The gang were sitting around their favourite spot in the playground. It was break time and everyone was bringing out their snacks to begin what they thought was their break, but what Wakayima always thought of as his feast. This was the whole point of him being here in Tropical Hills Academy. He came here to see what snacks the kids had and to find ways to get his paws (which were now hands) on them.
Natalia opened her lunch box. Inside there was a stack of biscuits and a small box-pack of milk. They looked delicious.
Wakayima thought fast, then he began to speak: “Hey Natti, is that biscuit the right kind of biscuit? It looks a bit odd. As if your parents packed the expired kind of biscuit by mistake, instead of packing the latest, most healthy kind. Maybe you…”
But before he could finish, Natalia had already picked out two biscuits and passed them on to him. “Want some biscuits, Wakzi? Here. Have two.” Then she continued to eat the rest.
Wakayima was confused as well as a bit disappointed. He had not even gotten to use his trick to get the biscuits. She just gave them to him.
But they were delicious biscuits, so he didn’t complain. As he finished eating the second one he noticed that Kwezi had some chapati. Wakayima began to say, “Kwezi, at your short height you are still eating chapati? Don’t you know that chapati lacks growth hormones. If you…”
But Kwezi was not even listening to him. He just tore some of his chapati off and handed it to Wakayima, saying, “Here, Wakzi. Half and half, right?” and he munched the other half. “Mbu growth hormones. Puhleese!”
Wakayima looked at Roger. Roger had a sandwich in his lunchbox which he was cutting into pieces. Before Wakayima could even say anything Roger had already passed one piece over to him.
Wakayima shook his head. He had to ask. “Is no one going to let me trick them into giving me some of their food? Is everyone just going to hand over the food without any trickery?”
“What for?” Natti asked. “We know you are going to try and trick us out of our food anyway, but since we all share our food, why should we bother waiting for your tricks? Just eat, Wakzi.”
At first Wakayima was a bit disappointed that he didn’t get to use his cunning, but then again, the food was tasty and it was fun to spend break time with his friends.
As they were eating, Rukia squinched her mouth up and nodded her head sideways and tossed the pupils of her eyes to the upper left. I have described these acts in detail because I don’t know what this is called but I want you to picture it. It is like pointing with your face. Ugandans do it all the time but we don’t have a word for it. Have you pictured it? You get what I am trying to describe, right? Yeah. Rukia did that and then she said, “Here comes Nakimbugwe.”
And sure enough, in a second, a slim, smiley girl with bright eyes sashayed into the group. Now the word sashay, in case some of you don’t know, means to walk into a place with a lot of confidence and a lot of arrogance. You swing your right leg very far forward and your left hip swivels outwards, then it stops there for a moment while the right leg finishes swinging, then the hip comes back and the left leg swings out. It is a way of walking when you feel that you are very important and wonderful. I don’t know if there is a Ugandan word for it, but there is certainly an English word for it. I guess because the English sashay a lot and Ugandans don’t. Because when a Ugandan sashays, other Ugandans start pointing at them with their faces. Anyway, into the group sashayed the girl.
“Hi guuuuys! It’s Kim! Am I late for break time? Lol!” she said.
Wakayima had never met her before so he said, “They said you were Nakimbugwe,”
“Yeah, but it’s Kim for short, okay?” replied the girl.
“Really?” Wakayima was not convinced. “Usually, the way people nickname others in this school is that they would take Nakimbugwe and call you Kimbzi or something. I mean, they make me, Wakayima, Wakzi. They make Akello Akzi, they made Rukia Rukzi and they had made Natalia Natzi until one of the teachers said that the word sounds like Nazi, and Nazi were some really bad people, so we changed it. Anyway, long story short, I think you should say ‘It’s Kimbzi,’ from now on. Otherwise you cause confusion.”
“Who is this?” Nakimbugwe asked the gang. She had never met Wakayima before.
“I just told you. I am the one they made Wakzi. I’m Wakzi,” Wakayima said.
