this is kenya:art of naming matatus

September 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Posted in randommoments | 14 Comments
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a 1940 mat.these are the pioneers of the matatu age;face me-cum-you look familiar!

remember these days?haha...the reacking bodies and..yuck..it was bad!

Well, there are many things that sets us apart as Kenyans and among them,  matatus. in fact, from a point of absolute laziness to do research (how do i do it anyway) i tend to think we have the most colourful lot of public transport over several seas and lands.check this link on flickr

as  Kenyans, i know mats or ma-threes mean a lot. the good, the bad and the downright ugly, we have a share of each to share. may be it was this kondi (bus conductor) who refused with your change, or you were forced to alight before you reached your destination, .

generally they are known to flaunt every rule there is on the road as well as ettiquette.

gone are the days one Hon. Michuki clicked all the right buttons and everything worked like clockwork. it was the first time in the history of Kenya that we saw real CHANGE on our doorsteps. grown up menwere sent to the tailors for uniform like schoolboys, the number of passengers in a nissan matatu was reduced from a minimum of 25 to a maximum of 14.

sanity was finally with us…but it was not for long.

now, anything can happen to you in public transport but thanks to the entrance of a few sane proprieter, things are not as bad.

on the same, there is this craze that has been going on for sometime, akin to Xzibit’s pimp my ride ish. Maboiz mtaa wao huiita ‘kusuka machine’/boyz in the hood call it watamacallit?-just pimp my ride. by the day, new innovations are coming by with the craziest being

  • a basketball hoop at the back of the mat, complete with a ball na sportie imachapa! the weathe beaten sporty discredits the baller-ness they want to show.
  • a hammer, spade and some crazy appendage attached at the back.a waste of metal, but then a symbol to either show ‘kazi ni kazi’ or Hammer-cum-hummer izzit- on this, dont u think GM both in the US of Ass pay Raila for the massive marketing and mind poisoning he did on Kenyas? i mean, not even Zain and its billions, adverts on moon or not, can have such an frenzied effect on the population- albeit few can afford hummers!or are they hammers?Kenyans and grammarm hmmph.
  • the naming contest- uuuuuui, by the day, the names that mats have are just amazing. as a believer in bumper philosophy, i keep my eye wide peeled for any killer lines, phrases, labels and graffiti on mats. they never dissappoint. if only i had a p.c.- personal camera….i know u spot them too and utanisaidia in the ‘brainstorm’ here: Gravity aint just a force, it’s the reality, southern fixations(it took a while to register)…throw in you string of crazy observations, for as for me and my eyes, this is the boldest mat i have seen on the scene(or is it sin?)

    the paps who took this photo discredited it, i take the 'honours.

oh and some little history of the matatus for those ‘outside’ the know:

matatu is Swahili word meaning ‘three’ ma, is plural, and tatu is 3, thus the sheng’speare(urban slang for the young hip and sophistication wonna-bees)- ma-three. they say that when public transport came to being in Kenya, they used to charge ‘mang’otore matatu- u can bet it is Kyuks who came up with it. three shillings- i am not well informed whether it was to all destinations, but yes, it was three bob…and todate, we still call them matatus though the fares have NEVER been constant- even a little change in weather can result in hiiked fares.matatu fares are more emotional than the stock market.

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14 Comments »

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  1. Lol. That mat plies which route? On the real, this mat trends have changed drastically. I mean all the graffiti and ish like that. You have to hand it to Michuki though. Sanity galore in the mat industry. 🙂 How the hell did we survive during pre-Michuki rules? Waa!

  2. Yeah, which route is that? Thats a bold label!
    You’ve forgotten the ones with some flag or the other waving furiously as they cruise along Langata road, with their exhausts emitting a sound akin to screams. This type is likely to also have an entertainment centre with a 32 inch flat screen MAIN TV and at least 5 other mini screens. With the likes of lil wayne ‘lollipopping’ at the loudest volume possible, I’m reminded that I’m aging fast.
    thats my 0.02 cents on the matter.

  3. I’ve seen mats with screens so big yaani, kedo 60″ plus, with individual screens on each seat. The ones that make me wada are the ones with huge rear tyres that make it chapa ana’a aerodynamic angle mpaka inside passengers slide forward in their seats! As for that P*ssy jav, salaaale! There’s this line of minibuses called “100% pure pain, ile wazimu!” Some are andikwad Starlingrand Shuttle on the side, others Starlingrad, others Stalingrad. Kwani who painted them? Was he high?

