Skip to main content

Bonoko: The irony of comic relief off the poor

 It was shared on Facebook, then reshared, and shared, spreading so fast. It was hilarious, very funny. It soon made it to radio shows, where it was replayed as guys laughed it off. It was so funny that it made it to TV scripts, and to DJ mixes in the club.

Bonoko is the the name given to what started as a radio clip of a young man narrating the killing of his pal. According to the clip, the victim was relieving himself (urinating) against a wall, when he spotted City Council of Nairobi askaris  moving in to arrest him for the same purpose.

It is against Nairobi Council laws to relive yourself in non designated areas. Offenders are rounded up by askaris  and should later be arraigned before a court to be fined for the act. However, most of the time, the askaris offer to accept a lower bribe instead, usually from Kes 500.


The chap preferred to take to his feet rather than face the City Council and their fines, His pal continues to inform the radio reporter that the pal was no lucky enough, as in the process of running away, he got fatally shot. The narration is all along in some crude form of sheng, street sheng.  The narrator then says that his pal, after having been shot, had a bonoko  placed on him. The reporter intervenes, one of the few such interventions,  and asks what a bonoko is.

The narrator is shocked that the reporter does not know what the bonoko is, and he then explains it is a fake gun. The narrator says that his departed colleague was a well known trader selling mutura (stuffed and grilled intestines). Like him, he had been born in a chochoro (the streets) .

He could not afford getting arrested by the City Council askaris - with no family and poor friends, no one would have bailed him out and he would have ended up serving a jail stint.

As the middle class have laughed at the funny lag in the narrator's speaking, probably a drug induced one, and at the out-of place bonoko,  the tragedy has gone unnoticed. Bonoko  is used to refer to Arsenal's lacklustre performance, as the fake gunners. The middle class has endless uses to poke humour at the word.

It has escaped Kenya that the story highlights the plight of a generation. With millions living in poverty and slums, they face problems daily.

The few who try to come up with a means of living are punished for it. The City Council is out to prove the law is an arse, by being the straw that breaks the camel's back. The council is supposed to help the poor who cannot afford its steep annual levies, by maybe allowing them to pay in instalments. Instead, City Council employees who care less see an opportunity to work bribes off them, bribes that will help them live in prosperity.

Those in charge at City Hall, rather than built premises which can be leased to those who cannot afford, they built such premises and lease them off at a high fee to the middle class who have the money. Those born into street families are condemned to live in them and die in them, poor.

We raise a hostile society, where the "clever" ones who can pocket the largest bribes  are well values. Surprising , the poor seem ignorant enough to continue supporting this sick cycle, by voting in leaders who offer no value, but can offer a bribe now and then.

Politicians have no interest in helping their electorate out of poverty. To the middle class who are blessed enough not to suffer from the diseases of the poor, the poor are a good source of comic relief.

Just like the two year old Chinese girl who was run over by a hit and run motorist , we are the 18 other motorists who  run over her again and are too bothered to mind her plight.

Another of Bonoko's Dark humour http://youtu.be/u47Wr1xlsQA

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Kenyan in Addis Ababa (Part 2) - The "University Girls"

This post continues from Part 1. 

The residents of Addis are friendly too. On my first day, I did meet a guard at a hotel, who later offered to show me around. Among the places he suggested, was this place where some “University girls” were holding some "dancing ceremony". He added, that Ethiopians being Orthodox Christians, were about to go on a sex, alcohol and meat fast, hence the importance of this “ceremony.”
I had some suspicion that I was being sold to sex, but my guide insisted that this was not a sex sale. Just dancing University girls. We did end up in some nondescript compound, and into a house. There was sort of a sitting area, with a radio system, low benches and tables, and grass sprinkled around the floor. Grass sprinkled around the floor is an Ethiopian tradition that indicates you are welcome to a place.

It was about 5 PM,  and the hosts seemed not to be expecting any visitors at this time. My guide disappeared down some corridor into the back to call them. In…

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinions of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives a free,  extra hangover for every hangover you get from it.
For starters, like everyone else, I discovered that beer isn’t as sweet as it looks like in those adverts that show golden barley swaying in breezes,  happy men smiling and toasting chilled, foaming glasses of beer as a deep voice does some narration in the background.
Beer is bitter! Now, it turns out beer is intentionally made bitter. See,  beer shares the same ingredients as bread. The major difference is that bread isn't fermented. Bread is sweet, so why isn't beer sweet?

The bitter story of the downfall of Mumias Sugar company

Have you heard the bitter story of Mumias Sugar?

Regarded by many as Kenya's most successful sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company was a disaster waiting to happen.

Many pointed out how Mumias Sugar Company was a fortress in the wreck that is Kenya's sugar industry, only unaware that it was just a matter of time. As the old wise men said, "Ukiona cha mwenzako cha nyolewa, tia chako maji".

The proverb means that if you see your neighbour's head getting shaved, your head will soon be undergoing the same - you'd therefore better wet your head for a smoother shave, otherwise you will be forced to undergo a painful, dry, shave.

But what ails Kenya's sugar industry?

The Kenya sugar industry is under legal siege. The typical Kenyan issue of coming up with laws to tackle a problem is evident here.

Many of Kenya's sugar factories are owned by the government, and have slowly declined under mismanagement and corruption. The appointing of political cronies and trib…

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits.

Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for.

Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.

Kenya Power customers suffer from Ksh 0.5 billion faulty prepaid meters

Kenya Power is a famous company in Kenya, one which draws what my colleagues in media will call "mixed reactions". While those in urban areas such as Nairobi regard Kenya Power as a very unreliable firm, I have heard of villages in rural areas where blackouts go unreported for even 3 days . To the rural people, recent electrification means that at least they get to get electricity for some days, which is better than no electricity.

In urban areas, the story is not any different. Around Imara Daima along Mombasa Road, power is mostly reliable, with blackouts been few in a week, and even at times been less than 10 in a month. In other places in the city, blackouts are a daily occurrence, and in some places, the blackouts are more than meals, counting two teas , breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Another aspect about Kenya Power is the prepaid meters, which like the firm, are equally loved and hated.

Ever since I became proud enough to start paying my own bills, I have used the Keny…