Boda Boda Chronicles – Kampala

Is it just me that struggles to leave the warmth of bed on cold mornings or are there other soldiers in this struggle? Recently, I woke up on a cold morning, with one eye open I reached for my phone because I didn’t want to leave the warm bed. Started scrolling through twitter, then it hit me, I had only 20 mins left on the clock to get to work. Then the rush began, I just had to skip breakfast and packed everything I needed in my backpack.

Finally, I dashed out of the house, got into a Ggaba taxi – Yes, I don’t have a car, as yet! I dare you say, “Genda Ogule motoka.” The taxi got going and it was making a lot of stops, and at every stop I was getting more impatient – Typical millennial. As we approached bunga– soya I could see the traffic jam ahead. In a rush hour you can’t be patient for traffic jam. So, I told the taxi driver to make a stop and I disembarked.

With a loud whistle, I gestured and called for a boda boda1, and one came through. The boda guy and I discussed the drop off and the payments, I humped on and he started to ride. This ride was the most furious ride I have ever taken, the guy cutting into the jam like he was taking trash! Okay, men are trash, but hey, this trash got work. My hand was holding tight onto the metal bar at the end of the boda boda seat, I was trying to lean in forward just above his shoulder, but I couldn’t, my eyes were tearing and the tears were going into the ears.

Boda bodas on the road Photo credit- Daily Monitor.

I noticed the guy had a helmet, but he wasn’t putting it on, “What the Fish?” I said in my mind. In that moment before I said a word, he said “Emirimu gigambaki?” [How is work?] “Work is fine” I replied. Then, he started stirring a conversation, I didn’t catch/hear many of the words because literally the words were being blown away by the wind. All I replied were “Yeah” and “not so loud giggles.” As we approached the Kabalanga Junction, the boda boda guy grabbed his helmet and put it on. – To avoid being stopped by the traffic officers.

Just after the junction the guy took off the helmet and started racing, in the morning I don’t usually have mean words, otherwise! So, I kept quiet till when I had reached at work place. I gave the guy a big note and he didn’t have change. After waiting for more than 4 minutes as he looked for change, finally I entered the workplace. Everyone was looking at me like something was wrong. Realizing later that during the ride, the wind had disorganized my well-kempt hair and my face had dust all over. But, like you know star taffa I carried on with my work.

During the lunch break, workmates were talking about the new safeboda app and how they had all got each UgX. 15,000 credit on the app, just after the download. FOMO kicked in, and being on office Wi-Fi – where downloads and updates happen, I downloaded the new safeboda App. Signed up and boom I was credited. All the day long I couldn’t wait to use the credit –the spirit of withdrawing, as soon as you get the money you want to use it. Spirit of spending!

Fast forward, Work was done, I made a request for a safeboda and in just a few, I got a notification my driver has arrived, I was like hold up! I didn’t request for a driver! So, I walked out and there he was waiting on the boda boda. We exchanged greetings, he gave me a net for the hair and a helmet to put on and off went. While on the ride, we talked about current affairs and facts, the guy knew his facts. This time the words were actually audible and clear. Upon arrival, I gave him the helmet, he then swiped on his phone and payments made through the app, I literally didn’t pay.

I got home happy, he didn’t ride like he was taking trash, also we didn’t have to look for change and also I was comfortably seated knowing that I was safe and in good hands.


  1. A motorbike, mainly used to transport passengers.

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