corner, LOL, white South Africans!