After just two months, I have now managed to master the controls of the radio in my car. The instructions are written in Japanese script, which complicates matters. There is just one radio station, 88.3FM Mnkanya Radio Mfuwe. It plays a wide variety of music, including Country & Western, sloppy ballads, reggae, hip-hop, Afrobeat, gospel and Western pop.
The disc jockeys invariably talk over the beginning of each track, but often with their microphone set too low, so you cannot hear what they are saying when the music goes quiet. They have phone-in sessions, but I have never heard a conversation take place without the caller being cut off or giving up. This morning a wife was making a plea to all married women to prepare a bowl of warm water for their man to wash himself when he gets up, instead of being lazy and letting him use a cup and a bucket of cold water. Both male health workers and the female HIV counsellor in the vehicle agreed wholeheartedly with this sentiment.
We had a house-husband at the clinic this morning and I asked him if he prepared a bowl of warm water for his wife to wash in the morning, and he wholeheartedly concurred.
The commercials are all in Kunda or Cinyanja local languages. One general store tries to cram in all the items it has for sale during the 60 second advert. The listing is rushed and random: rainboots, inverters, baby blankets, schoolpens, food warmers, batteries, track suit tops and down. It ends by saying, “And Jamakani General Dealers is very, very.” Which makes perfect sense to Zambians.
The advert for the local minimart “Mayana”, lists all the meat cuts in English, with an “y” on the end. “Steak-y” and “T boney”, for example.
The news should be at noon, but today it was five minutes late. I was surprised when Betty the newsreader apologised for the delay. Five minutes late is neither here nor there in Zambia. There is usually a human interest story in the headlines. A few days ago, a wife was arrested because she beat up her husband when she discovered he was sleeping with her best friend. Another woman was arrested because she had thrown her child into the fire for eating the sauce which accompanies maize porridge (N’shima) without asking permission.
I find it difficult to understand when the newsreaders are just talking the words, often mispronouncing them, and using no natural pauses or phrasing.
PS I enjoy seeing the messages plastered across vehicle windscreens. One of my favourites is “God is in control”, even if the driver doesn’t seem to be. I liked “Paradise” on one bush taxi. And best of all was a broken down truck bearing the message “Living the Nightmare”.