“Well, Wakzi, it’s Kim. As in Kardashian,” said the girl.
“What’s Kardashian?” Wakayima asked.
“Not really sure,” said Roger, “but it is someone the grown-ups think is very important. I think she is a scientist or a world leader or something.”
“Anyway, guuuuys! I am so late, right? I know, it was because, you won’t believe, but Daddy was supposed to bring me to school today, instead of Mummy, because Mummy is flying to France this week. Again! I hope she brings me some nice Gucci and Louis Vuitton. I hear they have Louis Vuitton schoolbags! I asked her to bring me a Louis Vuitton schoolbag. Anyway, so like, Daddy was the one supposed to bring me to school and like, usually it’s Mummy, and she has a BMW, which is okay, because it can get here quicker, but Daddy drives his Mercedes Benz and, like, his Benz is, like, so not used to the potholes on the way to school from, like, where we live, and you know we live in Kololo which is like, kind of far, so like, Daddy’s Benz went and kept having to dodge potholes all the time and I ended up like, so late. So he said he is going to buy a new Range Rover today so tomorrow we won’t be late because Range Rovers can go over potholes easily!”
Wakayima looked at Roger. He said, “I was going to ask what is… then she said so many things I don’t know that I have forgotten what they all are.”
Roger replied, “It’s just a lot of expensive things. She likes to show off how rich she is so she is always talking about which expensive things they have at their home.”
Wakayima didn’t exactly understand this. The concept of rich and poor is not one that is understood very well in the forest where he came from. He was confused.
But he did understand something about what showing off was. Because he remembered one animal back in the forest who did it a lot.
There was a time when the hare and other animals were at the watering hole having a drink. It often happened that in the evening, as the sun set, many different animals came to the same watering hole and drank some water at the same time. There were hares, zebras, buffalo, various monkeys, gazelles and even a cheetah or two. There were predators and prey drinking together and not even trying to eat each other because at the watering hole time, it’s best to just drink and shut up and not try to hunt anyone. It was a peaceful evening when it was suddenly interrupted.
A voice rang out. “Hi guuuuys! It’s me! Nyonyi Muzinge! Hiiiii! Is everybody drinking? Ooooh. That’s nice. But it must be soooo boring when you guys drink at the watering hole. When I drink at the watering hole it’s amazing!”
All the animals continued to drink. No one paid any attention to Nyonyi Muzinge, the peacock, who had just arrived and was strutting up and down by the side of the watering hole squeaking away.
“It must be so boring for the rest of you guys. Because when you look in the water, all you see is your reflections. And you all have such booooring reflections. Not like me. I have these beautiful tail feathers. When I drink at the watering hole and see my reflection, I see my own tailfeathers and they are so gorgeous, I can’t even get over myself! Wow! What a beautiful animal I am! I must be the most beautiful thing in the world!”
But well, unfortunately for Nyonyi Muzinge, it was approaching sunset at a watering hole in the tropical African wilderness. And just then the sun set.
Have you ever seen the sunset in an African bush? Please make it one of the things you do at some point in your life. If you live in the city, tell your parents or guardians to take you out to a national park. If you live outside the village, tell your parents or guardians to escort you out one evening.
Nyonyi Muzinge was still strutting around with his big colourful tail when he noticed that no one was looking at him. Everyone had stopped drinking, just for that moment when the sun went down because it was the most beautiful moment in Africa.
The sun, without a single word, set. Then the animals, having drank their water, set off for their homes. Nyonyi Muzinge was left alone in the dark. In the dark where no one could even see his tail, there was no way to show off.
As the gang shared their food around, Nakimbugwe swung her bag round with a flourish (a flourish is like a sashay, but for things, not body parts) and took out her lunch box. “Let’s see what Daddy packed for my lunch. I bet he just ordered some pizza from one of the malls on the way and had them pack it in my Disney Trolls lunchbox that he brought back from Florida when he was in America. Anyway, let’s see…” and she flicked open her lunchbox with another flourish.
