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If you Can’t Cook Chapos… DO NOT!

There are a few ‘small small’ things that get me riled up but, which, depending on how you look at them, may make me come off as a completely bad person. They are petty things which, honestly, should not even matter (like a politician’s promise, or an Octopizzo joint, or anything that comes out of Ezekiel Mutua’s mouth) but, unfortunately, they do. To me, at least.Foremost, I hate it when someone tries to sing along (and loudly, at that) to the music being played but they keep getting all the lyrics wrong. I mean, if you don’t know the correct words to a particular song, is it not easy to just shut your mouth and sit down and nod and smile and enjoy the music like the rest of us, eh? Don’t be standing beside me shouting “sahani yake” everytime ‘Nerea’ comes on when Sauti Sol clearly sang “saa ni yake.” I will straight up murder you.

Secondly, I will never get along with a lady in a weave. You could be as gorgeous as Gabrielle Union and have a body as banging as Megan Good’s but with a stinky ass weave floating above your head, I will just never take a second look at you. Shave your hair; pour some avocado juice on it; dip it in a pool of saliva and rinse it with a glass of Dawa; do anything; just don’t spot an 80 year old weave harvested from an Indian Monk’s hair and come at me expecting a hug like everything is Okay. Nah, Booboo, you’re a walking Virus; you need to be put down.

Finally, I hate saying “Hello” to people on the streets. I hate greeting people, generally. If you run into me in town and howl my name from three blocks away, fine, I’ll stop to greet you, and maybe even throw in a few smiles here and there if in a good mood. But when you leave, I will bestow a curse upon your household; may your great grandchildren never know how to spell the word ‘Mississippi”. And may your first daughter fall in love with the Moses Kuria of her generation.

The other day, in town, having a casual stroll from work on my way home, I run into this guy I went to high school with, at that ka-intersection where Kenyatta Avenue leads onto Nation Centre. Chatty fellow; used to be one of those chaps that would be on the list of noise makers even when he was on suspension. His mouth ran like a clock; his brain ever restless. Though I recognized his face, I had long forgotten his name. I tried to dig it back out but it just wouldn’t come. It evaded me; like the names of all my exes who kept listening to Konshens. Our eyes met and I saw his face light up; like, you know how you could be talking or thinking about someone and all of a sudden they’re right there in front of you? (Although, to be clear, I hope he wasn’t thinking of me. I mean, I’d be flattered and all but, I prefer my bun in the oven, get what I mean?)

So I meet homeboy here and we chat for a while about a long list of mundane things; such as how life has been since high school (Quite Okay, he says, not that I can say the same); whether Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton (highly possible); whether Baba could beat Kamwana (highly unlikely); what happened to the girl we both used to like back in the day (she got married, divorced, re-married, and now lives with a Pastor and 3 kids in Kayole. And rumors are that Pastor is ‘all up in there’); if we miss high school (just the funkies, he says. Me I miss whistling at the cateress’ daughter and the lady Teachers on Practice); and if any of us has married yet (he’s seeing someone and they’re actually living together so that’s pretty serious, good for him.) Then, just before we go our separate ways, he says;

“You know you should swing by tomorrow afternoon, if you’re free.”

“I’d love to. But I’ve got some…”

“I’m sure Madam would be glad to whip you up some Chapos.”

“Next time start with that my friend. I’ll be there. Text me the directions.”

Homeboy stays in Kitengela. A humble one-bedroom at the topmost floor with a killer view of the surrounding area. The girlfriend is of Tanzanian decent; which means she says a lot of “mpenzi wangu” (which made me very uncomfortable) and “shoga zangu” and loves the shit out of Ali Kiba (I know because she squealed like a retarded seal every time ‘Aje’ came on). She wore a yellow t-shirt – inscribed with some bland Kiswahili sayings – a white hot pant (which also made me very uncomfortable, for reasons you will find out in the next two or so lines), and had some sort of wrapper around her hair. She had thick oily lips, pointy breasts, a curvy behind, and the kind of thighs you look at when you’re having a bad day; thighs so warm and thick and tender you could almost hear them sing, “Don’t worry, be happy.” And while Miss-Ali-Kiba here was getting down and dirty in the kitchen, good ole’ homeboy here and I drank down a bottle of Old Smugglers whiskey at the balcony (where he may or may not have said a thing or two about the missus’ mediocre bedroom skills after a couple doubles. Wa-Tanzania mpo?)

