Columnists Features

Of Christmas in the hood

TORN APART with BOYD PHIRI
WHEN it comes to partying and clubbing, the hood has worn the crown loud and proud despite a myriad of challenges.
Wherever you live in the country, there’s one thing you can say about life in the hood – imbibing.
And it seems some people in the hood turned Christmas into an opportunity for them to show that they can drink the whole Zambian Breweries in one sitting.
I don’t know how long it is going to take for affluent areas to dethrone the hood in as far as imbibing is concerned, what with watering holes dotted within vomiting distance of each other selling both opaque and bottled beer.
If drinking were a sport, the country would have a lot of players drawn from the hood and won gold medals at international competitions, including the Olympics.
Founding President Kenneth Kaunda had threatened to step down if Zambians continued drinking like fish.
Thanks God, he is no longer President because apart from resigning, I shudder to imagine what else could have happened to him.
Don’t get me wrong: I know that there are many things that some men who live in the lap of luxury are better at than their counterparts in the hood. Buying sex in the hood is only one example.
And truth be told, the hood hosts many well-heeled people. Some have found refuge in sex workers’ homes after their wives’ decision to withdraw their conjugal duties.
Whichever way you look at it, there is nothing people in the hood dread more than a lull during Christmas. Silence is seen as a negative by hood-dwellers.
Last Friday – Christmas Day – was no different. First, though, you must understand that, for many people in the hood, Christmas is seen as a day for merry making than a day to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.
Some buy Chibuku beer in jerry cans and drink themselves stupid. If you decide to go for a walk in the hood on this day – you keep your eyes up. You never know who might vomit on you or cut your finger with a beer bottle thrown from somewhere.
And if you don’t watch out, you may find yourself as angry as someone who has had his tin of Chibuku beer spilt by a fellow drunkard at a tavern.
Yes, it’s a dangerous world out there and the best thing you can do is stay indoors on Christmas Day.
This is the time when wives put themselves on high alert as part of their proactive initiative to protect household income from plunder by their husbands.
It doesn’t take long for some men to blow up the bucks in their homes on beer and forget about school fees for their children.
If some people seem well-behaved on Christmas Day, probably it is because they think that police officers are in the hood monitoring their behaviour.
Perhaps this is why Kitwe recorded 21 Christmas assault cases, according to a story published in the Daily Mail yesterday.
Now, those are official figures captured by police stations because they were reported.
Meaning, these cases could be more than 100 in Kitwe alone because most of them, especially in poor townships, go unreported.
Just as most skirmishes in Chibolya, Misisi and John Laing in Lusaka were not reported, including motorists who held grudges against the recently installed street lights along Burma and Chilimbulu roads by hitting them at will on Christmas.
Some incidents make you wonder whether this is the first Christmas some people are celebrating or indeed the last one they are commemorating.
Scuffles can be a common occurrence on Christmas Day, especially when people hide behind intoxication to settle old scores.
Alcohol is not the only happening thing at Christmas. Fireworks are more irritating than drunkards because kids who are not well schooled by their parents throw them anyhow, even in your face.
They explode at will and contribute to noise pollution.
My problem is not fireworks but their indiscriminate throwing from around 16:00 hours to midnight.
Why don’t they restrict the explosions to their yards? That’s the hood for you.
bjboydphiri@yahoo.com

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