Written by KRis Nsabiyumva
I’m an East African. Well, I’m the citizen of an East African Community Partner State, so even though my homeland’s location is more central than Eastern, this whole EAC makes me an East African. I’m blessed to have been to all the 5 States that make up the EAC and to have places I can call home (homes of relatives and friends) in 4 out of 5 of them (anybody want to adopt me in Tanzania?). I’ve lived with other fellow East Africans, worked with them, befriended them, argued with them, partied with them, so I’ve had the opportunity to study our characteristics and behaviours quite extensively I’d say. I’m no psychologist or sociologist; I’m just a guy who enjoys observing people and imagining things like the personalities and the roles of each person in a clique of 5, if each of them was a representation of the people of one EAC country… Here is the product of my imagination:
Njoroge, the Kenyan
Aka the leader. Not because he is smarter than everybody else, but because he is louder. He says what he thinks, how he thinks it, whether you like it or not; and in a professional context he’s likely to communicate using long oxford-dictionaries-structured sentences to impress the masses. He may sometimes come off as arrogant and bossy but he’s actually a cool guy with an excellent sense of humour. He is hardworking and quite shrewd when it comes to chasing the mullah – which explains why his mates often fear that he may be fooling them, in some way or the other. They still let him lead though, as he is most likely to know a thing or two about how everything should be done.
Banaange, the Ugandan
Aka the pillar. She is the one who holds the clique together. Caring, loving and friendly, they all love her. Hardworking and street smart (and she’s not afraid to break the rules), she’s not the kind to just sit and wait for a salary at the end of the month: she always has a ka-thing on the side to bring in more mulah… Mulah to what?! To partaayyy – yup, the expression “work hard and play harder” was invented by her and for her! Although Njoroge and Bizimana claim to be party animals, Banaa is the life of the party; heck she’s the life of the group! You’ll often hear her cracking jokes (and lightening up the mood) while Njoroge and Rukundo are busy being serious and pressing the group to work.
Rukundo, the Munyarwanda
Aka the ladies man. Always neat and organised, saying the right things at the right time, self-confident and rarely complaining, this man scores highest with the ladies *looks at Banaange*. Howerver, he is a secretive guy; it’s quite had to put a finger on what he is up to. On the outside, he has everything going for him; on the inside nobody knows. He’s an introvert; the kind of guy who likes to keep his business “in-house”… kind of like an Indian, come to think of it! Hah, Mr Rajesh Rukundo! One of his main qualities is his science of speech. Oh he talks well, and he knows how to use this skill to gather the necessary information to move up the ladder. Yup, this jamaa here is ambitious; an aspiring Njoroge!
Bizimana, the Murundi
Aka the joker… Put your guns down, or whatever you have to attack or acclaim me for this qualification which I’m sure you’re getting the wrong way! I don’t mean it in a bad way! All I want to say is this guy is always in a (apparent) good mood whatever the weather; always smiling; always cracking jokes and trying to cheer everybody up; never with a care in the World… so some may find it difficult to take him seriously. He gets along with everybody; even Mdee kind of trusts him a little bit more than the rest of the guys in the clique. Maybe it’s because he has this apparent harmlessness about him, and a thing for telling anybody who’s willing to listen about his problems; which makes him easy and fun to pick on (ask Njoroge). Bizimana comes from a very similar background as Rukundo – in fact, they understand each other better than they do with the other guys, but instead of being best friends, they’re more like rival brothers. It’s weird.
Mdee, the Tanzanian
Aka the silent one. I said Rukundo is an introvert, but this one takes the crown. He’s not very trusting and he’s pretty stubborn – okay, let’s say he’s very conservative. One of the reasons why he gets along with Bizimana is because they share the same taste for a laid back, stress-free kind of lifestyle. The others often blame them for “pulling them back” when it’s time to work… maybe, maybe not. The thing is, Mdee likes to consider all the options and consequences before investing himself into something, and being fully aware of his weaknesses (and a tad paranoid too), he’s the kind to make sure that all the safety measures are in place (and working) before jumping off the cliff (a lesson Bizimana could learn from him). Oh, and he doesn’t quite get along with Njoroge. Although he’s quite wealthy, this chap is not much of a show off (unlike Njoroge, hah!). A bit shy (though anything but weak) and awkward at times, the man is actually very peaceful and probably has the biggest heart of all his friends. They could actually learn a thing or two from him about living together in peace and harmony.