8:30am: I was lucky that the manager allowed me to sleep over. And it was not just me, there were five of us “banging” KB and chewing veve (khat or mairungi) into the night. First thing to do is to get rid of our beddings.
Then clean up the evidence of yesterday’s carousel. Once that is done, I rush to Nnalongo’s shop with yesterday’s beer bottles.
I need to get back the deposit to be used as fare on my trip to Kisenyi to buy the freshest miraa Uganda can offer.
9:30am: I get the ‘merchandise,’ call up a friend and tell him to prepare his money because I am also passing by the Pusher. The Pusher has the most potent and cleanest kush around. At the Pusher’s I am offered a sample.
11:30am: At the studio, there is already an artiste recording in the booth and the rest of the guys have already pitched camp outside. I give a pouch of miraa each to those who “were in on it” from the start. The rest have to beg for small handfuls.
One of the guys might come with a sachet of liquor which, we might share. If the pockets are good, we might buy tea and cassava. Sometimes we just have to get them on credit.
2:30pm: Once the miraa-chewing begins, we will just get embroiled in conversation and arguments as artistes file in and out of the studio. Some of them will join in on the topic at hand or even contribute cigarettes. At lunchtime, the studio might be free or there will be a friendly producer inside. Sometimes I join him to learn a thing or two.
3:30pm: I have managed to postpone lunch up to this time, thanks to the power of miraa. You lose appetite when you chew that stuff.
I might get some kikomando or rolex or katogo from the ‘food woman’ on credit. Whoever orders food is likely to share it with at least three people.
5:30pm: I am down to my last coin so I need to go and sketch for some more money. Fredo told me he had a phone for sale. Maybe I will market it for him in return for sh5,000 as commission. I actually need this money for supper and maybe some more ‘zales’ for the night.
8:30pm: My homeboy, Ziggy has passed by. He used to chill a lot with us, but ever since he hit the big time he is very rare. But at least he comes by sometimes and ‘houses’ the boys some pints. For today, my night is sorted out because I managed to squeeze a sh10,000 note from him.
9:30pm: If I don’t hop out to a drinking joint or to a concert, I could buy some cheap vodka to drink with other music hopefuls. There is no traffic in the studio. If one of us has managed to negotiate with the studio owner, there is a chance that I might be able to practice on the machines.
Another of the lower rank producers remains behind to practice and he might let one of us record a song, a song that might never see the light of day.
12:00pm: If it is safe outside, a few of us find our way home, but some simply settle down the best way they can and go to sleep at the reception.
First published in Discovery Magazine (Sunday Vision) March 23, 2012:
Vision Group Resource Centre