Dear Eric. Whatabout.



Subject: How r u doin, bruh?

Dear Eric Van Veen Chief Commercial Officer of MTN Uganda, the largest mobile phone operations company in my native land,

How are you? Baz here.

You don’t know me, but I have been an MTN subscriber since way back when you guys had just started. Never changed my number. I have been faithfully connected since jump. Eric, I have been putting money in your pocket through my airtime and service fee payments for almost a decade. I consider us so close now that I expect you to join the entourage at my kwanjula.

I assume you know what a kwanjula is. You have been in Uganda long enough, haven’t you? Okay, just in case (you never know. You could be like Ian “Ice Ice Baby” Clarke, who, after all these years, still can’t spell Ssebaggala right. Hah hah. Though to be fair, who can?)

When a local swain wishes to wife unto himself a native maiden he must seek her father to plead for her hand (I am trying to make it sound romantic). He does this in a lavish and elaborate ceremony with a troupe of very well-dressed friends of his. They go to lady’s home, bearing gifts, and pretend to have just dropped by to ask for a drink. A lot of yadda yadda blah blah follows, culminating in the girl showing up to say, “Daddy, this is not some chap (or as you say in your native South Africa, some “bloke”) looking for water. This is my sweet baby lover and I want to marry him. Whattabout.”

Whattabout is a local semi-vernacular expression that really doesn’t mean anything. Don’t worry about it.

Anyway, how are you, man? How are you doing?

I hear you are dishing out free airtime to guys these days. Nice. I heard it from that himbo on the radio. I usually give them names. For some reason this one made me think of one of those legionaries in the Asterix comics, so I called him Imbecillus. I know he was working for you and you may feel obliged to protect him, but Eric, let’s face it. They guy is an idiot.

I mean, have you heard him?

That I hear (TIH) “This advert should have ended by now but I have 50% extra airtime so I can just keep on talking. MTN. Everywhere you go. Hmm. That means everywhere I go I can keep talking. MTN. Everywhere you go. Everywhere you go. Everywhere you go…”

What a fuckwad, right? I suggest you revoke his 50% extra because the way he is using it is detrimental to the image of our company.

Mbu Our company. You see how close we are? Bruh?

Let me see if I have got it right, though: I buy airtime for a certain amount of money and I get extra airtime of the value of 50% of the airtime I bought. Again, nice. I am sure other subscribers think it is very Christmas of you.

But I have to tell you, me? Not so much. You see, every time I have tried to make a call at ten, I find the network is busy. I think all your other subscribers are a bunch of cheapskates who just sit by the clock waiting for it to strike ten so they can make calls for as if free, then they all leap onto the network at the same time. I mean. Ugandans. You haha them.

Haha is another local expression. It is from Lusoga, I think.

The result is that by Friday, I had like 20,000k bonus airtime that I couldn’t use. I was trying to call Alex on Danceforce but couldn’t get through. Network busy.

But if I ever manage to get through to the radio should I send you greetings? I can dedicate a song. Do you like Ja Rule?

Dude, I’ve got to go. Work to do, you see. I just thought I’d drop you a line, say whaddup. We’ll chat again, aight.

Keep it gully, son. I’m outtie.




  1. Van Veen in your entourage, hmmmm!
    That 50% extra is turning out to be like yellow kapyata. I think Kapyata and Kiwani have the same definition.

  2. These telecom companies are ripping us off….even UTL is joking around. We can make any calls with that free airtime….

    Walahi, let WARID open shop… I”ll do a firstie there to. Anti I’m the queen of socks! NONT so?

  3. U’ll chat again??? this is more like a monologue, and his aide has to sift thru all his fan mail and then select the one they think Eric will find interesting. And then he’ll instruct his aide to reply the mail….and the aide will prolly just say F*** off.

    So, I don’t see that chat “again” anytime soon….U’ll be chattin with his aide. And that happens to be a gay guy…which straight guy does the work of a personal assistant apart from Juma Seiko? And we all know he’s as gay as the day is long….ssiku the Kaunda suits he wears.

  4. These networks are ripping us off.

    The same deal is on Celtel but when I try to use my 26k worth of accumulated airtime, I get the nasal “Sorry, you do not have enough credit to make this call”. WTF.

    I could have bought mandanzi with that money. Now see, it is just there on my phone doing nothing.

    Celtel, I’m telling you right now, the jig is up. You better ring the alarm, cos, to paraphrase Beyonce, you ain’t never seen a fire like the one I’m gon’ cause.

  5. Dear Stan, I wrote you once on my blog and you still ain’t calling. I know you got my mail, i wrote the address on it perfect. Anyway,man I hope you get this….hit me back, just to chat, sincerely yours, your biggest fan, this ain’t Stan

  6. that advert guy is nauseating.he makes me want to listen to someone snoring instead. and then after enduring his ka-act, the thing turns out to be a hoax!

    and Baz, those people made it monday to friday…so you couldn’t ofcourse call in to request Alex for a song or call a ka-campus fresher squeeze mbu “meet me at zwizzles”…

  7. At least they should extend the deal to cover weekends, even if only on Sundays

    Wasnt Van Veen given a luganda identity? Complete with clan, name and akabbiro? I remember some such thing at some ekiggunda

  8. Is this ‘50% extra’ time bound anyway? I s’pect they will just convert that 50% to regular airtime at the end of the promo, seeing as next to no one will have used it.

  9. i actually went and clicked the crazy links up there, thinking, “the way this dude is crazy, these must be something else, not e-mails. and i was prolly correct.” onywa biki, ggaayi?

  10. Well, Ssebaggala can spell himself right. I think.

    My. The van Veen mail doth rock. I have accumulated lotsa dough, y’know’m sayin’? But ain’t used none. I’m drop off to sleep waiting to beat the queue at 10. Actually, I thought it was 11. 😦

    Now, Cheri, them comments rock. 🙂 And Ivan, that smart allusion to Stan. Shite. Tout le monde est poétique!

  11. I guess this time my fellow country men are realising that nothing is free on this wonderful earth. So the 50% extra is not actually free, i feel very sad because mine has accumulated to 42,000/=. That would pay rent in my Muzingo. Please Van Veen i want a refund.

  12. Baz..This one is a masterpiece letto!

    Van Veen on your entourage?…yap its possible. Isn’t he one who apperead in the papers with a kanzu and a “nkofira” with MTN on it?(talk about corporate dedication to the end!) Well it can happen on your kwanjula.

    The letter? Very good creative piece. I just laughed out aloud and my boss is pondering whether this blogging thing is getting to me instead of work. Missed this site. I WILL BE BACK!

  13. dear eric i have purchased one your mtn internet but what i really wanted to use is the mtn whereRU but it seems mtn ug does not have this application

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