Close to four hours later, the madam summons us back to the house for what is supposed to be a meal of Chapo-Madondo. The table is perfectly laid out; with tall glasses of orange juice neatly placed next to each plate. She says a slow prayer in Swahili, finishes with a heavy sigh and finally says, “Haya basi, mle sasa.” I ask if she won’t be joining us and she says something along the lines of, “Ntala baadaye mimi. Bado nina kazi nyingi kuleee jikoni.” I say “Sawa”, grab myself a Chapo from the pile and sink my teeth into it.

See, here’s the thing, I like my Chapos tender, perfectly rounded, and heavy. I tell people if you want to cross me then mess with either (or all) of three things; My Family, My Whiskey, and My Chapos. And that’s not a humorous statement, that’s a basic fact. So when you invite me to your digs for Chapos, you damn well better make sure those Chapos are kick ass. And you would think a mami from the land of Magufuli with a heavily endowed front and rear would know how to cook Chapos, but NO!

I sank my teeth into that Chapo one time and almost died of repugnance. For one, those Chapos were so lifeless they looked like they suffered from Cancer, Blight Fungus and Depression. They were withered and weak and had burnt marks all over like they had been cooked using stolen fuel. They rolled in the mouth funny and tasted like sour wild cherry. To put it in graphic terms, if those Chapos were human offsprings, they would be accidental babies from a Donald Trump and Fatou Bensouda sexcapade.

Folks, stick to your lanes. If you know how to make biryani, make biryani; If you know how to do pilau, do pilau; If you can only make noodles, do the fucking noodles. Just don’t mess around with Chapos. Don’t try if you don’t know how; don’t try if you made an attempt one time and they came out the shape of a weaner. Because, with Chapos, it’s either you know how to make them or you don’t. And if you don’t, just boil some fucking eggs and serve goddamnit. Ona vile sasa mtu ananipea high blood pressure bure. Uchwanya matek.

The photo, courtesy photo… Is just there to lead you to Canaan. Hehehe.



  1. Vivianne W. 25 October, 2016 at 12:37 Reply

    Don’t try it if you made an attempt one time and they came out the shape of a weaner Lol or did you mean weiner? hahahaha

    Excellent piece

  2. orawoolave 25 October, 2016 at 17:09 Reply

    I love how you have mastered your word art and comic phrases. On chapos, I can’t cook so I don’t, I hope however you can cook the kind you like for yourself. ???

  3. Son of Belle 26 October, 2016 at 00:20 Reply

    First things first, this is a great piece. Exquisite and creative maneuvering of language. Other than that, as a friend, and a great lover of Chapat (not chapati or chapo), I totally agree with your sentiments. Also check this out https://tobbybelleblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/chapati-chronicles/
    On the other end, being a friend, I’m never inviting you to my house hehe, or introducing you to my girl. That starved description you’ve given is ufisi raised to power infinity. We’ll stick to my usual formal meetings, in the office or public places hehe, or on WhatsApp.

  4. Ian Kibet 1 November, 2016 at 21:40 Reply

    Wish I could get 3-4 killer articles like this one to calm down my tired brain each evening, can I subscribe to your posts please?

  5. Mandy Williams 5 November, 2016 at 11:27 Reply

    I love my Chapattis.(chapos with double t). Nice well made chapattis, with a pinch of salt kwa umbali. I have these two friends who are very good cooks. Maan I envy their husbands to be. The first friend, wah MisterLeft you should meet her. Those chapos have life, chapos that you will not be ashamed to dish out at Java as you sip your coffee.(do they allow food from outside, sorry I have never been to that place). Chapattis that are still yummy and soft the next morning. Now for the second friend, I have just seen her cook pancakes. I just hope her chapattis are as good as those pancakes. Pancakes and chapittis are from the same family tree right?

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