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BUKANEZA

olooHe picked the plectrum. He held it tightly between his fingers and smiled. The finger tips on his left hand ached from last night’s late night show, but his yearning for music ached for more.He wanted to hold the iron strings one more time. These strings that brought him pain came walking with joy, “Bukaneza”; Rwandese for joy. That was the name of his guitar. Every morning after not breaking his fast, he had a ritual. He would kiss the guitar head, then caress her body, before dragging his fingers lazily over the strings on her neck. A lot of perverted thoughts came with this ritual, but none came to his mind. The day was spent strumming and enjoying the reverberating sounds of his darling wood-friend. The mabati gave a metallic echo-techno music. It was a musical conjugation that only the gods could separate.
8 PM. Imba Bar. “Karaoke Night With Oloo.” He smiled. He liked his smile as much as everyone else liked it. It possessed a hopeful glint. Slung across his thin back was the bag that held Bukaneza.He held it like his life depended on it. Come to think of it, his life did depend on Bukaneza. From his head to his toe, he spoke less of his rich background. He did not have much to say about it. For the sad reason that his voice combined with Bukaneza’s refreshing sweetness brought few bank notes his way.
“Hye everyone, I am Oloo and thank you for coming.” He descended on the stool that took the light weight of his frame as he took the guitar strap over his small head and onto his shoulders. He started.
As always they watched him. The ladies were held captive by his spell while the men pretended not to listen. The love songs came and went, he sang of his pains and strummed for his joys. The wine sippers and expensive coffee drinkers were oblivious of his sufferings. Fortunately, he had one friend who always listened attentively, the microphone. This microphone knew his life stories, the ones who had dumped him and the dangers of living in the city. It knew how he loved his mother and how his father was sickly. If i could speak, thew would know.
Today he sang about his wallet. They bobbed their heads as he sang to them about how it cried to be fed. He sang to them about the day he went on a date on an empty wallet. They laughed. They always did.
He will go home, as he usually does, after feeding on the cold meal that no one ordered. He usually whistles as he goes, hoping the whistling will be enough company as he walks in the night. Hoping more, that them that walk in the night collecting what you don’t owe them; won’t pick the only good thing left in his life-Bukaneza. But most of all, he hoped one day they would listen to his songs.
Victor Brian

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