Day 17 Of #Winterabc2021. Of Catching Foreign Accents & Blending In.

Back in the day in our slippery when wet city of Kampala, I used to hustle with a brother. Those days when the hustle got so real your whole outlook showed. When people would pass you off for a decent street beggar. When we would regret why we did not listen to those who told us to go to vocational schools after senior six because they thought jobs from there came easy. Look at mechanics, photography, tailoring, etc. or make better friends during campus, a story I am keeping for another day.

We hustled. Banging, knocking and sometimes charging into any office that had an open door. Well, we had been told to look for open opportunities. What better, ironic way to look for them than that! We even crashed events, corporate ones. Hoping to rub shoulders with a few big shots with more hope that you could make a good impression and be called into their office the next week. Like that! I, being a not so good a friend of anything mathematical, minus calculating the change in my pocket of course, I even crashed economic forums and then hustling with staff of the hotels where they were held to get wi-fi passwords and Google up stuff we contributed in the meetings. Just for impressions’ sake. Like that TV advert where the driver upstages the manager’s sideman.

But a turn in fortunes landed to the side of my man, my hustle buddy and he found his way to the States. As we usually call it. He chanced upon a trip with the local soccer team he was leisurely playing for and once he landed down in the land of Trump, his heels thought better. (Typical hardened African). He upgraded his hustle until he became prodigal and came back a few months back. We caught up and banged the cash out of his wallet. (Like how everyone does when their people fly back). Much had changed apart from the wallet of course and that included the accent.

Dude was spitting twang and his r’s were coming straight out of his nose. People got concerned. As usual. They started labeling him fake and stuff but then I told them like I am telling you right now that sometimes it is natural. That accent has to change. Though some may fake it. I am not talking about a certain dancer, turned pastor, turned M.P (Gosh, how can one have all such talent at a go?) but for some people, quite literally everybody, it comes from the desire to blend in. This is when you start living the life the others are living. How else do you think culture gets absorbed into another? People be complaining about others changing accents and yet they do not complain that they too have ancestors that changed religions which we are now more proud of. Africans were naturally traditionalists not Muslims akina Christians and such. But because there was an influence, we changed. It is then the same with accents. You may want to sound like the people you are with because you think it is the only way you can be heard or such and in the end you get stuck up there. Even Nigerians who have crossed to the other side of the world are having their accents changed. It starts as a lifestyle until it sticks.

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