In this Picture: Me, MummyK, Mummy
Last friday I went to ChinaHouse in Brookfields as a part of my new anti mainstream partying in Freetown. We headed out there after dinner at posseh’s, and singing back up karaoke at King David’s where two homies croaked to Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” in trying to beat the machine and reach 100% voice accuracy on the screen. By the time we headed to China House in our two SUV convoy, it was well after two in the a.m. This is one of the few times of the day that one can drive in the direction of town in under fifteen minutes…much to my chagrin the boys played a little game of chicken. I was super angry when i found my self on wrong side of the street with a car speeding towards us in the opposite direction. “ARE U CRAZY?”, I screamed, angry that my friend had chosen to risk my life in a land with no emergency service. We found parking soon as we took the curve and parked a couple feet away from the entrance. The posse of five (3boys & 2girls) made its way passed the gate, i was expecting to pay an entrance fee of le5,000 but there was no one there so…in we went.
We walked passed the fry fry at the entrance to the usual crowd of skinny jeans (locally called pistol) and mushroom top women, u know the kinds with the bellies hanging way over their jeans, mismatched curly and straight weaves and everything in between. A friend from England commented that the inside felt like a sierra leonean club she had been to in London when she was trying to get an idea of what coming here would be. I responded that yes this is what nights out used to be like before we all became pretentious, needing to pose and be seen.
The Super Kombo band also sometimes known as Afrikombo were playing inside a hall, next to the open roof stage under the stars where they had been the last time (the rains had started so maybe they were afraid of getting wet). We stood at the entrance for a while taking in what can best be described as African nature…buttom to crotch, big tumba to big belleh, belleh to belleh…serious rubbing and dancing in progress in different corners of the room. Only two of us had ever been to China House before and I think at least two of my homies were a bit taken aback my the localness of the club. We decided to walk round to the bar when one of the karoake enthusiasts returned from buying diamint to quench his now bruised throat.
Whenever I go to places like ChinaHouse I program my bladder to OFF and mentally disconnect from any desires to consume fluids. I have never seen the toilets at ChinaHouse but once i was standing away from the men’s toilet and I smelt it and the scent spoke volumes..Ah me uncle bin day say anytem im smell pafume..”ah yerri di smell”.
While the rest of the crew went to the bar and heinekens and guiness and one fanta rested in their hands as we continued to take in the sights. As I stood there I started to shake small small when they played a live cover of “yolli yolli”, which they followed by Dbanj’s “u don make me fall in love”…My sugar banana, i wanna tell u ma mind, wanna tell u ma mind oh….by the time the he sang make u come follow me leh we go see your mama I had pulled out the two finger african swagga and was doing the damn thing.
So I am dancing, I am dancing, I am minding my business, and shaking my tumba and then this man streches his hand in my direction and calls me towards him. I thought about it for a moment because today I get many Vickie Remoe Show fans saying hello to me in all kinds of places. Just when I was going to step towards where he was seated, I thought ummm…no. So me too i called him with my hand thinking well sir if u want to interrupt my dancing by talking then I suggest u get up and come. As I expected he brushed me off with his hand and resolved to not move. I continued with my dancing, enjoying myself…I think now they were doing some serious soukous/dombolo covers. Just when I thought let me shiray to the ground i turn around and who is standing behind me? None other than “Mr. call me from afar”.
Man: Don’t u know in Africa when a man calls you must come?
Me: Well i am not african, i am a global citizen
Man: but were r u right now?
Me: It doesnt matter where i am physically i dont change my principles
Man: didnt anybody teach u that u must come, dont u know your african culture, u know you guys over there you adopt the wrong western things.
( i dont know how long it took him to class me as “u guys over there”)
Me: Well me mama en mi granny nor teach me that
(i was getting agitated at this point and i saw that i was about to seriously fiteye this man)
Man: I am sahr, i live in lumley. Whats your name?
(my standard response when i dont wanna tell someone my name)
Man: Who do u stay with
Me: I’m sorry but i dont know u from anywhere, u r a man in a club why should i tell u where i live or whom with
Man: (becoming agitated himself) what are u saying? I am a sierra leonean. I am not a stranger. This is africa i am not a bad person. u guys really take the wrong western ideas
Me: I dont care if u’re sierra leonean, sierra leoneans can be equally as evil
(i was about to make a war reference but i held back. The man puts his hand on my shoulder as if to calm me down or show that he is harmless.)
Me: And now your are touching me
( the man removes his hand and shakes his head. as if i am being ridiculous)
Man: So i cant touch u. It is african to touch people…there is nothing wrong with that
Me: I dont know u and i dont want u to touch me. Do u agree that your body belongs to u?
Me: Do u agree that your body is your temple?
Man: R u trying to be spiritual?
Me: No i just dont want to be touched by a strange african man who thinks because he is african he has a right to touch me in a night club
Just when i was about to insult him properly, one of my male friends who had been paying attention to our small talk comes over to rescue him. He pretends to get to know him asking him questions and i turn my back as they talk. I hear faintly that the man is studying a double Masters at Fourah Bay College. The band starts to play the very swit and infectious TABOULEH.
As I start dancing, I think to myself that this backward idiot will probably very soon get a job somewhere and carry with him his archaic bastardized ideas of africaness. I couldnt help thinking that if he is married, he probably beats his wife. I tell my nigerian friend that I wasn’t allowed to sing the song “Taboleh” when i was a kid he asks why and i explain to him what Tabouleh means. He smiles and i start dancing and singing Tabouleh at the top of my lungs thankful that i am free and somewhat liberated, young, african and female.