  4. Buru mats!!! oh my word…I entered a few and almost died…from the gazillion screens to the ear popping heart thumping bass….walala…some are like moving clubs…my poor heart..u leave the mat vibrating..truly an experience for some of us who come from the village..lol..but me likey the bright colours 🙂

  5. Two years ago, i did a piece on the hip hop blog http://greamhouze.blogspot.com/2006/10/matatu-our-modern-day-cave.html on the matatu art. What surprises me is that nowadays, I look out for that matatu with moderate music and it doesnt have to be blinged out. may be am growing old. I was readin this post on phone on my way home and I happened to be in a matatu that is a rare kind. See, today, all you hear wherever you go is either bongo or tooo much lil wayne. The playlist on this one left me feeling I should go back to blogging on hip hop. Ever heard Mobb Deep, Gangstarr, good old humorous Redman, Nas, Dilated People and I got a shocker when a The Main Source came up! You should have touched my heart and look at it, yes look at it for you to see the world I was lost in for that 20 something minutes ride.

    There is this Mat a route 58, it has a humongous screen at the back facing outside. As in if you are behind the matatu on the outside, you watch what those inside are watching. That was a shocker to me and I thought it borders on madness. Someone should do a large piece documentary on Matatus.

  6. Two years ago, i did a piece on the hip hop blog http://greamhouze.blogspot.com/2006/10/matatu-our-modern-day-cave.html on the matatu art. What surprises me is that nowadays, I look out for that matatu with moderate music and it doesnt have to be blinged out. may be am growing old. I was readin this post on phone on my way home and I happened to be in a matatu that is a rare kind. See, today, all you hear wherever you go is lil wayne. The playlist left me feeling I should go back 2 blogging on hip hop. Mobb Deep, Gangstarr, good old humorous Redman, Nas, Dilated People and I got a shocker when a The Main Source came up! There is this Mat a route 58, it has a humongous screen at the back facing outside. As in if you are behind the matatu on the outside, you watch what those inside are watching. That was a shocker to me and I thought it borders on madness. Someone should do a large piece documentary on Matatus.

  7. Two years ago, i did a piece on matatu art http://greamhouze.blogspot.com/2006/10/matatu-our-modern-day-cave.html What surprises me is that nowadays, I look out for that matatu with moderate music and it doesnt have to be blinged out. may be am growing old. I was readin this post on phone on my way home the playlist left me feeling I should go back 2 blogging on hip hop. Mobb Deep, Gangstarr, Red & meth, Nas, Dilated People and I got a shocker when a The Main Source came up! There is this Mat a route 58, it has a humongous screen at the back facing outside. Those on the outside watch what those inside are watching. That was a shocker to me and I thought it borders on madness. Someone should do a large piece documentary on Matatus.

  8. My comment! What happened to it?

  9. LOL! Ok… you guy… You’ve totally made my morning. Hopefully nobody comes around and unmakes it. Ati mat fares are more emotional than the stock market.Ngai baba… And that there P-Mat is truly bold.

    dude, you have eye for detail, that was the punchline of the story..that story kills and pisses me off completely!

  10. Waa..Kenyan mats take the cake, I totally agree with you…

    From those painted with all manner of people, including the arturs like they were soap opera heroes!

    Check out my thoughts on that at http://www.conceptadvisoryservices.co.ke/wordpress

  11. Kenyan Matatus,I’ve never been too picky when it comes to boarding them but I have chiq pals who will not bulge untill a certain Mathree comes.
    Of punchy lines:’Chapa hadi ilale’ and my favourite “Hii si movie,ni REAL”

  12. Занимаюсь дизайном и хочу попросить автора boyfulani.wordpress.com отправить шаьлончик на мой мыил) Готов заплатить…

  13. mats jus have the most outrageous names on earth.”U cant Me” still gets me laughing.maybe im getting old but seriously, kwani those guys are deaf?that music is jus too bloody loud!!thez a few that i cn handle but at times…

  14. kwanza thez a South B mat,ikifika kitao kange hushow wathi,”South B,Matter,Hazina Kumi.DSTV ni Bure”


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