Matatu are privately owned minibuses in Kenya often decorated, many feature portraits of the famous or slogans, sayings and the music they play is also aimed at quickly attracting riders. So earlier this year while doing a feature story down in Eastlands Nairobi an old man approaches me and starts questioning about what am doing and how the camera works, so I engaged into an interesting conversation with him but a pimped matatu dubbed “Umoinner” cruised past us leaving dust and the music to me I felt the “Umph” but the old man was annoyed, “What happened to Matatus” That got me curious to ask how were Matatus back then? Back in the day the very first mode of transport was the London taxis which were only three sitters and even after the London taxis the first PSV vehicles adopted the 3seater. And since three in Swahili is “Tatu” that lead to the name Matatu.
But “Mzee” did not end there, his main cry was the mixed up matatu bus stations in town saying back in the day the only bus stations were: GPO and Kencom. And the only two busses were OTC and Stage coach. Back to the Matatus in the past they were as simple without entertainment compared to the new era of Ma3 or according to the ghetto its dubbed “Manyanga” which mzee hates the noise and reckless cruise, Wouldn’t want to give my opinion on this because am sure I will go against Mzee who was kind enough to give me his views on current matatus and the history of the name Ma3. After 30 minutes with Mzee I felt transfer of wisdom and knowledge which left me almost feeling like a Ma3 History expert. Shout out to Mzee for sharing his knowledge.
And if I was to attach a song here in line with this then without taking count am sure everyone would go for “Kenyan Boy by NAZIZI ft WYRE” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCmmFluy55c Reason: every route is mentioned.
Finally Mzee started telling me how in their days they also used to foot to school for more than 3KMs, I had to counter by telling him that even in our times we take more than 3hour in the Jam…Lol!!