Local Languages. What is Said and What is Meant


The scene is a Woteli. That is like a restaurant, cafe, or takeaway, but more ghetto than all of those. You go in and you don’t find wifi, baby. No wifi. You will be lucky if you find the yaka meter on the wall. If you are and do, it will be beeping because they only top up for the week.

Some of us speak Luganda. Some of us don’t, and wonder what the others are saying. Let me stop intros and get right to the dialogue.

Said by customer: Gyebale nyabo.

Meant by customer: You have an appealing body. I would propose some sort of tryst except, well, for the fear of rejection.

Said by Waitress: Namwe mugyebale.

Meant by Waitress: I can tell from the way you look at me that you want me against the wall.  It is very discomfiting.

Said by customer: Emmere weeli?

Meant by customer: I sense some kind of scorn in your demeanor. A slight hint of contempt. Like chilli sauce in milk, it is inescapable. Hmmm.

Said by Waitress: Yye ssebo.

Meant by Waitress: You are so unattractive! I don’t like it when unattractive people stare at my breasts.

Said by customer: Eyidde bulungi?

Meant by customer: Ooh… Boobies. I am no longer concerned with the contempt on your face. Let me focus my attention here.

Said by Waitress: Yye seebo

Meant by Waitress: How do human eyes become so red? You need vitamins.

Said by Customer: Njagala mucheele n’ennyama. Webili?

Meant by customer: Boobies. Boobie boobie boobies.

Said by Waitress: Oda wiz cash.

Meant by Waitress: And this isn’t even one of those posh restaurants where they tip

Said by Customer: Mmeka?

Meant by customer: I would start with the left one. Give it a thorough work over, then proceed only after I was satisfied with my effort.

Said by Waitress: Sikisi sousand

Meant by Waitress: If you had some money I would seduce you, I guess. It would supplement my meagre waitress income and allow me to purchase some of the modest luxuries I feel my looks entitle me to. Women with Jugs like mine should have at least an up to date star times subscription in the muzigo