Salute to men with loud motorcycles


All throughout the day – and sometimes half the night – motorcycles loudly rev up and down the roads in my neighbourhood, ferrying passengers from all walks of life.

Photo credit: Igah | Nation Media Group

My neighbourhood has been “taken over” by men with loud motorcycles. All throughout the day – and sometimes half the night – motorcycles loudly rev up and down the roads in my neighbourhood, ferrying passengers from all walks of life. These motorcycles are part of the engine that’s trying, against all odds, to drive our economy into a bright new future.

There are times, in the still quiet of the night, I can hear the motorcycles coming from long distances, weaving in and out of roads and dirt paths. Some let out spurts, like they are about to throw up. Others let out spurts that sound like that of a Saturday night special.

Then there are others who mix the engine noises with the sound of music. These motorcycles make enough noise to wake up a mummified remain, yet, at the same time, blare music louder than disco matanga. Maybe I am old school. I like to partake my music at the right volume, with every instrument and sound tuned just for my ears.

But, hey, it’s a free country. To every man their own.

These men with loud motorcycles are good people. They are family men. Fathers and brothers. Tax payers; black, et al. They are honest men who are making the best with cards life has dealt them. They are men who dodge 18-wheel death each day, bury their peers, visit injured and paralysed friends, gather their wits about them, and get back on the grind. And for that, I tip my fedora to these men. Salute.

Men don’t have safe spaces. They don’t have “accessible ears and shoulders” to share their mental health issues with.

Perhaps, these men use the noises their motorcycles emit to silence the haunting noises in their heads. The loud noises of their motorcycles keep them sane. The economy has pushed them against the wall. Some have marital issues. Life is screaming at them like a banshee, making them to almost lose their minds.

A friend who was a matatu driver used to tell me that, each morning the matatu-owner handed him the vehicle’s key, he would make a mental note that he was being given a coffin’s key.

“A driver has to use everything he has to stop himself from thinking about being maimed or dying in a road accident, or else you won’t do this job,” he would say. “Some drivers use intoxicants. Others use music. It’s all about taking control of your mind.”

There’s a method to the matatu madness. And it’s that madness that keeps some of the operators sane.

Some of these men with loud motorcycles may be using the noise to stop thinking about road carnage, and how, in a split second, they can be a statistic. They don’t want to imagine the suffering their families will undergo if they lose a life or limb.

I have a sneaky feeling that some of these men with loud motorcycles are competing with their peers. They want to show their peers just who’s the boss. It’s a concrete jungle, and every lion is trying to get some game and feed their pride.

Loud and proud. That’s what these men are. You can feel the pride in the air as they ride. It is a pride that, as a nation we need to mine and put to good use. If we had half the pride these men have, we would do better for our country. We would not pillage it. We would not experience the scorched earth mind-set our leaders subject our country to.