It all started when Oliver Mtukudzi came to Uganda last August. His show was well publicized. Whenever I caught one of the many ads on TV, or heard one over the radio, every hair on my being would scream YES. This was not because I was obsessed with the great man’s music, I’m ashamed to say. It was all about some guy.
The opening act was to be done by ZOLA and within that band was a boy that I’d become infatuated with. My approval of his face and his voice was so deep that I googled Mtukudzi and even asked my friends to raid their parents’ music collections. I didn’t want to go for the show knowing just one song: ‘Todi’.
On D day, I had everything ready- beautiful dress, decent purse, but alas, my shoes wouldn’t do. Those were the dark times before I had become wild about footwear, so I had exactly three pairs in my life and they all looked a bit shabby; overworked.
A plan came to me. I would buy stilettos from Wandegeya, learn how to wear them before leaving the shop, sashay to the show and steal the boy’s heart.
The shoes I got were everything I considered beautiful at the time. Ribbon, check. Shiny, check. I paid for them, wore them and proceeded to drag myself to the nearest stage with my eyes leaving the ground a total of zero times.
I hopped on a boda and directed him to office where colleagues were waiting for me. In retrospect, I should have gone straight to Serena and sat on the stairs with a book until the show began. That would have saved me the excruciating walk up the slopping parking lot of my office and the sniggers of the guards.
The show wasn’t as well organized as it was publicized. We had to stand jammed against each other in an overcrowded lobby for one and a half hours. By the time we were being shown through the door, what little mastery I’d had over the shoes had disappeared along with my resolve to bear pain with dignity.
I did the kakinda man walk to my seat. The suffering didn’t end there. Friends wanted quick words outside the hall during the show, the toilets beckoned, etc. That was an awkward day, but not as ridiculously embarrassing as two weekends ago when I attended the wedding of a workmate.
I wore high heeled boots. They were very pretty- on my shoe rack, and even on my feet. I had no car to ferry me from place to place, so I wore really comfortable clothes hoping that the comfort on my body would somehow soothe my feet when they’d begin their inevitable lamentations.
I was wrong.
After standing in line for food, my instep was practically bleeding. I left early, so the walk back to the main road was harrowing, involving evil school children who were screaming their laughter behind me. I finally discarded my fear of fast moving vehicles, stood in the middle of the road and hitched a ride. The moment I reached Ntinda, I bought a pair of brogues.
Not all women are created equal. Probably, some are born with steel in the backs of their legs and in the insteps of their feet. Either that or there’s a plastic surgeon in Kampala who modifies legs to be able to stand stilettos and I just haven’t found him/her yet.