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Monday, June 16, 2008

The campuser is one big employer


The Makererean is the greatest employer at the university campus and the neighbouring Wandegeya. For long, many people have opted to dismiss this fact but the truth is that about 98% of the human workforce at Ivory Tower is employed off the campus.

Regretfully, instead of honouring and treating their employers with fear, honour and trembling, many never seem to recognize how important the student is to them. Don’t agree? Well, let me just show you:

The Kasoli seller: The clique includes big mommas who always carry heavy baskets full of boiled maize selling cobs and cobs to students. Their work begins at 6 p.m., and ends at 9 p.m. They usually bring around their little daughters to help. It is a woman thing; I’ve not seen a man trying his luck. Unfortunately, these women sometimes sell maize that has overstayed and is beginning to rot. One good point is that these women worship campusers and if the latter had something like a third term, I’m sure they would front such novel cause in bisanja gowns as they sing to Lucky Dube’s God Bless the Woman, paraphrased to ‘God bless the campuser!’

The photocopier attendant: Again, it’s a woman atop. Lecturers come to lecture rooms and rumble, “Pick the notes at Madina’s photocopying machine” [most women attending to such machines are Madinas.] Rumour has it that many lecturers own these photocopiers. If this were true, then students employ lecturers as well. Besides, the attendants always hike prices to get themselves njawulo. What’s more is that sometimes their machines are so old; you can hardly make out the words after their ‘thorough’ work. Have they conspired with lecturers who are ever leaving heavy volumes of books to be photocopied? Could it be high profile detoothing?

The dobby women: In these, you find the pretty, the toothless and the young women. So good at negotiating the price of washing your heavy bed cover, these women based in all halls of residence never lack work. From washing student’s clothes, carpets or even cleaning rooms, they always dig up the campuser’s ferocity when they scrub your white tee-shirt with a heavy brush. They too don’t care; are always doing shoddy work but the way they scram for the quick buck is indescribable!

The cobbler: These, like Shakespeare wrote, live by their awls but are always bending your shoe. Then there are the tailors, the canteen attendants ever juggling prices, the Rolex-maker, the bakubas or mercenaries hired by the ‘coloured’ students to do course-works on their behalf. Oh, then there are the Wandegeya sluts…without campusers, all these could descend into oblivion.

But why is the employer not repaid with fair work and respect? Well, they had better stand warned. If the campuser says enough is enough and loosens his ax, it will be time to learn something and forget nothing!

--Daily Monitor, Saturday, October 9, 2004, page 11