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Nostalgia: When ‘chafua meza’ was not for shagz-mondos

By Kamau Mutunga | Thursday, Jan 12th 2017 at 10:07
'Chafua meza' was a reserve for the loaded [Photo: Courtesy]

Back in those days when a drink called City Lager frothed around, not many Kenyans had money to indulge in luxurious pastimes like swilling liquor.

To show the world that you were on your way to becoming an Adnan Khashoggi--then one of the richest arms dealers in the world, you threw a beer round in what was called “kuchafua meza.”

50 corked bottles

“How many beers can you absorb?” a prospective candidate for “chafua meza” would ask a willing drinker.

“Ten bottles!” and pronto! ten beers would “chafua meza” and if there were five drinkers that would translate in 50 corked bottles competing for space on the Formica table.

The drinkers--then turned into instant court poets--would sing your praises.

But gradually as more Kenyans began getting jobs while others flourished in business, “chafua meza” gradually died as a show off until November when tea farmers took to pubs like To Go Is To See Bar and Restaurant in Nyeri to “pee on tea bonus” via sessions of “chafua meza.”

That was besides the occasional “chafua meza” from thieves drinking a share of their loot.

In some places fellow drinkers can call cops if you “chafua meza” in a manner not commensurate with your image of one with serious cash to burn like a bank on fire.

Indeed, to “dirtify the table” appears so 1975 and thus shags-modos (rural, very countrified).

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