Unfortunately, the flourish was so strong that when she swung the lid off her lunchbox, the whole thing flew into the air and the pizza inside sprang out, spun twice and fell to the floor with a loud splat.
Nakimbugwe screamed as if it was her who had fallen flat on the ground. “Oh no! My pizza! What am I going to do!”
Wakayima leapt up instantly. “Look everyone don’t panic. Don’t panic! It’s food and when it comes to food, who always knows what to do? Tell them Roger.”
Roger grinned. “When it comes to food, Wakzi always has the answer.”
Wakayima looked to Kwezi. “Kwezi, do you still have any chapati left? Bring it out.”
Kwezi dutifully produced a fresh chapati.
“Who was it with the odii? We need some odii,” Wakayima said. Akello brought out the small jar she had packed.
“Now, what next? Natti, we need a piece of biscuit in each corner of … what do you call corners of a round thing? Please remind me to ask Mr Pampers during the next class in case we have to do this again. We need to know what to call the corners of a makeshift pizza.”
“I’ve got an egg and a banana,” said Oblong.
“Keep those to yourself, Oblong,” said Chef Wakayima. “And make sure you spend at least an hour near the toilet after eating them because you are going to be farting a lot for us. Who has the crisps?”
“I do, said Rukia, handing them over. Wakayima sprinkled the crisps over the rest of the snacks he had spread over the chapati and they stuck to the odii. “There. Here you go Kimbzi. Our pizza for break. Everyone pick a piece and we eat.”
“This is nyummy,” said Kwezi, “And I love the fact that the crisps make a mess. I like messy food.”
Rukia took a bite. “This looks really gross, but tastes really good. Congratulations Wakzi.”
Then everyone looked at Nakimbugwe. She took a bite. Her eyes grew and her face lit up. “Mama nyabo!” she said. “I have always heard the maid say ‘Mama nyabo’ when food is delicious but I think I just discovered what she means. This is the best thing I have ever tasted!”
“Right?” said Roger, munching on his slice.
“Right?” said Kwezi, licking up his crumbs.
“Mwfffff!” said Nakimbugwe, with her mouth full of special Tropical Hills Academy Breaktime Club pizza.
The next day’s break time came with a change. By the time the gang got to their favourite spot, Nakimbugwe was already there. “Hi guys! I’m early!”
“How come?” asked Rukia. “Did your dad buy a new Range Rover aeroplane to fly over the potholes from your mansion in Kololo?”
Nakimbugwe said, “Noooo. I got here by school van like everyone else. Hey, let’s eat. I’ve got kasooli, some gonja, and g-nuts!”
Kwezi loved kasooli so he eagerly said, “Trade you some of that kasooli for my Nice biscuits!”
“Deal!” said Nakimbugwe.
“Some gonja please?”
“Here you go, Natti,” and Nakimbugwe passed some gonja across the table.
“Some explanation please,” asked Wakayima. “Yesterday you were showing off and today you are acting like a normal kid. What happened?”
“Sorry about yesterday guys,” she said, passing her G-nut pack around. “I was trying to show off. But after I dropped my pizza and we made our own I realised that regular kids have more fun, so from now on it’s no more Kim. Call me Kimbzi please.”
And they went on to have a great feast. Wakayima was glad, especially because there was no pizza. He hated cheese.
The adventures of the cheeky, cunning hare that sneaks into the human school continue with a fresh story each week. Join the mailing list by at >>>>>or visit bazanye.com/wakayima for the latest. Stay tuned!
What is going to happen in Tropical Hills under the reign of King Wakayima. I can tell you it is not what you expect. See you for the next story when we find out!
The adventures of the cheeky, cunning hare that sneaks into the human school continue. Thanks to the Kuonyesha Art Fund for supporting this! Visit bazanye.com/wakayima for all episodes. Stay tuned!